Feature

Lesbian pastor acquitted

The week's news at a glance.

Bothell, Wash.

A jury of Methodist ministers has found a fellow clergy member not guilty of violating church law by living openly in a lesbian relationship. The Rev. Karen Dammann was acquitted of the charges brought against her after the jury decided last week that the Methodist Book of Discipline, which guides the 8.5 million–member denomination, was vague on whether “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” But church law, the ministers ruled, was clear on one key point—that “basic human rights and civil liberties are due all persons.” The verdict came one month before the church’s quadrennial national conference, setting up what could be the institution’s largest battle since its split over slavery in 1844.

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