This week's edition of The 3, with three stories of relevance to the Christian community, includes a major shift in the direction of a large Christian adoption agency, which will now work with same-sex couples to adopt children or accept foster care children. Also, the formation of a new United Methodist denomination has been announced. Plus, Christian medical organizations are supporting conscience rights for religious people who do not wish to take the COVID vaccine.
Major adoption agency shifts direction to allow LGBTQ adoptions
As the Supreme Court gets ready within the next few months to issue a ruling in a case involving an action taken by government against adoption agency that declines to allow same-sex couples to adopt children, a major adoption and foster care agency has announced that it is now participating in LGBTQ adoptions and foster care placement.
Religion News reports this: "Bethany Christian Services, the country’s largest Protestant adoption and foster care agency, will begin serving LGBTQ couples, a significant change for the evangelical outfit and a sign of the growing cultural shift."Nate Bult, who is a senior vice president for the agency, said: “This decision implements consistent, inclusive practices for LGBTQ families across our organizations,” adding, “We’ve had a patchwork approach for the last few years.” Religion News points out:
Many faith-based adoption and foster agencies have come under increasing pressure over the past decade as city, state and federal authorities have added LGBTQ non-discrimination policies.
The article points out that Bethany faced that in 2018 in Philadelphia and made the decision to allow same-sex couples to adopt. That city is where Catholic Social Services lost a contract with the city due to its refusal to do adoptions for LGBTQ couples, prompting that Supreme Court case.
New United Methodist denomination makes launch announcement
It has been quite clear that a new denomination would emerge from the United Methodist Church at some point soon - with the cancellation of last year's General Conference, traditionalists within the denomination who continue to affirm the sinfulness of homosexuality, according to Scripture, have decided they want to wait no longer, since the Conference postponed last year is now scheduled for 2022. WORLD Magazine reported:
Conservative leaders from the United Methodist Church (UMC) on Monday released the logo, website, and mission of the proposed new denomination, the Global Methodist Church. The reveal comes days after the UMC delayed this year’s general conference until August 2022 due to the pandemic. They had planned to consider the schism over LGBT inclusion for the second time during that conference. But supporters of the breakaway wanted a faster process and asked the church to consider the proposal during an online conference on May 8.
A 17-person leadership team is in place, and one of them, Rev. Keith Boyette of Virginia, is quoted in another WORLD article, saying that the team has requested a special one-day conference on May 8 to discuss and perhaps adopt the formation. The article provides this overview:
Global delegates in 2019 voted 438-384 to strengthen the denomination’s official teachings on Biblical human sexuality and gender. The vote rattled liberal clergy, prompting them to negotiate a denominational split with conservative groups early last year, called the “Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation.” The protocol allows the formation of a new denomination and gives conservative churches and regional bodies $25 million in UMC funds while allowing them to maintain their property and assets.
Boyette said the breakaway is necessary amid “an increasing system of chaos within [the] church” since liberal clergy no longer abide by Methodist doctrine and are performing same-sex weddings, coming out as gay and lesbian from the pulpit, or entering into same-sex unions themselves.
Medical groups issue statement on freedom of conscience on vaccines
As the now three vaccines are being made available to Americans, there are some who object to the vaccines for various reasons, including the use of embryonic stem cell research in the development of them.
And those who object based on conscience are supported by a new statement by the Christian Medical and Dental Associations and three other organizations, including the American College of Pediatricians. According to a press release...
...the statement recognizes the highest priority is the vaccination of those at greatest medical risk and those directly involved in the care of the sick. It also stresses the need to respect an individual’s right to accept or decline a vaccine. “There is no justifiable moral obligation to accept vaccination,” the statement reads. “If a vaccine has been developed, tested, or produced with technology that an individual deems morally unacceptable, such as the use of abortion-derived fetal cell lines, vaccine refusal is morally acceptable.”The release also quotes from the statement, which says, “It is long overdue for researchers to abandon the use of abortion-derived cells. When all approved vaccines are fully ethical, from development to production, our physician-led organizations and like-minded Americans will no longer question their use...."