The Wesleyan Covenant Association’s Breaking of Covenant

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.

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About Mark Y. A. Davies

Mark Davies is The Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and Director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. From 2009 to 2015, Mark was dean of the Petree College of Arts and Sciences and Wimberly Professor of Social Ethics at Oklahoma City University. Previously, Mark was dean of the Wimberly School of Religion at Oklahoma City University and Founding Director of the Vivian Wimberly Center for Ethics and Servant Leadership. Prior to becoming dean of the Wimberly School of Religion in 2002, he was associate dean of the Petree College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma City University and chair of the department of philosophy. Mark has published in the areas of Boston personalism, process philosophy and ethics, and ecological ethics. Dr. Davies serves on the United Methodist University Senate, which is “an elected body of professionals in higher education created by the General Conference to determine which schools, colleges, universities, and theological schools meet the criteria for listing as institutions affiliated with The United Methodist Church.” He and his wife Kristin live in Edmond, OK in the United States, and they have two daughters. The views expressed by the author in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of Oklahoma City University.
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3 Responses to The Wesleyan Covenant Association’s Breaking of Covenant

  1. Riley Case says:

    Let’s see. In this mixed up world where all the rules of rational and considered discourse have been changed by progressives to fit their agenda, to support the Bible and the UM Discipline makes one “schismatic”? And–climate change is the most important issue facing humankind? WCA is only about excluding gays? I fear our problems as UMs are much more serious than I had imagined.

  2. Dale Tremper says:

    Thank you, Mark, for your call to make “the main thing” the main thing. Grace welcomes, affirms and heals.

  3. Cathie King says:

    The first time I experienced out right prejudice from the Catholic church was when “my best friend” in the 5th grade was going to die and never be with God. Her death was not really decided except the Catholic church told me she could not go into heaven because she was Lutheran. I was in Catholic grade schools, I ran to the priest on the playground and tried to ask him about this. I was sure she would be in hell forever. He gave me first grade logic and it just made me cry more. That was the last time I was interested in any church. Again, they promote hating in the plural and are intellectually damaged. I became a PhD researcher and taught in Graduate programs for many years and never once spoke to the students with prejudiced and ignorant religious statements.

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