Global Ministries issues statement on human rights

GBGM LogoNEW YORK, NY — The General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church (GBGM) issued a statement yesterday on human rights for all people. Signed by GBGM General Secretary Thomas G. Kemper, and President Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, the statement was issued in response to the criminalization of homosexuality in countries such as Uganda, Nigeria, Russia, and India. “Whatever our understanding of sexual orientation,” Kemper and Ward write, “the criminalization of homosexuality is not compatible with the United Methodist Social Principles including the one that states that basic rights and civil liberties are “due to all persons…regardless of sexual orientation” (BOD par. 162J).

The statement reads as follows:

United Methodist people are increasingly aware of the violation of human rights through the criminalization of homosexuality in countries such as Uganda, Nigeria, Russia, and India. These unjust measures reflect a concerning trend as reports indicate that five countries make homosexuality a capital offense and imprisonment is possible in 66 countries.

This kind of legislation predictably is leading to increased marginalization, harassment, and exploitation in our global civil society.  Whatever our understanding of sexual orientation, the criminalization of homosexuality is not compatible with the United Methodist Social Principles including the one that states that basic rights and civil liberties are “due to all persons…regardless of sexual orientation” (BOD par. 162J).

As part of a church with a strong commitment to the full human rights of all people in all societies and under all forms of government (BOD, par. 164A), the General Board of Global Ministries supports the human rights of those being oppressed and threatened on the basis of sexual orientation.  Two of Global Ministries’ goals are to alleviate human suffering and to seek justice, freedom, and peace. Recognizing our role as a global mission organization that has a history of speaking up and condemning persecution, the General Board of Global Ministries:

  1. Reminds all United Methodists of our church’s strong insistence on the fundamental rights and sacred worth  (BOD, par. 161F) of all persons in all places;
  2. Urges all United Methodists to advocate for full human and civil rights in their respective countries and on the international level;  asking ourselves how we can best protect our family members and neighbors from unjust treatment;
  3. Requests all United Methodists to pray for the victims of repression and deprivation; to pray that all political and economic systems will respect and advocate human rights for all, and to pray for civil discourse on ways to achieve peaceful reconciliation when ethical concepts are in disagreement.

Respect for human rights enhances and extends our Christian opportunities to share the love of God through mission and ministry.

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, President

Thomas G. Kemper, General Secretary

General Board of Global Ministries

The General Board of Global Ministries is the global mission agency of The United Methodist Church, its annual conferences, missionary conferences, and local congregations. A major responsibility of Global Ministries is to connect the various parts of the Church as United Methodists engage in global mission. The aim of Global Ministries is to be a biblically rooted, historically informed, and organizationally flexible means of spreading the good news.

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  1. Wes Andrews says:

    I agree all people have sacred worth! All.

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 

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