Duke University along with 93 other colleges, is demanding the Methodist church stop believing that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching and accept members of the LGBTQ+ community into the church.
Duke University, along with 93 other colleges affiliated with the Methodist Church, is calling on the denomination to change its beliefs, by accepting “gender identity/expression” and “sexual orientation” within the church.
These sweeping demands are derived from the National Association of Schools & Colleges of The United Methodist Church (NASCUMC), whose members signed a joint statement calling on church leaders to secure full access to all members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The NASCUMC claims that making this change will mean that the church is upholding the “core religious and humanistic values that all persons are of sacred worth and equal standing.”
“Historically, the Church has witnessed a profound commitment to the sacred worth of all persons and to social justice,” reads the statement, “such as the Church’s positions on civil rights, women’s rights, and the rights of different ethnic communities.”
“We call upon the leaders of the United Methodist Church at this 2019 Called General Conference to honor the past and current practices of inclusion by amending their policies,” continued the NASCUMC, noting that gender identity/expression and sexual orientation should be included.
It was also noted that the joint statement was unanimously approved by everyone who had attended NASCUMC’s Scottsdale Conference in the beginning of January 2019.
The Methodist Church currently believes that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” and therefore, does not allow for members of the LGBTQ+ community to be ordained as ministers or serve in the church, according to its Book of Discipline.
“The 2016 General Conference directed the UMC Council of Bishops to propose ways for the church to maintain unity in the face of ongoing disagreements about human sexuality,” said the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry in a statement.
“NASCUMC members hope their statement will influence delegates of the special General Conference to approve legislation that creates an open and welcoming environment in the church for members of the LGBTQ community,” continued the Board.
The Board also stated that it is important for religious leaders to broaden their inclusiveness, in order to maintain their legacy as being “proponents of social justice and broad educational access.”