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News Flash 10/29/2000

It is readily apparent that there is a last minute push to remove the language from the discipline which denies the acceptability of homosexual behavior.  We will be told that what is wanted is two ministries working side by side with a "live and let live" type of attitude.  That will be a very tempting offer because it would theoretically provide an end to the fighting and we would have peace at last. But in actuality the result would be anything but peaceful. Here is ample proof of that.  Listen to the words of Suzanne Pharr a contemporary gay activist:

"We want the elimination of homophobia. We are seeking equality. Equality that is more than tolerance, compassion, understanding, acceptance, benevolence, for these still come from a place of implied superiority: favors granted to those less fortunate ...The elimination of homophobia requires that homosexual identity be viewed as viable and legitimate and as normal as heterosexuality identity. It does not require tolerance; it requires equal footing."  Suzanne Pharr, Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism (Inverness, Calif.: Chardon Press, 1988) Page 45

It should be very clear to us by now that any attempt at removing the language would provide the status spoken of by Suzanne Pharr.  It would require the silencing of any public teaching which would be considered homophobic sounding to the Reconciling supporters. The Desplaines Campground incident is a good example of what would happen denominational wide if removing the language would occur.  The campground allowed both Reconciling and Transforming speakers into their pulpits and allowed them to speak on the subject of homosexuality. The result was an attempted hostile take over of the campground by Reconciling supporters and an ongoing law suit which is yet to be resolved.   At our last annual conference, a Reconciling pastor requested that The Board of Church and Society be asked to investigate the campground and this came from their report:

"While there has been no overt or official policy of discrimination against persons based upon sexual orientation, or the perception and assumption of a homosexual orientation by the Chicago District Campground Association, there exists a pervasive atmosphere of intolerance and inhospitality to persons who are or are perceived to be homosexual in orientation." ( Investigation of Allegations of Discrimination at the Chicago District Campground Association submitted to the Special Session of The Northern Illinois Conference on Saturday, November 13, 1999)

An attempt was made to submit a Minority Report, refuting the opinions of the board, but the bishop refused to receive it. The only way it could be brought to the attention of the annual conference members was to hand out copies outside the building at the special session. So just what were these so called "atmospheric conditions"?  It was the fact that they allowed persons to speak from the pulpit and talk openly on the campground about their beliefs concerning homosexuality in support of our current language in the Book of  Discipline.  If the language was dropped, so would our ability to openly support the present official viewpoint.  If publicly supporting our present stand is being attacked so viciously now, can you imagine what will happen after the language is dropped?

Listen now to the words of Fuller Seminary professor Don Williams:

"For the church at this point to surrender to gay advocacy and gay theology and thus to give up her Biblical faith would bring not only disaster upon herself, it would bring more havoc to the world as well.  If the church simply blesses homosexuality, the hope for change in Christ will be destroyed. Millions of potential converts will have the only lasting hope for wholeness cut off from them.  Untold numbers of children and adolescents who are struggling with their sexual identity will conclude that `gay is good,' deny their heterosexual potential and God's heterosexual purpose for them, and slip into the brokeness of the gay world.  Untold numbers of adults will follow suit."  (Don Williams, The Bond That Breaks: Will Homosexuality Split the Church? Los Angeles: BIM, 1978 page 128)

The real question is a simple one.  Do we have the will to actively oppose and take action to prevent the hijacking of our denomination by the Reconciling forces. Removing the language is only the first step in cleansing our denomination of what they believe is evil.  So just what it this evil that I am talking about?  It is the "homophobia" spoken of by Suzanne Pharr in the previous quote. Those who take a Transforming stand will quickly be compared with the racial bigots of the civil rights movement of the 60s.  It doesn't matter if we fully support the end of violence and intimidation which is aimed at those with same sex attractions and support attempts at loving ministry for them. Because in their eyes we are bigots unless we agree with them. It wouldn't be long before our message of transformation through the power of Jesus Christ would be labeled " as hate speech" and homophobic.

We must awaken  people to the massive "educational" efforts of those who support homosexual acceptance.  One such training session report can be found at    http://www.massnews.com/maygsa.htm
This was a training session for school teachers in which they encouraged young teenagers to attend. Here is part of the dialogue of one of those training sessions. (It is a direct quote from the previously mentioned article)

"The workshop opened by the three public employees asking the children `how they knew as gay people, whether or not they've had sex.' ......Eventually the answer presented itself, and it was determined that whenever an orifice was filled with genitalia, then sex had occurred. "  page 3 of 7  The Massachusetts News Politics Article entitled: Kids Get Graphic Instruction In Homosexual Sex

The rest was so graphic I didn't include it.  But the instructor proceeded to have the young teenager describe how many different "orifices" could be filled.   The program also included discussions on things such as heterosexual and homosexual "fisting" which I also won't describe here so as to not offend people. It is described in the article however in intimate detail if you wish to know more about it.

What we are seeing today is an attempt to remove things such as chastity, modesty, propriety and decency from our vocabulary.  The idea is to get to the young and teach them all these things so they won't grow up with "so many hang-ups about sex".   It is designed to encourage them to experiment sexually and be free to practice any form of sexuality they want without hindrance or social conscience. It is the loss of innocence and it encourages sin.  Jesus said this in Luke: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck then for him to cause one of these little ones to sin." Luke 17:1b-2

So what should we do?  Should we do nothing and believe that God's will is done by what happens?  Or do we begin the painful process of taking the actions necessary to reform our denomination. I leave you with this quotation from Rev. Stuart Briscoe the Senior Pastor of Elmbrook Church, Brookfield, Wisconsin:

"Let me point out and lay to rest some misconceptions about the pursuit of peace.   No Christian is given the right to be at peace with evil.  There is no such thing in the divine economy as 'peace at any price.'  If God had been satisfied with peace at any price, he would have found a cheaper price than the Cross.  He could have come to terms with Satan and sin in a less costly manner.  We are to pursue peace -- but never by settling for evil or error."

"One of the tragedies in the church today is the existence of 'peace' at the expense of truth.  We can never build peace by accepting evil.  We can never build peace by condoning error."

"This leads to the matter of church discipline.  There are times when discipline must be exercised and error must be isolated to view. . . . It's a tough, challenging occupation.  We cannot have a healthy church if our idea of church discipline is "peace at any price."  Problems in the church must be dealt with in love, but with firmness."   Sermon on the Mount, Daring to Be Different, pp. 43-44.

Will it be peace at any price?  The results of this General Conference will give us a good idea of where we stand as a denomination on this issue.

Rev. Kent L. Svendsen
Elder / Northern Illinois Conference
NIC Coordinator Confessing Movement Within The United Methodist Church

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