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My Take: Bible condemns a lot, so why focus on homosexuality?
June 21st, 2011
10:10 AM ET

My Take: Bible condemns a lot, so why focus on homosexuality?

Editor's Note: Jonathan Dudley is the author of Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics.

By Jonathan Dudley, Special to CNN

Growing up in the evangelical community, I learned the Bible’s stance on homosexuality is clear-cut. God condemns it, I was taught, and those who disagree just haven’t read their Bibles closely enough.

Having recently graduated from Yale Divinity School, I can say that my childhood community’s approach to gay rights—though well intentioned—is riddled with self-serving double standards.

I don’t doubt that the one New Testament author who wrote on the subject of male-male intercourse thought it a sin. In Romans 1, the only passage in the Bible where a reason is explicitly given for opposing same-sex relations, the Apostle Paul calls them “unnatural.”

Problem is, Paul’s only other moral argument from nature is the following: “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?” (1 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Few Christians would answer that question with a “yes.”

In short, Paul objects to two things as unnatural: one is male-male sex and the other is long hair on men and short hair on women. The community opposed to gay marriage takes one condemnation as timeless and universal and the other as culturally relative.

I also don’t doubt that those who advocate gay marriage are advocating a revision of the Christian tradition.

But the community opposed to gay marriage has itself revised the Christian tradition in a host of ways. For the first 1500 years of Christianity, for example, marriage was deemed morally inferior to celibacy. When a theologian named Jovinian challenged that hierarchy in 390 A.D. — merely by suggesting that marriage and celibacy might be equally worthwhile endeavors — he was deemed a heretic and excommunicated from the church.

How does that sit with “family values” activism today?

Yale New Testament professor Dale B. Martin has noted that today’s "pro-family" activism, despite its pretense to be representing traditional Christian values, would have been considered “heresy” for most of the church’s history.

The community opposed to gay marriage has also departed from the Christian tradition on another issue at the heart of its social agenda: abortion.

Unbeknownst to most lay Christians, the vast majority of Christian theologians and saints throughout history have not believed life begins at conception.

Although he admitted some uncertainty on the matter, the hugely influential 4th and 5th century Christian thinker Saint Augustine wrote, “it could not be said that there was a living soul in [a] body” if it is “not yet endowed with senses.”

Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic saint and a giant of mediaeval theology, argued: “before the body has organs in any way whatever, it cannot be receptive of the soul.”

American evangelicals, meanwhile, widely opposed the idea that life begins at conception until the 1970s, with some even advocating looser abortion laws based on their reading of the Bible before then.

It won’t do to oppose gay marriage because it’s not traditional while advocating other positions that are not traditional.

And then there’s the topic of divorce. Although there is only one uncontested reference to same-sex relations in the New Testament, divorce is condemned throughout, both by Jesus and Paul. To quote Jesus from the Gospel of Mark: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.”

A possible exception is made only for unfaithfulness.

The community most opposed to gay marriage usually reads these condemnations very leniently. A 2007 issue of Christianity Today, for example, featured a story on its cover about divorce that concluded that Christians should permit divorce for “adultery,” “emotional and physical neglect” and “abandonment and abuse.”

The author emphasizes how impractical it would be to apply a strict interpretation of Jesus on this matter: “It is difficult to believe the Bible can be as impractical as this interpretation implies.”

Indeed it is.

On the other hand, it’s not at all difficult for a community of Christian leaders, who are almost exclusively white, heterosexual men, to advocate interpretations that can be very impractical for a historically oppressed minority to which they do not belong – homosexuals.

Whether the topic is hair length, celibacy, when life begins, or divorce, time and again, the leaders most opposed to gay marriage have demonstrated an incredible willingness to consider nuances and complicating considerations when their own interests are at stake.

Since graduating from seminary, I no longer identify with the evangelical community of my youth. The community gave me many fond memories and sound values but it also taught me to take the very human perspectives of its leaders and attribute them to God.

So let’s stop the charade and be honest.

Opponents of gay marriage aren’t defending the Bible’s values. They’re using the Bible to defend their own.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jonathan Dudley.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Homosexuality • Opinion

soundoff (6,474 Responses)
  1. Dana

    Second paragraph my is may and plan is plain. Again, I apologize for my typos.This is such an important topic my fingers were flying on the keyboard.

