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Zim United Methodist clerics lose fight to block g...

Zim United Methodist clerics lose fight to block gay rights

Zim Now Writer

Zimbabwe United Methodist delegates have expressed disappointment over their failed plot to block recognition of gay rights within the connectional church through a vote that saw them lose by a vote of 523 to 161.

The delegates voted earlier last week at a General Conference in the United States of America, chaired by Randall Miller, a gay, who led the group that supported the revision of social principles and inclusion of LGBTQ people in the church.

The revised assertion holds over 50 years of existence within the church, whereby it provides for the ban of inclusion of LGBTQ rights, noting that “the practice of homosexuality ... is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Celebrating the vote, Chair of the Social Principles Task Force, Miller said the new development was historic, adding that it has been long overdue.

“It’s been 40 years of work for me and others to remove the incompatibility clause from our belief that all people are sacred,” he said.

Speaking after the vote, Zimbabwean delegate representative Reverend Forbes Matonga said favoured vote is an act of betray to African beliefs and of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Indeed, the church has decided to change the historic teaching of the church of over 2000 years that homosexuality is a sin and the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman two consenting adults.

“This is for us a betrayal of The Gospel of Jesus Christ in favour of Western secular culture. The United Methodist Church is a Connectional Church, meaning one church found on four Continents.

“So, what happens to one part of the body affects all. Our children are at risk of being introduced and being dragged into this heathen culture as they go and get educated in the United Methodist Universities and Colleges in the USA,” he said.

Bishop Allen Gurupira also waded into the same, noting that whatever is agreed at the conference will not change the Zimbabwean position which he says is clear and can be ratified through annual conferences.

“Regarding the acceptance of homosexuality, whatever will be done at the General Conference is subject to ratification by annual conferences, of which the Zimbabwean position is very clear.

A congregant Activist against the recognition of such rights, who was arrested last year over an anti-gay protest, Anesu Kapanga said that such policymaking exposes the church.

“It was now obvious that the legalisation of homosexuality in the United Methodist Church was fast approaching and there was nothing the members of the church would do. We as the church cannot wait for nation to denounce such evil deeds but rather the church must be in the forefront denouncing it,” Kapanga said.

The President of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Bishop Ignitius Makumbe, an Anglican, said government policy and statutes should guide churches in policymaking.

“There is a need for churches to align themselves with the country’s statutes, and as of now the country’s (statutes) state that marriage is only between a man and a woman,” he said.

“UMC in Zimbabwe and in Africa at large needs to draw lessons from what the Anglican and the Roman Catholic Churches did, by refusing to go against the idea of God to allow homosexuality in their churches and defend their dignities as Africans.” Makumbe said.

He also said that ZCC will never condone homosexuality.

“ZCC has agreed from the time of its birth that we will not allow homosexuality in any form as the Bible has clearly spelt out that it is a sin.”

“We will follow the issue with the UMC administration in Zimbabwe and see how will can help as an organisation,” Bishop Makumbe added.

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