M E M O R A N D U M
Date: 29 MAR 2021
From: Michael J. Merritt, USN Retired/Writer
PO BOX 187
Newton, IA 50208
To: The United Methodist Church
Info: United Methodist Church Conferences of the United States of America
Subject: Prejudicial Execution of Religious Doctrine and the Protection of Corruption within the United Methodist Church
I am currently building a Civil Case against Hope United Methodist Church of Marshalltown, IA and the Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church for sexual misconduct/unethical behavior, and a theological case against The United Methodist Church for what evidence shows is open discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
I am building this Civil Case because, as a citizen of the United States, I have a right to communicating my grievances in a judicial forum and because an organization that preaches to forgive trespasses utilized armed police at the doorstep of a retired veteran (honorably discharged after 20 years of service in the United States Navy and author of this correspondence who has no criminal record and was not guilty of a crime) known to them to suffer from severe depression and anxiety to suppress their involvement in behavior communicated to them in a written complaint I filed with Hope United Methodist Church of Marshalltown, IA in 2018. My objective is to protect others from sexual misconduct and abuses of power executed by members of the United Methodist clergy and its leadership as I have witnessed it. This civil case is necessary because these organizations have chosen to utilize the local police to suppress evidence and terminate a discussion involving their misconduct and failure to take accountability. I have decided to focus attention on this matter after deciding to forgive this church and move on due to evidence showing this church leader is still stalking/collecting information on my personal life.
"1. Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." - Romans 13:1-2
"10. nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." - 1 Corinthians 6:10
The United Methodist Church states on homosexuality:
“Homosexuality was first openly debated at General Conference in 1972, four years after the formation of The United Methodist Church, resulting in the addition of first statement on homosexuality. While affirming belief that persons of homosexual orientation are persons of sacred worth who need the ministry and guidance of the church, the statement added that the church “does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.” [Timeline: https://www.umnews.org/en/news/gc2016-tackling-44-year-stance-on-homosexuality]
Since that time, the church has maintained the position that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” Sexual relations are affirmed only within the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage. This draws a distinction between orientation and practice, or behavior.
Based on this position, the church has also maintained restrictions regarding clergy. Pastors may not be “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals” and may not conduct ceremonies that celebrate same-sex weddings or unions. Such ceremonies also may not be held on church property.”United Methodist Church website, “https://www.umc.org/en/content/ask-the-umc-what-is-the-churchs-position-on-homosexuality” accessed on 28 MAR 2021
United Methodist doctrine dictates that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teachings. Roman 13: 1-2 is clear that Christians are to follow the laws of the state because God has established those authorities. 1 Corinthians 6:10, as well as many other verses within the Holy Bible, speak against the abuse of alcohol. The evidence I am communicating in this correspondence shows The United Methodist Church executes prejudicial behavior regarding which Christian doctrine its members are allowed to be incompatible with when deciding who is allowed to lead within its organization. If we all exist in a state of sin on what authority do any of us have to cast a stone at someone regarding their ability to lead, or in simple language on whose authority do we have the ability to pick and choose which incompatibilities with Christian teachings disqualify someone’s ability to lead within a church.
Hope United Methodist Church of Marshalltown, IA employs a church leader (Worship Arts Coordinator/Caucasian/female) that:
1. The State of Iowa charged with an OWI (1st offense) on 06 FEB 2011. IA Case: 02641 AGCR0777273-Guilty.
2. I reported sexual misconduct/unethical behavior in 2018 to Hope United Methodist Church of Marshalltown, IA, and its regional conference in 2019 who involved armed Marshalltown Police Department detectives in body armor in 2019 at my front door with no charges being filed or arrests being made. (intimidation/manipulation and unethical use of law enforcement)
3. The State of Iowa charged with an OWI (2nd Offense) on 18 JAN 2021. IA Case: 02641 OWCR098171-Court date pending.
If the United Methodist Church does not allow clergy that execute lifestyles that are incompatible with Christian teachings. Why does Hope United Methodist Church of Marshalltown, IA, allow people to fill leadership positions within their church who live lifestyles that are incompatible with Christian teachings while putting the lives of innocent people in danger with their irresponsible use of alcohol that violates Iowa State Code and sexual misconduct/unethical behavior?
