I was the Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. This was while being a professor of economics and NDSU. Later I became active in the Red River Freethinkers. While I no longer live in Fargo-Moorhead the focus of my blog remains there.


An Entire Methodist Confirmation Class Refuses to Join the Church


All eight members of a confirmation class in Omaha refused to join their Methodist church because of the denomination's anti gay policy.
Certainly eight young people's protest will by itself have no influence one the 12 million person United Methodist denomination. It is second in size to the Southern Baptist Convention. Several things, however, make it worth discussing.
The first is that the event got a lot of press, at least on line. That tells me youth protesting old denominations is the preferred press narrative at this particular moment.
Second, the protest reflects the widening gap between the Methodist church of the U.S and Europe and that of Africa and perhaps other places in the world. Western members of the international conferences have consistently voted majority to allow gay pastors and sanction gay marriages. African majorities have consistently voted not to allow. How deep the dug in the various factions are remains to be seen.
Some churches are considering leaving the denomination. If history tells us anything it is that those churches leaving will not be able to take their building with them. That will be owned and retained by the larger denomination.
The Methodist denomination in the U.S. is declining at a rate of about 2% per year. Southern Baptists are declining at 5% per years. Even a 2% per year, this means a 40% decline in the next 20 years. As the population of the country increases this makes Methodists an increasingly less relevant group in public affairs.
Hats off to the young people who refuse to join a denomination that hates.

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