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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. stjdsj

    “Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 1:7)

    May 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh,"

      It's about rape idiot. It had nothing to do with the loving respectful relationship that we know about gays today.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Gavin

      Never happened.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Lot commited incest with his daughters.....

      May 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Agnes

      ...and Jack and Jill may or may not have gone up the hill to fetch a pale of water. The bible is equally nonsensical.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • John

      How can the flesh of one man be considered strange in comparison to the flesh of another man. Their flesh is both the same. This passage is obviously a reference to relationships with extraterrestrial beings. God hates aliens!

      May 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  2. deeperinfo

    playing the race card against Black Churches???

    May 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • DB

      Oh, grow up.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Agnes

      If the shoe fits.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  3. b

    they don't like gay marriage because it won't make as many welfare babies

    May 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Agnes

      No, because it takes the victimhood ball out of their side of the court. They have learned to use the bible as a weapon to kill souls, disrupt dreams and do great psychological harm to yet another group of minorities.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  4. Mike

    As amazing how the liberal media can twist and manipulate the bible to make their case! 99% of the people who trash the bible don't know the bible!!! And most people who go to church don't understand the bible! Read Roman's 1 and tell me who the bible can not be any more clearer!

    May 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Matt

      Is Romans 1 from the words of Christ? Then why would TRUE Christian care what is there? Now a Catholic may have some interest,...

      May 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Virginia

      You are assuming that all people give the same weight to the bible that you do. We don't. So when you come at us from the context of the bible, you lose half of the audience you are trying to persuade. I bet you don't believe in Mohammed. We won't hold that against you. See how easy that was?

      May 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      I love how the thumpers always claim "you are not reading it right!" when the obvious is pointed out. And yet the believers themselves don't agree. If the bible really had truth people would HAVE to interpret it "properly".

      May 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      *wouldn't

      May 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  5. 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 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Dave

      Bravo
      10char

      May 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Micky

      Why does your belief in God override my disbelief? When you start trying to control the minorities lives through referendums, you are acting as God yourself. You are not God and you shouldn't be interfering with his plans. He made gay people. Accept that and move on.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Humanist11

      Well said 8263!

      May 14, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  6. stjdsj

    “But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler -not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.” (1Corinthians 5: 11-13)

    May 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  7. Frank T

    Well said "Realist" , I like you logic. We should all use that kind of logic, it would make the world a much better place to live..

    May 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  8. SDFrankie

    In order to be a Christian, you must have faith. In order to have faith you must forego your reliance on reason and logic. How can anyone be surprised when craziness ensues?

    May 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Huh?

      Poor definition of faith...perhaps faith is what what reason and logic cannot explain. Your childish views are pathetic.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      Faith is what reason and logic can't explain. I agree. Reason and logic is for all the stuff that actually exists. Faith is for all the other stuff. Thanks for not getting personal.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • KaptKaos

      As an avid empiricist and agnostic, I disagree. All things require faith. Science is little more than the religion of the observable. It requires that we believe what appeared to be true yesterday will continue to be true tomorrow.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Humanist11

      Well said Frank. We humans are curious and want to know the answer to everything and it frustrates us when we don't know. Some people turn to science, facts and evidence to find real answers. It is slow work, but it is the best method we have and has answered many questions. Other people take the easy way out and let religious leaders tell them that all the answers are in the good book and they need look no further. Some are satisfied with this even though it does not pass the sanity test. I feel sorry for the kids that get brainwashed with this crap and are never able to experience curiosity and freedom of thought.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  9. christina knight

    Yes it is truly sad and ironic that the African American church and African Americans in general do not appreciate that they are on the wrong side on this issue. Bigotry is bigotry regardless of its motivation (even if it is based on religious beliefs). White Supremacists have often cited the bible for justification of their racism. christina knight

    May 14, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Edith

      African Americans are desperate to keep the "victimhood" trophy for themselves. They need to look inward and fix their own disfunctional families before calling the kettle beige. They can start with counting the number of black men in prison and weighing that number against the number of highly educated gay Americans in prison. I can tell you now, that it won't add up to a reason to stomp on gay Americans.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  10. Jesse L

    People keep making the ridiculous assumption that religion is a key factor to becoming a great President. When did history of the Presidency ever prove that fact? I know it might feel good to many knowing that the person in office looks and thinks like you, but one man thinking for millions with differing personalities beliefs and backgrounds is an impossible feat. It always been and always should be who is best qualified to do the job or is he or she going to do a better job than the person already in charge. Religious views and beliefs should never outweigh the daunting responsibilities of being the top representative of all the people. If that's the case then we'll no better than The Vatican, Israel, or any Muslim country.

