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Is the black church guilty of spiritual hypocrisy in same-sex marriage debate?
Delman Coates at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church is among a minority of black ministers in Maryland who have endorsed gay rights.
May 12th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Is the black church guilty of spiritual hypocrisy in same-sex marriage debate?

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Some people wonder if the black church will punish President Barack Obama for announcing support for same-sex marriage.

Here’s another question:

Why would the black church cite scripture to exclude gays when a similar approach to the Bible was used to enslave their ancestors?

“It’s so unfortunate,” says James Cone, one the nation’s most influential black theologians and author of “The Cross and the Lynching Tree.”

“The literal approach to scripture was used to enslave black people,” he says. “I’ve said many times in black churches that the black church is on the wrong side of history on this. It’s so sad because they were on the right side of history in their own struggle.”

Call it historical irony: Black church leaders arguing against same-sex marriage are making some of the same arguments that supporters of slavery made in the 18th and 19th centuries, some historians say. Both groups adopted a literal reading of the Bible to justify withholding basic rights from a particular group.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Opposition to gay rights is not the standard position of all black churches. Still, while several predominately white mainline denominations have officially accepted gays and lesbians in various forms, the vast majority of black churches still consider homosexuality a sin.

Black church leaders recently helped lead a successful drive to amend North Carolina’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage. The Rev. Fred Robinson, a black pastor in Charlotte, says most black churchgoers aren’t hypocrites. They take scripture, and sin, seriously.

“Black people are not confused,” Robinson says. “If you look at the scriptures that oppose homosexuality, Old and New Testament, they are clearer cut than the ones people used to justify slavery.”

Yet there are other factors beyond the Bible that shape the black church’s resistance to same-sex marriage.

“It’s more than scripture – it’s history, culture, how we were raised,” says the Rev. Tim McDonald, founder of the African American Ministers Leadership Council.

Some black church leaders are still fighting hard just to persuade straight black couples to marry. Accepting same-sex marriage when so many black households lack a husband and wife makes McDonald uneasy.

“I am not comfortable performing a wedding ceremony of the same sex,” says McDonald, an Obama supporter. “That’s just where I am.”

Some black pastors, however, embrace a literal approach to the Bible not just to exclude gays but to get rid of competition, says Edward Blum, a San Diego State University historian.

Some black pastors cite New Testament passages such as Paul’s demand that women keep silent in churches to argue against black women in the pulpit.

That argument is harder to make when black women’s energy and donations form the backbone of the black church, Blum says, but some still get away with it.

“The biblical literalist reading has kept male leadership in power in a church that is hugely female,” Blum says. “It keeps power in men’s hands.”

The one book that mattered

Black churches also embrace a literal reading of the scripture because of its unique history, says Blum, author of “W.E.B. DuBois, American Prophet.”

During slavery and segregation, many blacks saw the Bible as the one document they could trust. The Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, state and local laws – all found some way to ignore their humanity, Blum says.

The Bible, though, was one book that told them that they weren’t slaves or three-fifths of a person, Blum says.

It said they were children of God.

“Throughout the 18th and 19th century, what document could they trust?” Blum says. “When the Bible says it’s so, it’s something that black people believed they could trust.”

Their enemies, though, used that same veneration of the Bible against them. Slaveholders had a simple but powerful argument when critics challenged them: Trust the Bible.

They cited scriptures such as Ephesians 6:5. (“Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling. ...”) And they said Jesus preached against many sins, but never against slavery.

Since the Bible is infallible, and scripture sanctions slavery, it must be part of God’s order, slaveholders concluded.

“Slavery is everywhere in the Bible,” Blum says. “When Americans who were in favor of slavery defended it with the Bible, they had a treasure trove of clear biblical passages that accepted enslavement.”

Blum says abolitionists found it difficult to mount an effective counterargument. They couldn’t just say trust the Bible. They preached another approach to scriptures.

They said you couldn’t enslave people based on the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do to you. (Obama cited the Golden Rule and his Christian faith in supporting same-sex marriage).

