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August 10th, 2010
10:38 AM ET

‘Ex-gay’ ministry on gay marriage's chances after Prop 8 ruling

Alan Chambers’ opposition to Prop 8 isn’t political. It’s personal.

Chambers is the president of Exodus International, a nonprofit “ex-gay” ministry that promises freedom from homosexuality. He is also “ex-gay”– a married father of two children who says he’s abandoned homosexuality.

Chambers sighed when asked his reaction to last week’s controversial court decision. A judge ruled that California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8, violated the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.

“It’s disappointing that a judge would rule against the will of the people,” says Chambers, author of "Leaving Homosexuality." “That’s the greatest tragedy.”

For 34 years, Exodus has told gay and lesbians that they can be “delivered” from homosexuality through faith in Christ, professional counseling and support groups.

But how will groups like Exodus fare if fewer Americans believe that homosexuality is a sin, and if gay marriage becomes an option?

Chambers acknowledged that “our culture is changing” and said more people are abandoning a biblical view of homosexuality.

Does he think gay marriage is inevitable?

“It certainly seems so,” Chambers says. “The jury is still out and there are certainly areas where I see a tendency for more rights for gay and lesbian people. But I also see that there’s still a fight among American people so it’s hard to know.”

Though there seems to be more acceptance of gay and lesbian people in popular culture, Chambers says demand for Exodus ministry has not declined.

“Our calls are increasing,” he says. “Our ministries say we’re busier than ever.”

He says the Prop 8 ruling shows something else: More Americans are accepting the humanity of gay and lesbian people.

“We’re entering a time when we are more compassionate and loving toward people who deserve our compassion,” he says, “and that’s gay and lesbian people.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: California • Christianity • Culture wars • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Politics • United States

soundoff (338 Responses)
  1. BillySaint

    Alan is one Gay Duck. They don't quack any louder.

    August 10, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
    • hugs

      Aren't they all !?- every conservative 'convert' I've bumped in to is gay'er than the $3 dollar bill

      August 10, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
  2. NEON whip

    you might as well laugh cause its funny theres even such a thing as homphobia

    August 10, 2010 at 9:48 pm |
  3. NEON whip

    you might as well laugh cause it's funny theres even such a thing as homo"phobia"

    August 10, 2010 at 9:47 pm |
  4. autom

    It's really sad that he calls equality and equal protection under the law a "tragedy". That's religion for you. They won't be happy until they have a theocracy. The bible was used for centuries to justify everything from slavery to murder, so I guess it's not a surprise that Christians would continue to be intolerant and hateful to this day.

    August 10, 2010 at 9:31 pm |
  5. Leah (TXanimal)

    Right, because asking a woman to live a lie with you won't damage the institution of marriage at all...

    August 10, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
  6. mcb

    i am sick of the bible....too many versions of them, too many religions (that differ, yet use the same book) oh, and by the way, jesus was gay (John 20-2, 21-7-21-20)

    August 10, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
    • Jeff

      If you're tired of all the different versions, go back to the Greek (for the New Testament anyway). The (transliteration of the) word used in the verses you quote is 'agape', which is a form of love that connotes no sexual intent whatsoever. Funny, though. 🙂

      August 10, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
    • Jeff

      If you're tired of all the different versions, go back to the Greek (for the New Testament anyway). The (transliteration of the) word used in the verses you quote is 'agape', which is a form of love that connotes nos exual intent whatsoever. Funny, though. 🙂

      August 10, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
    • Dono

      You say " Jesus was gay". Oh right, and Harvey Milk was straight as an arrow!

      August 11, 2010 at 1:36 am |
    • David Johnson

      @mcb

      First, prove there really was a Jesus and then we'll discuss his ~exual orientation. LOL

      August 11, 2010 at 10:01 am |
    • cindy

      You will rule the day you said Jesus was gay.

      August 11, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • TacoLoco

      cindy –

      Don't you mean "rue" the day? Or were you being sarcastic? I can't tell.

