Statement on the “trial” of United Methodist Church’s first openly-lesbian bishop Karen Oliveto

Washington DC, April 25, 2017 — The United Methodist Church’s first openly LGBTQ bishop Karen Oliveto is being tried by the church’s highest court for who she is and loves. Oliveto oversees four states in her capacity as a bishop.

“This is an outrageous and immoral attack on a senior faith leader — simply because she is an out and proud married lesbian. This has a chilling effect on United Methodist Church clergy and parishioners alike. To paraphrase Bishop Oliveto, she is not the first LGBTQ clergy and she won’t be the last. Faith should never be used to punish and silence people. On the contrary, faith calls us to be authentically ourselves — as we have seen with the inspirational leadership of Bishop Karen. Faith is liberating. We urge the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church to respect her election and the will of the spirit and the people— and build on this historic opportunity to be more loving, welcoming and affirming of LGBTQ people,” said Pastor Naomi Washington-Leapheart, the Task Force’s Faith Work Director.

The National LGBTQ Task Force’s faith organizing work provides fellowship, inspiration, skills, capacity building and concrete strategies to explore how faith and the practice of radical welcome can build grassroots power. The organization is determined to shift the phony narrative that says there are no LGBTQ people of faith and no people of faith who welcome LGBTQ people.

Naomi UMC Bishop Quote


Jorge Amaro
Media and Public Relations Director