For some years Methodists have – for good or ill – led American culture. Methodists were the first denomination to officially recognize the new US government. Methodists split over slavery 17 yeras before the country did – rehearsing many of the same issues and arguments used during the Civil War. Methodists led the way in education, and in societal reforms.
Since the 1960s, however, the Methodists are no longer leading the culture – and considering the direction the culture is going, that can be seen as a good thing. While the sexual revolution began to consume our society in the 1960s, it did not begin to consume the churhc until a decade later. Sure, we now have full blown battles over the compatibility of homosexuality and the Christian faith, but at least we didn’t originate the issue. I remember hearing a pastor argue against that compatibility about 15 years ago. One of his arguments addressed the issue of orientation. He confessed to having an orientation toward many women, instead of mere monogamy. Just as this orientation failed to trump the Christian teaching of monogamy, so-called homosexual orientation fails to trump biblical injunctions against the practice.
Now scholars are coming out with arguments in foavor legal acceptability of “polyamory.” In today NRO, Stanley Kurtz tells of one such challenge, prepared by a professor at the University of Chicago Law School. Though I have heard United Methodists speak in favor of homosexual practice, I have not yet heard any United Methodists speak in favor of polyamory (though as sinners, some appear to be practitioners).