IRD issues statement on election of openly gay bishop

IRDWashington, DC — The Institute for Religion and Democracy have released a statement this week offering their thoughts on the recent election and consecration of Karen Oliveto (the pastor of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco) to be a bishop of The United Methodist Church.

“The Western Jurisdiction has a history of prominent disobedience to church rules, resulting in long-term diminishment and decline, despite population growth in its surrounding communities,”Said John Lomperis, the director of the IRD’s UMAction.  “This is a fundamentally schismatic action of the Western Jurisdiction declaring it no longer wants to live in unity with the rest of our denomination. Now some United Methodists in the rest of the country will likely want to stop paying the denominational apportionments which heavily subsidize the six-figure salaries of Oliveto and other bishops in the Western Jurisdiction – the only U.S. Jurisdiction rewarded with more bishops than they pay for themselves.”

The Institute for Religion and Democracy describes itself as “an ecumenical alliance of U.S. Christians working to reform their churches’ social witness, in accord with biblical and historic Christian teachings, thereby contributing to the renewal of democratic society at home and abroad.” Founded in 1981, the IRD has traditionally opposed changes in The United Methodist’s Church’s teachings on human sexuality.

“We urge faithful United Methodists upset by this news to stay and work for accountability, share their concerns with their pastors and remember that such radical actions only represent a minority, who we should not let abuse and take-over our great denomination,” Lomperis said. He also called on “orthodox bishops” to offer public leadership in seeking accountability.

“Oliveto chose to seek ordination in our denomination and vowed to uphold our standards. If she is no longer Methodist in belief, she would have more integrity to find another faith community, rather than breaking the promises she chose to make to us.”

UMReporter Staff

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Jack Harnish
Jack Harnish

Why does the opinion of the IRD even matter? They are not affiliated with the UMC and they literally have “no skin in the game”.


I believe the same could be said of ‘ reconciling ministry network’ but we often here from them on this site and umc.organization news.

Paul W.
Paul W.

The IRD does have “skin in the game”. Mark Tooley and John Lomperis are both United Methodists. Their UMAction group is focused exclusively on issues within the UMC. They are a key part of the Renewal and Reform Coalition for the UMC. Much of the theologically liberal wackiness that goes on in our agencies and seminaries has been exposed by the IRD, which, I’m convinced, is why the progressive UMC bureaucrats show such disdain for the IRD. Shining a light on those areas the progressives would rather keep hidden from those of us in the pews is essential work since… Read more »

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