It’s not the Tampa convention politicos are waiting for, but the United Methodist Church is currently holding its General Conference in the Florida city. The largest mainline Protestant denomination has voted against changing the Book of Discipline’s holding that homosexual behavior is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” The United Methodists upheld the doctrine by a vote of 61 percent to 39 percent (the New York Times described this as a deadlock). A compromise amendment saying Methodists can agree to disagree on the issue was defeated by a vote of 53 percent to 47 percent.
The votes suggest a working majority coalition between orthodox African delegates and U.S. evangelicals. This has kept Methodists from going in the same liberalizing direction on social issues as the other mainline Protestant churches. It will be interesting to see if this coalition has the votes to yank the United Methodist Church out of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.