Improper Voting Occurred at Methodist Conference That Strengthened Ban on Gay Clergy
It was once a momentous vote for the United Methodist Church, as the way forward for the rustic’s second-largest Protestant church hung within the stability. In a former soccer stadium in St. Louis final month, church officers and lay leaders from around the globe voted to toughen their ban on same-sex marriage and homosexual clergy, a call that would now cut up the church.
But at least 4 ballots have been forged by means of people who weren’t licensed to vote, consistent with interviews and a overview of the church’s information. The people have been from African delegations whose votes have been important to limiting the church’s laws on homosexuality.
The ultimate 54-vote margin in opposition to homosexual clergy and same-sex marriage exceeds the collection of unauthorized votes came upon to this point. But the vote casting irregularities raised questions concerning the procedure in the back of the divisive resolution, which devastated modern participants. Some have mentioned leaving the denomination and perhaps growing a brand new alliance for gay-friendly church buildings.
Church leaders are actually discussing whether or not new votes must be referred to as, Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, who serves on the fee on the overall convention, stated in a telephone interview.
“The findings that have come out have caused a serious impact on issues of trust and integrity about the whole process,” he stated.
A question by means of The New York Times final week brought on church officers to rent a consulting company to inspect whether or not individuals who have been ineligible will have won credentials to vote at the church’s basic convention.
Church leaders who oversaw the convention stated in a observation that the audit confirmed it was once “possible that a very limited number of ineligible persons” participated. These other people have been denied credentials by means of body of workers at the convention, the officers stated, however have been later ready to obtain them.
The Times discovered further irregularities. For instance, two delegates from South Congo, which is a state within the Democratic Republic of Congo, are indexed on the professional attendance information. But they by no means traveled to the United States for the convention as a result of visa problems, consistent with a telephone interview with one and a message despatched by means of the opposite to the Rev. Kalaba Chali, an professional translator for the convention. In addition, 3 other people voted as delegates for South Congo however their names are absent from convention attendance logs and delegate election information.
One unauthorized delegate was once Philippe Kasap Kachez, whose father is Bishop Kasap Owan, a outstanding opponent of homosexual clergy. Three Methodists from the Congo area known him to The Times as a voter seated on the ground. Mr. Chali spoke with him in St. Louis and requested why he was once provide.
“He said he did not go to a Methodist church in Congo, instead he lives in Brussels,” Mr. Chali stated in a telephone interview. “He said, ‘I came here because my dad asked me to come vote against the lesbians.’”
When contacted on Facebook and WhatsApp, Mr. Kasap Kachez declined to remark. Bishop Kasap Owan didn’t reply to questions.
“To learn that there were irregularities in the voting is distressing and of great concern,” Bishop Kenneth Carter, the president of the Council of Bishops, stated in an interview on Thursday.
When requested what those findings supposed for the results of the vote of the overall convention, the Rev. Gary W. Graves, secretary of the convention, stated, “That is a matter that would still be under review.”
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