BOTHELL, Wash.,— In a tragic ruling that will undoubtedly widen the painful schisms within the United Methodist Church, a jury of thirteen pastors voted in favor of an openly avowed Lesbian minister, despite church laws that explicitly states that “homosexuality is incompatible with the Christian teaching,” in Bothell, Washington, March 20.
The critical verdict comes about a month before the church opens its quadrennial convention in Pittsburgh, and is likely to trigger severe criticism from conservatives and biblically-sound Christians within the international church family.
Sadly, after the verdict was known, the prosecutor who argued on behalf of the church, “confessed” that he was happy about the ruling “on personal terms.” Which may possibly explain why the prosecution only called one witness to the stand as opposed to twenty from the defense.
The only argument laid by the prosecution was that the Book of Discipline in the United Methodist Church included a passage that says homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.
The jury’s decision – 11 found Karen Dammann not guilty, 2 were unsure, clearly reflected the show of semantics orchestrated by the members of the defense, which argued that the Bible and the church’s Book of Discipline are “unclear” on their stance on homosexuality.
"Although we, the trial court, found passages that contain the phrasing `incompatible with Christian teaching,' we did not find that any of them constitute a declaration," exhorted the Rev. Karla M. Fredericksen on behalf of her fellow jurors.
The decision shocked evangelical Christians within the denomination, who expected an open and shut case in favor of the prosecution.
“How can there be a not guilty verdict when what she's done is public and she has confessed it? I'm very surprised and I'm very disappointed because it's another sign of really anarchy in the church,” said the Rev. Dr. Maxie D. Dunnam, president of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky
"We can't continue to live with a whole segment of the church that is deliberately disobeying the church's law.”