South Carolina Conference says no to transgender discrimination

SCtransRes-01

by Jessica Brodie*

The South Carolina Annual Conference on June 8 passed a resolution to oppose discrimination against transgender people.

Submitted by 19 United Methodist laity and clergy from across the state, the resolution asks the conference to vow, as churches and people of faith, to no longer be silent about the value of each and every life; to categorically oppose discrimination against transgender people in all its forms and, in the spirit of advocating for safe sanctuary, to respond to acts of discrimination against transgender people with acts of compassion; and to take a public stand against speeches of hate, exclusion, harassment and acts of intimidation and violence filled with long-held prejudices.

The conference Committee on Resolutions and Appeals recommended concurrence on the resolution.

The initial vote taken by the raising of hands was too close to call. Bishop Jonathan Holston of the Columbia Episcopal Area then called for a second, standing vote. The resolution was approved.

Much of the discussion around centered on some of the background of the resolution, which referenced the nation’s ongoing debate about transgender people and the use of public bathrooms. Several wanted language to be deleted that referenced South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s and major business organizations public opposition to laws that require transgender people to use the public bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificates. However, deletion of that language failed.

Michael Cheatham, a lay member to the conference, moved that the body refer the resolution to the Advocacy area of Connectional Ministries, but after a vote that motion failed. Debate then turned to the resolution as a whole.

John Gibbons of Salem UMC, Irmo, said he felt the resolution was unnecessary because the UMC already opposes discrimination, and that the resolution could be discriminatory in itself because it singles out one group over others.

The Rev. Webb Belangia IV, pastor of Aldersgate UMC, Sumter, said he didn’t want to see discrimination against anyone, but he wondered whether the resolution might open the door for a “pervert claiming to be transgender going in the bathroom with my daughters.”

“Why don’t we prayerfully just wait and see where society comes down?” Belangia asked the body.

The Rev. Keith Ray spoke in favor of the resolution, noting he has another word he often uses for transgenders: healed.

“We are often afraid of those who are different, and it’s easy to pitch this fearful, ‘they’re going to come after us’ kind of thing, but we don’t have any evidence of transgender persons harming us,” Ray said. “I think it’s important for us to say we care for this community.”

Ray lifted up a letter the sheriff of Richland County wrote this year to state legislators urging them not to pass the so-called bathroom bill.

“‘In the 41 years I’ve been in law enforcement,’ he wrote, ‘I’ve never heard of a transgender person attacking or otherwise bothering a person in a bathroom; this is a non-issue,” Ray said, reading the sheriff’s letter. “You would not know you are using the bathroom with a transgender person. You would not if he came into the room.”

“As annual conference season parallels pride month, I am deeply proud of the Reconciling leaders of the South Carolina Annual Conference who penned the resolution passed today denouncing discrimination against trans people in all its forms,” said Matt Berryman, Executive Director of the Reconciling Ministries Network. “Informed by their faith in Jesus Christ, The South Carolina Annual Conference models forward-thinking Christian leadership,” he said.

The full-text of the South Carolina resolution can be read by clicking here.

*Jessica Brodie is the Managing Editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate. This story is used by permission

 

 

 

 

 

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16 Comments on "South Carolina Conference says no to transgender discrimination"

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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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Wes Andrews
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This is a NON-issue that politicians and progressives have made up out of thin air once again to promote sexual chaos. Yet, it has very damaging consequences. It opens a pandora’s box. 1. Transgender folk have been using bathrooms for decades and for the most part it has never been noticed. 2. Once we base bathroom choice up to how one “feels” then the concern is not transgendered folk but other men who now have “permission” to enter into women’s bathrooms. If there is a complaint they now have an excuse: “I’m identifying as a female today.” Since the beginning… Read more »
jimmie shelby
Guest

I apologize for the misspelling of your name Phil.

Kevin
Guest

If an annual conference is spending valuable time trying to decide who uses which commode then something is wrong. Can’t quite put my finger on it but some priorities need to be rearranged.

j1234
Guest

that is the entire point, no time will be wasted on it, now back to planning the conference.