“The abolitionist turned to the ethics and spirit of the Bible,” Blum says. “They were theological modernists before modernism.”

And what are black clergy and churchgoers today when they cite the Bible to oppose same-sex marriage?

Robinson, the North Carolina pastor, says they’re not homophobes.

“It says in the Bible that homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God,” he says. “How do you explain that one away? A lot of honest Christians are not trying to hate homosexuals. They’re saying that if I take the Bible seriously, I’m not sure I can say it’s right.”

Robinson says that some opposition to homosexuality is actually based in compassion:

“If I’m concerned about your soul, I have to tell you the truth in love.”

Cone, who teaches at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, says black churchgoers opposed to same-sex marriage are instead mimicking their ancestors’ oppressors.

“I tell some people, ‘These people were against you.’ They would have lynched you. How are you going to now join them and help them lynch somebody else?’”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Culture wars • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics

soundoff (4,348 Responses)
  1. N&W 1000

    I SWEAR THIS IS THE MOST RACIST THING I HAVE EVER HEARD ON CNN, ACCUSING THE BLACK CHURCH OF BEING HYPOCRITES.

    YOU SHOULD SUSPEND YOURSELVES.

    May 13, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Joe

      Can't take the truth? If you were gay you'd understand our suffering.

      May 13, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  2. Corey

    salient arguments by all. i am gay. i am christian. do justice. love mercy. walk humbly before God and man. it's in the bible.

    May 13, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Hypsee

      True,

      But doing justly means adhering to truth. A marriage is between a man and a woman. A man and man or woman and woman union is not the same as a marriage. No biological children can come from that union. So it is not a marriage. It should be called something else. I have no problem with civil unions. I have a problem with trying to pretend the unions are the same. Children are confused enough by all this. Some even think a man and a man who are married can father (biologically) children- all because of this deception- we are causing children to believe a lie.

      This is part of the "I want my way" and the "anything goes mentality" of our society. Just as Rome fell because of its arrogance and lack of due diligence so will western culture if we do no reign in this mentality. Why do we think we know better than thousands of years of ALL cultures where by marriage was a man and a women?

      And it's not just about marriage. Look to the recent beauty contest where a transgendered man was allowed to enter (due to political correctness) even though the rules called for only natural born women. again, trying to get the public to believe the lie that these transgendered are the same as the biological woman .

      Or when the media touting the "first man" having a baby when a partially transgendered female had a child. Promoting the lie that a man can biologically have a baby.

      Enough of this nonsense. Lets live justly. Lets tell the truth!!!

      May 13, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Joe

      Are you cute? Marry me! ❤

      May 13, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • YeahRight

      "A man and man or woman and woman union is not the same as a marriage. No biological children can come from that union. So it is not a marriage"

      Acutally biological Children do come from those unions, only prejudice people believe these lies.

      "Children are confused enough by all this. Some even think a man and a man who are married can father (biologically) children- all because of this deception- we are causing children to believe a lie."

      Social science has shown that the concerns often raised about children of lesbian and gay parents—concerns that are generally grounded in prejudice against and stereotypes about gay people—are unfounded. Overall, the research indicates that the children of lesbian and gay parents do not differ from the children of heterosexual parents in their development, adjustment, or overall well-being.

      May 13, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • YeahRight

      "Lets live justly. Lets tell the truth!!!"

      The truth is your a prejudice bigot, who is fueling the hatred in our society by telling lies that are not founded on real facts.

      The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      May 13, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  3. Mattski

    Is the "black" church a different church than the "white" church? WT...?

    May 13, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • The fact of the matter is...

      Rats. I was going to say something like that.

      Seems like it's okay to have a black church, but if you said anything about a white church Al and Jesse would be knocking at your front door.

      Guess black churches vs white churches is a one-way-street... the way it so often is.

      May 13, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  4. Presian

    Aren't all churches hypocritical?

    May 13, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • The fact of the matter is...

      The bible itself is hypocritical... as are all "holy" books.

      For everything written, you can find a verse that says the opposite.

      e.g. is God a merciful god or is God a vengeful god? ... and on and on...

