LGBTQI Activist Calls for General Conference Disruption

LGBTI“We must find a way to make it impossible for delegates to continue to step over our bodies, ignore our hymns, and stick to their schedules. It will take my body and yours – all of ours – to do this,” proclaims Dr. Dorothee Benz, an LGBTQI activist from New York, in an April 13 statement.

“An anti-queer majority at General Conference, a combination of U.S. and international conservatives, led and whipped into a hateful frenzy by southern white Americans, has refused to consider our humanity,” contends Benz in her 2,000-word manifesto. “We are told we are prostitutes, pedophiles, murderers.”

Benz’s commentary is referring to the General Conference of The United Methodist Church, an event that occurs every four years. The 11-day gathering will be held May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon.

Of the more than 860 delegates, approximately 350 were elected from outside the United States. The General Conference has a projected cost of over $10 million and is the only entity that officially speaks for the global United Methodist Church.

“We are in thrall to an unjust book of rules and we are told that the only way to change it is at General Conference, but at General Conference a tyranny of the majority is hellbent on denying our humanity,” Benz writes.

Benz is a delegate to the 2016 General Conference from the New York Annual Conference. She was one of the speakers at a pre-General Conference panel discussion on human sexuality issues held earlier this year in Portland for denominational leaders. Benz is a founding member of Methodists in New Directions (MIND) and serves as its national representative.

“If there is to be a different outcome then we must take matters into our own hands and somehow force the system to recognize our humanity,” she continues.

Benz invites LGBTQI and progressive activists to a handful of “non-violent direct action” training seminars in order to disrupt the 2016 General Conference. According to the training website, the event will teach “skills for nonviolent communication and direct action around LGBTQI Inclusion, Fossil Fuel Divestment, Palestinian Divestment, and Racism.”

According to the Love Prevails website: “The training will offer attendees direct action skills in a nonviolence framework while being clear about divesting from white supremacist interpretations of nonviolence.” Events will be held at First United Methodist Church in Portland, First Congregational UCC in Portland, and a United Methodist congregation in White Plains, New York.

There are expected to be more than 4,000 United Methodists in Portland serving as volunteers and more than 2,500 visitors are expected for the duration of General Conference.

“If we do not disrupt business as usual, then nothing will change,” Benz concludes. “The money changers, the dove sellers, the discriminatory legislation, the foundational hate language in our Book of Discipline – it will all continue.”

Comments

  1. I represent Whigham United Methodist Church at our South Georgia Conference, in Tifton,Ga. In June. Would like some input as to what we will be voting on at this time. Also whet we can do or say at this conference to keep our tradional Methodist doctrine. I keep hearing the Church must change, not sure that is a good thing. I know life is all about change, have lived long enough to to experience it. Some is good and some is devastating. The Bible has not changed, God’s word remains the same. So please, someone please advise me, what can I do at conference that might help. I am only one vote, I do want it to be of God not for man..

    • Mike Childs says

      Sheridan,

      Delegates determined to uphold Scriptural standards will be in the majority. We must work together and not allow the lawless minority to have their way. And we will. The LGBTQ agenda will be defeated.

      • Pastor Ryan Scott says

        Our agenda is to just be treated equally, to marry the person we love, and to be in a church who loves all of us.

        Act out of love.

        Also, the Bible has changed. Anyone with any formal biblical education will tell you that. It has changed over and over and over. I encourage you to read the book “The Bible, the Book that Bridges the Millennia” It’s not a progressive christian propaganda book. It is a book about how the bible was formed and all of the changes it underwent to become the text that it is today .

        No matter what the UMC does God will prevail and continue to call LGBTQ people to ministry

        • Susan Beverly says

          The Bible contains the plenary truth of Scripture–and it has not changed. The identity of a Christian is being a new creation in Christ. Which in turn makes every member of the body of Christ accountable to sexual purity. There are many scholars who agree that homosexuality is consistently condemned by the biblical text. What is new about the post-modern interpretation is the insistence that modern culture has the enlightened ability to pick and choose which biblical texts apply to this age. Further, the reinterpretation of Scripture so that modern culture informs and shapes the interpretation is a faulty at best–which all biblical scholars and formally trained pastors should know. It is not loving to ignore the misrepresentation of human sexuality by the LGBTQ and other groups. God calls us to holiness which includes sexual purity, celibacy in singleness or faithfulness in heterosexual marriage.

