Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bishop Goodpaster's Response to Health Care Reform

Bishop Larry Goodpaster's response to the health care bill. With the UMC HT in the recent passing of the health care reform bill it is nice to see my bishop coming out and reminded everyone who speaks on behalf of the denomination. It is a nice review of our church polity.
Thank you for your note and your concern about The United Methodist Church and the recent conversations about health care in the United States. First, as you know, no one speaks for The United Methodist Church except the General Conference which meets every four years. The General Conference is composed of almost 1,000 delegates, one-half lay persons and one-half clergy from around the world. We in the Western North Carolina Conference have 26 voting delegates. Bishops have no voice or vote in the proceedings of the General Conference.
For more than 20 years, The United Methodist Church, through the General Conference, has stated its position regarding health care. Our most recent statement, developed and adopted by the 2008 General Conference, long before any of these most recent debates and actions in Congress, can be found in the social principles of The Book of Discipline, page 117. In addition, the 2008 General Conference adopted resolution #3201 regarding health care, and that resolution can be found on page 346 of The Book of Resolutions. As bishops and leaders of our denomination, we cannot act or make statements outside the bounds of these actions of General Conference.
Please know of my continued prayers for you and for our church as together we seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Bishop Goodpaster


Anonymous said...

HCR was a very polarizing piece of legislation. The Speaker publicly thanked UMC for their support. Now the people within UMC are somewhat divided over this. I have no idea where Bishop Goodpaster is coming from. His after the fact statement says nothing.

Unknown said...

Yes the Speaker of the House did publicly thank the UMC which I am sure made people upset. This is why Bishop Goodpaster made the following statement. The UMC could not formally and officially back such a bill because no individual can speak for the denomination, only the General Conference. This polity makes it impossible for our denomination to back this piece of legislation because the last time the GC met was in 2008, before this president was even elected.

The Bishop's statement says exactly that, which is what I like. The UMC's official stance on health care were agreed upon 20 years ago, and the resolution #3201 was adopted in 2008. Long before this was a public and dividing issue.

I cannot imagine how the Bishop's mail/email box have blown up since that hat tip from the Speaker of the House. But, once again, what I like about this statement from the Bishop is it backs our polity. If people don't like the fact that the UMC thinks health care is a "basic human right" then they can go through the proper channels to rewrite that social principal in our Disciple.

Your statement "Now the people within the UMC are somewhat divided over this," is true. But that is probably because they now realize what their church actually believes on this issue.