Editor’s note: Ross Murray is director of religion, faith and values at GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
By Ross Murray, Special to CNN
America is embracing its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. Don’t believe me? Just look at the progress being made in faith communities.
The Christian church was once considered the final holdout for those who oppose equality for LGBT people. Staunch believers could gather in worship with people who thought just like them to hear sermons affirming the anti-LGBT beliefs they held in common.
For those of us who identify as LGBT, church was a place of fear and secrets. We had to figure out how to hide ourselves or how to find a more welcoming community.
But that is changing.
Although there is still a variety of scriptural interpretations, an increasing number of Christians are reading scripture and understanding that God’s design for the world includes LGBT people. It follows, good Christians believe, that if God made them, then I am called to love and support them.
Whole Christian denominations have accepted and embraced the reality of LGBT believers within their ranks and in their leadership. Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, the United Church of Christ and Unitarians have formally accepted LGBT people within their denominations.
Even within denominations and faith groups whose policies don’t fully welcome LGBT people, there are growing numbers of people who have learned to love and accept their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters.
The Public Religion Research Institute found this year that as many as 71% of Catholics in America support lesbian and gay people, even up to the point of civil marriage, despite the Roman Catholic hierarchy telling them otherwise.
Of course, there still are Christian groups who work actively against equal protections for LGBT people and their families.
Indeed, as more Americans get to know and love their LGBT neighbors, the messages and vocal misinformation of anti-gay activists become even more shrill.
And yet more and more Christians are now living out the message of 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
How did this happen? More Christians now know someone who is LGBT. They probably even know someone from their church. There are countless faithful Christians who identify as LGBT.
These are folks who have found their faith in God to be stronger than the opposition of vocal anti-gay activists.
These LGBT Christians have shared their lives and their stories that build up love and break down fear, leading to tangible progress, especially with young people.
According to the Public Religion Research Institute, there is at least a 20-point gap between those ages 18 to 29 and those ages 65 and older on every public policy measure in the survey concerning equality for gay and lesbian people, with younger Americans gravitating toward equality.
Even Christian-identified young people increasingly support protections for lesbian and gay people, the same survey found.
Those who oppose equality can call it what they like, but the reality is that we are living in a society that has learned how to value LGBT people as they would others.
That attitude doesn’t rely on fear or lies, but on caring relationships and trust. It lives out the apostle Paul’s wish for the Corinthians that someday we will know fully, even as we are fully known. It is a biblically informed reality that is helping to make the world a better place.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ross Murray.
alexspart02 on October 20, 2011 i think rambo slohud be made into a video game because it was a very popular and exciting movie that would very fun to play. i think this because he snipes, sneaks, and ambushes people. this would be a high selling game.
allah is fake dont believe the muslims. just know god is real
How many twisted minds do you have in your country? Am not sure you realize what you are saying at all? I thought ignorance only at 3 world but seem I was wrong... Am not sure how can "Allah" be false and "God" be real?!
Just forgot to mention that both means the same thing referring to the Creator of Universe and all Creations..
News for you – "allah" is simply the Arabic word for "god". So, you basically contradict yourself.
gays cant save any1......
neither can you with your prejudice ego.
From a Christian perspective – no-one except Jesus can save anyone. Period.
"They base their comments on quotes YOU claim you believe. You missed that."
How about trying to base your comments on what the article said and to be on-topic, even for once in your life.
How about so many Christians skipping all the HYPOCRISY and pick on the much greater number of their own who commit the Ten Commandment sin of adultery rather than those who commit an abomination like eating shellfish?
Satan threatens you with poverty and orders you to immorality, while Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing. 2:268
He gives wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given much good. And none will remember except those of understanding. 2:269
Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded. 16:90
Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do. 29:45
O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. 2:168
He only orders you to evil and immorality and to say about Allah what you do not know. 2:169
O children of Adam, We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness – that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember.7:26
O children of Adam, let not Satan tempt you as he removed your parents from Paradise, stripping them of their clothing to show them their private parts. Indeed, he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you do not see them. Indeed, We have made the devils allies to those who do not believe. 7:27
And when they commit an immorality, they say, "We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has ordered us to do it." Say, "Indeed, Allah does not order immorality. Do you say about Allah that which you do not know?" 7:28
Say, [O Muhammad], "My Lord has ordered justice and that you maintain yourselves [in worship of Him] at every place [or time] of prostration, and invoke Him, sincere to Him in religion." Just as He originated you, you will return [to life] – 7:29
A group [of you] He guided, and a group deserved [to be in] error. Indeed, they had taken the devils as allies instead of Allah while they thought that they were guided. 7:30
It seems like the answer is always the same. "Yes, we all sin. Yes, Christians should not do that. Yes, we hate the sin but not the sinner. Now that we've accepted blame, I won't have to mention the Ten Commandment SIN of adultery again. Let's talk about the abomination of the gay lifestyle"
I'm sorry, I thought that you were more concerned with how Christians treat those that practice the lifestyle spoken of in the article. Please read this. I hope it answers your question. Thank you.