          Thank you for sharing your thoughts but intimating that those who believe in orthodox, evangelical Christianity, which supports the authority and plenary inspiration of the Bible lack formal training or adequate understanding, required a response. Ethically, UMC Pastors are bound to operate within the bounds of our Book of Discipline; any pastor who cannot should voluntarily relocate to another denominational affiliation in which they can ethically practice.

    • The Rev. R. David ("Pastor Dave") Reynolds says

      This is WHY the General Conference of the UMC meeting in Portland, Oregon, the “hot bed” of LIBERALISM” in our denomination, 10-20 May 2016, REALLY NEEDS OUR PRAYERS AND HOLY GHOST INTERVENTION!!!!!!! PLEASE PRAY FOR THE GENERAL CONFERENCE OFTEN!!!!!!! Unless we maintain our biblical, historical, evangelical, orthodox position on the same sex marriage, gay ordination, etc., our denomination is RUINED for eternity. We MUST REMAIN TRUE to God’s Word, which clearly homosexual practices are an abomination in His holy eyes. Dr. Dorothee Benz and all her cohorts are FALSE prophets that we must expose for whom they are and NEVER accept their agenda. The sad fact is that the Council on Bishops is “in cahoots” with them and will not stand up for Biblical Christianity at all. PRAY FOR REVIVAL AND RETURN TO BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY ACROSS THE BOARD IN OUR DENOMINATION. It is sad but true that the UMC as a General Church since the 1960s and more so today than ever has become the “dead sect” Wesley feared we would become. We MUST return to Holiness.

    • Susan Beverly says

      Sherridan, be encouraged to vote your conscience. Pray for wisdom and read the material that will be presented. Ask questions of our South Georgia Delegation if you are unclear about something. I believe we will have a wonderful South Georgia Annual Conference and that God will richly bless our delegates and the churches that have sent them. Seedbed, a production of Asbury Theological Seminary is a wonderful resource to explore doctrinal particulars and get answers for difficult questions associated with human sexuality and authority of Scripture issues.

  2. Elaine Doolittle says

    I don’t understand why you feel that you must force your ways on us. You don’t feel like you have to obey the Book of Discipline but if you succeed in changing it to reflect your preferences you will expect the majority that disagrees with you to do that which you do not do: obey the New rules. We have freedom of worship in this country. If you disagree with a religion, you are free to establish your own. Why are you intent on forcing your beliefs on us? If you seek to change Scriptures are you not falling into grave sin, declaring yourself greater than God? Do you truly believe in Him or you trying to use Him for your own ends. Please consider these questions seriously. Although the comments from your side equates disagreement with hate most people do not hate you. They just want to keep to Scripture. If you push Scripture aside then you do not belong in church leadership. How can you teach what you do not know or want to know.

    • Deacon Candidate says

      This Dr. Benz is another one of those folks who declare “the church has left me”. No sweetheart, you are the one who has left the church. If you drive your car off the road, do you tell the police “I didn’t leave the road, it left me!” The rod is there to give clear guidelines as to how and where to drive. You get into accidents when you don’t follow those those guidelines. Scripture is clear about the correct relationship of male and female.

  3. Why change what has worked for years. Read the bible it clearly tells you the answere to this issue and about gays and same sex marriage . It’s wrong and non biblical and needs to be voted down . Wake up Christians ! Read your bible and live accordingly.

    • Pastor Ryan Scott says

      I reccomend you read your bible with an exegetical understanding. Allways error on the side of love.

  4. Carey Don ("CD") Womack says

    As Sherrif Bell, in No Country for Old Men says, “Tpu just can’t make this stuff up.”

  5. Deby Rinker says

    Where does it say in the billed that the gay life style is ok? The bible tells to hate the sin but love the sinner, it does not say condone the sin!!!!!! Why do they Sodom and Gomorrah, was destoried? Maybe they need to read it again! If this passes general conference, I’m gone, I will not belong to a did nomination That B Blyton late and didn’t get that one blatantly goes against the Bible!!

  6. Licensed Local Pastor says

    How does the leadership of the United Methodist Church think with attitudes like this, from Dr.Dorothee Benz that we can ever come to any kind of resolution to the issue of homosexuality… “We must find a way to make it impossible for delegates to continue to step over our bodies, ignore our hymns, and stick to their schedules. It will take my body and yours – all of ours – to do this,” ..a combination of U.S. and international conservatives, led and whipped into a hateful frenzy by southern white Americans, has refused to consider our humanity,… The money changers, the dove sellers, the discriminatory legislation, the foundational hate language in our Book of Discipline – it will all continue.”
    I certainly hope that the leadership will not allow people who are filled with this much hate towards those who don’t agree with them to take the General Conference hostage and accomplish nothing.

