Okay, this is not actually about what my dad (aka The Rev) thinks about gays, but it is about the latest Methodist Convention, and their official rulings on assorted gay issues. The article at towleroad.com has more details (and links to "real" news sources).
1st, some personal knowledge of what a Methodist Conference is like. It involves a bunch of methodists in an under-ventilated room treating the Methodist Church like Congress, bringing what are essentially "bills" before the Conference, followed by a debate wherein people line up at microphones to say, at length, what someone before them already said. The end result is an "official" standing of the Methodist church, which can largely be accepted or ignored by respective pastors within his/her own congregation. These conventions are really just about press releases, getting The Methodist Church in the paper, like they're Episcopalian or something.
Here's how it went down, with a modicum of commentary on my end.
Approved, 517-416, keeping the statement that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.--Honestly, I think the "disapprovers" showed well...almost 45% of the vote. That's pretty good for an ultimately traditional, Christ-based faith. And the fact that they bring this (and the other issues up) every year at these conventions I take as a measure of good faith. It looks possible that, within my lifetime, the Methodist Church may have a majority of "approvers".
Rejected, 574-298, a measure that would have changed the church's definition of marriage to include same-sex unions.-Basically, between the first question and this one, 57 people changed sides, and 61 abstained (courteously). Fascinating.
Approved, 544-365, a resolution opposing homophobia and discrimination against lesbians or gays.--It looks like a decisive victory for this battle (though perhaps not decisive enough) but in the context of the war, I think it is significant that this bill was approved with almost as many votes as the Definition of Marriage bill was denied.
So there we have it. The Methodists aren't ready to love the gays, but they're on their way. And there is at least one pastor in Northeast Ohio who is on the right track.
And here is a little video from a film called The Sentinel that may perhaps give us a glimpse into the mind of red-state perception of gay culture.
By the way, the one who looks like a drag queen is Sylvia Miles, who once dumped a bowl of pasta on theater critic John Simon's head after he panned one of her performances. Can we say tranny fierce?