(By John Lomperis, Juicy Ecumenism). [On Friday, July 7, 2017] I and others received official notification that our denomination’s [the United Methodist Church] supreme court, the Judicial Council, had unanimously decided to reject the request from the Western Jurisdiction bishops to reverse their April ruling against the attempt by this increasingly schismatic, numerically tiny region of the United Methodist Church to elevate an openly partnered lesbian activist to be bishop.
We have earlier reported on how the Judicial Council’s complex ruling ultimately took away any foundation in UMC church law for Dr. Karen Oliveto of San Francisco to indefinitely remain a bishop in good standing, and how more broadly, this ruling fundamentally reshaped our church law to remove what had previously been major barriers to defrocking clergy unwilling to abide by our denomination’s biblical standards for sexual self-control.
I also posted online the “friend of the court” legal briefs I submitted to the Judicial Council ahead of their ruling on this case.
Dr. Oliveto is on-record as embracing a bizarrely non-Christian worldview that draws on New Age inspiration and includes directly rebuking Jesus Christ’s own red-letter teachings while defending the supposed benefits of being possessed by demons. Her choice to not immediately resign has significantly hurt congregations in her assigned area and the regional headquarters, with one of her own conference offices publicly declaring a “FINANCIAL CRISIS.” In her short time acting as a “bishop,” Oliveto has used her office to launch a totalitarian intimidation tour of seeking out and taking names of any remaining orthodox congregations in the Mountain Sky Area of UMC and subsequently denouncing those she actually called “the bad churches.”
Yet none of this appears to matter to the bishops and other leaders of the Western Jurisdiction or to anyone of whom I am aware in liberal-caucus circles. It seems they are absolutely determined to stand behind their efforts to elevate Oliveto no matter how deeply and widely she and they hurt the church, because her being a partnered lesbian evidently trumps every other consideration.