Methodist court upholds ruling on gay membership

Pastor can keep man from joining church
The United Methodist Church’s highest court has decided not to reconsider a case in which it permitted a Virginia pastor to prevent an openly gay man from joining his church.

In two rulings last fall, the court sided with pastor Ed Johnson of South Hill, Virginia, who refused to admit an openly gay man as a church member and was subsequently ousted by his peers.

The court also ruled at the time that Johnson’s due-process rights were violated when he was charged by Virginia bishop Charlene Kammerer with “unwillingness or inability to perform ministerial duties.” An overwhelming majority of other pastors in the state voted to place Johnson on an involuntary leave of absence, but the court ordered him reinstated with back pay.


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