Methodist Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

The United Methodist Church's highest judicial body has called a special session for Aug. 7-8 in Dallas to consider the meaning and force of language related to the denomination's ban on blessing same-sex unions.

A question about the prohibitory language — added to the 8.5 million-member church's Social Principles by the 1996 General Conference — was submitted to the Judicial Council, the denomination's equivalent to the Supreme Court, on April 8 by the bishops from its South Central Jurisdiction.

The bishops asked the judicial council for a ruling on whether a pastor who violates the ban on blessing or officiating at a same-sex union ceremony has committed a "chargeable" offense under church law.

The bishops' action stemmed from the March 13 acquittal of the Rev. Jimmy Creech, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church, Omaha, Neb. Creech, who performed a covenanting ceremony for two women last September, was charged with violating church law.

RNS, April 27, 1998


According to AP reports, the Rev. Jimmy Creech was told in May that he would not be reappointed after his stint at First United Methodist Church in Omaha ends in June.

Creech said Bishop Joel Martinez told him he has been unable to lead his congregation, which has lost a "significant number" of parishioners who opposed the lesbian union ceremony he performed in September.



Coffee Tops Prayer

Kellogg Company sponsored a national survey in March of more than 1,000 consumers — 50 percent male, and 50 percent female — as part of a publicity campaign for a new cereal product.

When asked to name what helps them "seize the day" in the morning, 16 percent said coffee, tea, or some other caffeinated beverage product works best. Only one in ten (10 percent) listed prayer, meditation, or reading the Bible.



The Death of a Culture

A survey of physicians featured in the April 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reveals the following. Of the 1,902 respondents:

• eleven percent said that even under current law, there were circumstances in which they would be willing to hasten a patient's death by prescribing medication.

• seven percent said that they would provide a lethal injection.

• thirty-six percent and 24 percent, respectively, said that they would prescribe medication or provide lethal injection if it were legal.

• more than 18 percent have received a request from a patient for assistance with suicide.

• more than 3 percent reported that they had written at least one prescription to be used to hasten death, and 4.7 percent said that they had administered at least one lethal injection.

The report concludes that a substantial proportion of physicians in the United States in the specialties surveyed report that they receive requests for physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, and about 6 percent have complied with such requests at least once.



Notable Quote

"I don't usually come. But today I needed something. I needed to be with people who believe in something." – Marilyn Dineen, 21, on Sunday April 26 after attending church services in Edinboro, Pa., following the April 24 school dance murder of science teacher John Gillette, allegedly by a fourteen-year-old boy nicknamed "Satan."

USA TODAY, April 27, 1998

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