Choice of columnist’s view on UMC issue distressing

Published 6:28 pm Monday, April 1, 2019

To the Editor:

We were greatly distressed by Michael Shannon’s opinion column in the March 27th Tidewater News regarding the recent United Methodist Church General Conference.

For those of you that are unfamiliar, this was a specially called conference to address the exclusionary language in the Book of Discipline which prohibits same-sex marriage and ordination of gay clergy. Over 850 delegates represented the United States, Africa, Europe and the Philippines. The major outcome of the conference, pending review by the Judicial Council, was to retain this language and to strengthen the penalties for acting against the rules.

There have been many editorials written about this decision, representing both sides. The purpose of this letter is not to explain our views on the issue. Our problem is with The Tidewater News. Why did you choose this particular column to print in the paper? This is not a subscriber’s Letter to the Editor, but a column which you selected to include, thereby lending credibility to a hateful diatribe.

The writer calls himself a Christian, but the tone of his column is far from Christ-like. The Jesus we know welcomes all to His table. He loves the sinners who are looking to Him. He condemns the Pharisees who are the keepers of the rules.

Mr. Shannon calls church leaders ‘apostates’ and ‘heretics’ for wanting to recognize LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] as members of God’s family. He refers to the Council of Bishops as ‘craven’ for developing a plan to keep the Church united. He says the Church doesn’t care what people do ‘as long as the money keeps flowing’. His message is disrespectful, snide, and taunting.

The decision of the General Conference has caused a great deal of turmoil within the Church. The majority of American delegates (approximately 70 percent) voted against the “traditional plan.” There are many of us who are hurting. If The Tidewater News wants to report on this issue, please find another source.


Cara and Galen Butler