Humans are causing the Sixth Great Extinction on Earth, but the schismatic Wesleyan Covenant Association within the United Methodist Church is more concerned about discriminating against people based on their sexual and gender orientation than it is about addressing climate change and healing and restoring our world. This misdirected concern is a breaking of our covenant to care for the earth and to work for justice and dignity of all persons.
As we propel ourselves into climate chaos and an increasingly unlivable planet for human civilization as we know it, the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s outcry remains “but the gays!” It is as if all that is wrong or right with the United Methodist Church hinges on keeping LGBTQ persons from full inclusion. Their primary reason for existence seems be the preservation of a form of Methodism that will continue to keep LGBTQ persons from full paricipation in the life of the church. They ignore that which is causing the greatest harm while obsessing over that which causes no harm, thus clearly violating John Wesley’s principle of doing no harm.
Future generations of humans will not lament that our generation did not do enough to exclude and discriminate against persons who are LGBTQ, but they will cry out in anger in the midst of horrific suffering that we did not do enough to preserve a livable climate for a flourishing human community on earth, our only home. As the planet becomes more and more unlivable, future generations will rightly wonder why churches spent more time trying to control sexual and gender orientation than they spent working for social justice, ecological responsibility, and climate justice.
The Wesleyan Covenant Association’s claims of broken covenant by LGBTQ persons and their allies in the United Methodist Church is an overt attempt to shame them to adhere to discriminatory principles. This use of the notion of covenant is an affront to the covenant of a Beloved Community that works for justice for all people and cares deeply for all creation. This covenantal shaming divides us rather than reconciling our relationships with each other and the earth.
For such a time as this, the world needs so much more from our churches than what the Wesleyan Covenant Association is offering. The whole creation groans in travail and cries out in hope for healing, restoration, regeneration, renewal, and reconciliation. It does not need yet another voice of exclusion and discrimination that denigrates the dignity and sacred worth of all persons. The world needs churches to be models for the healing of our human and ecological community, not places for misguided religious excuses for bigotry in the midst of the Sixth Great Extinction.