Out of the Fold?

The debate over gay ordination and same-sex unions poses a critical choice for mainline Protestants: Embrace or schism?

It should have been a celebration of unity, but it turned into a shocking tableau of discord. Louisiana bishop Dan Solomon was presiding over the General Conference of the United Methodist Convention, a contentious but usually joyous quadrennial meeting to plot the future of America's second-largest Protestant denomination. Solomon had proved an amiable and unflappable moderator, but now his voice cracked. "I speak to you with anguish about what is about to unfold," he said. "I bury my head in prayer. I cannot witness what is about to occur." As 5,000 delegates looked on, Solomon's head did drop to the lectern....

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