      August 11, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
    • TacoLoco

      And plus, what's so wrong with saying Jesus was gay? She didn't say he was "homosexual" or "was sexually attracted to men". Maybe the implication was that Jesus was "happy" because you do know "gay=happy" (the sexual connotation was added not too long ago in the American culture).

      The Bible doesn't mention anything regarding Jesus and sex.

      You would think the greatest gift God or Jesus would have been able to bestow upon the world would have been an extension of himself that would live on, not to abandon his people in their (Christians) greatest time of need.

      Christians faced some of the harshest persecutions a short time after the death of Christ. You would THINK a son or daughter would have been offered by the King of Kings, but there is absolutely NO mention of even the idea or possibility of Jesus procreating.

      My discussing the subject could possibly be viewed as blasphemous in some religious circles.

      I bring this up to reveal a point about American society's non-critical and utter reliance on an ancient text that has caused the oppression of a minority by the democratic majority.

      To answer the moral question "Is this right?" In my view, NO! Does it "naturally" have to be morally right? Again, no.

      Man was not "naturally" meant to fly, yet he was smart enough to figure out how to manipulate his environment to allow him to do so. Was there ever a moral question regarding human flight? Nope.

      Why? It was viewed as progress and the benefits far outweighed the risk of God being angry at man for not "remaining morally natural" even though many religious groups were morally against "human-flight".

      And yes, the above situation IS allegorical.

      August 11, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      mcb,

      Jesus loved all the Apostles and hundreds of other people in the Bible, plus He loves you and me. That does not make him gay.

      You are right about too many versions of the Bible…it was man who took the Bible in the 1500’s, threw out Books and added and subtracted and twisted words to suit themselves and printed them as they changed them. The Bible was determined by the Catholic Church about 300AD. You can still obtain such a copy.

      Before the Bible came into being, the Apostles and their successors did as Jesus told them to….go out and Baptize all nations and teach them everything He told them and He also said He would send the Holy Spirit to them to guide and bring them into the fullness of Truth because they could not bear to hear it all just then. As the Apostles and their successors carried out Jesus Christ’s plan for the world, many heresies cropped up along the way, just as there are today but it wasn’t until the printing press was invented that man took the Bible and started making them up as they wished. Before that, Monks spent their whole lives hand copying each Bible.

      All these denominations who use the Bible claim they have the Truth but the Holy Spirit would not make such a mistake and give each one a different Truth. It is a man made mess.

      It is to the point now where this group wants to get rid of the Old Testament, and that group wants to say ‘down with religion’ altogether because they are embarrassed at what has happened and too prideful to come home to the Church that Jesus Christ founded… when will all the splitting off end?….I guess when each person becomes his own pope.

      I don’t blame you for your frustration.

      August 11, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  7. Tiredoffools

    Jeff, you just don't get it. It all goes back to your BELIEF in god. I have the right not to believe in god. Therefore, I have the right to discount all arguments made in the name of god. It follows that any argument made with the basis of god or religion as the primary source of information, logic, or persuasion is baseless and cannot be applied. McCluck is right, you are wrong.

    Plus, no matter what arguments you might want to make about your creator and any other moral implications of other practices, there is nothing wrong with gay marriage. It does not impact the life of any straight couple and anyone who does not support gay marriage is no different than anyone who believed in slavery 150 years ago, or those who thought that women shouldn't vote 90 years ago. You are so insecure about your place in the world that you attack others.

    August 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
    • Jeff

      Tired, I totally respect your right not to believe in god. I don't think I posted anything to the contrary; rather, I simply stated my belief. And, if you'll review my post, I never mentioned anything regarding gay marriage. I simply engaged McCluck in what I hoped was a respectful discussion regarding the standards by which he could call one thing "good" and another thing "bad".

      take care,

      -jeff

      August 10, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Jeff

      You said, "respectful discussion regarding the standards by which he could call one thing "good" and another thing "bad". "

      To decide if an action should be allowed or not, we should consider its effect on society. Murder has a negative effect. Therefore we don't allow it. Gay marriage has no negative effects on society and actually makes a segment, happy. We should allow it.

