August 7, 2003 USA Today Newspaper Article : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I have been informed that there was some information in the August 7, 2003 edition of the USA Today stating that the AME Church was in favor of the recent events of the Episcopal Church. I just read on the official church website that this is not true and the Bishops will be sending a statement to be read in all pulpits negating the article. Does anyone have a copy of this article or could possibly link this board to it? I was just wondering.

-- Anonymous, August 09, 2003


The address of the official website of the A.M.E. Church where the statement from the A.M.E. church states the A.M.E. Church DOES NOT OPENLY ORDAIN GAYS, can be found at

Ray we at the Herald had also gotten info regarding an "alleged" story in USA Today. I have looked on their archives on the USA Today web page and cannot find it. But I will go to our local library today to find the back issue.

Will let you know what I find.

-- Anonymous, August 09, 2003

I was at the Quadrennial when the announcement was made about the article in the USA paper. I brought home the paper and found what they were talking about. On page 7d, it showed what other demoninations stood on the subject; it states African Methodist Episcopal Church ordain openly gay clergy.

They must have talked to someone that was one or gave the wrong answer.

Margaret In Kansas City

-- Anonymous, August 09, 2003

The correct address for the AME Church web site is:

-- Anonymous, August 09, 2003

Thanks Rev. Wilson for catching the fact I put the wrong web address for the official site of the A.M.E. Church. Glad you are my brother and a bureau chief on the ame herald. You rock!

-- Anonymous, August 09, 2003

Margaret I went to the library and read the article. You are right it is on page 7D and it is a listing of several protestant denominations and their stance on ordaining openly gay people.

It was interesting to note the AME church was the ONLY black denomination listed and they got the information wrong.

But they also got other denominations wrong also such as the Presbyterians, and ELCA (Lutherans) neither of these denominations ordain openly gay individuals. So I supect USA today will be doing a retraction soon or they may be sued for Libel.

-- Anonymous, August 09, 2003

Denise wrote -

"The A.M.E. Church DOES NOT OPENLY ORDAIN GAYS" Am I to assume that the AME surreptiously ordains gays or is the correct interpretation that the AMEC will only ordain "closet" gays. Either way the AME position regarding gays in the ministry remains ambiguous under the quoted reference. Several months ago on a related thread Harold Gibson correctly described our position about homosexuality as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Until the issue about gay ordination is described in the Discipline (see pages 539-549 about ordination of deacons and elders) the de facto policy of "don't ask, don't tell" remains in effect. The only way to remove the ambiguity is to state something like the following: The AMEC considers a homosexual lifestyle a breech of our theological principles, immoral as defined by the Scriptures and repugnant to our goal of fostering stable families. Such said lifestyle will result in the immediate defrocking of an AME clergyman and the disqualification of a candidate seeking ordination credentials at either the Deacon or Elder level. Now I know my proposed language has about as much chance at being adopted in the 2004 Gen Con than a pig taking wings and flying off to the nearest slop pen. Howver, absent unambigous language codified in legislation passed by the General Conference, I remain skeptical about the effectiveness of letters and "position papers" describing the indignation expressed by our Bishops. This topic warrants debate and deliberation at our General Conference. The key question is who will be courageous enough to bring it up for discussion?

-- Anonymous, August 09, 2003

I'm not quite finished :-). Pressed the wrong key and the note was sent to Rev. Harper for submission. I would close by saying that homosexuality should not be the only "egregious" lifestyle which should merit defrocking and disqualification. No practicing alcoholic, adulterer, thief or as NY TImes columnist William Safire once described Hillary Clinton, 'congenital liar' should be extended ordination credentials as well. The credibility of our clergy leaders is dependent on proper enforcement of codes of conduct in order that their parishoners can state with pride and conviction that their pastors, elders and yes Bishops behave in a way which is conduct becoming of a servant of God. Ok, now I'm through, beam this up Rev. Harper. QED

-- Anonymous, August 09, 2003

Thank you Bro. Dickens for remembering that thread. Once again, we are faced with the sickness of ambiguity. We are offended that a newspaper would show our denomination as being in favor of the ordination of Gays when in actuality, we are in favor as long as they don't call themselves gay.

