Sixty percent of evangelical Christian leaders say they don't drink alcohol socially, citing reasons as diverse as the words of St. Paul, the desire to be a good leader and a history of alcoholism in the family, according to a survey by the National Association of Evangelicals released Thursday.
There is no prohibition on drinking alcohol in the Bible, but "as an example to family and those I serve, I like Paul's words, 'It is better not to,'" said Gary Benedict, president of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, citing Romans 14:21.
Years before the nation's capital legalized same-sex marriage in March, one church in Washington, D.C., opened its doors to gay couples as part of its mission to establish an "inclusive body of Biblical believers."
Pastors Christine and Dennis Wiley performed a 2007 commitment ceremony at their altar. That action split the historically black church, prompting half of the congregation to leave.
Yvonne Moore not only left Covenant Baptist, where she had worshipped for nearly 40 years: she filed a lawsuit for her weekly tithes because, as she said, "They didn't respect the members enough to listen to us."
Gary Spino, left, and Tony Brown, right
Editor's Note: Tony Brown and his partner Gary Spino are featured in the upcoming CNN In America documentary "Gary and Tony Have a Baby," airing on CNN 8 p.m. ET Thursday. Tony Brown submitted this blog post on the importance of his Christian faith:
By Tony Brown, Special to CNN
As a child I was taught to believe in myself, in family and in God. To a confused adolescent struggling with his sexuality, that was easier said than done.
Being the victim of constant and severe bullying due to my perceived sexuality, I developed a strong aversion to organized religion. After all, every religious voice I heard in my youth - whether it was from the pulpit or in the news - told me that I was evil and that there was something wrong with me.
My heart said otherwise. As I later learned, so did God.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.