      What about marriage between close relatives (brother/sister, father/daughter)? Well, that could lead to children with webbed feet. So we won't allow it. See, no slippery slope here.

      What about gathering sticks on a Sunday? Well, it does society no harm, so god would have been overruled.

      See we can do a better job without a sky daddy. Cheers.

      August 11, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  8. mcb

    funny, i didnt think mormonism was considered christian..

    August 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      I don't know either....do they believe in the Holy Trinity?

      August 10, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
    • jim atmadison

      Anybody can claim to be Christian. As a Christian, I am frankly embarrassed by most of the folks that get media time claiming to be Christian. Most of them preach hatred and exclusion, which certainly isn't my reading of Christ's words.

      August 11, 2010 at 7:43 am |
    • maine liberal

      The full name of the Mormon Church

      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints funny

      August 11, 2010 at 10:09 am |
    • maine liberal

      the on going reality show of Levi and Bristol marriage on/off now there is a good Christian union example for 1 man 1 woman

      August 11, 2010 at 10:18 am |
    • Mike1

      its not Christian, nor is the Catholic church...and before you blow your little bearings read history ... Martin Luther for starters..... The RC catechism does not in any way line up with what the bible teaches ...don't get mad at me, just read your RC catechism... the document that is noted as "ex cathedra......

      the Mormons.... don't even get me started... The bible teaches Christ was begotten of the Holy Spirit..... the Mormons teach it was Adam who came down and did the nasty with Mary... those are some pretty big differences to reconcile.

      August 11, 2010 at 11:51 am |
    • TonyB

      Mormonism is not Christian because they are not monotheists - they do not believe in one god. They believe that they themselves can become gods after death, and therefore do not fit the true definition of Christian. Just because they have "Jesus Christ" in their name doesn't make them Christians. Muslims also include Jesus in the Koran but aren't Christian.

      August 11, 2010 at 11:59 am |
    • ScottK

      Mormons are in fact Christians if you follow the definition as "Followers of Christ". They just happen to beleive that after Christ was resurrected and ascended to heaven that he came back to earth in middle america and began teaching the natives and leaving gold plates burried in the forest. Muslims are followers of Mohammed but do believe that Christ was a prophet.

      August 11, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  9. Vynce

    The article says this guy is opposed to prop 8, but he sure doesn't seem to be. Does it mean to say, maybe, tha the is opposed to the *ruling* about prop 8? that he is, in fact, a *proponent* of prop 8?

    August 10, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  10. david

    It makes sense that the ministerea regarding homosexuality is
    thriving, Exodus tilts this statistic as much as it does the idea that homosexuality can be cured, which is a bit like telling ants to stay out of the kitchen. Chambers is quite an odd fellow in that he is full of the same quakery that religion was made famous for. Any time I have seen him on a public talk show he has come off very aloof and just plain weird. Oh well. Someone had to play his part in the drama that hurts so many gays and their families.

    August 10, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  11. UncleM

    Christian bigots should keep their medieval opinions to themselves.

    August 10, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  12. wayne

    If a church decides that, to be married, a couple (first licensed by the STATE) must dance around the altar 15 times,they have every right. When they come to my Courthouse to make me and my lover dance around the judge's bench 15 times, I'll be eternally grateful that there is a judge who will throw their asses out of there!!!!

    August 10, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
  13. East Coaster

    The arguement is so weak.... its all about if it makes you happy, it cant be that bad....

    Its just two guys wanting to do their thing.. fine no problem...

    Between the 2nd and 3rd trimester, i was defined to be klepto.... therefore its my right to come and take your car.... im ok with it... its the way I am and dont infringe upon my right to be who i am.

    Moral relevance has a starting place... McCluck you continually say without eveidence..... please back up from some writing that killing another human is wrong.... dont play feelings and evidence when it works for you... you quoted morals without basis....

    im calling you out to prove where you get those morals from.... it had to come from somewhere even within a normal society.

    Simple science proves that... out of nothing, notihng comes

    August 10, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
    • Eric G

      "Moral relevance", as you call it, is based on what society deems acceptable. The question is, where do you get your morals from? Is it the bible? Do you consider the bible to be an accurate description of your god's character and what he thinks is acceptable?

