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The Free Methodist Church

Of especial personal interest to me is the Free Methodist Church where I attended from age 5 to 19 and 22-23, where my mom is ordained, and where I technically still hold membership papers. Our little denomination has a number of colleges including Greenville College where I attended. Another college, Spring Arbor University, received a lot of attention after firing faculty member Dr. Julie Nemecek explicitly because she decided to transition.  In her legal struggle with the university, she argued they had no grounds to fire her because "The Free Methodist Book of Discipline lists gender identity issues - along with organ transplants and environmental issues - as ethical dilemmas not sin or something perverse."  The Book of Discipline is the final authority for spelling out doctrine for the FM Church.  She's right:

    D Other Ethical Dilemmas
    These Biblical principle, which guide our approach to bioethics will need to be applied on an ongoing basis to other ethical dilemmas rising from advances in medical technology. Such ethical dilemmas may include but not be limited to: the allocation of finite resources, organ transplantation, end-of-life concerns, genetic engineering and testing, gender identity issues and others. (2003 p59. Emphasis mine.)

While the Book of Discipline is clear on hot button issues like homosexuality, abortion, and euthanasia, gender identity (which could not refer to anything other than transgenderism) is set aside as something the church is undecided upon. I think the FM Church here is surprisingly wise here, waiting until some of the scientific dust clears before taking a stand. I do not know what "medical technology" they refer to - discovering if transgenderism has a biological cause or the outcome of medical transitions work? In any event, being neutral is a step forward at present. Who knows, perhaps a liberal group who, in their time, took a stand against slavery and for women's rights and ordination will aid trans people too.
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