Anne Turpeau, women's rights activist and chairperson of the D.C. Commission on the Status of Women, discovered recently that the United Methodist Church formally adopted position pamphlets in 1976 that Turpeau says read like "feminist journals."
"I thought in my own arrogance that I was way ahead (of the church) in what the Scriptures revealed to me. I found that the positions I supported were the positions of my church," she said while speaking at the Mount Zion United Methodist Church Women's Day celebration in the crowded Georgetown church Sunday.
Turpeau said she made the discovery after testifying before the District of Columbia City Council in behalf of funds for therapeutic abortions. Council member Douglas Moore (D-At-Large) asked about her church's position on the issue.
Davida Perry, a representative of the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights supplied Turpeau with two pamphlets, "The Social Principles of the United Methodist Church" and "Responsible Parenthood."
Adopted by the 1976 General Conference of United Methodists, "Social Principles" carries a recommendation to safeguard the legal right of women to abortion "without regard to economic status. "Responsible Parenthood refers to "tragic conflicts with life that may justify abortion, Turpeau said.
A veteran of the International Women's Year conference in Houston last November, Turpeau said she was surprised to find: "There is not an issue we discussed (in Houston) or a vote we took that is not part of (the church's) social positions."