A Woman Caught in Adultery
Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
It's not a "lifestyle". Thank you.
By that statement, he negated a LONG list of sins that were punishable by death according to God. So what happened? The standard story is that punishment for all sins were valid until Jesus died for the sinners.
You are completely correct. I was just paraphrasing others to point out their hypocrisy.
God loves everyone, including sinners. So, there is no reason to not sin.
For those who have been hurt, offended, or treated with anything other than the love Christianity professes to possess, I am sorry. I am writing an extensive research paper on this topic, and would love to have conversations with anyone who is willing. I will include my email, knowing the risk: email@example.com.
Assuming you are a Christian, I applaud you for being open-minded. Everyone has the right to decide for themselves what the meaning of life is, but they don't have the right to deprive others of that same right if those others are not hurting anyone. If your religion makes your life better, then don't use it to make someone's life worse.
Jon, how brave of you to included your email address. The comments on this post have gotten so out of hand. I am also a Christian and my heart is grieved at the lashing out that has occured. Although it saddens me...it is to be expected. As Christians, we know what the bible has to say not only about this lifestyle, but also about the vast deception that is to take place right before Jesus returns. Although I do not agree with the lifestyle, I don't hate the person that lives it. As Christians we are called to present the truth and pray. Not debate. Debating is never profitable for anyone. It is so unfortunate that this is what this has become. All the best to you as conduct your research. I wanted to share that the scripture the writer of this post cited was taken out of context. Please if everyone would take the time to read it. The perfect love is the love that God has for His children and that He sent Jesus Christ for all. There is no fear of punishment when one has a relationship with Jesus Christ. Remember, Jesus Christ died for the sins of all people. It is a free gift...don't delay in asking for it. We are all sinners, but Christians have asked forgiveness for their sins and trusted in what Jesus came to do.
1 John 4:15-18...15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
visit biblegateway.com to read the entire chapter.
"As Christians, we know what the bible has to say not only about this lifestyle, but also about the vast deception that is to take place right before Jesus returns."
Yes, you also know about other sins by Christians like remarrying is adultery unless the prior spouse already committed adultery. Can you give ANY reason why Christians never tell other remarried Christians they must divorce to get out of living in adultery? They sure have no problems picking on gays and telling them what their fate will be.
(If you are stuck for the answer: the answer is HYPOCRISY).
Observer: You are correct. Many professing Christians do shy away from certain topics like remarriage. The bible is clear that adultery is the only reason a marriage can be dissolved. We cannot pick and choose what we want to believe/read of the bible. A true Christian would not participate in any type of hate activity. As I said, it is the lifestyle that is not supported. We have all sinned including myself. I encourage you to also read the bible for yourself. We all need forgiveness. The SIN is to be hated...but never the person who commits it. Everyone will have to stand before God one day and give an account for what we have done while we were living. The only difference for the Christian is that they have asked for and received forgiveness for their sins.
I am so full of hatred towards the hypocrites, who boo gay soldiers at Republican debates, etc., that I have chosen not to be involved with any organized religion years ago.. I live in Southeastern Idaho, which is predominately Morman, so I may be able to provide you with a different perspective, if you are interested.
@observer you said that Christians quoting the golden rule on these stories never happens. I quoted it a while back before you said that. Maybe you are as close minded as you claim Christians to be. I know you have put words in my mouth and also overlooked a few of them in our exchange...
Congratulations. Kudos to you. Are you going to PRETEND that this occurs frequently?
I will correct my original statement. Christians bring up the Golden Rule when discussing gays VERY VERY VERY RARELY.
