The United Methodist Church Split - Just Another Example of the Lies White Liberals Tell Themselves About Diversity

The Rev. Frank Schaefer, left, of Lebanon Pa., celebrates communion with supporters after the sentencing phase of the trial at Camp Innabah, a United Methodist retreat, in Spring City Pa. Tuesday Nov. 19, 2013. A jury of his pastoral peers convicted Schaefer on Monday of breaking his vows by officiating his gay sons' Massachusetts wedding in 2007. Schaefer was given a 30 day suspension by the church.(AP Photo/Chris Knight)

The United Methodist Church has come to a tentative agreement to split over the issue of gay marriage. The Hill reports that an agreement was reached in mediation just as the Methodist bureaucracy was about to impose sanctions for any ministers who violate the Church’s official position on the sanctity of marriage.

Friday’s announcement comes as sanctions were about to be put into place that would have severely punished Methodist ministers for presiding over same-sex marriages, with a yearlong ban without pay for the first marriage and then removal from the clergy for any subsequent marriage.

The agreement, which was facilitated by mediation expert Kenneth Feinberg, reportedly gives $25 million to the “traditional” denomination that will be formed. That group will include churches in the U.S. as well as most of the churches in Africa, the Post reported.

In return, the new denomination will drop all claims to any assets of the United Methodist Church, but they will reportedly be able to bring certain assets with them.

The agreement also earmarked $39 million “to ensure there is no disruption in supporting ministries for communities historically marginalized by racism.”

The issue of same-sex marriage has been driving a wedge between traditional UMC congregations and the rise of left-wing progressive UMC congregations across North America.

But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg here. The larger issue at hand is much, much more serious. It is about race, colonialism, and the lies liberals tell themselves about tolerance and diversity.

You see, this isn’t a split between the tolerant church and the homophobic church. This is a split between the white American UMC and the African UMC. Colonialism established the UMC in Africa. Colonialism made it one of the most powerful faith institutions on the continent. As long as the African church was staying in line with their white American overseers, everything was fine.

Everyone loves “multiculturalism” until it rears its ugly head and shows you a face you weren’t prepared to deal with. White liberal UMC congregations love black worshippers…until those worshippers no longer toe the liberal line. Which is pretty much always.

The African continent is still steeped in what we call “traditionalism”. Throughout their diverse array of nations one can still find traditional views on everything from marriage to parenting to schooling. Some cultures on the African continent still cling to distorted views of women and freedom, but those are views that were perverse from the beginning. The African “church” (Christian church in general) has actually been the beacon that has pulled many nations into modern times. The message of solidarity in Christ and being adopted into the same Holy Kingdom is persuasive. It changes entire cultures.

As long as the African delegations were doing what they were told and remaining properly thankful and obedient, there was no issue. As soon as UMC Africa went from being a subservient diocese to a powerful diocese they were considered a “problem” and now the American UMC cannot tolerate them in their midst.

No, this isn’t about marriage. This is about white American liberals who are all too willing to use the racial struggles of non-white cultures to promote their agendas, but who in reality view black people in their midst as culturally inferior. They allow black congregations to have their “cute traditions” and their culture, but when it comes to intellectual and theological issues they absolutely do not believe that black African congregations have the intelligence to participate in and adjudicate such issues. If their views don’t match up with the progressive UMC there can be no discussion. There can be no admission that “those people” have salient, logical arguments to make as well, and that those arguments deserve to be considered on an equal playing field with their white counterparts.

I see it all time on a smaller scale in the American evangelical world. I attend a large suburban church here in California. Mostly white (unsurprisingly, as this is Orange County). We’ve been able to hold the line on a lot of traditional views by de-emphasizing the “controversial” aspects of our faith and being a “seeker friendly” church. But even that “de-emphasizing” is acquiescing to the larger culture in a way (and I love my church for many reasons and don’t choose to leave because I feel my voice is needed there so spare me the “GET OUT OF THERE” lectures. I just don’t have time to go into all the great and holy things they do as well). One reason a lot of black people don’t feel comfortable attending white churches is because they know their very traditional religious views are looked down upon. We don’t worship the way white people do and often cling to very different aspects of God, culturally speaking.

I can’t count the number of times a white friend has told me about their experience in a black church. It’s always the same, “It was so amazing! Everyone was so alive, loud, exuberant! I wish we were like this in my church.” It always comes from a good place but those people don’t realize how condescending their excitement looks sometimes.

It’s yet another glaring reminder that white people know little to nothing about the lives of black people; so little that when they participate in a very typical black experience it blows their mind. However, the other thing I find bothersome is that is an unintentional infantilization of black faith. What you may see at any given black church on any given Sunday might look like a loud praise party with lots of dancing, whooping and hollering but it is actually something much more serious. Those shouts are borne from groans; that dancing is borne from chained feet. The passion you witness is joyous, but it is so expressive because it is an expression of grief and the joy that comes from knowing God is your only savior and the only one you’ll need – a message that has been vital to black culture since the days of slavery. It’s hopeful, not declarative. It’s saying: “One day we’ll really be able to dance and sing without pain and we look forward to it.” It looks “lively” to the smug, tolerant liberal who visits once a decade.

But our communities are dying. Nearly 75% of our children grow up without fathers in their home. Our families are broken, our schools are crumbling, our job prospects are limited. We fight outrageous teen pregnancy rates, poverty, crime, police brutality, and the lingering legacies of racism. You are not witnessing funny people doing funny dances and shouting funny things…you are witnessing a people passionately entreating their God every Sunday.

What comes with that passion is also a passion for the Word and a passion for its traditions. My white liberal friends love everything about our black churches until the day they have to consider that black people don’t think the same way they do about everything. Then they do what the UMC has done – they pay us off with compliments or some tweet thread about their love for black culture and black people, pat us on the head and remind us not to speak so loudly about such things.

In church culture, the black voice is valuable only as long as it doesn’t come with any power.

The UMC has ultimately decided they cannot tolerate the African church holding all the power. Instead of submitting to the authority of their brethren and letting people choose to go or stay accordingly, they’re offering a bribe. They’re going to do what all white liberals do with those pesky black people who have the audacity to think for themselves…pretend they don’t exist.

Jordan Peele made an entire movie about these people. If you haven’t seen Get Out, please do.

I could go on, but it feels like the tone of this post is getting to be angrier than I intended it to be. All I’m really trying to express is that the liberal church – evangelical or mainline denomination – isn’t as liberal as they think they are. They are no more committed to diversity than the people they claim are the bigots. Diversity only works for them when it works for them. Otherwise, they are unwilling to even consider any thoughts, arguments or wisdom that black congregations have to offer. It is unthinkable.

This twitter thread is maybe the best thing I’ve seen on the UMC subject. The author gets a little Trump Derangement-y in parts but just look past that. Everyone has their political biases. He’s making a lot of sense about this issue. In fact, he’s the first white person I’ve seen even admit this is the issue.


At the end of the day, sexuality takes precedence above everything. This is what the African diocese simply could not tolerate. Will Americans be looking to Africa one day as the beacon of freedom? In some ways, we already are.