From: Michael L. Gonzalez GonzoML@concentric.net
In response to the question posted by Tiffany Steinwert dated November 1, 2000 http://www.ucmpage.org/sword/comments_m_sword11012000.html
So glad you asked for the details, because the explanation is quit simple.
First, let's get some definitions straight: The Reconciling Congregation program (RCP) has issued position statements for their organization, publicized them, and asked for endorsements, like signing a petition. If you need Internet links to all of this, I'd be happy to provide them all. The RCP has published the entire list of all signers of their "petition" on the Internet, and in my article I provide the direct link to their search engine for their list.
We must understand that the only persons in the UMC who support the RCP position (which advocates normalization of homosexuality--completely contrary to the traditional reading of the Bible, and the only reasonable interpretation, which even Greg Dell said here in a meeting), have signed their petition. It is only reasonable to assume that every member of the UMC who has any idea of the details of the RCP position has in fact read the RCP petition and has either chosen to sign it, or chosen to NOT sign it. Any member who hasn't had the opportunity to read and sign the petition, does NOT by definition, support the RCP (how can a person support something that they haven't read and had the opportunity to "sign").
OK, now what of all the UMC members who have never heard of the RCP nor read their petition? Obviously, these members are NOT supporters of the RCP (how could they be supporters of an organization of which they are unaware?). I posit that the vast majority of UMC members fall into this category (ask around the country, and you'll discover for yourself that this is true).
So, how many supporters of the RCP are there in the entire UMC? Well, I haven't counted all the names, but I'll take the RCP's word on it that there are 16,500 names on the list (they publish this figure widely).
OK, time for some math: 16,500 divided by 8.1 million total members in the UMC equals what? About 2/10ths of one percent (all of these numbers are round offs and we shouldn't consider more than two significant digits in our calculations).
Now, what about the Northern Illinois Conference (NIC)? This is either the MOST liberal conference in the nation, or it's nearly so. I know delegates to both the annual conference and the general conference and we have discussed the expected voting patterns of the NIC delegates in an aggregate sense, fully based on what the delegates themselves say in open discussion in groups. There is no doubt that nearly 100% of the votes at GC2000 out of the NIC were in favor of the various positions of the RCP (and MFSA, etc.).
So, let's count up the number of RCP supporters in the NIC. Just go to their website list search engine, type in "IL" in the "state" field and count the number of pages displayed (100 names per page). There are less than one thousand (keep in mind that most, but not all towns listed in Illinois are in the NIC).
OK, time for simple math again: let's say there's about 900+ RCP signers in the NIC, divided by the 125,000 total membership published in the NIC (an approximation--it changes constantly), and you get about 7/10ths of one percent.
There you have it!
Bet you are surprised that I didn't have to use convoluted math like the "other side" must do at all times :-)
I am a lay member in the New England conference and a seminarian on track for ordination. I have to say I was shocked by the statistics presented in your article and was hoping you could help me understand them better by provinding me with the data and sources used in collecting and reporting on these statistics quoted in your November first article entitled, The Assault on the UMC Continues".
Tiffany Steinwert firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Dave and Carolyn Westlake email@example.com
The 35% figure that is used bothers me. While that may be the percentage who have disagreed at General Conference is that really a realistic survey of the denomination as a whole? I do not think so. My experience is that many don't care, and less than 10% are actively disagreeing with the church's stand. Another item is that it seems to be more clergy than laity who are advocating change. Just some thoughts.
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