We recognize that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons. We believe persons may be fully human only when that gift is acknowledged and affirmed by themselves, the church, and society. We call all persons to the disciplined, responsible fulfillment of themselves, others, and society in the stewardship of this gift. We also recognize our limited understanding of this complex gift and encourage the medical, theological, and social science disciplines to combine in a determined effort to understand human sexuality more completely.
In the year 2003 at least 700,000 high school students will attempt suicide�one in every 13 high school students in the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates among adults have steadied or even declined over the past few decades but teenage suicide rates have tripled.
A 1989 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study found that teens dealing with issues of sexual identity are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than are other youth.
“We recognize that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons. …We reject all sexual expressions that damage or destroy the humanity God has given us as birthright.” (The Social Principles, 161G)
A portion of the world’s population is gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT). Around the world, political and religious institutions have targeted GLBT persons for discrimination in housing, employment, health care, and access to redress for such discrimination. Some falsely portray the basic human rights laws that protect GLBT persons from hate crimes as unfair “legal preference.”
Since the mid 1970s when the term “sexual harassment” was first recognized, the world has seen an evolution in awareness, laws and litigation, policies, advocacy, and international collaboration to eradicate sexual harassment in the workplace. In our own communities we have moved from debating whether or not sexual harassment is even a problem to witnessing women and men join together across national boundaries to address it in global settings, churches and ministries, and multinational workplaces.
“The abuse of power occurs when we use power to gratify our own needs rather than to carry out God’s sacred trust. It happens when we refuse to own the responsibility of guardianship that comes with the privilege of power . . . until we understand that power is the responsibility to give, instead of the opportunity to take, we will continue to abuse it.”1
WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church has struggled for many years over the issue of homosexuality, and
WHEREAS, the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns (GCCUIC) remains committed to pursuing unity within the church as a gift and calling of God, and
WHEREAS, the 2000 General Conference directed the GCCUIC to lead the church in dialogue on issues related to homosexuality and the unity of the church (Resolution Number 29, Book of Resolutions 2000, page 134), and
We affirm the principle of responsible parenthood. The family, in its varying forms, constitutes the primary focus of love, acceptance, and nurture, bringing fulfillment to parents and child. Healthful and whole personhood develops as one is loved, responds to love, and in that relationship comes to wholeness as a child of God.
Gender-selective abortion—choosing abortion solely or primarily because of not preferring the unborn child’s sex—is often practiced in several places in the world. Due to cultural biases, female fetuses are generally targeted for abortion in such cases much more often than males.
A convicted and/or registered sex offender who wishes to be part of a church community should expect to have conditions placed on his or her participation. Indeed, offenders who have been in treatment and are truly committed to living a life free of further abuse will be the first to declare that, in order to accomplish that, they must structure a life that includes on-going treatment, accountability mechanisms, and lack of access to children.