Some inside baseball on the church front. At the big "C" church level, I'm part of the team that is fighting to open up the United Methodist Church membership, clergy ranks, etc. to people of all races, genders, sexual orientation, and any other status. The church has some contradictions to work out, namely:
1. The UMC constitution states that people should not be denied membership based on status
2. Sexual orientation was recently ruled by a regional church judicial body to be a qualifying status
3. Other regional judicial bodies have ruled that pastors can deny membership based on sexual orientation
Like in the US government, there is a supreme judicial branch, the Judicial Council. This summer at our Annual Conference, we in Northern Illinois approved a formal petition to the Council to address this contradiction, and to rule that discriminating based on status should be unconstitutional.
They punted, saying that we didn't pass our petition correctly.
This is bogus. All of our petitions were available for debate and were voted on. The Judicial Council is literally making up law as it goes.