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The United Methodist Church overturned its 40-year ban on gay clergy last week, marking a historic shift in the church’s stance on homosexuality.

The church has long been divided into factions over LGBTQ inclusion and even weighed splitting into two separate churches over the issue.

In 1984, the church banned “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from becoming members of the clergy and later added performing or celebrating same-sex unions to “a list of chargeable offenses that could result in a church trial.”

But no more. Those terrible policies have been expunged. This is excellent news, of course. The arc of history continues to bend toward justice.

But I can’t help but think  – and perhaps this is petty of me…

But when you finally abandon your bigotry, you should probably atone for your past bigotry, which should probably begin by admitting you were a bunch of bigots for a long time and probably made the lives of a lot of good, decent people a lot less happy than they could have been.


Just a simple:

“Hey, everyone! Listen up! It sucks to admit this, but we were bigots for a long, long time. We denied basic rights to people based on our stupid, arrogant beliefs about who should love whom. We were hateful monsters, but we have seen the error of our ways. We are deeply sorry for our immorality and cruelty. You were right, and we were wrong.”

This is admittedly not the Nelson Mandela approach to forgiveness, rooted in the belief that by forgiving your oppressors, you can move beyond the pain and anger of his past and focus on building a better future, but as I acknowledged, my proposal might be coming from a place of pettiness.

But it always annoys me when some hateful bigot fights against the rights of the LGBTQ community for years, only to one day discover that their daughter, son, best friend, or favorite uncle is gay and suddenly see the error of their ways, absent any acknowledgment that they were vile monsters damaging and sometimes destroying the possible happiness of others for a long time before finally changing their mind.

I want some meaningless public accountability, damn it. Is that too much to ask?