    July 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  2. Janet

    In Leviticus, it is written that you shouldn't adorn your skin with tattoos. But people–gay and straight–do it anyways.

    July 4, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  3. Muneef

    Hadith;

    On the authority of Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn 'Alee ibn Abee Taalib (r.a), the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w), and the one much loved by him, who said: I memorized from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w): 

    "Leave that which puts you in doubt for that which does not put you in doubt
    [At – Timidhi]"

    Lessons from the Hadith

    1- It is essential to leave the doubtful things.

    2- Leaving doubtful things protects one's Deen (Religion Beliefs) because if he were to do it and it was Haram (Condemned), it would have harmed him.

    3- It is difficult to live honorably when doing the doubtful because when people see someone doing it, they will no longer respect him. 

    4- One cannot continue doing the doubtful when one knows of an alternative with certainty.

    5- Doubtful things weaken ones Imaan (Faith) and leads to indulge in haram (Condemned)  later.

    6- Halal is enough for a believer with the grace of Allah (s.w.t) so we must avoid doubtful things to protect our deen (Religion Belief)
    __________________
    He is successful whose heart Allah has made sincere toward faith, whose heart He has made free from unbelief, his tongue truthful, his soul calm, his nature straight, whose ear He has made attentive and his eye observant. The ear is a funnel and the eye is a repository for what the heart learns. He is successful whose heart is made retentive. ( Tirmidhi)

    Quotes from the Holy Quran;

    You Shall Not Bear False Witness

    [4:135] O you who believe, you shall be absolutely equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses, even against yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether the accused is rich or poor, GOD takes care of both. Therefore, do not be biased by your personal wishes. If you deviate or disregard (this commandment), then GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.

    [4:136] O you who believe, you shall believe in GOD and His messenger, and the scripture He has revealed through His messenger, and the scripture He has revealed before that. Anyone who refuses to believe in GOD, and His angels, and His scriptures, and His messengers, and the Last Day, has indeed strayed far astray.

    [4:137] Surely, those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe, then disbelieve, then plunge deeper into disbelief, GOD will not forgive them, nor will He guide them in any way.

    [4:138] Inform the hypocrites that they have incurred painful retribution.

    [4:139] They are the ones who ally themselves with disbelievers instead of believers. Are they seeking dignity with them? All dignity belongs with GOD alone.

    [4:140] He has instructed you in the scripture that: if you hear GOD's revelations being mocked and ridiculed, you shall not sit with them, unless they delve into another subject. Otherwise, you will be as guilty as they are. GOD will gather the hypocrites and the disbelievers together in Hell.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • frank carter

      Where did you come from, your article another prophecy or another 911?

      July 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Muneef

      I came from no where I am not in America...am some where in the third world writing from a cave...haha
      Happy Fourth of July and kindly wipe 911 from your dictionary since already many islamic countries had paid for it guilty or innocent...

      July 4, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  4. Platypus

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe. -Einstein

    July 4, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  5. Rachel Carper

    This is probably the best Op-Ed on gay marriage I've ever read. Can't wait to read your book!

    July 4, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  6. Platypus

    Many posts here mention the SOUL. I’ve attended anatomy classes in the past and never encountered this piece of the human body invented by religion. What do coroners do with this part of the human body during their investigation?

    July 4, 2011 at 2:27 am |
    • JJ

      As a medical student, I have studied anatomy (until agnosium!) and you are absolutely right! None of my books has 'Soul' in the index. However, there are many classes that will talk about a persons "essence", "being", or "self" that we don't quite have a definition for. The most scientific will result in a reductionist view that we are, As Dawkin's describes it, dancing to the impulses of external stimuli and genetic factors. Romantic. This intangible (we won't give it a name just yet) is also most likely to what frames our moral boundries (as no genetic factors have been strongly linked with morals and environment does not provide 100% of it's effect). Just because we don't feel atoms bounce off us doesn't mean they don't exist. We shouldn't be (if being properly scientific) too quick to negate something without positive evidence to completely disregard it.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  7. bulldogblue

    A Yale degree isn't what it used to be.

