2 pastors just heckled Jeff Sessions at an event on religious liberty

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF VOX.COM)

 

2 pastors just heckled Jeff Sessions at an event on religious liberty

They told him “you are wounding the body of Christ” by failing to care for marginalized.

Jeff Sessions has come under fire from religious groups for his anti-immigrant stance
 Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was heckled by religious leaders for his approach to the migrant crisis at a religious freedom event Monday morning.

While Sessions spoke about religious freedom at the Boston Lawyers chapter of the conservative Federalist Society, two religious leaders interrupted his speech, according to video footage from ABC News. The first man, since identified as United Methodist Pastor Will Green of the Ballard Vale United Church in Andover, quoted lines attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: “I was hungry and you did not feed me. I was a stranger and you did not welcome me. I was naked and you did not clothe me.” The verses are frequently read as Jesus’s exhortation to care for the poor, sick, and marginalized.

He then told Sessions, “Brother Jeff, as a fellow United Methodist, I call upon you to repent, to care for those in need, to remember that when you do not care for others you are wounding the body of Christ.”

While Green did not explicitly state what he was criticizing Sessions for, the attorney general has frequently come under fire from some religious groups for his hard-line stance on immigration, including his role in helping enact the Trump administration’s migrant family separation policy. Sessions is currently advocating for the narrowing of grounds for applying for asylum in the United States, even as a 4,000-strong caravan of migrants from Honduras is currently making its way to the United States-Mexico border.

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Religious leaders interrupt Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ speech: “Brother Jeff, as a fellow United Methodist I call upon you to repent, to care for those in need.”

Sessions: “Well, thank you for those remarks and attack but I would just tell you we do our best everyday”

His companion, Pastor Darrell Hamilton of the First Baptist Church in Boston, rose to give a second speech, but was drowned out by boos and cries of “go home” from the audience. As he was escorted out, Hamilton accused his audience of being “hypocrites” for advocating for religious liberty politically, only to deny him the opportunity to express his religious faith by quoting the gospel at the event.

Sessions appeared to laugh off the interruption, telling his audience, “I don’t believe there’s anything in the Scripture … [or my] theology that says a secular nation-state cannot have lawful laws to control immigration … not immoral, not indecent, and not unkind to state what your laws are and then set about to enforce them.” His listeners responded with raucous applause.

This is not the first time Jeff Sessions has come under fire from religious leaders for his role in the migrant crisis. In June during the migrant family separation crisis, 600 clergy and members of the United Methodist Church brought formal church charges against Sessions, who is himself a Methodist, over his role in the crisis.

Sessions was charged with racism, child abuse, immoral behavior, and the dissemination of heretical Biblical teaching — a reference to his use of the Bible verse Romans 13 to justify Christians’ submission to government policy on the issue of migration. The charges were dropped two months later, with the district superintendent in charge of Sessions’s church, Barbara Bishop, arguing in a statement that “a political action is not personal conduct when the political officer is carrying out official policy.”

The protests of the two clergymen at the event exemplify the increasingly visible role that the religious left, including both mainline Protestants and some evangelicals, are playing under the Trump administration.

From presiding Episcopal bishop Michael Curry’s fiery liberation theology-tinged sermon last spring at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal Wedding to retired Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson’s openly political advocacy for LGBTQ rights at last week’s interring of Matthew Shepard, more and more religious leaders are using their platform to spread a message of political resistance.

Or, in the case of these two men, simply sharing the gospel.

Update: this article has been updated to reflect the fact that the pastors have now been identified

Jeff Sessions Own Church Charges Him With: Child Abuse, Immorality, Racism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE HILL’ NEWSPAPER)

 

Hundreds of members at Sessions’s church write formal complaint over immigration policy

More than 600 members of the United Methodist Church signed on to a letter Monday condemning Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant parents and children at the U.S. border.

In the letter, the group of churchgoers, including clergy and church leadership, accuse Sessions of child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and dissemination of doctrines contrary to the standards of the doctrine of the United Methodist Church.

They note in the letter that Sessions is a member of Ashland Place United Methodist Church, in Mobile, Ala.

“While other individuals and areas of the federal government are implicated in each of these examples, Mr. Sessions — as a long-term United Methodist in a tremendously powerful, public position — is particularly accountable to us, his church,” the letter reads. “He is ours, and we are his. As his denomination, we have an ethical obligation to speak boldly when one of our members is engaged in causing significant harm in matters contrary to the Discipline on the global stage.”

The letter comes as President Trump and his administration face backlash over its policy to separate migrant families.

Sessions announced the “zero tolerance” policy earlier this year, saying the Department of Justice would criminally prosecute all adults attempting to illegally cross the southern border into the U.S. As a result, families who crossed together would in some cases be separated, he said.

Trump has repeatedly blamed Democrats for the policy, and administration officials have asserted that only Congress can fix the issue by passing immigration reform.

Members of Congress have introduced legislation to end the practice of separating families, while simultaneously urging Trump to unilaterally stop the separations.

United Methodist Regional Body Enforces Noncelibate Gay Clergy Ban

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

United Methodist Regional Body Enforces Noncelibate Gay Clergy Ban After First Resisting Church Rule

(PHOTO: FACEBOOK/UNITED METHODIST GENERAL CONFERENCE)Delegates pray before a plenary session at the United Methodist Church’s 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon.

A regional body of the United Methodist Church that previously refused to enforce the denomination’s ban on noncelibate homosexual clergy has upheld the ordination standards.

