(By John Lomperis, Juicy Ecumenism). The bishops of the United Methodist Church’s theologically radicalized, numerically tiny Western Jurisdiction recently submitted a formal petition to our denomination’s supreme court, the Judicial Council. These bishops are requesting that the Council reconsider and reverse its recent April decision against the Western Jurisdiction’s attempt to elect openly partnered lesbian activist Dr. Karen Oliveto (who otherwise would not have been remotely qualified for the office) to be a UMC bishop.
That highly watched ruling found that someone found to be openly homosexually partnered, as Oliveto publicly admits to being, does not meet the minimum standards for being bishop, due to the UMC’s official affirmation of biblical teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that this is the only appropriate context for sexual relations. In the narrow situation of Oliveto, the Judicial Council’s Decision #1341 basically removed any legal legs she would have had to stand on to indefinitely continue as a United Methodist bishop, pending only the completion of a review process to determine if the way Oliveto publicly describes herself is true. I wrote some analysis here about the much broader implications of this case, for how it applied the plain meaning of the words in the UMC’s governing Book of Discipline to close alleged loopholes a few bishops (particularly in the Western Jurisdiction) have dishonestly used to avoid enforcing our rules against “self-avowed practicing homosexual” clergy.
It is these broader implications for more effectively forbidding “self-avowed practicing homosexual” clergy that the Western Jurisdiction bishops have targeted in their request, dated today. These bishops’ request adamantly protests the legal core of the Judicial Council’s ruling, claiming that it “cannot be allowed to stand.”
The request, dated today, was submitted by Richard A. Marsh and Llewelyn G. Pritchard, Chancellors for the Rocky Mountain and Pacific-Northwest Annual Conferences.