    July 3, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • Roy Rogers

      I think you meant to say: "I disagree with the author's conclusions but have no response to it."

      July 3, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  8. Muneef

    PRISM 1234

    They say that Duaa prayers are the brain of worship;

    A famous Dua (supplication) that the Prophet Muhammad
    (Peace be upon him) used to say at times of Anxiety or Sorrow.
    The dua is:

    "‘O Allaah", I take refuge in You from Anxiety and Sorrow, Weakness and
    Laziness, Miserliness and Cowardice, the Burden of Debts and from being Over Powered by men.’

    ********************
    If we look at all the six elements that the Dua above is asking Allah for
    refuge from, we would realise that all of them are anti-Productivity
    elements that if removed from our lives we can move forward much quicker and be more productive.

    *Anxiety & Sorrow:*
    ************************
    When you’re sad, bothered, or anxious about something, you cannot be
    productive as your mind is taken over by what’s bothering you. Your thought
    process is not devoted to anything else except how to get rid of your
    anxiety or sorrow. Sometimes these anxieties are small, sometimes they are
    big, but however big/small they are, the moment these anxieties take over
    your life and blur your thoughts, then you need to make this dua.

    *Weakness & Laziness:*
    *******************************
    Weakness is when you cannot do something, and laziness is when you do NOT
    want to do something. And the two are inter-linked. Most people who are
    lazy, end up being weak. Because what started off as something you do not
    want to do, soon becomes something you cannot do and you end up convincing yourself that you cannot ever do. Again, both these illnesses are elements which you need to ask Allah for help in removing because they are detriment to your quality of life. Imagine not being able to achieve or do anything because you are weak or lazy, how pathetic is that for a Muslim? And as in the famous hadeeth: “Seek help from Allah and do not be weak!” That’s the formula, don’t get yourself to the level of “I cannot do it” but seek help from Allah and anything is possible!

    *Miserliness & Cowardice:*
    *********************************
    Productivity requires you to spend, not only money, but money, time, and
    effort. And spending needs courage, because the miserly are usually cowards
    who fear poverty or fear lack of resources, but the person with courage
    moves forward fearing nothing but Allah.

    *The Burden of Debt & Being Overpowered by Men:*
    ***************************************************************
    There’s nothing more enslaving than the burden of debt, and that’s why
    there’s a number of dua that Prophet Muhammad taught his followers to removesuch social slavery from his people, including one of my  duas: ‘O
    Allaah, make what is lawful enough for me, as opposed to what is unlawful,
    and spare me by Your grace, of need of others.’ Moreover, debt can also lead you to being overpowered of men described in the dua, which mainly happens when you owe other people something.

    Such a beautiful dua should always be in our prayers and prostrations, as
    we’re not free from all the elements at any one time. Moreover, if you want
    to know the cause of the above six diseases, the answer is our sins. Nothing
    else brings about sadness, anxiety, miserliness, cowardice, weakness,
    laziness and debt except for our sins, so we need to stay guard by firstly reducing our sins and secondly making the above dua abundantly, always.

    July 3, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Muneef

      Prayers to the Lord;

      "Therefore, my Lord! I implore Thee by Thy greatness not to let my sins and my misdeeds shut out access to my prayers from reaching Thy realm and not to disgrace me by exposing those (hidden ones) of which Thou hast knowledge nor to hasten my retribution for those vices and misdeeds committed by me in secret which were due to evil mindedness, ignorance, excessive lustfulness and my negligence"

      "O' my God! My master! My Lord! And my Nourisher! What! Wilt Thou see me punished with the fire kindled by Thee despite my belief in Thy unity?

      And despite the fact that my heart has been filled with (pure) knowledge of Thee and when my tongue has repeatedly praised Thee and my conscience has acknowledged Thy love and despite my sincere confessions (of my sins) and my humble entreaties submissively made to Thy divinity?

