I doubt they will print this (UPDATE, 12/13/04: I AM PLEASED TO REPORT THAT THEY *ARE* PLANNING TO PRINT MY LETTER, SOMETIME BEFORE THE END OF THE MONTH!), but here is the Letter to the Editor I just submitted to the United Methodist Reporter, a national newspaper delivered to churchgoers around the country:
To the Editor:
The United Methodist Church is sick. Our public face is the shameful defrocking of the very able Rev. Beth Stroud of the First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia ("Church court revokes lesbian pastor's ministerial credentials" by Linda Green & Linda Bloom, 12/08/04)
for no other reason than her honesty about living in a long-term, faithful covenant relationship with a person she loves.
Meanwhile, the working poor in the U.S. and impoverished people around the world languish in neglect despite the Gospel call to help the poor and powerless. Shouldn't we instead try to make headlines by giving our bold and uncompromising public support to a living wage, universal health care, protecting social security, more equitable trade relations, and global efforts to combat terrible diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria? The world so badly needs the prophetic voices of the followers of Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile, our nation’s President claims to be a United Methodist yet severely violates our moral teachings. He invades and bombs a country that posed no immediate threat to us, killing as many as 100,000 innocent civilians already, and in clear violation of international law. He presided over the barbaric treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq as well as abuses deemed by the Red Cross as “tantamount to torture” at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Our Church’s hands are so bloody with sin, yet instead of owning up to our larger moral responsibilities, we harshly judge one of God’s humble and dedicated servants in local church ministry. And we have the arrogance to throw her out in the name of “morality.” The United Methodist Church has become truly depraved.
God help us.