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February 7th, 2011
07:39 AM ET

Gay parenting takes off in the Bible Belt

By Rich Phillips, Senior Producer

Jacksonville, Florida (CNN) – Latisha Bines and Misty Gray cheered like any other parents at a recent middle school soccer game.

They're the two soccer moms in 13-year-old Darion Bines’ life. The women and all three of Latisha’s children operate as a family. And they've turned to their church for support, suggesting a changing face of the Bible Belt.

Data from the most recent U.S. Census shows that the South has the largest share of gay parents in the country.

“There are more of us coming out,” Bines said. “We’re feeling more comfortable about who we are. I guess it gives us more of a chance than back in the '80s, when you had to stay in the closet because you were ridiculed.”

Bines came out after having three children. She and Misty were joined as life partners in 2010 commitment ceremony. They live in part of the conservative Deep South, where many communities have not been receptive to so-called gay families.

“Gay and lesbian people tend to come out later in life, in those areas, which means they are more likely to have children from a previous relationship earlier in their lives,” said Gary Gates, a demographer with the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law.

Gates analyzed the data from the American Community Survey from 2005-09, which is administered by the Census Bureau. His analysis also showed that across the country, gay parents are more likely to be black or Hispanic than they are to be white.

According to the survey, San Antonio, Texas, leads the country in gay parenting, with 34% of same-sex couples raising children. That's followed by Jacksonville, Florida at 32%.

Read more about gay adoption in Florida.

Bines and Gray have lived in Jacksonville all their lives.

They say they’ve found that their sexual orientation and spirituality can come together and be welcomed in gay-friendly Jacksonville area churches that were once off limits.

“It was welcome. It was comfortable,” Bines said. “We’re lesbian, but our God still loves us, no matter what.”

Bines sings in the choir at the nondenominational St. Luke’s Community Church, which was firebombed three times in the 1980s, apparently because of its policy of welcoming lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender congregants.

The church's pastor, Valerie Williams, is a gay activist. She says church policy all about family acceptance, especially for children.

The goal is “acceptance of their parents and being able to be around other children who have the same makeup of families that they have,” she said. "God is love and that’s the God that we serve here.”

Some local congregations challenge Williams' approach. When word of Jacksonville’s gay parent ranking in the census began to spread, one pastor asked for everyone to pray.

Pastor Vaughn McLaughlin, of the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship, told CNN that the Bible does not teach or encourage gay relationships, which he says confuse children.

“A lifestyle of open, same-sex relationships, that can’t regenerate, that can’t produce, that can’t do anything,"  said McLaughlin, who leads a megachurch. "I find it to be over and against what I actually have found the truth of the Bible to be.”

“Marriage is between a man and a woman," he continued. "That’s the biblical premise for what we believe, for what we teach, and we’re gonna hold on to that.”

But at St. Luke’s, Williams defended the rights of gay people and their families to worship.

“The children are able to serve God , with their families, and not being judged by the person sitting in the pew in front of them… snickering, like, ‘Why do they have kids? Why are they here?’”

Williams has started a support group for the children of gay parents. There, kids can talk about problems they're dealing with, including discrimination, over a hot dog or spaghetti dinner and review their report cards with Williams, who is known by congregants as Pastor Val.

And for Bines and Gray, the church has been a welcome addition to their lives.

“It’s brought us together, structurally as a family,” Gray said. “And because of the recent death rates, the suicide rates for kids being bullied, it’s extremely strong for the church to be a factor in the kids lives.”

Gates, the demographer, and Williams said they believe a cultural or religious support system might allow people to be more honest about their sexual orientation on a government survey.

“People are more willing to indicate on these government surveys that they are part of a same-sex couple, even in the more conservative parts of the country,” said Gates. “It’s a sign of progress.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Florida • Gay marriage • Homosexuality • Houses of worship • United States

soundoff (1,055 Responses)
  1. John

    There are several opinions going around, check out gotquestions.org

    February 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  2. Jay

    Its a wonderful thing that God has dignified us with free will. You can either accept Gods word or reject it. Its YOUR CHOICE.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Chris

      So true. God gave the choice.
      Heaven or Hell. It is our choice. But the choice, either way has a price.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Ian

      He gives us a choice, but the choice not to worship him results in eternal suffering in hell. Sounds like you have a choice in the same way you can choose not to pay the mob protection money.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Robert

      Slaves didn't have free will, did god forget about them?

