It seems that all United Methodists are scared and fearful this morning about what’s going to happen today. This is what it feels like to be an LGBTQI+ United Methodist. This is what it feels like every moment of our lives, since 1972 when the United Methodist Church created these horrible policies that are killing us and destroying our lives. We’ve been the crosshairs this whole time.
A lot of other people are feeling like targets today – bishops and leaders of the denomination. Will they stand with us and protect us or will we get sold out again by the continuing harm of the One Church Plan? The One Church Plan betrays the gospel and the teachings and ministry of Jesus.
People are so outraged right now, but where has their outrage been for the years that we have been trying to tell them that this is a predictable outcome of their silence, complicity and hypocrisy? It’s good that people are scared today. We’ve been scared for a long time, and ignored and suppressed for a long time. We have begged to be at the table because we knew we could help. We who are LGBTQI+ people could have helped to prevent this. So many people are in pain today – LGBTQI+ people, allies, family members, churches. This sort of pain, chaos and fear is what it feels like to be queer in the UMC in between the highs and lows of General Conferences.
And so the question we have going into today is: are people going to stand with us? Are the bishops going to stand with us, the people who are feeling the fear, the delegates, the people who say they want to stand in solidarity – will they defy the limitations of the exclusion of the One Church Plan? Or will they sell us out again? We must defeat the One Church Plan and commit ourselves to full inclusion and full affirmation of the lives and ministries of LGBTQI+ people in our church.
We have been begging the church to take this crisis seriously for a long time and we have been consistently closed out, kept away from the table and shut down. Now the church is feeling the pain of its own policies and it is killing the church. Will people try to make this better today and abandon us again, as we’ve been abandoned so many times before? Or will they invite us to help lead the church to a new place?