Bishop should stay away from politics


I listened with dismay to a radio story about our bishop’s involvement in Congregations for Children and its lobbying efforts on issues of state taxes, educational funding, etc.

Is it any wonder that the number of United Methodists is dropping like a rock? When people want to be part of a larger body whose leader deals with political issues, they join a political party, not a church. The priorities of Methodist leaders are properly and singularly spiritual, with a dose of administrative matters stirred in. Do our leaders honestly believe that working publicly for political goals encourages people to either join or remain in a United Methodist congregation? On the eve of Lent, why is our bishop participating in press conferences about taxes, etc., rather than communicating about matters of spiritual relevance?

If I wanted to be a supporter of a political action committee, there are plenty to choose from. When asked why he was no longer a Democrat, Ronald Reagan replied that his party had left him. I’m feeling the same way about my church.

Marvin B. Speed

I have been a Methodist since the 1940s and have never written a letter to the editor.

However, someone needs to respond to the article “Church at an Impasse on homosexuality” by Rev. Russ Whaley (Advocate, Jan. 16). He is an elder in the Dakota Annual Conference. He does not believe church membership should be denied because of their “unrepentant attitude.” This is the first time I have heard this from a Methodist minister in my 77 years on earth. I was taught that John the Baptist said you must “repent” to be saved. It is clear from both the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible.

In addition, I have just attended two sessions conducted by our bishop on John Wesley’s three simple rules. They are: Do no harm, do good and stay in love with God and, in my opinion, homosexuality violates all three. The concern of the seminars was the loss of membership over the past 40 years. If we use the means of increasing membership by accepting unrepentant sinners, then I believe we will lose more than we will gain.

We also were furnished a pamphlet by Dr. Lovett H. Weems, distinguished professor of leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary. He served as a Mississippi pastor for many years and is a native of our state. He says the role of leaders is to insure accountability which is based on faithfulness to our mission, vision and values. ("Ten Provocative Questions for the United Methodist Church," p.3).

Martin Luther proclaimed years ago that he was bound by the scripture. So are we all if we follow John Wesley and are faithful to our mission, vision and values.

Chet Dillard