The Methodist Sexual Revolution

Delegates have already overturned the legislation of the 2019 General Conference. Now, in the coming week, they’ll roll back decades of United Methodist policies on sexuality and centuries of historic Christian teaching. Progressives are also successfully rolling back longstanding language on “respect” for the “unborn child” and “promoting the diminishment of high abortion rates.” Understandably, progressives are celebrating. Their long-time adversaries are gone, and the denomination is now theirs. 

United Methodism’s governing General Conference, meeting currently in Charlotte, N.C., is enacting a sexual revolution within what used to be, until very recently, America’s third-largest religious group.

So far, in legislative committees, later to be ratified in plenary, delegates by wide margins are disconnecting sex from marriage or even monogamy. Until now, the United Methodist Church officially taught that “sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.”

But the proposed revision, OK’d by 75 percent in committee, says we “affirm human sexuality as a sacred gift and acknowledge that sexual intimacy contributes to fostering the emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being of individuals and to nurturing healthy sexual relationships that are grounded in love, care and respect.”

That’s it. No mention there of marriage or monogamy. Instead, it celebrates that sexuality is “expressed in wonderfully diverse ways.” And, “We affirm the rights of all people to exercise personal consent in sexual relationships, to make decisions about their own bodies and be supported in those decisions.”

You can contrast the old United Methodist sexual teaching with the new proposal here. The new wording comes from an official recommendation from a denominational commission that crafted updated “Social Principles” for the church.

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