No, I'm not going to pretend it doesn't happen often. I will agree with you that it happens rarely..
Sorry if I asked, I just couldn't give "logical, rational and factual responses." without basing logic, rationale and facts.
The facts are that whenever there is a story about gays, many hypocritical Christians quickly post quotes from the Bible putting down gays. When there are stories about Christians that are negative such as involving infidelity, you won't see Christians posting all the passages that trash them for their sins.
Yes, not all Christians support the Bible concerning gays which is good, but you'll never see hypocritical Christians quoting the Golden Rule on stories about gays. When it comes to the Bible, It's all pick and choose hypocrisy.
Slow it down dude!!!
Your guilt is getting more and more obvious everytime post.
Reassured that there's nobody will anymore hate you, IF.. you would go to the nearest tailoring shop for your butthole.
resassured that God will not hate you'll go to the nearest tailor
"@Observer.. Slow it down dude!!! Your guilt is getting more and more obvious everytime post."
Guilt about WHAT?
One more time- skip if you have seen it before-
"Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.
o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:
“ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice. "
"Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8
Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.
assalamou akiulam sister,there is little doubt in my mind, as in anybody's mind, that this is a missionary attempt to woo a muslim audience.however, i humbly disagree with your conclusion. i believe it is quite clear in the quran that muslims worship the god of the prophets abraham, noah, moses, jesus and mohammad (peace be upon them). if you ask the jews or the christian whether they pray to the god of abraham they will definitely answer in the affirmative.therefore, i believe it is closer to the truth to say that we disagree with jews and christian about the attributes of god. but in deed we worship the same god. it is specially ironic since i am part of a muslim minority in a 'christian' canada. muslim scholars struggle hard to project this truth that we all worship the same god.allah is the word for the one true god. i am sure you know that it was not a word 'invented' by the prophet and even the pagan arabs acknowledge the presence of the god of abraham whom they referred to as allah.finally, the quran too uses the word allah for the 'christian god' but contradicts their claim that god has a son. i pray we can reconcile this difference. while it is pathetic that the missionaries are resorting to this tactic, i hope that we do not let our disgust for them lead us to injustice.
Sorry. The god of the quran and God of the Bible are not the same. This is the lie that is being perpetuated by the liberal media of the world and liberal scholars. The God of the Bible is the one true and living God and presents the only way of salvation in the Bible. It is only through his Son, Jesus Christ. The god of the quran does not have a plan of salvation and definitley does not glorify the One True and Living God and His Son. The God of the Universe is not schizophrenic. He is a God of order. Sorry, there is only one way to Heaven, through God's free Gift of His Son Jesus Christ. Any other way is false.
I just couldn't believe of some of the posters here keep on whining about God/Bible/Christian hating gays, while the article and the facts prove otherwise.
And funny thing is, they based it on verses written on the book that they don't believe in. How ironic.
They base their comments on quotes YOU claim you believe. You missed that.
God doesn't condemn gay but ONLY the act thereof.
just as god condemns those who wear cotton blends.
Sorry – meant to say that just as god condemns the act of wearing cotton blends. You know, since that makes so much sense.
Your god condemns two people who love and devote their lives to each other? You have a weird god.
@Think of yourself
God does not condemns people but ONLY their deeds and actios. That's why there is repentance and forgiveness.
You're reply is purely nonsensical. It doesn't worth spend an inch of neurons.
Should be read: *It's not worth spending
Too many errors for a so short comments. Time to take a nap. (yawn!)
I'm pretty sure that christians believe god sends people to hell, not actions, so somewhere along the line he is condemning people.
"but ONLY the act thereof."
Oh, you mean the acts of using sex to worship a crazy god "and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. "
Huh and corinthians they added the word homosexual later to that scripture.
Leviticus isn't used any more because it doesn't pertain to christians today.
Oh wait.....where in the bible does your god condemn the christian loving partnership of gay people?
You're reply is purely nonsensical. It doesn't worth spend an inch of neurons."
Thanks for proving that you cherry pick your text to put down others. Maybe try reading and following your entire bible next time, hypocrite. Though that would actually require you to spend an "inch of neurons" ... whatever the heck that's supposed to mean.