In 2016, the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference of the UMC joined a few other regional bodies in refusing to enforce the UMC Book of Discipline’s ban on clergy who are “self-avowed practicing homosexuals.”

However, in a ruling given on Wednesday evening, Baltimore-Washington Area Bishop LaTrelle Easterling said that two individuals approved by the Board of Ordained Ministry for ordination and commissioning are ineligible due to violating the “practicing homosexuals” ban.

Bishop Easterling said in a statement posted to the Baltimore-Washington Conference’s website on Thursday that she believed “there are no winners here today,” adding that while she does not agree with the current Book of Discipline’s position on ordination standards, “it is the book upon which we order our work together, and live in covenant with one another.”

“In my opinion, when we pick and choose how and when we will uphold it, we begin the slippery slope toward chaos,” said Easterling.

“While disobedience on the conference level may allow for some persons to seek the outcome they desire, it does not provide concrete systemic change. That only occurs on the General Church level.”

Over the past several years, the UMC has been undergoing extensive debate over its official stance that labels homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

At the 2016 General Conference, delegates passed a resolution creating a commission that would discern what position the denomination should have on LGBT issues.

During that time, the ordination boards of a few annual conferences announced that they would no longer ask clergy candidates questions about their sexual orientation, thus rejecting the Church’s ban on the ordination of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals.”

These reginal bodies included the New York Annual Conference, the Northern Illinois Annual Conference, the Pacific-Northwest Annual Conference, and Baltimore-Washington.

Charles A. Parker, chair of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference BOOM, told The Christian Post in a 2016 interview that he did not believe their policy on LGBT ordination inclusion violated the UMC’s central rule book.

“We believe that our policy walks a narrow line of allowing us to do the right thing, while staying within the bounds of the Book of Discipline,” said Parker at the time.

“So those who believe that our Church needs to change its restrictive language on LGBTQ people, but who are still committed to obeying the Book of Discipline, should be free to vote their consciences.”

For its part, the United Methodist Judicial Council, the denomination’s highest court, has ruled against annual conferences refusing to enforce the ban.

“The board’s examination must include all paragraphs relevant to election of pastoral ministry, including those provisions set forth in paragraphs that deal with issues of race, gender, sexuality, integrity, indebtedness, etc.,” read the Judicial Council’s Decision 1343, issued last year.

UMC Announces ‘Special Session’ to Determine Church’s Homosexuality Stance

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

CPCHURCH & MINISTRIES

UMC Announces ‘Special Session’ to Determine Church’s Homosexuality Stance

BY MICHAEL GRYBOSKI , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER

Apr 26, 2017 | 6:16 PM

The United Methodist Church announced that its top legislative body will hold a special session in order to determine what stance the mainline denomination will hold on homosexuality.

image: http://d.christianpost.com/full/97282/590-213/img.jpg
(PHOTO: FACEBOOK/UNITED METHODIST GENERAL CONFERENCE)Delegates meet at the United Methodist Church’s 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon.

For the past several years, UMC has seen much internal debate over its official position against homosexuality, gay marriage, and ordination for those involved in same-sex relationships.

In a letter to its annual conferences written on Monday, UMC’s Council of Bishops announced that the special session of General Conference will take place Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri.

(PHOTO: UMNS/PAUL JEFFREY)Dozens of demonstrators demanding a more inclusive church hold vigil at the edge of the May 3 session of the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Florida.

“The purpose of this special session of the General Conference shall be limited to receiving and acting upon a report from the Council of Bishops based on the recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward,” the council explained in the letter.

“The Council of Bishops encourages the entire church to continue in deep, unceasing prayer for Holy Spirit breakthroughs for the Commission on a Way Forward and the special session of General Conference.”

John Lomperis, delegate at the 2016 General Conference and member of the theologically conservative Institute on Religion & Democracy, told CP that he was “glad we will finally have time to address the issues we put off in 2016.”

“Time and again, we have shown that the votes are simply not there to liberalize the Discipline’s biblical standards on sexual self-control — no matter how much political organizing, money, and dishonest rhetoric about ‘compromise’ gets thrown into liberal efforts,” said Lomperis.

“The [Book of] Discipline (which constitutes the denomination’s law and doctrine) does need to change — but to strengthen enforcement and accountability of our already-settled biblical standards.”

At the 2016 UMC General Conference, delegates approved a recommendation creating a “Commission on a Way Forward,” which would analyze the denomination’s stance on LGBT issues.

“We recommend that the General Conference defer all votes on human sexuality and refer this entire subject to a special commission, named by the Council of Bishops, to develop a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph in our Book of Discipline regarding human sexuality,” read the recommendation from 2016.

“We will name such a commission to include persons from every region of our UMC, and will include representation from differing perspectives on the debate. We commit to maintain an on-going dialogue with this commission as they do their work, including clear objectives and outcomes.”

In October, the United Methodist Council of Bishops announced the names of the 32 people who would be members of the commission, noting the “theological diversity” of those selected.

“All of the members of the Commission have already indicated their willingness and availability to serve. The team of moderators — Bishop Ken Carter, Bishop Sandra Steiner-Ball and Bishop David Yemba — will soon convene the commission to begin to organize their work and finalize their meeting schedule,” stated the Council of Bishops.

“After hearing concerns that the proposed composition did not include enough laity, three additional laypersons were added from the original pool of more than 300 nominees.”

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Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/umc-announces-special-session-to-determine-churchs-homosexuality-stance-181785/#232vFvqESMrimy7W.99

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