General Conference Statements on Genetic and Reproductive Technology
2004 Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church
162 (M) Genetic Technology
“The responsibility of humankind to God’s creation challenges us to deal carefully with the possibilities of genetic research and technology. We welcome the use of genetic technology for meeting fundamental human needs for health, a safe environment, and an adequate food supply. We oppose the cloning of humans and the genetic manipulation of the gender of an unborn child.
WHEREAS, homophobia1 is the discrimination of people perceived to be nonheterosexual, regardless of the victim’s actual sexual orientation or sexual identity; and
WHEREAS, heterosexism2 is a self-justifying system of homophobia that:
1. perpetuates stereotypical categories of what is essentially “masculine” and what is essentially “feminine”;
2. provides a privileged status for people who identify as culturally defined heterosexuals; and
We affirm our belief in the inestimable worth of each individual because we are human beings created by God and loved through and by Jesus Christ, and we affirm all persons as equally valuable in the sight of God (Preamble to Social Principles).
Certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due all persons. We are committed to supporting those rights and liberties for homosexual persons.
We see a clear issue of simple justice in protecting their rightful claims where they have shared material resources, pensions, guardian relationships, mutual powers of attorney, and other such lawful claims typically attendant to contractual relationships that involve shared contributions, responsibilities, and liabilities, and equal protection before the law.
We believe human sexuality is God’s good gift. One abuse of this good gift is sexual harassment. We define sexual harassment as any unwanted sexual comment, advance or demand, either verbal or physical, that is reasonably perceived by the recipient as demeaning, intimidating, or coercive. Sexual harassment must be understood as an exploitation of a power relationship rather than as an exclusively sexual issue. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, the creation of a hostile or abusive working environment resulting from discrimination on the basis of gender.
The deafening and disabling silence that has surrounded the abuse of women and children is being broken. We now know that overwhelming numbers of women and children in our churches and communities are being battered, raped, emotionally and psychologically abused, and physically and sexually assaulted. The abuse occurs in communities of every racial composition and every economic status, in rural areas as well as cities, in families adhering to every religion and to no religion. Silence will no longer shield us from our complicity in the violence nor from our failure to overcome it.
Once considered the property of their parents, children are now acknowledged to be full human beings in their own right, but beings to whom adults and society in general have special obligations.
Thus, we support the development of school systems and innovative methods of education designed to assist every child toward complete fulfillment as an individual person of worth. All children have the right to quality education, including full sex education appropriate to their stage of development that utilizes the best educational techniques and insights.
Our position on pornography is clear: We oppose all forms of pornography. We support laws that protect women and children and incarcerate those who are purveyors in the “industry” that instigates and expands child and adult pornography activities.
The first reference to abortion in official proceedings of the General Conference came in 1968, when a study document titled “Church and Family” was adopted. This did not have the force of a pronouncement by the denomination but indicated the direction in which the church was moving.
We affirm the sanctity of the marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity between a man and a woman. We believe that God’s blessing rests upon such marriage, whether or not there are children of the union. We reject social norms that assume different standards for women than for men in marriage. We support laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church – 2004. Copyright 2004 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.