Religious Justice Served

In a move that will likely upset a segment of the Methodist Church, an appeals panel of the church today overturned an earlier ruling that defrocked a lesbian Methodist minister in Philadelphia.

Beth Stroud was stripped of her clerical credentials back in December for being an open, practicing lesbian. There was never any question about [...]

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In a move that will likely upset a segment of the Methodist Church, an appeals panel of the church today overturned an earlier ruling that defrocked a lesbian Methodist minister in Philadelphia.

Beth Stroud was stripped of her clerical credentials back in December for being an open, practicing lesbian. There was never any question about her faith or devotion to her religion. Her only ‘œsin’ was in openly living with another woman.

After the local ruling, Stroud appealed the decision to a national panel. This morning, the appeals panel agreed on an 8 to 1 vote to return her to her congregation in inner city Philadelphia:

LINTHICUM, Md. – The United Methodist Church reversed itself Friday, deciding to reinstate a lesbian minister who was defrocked after revealing her relationship with another woman.

A church panel voted 8 to 1 to set aside an earlier decision to defrock Irene ‘œBeth’ Stroud for violating the church’™s ban on openly gay clergy.

The Philadelphia minister said she was relieved by the ruling and hopes the church will become more inclusive to people regardless of sexual orientation’¦

The decision was a ballsy move by the United Methodist Church. More importantly, it sets a ministerial diversity precedent with which it’™s difficult to disagree. No doubt the wingnuts will be screaming before the day is out – and like the Presbyterian church before it, more hardline factions will try to split the Methodist church with a rainbow colored wedge.

But right now, I’™m just happy for Beth Stroud. It’™s been a long, very public (at least in Philadelphia) struggle for her. This is most certainly a small victory for tolerance in an increasingly intolerant world.

(More at bethstroud.info)

Friday, April 29th, 2005 by Richard Blair |
Category: Holy War

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