      May 13, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  5. Reality

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS–

    "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.

    To wit:

    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.[60] "

    "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

    See also the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”

    Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions are supposed to obey the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

    And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-s-ex unions not same-s-ex marriages.

    From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, gay se-xual activity is still mutual masturbation caused by one or more complex se-xual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.

    Yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    May 13, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • makes you say hmmmm

      CNN it's funny how Obama made his announcement Tuesday, but you wait til Saturday, the day before church to post this blog!!!???!!!! Trying to raise some trouble in the church on sunday?

      May 13, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ,

    May 13, 2012 at 6:53 am |
    • Stopthemadness

      What exactly does it change? Besides the time on the clock?

      May 13, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  7. n8263

    It is immoral to impose your religious superstition on others.

    You do not believe in religion because you honestly think it is true, you believe in it because you fear mortality or are seeking meaning in your life. It does not take a genius to figure out all religion is man made, so for humanity's sake, please stop lying to yourself.

    Deluding yourself in religion does not change reality. Lying to yourself is probably the worst possible way to try to find meaning.

    May 13, 2012 at 5:14 am |
    • another repentant sinner

      Salvation is found in accepting the Lord Jesus Christ and in none other. Recognizing that you are a sinner, repent of the evil in your life and call on Jesus in prayer and you shall be saved. Praise God

      May 13, 2012 at 6:55 am |
    • 02081931

      Religion is a unique mental illness.

      It is one of the few forms of mental illness that is encouraged by the state (tax subsidies).

      Religious organizations are even allowed to set up their own network of concentration camps (religious based schools) where they are allowed to indoctrinate children into their culture of hatred and intolerance. If they are challenged,they claim that those who try to set the record straight are persecuting religious freedom. They are completely oblivious to their circular logic.

      People who wish to believe in any religion are free to do so, but they are not free to impose their beliefs on me. I abandoned that group of Fairy Tales long ago.

      May 13, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  8. My Children

    Now that Barack Obama supports Gay marriage, we are noticing a lot of people are against gay marriage. But those people who are opposing gay marriage were brain wash by their religion. I am religious, but I don't let my religious beliefs or knowledge of marriage be run by my religion. I was born with both parents a mom and a dad. I was raised to believe that marriage is between a man and women, but you know why that is the reason is because of religion. Religion has taken over us. That's the religion believe and that's what you should follow because since you were a kid you were brain wash that marriage should be between a man and I women. But in reality humans don't know. GOD's intention was when he sent his only son to die. Jesus died for our sins and forgave everyone for their intentions because they didn't know better. He said "Father please forgive them for they know not what they do." Yes I'm quoting . People have being brainwash by their religion, GOD never intended for humans to run an organization that would preach to him, but in a hypocritical way. I'm talking about religion. GOD's intention was for everyone to be in peace, but in reality he knew there will never be peace between humans. As soon as Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit. He knew that humans were the only ones who would survive between themselves. GOD knew that 1 in every 5 humans a least one will be smart about their choices and judgements and criticisms against another Human and their believes. GOD knew that they where going to kill his only son if he was sent to earth, Jesus Christ knew what was going to happen to him. Jesus never judged or criticize us for what we did to him. I mean us because we are the humans who kill GOD's only child. Jesus never judge us for his death, he even told his father to please for give us because we don't know what we did. Now in 2012 we are seeing people from different believes trying to be against marriage when it comes between a man and a man, women or women. People have to start seeing the big picture because we are one, we got to put our differences and be in peace. People might disagree with me and I know theirs still people out there that don't know what they are doing. So please look at the past, we have seeing a lot of damage because of our differences from religion to ethnicity. Please Father Forgive them for they don't know what they are doing. If I must die again for my children then it should be. Please my children learn from the past and please don't believe what politicians or others humans say about you. I die for you once and I will die again for my children. All I want in return is to forgive those who judge you as you wish they forgive you for your wrongs.

