United Methodist Church

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The United Methodist Church upholds the sanctity of unborn human life and is reluctant to affirm abortion as an acceptable practice, except when the life of the mother is threatened. Further, the church strongly condemns the use of late-term or partial birth abortion, "except when the physical life of the mother is in danger and no other medical procedure is available, or in the case of severe fetal anomalies incompatible with life."[56] The Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality (TUMAS) was formed in 1987 to further the pro-life ministry in the United Methodist Church.[57] In addition, the denomination as a whole is committed to "assist the ministry of crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers that compassionately help women find feasible alternatives to abortion;"[58] however, the Church recognizes the legal right of the mother to choose after proper consideration of all options with medical, pastoral and other counsel, and emphasizes the need to be in supportive ministry with all women, regardless of their choice.[56]


Historically, the Methodist Church has supported the temperance movement.[59] John Wesley warned against the dangers of drinking in his famous sermon, "The Use of Money,"[60] and in his letter to an alcoholic.[61] At one time, Methodist ministers had to take a pledge not to drink and encouraged their congregations to do the same.[62] Today the United Methodist Church states that it "affirms our long-standing support of abstinence from alcohol as a faithful witness to God's liberating and redeeming love for persons."[63] In fact, the United Methodist Church uses unfermented grape juice in the sacrament of Holy Communion, thus "expressing pastoral concern for recovering alcoholics, enabling the participation of children and youth, and supporting the church's witness of abstinence."[64] Today, the United Methodist Church still officially lobbies for national prohibition, condemns beer and cigarette advertising on radio and television, and tries to ban beer from army and navy establishments.[65]

Capital punishment

The United Methodist Church, along with other Methodist churches, condemns capital punishment, saying that it cannot accept retribution or social vengeance as a reason for taking human life.[66] The Church also holds that the death penalty falls unfairly and unequally upon marginalized persons including the poor, the uneducated, ethnic and religious minorities, and persons with mental and emotional illnesses.[67] The United Methodist Church also believes that Jesus explicitly repudiated the lex talionis in Matthew 5:38-39 and abolished the death penalty in John 8:7.[66] The General Conference of the United Methodist Church calls for its bishops to uphold opposition to capital punishment and for governments to enact an immediate moratorium on carrying out the death penalty sentence.

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