I personally do not condone this lifestyle and while I would never move to defrock the gay minister, I think the church would be better off if the gay minister was able to live his life like any other man or woman. This secret lifestyle is the stuff that makes it easy for someone to become a victim of extortion.

Brother Bill I stand with you let us clearly state our position, so that no one will be misled.

-- Anonymous, August 10, 2003

I too went to my local libray to read the much discussed USA-Today article. I discovered several intersting findings not previously discussed on this BB. First, the USA Today reporter discloses the source of her findings by citing the reseach provided by Elaine Bourne and the Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches. If the information is indeed provided from these verifiable sources I don't see the merit of any libel suit against the newspaper. Second, the AMEC is not the only black denomination described in the table. The Church of God in Christ (COGIC), one of the largest if not the largest black denominations (reported membership of 5.7 million) is referenced in the matrix/table. They respond NO the the issue about ordaining openly gay clergy (interesting to note that COGIC also responded to NO concerning ordaining women. i have my doubts about that considering i know many COGIC female clergy). Third, the matrix does provide important footnotes associated with the responses by the Presbyterian Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The 'YES' response to the issue about ordaining openly gay clergy comes with the important qualifier that these churches require celibacy for all unmarried clergy, presumably gay or straight. Finally, the matrix reports that the membership of the AMEAC is 3 million. I am of the opinion this number is inflated. When I attended the Lay Biennial several weeks ago in New Orleans several academic researchers estimated that the membership of the AMEC was approximately 1.5 million. I questioned the veracity of those quoted numbers because they appeared to be on the low end. However, 3 million is clearly an overly optimistic number. The only way to get an accurate number about membership is to do a census. If the US Govt. can do a decennial census surely the AMEC can in order to avoid the problem of unreliable guesstimates. In fact, precedence was set as far back as the census activities described in the Book of Numbers. As a word of caution, let's make sure we have all of the facts before we proceed with incriminating conclusions. QED

-- Anonymous, August 10, 2003

I must be schzoid. I read my post and it sounds crazy. Let me restate my position. I am opposed to gay preachers. I just believe that this down low atitude is very detrimental to the church.

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2003

Bro Gibson, to remove the ambiguity of the word gay, we should use the term homosexual which is define as one who is attracted to persons of the same sex. The attraction is not the problem; acting on the attraction (establishing a sexual relationship)is the sin God is concerned about. The hetrosexual person is attracted to the opposite sex. If he/she acts on that attraction (establishes a sexual relationship) that is the same sin. All sin can be handled by the GRACE of God through FAITH. Being a male or female homosexual is not a sin. In our discussions, if we would use unambigous terms we can get beyond emotions and hard feelings and perhaps agree that God loves all of us but hates the sin that so eaisly beset us.

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2003

You are a brave one to make that statement Rev. Paris, but I believe you are correct.

I know a person who has admitted to being a homosexual. He is saved and really doesn't understand why he has these feelings. His confession of faith has moved him not to practice the act. He admits it is a hard press, because unlike heterosexuals, while they cannot commit the sexual act outside of marriage, there is a place for them,if they wait on God to be married. There is no such place (marriage) for homosexuals.

His faith tells him that God will take away even the urge.


-- Anonymous, August 13, 2003

It appears to me that we all are saying the same things in different ways. We know that the AMEC does NOT and WILL NOT ordain any person who si OPENLY practicing homosexuality. Someone on this post will find one or two isoloted cases and bring them up , but the fact remains is none of the homosexuals I know who are preaching hang a sign on themselves ans say they are homosexual that is the separation and to me that is a very clear distinction. So term it or call it as you so see it but this Zion has faced enough pitfalls lately and we don't need anymore right now.

-- Anonymous, August 13, 2003

Parson Paris -

You and Carmen offer an intriguing contribution to this topic. If I understand your argument you are essentially asserting that as long as homosexual emotions are repressed, "no harm, no foul". As long as you don't act on your homosexual instincts you are not in sin. Similarly, if I don't drink Cognac or Jim Beam whiskey in an irresponsible manner, I'm not an alcoholic. Interesting logic, but there are a few problems with the idea that "only action constitutes sin".