    Religion was created by Humans and the bible written by a human being. So please stop with all the hatred that GOD said this about marriage because everything is just written by human beings not GOD. And we already know how human being are, they judge, criticize, torment other humans believes

    May 13, 2012 at 4:00 am |
    • Stopthemadness

      You are what is wrong with religion. People who are religious are usually full of it and only talk about their religion for show. People who are spiritual are people who have faith. Religious people as you call them are phonies and frauds that are determined to force feed their beliefs on someone else because a book told them to not their faith.

      May 13, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  9. Godoflunaticscreation

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPTeCZ_gpDo&w=640&h=360]

    May 13, 2012 at 3:29 am |
  10. be

    The gays are in the courts fighting for marriage, family, and the right to serve in the military. The religious right is the courts fighting for control over women's reproductive rights, over their clergy's illicit se x ual relationships (all denominations), and misappropriation of funds. It seems to me that the gays are the new moral minority and the religious right are the immoral majority.

    May 13, 2012 at 3:06 am |
  11. Cyphonix

    The reason why American Black churches have kept their mouth shut, is because the marriage equality movement is a civil rights issue – and they know exactly what that means. There is a higher authority that surpasses all religious groups, their books, deities and commandments. That authority is the secular rule of the land, Jesus knows this to be true, and so do I.

    May 13, 2012 at 2:54 am |
    • J R Brown

      Your post is so ridiculous that it literally made me laugh...Jesus thinks that secular law is a "higher authority" than Him? hahahahha
      I'm an atheist and that's funny.

      May 13, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  12. Q1

    All this talk about marriage yet on the other end, divorce, injustice runs rampant.

    May 13, 2012 at 2:50 am |
  13. Oscar

    can anybody explain how two naked men in the same bed makes sense? two naked women in the same bed? so, why should our government deal with things that do not make sense? gay is wrong.

    May 13, 2012 at 2:45 am |
    • Dorothy

      No it's not. And if you think marriage is about just what happens in the bed, no wonder the divorce rate is so high.

      May 13, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • Cyphonix

      Oscar, you shouldn't be blogging among adults.

      May 13, 2012 at 2:57 am |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      How do talking snakes make sense? Churches want NPO status and refuse to follow NPO tax laws. They better fall in line on this issue or they will be forced to start paying taxes.

      May 13, 2012 at 3:29 am |
  14. Scott Allen

    It's been mentioned before, but the point that needs to be iterated is "Stop telling Christians what they believe." If you don't agree with it, that is your choice, but it is not your choice to dictate what another believes. You can present "your truth" and thought process – that is free speech. You can try and convince someone to your way of thinking, but you can't speak for someone and say they are thinking this or that. So please, disagree if you want, but don't tell Christians what they should believe or think. Some will turn this argument around say Christians do this all the time, which isn't quite true. I'm sure some do, but the majority make a statement about what they believe the word teaches as truth. It's your choice whether you accept that or not.

    May 13, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • Dorothy

      Actually, what I find problematic are the Christians who assume that all Christians must think the way they do or they are not Christian. I am a Christian and believe in gay marriage. I believe that God would be much more concerned that marriage is focused on what is in our hearts than what is between our legs.

      May 13, 2012 at 2:45 am |
    • be

      Right on, Dorothy!

      May 13, 2012 at 2:55 am |
    • Shannon

      Scott Allen- You have the prefect quote now you just need to out up your mind to apply to all. "If you don't agree with it, that is your choice, but it is not your choice to dictate what another believes." Why should you or anyone else tell another person what choices to make? It's not like gay individuals are coming into your home and destroying all that you value. So why should you or any one else go into a gay home a destroy their life based on your belief. Whats more important: one small line in an obscure passage or one of the 10 commandments? Love thy neighbor...

      May 13, 2012 at 3:01 am |
    • not again

      @dorothy...You have a right to believe the way you want. I just don/t know how some christians believe its ok to throw away their road map (the bible) or change it to bend around their lives.

