White Liberal United Methodists Accuse Black Africans of Bribery During Traditional Marriage Vote

White Liberal United Methodists Accuse Black Africans of Bribery During Traditional Marriage Vote
Protesters objecting to the adoption of a platform rejecting same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT clergy gather outside the United Methodist Church's 2019 Special Session of the General Conference in St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Sid Hastings)

On Tuesday, leaders of the United Methodist Church (UMC) voted to affirm the traditional position on sexuality, upholding the biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman and forbidding homosexual relationships among the clergy. As black African leaders united behind the traditional position, white American liberals accused them of bribery.

The Traditional Plan won by a vote of 438 to 384 (53 percent to 47 percent), while the “One Church” plan — which would have allowed churches to choose to affirm same-sex marriage and appoint clergy who are in homosexual relationships — failed by a vote of 374 to 449 (45 percent to 55 percent). The United Methodist Church is the second-largest denomination in America.

There were, however, accusations of impropriety surrounding the vote.

“A point of order call to refer allegations of bribery for votes to committee on ethics passes, 417-388,” the United Methodist News Service tweeted amid the United Methodist Church’s General Conference.

The Reconciling Ministries Network, a pro-LGBT coalition that claims 900 churches in the United Methodist denomination, tweeted that the vote to refer the bribery charges to the ethics committee was “a victory for truth and ethics.” The group praised the potential investigation into “rumors of bribery and paying for votes by anti-LGBTQ anti-UMC traditionalists.”

Yes, the Reconciling Ministries Network suggested that Christians who hold a traditional biblical view of sexuality are not just “anti-LGBTQ” but also “anti-UMC.”

The network went even further, however.

“Bribery for votes for the TP [Traditional Plan] has been an open rumor for ages. It is good that our youth are willing to call it out. Jesus had strong words for the money-changers in the temple,” the Reconciling Ministries Network tweeted.

This liberal group was so confident of bribery among supporters of the Traditional Plan that it baldly compared its ideological opponents to the people Jesus condemned for turning the house of God into a “den of robbers” (Matthew 21:13).

But who was accusing whom of bribery here? Jeff Walton, Anglican Director at the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), attended the General Conference and told PJ Media more about the pro-LGBT side of the debate.

“Yes, most of the liberals were white U.S. progressives,” Walton told PJ Media. He also confirmed that “liberals were the ones asking for an investigation.”

While the white liberals pushed the One Church plan, black Africans — who represent a growing region for the United Methodist Church — vocally supported the Traditional Plan, CNN reported.

“Today the church in Africa is growing in leaps and bounds because we are committed to biblical Christianity,” Rev. Jerry Kulah, a Liberian Methodist leader, told CNN. “You cannot be performing Christianity differently in America and Africa and suggest that we are one church.”

Even The New York Times admitted that the United Methodist Church is growing in Africa and shrinking in the U.S. The Times stigmatized the Africans’ conservative positions on sexuality. “About 30 percent of the church’s members are now from African nations, which typically have conservative Christian views; in many of them, homosexuality is a crime,” the paper reported.

The New York Times did not once mention the word “traditional,” despite the fact that the UMC’s position on sexuality was called the “Traditional Plan.” The snide remark about African countries criminalizing homosexuality served to cast the black Christians who hold to the Bible’s teaching on the issue in a negative light.

Mark Tooley, IRD’s president and a member of the United Methodist Church, told PJ Media the bribery charge was “disdainful and condescending” toward the traditional Methodists, including the black Africans championing biblical sexuality.

Tooley reported that “African delegates nearly unanimously opposed the One Church Plan despite pressure from USA bishops and USA church bureaucracy. They were joined by most Filipino and European delegates.”

Many have predicted that the United Methodist Church will split after reaffirming the biblical stance on sexuality. Indeed, the United Church of Christ (UCC) offered an open letter to Methodists who support same-sex marriage, encouraging them to join the UCC, a shrinking liberal denomination. The UCC deleted the letter shortly after publishing it.

The Reconciling Ministries Network has not withdrawn its open letter, however. That message, signed by hundreds, claims to “resist evil, injustice, and oppression,” and accuses the black African supporters of the Traditional Plan of white supremacy and colonialism.

“We acknowledge and lament the evil, injustice, and oppression that our United Methodist Church has birthed and perpetuated. Specifically, we name the decades of erasure, exclusion, and dehumanization of God’s beloved LGBTQ children that The United Methodist Church has allowed and often endorsed. We also name that homophobia and transphobia as they present themselves in The United Methodist Church are intertwined with the current of a Christianity hijacked by white supremacy and colonialism,” the open letter reads.

If the traditional Bible position on sexuality is “intertwined” with “white supremacy and colonialism,” it seems rather odd that black African Christians would be leading the charge for it.

The fact that black African Christians who believe the Bible would support such an “oppressive” view of sexuality simply does not compute in the minds of progressives. So they accuse their own black brothers and sisters of taking bribes.

In reality, these Christians are not driven by bribery but by the Bible. They listen not to the moneychangers but to the Word of God, which clearly condemns homosexual activity as sinful — but promises God’s love and redemption to all who repent. These African leaders are the future of the United Methodist Church, and their beliefs are not a matter of bribery. It is utterly disgusting that white liberals would suggest that.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.