the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline paragraph 304.3 and homosexuals who practice

"Homosexuals who Practice" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Homosexuals who Practice” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

Buy a print of this cartoon HERE.

The United Methodist Church, in their Book of Discipline, paragraph 304.3, states:

“The PRACTICE of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. The United Methodist Church does not condone the PRACTICE of homosexuality. Therefore self-avowed PRACTICING homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in the United Methodist Church.”

I imagined this: What if a very prominent LGBTQ group who had political, ecclesial, and public power, issued a statement like this?

“The PRACTICE of heterosexuality is incompatible with our teaching. Our organization does not condone the PRACTICE of heterosexuality. Therefore self-avowed PRACTICING heterosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, selected as leaders, or appointed to serve in any capacity in our organization.”

There would be outrage! Why? Because it would be blatant discrimination against heterosexuals.

Heterosexuals would claim that it is unfair to differentiate between being a heterosexual and living like one. It would be an unjust demand upon a whole group of people to not actually be who they are. They would rightly protest that they are being segregated and punished for being who they are and not allowed to participate in the empowered group’s life and activities.

It is the ghettoization of a people group because of their identity.


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15 Responses

  1. Caryn LeMur says:

    Well… I think you are taking this too far, David. Ghetto? That brings up images of how the early Nazi movement handled the European Jews that lived among them.

    I imagine the United Methodists, by simple loving logic, would say the same thing for those that are born or convert to Judaism: ‘They are ok, so long as they do not practice any Jewish rites or holy days. The practice of Jewish rites or holy days is incompatible with the teachings of the New Testament.’

    This would force the Jewish believer-in-Jesus to be ignored by his/her family, lose all credibility for bringing their family or community to Jesus, and create such deep conflict within the Jewish believer-in-Jesus that he/she may simply renounce Christ rather than lose their spouse and children.

    Furthermore, the Jewish believer-in-Jesus that would not conform to the Methodist demands would be marked for discipline, forced to answer to the elders/board, and then ultimately removed from the church – and having lost church and Jewish family – the Jewish believer-in-Jesus would probably commit emotional or physical suicide.

    Like Jesus said, ‘His yoke is easy; his burden is light’… so, to the non-Jew, this is easy… therefore, it is easy for everyone. Simple leap of logic, right?

    But live in a ghetto? Naw. Just total emotional destruction, all hope stolen, and having their saving faith killed. They would therefore live in rejection now, as well as in eternity.

    So, David, the believing LGBT are not living in a ghetto. Maybe they are just being invited to live in hell…..

  2. Thomas Coates says:

    Yes! What does it mean to “practice”? The homophobic statement in the Book of Discipline is based on ancient science developed in the mid-1800s (the “H-Word” didn’t exist prior to this). I personally see the word “homosexual” as used in the Book of Discipline as akin to racial or ethnic slurs. It is a false binary between heterosexual (“good”) and homosexual (“bad/evil”). Further, with the power behind it, it immediately reduces someone to their genitals, the word heterosexual or straight does not have this connotation.
    LGBT PERSONS (not issues) do not practice anything, it’s a core, biological (epi-genetic) trait, regardless of whether an LGBT person is in a relationship or not.
    The UM Book of Discipline’s homophobia is highly offensive, and other slurs against people with disabilities, or of racial and ethnic groups (all of these communities overlap and intersect/contain LGBT persons) wouldn’t be allowed, so why is this? LGBT persons are marginalized by society, cut off from the church, and have less legal protections and disproportionately live in poverty– surely Jesus is with them, even if the church is not.

    Ecumenically, it’s now the UMC that’s in an awkward spot– with all other mainline Protestant denominations removing their denomination-wide prohibitions against LGBT persons. And with the PR pressure on denominations like the Salvation Army, it’s only a matter of time before people realize the UMC has the same language in the canon of the church– which prevent donations and prevent the reception of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  3. Brian Scarborough says:

    We were all created in the image of GOD, and GOD did not get it wrong! Just because I am a man, who loves another man and chose another man as a spouse does not, in any way, make me wrong. I have a deep faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. I pray that the UMC will finally open their heart to ALL of GOD’s children and quit promoting homophobia.

  4. I would only say that those who insist upon being identified as LGBTQ are immediately reduced to genitalia just as Democrats quickly labeled the president as the first “black” president.. Is it not enough to be a human being? No, The Lord does not get it “wrong”, but humans do … every-single-day, social labels notwithstanding. One should not think for a second that we who hold firm in what we believe are not very quickly labeled as “homophobic”. There is no “holy conferencing” because no one is listening. And no one is innocent in this whole thing – NO ONE – but until we all get off our high horse and stop pretending we are working for the greater good by deliberately belittling others, nothing will change. I will not be shamed into believing differently anymore than others would. So to use the oft-quoted passage, “Judge not …”

  5. Jeff P says:

    Theologically speaking, the line does seem to be a bit blurred between the UMC and the Westboro Baptist church. The main difference is in the style of the theological communications. Between the lines, the message is about the same.

  6. Velma Hampson says:

    It was suggested that I might be a spammer. It is also suggested that if it is believed to be an error on the part of the website, I contact someone. How do I contact someone?

  7. Dianne says:

    As a practicing heterosexual that is exactly how I feel the LGBTQ groups actually feel about heterosexuals. The practice of heterosexuality is incompatible with their teaching.

  8. Joe Hovemeyer says:

    It always rubs me the wrong way when people who marginalize others cry “I’m being marginalized” when someone points out what they are doing.

  9. kris799 says:

    I love it when the label of the minority is replaced by the label of majority. It is quite shocking but I think we need that to wake us up.

  10. Such hyperbole does little to better the conversation, David. Even for you, this is beyond the pale. We need to find a way to live with our differences as a worldwide denomination, but this isn’t helpful to anyone or anything.

  11. Even for you, David, this is beyond the pale. Such hyperbole does nothing to further an important and painful discussion we are currently undertaking in the UMC. Histrionics do not improve anything for anyone.

  12. kris799 says:

    I like it when we do that texts. It is shocking when it feels like you are being marginalized, even though you know you would never be marginalized for it.

  13. Caryn LeMur says:


    First, you write on your own blog that you are disappointed in city of Bethlehem, “struck by the ugliness of the place… and the rudeness of the monks” and “resonate” with Bethlehem being called a “grand comedy” “??? And then, you rush over here to discuss David’s hyperbole and histrionics (that is, theatrical exaggeration)???

    Gads…. Drew, your hypocrisy is beyond the pale. After all, the monks of Bethlehem may regard your writings as ‘doing nothing to further an important discussion in Bethlehem’.

    Think about it. Maybe even pray about it. You and I are artists with words… and David an artist with ink (and a damn good artist with words, as well). Give him the same liberties as you give yourself… or remove the log in your own eyes first…. or maybe do both.

    From Drew’s blog page:


    Today, Bethlehem is still a disappointment. I’ve visited the Church of the Nativity twice, and both times – though grateful for the experience – I was struck by the ugliness of the place and, especially, the rudeness of the resident monks. I resonate with Annie Dillard’s observation:

    “Any patch of ground anywhere smacks more of God’s presence on earth, to me, than did this marble grotto. The ugliness of the blunt and bumpy silver start impressed me. The bathetic pomp of the heavy, tasseled brocades, the marble, the censers hanging from chains, the embroidered antependium, the aspergillum, the crosiers the ornate lamps – some human’s idea of elegance – bespoke grand comedy, too, that God put with it. And why should he not? Things here on earth get a whole lot worse than bad taste.”

    End Quote.

  14. Jarred H says:

    Michael Daniel, to address a few points you raise:

    “I would only say that those who insist upon being identified as LGBTQ are immediately reduced to genitalia just as Democrats quickly labeled the president as the first “black” president..”

    These two things are not the same thing. It’s true that Obama is the first black president. Acknowledging that does not take away his humanity. However, when homophobes choose to ignore or diminish the rest of an LGBTQ person’s humanity simply because they are LGBTQ, that is an entirely different thing. Also, that is the fault of the homophobe, not the LGBT person.

    “Is it not enough to be a human being?”

    The fact that one embraces one’s LGBTQ identity — and if you stopped to listen to actual LGBTQ people, you’d likely learn that there are numerous reasons why we do so and why doing so is important — does not diminish one’s humanity. One can be LGBTQ, acknowledge that, and still be fully human. It is the homophobes who think otherwise.

    Also, what you are engaging in here is akin to what is known as respectability politics in the civil rights movements. It is the lie that if marginalized people behave in certain ways or do certain things, the homophobia and mistreatment will magically go away. The first problem with that notion is that countless examples proves the notion wrong. The second problem with that notion is that it is a travesty of justice. Human dignity and equality is something that each human being is entitled to and should not be required to meet someone else’s preconceived standards of behavior or being in order to receive. The fact that you suggest otherwise puts you on the wrong side of justice.

    “There is no “holy conferencing” because no one is listening. And no one is innocent in this whole thing – NO ONE – but until we all get off our high horse and stop pretending we are working for the greater good by deliberately belittling others, nothing will change.”

    Let us be honest here. I have heard the UMC’s position on this issue countless times. I’ve been hearing that position and the arguments in favor of it for nearly three decades. I have heard nothing new in the past decade, and that’s a conservative estimate on my part.

    The UMC’s side has been heard. Many times. It is time for the UMC’s side to quit talking and actually listening. You say “both sides need to listen,” but you ignore that fact. One side has been heard. Loud and clear. Do not pretend otherwise. I believe you respect the truth more than that.

    So you want there to be more listening. Become the sincere listener you want to see.

  15. Gary says:

    I must disagree with you strongly Drew. David’s work has generated a tremendous amount of very healthy dialogue on the subject which, surely even you would agree, is necessary.