      February 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • chris

      He's given us a free gift if we want it... If we didn't have a choice, would that truly be love? Worship is spawned from realizing exactly what it was you've been given.
      You can either choose God's way or you can choose to do it on your own, but the law is still the same. Either way, we're eternal beings...When you die on earth, you aren't dying in spirit... We do go on, but we choose HERE AND NOW where that is..
      He created us, and He commanded that we don't sin. If you think you can abstain from every type of sin during your lifetime, we'll see how that goes for you... Try it out, I encourage you to. But Jesus became sin for us, paying the price so that we can go on to eternal life with Him. It won't make sense to you until you read about it from Old to New Testament as to why this had to happen.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • chris

      Slaves still have the free will to choose Him... It's the eternal things, not the temporary worldly situations that truly matter.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • EnumaE

      The choice presented in the Bible is not a gift of free will. The threat of Hell takes free will out of the equation.

      Put this type of choice into another context: A mugger walks up to you and points a gun at you. Then he says, "Give me your wallet, or I will shoot you in the face." Are you giving himyour wallet by choice, or were you forced to do it? If this mugger is caught, do you really think a jury will buy the defense, "He voluntarily gave me his wallet. I know he did it voluntarily because I gave him another option. He could have let me shoot him in the face instead, but he chose to give me his wallet instead. See? It was his choice."

      "Turn or burn" is no choice at all.

      February 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  3. Phil Torres

    God does love us but he hates our sins, the Bible says that we must repent from our sins. God hasn't changed, he is the same today as he was yesterday and will judge sin. Yes he is a merciful God, so repent now or face his wrath later.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Jay

      Agreed... The bible says that God wants ALL to be saved. But we must reject things He hates.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • LJ

      It is amazing to see all these judgmental Christians pointing the fingers at others. Too funny.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  4. Hiawa23

    Marie, I don't believe in fairy tales, & I don't believe in things I can't see, but you are welcomed to live your life as you see fit, & believe in whomever you like.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Chris

      The Universe is full of things that are invisible to us yet we believe in them. The air we breath, wind, gravity......
      Yet you can see the enourmousity of the universe, the intricate web of life that is all intertwined, and on and on. You can see Badger that follows a bird purposefully to find honey, the specailized quills of a porcupine that can rattle, the tiny prisms on a butterflies wing that create wonderful colors. There are so many things to see that spell out GOD yet you cannot see them. I studied science, physics, biology, and on and on for 30 years and I know beyond a doubt that it had to be created. The Big Bang has been disproven, Evolution has been stumped yet people believe in them still and put them (just ideas out of our heads) above a God that came and died to forgive us of our sinful nature.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The "enourmousity"? Ahahhaha. Yeah, you're certainly knowledgeable about science.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Chris

      I said science not vocabulary.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • notmyrealname

      Anyone with a degree in science ought to be at least literate. You're not.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • chris

      same name, similar story. God bless you Chris.
      I was a science major in college...I felt that in order to be a good scientist I should examine the opposing side of the argument to better refute the creationist beliefs, mostly so I could show my girlfriend at the time that her Christian beliefs weren't well grounded in reality...

      Long story short, I found Jesus, my girlfriend and I got married, and now I'm a worship leader at my church. God is good. 🙂

      February 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  5. Pandora

    No matter what the article, even one about an enlightened church, the negativity will always reign on this blog.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  6. Hiawa23

    I am not a believer in Religion as i think it's a big crock. as far as God, well, there has to be some force out there. someone created this. Marie, I don't need you to feel sorry for me, as what happens in my life will happen because it's supposed to happen, & I feel everything that happens to all of us happens cause it's supposed to happen, & will happen no matter what invisible man you pray to or how many prayers you thinkwill help you. Religious folks are some of the biggest hypocrits out there like you, they want to judge others, & force feed their bible logic on the rest of us. Is there a God, I have no idea, but for you believers, you really have no way to prove there is one, other than some book told you or some person told you there was was, & as much as a non beliver can't prove there isn't one, so just go one with your life believing, & let those live theirs not as they see fit. As far as gay parenting, I am not gay, but I am all for 2 people wanting to join or marry. I am not a believer in marriage either but I respect the right for any two people to do it. I don't see what the big deal is, how does gay people affect your life, or the God you worship? They don't.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • chris

      True...religion is hogwash... A personal relationship with God, however, isn't religion....

      February 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  7. Larry

    God is God believe or dont that is your choice.is being gay a sin thats up to you .If you fill no quilt in your heart or mind then it is no sin.If you fill quilt then it is a sin. It is not up to any one to judge you that is gods job.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  8. howsaboutahug

    @Colin, I must admit you are hysterical and are wasting your time. People who believe do so in the face of common sense and fact. Evolution was proven. The evolutionary trail of certain species can be seen in fossils. I rather be a good person who holds no judgement against anyone. Then believe in a religion that holds women in less regard then men.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • chris

      evolution is not proven. Selection for traits within a population is shown, but evolution as a means for the creation of life will never be proven. There is no beneficial mutation that has ever been shown (mutations have only been shown to cause diseases and deformations). Randomness doesn't produce information.

      For life to exist, DNA had to exist first....Look at the complexity of DNA, the vast information and encoding found within... It speaks of a Designer, not randomness. That's like saying that random processes formed the faces on Mt. Rushmore.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      No beneficial mutation that provides advantages? Anti-biotic resistant bacteria. We breed them up every single day. Dramatic and easy to demonstrate over and over. Take a batch of fruit flies, put them in a closed environment and introduce any environmental hazard that kills more than 50% of the population. Wait a few days and you will have a cage full of fruit flies that were able to survive that hazard from birth, and which only produce offspring that can survive that hazard. Less dramatic? Arctic versions of any number of animals, which have white fur instead of other colors of fur.

      The truth is not that there are no examples, just that you are not aware of examples.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Notmyrealname

      chris, evolution does not propose an answer as to what began the universe. You ought to at least know that much. If you don't even know what evolution is, how can you possibly dismiss it out of hand?

      February 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Blaqb0x

      @chris

      1. Evolution is not the theory on how life started.
      2. your claim that mutations can't lead to beneficial traits is wrong
      http://www.gate.net/~rwms/EvoMutations.html
      3. Attributing life's beginning and complexity to a designer when we don't know how it happed is just an argument from ignorance. Perhaps you should wait for people like Craig Ventor to finally prove how life can start in the next 50-100 years before coming to those conlcusions

      February 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • chris

      With antibiotic resistance, mutations DID create an immunity to an antibiotic, but it comes with a cost. Through that mutation, the bacteria loses the strength of its original function, protiens are changed, which is why these superbacterias only exist within the hospital environment. They're not strong enough to move in the natural environment and multiply....hence, mutation still not providing a reproductive advantage.

      With fruit flys, you said it... 50% dye off, but after that, the remaining ones who were ALREADY strong enough to survive breed...There was no mutation, just a trait that already existed.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • chris

      Notmyrealname: I said origin of life, not origin of the universe. And I do know about evolution, I used to buy into it. I got my B.S. Degree in Environmental Science, which did touch on evolutinonary biology... It doesn't make me an expert, but I have a background.
      I'm just more convinced that God created the Heavens and the earth, but that was my choice and my decision... You guys can investigate both sides thoroughly and come to that decision on your own.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • notmyrealname

      The theory of evolution doesn't propose to solve the question of how life began, either, dear. You're not much of a scientist, no matter what that sheepskin says.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • chris

      ok, they look at the primordial soup model, among others... Same concept though, that randomness and chance created life.... Supposedly once the amino acids mixed together in exactly the right amount with some unknown variables thrown in to zap life into existance, then evolution of life took over from there.

      Radomness and chance will NEVER result in information, and this is the biggest thing that evolutionists have to reckon with.

      I know the arguments, I'm limited in how much I can type here and the amount of time I want to dedicate to it.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  9. Jerry

    "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Revelation 3:21-22

    February 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Burn

      Except for those people who he birthed without working ear drums!

      February 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  10. Elle

    Marie-God is one and eternal and since we came from the one source (God) we are one and eternal regardless of the choices we make. We all live on, energy does not die. You shouldn't condemn people, it only fills your heart with hate and uses energy that could be used in other ways. Like helping people to feel good about themselves since there are so many who feel lost. Just a thought.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Burn

      Elle that was beautiful. If only all religion culminated in that type of sentiment you display I wouldn't be so bothered by the utter lack of evidence for it. I do appreciate that thought though you sound like a good person.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Ben

      Energy doesn't "die", but it does decay into a state where it isn't useful for any purpose. (entropy)

      February 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  11. Jenn

    Justina, you come across as one of those Westboro Baptist Church freaks with the way you spew intolerance and Judgement. Didn't your god say "Judge not lest ye be judge"

    February 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Notmyrealname

      Yeah, she really does. Maybe she's Shirley Phelps. (I typed "Shrilly" first; maybe I should have left it that way–ha.)

      February 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • hunnykins

      Anyone who makes a point of referring to God as "she" obviously cares enough to stop and make that judgement call. It shows you more conflicted than you consciously know. "It is better to have unanswered questions, than unquestioned answers."

      February 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • notmyrealname

      Your reading comprehension leaves much to be desired. The "she" refers to Justina.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  12. Colin

    Religion is really the ground floor, the starting point of any thinking perseon's intellectual development. With it's pithy primary-color simple stories and myths, it is the lowest level of theological or philosophical development possible, accessible to a five year-old's mind.

    It is as simple as it gets. It is philosophy with Down's Syndrome.

    The stories in the various religious texts are, indeed, written to be accessible to the simplest of minds. If they weren’t, the faith would not have been understood 2,000 years ago by illiterate herders. This does not mean all theists are simple. Far from it. But it does mean that the simpler the message, the more people it can reach.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • dalis

      @ Colin Spare us your disgusting condescension and denigration of the mentally handicapped.

      And it's Down Syndrome, not Down's Syndrome.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • hunnykins

      Atheist – someone who is so adamantly sure that the God they can't stop talking about doesn't exist.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • faithwon

      God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  13. gio777

    It disgusts me that bigotry is is still so strong in this day and age.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • hunnykins

      Agreed, gio777. If you are sensitive to people pigeon holing you according to what they think you are, and you don't like ridicule, think long and hard about becoming a Christian. Its not easy when people hate and ridicule you because they are so sure they know exactly what you believe. In reality, many people judge you because of what they have seen others do and say, without having a clue what you may believe. Its not easy, but I love Christ and worship God, so the hate and ridicule I receive from the so-called "tolerant" ones is 100% worth it. Peace out.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  14. Deb

    I am a woman of faith, and few things are more repugnant to me than people proclaiming they know what God expects of us. I am a Buddhist and have researched various faiths, and the major religions focus on the same ideas: love one another, respect one another, be kind to one another. Any religion that tells me to shun people who are living honest, loving lives is not one I'm interested in. And anyone who finds a loving couple raising happy children deviant or disgusting, well, I pity you. Your soul needs a bit of cleansing.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • nonesuch

      BRAVA!!!

      February 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • cindy

      And you need to read your Bible Deb because you have no clue. It's not the people that are disliked, it is the lifestyle. Love the sinner, hate the sin.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • chris

      look a little deeper into Christianity then if that's you're take on it. We're supposed to come alongside and help our brothers and sisters when they stumble. As for people outside of the faith, we don't shun them... We understand the sin nature of the world... We Christians are still within that sin nature, but we recognize Gods sovereignty, and His ability to forgive us when we try turning from our ways and following His leading and guiding.
      I used to be a buddhist, but I realized through studying buddhism that I would never reach perfection on my own... I'm incapable, my heart is too wicked... It's only when we come face to face with our own demons that we can see that we aren't sufficient to fight them.... We can't just empty our minds... God calls us to be alert, to be watchful... He gave us the way out through Jesus' sacrifice.
      But the only way to see it is to give it a chance.

      There's no guilt, no shame, only grace

      February 7, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Calvin

      Deb -you know little of what Christianity is about.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Notmyrealname

      REading the posts of you self-aggrandizing, sanctimonious jerks tells me all I need to know about what Christianity is. I don't want any part of it if you people are typical Christians.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • chris

      k, but a lot of the Christians here aren't the ones insulting people. We're trying to point you to the source of love.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • hunnykins

      I am a Christian who does not change my beliefs to suit others. Nor is it my place to judge others according to my beliefs, which you seem to be doing to someone like myself when I state my beliefs. I think YOUR soul needs a bit more Buddhist cleansing as well. That is my COUNTER judgement of your judgement of me. Have a wonderful, peaceful existence.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Chapstik Lez

      WELLL Cindy... if you have been reading the posts accordingly you will see that her comment was completely justified because on this particular forum, if people have the sin they are also hating the people. just a little FYI

      February 7, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      Cindy: How will me reading the bible change the behavior of the people around me? I can see what they do, hear what they say, track how they vote. Whatever the bible may say, it is very clear, there are plenty of people who hate the sinner, if his sin falls on their short and special list. No one hates the sinner who wears garments made of two fibers, no one hates the sinner who eats shellfish, but if people get the idea that someone is gay, the hate is clear as day. No words in a book can change that. You may know people who do live that ideal, good for them, but they are far outnumbered by those who elevate themselves by hating.

      Don't believe me? Confide in a few members of your church that sometimes you feel an attraction to someone of the same gender, and see how much they love you and hate your sin. Try and walk in someone else's shoes for a few days.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • confused

      You say that it's repugnant to you when people claim to know what God expects of us. OK. Then you write that God expects us to be kind, loving, accepting, etc. Hunh? What did I miss? Does that mean that you are repugnant to yourself?

      February 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  15. CJ

    COLIN – what if God has answered our prayers? What if we have experienced his divine intervention? What if we have received his blessing and with out a shadow of a doubt know that it was truely God who is to be thanked. would you just chalk it up to we are crazy, we are mentally unstable? Or would you just claim we are lying and non of it is true bc you dont believe in God.... Some of us (children of God) know when God is working in our lives and we know when he is working miracles and we shout out to him that we know and we thank him. Just bc you do not get to experience the love of Christ doesnt mean that the other Millions of people who do know have to suffer from your mouth.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Colin

      CJ. To answer, I accept that people have personal experiences with what they believe is a god. Hindus tend to have them with Vishnu or Krishna, Muslims with Allah, Buddhists tend to have reincarnation experiences and Christians see angels, Mary, etc. If I were to accept these personal experiences as evidence, I would believe in a lot of deities. I would also believe in the various spirits of Native Americans, the Dreamtime deities of the Australian Aboriginals, the gods of the Aztecs and Incas along with a couple of hundred others. You get my point.

      Every culture has its gods and a proportion of its population will always claim personal experiences. It might be evidence if we all had the same experience across faiths. If Buddhists, Hindus and Jains regularly experienced Jesus or Mary. They don’t. Only young Christian women seem to experience Mary. The other faiths are busy experiencing reincarnation or their own deity(ies). Christianity does not have a monopoly on religious experiences.

      It might also be evidence if a bystander ever witnessed the “experience,” but they tend to always be internal.

      David Koresh and Charles Manson had innumerable personal experiences telling them they were the messiah, while Mark Chapman had experiences telling him he was Holden Caulfield ("that made me want to pu-ke"). Thousands of people also believe they have had personal experiences with angels, sprits, “presences” or ghosts, with aliens who abduct them or with devils that torment them. I am not attempting to be pejorative here, nor to put all such experiences on the same level. My point is simply that the internal, subjective experiences people honestly believe they have are not at all probative of external reality.

      So, my answer is no. Personal experiences are not at all convincing to me. I can’t help but think that personal experiences tend to be more “personal” than “experiences”.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • chris

      Which is why, Colin, I pray you have a personal experience yourself.. I know it's nonsense to those who don't believe, but I assure you, God is trying to reach each one of us.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • CJ

      OK Colin – you seem to be the type of person who instead of just answering a question you throw in all this historical BS so your reader assumes you know what you are talking about. So until you can sit in a room with a breast cancer patient and your church community and pray for 24 hours straight that the cancer would be taken away... then the next day the patient goes into the doctor and the cancer cant be found.... THAT is NOT an internal experience. I lived through this experience and i am not that patient so therefore that was an extremely EXTERNAL occurence for me. the lady we prayed for never received treatment for the cancer she never took one pill. we prayed for 24 hours, men, women, children. we all asked for her to be healed. the next day she went back to the DR and it was gone. no DR in the facility could explain it. now i am sure you will come up with some lame excuse like, maybe she was misdiagnosed, or maybe the cancer went away on it own(like you to find me an example of that one please) but i will never EVER deny God of his miracles. and this story is just ONE of the experiences I have EXTERNALLY witnessed. Also- If im not mistaken Mary is only referenced as a passage to Christ in Catholocism. so only a percentage of Christians hold Mary to that light. You may be able to outsmart me by throwing in some fancy sentences about history with the hopes that i am less educated than you and that fine. I am sure you enjoy outsmarting the weak. but I will never leave my faith and i will pray that your soul is saved before you get the chance to meet our wonderful maker.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • chris

      cool witness CJ. I've heard similar stories. God is so good! 🙂

      February 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • ScottK

      @C- So how do you know for sure it was not Vishnu that answered your prayer in a time of need? Did you get a direct reply or a bill in the mail? Was there an image of Jesus on the clear MRI? Not to poke fun at your personal faith experience, but to use it as some sort of evidence to back up your version of God and only your version seems a bit silly. And its not new, people have been using the same "My God healed me/us/them" for thousands of years.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  16. AnnaBanana

    Um. Jacksonville, FL is NOT in the Bible Belt. . .

    February 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • AnnaBanana

      Okay, well I am mistaken. I just googled it. Weird.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • MJ

      Wow. You are a moron. The bible belt includes states BELOW the Ohio River.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  17. Eric

    Einstein believed in god in the sense of some type of force that started the whole thing not a personal god. Darwin was an agnostic. Theory has a few different definitions but when taken in a scientific context can be interchanged with fact. Just like the Theory of Gravity. Unless you believe we're stuck to the earth some other way.

    I'm not saying every christian is a fundamentalist but those who believe discrimination against gays is commanded by the bible usually are.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • epstein

      "All human knowledge is fallible and therefore uncertain."
      -Karl Popper
      Scientific Philosopher, a much smarter man than you

      February 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • chris

      1 Tim 6:20...keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.

      – the Apostle Paul, eyewitness of the ressurected Christ

      February 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Patrick

      Alas, now we understand the futility of trying to know God.
      In contrast, many of the other monotheistic heads are much more open and knowable. Check out some other True Faiths and shop around a little. You may find one of the other thousands of faiths in the world to be a better fit.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  18. JohnQuest

    I think if God spent more time curing illnesses, providing drinkable water, access to food for the starving, and less time peeking into our bedrooms the world would be a better place.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • chris

      What cause would that give us to worship Him? This world is broken. He's given us eternal life, what more do we need?

      Plus, all things are relative anyway. If there were no drinking water shortages, no murders, no diseases or famines... what would be the worst thing in the world? What if a papercut was the worst thing in the world? Our reaction would still be the same... "Why God whyyy, why did you give me this papercut!!" All these things are trials, and all of them test our patience and our commitment to Him.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Calvin

      AMEN Chris

      February 7, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Jason

      I don't think that people should die so you can have "tribulations" to make sure you feel like your god is real.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • ScottK

      @Chris – "Why God whyyy, why did you give me this papercut!!" All these things are trials, and all of them test our patience and our commitment to Him." – I feel a bit sorry for you Chris if you are so callus as to compare babies dying from dysentary, children starving & the constant violence man inflicts upon man to a paper cut. I'm so glad I do not worship the God you claim as your own who apparently is just testing those children by withholding food or waiting to see if the beaten wife can withstand her next trial of violence. Get some help, or maybe try and help someone else instead of waiting for God to do your share.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Zebula

      Chris, you're rationalizing. Try thinking for yourself for once.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • lee

      JohnQuest saying stupid stuff like that is the reason your show got cancelled. Nobody likes you. We only watched so we could keep tabs on Haji and make sure he wasn't part of a sleeper cell. Shut up and go away.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Gustavo

      You speak as a lost person would

      February 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • momto2

      ....same goes to the people too, JohnQuest! well said.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • chris

      Zebula – what's wrong with rationalizing?

      ScottK- why do you assume that I'm heartless? So much more breaks my heart about this world than it ever has before. I was cold BEFORE these things bothered me. I'm not saying that babies dying = papercut.... I'm saying that this world is broken, people are broken, and what people need more than ever is to feel Gods love in their lives... I'm commited in my life to showing people that love. If the worst thing in the world was papercuts, I'd do my best to allieviate the suffering of all those who've fallen victim to papercuts. Don't make so many assumptions about me and the way I feel about others. My biggest prayer for my life is that I would trade in my will and my desires to help others for Gods glory. You have no idea what true sacrifice is.

      You guys are right, God does have the power to take away all suffering here on earth right now....That time WILL come...But for now, He uses his children.. He works through those who believe. It's a beautiful thing to experience....and really just honoring that He would use us when we're so broken ourselves.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      ScottK, well said, Chris scares me, thousands of children dying is the same as a paper cut.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • chris

      k....you guys obviously missed my point....

      February 7, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  19. Colin

    The Catholic Church's view on gays is a textbook case for psychologists. You have a group of men who put on dress every Sunday and have sworn an oath never to touch a woman all living together in sheltered communities.....telling gays they are sinners. A bit like catching aguy in your kitchen at midnight with a blacked face and a bag full of your silverwear...and him accusing you of being a burgler.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • ringo

      Don't forget all that kneeling and bending.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • dalis

      @ Colin No priest in my life ever called me a sinner for being gay. I had my mother for that.

      And it's a cassock, not a dress.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  20. Marie

    Shame on all of you who don't believe in the presence of God. You will deeply regret it when you die, because this is when you will meet Him. You are risking your eternal life. There is no super power in the universe. There is God. He exists and He is mighty and wonderful. I feel sorry for you who never got the chance to know Him. I pray He will one day open your hearts so you can accept Him.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • ???

      Shame on you for believing in an unforgiving angry God.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • SPLAT!~

      Marie needs to worry about Marie. Let Splat worry about Splat. Shame on me huh, shame on you!

      February 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Notmyrealname

      It always makes me laugh when the fundies get het up. They'll proclaim that God is love, God loves you and cares about you, and then in the next breath tell you that if you don't believe in everything they do and worship God in their "approved" manner, you're going to burn in hell. Or that they have a right to kill you, as they did in the Crusades.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • ETM

      Sorry, Marie, it's all myth, and I won't live my life according to fairy tales. But you do what brings you happiness. That's what America is about.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • cindy

      God is not unforgiving or angry. However, when you sin, you must ask for forgiveness and then stop the sinful behavior. Simple as that. Thise who say God is unforgiving and angry has no clue as to what they are talking about. Marie hit the nail on the head.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Calvin

      Thank you Marie. Truth has been spoken!

      February 7, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Jan

      Oh, get lost; even if he existed (which there IS NOT VERIFIABLE PRROF FOR!) who in their right mind would want to spend an eternity doing ANYTHING.... do you people not comprehend the idead of eternity........You christians need to MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS and stop trying to force your stupid beliefs on to the rest of us ..... keep it to yourselves and we'll be fine!

      February 7, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • ETM

      Good point, Jan. Everyone has the right to believe in his or her own mythology but don't expect others to follow. Stop trying to impose your religious precepts on those of us who believe reason is the way to go.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Zebula

      Those of us here in the 21st century will hope that you'll join us here soon, Marie, so that you can know truth and happiness.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • LEB

      You'd better hope that Zeus and the pantheon of Grecian gods aren't the ones ruling the universe, or you're screwed.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • jbmar1312

      Why are all you attacking Marie? She has only prayed that you will come to accept God for who He really is. Just because you say your sins are ok with God doesn't make it so. Read your bibles. An angry God? Marie is talking about the God who sent His only Son Jesus to die for all of and all of "OUR" sins. Not just yours, not just mine, but everyones. That sounds like a very loving God to me, not angry God. We all have sinned and fell short of the glory of God. But none of us can call what God has called evil, good and expect to be rewarded for that.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Neeneko

      To which God are you referring? I count quite a few.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • michelle

      @Marie, you are not appointed to judge anyone. I will believe or not believe what I want. Don't pray for me...please. I don't wanna be like you

      February 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • notmyrealname

      She's not praying for anyone-she's telling them they should be ashamed of what they believe simply because they don't follow her religion.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Patrick

      Been there, did that, moved on. There are so many gods...

      February 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Patrick

      Christ, you sound like the Muslim guy who hounds me every morning with his "The Lord is the key to paradise" and all that.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • ???

      Cindy – The emphasis was more on 'angry' and 'unforgiving' than 'God'. What point is there to believing in a narrow-sighted divinity that punishes individuals for violating a ambiguous code of morality? If that is how God is then he/she is just a very powerful bully. I am not religious but a lot of people I know are. They are split fairly evenly between believing God will wrathfully punish individuals for not believing the way they do and those that believe God is a forgiving benevolent force. I critique the former but respect the latter.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
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About this blog

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.