Image: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / YouTube
It takes real courage to raise your voice for compassion against injustice. Neutrality is the fiefdom of the coward and only helps the oppressor and the tormentor. The oppressed and the tormented have few voices to speak for them. One of the most regressive laws is directed against the LGBT community made by people hiding behind certain teachings in the Bible. A Methodist teen has become the ninth youth to publicly refuse membership of the church before the whole congregation in protest over its anti-LGBT behavior.
Kat Miller, only 14, was brave enough to take a stand for gay rights before the congregation present at the Batavia Zion United Methodist Church, Wisconsin. She bravely forsook her membership in protest against the anti-LGBT policies of the church and its policies that stigmatize the LGBT congregants. At a UMC conference in St. Louis in February last, a delegation voted for a ban on openly-gay persons from serving or being appointed as ministers in the church.
Two years into her participation in the church’s confirmation program, Kat was on the verge of becoming its member. But then the church made regressive changes in its policy that discriminated against and targeted the community. The ‘Open hearts Open minds. Open doors’ slogan of the church, that is the largest mainline protestant denomination, seemed incongruous and incompatible when seen in the light of their behavior towards the gay community. A controversial resolution supports a ban on LGBT clergy and same-sex marriage.
Miller had three other candidates with her who were there as recipients of religious confirmation as she stood at the pulpit. Each was reading individual faith statements elucidating what Methodism meant for them. Miller’s statement had additional lines that stunned the congregation.
Image: Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Kat believes that Christianity welcomes with open arms all those who have pledged that it is imperative to be good in God’s domain. She feels that the stand taken by the United Methodist Church is discordant with their faith. The trial of a gay bishop in a Methodist courthouse was the immediate reason for her protest. She believes that it is not for us to judge people and the church should be a welcoming place where one can come and feel loved. Her father stood by her and is proud of her courage. Her decision evoked mixed reactions from the congregation.
Eight other teens in Omaha were commended by the congregation for also refusing confirmation in protest against the church’s anti-gay policies. Their decision was conveyed jointly before the congregation, which welcomed it with a standing ovation. It also received the full support of Reverent Ken Little, its Minister. He commended their bravery.
In case you needed a reason to believe that this generation will save us all, here it is. The entire confirmation class at First United Methodist Omaha decided not to join at this time in protest of the UMC’s anti lgbtq+ policies. 🌈❤️ pic.twitter.com/mDjwMTu9ZJ
— Sheri Shuler (@SheriShuler) April 28, 2019
The eight teens aged between 13 and 14 said in their statement that they were disappointed with the decision at the general conference. They believe that the policy of the UMC on same-sex union and LGBTQ+ clergy was immoral. It was a regressive step and their future decisions would depend on the response of the church. They were standing for the entire LGBTQ+ community which had been affected and they wanted to unite and make a difference.
The decision has created a fissure within the community. There are certain aspects in the Bible which the church can set aside as it is in dissonance with present values. The anti-LGBT teachings in the Bible will turn away people if they are not set aside.