Feelings trump truth, even in a Deep South church

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
 | 
Bill Bumpas (OneNewsNow.com)

Love winsThe head of a Christian think tank says churches that confuse the issue of Christian maturity with Christian inclusion are hurting the faith.

After the state of Mississippi made headlines with a religious freedom bill signed by Gov. Phil Bryant, The Associated Press kept the issue alive with a story about the Methodist church the governor attends.

The church is St. Mark's United Methodist Church, in suburban Jackson, where two lesbians are actively involved. 

The story is sympathetic to the two women and includes quotes from them, the church's pastor, and other church members. Bryant declined to comment for the story. 

Tooley, Mark (IRD)Mark Tooley, president of The Institute on Religion and Democracy, points out that the United Methodist Church follows the Book of Discipline, which states that "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching."

"What kind of message is this church teaching and preaching to its own members and worshipers and community," says Tooley, "when its own leaders aren't abiding by what the church supposedly teaches?"

"I believe that God always comes down on the side of grace," the church's pastor, Warren Coile, said in the story."I hope that people here in our church do, too."

signing a marriage licenseTooley also observes that it's troubling that this is a church in the more conservative South.

"The same confusion in the culture is now in the church," he warns. "The idea that you cannot teach any objective truth without it supposedly harming, hurting, (and) offending somebody.  But of course the church is only faithful, and can only thrive, when it does teach and try to leave out hard truths that are at odds with surrounding culture."

The story also quoted church members who defended the lesbians, identified as Jan Smith and Donna Phillips, who are active in the church's children's programs. 

"I've never understood people getting so bent out of shape about what someone else does that doesn't affect him," church member Ann Pittman told The Associated Press.

Yet the religious freedom bill signed by Bryant comes after bakers, florists, photographers, and others in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, and other states have been sued and prosecuted for refusing to associate their business with a homosexual wedding ceremony.

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