At approximately 4:46 PM the Traditional Plan passed. As I reported earlier, parts of the Traditional Plan were ruled unconstitutional. Some amendments were made to some of the parts of the plan, but not all of the constitutional problems were fixed. The rulings from the Judicial Council are advisory rulings. The ultimate constitutionality of the plans will have to be tested on a case by case basis over time. In time, parts of the plan will be ruled unconstitutional officially. At the same time, other parts of the Traditional Plan were constitutional and further narrow the stance of the UMC on issues of homosexual practice, marriage, and ordination.
After the ruling some who are of the traditionalist viewpoint sang hymns of praise. Those who were hoping for the One Church plan began singing, “This is my Story, This is my Song” and began chanting phrases between those on the floor to the observers in the stands. In an earlier blog I remarked about how I love the diversity of our denomination. The scene in the arena today is the painful part of being part of such a diverse denomination. We have divergent viewpoints about theology, the Bible, and how to practice our faith. More homogeneous denominations would not get to experience the beauty or the pain of the scenes we’ve witnessed this few days.
It’s important to acknowledge that persons within the Christian faith have different viewpoints on these issues of human sexuality. Those hoping for a more inclusive UMC will walk away from today hurt and disappointed. We need to remember that the UMC Discipline continues to say that “homosexual persons, no less than heterosexual persons, are individuals of sacred worth.” All people are loved by God.