Does The United Methodist Church have different requirements for individuals filling leadership positions over what is documented it requires for Methodist clergy? Or does The United Methodist Church discriminate specifically against individuals that are a part of the LGBTQ community?
The United Methodist Church needs to execute more uniformly its policy prohibiting people in leadership positions that have incompatible lifestyles with “all” Christian doctrine, or the United Methodist Church needs to communicate transparently that it discriminates specifically against the LGBTQ community with what evidence suggests is a prejudicial selection of which sins are allowed to be committed by its leaders and which are not. As Hope United Methodist Church of Marshalltown, IA employs, protects, and endorses unethical behavior and the habitual violation of the laws of the state of Iowa, Romans 13: 1-2, and 1 Corinthians 6:10, and other Christian doctrines by its choice to retain personnel in leadership positions that have documented ethical disqualifiers in the historical public record of their personal conduct.
When a person or organization does not consistently manifest their personal beliefs that exist in the metaphysical in the physical shared reality, it shows evidence of either their ignorance of their own doctrine or possible evidence of their discrimination towards certain demographics in accordance with their personal or political agendas.
As any church teaches, to be human is to exist in a state of sin. If a person comes forward about their sexuality are they not being honest with an organization that professes their behavior is a sin. Are they not living a life of integrity and authenticity. The United Methodist Church shows evidence that it desires clergy that is without sin on paper while statistically speaking they most likely conceal their sins on their phone, in the shadows of their personal life, and/or within their local police department.
The answer to these questions resides within the documented level of integrity of the Pastor of Hope United Methodist Church of Marshalltown, IA, the Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church, and The United Methodist Church.
IOWA CODE CHAPTER 321J – OPERATING WHILE INTOXICATED, §321J.2
4. A second offense is punishable by all of the following (if found guilty):
a. A minimum period of imprisonment in the county jail or community-based correctional facility of seven days but not to exceed two years. b. Assessment of a minimum fine of one thousand eight hundred seventy-five dollars and a maximum fine of six thousand two hundred fifty dollars. Surcharges and fees shall be assessed pursuant to chapter 911. c. Revocation of the defendant’s driver’s license for a period of one year, if a revocation occurs pursuant to section 321J.12, subsection 1. If revocation occurs due to test refusal under section 321J.9, or pursuant to section 321J.4, subsection 2, the defendant’s license shall be revoked for a period of two years. d. Assignment to substance abuse evaluation and treatment, a course for drinking drivers, and, if available and appropriate, a reality education substance abuse prevention program pursuant to section 321J.24.
1. Holy Bible New International Version, Romans 13: 1-2
2. Holy Bible New International Version, 1 Corinthians 6:10
3. Iowa Code Chapter 321J, “https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/ico/chapter/321J.pdf“, accessed on 28 MAR 2021
4. Iowa Code Chapter 708.7, “https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/code//708.7.pdf“, accessed on 29 MAR 2021
5. United Methodist Church, “https://www.umc.org/en/content/ask-the-umc-what-is-the-churchs-position-on-homosexuality” accessed on 28 MAR 2021
6. Hope United Methodist website, “https://lifeinhopemarshalltown.org/leadership/“, accessed on 29 MAR 2021
7. Iowa Courts website, “https://www.iowacourts.state.ia.us/ESAWebApp/DefaultFrame“, accessed on 27 MAR 2021
This correspondence has been publicly posted for the purpose of public interest, and opening up a dialog regarding religious persecution and corruption in the modern era.
This correspondence is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
Iowa Code Chapter 708.7 paragraph 6(b.) states disclosures made in the public interest, including but not limited to the reporting of unlawful conduct, disclosures by law enforcement, news reporting, legal proceeding disclosures, or medical treatment disclosures does not constitute harassment (threat).