    • Gary Olson says

      Amen to this! Sad that someone who is a delegate to the annual conference would promote an organized disruption of the conference! Benz needs a Savior because she obviously has never known Him!!

  7. They are so wrong. She tries to quote scripture, then defends her actions. This is a perverse generation.
    Scriptures do refer to idolatry. fornicaters. Desires of the flesh. The bible is truth. The Book of Discipline echoes what the Bible says. This lady sadly misunderstands. God and his people, love sinners, but hate the sin. Sin leads to destruction. She is pure hate. Emptiness of all other emotions, hate is left. Hate breeds more hate. According to God’s she is contradicting herself. She is doing much more damage to society than she is charging everyone else of. Again she is a contradictory in terms.
    Sadly empty of love and compassion for others.
    May God have mercy on her soul!!!

  8. Vanessa Hylton says

    I totally agree with you. We must stand strong in God’s Holy Word the Holy Bible. God’s word lives forever. I am a child of God and I love all people no matter what because God tells us to love everyone. However, God also tells us to share the good news of salvation which includes, forgiveness of sin, transforming lives to live by God’s standards, praying, and reading our Bibles. Being a Christian is not easy so we have to be completely dedicated to pleasing our Lord. Will a child of God sin? Absolutely! But once we ask for forgiveness we should remove that sinful act from our lives. I will be at the June meeting as well. I have been praying for guidance, studying God’s Word, and trying to understand all the issues. My input will only be from God’s Word and God as well as Jesus has plenty to say about Spiritual Leadership and sexual immortality. I have to stand for God’s Word no matter if feelings get hurt or if I am called things that is not true of my character. Like I said before being a Christian is not suppose to be easy. Our easy comes when we go home to our Lord.

  9. Tam Murphy says

    God’s word, God’s love has never changed. He tells us he loves us, every one of us. But as our heavenly father, and as a parent would, and should, He very clearly tells us what is right and what is wrong. We have been given the freedom of choice, and for every choice we make there is a consequence. Mark 7:20-23 speaks very clearly. I will never believe that we, as Christians, should attempt to defy God’s word, even at the cost of losing popularity with this world. I first saw the change in the church in the mid 90’s while living in Seattle, Washington. The churches began to change the way it performed, and I use this word deliberately, as that is what they were doing. They began to provide words that the world would approve in order to get people in the door. They put huge bands on stage, and offered coffee shops in the sanctuary. To me, this does not further the glory of the Lord. A church is the Lord’s house, and to see this happening, as well as to see adults and kids walk through the doors dressed in cut-off shorts and flip-flops is truly disheartening. I believe in dressing in my best clothes to step into my Father’s house, as if I were going there to see him personally. Because we are going there to be in spirit with him. I would ask that you hold your stance on what you know is right.

    • Mr. Murphy, I mostly agree with your sentiments, but,you sound unnecessarily judgmental about music styles and dressing styles. I recommend you keep consistent . Because you ” believe in dressing your best,” to go to,worship, fine, but dressing is just that. The Bible will not tell you how to dress and what songs to sing. God seems to allow that we are all on a journey and loves us along the way. Personally I like to be uninhibited by a tie when I preach, but if you do fine. It’s not the same issue that is being discussed here.

  10. Stewart Orell says

    Dr Benz makes a lot of noise. She recently wrote an Article that claimed that John Wesley ordained Bishops, I asked her for references twice and got no response.I do not claim to be an expert but I have read a lot of John Wesley’s notes and journal and have found everything the contrary The do no harm stuff is taken so far out of context it makes you sick to think about how they use it.

  11. I left the UMC long ago and have never looked back. This issue simply confirms my fears as the national conference ignores making a decision on an issue they know will split the denomination. Regardless of how they eventually vote, as long as homosexuality is open for debate: churches, pastors, and lay-people will leave the UMC as the national conference, through their passive consent, allow the revisionist agenda to infect its congregations. It is the only way to protect our families from this corruption of God’s word.

    I feel for all those struggling with same-sex feelings, but our emotions cannot dictate our faith.

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