      August 10, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
    • East Coaster

      like most north americans ... my moral relevance was set as a non-christian by simple biblical concepts... its not too difficult to see that a society that would adhere to the moral code as outlined in the second part of the decalogue, our society would be better off...

      but hey.... im a klepto and i want your house and car... dont infringe upon the way i am... where do you live so i can come and get both.... remember... society that sets rules to allow for one group by nature infringes on another.....for every action there is an opposite...screw the do not steal... empty your savings... and too Obamarama... i want 100,000.. i dont need to work... oops.. damn there is that if no workie... no foodie

      and as for gays.... here in Canada we have doctors that arent afraid of lawsuits so they have written medical journals about the physical risks of the so called gay lifestyle... its quite a read... interestingly the doctors that wrote it just said sue us... if you dare... aqnd they didnt because it was a medical document.....

      August 10, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
    • Ituri

      Klepto tendencies have a VICTIM. Gay marriage does NOT, being consensual bonding between two legal adults in a free society.

      We do not make behaviorally based law, and we do not make religious based law, nor should we. It is not our place to dictate the daily behaviors of others. Only when their behavior impacts others does it give us as a society say in what it is they do. No gay marriage has any effect on any straight person. It only effects them. Just as my marriage does not impact any gay couples relatitonship in turn. Pretending a crime with a victim is related in the slightest to a consensual relationship... or that stealing is a biological issues... are absurd.

      August 10, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
    • ScottK

      Your argument is full of holes East Coaster. When two men decide to get married and live their life together, they have in no way effected you or your property. When you steal someone elses car you have a direct effect on anothers right to own and maintain property. Or do you think that some gay man might come and steal your hetro s e x u al!ty? Me thinks he doth protest to much hom ophobe.

      August 11, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
    • Dr. Marshall

      As a psychologist I can attest to you that we have treatment for your condition, if in fact you are honest in your opinionated piece. However, homosexuality and bisexuality, is no different than heterosexuality. To compare kleptomania with sexual orientation is a serious misnomer. Kleptomania deals with a defect of the brain, usually the amygdala that cases an obsessive compulsive urge to steal and collect stolen items; nothing to do with internal feelings of romantic, sexual and emotional attraction to the same or opposite sex.

      Your fallacious argument reminds me of the "gay equals pedophile" argument, or "gay marriage will eventually equal incestuous marriage" argument. When people, such as yourself, decide to throw out such obtuse and distinguishably lame arguments, which have nothing to do with sexual orientation, you only dismantle yourself and prove how childish people can be when they refuse to accept reality as it is. Without even invoking the nature argument as you tried to, which is a fallacy of logic, we can explain why any sexual orientation, gay, straight, bi, A, is not harmful at all and should be something that a person accept within others and within themselves. Just look at same-sex couples being allowed to marry in Europe and within states like Massachusetts. Nothing negative at all has happened, well with the exception to the income of divorce lawyers due to the lower divorce rates since the passage of gender neutral marriage in those locations. When a person of a homosexual or bisexual orientation makes love to his or her same-sex spouse does that in some way hurt society, the family unit, or whatever? No, it does not. When such a couple has dedicated their lives to one another and is raising or has raised children, does that in some way harm society in the ways that your condition does? No.

      August 11, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
    • McCluck

      Why couldn’t morality be an evolutionarily acquired trait?-One that helps you survive within a society. We have an understanding of what is right and wrong within that society because it helps us survive. What would the majority of others like and dislike us to do based on their own interests?-they would want us to do what society deems moral, i.e. not steal etc. What will make others kill or exile us?-stealing, i.e. acting immoral. What traits do mothers want in a father, considering our children are worthless for a decade?-ones that take care of their children’s needs before their own, a moral act. What would make others willing to trade with us causing a mutually beneficial outcome?-being truthful, i.e. moral. All of these things could lead to an evolutionary advantage of being moral. This means that it was not something that just started one day, but changed and developed along with us. You may notice that around the globe, morality differs from place to place. I for one am not willing to chalk this one up to god instead of assuming there is a logical reason for morality. If you are so sure that morality came from god, then why don’t you explain why it couldn’t have come from evolution? Lack of explanation, is not a reason to say "god did it". Because of all this, I simply know that within the context of my society that it is wrong to kill people.-because evolution gave me the capability to understand right and wrong according to my society. And evolution is driven by what makes an individual better at survival. Killing being an immoral act doesn’t necessarily (although likely does) follow for other societies, hypothetical societies, or societies of the past.

