LIFEWATCH'S MODEL RESOLUTION
As The United Methodist Church prepares for yet another season of Annual Conference sessions in 1999 and yet another General Conference in 2000, the Lifewatch community can and should be preparing to lead our denomination toward a more faithful witness on life and abortion. With that challenge in mind, we offer the following model resolution.
Lifewatch invites and encourages you to bring this resolution to the floor of your Annual Conference session this coming spring or summer. You might have your local church approve it and submit it to your Annual Conference. Or you might gather a group from your District or your Conference to endorse it and send it in. Or you, as an individual, might offer it to your Annual Conference. Whatever means you employ, please make sure that this resolution is brought to a vote during the 1999 session of your Annual Conference.
To get this model resolution to the floor of your Annual Conference next summer, you will need to submit a copy of the resolution, edited for your home conference, to your conference office before your conference's resolution deadline. Some deadlines, we understand, are as early as mid-January 1999, so it would be good to get cracking on this project immediately, if not sooner.
Your effort, in service of the Gospel of Life, might well assist General Conference 2000 in stepping away from United Methodism's present pro-choice, indeed pro-abortion, position. Your effort, in service of the Gospel of Life, might well help General Conference 2000 to break ranks with the culture of death and join the culture of life.
Our thanks to Ruth Brown, James A. Gibson, Michael J. Gorman, John E. Juergensmeyer, Rob Richey, and Marc Rogers for their wise counsel and helpful assistance in crafting this model resolution.
Also, thank you for your careful attention, your prayerful consideration, and your affirmative response. And may the Lord be with you as you advance this Christian witness for life.
RESOLUTION: AMENDING THE BOOK OF DISCIPLINE'S PARAGRAPH ON ABORTION (65J):
WHEREAS, the Church has witnessed and worked, through the ages, to protect "the least of these" (Matthew 25:40), including unborn children and their mothers; that is, from the Didache to the Church Fathers, from Martin Luther and John Calvin and John Wesley to Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from Albert Outler and Paul Ramsey to Mother Teresa, the teachers and teachings of the Church have consistently promoted protection of the unborn and their mothers;
WHEREAS, Paragraph 65J of the 1996 Book of Discipline states belief in "the sanctity of unborn human life" and "the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother;"
WHEREAS, Paragraph 65J on abortion, as it now reads, is morally ambiguous; therefore, this paragraph is incapable of rendering moral guidance on abortion that is consistent with historic Christian teaching and with its own affirmations; this is particularly tragic in American society, which has counted over 35 million abortions performed since 1973 and now averages approximately 3,800 abortions performed each day;
WHEREAS, Paragraph 65J's moral ambiguity has allowed The United Methodist Church's General Board of Church and Society, along with the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, to affiliate with and support the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a political lobby that advocates abortion on demand in American society and contradicts Paragraph 65J's own assertion of "the sanctity of unborn human life;"
AND WHEREAS, Paragraph 65J is sufficiently ambiguous to allow United Methodist leaders to support, in a public way, the continued legal status of partial-birth abortion, a procedure which only the most radical advocates of abortion approve;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 1999 session of the _______________ Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church hereby charges its Conference Secretary, using the entire rationale stated above, to petition General Conference 2000, in a timely and appropriate manner, to amend Paragraph 65J of The Book of Discipline to read:
"Paragraph 65(J) Abortion--Human beings
are created by God. The beginning of
[In this paragraph, boldface type indicates insertion, and
Submitted by _______________________
[The text of this model resolution can be copied from the Lifewatch Website: http://home.sprynet.com/sprynet/tumaslw/ ]