      May 13, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • J R Brown

      Dorothy ~ "Actually, what I find problematic are the Christians who assume that all Christians must think the way they do or they are not Christian. I am a Christian and believe in gay marriage. I believe that God would be much more concerned that marriage is focused on what is in our hearts than what is between our legs."....................................So what? Fred Phelps claims to be a "Christian" too. That doesn't make him one. You are a Christian if you follow Christ's teachings...and Jesus said that what was considered "sin" before He came to earth is stlll considered "sin". The only difference is that He paid the price of atonement for those sins rather than requiring you to do it yourself.

      I find it laughable that I am an atheist and know your religion better than you do.

      May 13, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • not again

      @JR BROWN--The Lord says if you love me you will follow my commandments. Some teachings in the bible are meant to be reasoned, but not all. You only know the parts of the bible you like to use to spread your rhetoric.

      May 13, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  15. Let Freedom Ring

    At one time, the choice of one's marriage partner was limited by race and is currently limited by gender choice. While the issues are not the same, they are similar enough (freedom to have a civil marriage to the consenting adult of one's choice) to be civil rights issues.

    May 13, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • Dorothy

      So true.

      May 13, 2012 at 2:34 am |
  16. Sargint Rock

    The most strident voices of the LGBT movement constantly proclaim how oppressed they are when in reality it has never been about their freedom to live as they want but about demanding that the Majority of God fearing americans Condone their actions. This tells me that down deep their is hidden shame.If life in america is so horrible, I suggest they live in Tehran or at the very least, keep your personal life out of the public square.

    May 13, 2012 at 2:04 am |
    • Observer

      The shame of America is bigotry where people don't believe that "all men are created equal". It's the concept that has made America the greatest nation in the world.

      May 13, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • Mark Johnson

      The only freedom they want is the freedom of equality. If that can't be made public then there is some severely wrong with our society.

      May 13, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • Dorothy

      You could say the same about inter-racial marriage as well.

      May 13, 2012 at 2:32 am |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Sargint, the theocracy you crave is in Iran. I suggest you move there if you take your gods word over the laws of this nation.

      May 13, 2012 at 3:53 am |
  17. JW

    The Black Church is leading the way for revival in America. It has had to adhere to God's truth just for victory over the enemy. Righteousness is protection. It is not about to give in and compromise because that is sure way for God's blessing and favor to evaporate and for the enemy (Satan) to have his destructive way. Keep on holding up God's standards, Black churches!!!

    May 13, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • Dorothy

      The same rhetoric was spouted at the time of every other civil rights injustice.

      May 13, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • not again

      @Dorothy....Tell us what the bible teaches on gay marriage,,,,,please.

      May 13, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  18. Spangler

    Before the supposed rules of a diety are used to crush the civil rights of others, there needs to be some verifiable evidence that the diety exists. Is that too much to ask?

    May 13, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • JW

      Look around at everything He's created if you are not blind.

      May 13, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • Observer

      Everything around us could have been created by a committee of zombies for all we know. The existence of what's around us does not prove that it was a God that created it.

      May 13, 2012 at 2:22 am |
  19. Veritae

    O.K., what philosophical idiot wrote this story;

    OMG, really? Such a gross analogous fallacy mutated into a straw man argument is hysterical. Folks, please learn to recognize a really bad argument when you see it. If not, please get some education in critical thinking.

    Just another classic example of journalism's pathetic attempt to make a completely ridiculous argument based on two absolutely unrelated points. Stop reading this garbage if you don't know what the genetic fallacy argument is.

    Nuff' said. Wow.

    Good evening.

    May 13, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • be

      People could say the same about the people who write articles and post that try to justify discrimination against gays through circular biblical arguments.

      May 13, 2012 at 1:36 am |
  20. Catherine

    I am a Christian that does NOT believe in Gay Marriage. However, I am also a person who believes in the rule of law and the voting process. I believe that every state should be given the chance to vote on Gay Marriage. If the majority of the people want it, it should be allowed. If the majority do not want it, it should remain illegal. My problem is with States like New York that passed Gay Marriage WITHOUT allowing the people of the state to vote on it. God will Judge us all for what we do when we die. I am not anyones Judge or Jury, but allowing a bunch of suits in a conference room to decide such an important issue is just WRONG.

