The United Methodist Church is going through a tough break up—with itself. According to the Washington Post, Church leadership has decided to break into two separate denominations as a solution to their internal debate on same-sex marriage. The newer denomination of the United Methodist Church, reports the Post, will hold onto “traditional” values and will not allow same-sex marriage or the ordination of any LGBTQ member of the clergy. The remainder of the denomination that is not splitting off will evolve to allow LGBTQ ordination as well as same-sex marriage, marking itself as the cool parent in this godly divorce.
The split will be voted on in May during the Methodists’ worldwide conference, and should it be approved, the “traditional” denomination will not get any of the good stuff when they leave, like physical church buildings or the family dog. Writers of the plan told the Washington Post that it would be “the best means to resolve our differences, allowing each part of the Church to remain true to its theological understanding while recognizing the dignity, equality, integrity, and respect of every person.” This schism within the Church may go on record as the first conscious uncoupling of the new decade.
The announcement of this separation comes on heels of the Church considering new sanctions against priests officiating same-sex weddings. The considered sanctions were suspension without pay for a year after the first wedding and removal from the clergy for any wedding performed after the end of the suspension period. Instead of enacting the sanctions now, Church leaders have agreed to hold off and focus on the vote to split the Church at the upcoming conference.
While it might seem that the new traditional Church won’t be getting much from this divorce, the agreement between the two denominations pledges $25 million for the traditionalists after the break. It feels very appropriate at this moment to ask all sides of the Church to open their expensive leather-bound gold-lined bibles to Mark 10:25, which clearly states, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”