The Herald Bulletin

March 1, 2014

Editorial: Sounds of worship more welcome than protest

The Herald Bulletin

---- — The sounds of worship are usually joyful.

That wasn't the case at the First United Methodist Church of Alexandria, where outdoor protests dominated last Sunday's church service.

The congregation is divided after its gay choir director, Adam Fraley, was asked to step down. Fraley has been told he can be a member of the church but that he cannot hold leadership responsibilities. Fraley would like to be choir director again. Supporters stood outside the church with signs as parishioners walked by to attend the morning service.

The United Methodist Church is an odd denomination for supporters of same-sex relationships to work in. The church body rejects discrimination and deplores acts of violence against people based on race, sexual orientation and gender identity among others.

But its General Conference has also established that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teachings. Self-avowed homosexuals cannot, then, be ordained as ministers or appointed to serve in a leadership role.

The United Methodist Church welcomes sexual minorities, invites discussion and prays for those in discord over the issue.

Sexual orientation is tearing apart Christian congregations. Same-sex proponents must find acceptance using their own beliefs and in smaller communities, the options are limited.

It is noble that Adam Fraley wants to help lead the community that accepted him previously — before the congregation learned of his orientation. It is also noble that devout Methodists adhere to the basics of their faith.

No single editorial can address the human drama and dilemma in resolving sexual orientation and church law. It would warm the heart to see both co-exist — a good citizen worshiping with good churchgoers. Alexandria, and other Hoosier communities, may not see that common ground.

The sounds of sharing faith in a loving community would always be more welcome than the sounds of protest.