      Our society now uses philosophy to justify things based on logical arguments. Our society is capable of seeing the hypocrisy in denying gay rights based on our understanding of right and wrong and how it applies to other issue.

      Game theory (though this is too complicated an example for that) may explains why you may see other strategies (as well as help to predict the relative abundance of each strategy), such as one individual taking advantage of the moral individuals. Kind of like the satellite male frog. Look it up.

      Call it nihilistic, but part of not believing in god, is accepting our limited role and scope in the universe. We are complicated monkeys. Sorry it took me so long to respond, so many things to do today. I’m going home.

      August 11, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
    • blogger

      Nothing comes from nothing? I wouldn't go there 🙂 Think original singularity.... But I get your point.

      August 11, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
    • bethkat

      "An' it harm none, do as thou will"
      Two men (or women) what want to get married and live together do no harm to anyone else. You stealing someone elses car negatively affects that person. What these fundies have failed to prove over and over is how does gay marriage hurt anyone else? Does it affect them, or their families negatively? Until they can prove conclusively that a union between two wo/men does harm others, I do not buy their argument.

      August 12, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  14. Paul in Louisville

    It's been proven, over and over again, the these "ministries" don't work. Hell, a few of the big-wigs in these organizations have been caught in gay bars. These people deserves some pity – it must be hell to constantly deny who you are. However, they won't get much pity from me – they've done so much to hurt gay people through their ignorance and lies.

    August 10, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      I feel sorry for the children whose parents send them off to these places thinking they can make their gay or lesbian child straight. What must that do to an already scared and confused child? It would seem to me that we need to nourish each child and help them grow in self-esteem instead of making them feel as though there is something wrong with them. They are a child of God however they are born.

      August 10, 2010 at 9:47 pm |
    • peace2all

      @CatholicMom

      Hi CM.... I think that I am getting a sense of compassion coming from you..... Always good to see.....

      I hope that you are well....

      Respect and Peace to you....

      August 10, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
    • Dr. Marshall

      In over twenty years of study Mr. Louisville on these institutions, the harm they do to LGBT withing the united states is just the first layer of the onion. It was these same organizations that pushed the Uganda bill to execute LGBT for being who they are. Sadly, however, we are not allowed to legally commit such people to the much needed treatment they need if their rationale for their actions is based on religion and their targets are only LGBT.

      August 11, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  15. 1madtexan

    So you were gay and now your not. It don't work that way. If you are not gay then you are bisexual. Get a grip and grow up and grow back the pair of balls you left when you got married.

    August 10, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  16. Brandon

    As a mormon/ christian I have my own belief system which governs my life. I would never dream of imposing my set of values on others. We are here to live our own lives and make our own decisions. Who we choose to spend our lives with is our own business. Although my church supported prop 8 I do not. And that is my freedom. I was not surprised that the LDS church was in support of prop 8. LDS doctrine maintains marriage between a man and woman as being the bedrock for our society. However, there must be a separation of church and state. Every religion has different views – none of those should be able to make law based on their belief system.

    August 10, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
    • Jackson

      Brandon,

      I thought LDS docrtine was that marriage was between a man and a woman...and another woman....and another woman....and another woman...and another woman.

      August 10, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
    • Brandon

      Jackson,
      Nope... just one wife.

      August 10, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
    • Steve

      Mormans believe Jesus came to North American Indians after his resurection. I would love to know what He thought about the "Two Spirits" (Indian homosexuals) who were highly respected and often taken as a tent-mate by warriors. They were seen as being able to see both sides of an issue and were sought out as mediators of disputes. They were the cooks and nurses on war parties. No stigma, as they were following the path the Great Spirit layed out for them.

