by Steven Ertelt
January 21, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life organization for members of the Methodist Church says it hopes the Protestant Christian denomination will reform its long-standing pro-abortion views. The group hopes Methodists will be open to the message of Bishop William Willimon of Birmingham, who will be delivering a pro-life speech on Tuesday before the March for Life.
LifeWatch, the unofficial United Methodist pro-life caucus, says Bishop Willimon will address the group in the chapel of the United Methodist Building, headquarters of the pro-abortion United Methodist Board of Church and Society.
LifeWatch will urge the governing United Methodist General Conference this spring to affirm the sanctity of all human life.
Mark Tooley, the executive director of the United Methodist Action Committee of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, told LifeNews.com that the church has lost significant numbers of members because of its pro-abortion views and that it was time to consider reform.
"The failed policies of liberal Protestantism, which relativized human life, are now discredited, he said. United Methodists should stand with the universal church in defending the sanctity of all human life."
"LifeWatch’s goal is to win the hearts and minds of United Methodists, to engage in abortion-prevention through theological, pastoral and social emphases that affirm all human life, he added. Pro-life United Methodists like Bishop Willimon are commendably working to create in church and society greater esteem for human life at its most vulnerable.
Two years ago, Bishop Timothy Whitaker of Florida made history at the Lifewatch service by publicly criticizing United Methodist pro-abortion rights policies.
At their annual meetings in June, the North Carolina and Mississippi Conferences of the United Methodist Church called on the denomination to limit its support for legal abortion to cases of danger to the mother’s physical life.
In 1972, leaders of the United Methodist Church narrowly voted to adopt a position broadly in favor of legal abortion. But there have been several incremental improvements in the years since then.
For instance, in 2000 the denomination adopted a position against most instances of partial-birth abortion.
Last year, the North Carolina and Mississippi Conferences, along with the regional bodies representing United Methodists in eastern Tennessee, South Indiana, and Northwest Texas also passed resolutions calling on the denomination to withdraw its membership in the radically pro-abortion Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC).