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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. Colin

    yes, and about the same 25% believe the Universe is 6,000 years old and started with one mna, one woman and a talking snake.

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

      Sounds funny, doesn't it? It transcends your understanding of how things work. That's because your mind is flawed. But if God is real, and he is an all-powerful ruler of the universe, then making a snake talk is child's play. It's a flick of the finger; tee-ball. However, if you can give a logical argument that proves that God does not exist, then you can say all you want about how goofy you think the bible is.

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

      Why is his mind flawed if it was made by God? And if his mind is meant to be flawed, then is it unjust that he should be punished for it?

      February 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Josh

      God is not unjust. Yet, God makes people just the way they are. He makes killers killers. God also sends killers to hell (Matthew 25:41). Try the story of Esau. God hated Esau before he was ever born–He predestined him a vessel for dishonor (see Romans 9). Esau lived an unrighteous life because God made him do it (Romans 11:36). Does that satisfy your idea of justice? Maybe not (I'm pretty sure it doesn't). But just because it doesn't register in your mind does not annul God's existence. God exists with or without your consent. Unless, of course, you'd like to prove otherwise.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • scienceman

      Can you prove the existence of God without citing the Bible, no I rest my case. Can you prove the bible is all true without citing the bible? no I rest my case. Can you prove other religions are wrong without being arrogant that you know the truth better than everyone else? Are you not aware that every other religion has their own dogma that supposedly proves that they are the chose ones? Do you think that your religion is more superior because it is older?- then maybe you need to worship the Greek gods. Do you think that your religion is more superior because it is younger? -then maybe you need to become a Muslim or scientologist. Do you think your religion is more moral than any other religion? Are you afraid to ask questions to justify that your religion makes more sense philosophically than other religions or lack of?

      February 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Josh

      Your tirade of assumptions obviously does not stem from a conversation with me. My reason for believing in the existence of God has nothing to do with Christianity being "older" or "younger" or "more moral," but because God exists. The existence of God is an innate truth, however, God has blinded us from the beginning. Psalm 58: "The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go forth from the womb, speaking lies."
      No creation theory perfectly satisfies the logic of men–that includes the Christian one. That is because we are all deceived. Even the big bang theory cannot explain the existence of the initial atom that exploded into our universe. Yet, adherents of the big bang theory will often condemn Christianity because we cannot explain how God was created (He always was, always has been, always will be). The very thing they condemn in Christianity, they practice themselves (faith in the existence of the initial atom without explanation)!. Big bang adherents have faith in the eternality of a tiny atom that exploded into our universe, Christians have faith in a God who is eternal.
      My point is this: If God exists, everything He says is true. And if you receive the love of the truth (who is God) (He says "I am the way, the truth, and the life") then you can know that God exists, because He will lift the veil from your eyes and reveal the truth to you.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • scienceman

      @Josh LOL, you cited the Bible to prove the existence of God, just like I said you couldn't do. "God has blinded us from the beginning" What type of God blinds his people, only to make them unbind themselves by proving that they were blind? What type of God would deceive his people and then reward them for being gullible? When did faith become equivalent to goodness? Should we have faith that an ancient Egyptian surgery will cure our heart problems? Why not making the connection with God be love, caring, compassion? Why faith? How can anyone be stupid enough to put all their faith in something they can't see? Wait, I take that back, people fall for many scams everyday online.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  2. BeBe

    That Amen was for Anne, not Roger. Roger, it is probably a waste to say it but your quote from the Bible was from the Old Testament Laws which were fulfilled in the New Testament with the coming of the Son of God. People are no longer held to the old laws, because the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were the atonement for the law. Now, if you accept Christ as your Savior, you are under the new covenant to Love the Lord with all your heart and love thy neighbor as thyself. The laws given in the New Testament that Anne listed part of are how we are to live as Christians.

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

      Why would you worship a God who ever at any time and for any people condoned slavery and slave beating? I wouldn't.

      Plus, here's a New Testament verse for you. It refers to the Old Testament as the New Testament wasn't even written yet.

      2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Roger

      New Testament:

      1 Timothy 2: 11 A woman[a] should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[b] she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

      If you guys actually obeyed your scriptures you wouldn't even think about letting a woman teach in a coed college.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Roger

      And this is the kind of thing your God has people do to each other?

      Numbers 31:15 (Your hero Moses speaking) “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the LORD in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people. 17 Now ki11 all the boys. And ki11 every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      That's worse than the Quran for God's sakes.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Roger

      This is "God breathed and useful for instruction" as the New Testament says?

      Deuteronomy 22:28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and r@pes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

      I'm thinking if the real God wrote that he'd have said something like "If a man r@pes any woman, he should be locked away so he can hurt no more women."

      But your God says "LET'S HAVE A WEDDING!!!" Yuck.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • EnumaE

      Ephesians 6:5 "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ."

      1 Timothy 6:1 "All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered."

      According to Jesus, opposing slavery slanders God. So much for the New Testament being an improvement over the Old.

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

      Roger: All of those verses are true and stand true for every living being on earth UNLESS God does not exist, because he is the dictator of truth. So, what I'd like from you is proof that God does not exist. All these little things that don't satisfy your perception (flawed perception, as all humans are flawed) of justice are nonetheless true, unless you can prove God does not exist.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • EnumaE

      Josh,

      Try giving us some proof that Leprechauns don't exist, and you'll understand why the burden of proof is on the person making the positive claim. It's not the atheist's burden to prove there is no god. It's the theist's burden to prove that there is one. So far, I have no more reason to believe in a god than I have reason to believe there are fairies at the bottom of my garden.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Roger

      @Josh – We can't prove whether or not God exists. And you certainly can't prove a negative. I can't prove that life on other planets doesn't exist and it may or it may not, but no one will ever prove that it doesn't...however, it's very possible that one day someone may prove that it does.

      I do happen to believe in God. I just believe I'm meant to use the brain and the heart he gave me which clearly tell me that He couldn't be the author of barbaric horrific verses like those.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Josh

      Sorry, looks like my comments are "awaiting moderation" forever. Not that I said anything abusive. I guess it's just a long comment. I have a response for you, Roger, and EnumaE. Hopefully CNN will let it through, one of these days.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Josh

      I suppose I'll send it in pieces, and then I'll leave. Here is the first bit (CNN's not letting up):
      Roger,
      You say you believe in God. Do you, therefore, believe that God/Jesus Christ are the word of God, like John 1:1-14 and Revelations 19:13 clearly say? If yes, then you believe all of the word of God, because God IS the word of God. And the word of God says that "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4, caps added). And if you believe and live by every word of God, you believe 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that says that no gay shall inherit the kingdom of God. 
You say "I just believe I'm meant to use the brain and the heart he gave me which clearly tell me that He couldn't be the author of barbaric horrific verses like those."
      But 
God says the opposite: "5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct[a] your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil." Proverbs 3:5-7


      February 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Josh

      Do you believe in that God? Or do you believe in the God of your own mind? Your own understanding? Lean not on your own understanding. The exhortations, acts, and justice of God may (and most certainly WILL) transcend your (and everyone else's, including my own) understanding (i.e. slavery, the silence of women in church, 6 day creation, Jonah and the big fish), but does that mean we warp the word of God (who is Jesus) to satisfy our own views?
      "He who is of God hears God's words" (John 8:47) and when the word of God says that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God, you would say "amen" if you were of God. When God says he created the earth in 6 days you would say "amen." When God says that women are to remain silent in church, or when he commands indentured servitude (slavery, and NOT based on the measure of melanin in your skin)–when he says things like "Behold, even I, yes, I am He, and there is no God besides me; I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal" (Deuteronomy 32:39) you would say "amen."
      The point is this: if God exists, and He is who He says He is (i.e., the word of God, perfect), then everything He says is true, no matter what any flawed man will tell you, and no matter what the "brain and the heart" He gave you tell you. He actually SAYS that He will deceive people (see Ezekiel 14:9).

      February 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Josh

      To EnumaE,
      The bible says you must (literally) receive the love of the truth in order to be saved 2 Thessalonians 2:10. Romans 1:18-32 says that God has given everyone knowledge of the good and evil (see also Genesis chapter 3) that right and wrong are "manifest" in man. In other words, I don't have to prove to you God's existence. You already know what is right, and what is wrong (it is "manifest" in all), but God has blinded you, and has not given you the love of the truth. God exists through all your funny little chidings. Not one of them can annul his existence.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  3. scienceman

    25% of Americans thing the Sun revolves around the Earth. You can guess which part of the country, these people come from.

    February 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • scienceman

      "think"

      February 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • DrFood

      Wherever you're from?

      February 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Chapstik Lez

      I was born and raised in Lower Alabama .... guess what I have all my teeth (I even had braces) and I do not live in a shack or a trailer. Also I wear shoes! I have a BS in Criminal Justice and I am getting my Masters in Public Administration. So why don't you stop trying to insult people from the South because you are failing at it miserably.

      February 7, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  4. Colin

    If there really were a god, why did he make the atheists so intelligent and the christians so intellectually enfeebled? Have you ever heard of the Bible Belt being thought of as anything other than backwards and ill-educated?

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

      George Washinton Carver was from the bible belt, and a christian, and not stupid. Very bigoted statement, Colon.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • DrFood

      If "backwards" and "ill-educated" mean I'm not as arrogant, ignorant and hateful as you seem to be, then PLEASE call me stupid!

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

      DRFood & Jason. Let's be honest here. You Christians believe that an invisible, infinitely-old, never-dying, all-knowing super-being, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, has a personal interest in your lives. This being reads your mind and intervenes in human affairs to satisfy your needs (or "answers your prayers") as you put it. It does so simultaneously with millions of people all over the World. And, when you die, you actually don't, you go to a place called "heaven" to live happily ever after.

      And to really round it out, you believe that the World is 6,000 years old, and started with one man, one woman and a talking snake.

      Can you self-analyse for a moment and see why we atheists find that all pretty silly? To be offended by that is like jumping into a pool and than complaining about being called "wet".

      February 7, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Chapstik Lez

      I believe the question should be why can non-religious people be rational and objective, while religious people are (mostly) close minded and simple.

      February 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Jason

      Again, very bigoted Colon. But to address one issue, I never said I believe the world is 6,000 years old. I believe that Genesis does a pretty bang up job of describing the order in which life appears on earth even according to evolutionary theory. I believe that God have used all manner of devices in his creation (big bang/let there be light, apes evolving to man/the sixth day). But that is not the point. The point is the existence of a God who is powerful enough to get it done and by contrast personal enough to be inteerested in my earthly life and eternal soul. I don't claim to have all the answers. If I did there wouldn't be much faith involved, but science can't provide all the answers either. Hey, I thought this was about Gay families in church...

      February 8, 2011 at 6:41 am |
    • Jason

      Again, very bigoted Colon. But to address one issue, I never said I believe the world is 6,000 years old. I believe that Genesis does a pretty bang up job of describing the order in which life appears on earth even according to evolutionary theory. I believe that God may have used all manner of devices in his creation (big bang/let there be light, apes evolving to man/the sixth day). But that is not the point. The point is the existence of a God who is powerful enough to get it done and by contrast personal enough to be interested in my earthly life and eternal soul. I don't claim to have all the answers. If I did there wouldn't be much faith involved, but science can't provide all the answers either. Hey, I thought this was about Gay families in church...

      February 8, 2011 at 6:44 am |
  5. Tiffany H

    And it's not proven that they don't choose. I hate when people state something like it's a proven fact when it isn't. I just met too many people that decided to try gay. Seriously. And anyway most Christians don't give because they expect something and return...it's just a nice bonus.

    February 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Roger

      Why would a straight person "decide to try gay". That's so ignorant. Straight people aren't attracted to the same $ex so they don't try anything. You're talking about bi$exuals, not gay people or straight people.

      The technology to measure a person's $exuality in a lab has existed since the 1950s and could easily and affordably have been used at any time for before an after testing to prove that a person's $exuality can change...but it never has. Not even once. Not even from gay to bi$exual. Not even from straight to bi$exual. Now why do you think that is, Tiffany?

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

      Why would it matter if they choose to be gay or not? They are still gay regardless of it being a choice or genetics.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • YBP

      @ Patrick. It's important in the sense that it's nature's "fault," and nothing anyone can do to change it. If a person is born with a specific characteristic, like skin color, eye color, hair color, other variation, should he/she be considered a second class citizen with different rights as a citizen? Should he/she be condemned to Hell for eternity by in-the-know church people? Clearly, no. Yet that's the way it is in America right now. Not just for gays, but other "disposeable" people as well. When gay people point out that they were "born this way," they are really saying, "Why do you hate me for something that I had no control over?"

      February 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Patrick

      @YBP: Yet they could just ask the question "Why do you hate me for something that I have chosen for myself?" It seems to me that some think making the choice to be straight or gay is somehow different from it being genetic in a moral sense, as if nature is acceptable where nurture is not. What does it matter the reason someone is gay or straight?

      Why?

      February 7, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  6. M. Johnson

    It's such a contrast...the biggots...they call themselves "Christians"...I don't get it. Not love people!

    February 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Jason

      Lots of bigots on both sides, M.

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

      Correcting people so that they do not go to hell is not love? Would you correct a blind man headed for a ditch, and turn his path away from said ditch? I would!

      February 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Jay

      I also cant stand people who call themselves "christians" who go to war and shoot other so called "christians" (or anyone else for that matter)

      Or people who protest funerals

      or people who ra-pe children... Those are NOT christians!

      February 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Jay

      Im no bigot... I say love who you want. I dont think people CHOOSE their se-x-uality AT ALL.

      What i cant stand are people who want to try and change Gods word to suit their purposes...

      February 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  7. BeBe

    I am not sure I would consider Jacksonville, Florida as part of the Bible Belt.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • DrFood

      Jacksonville is firmly in the Bible Belt. You must be confusing it with Miami.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  8. Roger

    This is so dumb. We've known for years that people don't choose their $exuality – so why are we even talking about this? It's 2011 for God's sakes.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Jason

      When did we learn that? Pretty big scientific finding for me to have missed that study. Just because you say it does not make it true...

      February 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • margot707

      Jason – "When did we learn this?"

      You obviously have not been paying attention to "us."

      February 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Josh

      Regardless of whether or not they (in the flesh) choose their $exuality, ultimately the biblical standpoint would be Romans 11:36: "For all things are of Him, and through Him, and to Him." Yes, that would mean that God made gay people gay, and then wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that they shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Does that satisfy your criteria for justice or righteousness? Maybe not. But just because it doesn't compute in your (in all of our) flawed human mind(s) does not annul the existence of God.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • YBP

      @ Jason: Do you mean to say that you can swing either way at any given moment, and that you make a conscious decision to go one way or another? Do you have that much control over your brain and your body parts (which science tells us were constructed in the womb to react a certain way, and cannot be changed)? Try this study: Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab (2007)

      February 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  9. Anne

    From the Bible: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

    9-Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

    10-Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God

    And such were some of you, which means we must be changed or we will not see the kingdom of God

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

      From the Bible:

      Exodus 21: 20 “If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, 21 but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.

      SO WHAT WAS YOUR POINT?

      February 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • BeBe

      Amen!

      February 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Brotherboy

      Let's hear it for Adam & Steve! Now there's a couple! (Men simply do it better...)

      February 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • joe

      Anne, go to church and shut up will ya'?

      "Women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says." (1 Corinthians 14:34)

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

      @ Joe. Bravo. That line got me out of a not-so-pleasant confrontation when a "religious" group decided to hold Sunday "services" outside my front door one Sunday to let us know that they disapproved of our homeownership in their neighborhood.

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

      Amen sister! Anne that is so true.Disregard those slamming comments made by certain ignorant ones. Hey Joe........Jesus never told us to treat women like that even if they are to be in submission. They are servants of God just as much as you are. No.. women should not teach in the congregation but they have their right to express themselves. Go to the middle east where the women wear vails over their faces and are suppressed if you feel that way. Just so you know I am male.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • maryLand

      Why are almost all fundies dumb as dirt? It's "veils".

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

      fornicators – voluntary s3x-ual in-ter-co-ur-se between two unmarried persons
      idolaters, a person who is an immoderate admirer; devotee
      adulterers, s3x with someone other than his or her lawful spouse
      effeminate, characterized by excessive softness, delicacy, self-indulgence
      abusers of themselves with mankind, s3x-ua-lly promiscuous man

      Makes sense for every man should follow those rules now doesn't it. Though if you put it all together it really describes or-gi-es especially when you look up that definition.

      February 7, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  10. What???

    hey Jay!
    one thing is loving your brother and another is loving what he does with another man...??? and if you are a REAL man then im sure is disgusting to you too...

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

      And im CERTAINLY not Ho-mo-phobic...

      This is a matter of what is acceptable to God and what people try to make acceptable.

      For anyone who claims to love God and serve him, they do themselves a great disservice trying to change his word to suit their own desires.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  11. JohnQuest

    brad, I think, we non believers are more caring and giving then any theist, we give because it's the right thing to do, not because we will get rewarded for giving. It cost us as much to give as it cost you, we just don't expect to get paid back after we die.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • brad

      @JohnQuest: I agree wholeheartedly that to love because it is right trumps loving out of fear (which is not love at all). I've known non-believers who love and sacrifice as you say. The worst reason for doing what is right is fear of punishment for doing wrong. I'm a believer. It is my hope that I love as God would have it, rather than some unworthy reason.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  12. Jay

    Well people this has been fun but i have to get back to work.

    One final point though.

    There is no hell.

    Thank you and good night!!

    February 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Chapstik Lez

      I beg to differ, anywhere where people like you exist is hell.

      February 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  13. bleedingheart13

    It's great this family could find a loving and supporting church!

    February 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • ACE

      Isn't thats all that matters? Thank-you Bleedin heart!

      February 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  14. JohnQuest

    Chris, "You have no idea what true sacrifice is" if a person is only sacrificing to get in Gods good grace then in their heart they are amoral. true morality comes with sacrificing just for the sake of helping others not because we will look good in Gods eyes.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  15. Jay

    My only original point is that people who call themselves christians but live lives that are in complete contrast to the bible CANNOT BE CALLED TRUE CHRISTIANS.

    Thats the bottom line.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • M. Johnson

      That is BS...says who?

      February 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Jay

      Who says??? Um.. JESUS CHRIST

      Matthew 7:21-23

      "Not everyone saying to me 'LORD, LORD' will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one DOING THE WILL OF MY FATHER who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?" And yet i will confess to them:

      "I NEVER KNEW YOU, GET AWAY FROM ME YOU WORKERS OF LAWLESSNESS!"

      So um yea. Jesus Christ.....

      Read your bibles you SO CALLED christians!!!!!!!!!

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

      WJay –

      AMEN, Jay. For the very Word of God says, DO NOT be hearers of the Word but also be DOERS as well. If we are going to represnt God as Christians, we must live by His Word, not by the word of a man/woman that is corrupted and can be full of lies.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Anglican

      Jay, are you without sin?

      February 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • LJ

      ho-mo-s3x-ual-ity is not a sin.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  16. Colin

    I can only speak for myself, but this atheist has no particular animosity toward religious people. I will say that, in my experience, a strong religious belief tends to corelate with low IQ, but not always. I will add that the core beliefs of most Christians tend to be pretty childish and silly so I can see why we sometimes come accross as mean when we are honest in how we feel about such beliefs.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Jason

      I dig it, but I have not found the IQ test to be true. Many athiests (especially angry ones) that I have met tend to be disturbed emo kids who are angry at their parents and therefore their parents beliefs. I am a science teacher of (at least) average intellegence who sees the fingerprints of the devine all across the scientific world. It is science that fuels my belief for the most part.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Colin

      As Isaid, it is not 100% true. Given that you are a science teacher, you would no doubt appreciate that these "fingerprints" could also belong to Krishna, Brahman or one of a thousand different dieties people in other parts of the World believe in. I am sure you would not think Christians have a monopoly on seing their god in science.

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

      No, I would not deny them their belief, I would just say they are in error and that I hope they, and you, come to a knowledge of the true God through whatever path gets them there. Peace.

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

      John, "intelligence". "Divine". Please go back to school. You shouldn't be teaching anyone else.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • maryLand

      That was to Jason, not John.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • EnumaE

      Jason, you don't find IQ tests to be true? That's a meaningless statement. IQ tests aren't measurements of truth. Perhaps you meant to say that you don't find IQ tests to be completely accurate? If you're teaching our kids, you should be able to get such distinctions right, especially if you're teaching a subject in which accuracy is so important. I'm also curious what these fingerprints of the divine are. Surely you must realize that your personal sense of awe is not proof of anything. Arguments from incredulity are logically fallacious.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • brad

      Colin, thanks for a sane comment.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Chapstik Lez

      @maryLand – do not correct others on spelling and grammar. I mean really is just distasteful and rude, its like cussing someone out for cutting off on the road its not like you are so innocent. Also he is a science teacher not an english teacher.

      February 7, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Smite Me

      Chapstik Lez,

      Heheheh... I generally only correct (gently) the repeated, glaring, consistent spelling and grammar errors of people that I agree with - let the others continue to show their ignorance and/or sloppy thinking.

      I'm not a hard-nose by any means - haste-caused typos and casual sentence structure are fine here (especially since there is no 'edit' function); but not being able to speak/write with some semblance of coherence usually just shows poor thought processes and therefore poor conclusions.

      p.s. People with English as a second language get much more lati.tude, of course.

      February 7, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
  17. Gustavo

    People that are lost just say things that they feel is right. But the TRUTH is still what it is.

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

      And this means what? How does anyone know what is true? Do you believe that everything the Bible says is true? How do you know?

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

      because not one thing in the bible has ever been proved wrong

      February 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • EnumaE

      Plenty of things in the Bible have been proven wrong. Insects have six legs, the Bible says they have four. The Bible says the earth instantly spoken into existence and then populated in six days; it really accreted from a solar nebula and became populated over billions of years. The Bible says Jesus was born during the census of Quirinius and was then persecuted by Herod. Herod died over a decade before the census of Quirinius took place. It is impossible for anyone born during the census to have persecuted by him.

      If you want, I can keep listing things in the Bible that have been proven wrong. This is just the stuff I can think of off the top of my head.

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

      The bible clearly says in 1Corinthians 6:9 "Neither fornicators nor adulterers, nor MEN WHO LIE WITH MEN ,nor thieves, nor greedy persons,nor drunkards etc. will inherit God's Kingdom. How much clearer can that be expressed.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Patrick

      That's correct: it is 100% unknowable.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Ryan

      @duh, I hope that was a sarcastic comment. How about the fact that the bible says the Earth is flat and that the Sun rotates around us? Those are two pretty bring mess ups to be made in the bible so thanks for your opinion but save the next one until you educate yourself.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  18. Matt

    So when can we expect Pastor McLaughlin to start advocating for all childless marriages to be annulled? After all, if they don't count unless they "produce"...

    February 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  19. brad

    As a person of faith and and a Catholic, I'm under a mandate to hate no one, not even those who hate religion and religious people. We are instructed to love the poor even if they haven't bathed in two weeks and are sitting next to youl

    The atheists on this page would say that they are under the mandate of reason: from some their posts, "reason" does nothing to prevent hate, sarcasm, belittling, namecalling and so on. So here's a question to you more testy atheists: would you be such loving people if it began to cost you something?

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

      Reason does nothing? That's a pretty ignorant statement.
      To answer your question, yes we would be loving people even if it cost us.
      But we prefer to be loving because it's the right way to be and not because we've been
      threatened with rules and regulations and eternal damnation LOL.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Erin

      You can't presume to tell me what my banner is, as an atheist. Reason and love are compatible goals, but if one must be sacrificed, I'll give up reason to spread love. Maybe you should meet more atheists and get to know them before judging them.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • brad

      I agree that reason and love coexist. But this needs a closer look. According to Darwinism, survival of the fittest and natural selection certain people should not be allowed to live. Yet love tells us to take care of the afflicted, love even the most unlovable people. I believe that love was put into humanity by a higher source. Evolution was not capable of this.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  20. Gustavo

    Truth is truth. Everythingelse is personal opinions.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Midwest Girl

      So define truth then...Im waiting...

      February 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Patrick

      That's just your personal opinion.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Chapstik Lez

      Its better said Fact is Fact and everything else is opinion. I got your point just said a little wrong.

      February 7, 2011 at 4:06 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.