      August 11, 2010 at 5:54 am |
    • Dr. Marshall

      Out of curiosity were you told to give money or face expulsion from the church; like many of my (non ex) Mormon friends? Of course I believe this only applies to LDS members within the areas of Utah and California.

      August 11, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
    • aesthete2

      Apparently your church doesn't agree with you. We Californians were so thrilled that the Mormon church came out in force to tell us what our laws should be and to spend millions to push their views on us.

      August 11, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Brandon,
      "I would never dream of imposing my set of values on others."
      Appreciate the sentiment. So I take you also disagree with the LDS policy/practice of baptizing dead people, which would seem to be imposing your (LDS') values on other people after they are dead. 'course that's not an issue if you don't believe in an afterlife, but I assume that you do believe in an afterlife.

      August 11, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
    • bethkat

      Brandon, I have alot of respect for any person who can separate their religious beliefs and what is right for them, with the right of the community as a whole. I'm glad that some religious people are willing to take a step back and look at this issue objectively.

      August 12, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  17. blf83

    So... he "abandoned" homosexuality. He can abandon the practice of homosexual sex, but he cannot abandon his sexuality. That is no more a "choice" than is homosexuality or heterosexuality – or bisexuality, transgendered -ality, or any other form of sexuality. It's our DNA – the way we are made – whether you believe your source was God, or sperm and egg, or both. Sexuality is a continuum, not an "either/or". The ancients understood and accepted that better than we do in the 21st century.

    August 10, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  18. Dr. Marshall

    This individual is till trying to convince people to side his overly passionate, and extremely delusional stance. As a doctor of psychology I can confirm that a persons sexual orientation is fixed and unchangeable. It has been shown through numerous studies that denying who you are as a human being, as well as trying to forcibly change your sexual orientation can inevitably be harmful to the individual. It fails to amaze me that he is the leader of a fraudulent organization that has harmed to many innocent people, contributing to the denial of rights for LGBT, including adoption, partner benefits, domestic partnerships, civil unions, and of course marriage rights. This is, all the while, the original leaders of Exodus International have left the organization, live a content and committed life with one another as the gay men they are and speak openly about why they once started Exodus, and how it is nothing more than a fraud.

    For those out there who are wondering what to do about such harmful organizations all i can ask of you is to please educate yourselves and anyone you know about such places. The reason why these places are still up and running is because they feed off of the misery and suffering their people and the people that support them place on innocent LGBT members of our society. So long as they do not have a clientele they will not have a business.

    Sincerely

    Dr. Marshall

    August 10, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  19. jeff

    @McCluck: You say there's no such thing as "natural", that "natural" has no meaning without God. Then you say it is a good thing that we have laws to protect the minority. Why is this "good"? On what basis would you establish laws? Apparently not by majority vote, so are you suggesting that there is a "good" which trumps majority rule? What is the source of that "good"? Just asking...

    August 10, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • McCluck

      Well Jeff, it comes from society, from biology, from cognitive ability, and from evolution. In short, it is part of the human condition to know the difference between right and wrong within the context of our society. But society largely dictates what falls into the category of right and wrong. It certainly does not come from Christianity if that’s what you are getting at. Morals didn’t start with the religions as we know them. I am moral without fear of punishment. Who is really moral then?-Those that do it because they want too, and because it is instinctual to them, or those that do it because they are watching out for themselves? I am leaving work and won’t be able to make another reply till tomorrow. Sorry

      August 10, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
    • Zebula

      So Jeff are you against desegregation and women's right to vote, too? If we always went by the majority's vote, blacks would still be sitting in the back of the bus and drinking from separate water fountains.

      August 10, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
    • jeff

      I'm absolutely not for majority vote being the decider of all things. McCluck declared it a good thing that we have laws that protect the minority from the the religions bigot majority. Is he willing to declare good those laws which protect the religious minority from the non-religious bigot majority? On what basis does he declare something "good"? I would suggest that it is on the basis of comparison to a "Moral Law" which is larger than majority rule. Certainly, not on the basis of evolution, society, and cognitive ability!! Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, and Maoist China all saw millions of people killed in the name of progress, in the name of atheism, in post-Enlightenment society.

