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(Photo Credit: Diocese of Camden Life and Justice Ministries)

(Photo Credit: Diocese of Camden Life and Justice Ministries)

by Barton Gingerich (@bjgingerich)

Many thanks to Matt O’Reilly for spotlighting the North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (NCCUMC), which recently issued a resolution on the General Board of Church and Society’s belated coverage of the Kermit Gosnell hearings. The previous media blackout of event reached the status of scandal as journalists politely ignored the grisly trial, thus eliciting criticism from alternative pro-life outlets on blogs and social media. The GBCS seemed to wait for the public firestorm to die down during the initial outcry (and after a Twitter campaign by pro-life United Methodists). The national United Methodist lobbying arm offered up a rather anemic press statement condemning the extreme violations of Gosnell while sidestepping any pro-life affirmations.

Nevertheless, the North Carolinians thanked the GBCS for eventually addressing to the Gosnell trial (certainly outside the oldline activist norm). In its official statement, the annual conference resolved, “[T]hat the 2013 session of the North Carolina Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church acknowledges, with moral revulsion, the horrific injustices that that emerged from the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell; and we pray that Dr. Gosnell would have a change of heart.” And the NCCUMC announced it would “write a letter to the General Board of Church and Society which: commends the General Board of Church and Society for its public statement on the Gosnell trial.”

As Matt notes in his post, the language remains somewhat problematic. Nevertheless, the resolution is to be commended, especially since the NCCUMC seemed to pass a slew of leftist resolutions–including a stridently pro-birth control statement. I for one am pleasantly surprised that an issue touching abortion passed through such a gathering. Maybe more annual conferences will gather up the courage to end the United Methodist silence on life issues and raise awareness on this moral crisis. Right now, church officials seem pleased to quietly drift along the social current.