Suppose for the sake of argument we are all attending a wedding, say that of Rev. Denise Rogers, and at the wedding reception we decide to participate in the perfunctory 1st dance with the bride and groom. Now, I will be joined on the dance floor with my wife Mrs. Dickens, Alton will be joined by Mrs. Paris, Carmen with her male significant other and an unsuspecting homosexual guest who desires to be joined on the dance floor with his "partner". Now according to your logic, no harm, no foul, a homosexual couple dancing to the tune of Stevie Wonder's classic "Overjoyed" at the reception wouldn't be in "sin" since the couple is not directly involved in grouping, foreplay or any other form of sexual overtures. But are non-sexual actions of the type just described really innocuous? Dancing with a partner requires contact. Would an unmarried heterosexual couple at the reception be guilty of "sin" if they decide to embrace with a hug and a kiss on the lips at the conclusion of the song? Can you say the same for the homosexual couple? As you can see it get's a tad bit complicated. The Bible states that "As a man thinketh, so is he". Furthermore, Jesus empahsized that the thought of sin is equal to the action of sin itself. The accepted wisdom of "no harm, no foul" therefore fails to satisfy either Biblical or logical scrutiny. If someone is homosexual but not thinking or acting on these impulses, it would actually be more correct to understand that person as being "asexual". That however, is a topic for another day. QED

-- Anonymous, August 13, 2003

Mr. Dickens,

You should have been a writer. I mean that in a good way.

We are all sinners saved by grace. Within the Body of Christ are Alcoholic, drug addicts, and other kind of addicts, etc.

It's alright for any one of the above to stand and say they who they are. Once they have accepted Christ as their Savior, they try to the best of their ability never to endulge again. It's a struggle, and with the help of God they will overcome. I believe the homosexual, once they have accept Christ is no different. It's a fight. Just like the other addicts, they are going to stay away from the temptation....(that includes on the dance floor at the wedding) :-)

Which of the above are sinners?

I don't have an argument about how God feels about homosexual activities, or fornication. The word speaks for itself.

I know I have left the original question, but I wanted to answer you, Mr. Dickens. And you really did make me smile on your last post.

-- Anonymous, August 13, 2003

No, no. I did not say no harm no foul. I said "Yield not to temptation for both hetrosexual and homosexual." Sex outside marriage is sin. Each person must take up his cross and follow Jesus. Some have different crosses. Some crossess may appear eaiser to bear than others but God said that He would give us the strength to make it. We have to have enough faith to trust him and allow him opportunity to take away that "thorn in or flesh". Like Paul, some of us may need that thorn to buffet us and save us from a worse fate, eternal damnation. As a nation, we are obsessed with sex amd that obsession makes it harder for all of us. We must not place ourselves in the situation where we are tempted (such as the dance). For example, God has not blessed me with a singing voice. When others are joining thier vocies in sweet harmony, as much as I would love to sing with them, I must restrain myself to keep from ruining ths music for everyone (smile). If God does not send you a mate, then you are denied the gift of sexual. Is God wrong? No. If we really seek His face He will give us our needs and change of desires. The problem, many of us do not want to be changed; do not really trust God for our lives. Think about this: Suppose I claim to trust God for deliverance from anything; but I am looking for a "ram in a bush", an alternative. That is not faith. Abraham was not looking for a "ram in a bush" (Hebrews 11); he fully intended to kil Isaac because he believed in the resurrection of Isaac; not an alternative to his death. The priest who initiated this discussion was married with children prior to "discovering" his homosexuality. All of our imperfections "lusts of the flesh" are the result on the sin of Adam & Eve. We do not have to give in to these lusts. That is not accomplished by denying we have those lusts; that is accomplished by admitting to God and ourselves that we have the lusts and trusting God to help us to resist the evil within us; the old man for those who are born again. The new birth gives us a new mind in an old body. That body still cantain the lusts of the flesh. The mind (Romans 7, 8) rejects that temptation and tefuse to give in to the flesh. Yes, Jesus said to desire (in your mind) is to do. But St. Paul says, "With my mind, I serve the law of Christ." If my mind agrrees with my flesh, then I am not born again. Again the priest's (bishop elect) mind agrees with the lusts of his flesh and therefore he is NOT born again; not a Christian. Am I judging him, no his actions judge him.

Be Blessed

-- Anonymous, August 13, 2003

There is one question asked here and in other similar posts, which we need to address. That issue being the Official Stance on the A.M.E. Church and its omission or inclusion in the Book of Doctrine and Discipline of the A.M.E. Church.