      You would no doubt agree with me that it would be bad for a person to kill their 10 year old child.I assume you would protest similarly at the murder of a two year old. Same goes for an infant. What about a viable baby killed through partial birth abortion? What about a fetus in the 8th month? The 5th month? The 3rd month? Not all fetuses become 'viable' (some define this as 'capable of living outside the womb') at exactly the same point in pregnancies. At what point does the mother's choice outweigh the child's right to life? Why is it not OK for a mother to kill her 10 year old?

      So I would concur that our definitions of right and wrong come from that moral law, and that the author of that moral law is what some of us call "God". Some of us believe that the reason that the moral law is a part of the human condition is because we are in some way created in the image of the creator of that moral law.

      McCluck says there is no "natural", but he has argued using terms like "good" and "bad", and I'm just saying that I believe our sense of good and bad come from the moral law and its author. But the other part of our human condition is that we can ignore the moral law and rationalize our own good over the good of another, allowing us to reject the killing of a 10 year old, but accept the killing of a 6 or 8 month old fetus, or at whatever point in time folks declare it acceptable.

      August 10, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
    • Bob

      Jeff, the majority of voters in the 1900's agreed with slavery. The majority of voters in the 1920's agreed with segregation.

      The rights of the VOTER do not trump the rights of the individual. You cannot go out and kill someone simply because "the majority wills it".

      Perhaps you should read the const itution and understand the rights contained within. You might learn something.

      PS: I'm a Canadian and I know more about your country's history. LOL.

      August 11, 2010 at 7:50 am |
    • ThinkRationally

      Jeff, I’ve had this debate before. You seem to be arguing that some form of objective morality exists, given to us from a higher power (your “moral law”). Objective morality would imply, or require, consistency across time, would it not? Especially since most theists consider God to be omniscient, which implies never-changing (he can’t learn anything new), so the moral law a few thousand years ago should still be exactly the same as it is today. It seems to me that starting from the Old Testament, going through the New Testament, then through the history of the church (in general, we could probably apply this to most other religions outside of Christianity) there is a continuously evolving morality. Some of the things in the OT don't sync up very well with what most modern-day Christians and theologians would consider morally acceptable. Would you yourself consider the stoning death of a man by a mob to be a proper and moral punishment today for working on the Sabbath? What about death for heresy? Even if you argue that God is not omniscient, I find it hard to believe that a being that has been around for eternity has changed so much in att itude in a few millennia—the blink of an eye to such a being. Also, we haven’t heard much from God in the past two thousand years, yet our ideas of right and wrong have changed considerably. Changed based on what? I would say changed based on our maturation as a species, for one.

      You are arguing that God (or religion) provides objective morality, and I would say that the history of religion itself, even within the confines of its own doctrine, proves this to be false. It seems like, no matter how you look at it, all we have is our human subjective notion of good and evil, right and wrong, changing over time. Since you’ve heavily rolled the abortion issue into this, maybe our views on this will shift over time as well.

      I’m not sure anyone has officially, literally declared that they were doing something terrible “in the name of Atheism”, but I stand to be corrected on that. It doesn’t really matter. We can line up religious atrocities against non-religious atrocities all day, but it won’t establish which view is correct. There are people from all corners of life who get destructive ideas in their heads, and we probably cannot make any determination based on these fringe people.

      August 11, 2010 at 8:29 am |
  20. GButterfly

    The A.P.A has stated that sexual orientation is not a volunteer choice and the person realizes it when they are very young. Its people like this that try to say it's curable are a joke and end up doing more harm than good. I would say this Mr. Chambers was a bi-sexual and not a homosexual to begin with, which could explain why he thinks he was able to "cure" himself. God created homosexuals for a reason and I believe it's to show Christianity how bigoted they have become in their prejudices. Especially as more evidence keeps coming up that text was altered in the bible by translators against homosexuality. Do your research people.

    August 10, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
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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.