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Proposals Before Baltimore-Washington United Methodists Target Israel & Back Homosexual Cause

"Is there any doubt why United Methodism, including the Baltimore-Washington Conference, has been losing members across four decades?" -- Mark Tooley, IRD Director of UMAction


Contact: Loralei Coyle 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, lcoyle@ird-renew.org; Radio Interviews: Jeff Walton, jwalton@ird-renew.org; both with The Institute on Religion and Democracy


WASHINGTON, May 24 /Christian Newswire/ -- Delegates to the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church will vote on resolutions ranging from Israel divestment to how the church addresses homosexuality, starting on Thursday. The 198,000-member conference, the oldest in United Methodism, covers nearly 700 churches in Washington, D.C., Central and Western Maryland and the West Virginia Panhandle.


The Middle-East resolution calls for "phased, selective divestment as a means of ending [Israel's] military occupation" of Palestinian territory and asks the United Methodist pensions board to divest from any multinational corporations "profiting from the occupation." One endorser is ethicist J. Philip Wogaman, former pastor to Bill and Hillary Clinton.


Another resolution would urge striking the language from the United Methodist Book of Discipline that says, "The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching." If passed, the proposal will go before the 2008 General Conference of the United Methodist Church, which meets next May in Fort Worth, Texas.


Additionally, a closed session of the clergy will discuss the situation of the former Rev. Ann Gordon, a United Methodist minister in Baltimore who now reportedly professes a male identity as Rev. Drew Phoenix.


IRD Director of UMAction Mark Tooley commented:


"Unfortunately, these controversial proposals vividly illustrate the fruits of liberal theology in the Baltimore-Washington Conference and throughout mainline Protestantism. While churches continue to empty, liberal church elites focus on their favorite political causes.


"The resolution targeting Israel for divestment is blatantly one-sided and fails even to mention the militant stances of the Hamas regime that presides over the Palestinians.


"And attempting to compel United Methodism to follow the Episcopal Church's disastrous path by adopting pro-homosexuality stances is absurd.


"Is there any doubt why United Methodism, including the Baltimore-Washington Conference, has been losing members for 40 years? The Baltimore and Washington, D.C. are populations are booming, as are many of the region's churches. But United Methodism in the area is floundering because of its too often misplaced priorities."