@HellBent: “Sorry – meant to say that just as god condemns the act of wearing cotton blends. You know, since that makes so much sense.” Just like god condemns the act of cooking a baby goat in its mother’s milk (#10 of the 2nd set of 10 commandments)
I have made a reply for you but it couldn't get through the filter. I have tried several times putting extra characters to possibly naughty words to the extent that I have put periods/spaces in every letter, yet has no avail.
Don't force the issue, it's not worth the effort.
Please just tell me where you are coming from. Do you support the Bible in it's putting down of gays? Do you support the Bible but think it doesn't put down gays? Do you think the Bible is just plain wrong?
"How is a 9 year old confirmed gay?"
I saw the sign of it when he started to walk and to his choice of toys a friends. And when we asked him what would he want as gift on his 9th birthday, he proudly and happily show us a picture....in a catalogue and....it's a beautiful velvet gown.
We have been trying our best to change his preferences in the best that we could. And although it doesn't work that well and our best seemed to be not enough but we just can't give up on him.
Maybe he was born that way but we could still give our best and let God do the rest. Yet, we know the fact that in the end of the day (when he reached the age of accountability) he still the one to freely choose what his life would be and nobody could take away such right from him.
But we'll surely see to it that he would realize that he's accountable through his actions NOT ONLY to himself nor ONLY to his fellow but also to GOD, coz we know that God would all judge us NOT by who or what we are, but by what we do.
Well done my friend!
I sincerely hope you're not going to wield your religion as a weapon to instill guilt and shame about who he is.
To convince a child that God made him who he is, but that who he is is an abomination should he embrace it, will cause a great deal of trauma as he gets older.
As Christian parents, you are walking a fine line.
I obviously hadn't seen this comment when I commented earlier.
"we know that God would all judge us NOT by who or what we are, but by what we do."
You have it wrong. You should be focusing and taking pride in WHO your son is. You made NOT ONE comment on whether your son is a good, caring, sweet, intelligent, kind, loving, friendly, smart kid, etc. Your concern is JUST on what he might do with another consenting adult in the privacy of a bedroom. What a small mind to have.
Analyzer, I've been reading your posts all wrong. I thought you had accepted your child. Trying to make a gay child straight is rather like bathing a black child into a tub full of bleach: Ineffective, insulting and downright cruel. All you are accomplishing is to confuse the child, which will lead to a conflicted adult. Were you aware that suicide rates double for gays who undergo conversion therapy? I certainly hope you efforts are gentle and subtle, and I hope you won't punish the child when they don't work.
I wish parents would love their children as much as they loved bronze age mythology.
How sad that the child will grow up in a home knowing his parent(s) do not accept him for who he is. I hope you're at least saving up for the inevitable therapy bills
I hope you realize that you were given a gay child to teach you a lesson on love and to allow stereotype prejudices go from your heart. You are truly blessed to have such a wonderful child in your home. Please remember that all major national mental health organizations have officially expressed concerns about therapies promoted to modify sexual orientation. To date, there has been no scientifically adequate research to show that therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation (sometimes called reparative or conversion therapy) is safe or effective. Furthermore, it seems likely that the promotion of change therapies reinforces stereotypes and contributes to a negative climate for lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons. This appears to be especially likely for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals who grow up in more conservative religious settings.
Now I have a question for you, Mr. Analyzer:
Since when did wanting a dress make a boy gay? When I was THREE I got a tonk a truck for my birthday – and I'm a girl. I do applaud you for recognizing the fact that he can live the life he wants, but still, bending the laws of what has been called "normal"by the masses does not make one LGBT. I guess people who think wearing a skirt means you're a girl thinks an entire culture is "gay". By that I mean Scotland. AND I AM NOT CALLING THEM THAT. I AM MAKING A POINT.
25 hours later and still waiting... (see below)
Read the introductory statement of the article that you may find that it already came. Too bad, you're full of it that you don't see it coming to an end.
@I can wait forever...(above)
If you had taken the time to look at the previous post I was referencing you would know that 25 hours ago (now 30) I posted this...
Can anyone give an example of how gay marriage harms America in any way.
Please only logical, rational and factual responses.
@End the Hate
It so happened that I based my reply to you based on the article as well as your latest post above NOT with your previous 48 yrs. ago. LOL! Joke..
Seriously, I hope you won't mind asking, who told you that gay marriage harms America? Just Curious.
Sorry if I asked, I just couldn't give any "logical, rational, factual" answer(s) out of asumptions and heresy.
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.