    May 13, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • be

      Almost no civil rights have come through popular vote.....most have come through legislation.

      May 13, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • Observer

      Catherine,

      So if you lived 100 years ago today, you would have completely approved that you would not have been allowed to vote if you lived in the states that forbid women voting. Right?

      May 13, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • Catherine

      What does that have to do with anything. This is not a civil rights issue as far as I am concerned. This is a religious freedom issue. The goverment is trying to take away the freedom to practice ones faith as they choose. They are after the chaolic church in regards to birth control and abortion..dear lord they are being sued left and right to try to get them to go against their religious beliefs.. I believe that no gay person should be attacked, harmed, denied employment or housing..those are civil rights...a "civil union"..giving the same rights to gay people is fine by me....it is when the goverment tells us we have to recognize a marriage..a religious sacrament..of two gay people..is where my problems statrt and end....

      May 13, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • Observer

      Could you please answer the question this time?

      May 13, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • Jason

      OK, if you want to vote on marriage rights, then I demand to be able to vote on every piece of legislation that potentially affects me.

      May 13, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • Dorothy

      If marriage is a religios sacrament why are atheists allowed to marry?

      May 13, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • withoutgod

      Oh no, the poor Catholic Church is getting picked on! Spare me. I'm guessing that you own a Bible, and that it is printed in the English language. You do realize that good Catholics like St. Thomas More burned people alive for owning a Bible in English? Whenever the Catholic Church has been in power, there was no such thing as tolerance. Women were property (the Catholic Church still considers women to be second class in God's eyes, nothing man made about that right?), slavery was God's will, and anyone the church considered a heretic for any reason, true or fabricated, would be punished to the severest extent (torture and death). Yet, when the Church is told that they cannot impose their twisted vision of morality on others, through legislation that enforces discrimination and intolerance, the Church and it's followers cry that they are being "persecuted" or that their religious rights are being violated. You can practice whatever silly nonsense you want in a church. Worship human sacrifice, engage in ritual cannibalism, revel in your cult of death as much as you like, in church, but keep it in the church.

      Is this the same Catholic Church that, in 2007, admitted that it had made up Limbo? Is this the same Catholic Church that admitted that it committed atrocities against their fellow Christians in Constantinople in 1204? The same Catholic Church that persecuted Galileo for supporting the Copernican model of the solar system (you know, the correct one?)

      Is this the same Catholic Church that admitted a historical tradition of oppressing and destroying the culture of native peoples all over the world? The same Catholic Church that said condoms increase the risk of transmission of HIV/AIDS? The same Catholic Church that: supported Hitler? the Rwandan genocide? Burning people at the stake and the wars of the Protestant Reformation? The same Catholic Church that preaches humility and servility to it's adherents, from a golden throne?

      The Catholic Church teaches children that if they don't unquestioningly accept the doctrines of the Vatican and the word of its priests, they will suffer forever in a lake of fire. Not only is this an appallingly disgusting thing to tell to children, there is not one shred of evidence for it whatsoever (Pascal's Wager is not considered evidence). No evidence at all in fact of the wild claims made in the Bible. A 600 year old drunk guy somehow got 400,000 species of beetles, 10,000 species of birds, 9,400 species of reptile, 250,000 species of marine life (they wouldn't survive the flood either) and many more onto a boat 450 feet long, in order to survive a flood of 8.4 x 10^20 gallons of water, which is 4.8 x 10^20 gallons more water than actually exists on the entire planet. And the Church tells children that if they don't believe such lunacy, they will burn forever. This is not morality.

      The Catholic Church is always getting stuff wrong. For an infallible organization that gets its marching orders directly from God, you would think their track record would be a little better. History clearly shows us that when the Catholic Church is given the opportunity to extend their authority beyond it's own pulpit, only wicked things happen.

      Catholics have every right not to like gay marriage. They have no right to impose church based belief systems on the rest of us in the form of legislation, even at a state level (14th Amendment). The Catholic Church must either evolve or become extinct.

      May 13, 2012 at 9:30 am |
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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.