My Conscience Won’t Allow Me…

photo credit: “Love Wins” by Rev. Alex da Silva Souto, California USA.

photo credit: “Love Wins” by Rev. Alex da Silva Souto, California USA.

It was 1972; The United Methodist Church was four years old and I was five. That year, the General Conference meeting in Atlanta, GA added the words ‘homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching’ to the United Methodist Book of Discipline. For most of my life, and the life of the UMC, this onerous phrase has been pinned to our denomination like a badge of dishonor, signaling to future generations that our community of faith has written discrimination of one class of people into its church laws.

Historically the church has disparaged and degraded women, upheld slavery, burned ‘heretics’ and ‘witches’ at the stake, and blessed warfare and genocide; from this vantage point the ‘incompatibility’ phrase is in good company with other unChristian acts of cruelty and control.

We have reached a moment in our denomination’s history where we are called to be witnesses to the fierce and death-defying love of God.

I support the Simple Plan because it simply removes all phrases from our Discipline that unjustly target lgbtq people for prejudice and hatred.

I support the Simple Plan because it is the only solution unwavering in its resistance to equivocate with the lives of queer people.

I support the Simple Plan for the UMC because my conscience won’t allow me the expediency of supporting another proposal.  

With my grandfather, father, sister, cousin, and niece all UMC clergy, my family is inextricably tied to our beloved denomination. I grew up and came of age (quite literally) in this denomination. I love the United Methodist Church. But ultimately, I love the people more than the institution, particularly the ones most vulnerable to historic systemic ecclesial injustice. This is why the Simple Plan has my endorsement. I hope you will join me in prayerfully supporting this plan.

Mark Miller
Director of Chapel, Assoc. Prof of Church Music, Drew University
Lecturer in Sacred Music, Yale University
Minister of Music, Christ Church Summit NJ

Mark Miller