      Nay, Thou art far too kind and generous to destroy one whom thyself nourished and supported, or to drive away from Thyself one whom Thou has kept under Thy protection, or to scare away one whom Thy self hast given shelter, or to abandon in affliction one Thou hast maintained and to whom Thou hast been merciful"

      "O' my Lord! By Thy honour truly do I swear that, if Thou wilt allow my power of speech to be retained by me in the hell, I shall amongst its inmates cry out bewailingly unto Thee like the cry of those who have faith in Thy kindness and compassion And I shall bemoan for Thee (for being deprived of nearness to Thee) the lamentation of those who are bereaved, and I shall keep on calling unto Thee: 'Where art Thou o' Friend of the believers! O' (Thou who art) the last hope and resort of those who acknowledge Thee and have faith in Thy clemency and kindness; o' Thou who art the helper of those seeking help! O' Thou who art dear to the hearts of those who truly believe in Thee! And o' Thou who art the Lord of the universe.'"
      ***************
      For reading the full dua ;
      http://www.duas.org/kumayl.htm

      July 3, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • Muneef

      25 Dua'a from the Holy Quran;

      1. Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the life to come and keep us safe from the torment of the Fire (2:201)

      2. Our Lord! Bestow on us endurance and make our foothold sure and give us help against those who reject faith. (2:250)

      3. Our Lord! Take us not to task if we forget or fall into error. (2:286)

      4. Our Lord! Lay not upon us such a burden as You did lay upon those before us. (2:286)

      5. Our Lord! Impose not on us that which we have not the strength to bear, grant us forgiveness and have mercy on us. You are our Protector. Help us against those who deny the truth. (2:286)

      6. Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate from the truth after You have guided us, and bestow upon us mercy from Your grace. Verily You are the Giver of bounties without measure. (3:8)

      7. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and the lack of moderation in our doings, and make firm our steps and succour us against those who deny the truth.(3:147)

      8. Our Lord! Whomsoever You shall commit to the Fire, truly You have brought [him] to disgrace, and never will wrongdoers find any helpers (3:192)

      9. Our Lord! Behold we have heard a voice calling us unto faith: "Believe in your Lord" as we have believed. (3:193)

      10. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and efface our bad deeds and take our souls in the company of the righteous. (3:193)

      11. Our Lord! And grant us that which you have promised to us by Your messengers and save us from shame on the Day of Judgement. Verily You never fail to fulfill Your promise. (3:194)

      12. Our Lord! We have sinned against ourselves, and unless You grant us forgiveness and bestow Your mercy upon us, we shall most certainly be lost! (7:23)

      13. Our Lord! Place us not among the people who have been guilty of evildoing. (7:47)

      14. Our Lord! Lay open the truth between us and our people, for You are the best of all to lay open the truth. (7:89)
       
      15. Our Lord! Pour out on us patience and constancy, and make us die as those who have surrendered themselves unto You. (7:126)

      16. Our Lord! Make us not a trial for the evildoing folk, and save as by Your mercy from people who deny the truth (10:85-86)

      17. Our Lord! You truly know all that we may hide [in our hearts] as well as all that we bring into the open, for nothing whatever, be it on earth or in heaven, remains hidden from Allah (14:38)

      18. Our Lord! Bestow on us mercy from Your presence and dispose of our affairs for us in the right way. (18:10)

      19. Our Lord! Grant that our spouses and our offspring be a comfort to our eyes, and give us the grace to lead those who are conscious of You. (25:74)

      20. Our Lord! You embrace all things within Your Grace and Knowledge, forgive those who repent and follow Your path, and ward off from them the punishment of Hell. (40:7)

      21. Our Lord! Make them enter the Garden of Eden which You have promised to them, and to the righteous from among their fathers, their wives and their offspring, for verily You are alone the Almighty and the truly Wise. (40:8)

      22. Our Lord! Relieve us of the torment, for we do really believe. (44:12)

      23. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins as well as those of our brethren who proceeded us in faith and let not our hearts entertain any unworthy thoughts or feelings against [any of] those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed full of kindness and Most Merciful (59:10)

      24. Our Lord! In You we have placed our trust, and to You do we turn in repentance, for unto You is the end of all journeys. (60:4)

      25. Our Lord! Perfect our light for us and forgive us our sins, for verily You have power over all things. (66:8)

      Ackwnoledgements : Raza Azmi

      July 3, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Hello, Muneef
      I came late to my PC today, I wanted to catch up on a day I missed, so I didn't have much time reading your verses you posted.. I do not want to read them fast, but take time. You posted them to me, in response to mine I posted to you, and I honor them as gift from a friend. I will take time tomorrow to read them slowly, pondering the meaning of them. Thank you , my friend!

