Editor, The Messenger:

My wife and I will celebrate our 50th Anniversary this year and I am marking being a Methodist for 60 years. This means two things: first, that I’m an old man, and second, that I might have picked up some wisdom along the way which I would like to share.

Recently the United Methodist Church made a worldwide decision to affirm and strengthen rules that ban LGBTQIA persons from being pastors or being married in the UMC. I do not judge the 53 percent of the voters at that conference that were in favor of this decision. I do not judge their faith and someday they will be proven right or wrong, as will I. But I feel called by God to share my faith as a Christian leader.

When I met my wife, she had beautiful red hair — it’s probably what first attracted me to my future soulmate. But in the Middle Ages, redheads were thought by the Christian Church to be witches. In 1486, two very religious clergymen wrote a manual on how to identify witches. Red hair, green eyes and freckles were some of the signs of sin and guilt. Many if not most of the 50,000 to 60,000 “witches” that were drowned or burned at the stake by so called Christians were redheads.

Today we do not condemn redheads. Yet many people, some with more education than I, believe that LGBTQIA persons have control over how they were created. If that person chooses to live as created by God, then that person is not worthy of being a pastor in the UMC, nor to be married in a building that has UMC on its doors.

I am a United Methodist and on the Judgment Day, I will find out if I am right or wrong, but today I must declare publicly that the Jesus I learned about as a child, the Jesus I studied about in my college religion classes, the Jesus that I choose as my personal Savior — that Jesus would not condemn persons who were born redheads, neither would he condemn persons born LGBTQIA. Nor would he prohibit either from finding a soulmate, entering into a holy, exclusive relationship with that person and declaring love for each other with a public marriage. That Jesus would also recognize that any person can be called to become a pastor in His Church, regardless of his/her/their sexual orientation, regardless of how that person was created by God.

Chuck Carroll

Athens

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