Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Stay away from Asheville in early September

At the website for the "Institute for Religion and Democracy," we hear from disturbing news from teh United Methodist Church. Here is a summary of the news from their own source:

Lake Junaluska, the official conference center for the United Methodist Church’s conservative Southeast Jurisdiction is hosting a four-day pro-homosexuality rally September 2-5. Lake Junaluska is located near Asheville, North Carolina.

Called “Hearts on Fire,” the convocation is organized by Reconciling Congregations, the main pro-homosexuality lobby group attempting to overturn the United Methodist Church’s teachings on marriage and sexual ethics.

Since Lake Junaluska’s own internal rules require it to rent its facilities only to groups that share the ‘mission’ of the United Methodist Church, it seems highly inappropriate to rent those facilities for a rally for same-sex ‘marriage,’ homosexual clergy, and various exotic forms of sexual expression.

Mark Tooley noted that Lake Junaluska probably would refuse to rent to a convention for casino employees or tobacco growers, in deference to United Methodist beliefs regarding gambling and smoking. “But for some reason, opposition to United Methodist teachings on one of the foremost issues confronting our culture today – the definition of marriage – did not disqualify the ‘Hearts on Fire’ event,” Tooley noted.”

The conference hopes to attract 400 attendees to hear seven bishops: Susan Morrison, Melvin Talbert, Joseph Sprague, Sally Dyck, John Schol, Minerva Carcano and Richard Wilke. Other speakers will include openly lesbian United Methodist minister Beth Stroud, San Francisco same-sex “marriage” convenor Karen Oliveto, and Erin Swenson, a male Presbyterian minister who had a sex-change operation and now professes to be female.

Reconciling has declared that "Hearts on Fire" will include a "rainbow community of faithful lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual disciples committed to justice!"

According to Lake Junaluska guidelines, "Groups using our facilities should have a mission compatible with Lake Junaluska Assembly and The United Methodist Church, its Discipline and Social Principles."

The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline affirms God's love for homosexuals but calls homosexual practice "incompatible with Christian teaching." Human rights for homosexuals are supported, but the church denies ordination to practicing homosexuals, refuses funding for pro-homosexuality advocacy, forbids same-sex unions, supports civil laws defining marriage as a union between man and woman, and declares that "sexual relations are only clearly affirmed in the marriage bond."

"Hearts on Fire" and its sponsors publicly disagree with all of these United Methodist stances.

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