      God bless and keep you safe!

      July 5, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Muneef,
      I just want you to know that the sayings and prayers you posted have really meant a lot to me. I've read them, and pondered the meanings of them in my heart. I've also printed them to reflect often at them. It gives me more understanding of how you and your people relate to God, and how I can pray for you with more understanding.
      Thank you, friend!
      Please keep us posted how are things where you live..... and take care! 🙂

      July 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  9. Jack O'Fall

    “No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.” George Benard Shaw

    July 3, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • Robrob

      Perfectly put!

      July 3, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • bulldogblue

      When words can mean anything, then language is useless.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  10. Megan

    I think the gist of the argument, even without the pro-or-anti-gay stance is that as humans, we can twist pretty much any literature to support whatever belief we may hold as individuals. It isn't the religious scripture that says how we should feel but how we feel that determines what the religious scripture says. And so with something that bendable, we are left only with the goodness of our own hearts to help us determine what is right and wrong. Spoken like a true humanist, eh?

    July 3, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Roy Rogers

      Amen! I totally agree.

      July 3, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  11. PRISM 1234

    Hey, Muneef, I posted a rsponse to you on pg. 29. Just wanted you to know that I did not ignore you!

    July 3, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Muneef

      PRISM 1234

      Had seen it and wrote you some thing saying thank you so very much..friend...

      July 3, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  12. clseamon

    You gotta love the authors unapologetic theological smugness: "my simpleton church believes this, but now that I've graduated from YALE DIVINITY SCHOOL, I, enlightened soul that I now am, know better." The graduate fails in Christian humility.

    July 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Roy Rogers

      He's just establishing his credentials. It's funny how the evangelical community doesn't think that education gives some one credentials to speak. And in any case, it has nothing at all to do with the validity of his argument.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • bulldogblue

      I suppose this is why Jesus chose simple fishermen as his core group. A Yale degree is supposed to be mind-opening. Mr. Dudley should ask for his money back.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • bosoxwsc2004

      And yet Paul, possibly the second most important post-Christ individual in the Christian Faith was an incredibly educated man. Faith is not reserved for any specific type of person.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  13. Doug

    LAST SENTENCE SHOULD READ:

    ThIS PROPONENT of gay marriage ISn’t defending the Bible’s values. He's using the Bible to defend his own.

    So tired of seminaries propagating lies and `educating' youth to believe the erroneous heretical doctrines of theologians wanting to delote the Word to conform to society's standards!

    Be NOT conformed (desensitized, compromising) to the world but be tranaformed by the renewing of your mind.

    Promoting celibacy is in NO WAY a viable argument in this article. It is promoted in Scripture as well as within the church's history.

    This guy should just tell everyone to throw out the Bible completely if condemned behavior is now tolerable since we are in `modern times' and the Scripture can apparently be COMPROMISED to fit seeker friendly houses of ICHABOD!!

    July 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Jack O'Fall

      So, you agree that you use the Bible selectively, but you are upset that he calls out everyone that does (everyone does) and we should stop being a hypocrite?
      I fail to see your point. He never uses the Bible to defend his logic, merely that the Bible is used as a tool to defend whatever people want to use it for.

      July 3, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • bulldogblue

      Mr. Dudley is doing exactly what he condemns. Which means he is now a full-fledged, brainwashed liberal robot. Which is a shame, since he must have had a fine mind before Yale-Div.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • Roy Rogers

      Actually he isn't, he doesn't even argue for gay marriage in the column...but one can hardly expect reactionary conservatives to understand things like arguments....

      July 4, 2011 at 2:41 am |
    • It is what it is!

      A simple applause and thank you are in order, Doug...

      July 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  14. TJ Parker

    "Slaves, obey your masters!" So said Jesus. Sell me your daughter, dood.

