Response from Associate Pastor Tracey Beadle at Manchaca United Methodist Church to “if/how the ruling on gay marriage will impact religious organizations and pastors in particular.” Note, Beadle said her response is her own and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Methodist Church or Manchaca UMC:
Pastors have always had the freedom to refuse to marry any couple that they’re uncomfortable marrying, and the SCOTUS ruling on Same-Sex Marriage doesn’t change that. Neither does the SCOTUS ruling change the United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline (the book that states the official doctrine and polity of the UMC), which currently states that same-sex unions may not be conducted by United Methodist clergy or in United Methodist churches. It does not infringe on our freedom to exercise our faith at all. In fact, the opposite is more true. The Christian faith, as it’s expressed by some Christians, has infringed upon the civil rights of GLBT people for too long now.
What this decision has done is make even more urgent the wrestling that’s been going on in the United Methodist denomination for decades about it’s official stance on same-sex marriage and the inclusion of gay and lesbian persons, in general, in the life of the Church. Many in the United Methodist Church, both lay people and clergy, would like to see the Church change it’s position. Not all Christians come at scripture the same way and there are many who do not equate the lives of GLBT persons with sinful behavior but, rather, as an integral part of some peoples’ identity and/or a trait that they were born with. After much prayerful thought, study and conversation this is where I currently stand.
I find it very disturbing that, in our media, the Christian voice that condemns GLBT persons is understood to be normative and dominant and mostly toxic. The truth is there are faithful Christians who stand on all sides (and there are more than two) of this issue. There are also faithful Christians on all sides who can and do have respectful and gracious dialogue with one another in an authentic attempt to hear one another’s hearts and grow in love and understanding. My hope is that we’d begin to hear more diverse Christian voices in our media, including those who have understandings of the Bible that are not based in literalism and inerrancy. That they’d begin to hear the voices of Christians who embrace all people as God’s beloved children and even those voices that celebrate with the GLBT community the SCOTUS ruling giving them the right to legally marry.
Rev. Tracey Beadle
Manchaca United Methodist Church