If you will go back to the string of posts, which Bill cited above, you will find that I posted a summary of the "Position Papers" on Human Sexuality and stated that this was the Official Stance of the Church. These were addressed by the General Conference and voted upon. The A.M.E. Church website addressing the present question states the same. Why then does the Discipline notinclude it?

As in any Democratic-Republic all official codes, rules and laws must be legislated and passed by the legislative bodies whom the people elect. All others are simply suggestions and recommendations from those who govern us. But until they are legislated they cannot and will not become official laws.

The General Conference acts as the Legislative body of our church. The Delegates are the representatives whom we elect. Since the Discipline represents the Laws and Rules, which govern us all, It may only include proposed legislative bills, which have been WRITTEN, CONSIDERED and PASSED.

Many of the issues which, Bill mentioned above such as adultery, fornication, drunkenness, gambling and divorce are already in the Discipline and have been included for many years. These come down to us from legislation which was previously passed and never repealed.

The present situation is relatively new to us. It was certainly not a real issue in 1816 when men and women were not even allowed to sit together in worship on the same side of the church and neither were they allowed to speak, whisper, or talk. Class Leaders kept close cantact with the members of the church and the Quarterly Conferece EXPELLED those who failed to be correced or governed by Scripture, Discipline and Law.

This issue will not go away and neither will the Discipline include or address it unless someone writes the Legislation and sends it to the General Conference for our Representatives to consider and pass.

In recap let me say once again.

Our government does not consist of rules and laws which are arbitrarily passed by governing or legislative bodies at their own discretion and will. We would be offended it this should ever occur.

ALL entries in the Doctrine and Discipline grow out of LEGISLATION currently or previously passed or once passed never repealed. Therefore, if there is some issue of which we are aware that needs to be addressed, we MUST make sure the legislation is drafted and included in the bills, which the General Conference can consider and act upon. Until this is done the Discipline may not and cannot include it as LAW.

-- Anonymous, August 13, 2003

I was under the impression that the Discipline in its origonal form did not intend to address every issue, but was much like our US Constitution to be interpreted by the judiciaryWhich would be the Judicial Council. Now I realize that we have changed the Discipline so much that it appears that we are trying to include every possible situation. If that happens, it makes it more difficult to administer.

BE Blessed

-- Anonymous, August 14, 2003

Reverend Paris,

You are correct in your assumption. For this reason the Discipline may only be amended through legislation passed at the General Conference once ever four years.

Like the Constitution, however, the means for addressing and handling these issues are already in place. These include the Class Leader System, The Quarterly Conference, Reprimands, Appeals, Passing of Character, Location and EXPULSION, to name only a few.

In the past these methods were used to correct some of our finest and BEST. We know that even Daniel Coker was expelled although out of consideration for him the reason was never revealed. But we have now gone so far from Truth, Righteousness and Methodism that we dare not use them on others for fear that someone might use them on US as well.

-- Anonymous, August 14, 2003

Parson Paris -

You cite, "The attraction is not the problem; acting on the attraction (establishing a sexual relationship)is the sin God is concerned about. The hetrosexual person is attracted to the opposite sex. If he/she acts on that attraction (establishes a sexual relationship) that is the same sin." My use of the phrase "no harm, no foul" was based strictly on my interpretation of the above quote. Now it could well be that my interpretation is wrong. However, acting on sexual ttraction sure sounds a lot like a "doer" of iniquity.

Carmen -

Thanks for suggesting that my real calling in life should have been a writer as opposed to my current chosen profession, a manipulator of data, equations and inductive reasoning, i.e. economist. Some of my professional critics actually consider my published research nothing more than social science-fiction (sosci-fi) :-) QED

-- Anonymous, August 14, 2003

Robert opines -

"This issue (e.g. ordination of gay AME clergy) will not go away and neither will the Discipline include or address it unless someone writes the Legislation and sends it to the General Conference for our Representatives to consider and pass." Amen, Amen!!! This observation, correct in my view, is precisely why we need an educated Laity at our Gen Con. Until something is adopted and included in the Discipline, righteous indignation directed against a targeted "sin" is nothing more than hot air and much ado 'bout nothing. QED

-- Anonymous, August 15, 2003

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