    July 3, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  15. stanknasty

    Dudley is so gay....why else would he twist the scriptures and totally ignore so many passages where hom-oseuxuality is condemned... gay gay gay....

    July 3, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Thomas

      Well we have your thoughts on why he is doing it but I wonder why YOU enjoy twisting scripture to your own ends. Oh, I know because if you personally do not like something then SURELY God doesn't like it also. Humm and I thought christians believed God created man but usually I see more christians that are creating God.

      July 3, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Robrob

      Funny, I bet you couldn't name one of them without first running to some wingnut website.

      July 3, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  16. stanknasty

    Mr. Dudley is for Gay-Marriage... Could he please provide some proof from the Bible that this theological position is supported by the scriptures? I'm waiting...oh ... I'll wait 'til he-ll freezes over i'm sure.

    July 3, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Thomas

      Oh you dont need to wait until hell freezes over at all. Just open your Bible (unless your Jewish skip to the New Testament) and read. Concentrate on verses that contain how we should love each other and you may want to meditate on how we should not "judge lest we be judged ourselves". You may also want to consider how many groups of unmarried Jewish men spend all their time together past the age of 18. Jesus seems to be the exception more than the rule over and over again.

      July 3, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Robrob

      Out of curiosity, since the Bible doesn't condemn it – why would it have to support it in any specific way at all? The Bible also doesn't condemn internal combustion engines so does that mean there needs to be scriptural support for using one?

      July 3, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Ummmm

      "It had to be a a thorn in someone side, for removing it after it stayed posted few days. Shame on CNN!"

      It was the Holy Spirit that removed it to show you that you have it all wrong.

      July 6, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  17. Kenneth B.

    "Having recently graduated from Yale Divinity School, I can say that my childhood community’s approach to gay rights...is riddled with self-serving double standards." What's with the appeal to being a graduate from Yale Divinity School? Could he not say this before graduating? I felt like I was watching Andy Bernard from The Office. "Back when I was at Cornell..."

    July 3, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Roy Rogers

      I think he's just establishing his credentials. Sure, anyone could say this, but it means more coming from a graduate of a top seminary than some random guy off the street.

      July 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Robrob

      "What's with the appeal to being a graduate from Yale Divinity School?" – – Wow, are you serious?

      July 3, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  18. Kenneth B.

    Sad examples. First, while it's true that the church in the past has elevated celibacy above marriage, it was by paying closer attention to the Scriptures (not ignoring them altogether) that the reformers came to value marriage as equal with celibacy. Second, while it's also true that many theologians, have debated when exactly life begins, the early church was united in its opposition to abortion (especially as a means of birth control, see O.M. Bakke's "When Children Became People" in regards to this topic). Also, I would point out that by the time a woman realizes she is pregnant, the fetus would qualify as possessing a soul by both Augustine's and Aquinas' criteria.

    July 3, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Roy Rogers

      And why do a few theologians in the early church trump the next 1800 years of Christian history?

      Maybe proponents of gay marriage also think they have a better reading of the Bible, even if, like the pro-marriage sentiments today, it is not "traditional."

      You are wrong about Augustine and Aquinas. They both suggested the fetus must be have sentience before ensoulment, which doesn't occur until around the second trimester.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Robrob

      All one needs to know about Biblical morality needs to read Gen. 19:8 – – “Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof,”

      July 3, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  19. Matthew

    I can't believe the nerve of us Christians! How dare we believe and quote the Bible! It might offend the perverts!

    July 3, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Thomas

      You mean starting with yourself?

      July 3, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Robrob

      Did you even bother to read the article? Feel free to find actual flaws with the author's premise (BTW, did you notice he's a DD from Harvard? I suspect he knows a bit more what he's talking about than the random RWingnut).

      July 3, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  20. hermes

    Mr. Dudley, thank you very much for this very educative article. It really serves to also defend the few that are not religious whatsoever and how we view the fervent faithful when it comes to the Bible and it's laws and the application of said laws into society. It is very much flawed and manipulated.
    Clever article!

    July 3, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • stanknasty

      my my what hate comes from you...o ye of tolerance... thou art most tolerant....hahahhahahaha

      July 3, 2011 at 12:35 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.