Keith Sweat
Guest

The resolution is a lot of words changing nothing. Who doesn’t oppose hate, intimidation, and violence? The real silliness of AC resolutions is that it is where people already in defiance of church polity seek to tell others what they ought to do because the church says so. When Methodists live in open contempt of General Conference why do we think businesses and politicians will pay any attention to us? Do you really think any shop owner said, “Quick, call a plumber. The Methodists said we need a new bathroom.”

eric pone
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I have alway wondered why moderates, liberal, and libertarians rarely post on this site. It seems to be the same conservatives all the time. I guess I am happy that someone is seeking to do justice. That like Jesus they choose to be on the side of the outcasts of society. That like God has demanded over time that they are showing true hospitality to people who are treated sadly like visitors and strangers in their own country. Jesus ate with tax collectors, hung out with prostitutes and wasn’t afraid to tell those who lived by the letter of the… Read more »
Wes Andrews
Guest
eric, at my church, we trust in the authority of Scripture AND we love all kinds of people. My church is very diverse racially, economically, ethnically, racially. We have all kinds of people with a variety of different levels of brokenness. People can come as they are, encounter Jesus and His love, and leave different. One doesn’t have to endorse sin to love people who have experienced separation from God. Jesus did not endorse sin when he loved the sinner. While loving the tax collector he didn’t say, “keep on exploiting the people”. While loving the woman caught in adultery… Read more »
Kelsey Sylvia
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I am pleased to see that there are Christians with clear thinking and welcome the conferences edict. I understand the concerns of those who are questioning the wisdom of such a decision. The fear of trans people as predators is based in a mischaracterization of who trans people are and what transsexualism is. One thing the condition is not about is sex! It is a struggle with identity period A trans woman identifies as a woman not a man, It is difficult to clearly label transsexualism as a sin certainly not as clearly as adultery. Bearing false witness is also… Read more »
Kevin
Guest

It is not fear of transpeople as predators. It is fear of predators whose targets are now more accessible.

Kelsey Sylvia
Guest

I think that argument may sound reasonable but what you are saying is because of the remote chance that a sexual predator might use the law to conduct his crime, which is already illegal, you will exclude people who have no history of that kind of offense.No. what you’re saying is you do not want trans inclusive laws but you’re not willing to be honest about it.

Wes Andrews
Guest
I grew up in a city with lots of transgendered folk. Their presence seemed rather normal to me. And yes, I have had transgendered friends. I’m not worried about any transgendered person. As a former social worker and a pastor for 30 plus years I have seen many women who have been abused because the culture required them to accommodate men. I’m shocked that the feminists are clueless about this. I think we should respect the sanctity of private facilities for women. They should be the priority here. Men can be victims, but women much more so! Wes Andrews
jimmie shelby
Guest
It makes no difference, actually, what those folks who are NOT liberal/progressives think/write/believe and are members of or attend a umc church. The umc is following the very distinct political trends in this country right down to the last “T” crossed. That is very sad. It is already out of vogue to espouse a conservative Christian faith. That is just the tip of the iceberg. It is going to continue to get tougher–and, yes–meaner at a ever increasing speed. Hang on to your hats!!! (my opinion) Most of all: keep looking up!! signs and wonders are happening every day…………………….
Scott
Guest

Wow, The South Carolina conference has gone off the deep end, wading into the pool of gender identity politics. If only these churches were as concerned about actually leading people to Christ as they are at lining up with whatever sexual issue is fashionable at the moment.

j1234
Guest

its not politics, its humanity.

jimmie shelby
Guest

Wes, Phi, Scott: I much admire the tenacity with which you all pursue Conservative/Biblical/Evangelical Christianity. Your comments are spot on.

This writer wearies of the battle that the UMC has with the umc. The council of bishops–by kicking its rusty can–continues to do much harm to those of us who sit in the pews–regardless of which side of the issue one may come down on.

Please–keep looking up. Signs and wonders are happening EVERY day……………..

j1234
Guest

this is beautiful. thank you for leading the way. my gratitude can not be expressed enough.

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