    May 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Humanist11

      Good point Jesse. My personal belief is that Obama is a closet atheist, but he could not possibly admit that now because he would never be elected to any office. I'm an atheist and really like how he is handling issues that involve separation of church and state. I hope his stance on gay marriage gains traction, but.............I'm voting for Mitt (a very religious man) because his view of what government's role should be is more important than his religious views. Obama's view that everybody must depend on the government will only create a society of takers.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Jason

      Jesse L makes a great point. Prior to the 1960's, most politicians (especially presidents) avoided talking too much about their religion. Why? Because back then, there was no such thing as "Christians". You had Catholics who wouldn't vote for Protestants, Protestants who wouldn't vote for Baptists, Baptists who wouldn't vote for Pentecostals, etc. It wasn't until politicians in the 60's invented the "Christian" umbrella to try to unify believers for the purpose of opposing Civil Rights (big surprise) that they started identifying themselves as "Christian." It was a brilliant move.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  11. blaqb0x

    THIS ISN'T FAIR! We Atheist don't have a big book of multiple choice to tell us what to do.

    May 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Edith

      We were all born with a moral compass. That is all this atheist has ever needed. I've never read the bible, but I'm much more of a Christian than any Christian I have ever met.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Donnie

      God does not believe in Atheist, so there fore atheist do not exist!

      May 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • AaronT

      I prefer the term Humanist. It's more descriptive of what we actually are: people who care about other people.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Agnes

      Donnie knows what God believes in. Now he can become an unelected leader of Iran. He has all the credentials.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Humanist11

      Donnie. I do not believe in god therefore god does not exist. You can deny common sense, but it does not make your views any more correct.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  12. jay

    cnn now going after black churches, anything to discredit whoever doesn't accept their viewpoint. Wake up people to CNN and it's arm of the obama administration

    May 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Micky

      It's about time. This protected class needs to be exposed at every level. These people need to focus on their own families and their own salvation and leave me and my God alone.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  13. nolimits3333

    Gays can die in combat.....but they aren't allowed to marry.

    Doesn't seem right, does it?

    May 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Micky

      Until Obama, they weren't even allowed to speak of their loved ones, put a picture on their desk or bedside table, discuss the person that gave meaning to their lives or publicly embrace and kiss their significant other when returning from two wars. What kind of America is that? The kind conservatives find appealing.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Scott

      brothers and sisters can die in combat but aren't allowed to marry each other. Polygamists can die in combat but can only marry one woman/man they love. Did I miss anyone?

      May 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Agnes

      The gay rights movement has always been about two consenting adults. Polygamist should start their own movement if they have grievances with the government.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  14. Matt

    Are comments still being posted? 2 of mine have just disappeared...

    May 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      Matt,

      Are you sure that your comments appeared?

      Do you need the list of hidden word fragments that trigger the automatic word filter?

      May 14, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Matt

      No, I need you to stop censoring people

      May 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Matt

      Unless the words "geniuses" or "winners" or "fakers" are blacklisted words, why would my posts not have been posted? There was no profanity, or anything else that was objectionable. So why the censorship?

      May 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      Matt, There is NO live censor here. It's an idiotic automatic word filter...

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ---
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-nthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      que-er
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sl-ut
      sn-atch
      sp-ank
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-oon
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      strip-per
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!

      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Matt

      And ONCE AGAIN my posts did not include any of those words. NOW WHAT?

      May 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • LinCA

      @ Matt,

      Look closely at your post and look for word fragments in other words.

      Some of the most common "hidden" words are:
      "tit", hidden in constitution,
      "homo" and "sex" in homosexual, and
      "spic" in despicable.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      Matt,

      I'm betting that it did include one of those fragments, if not one of the sample words (or maybe you have discovered a new one!).

      I suppose you could try posting it one sentence at a time... until you find the culprit.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  15. Frank T

    I thought I was the only one who thought the bible was hypocritical, nice to see other people have some sanity. The Angry American is correct. It would be great to have a world without organized religion, I think a lot less people would have to suffer.

    May 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Humanist11

      Welcome to the club. There are more people everyday thinking more clearly. Closet atheists unite!

      May 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Shane

      Mark this day on your calender. I have waited 50 years for black churches to be exposed for hypocrisy and now the day has finally come. I never thought that I would see the day when it was acceptable to open these doors of hypocrisy. We have truly come a long way. African Americans now have the tools to kill souls and dreams, thwart advancements of fellow Americans and withhold inalienable rights to their brothers and sisters. The Bible is a powerful tool and the African Americans have perfected the art of forming it into a weapon.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • jay

      atheists are nothing but self loathing people bent on making everyone just as miserable as they are.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • H in Texas

      Said like a person who can't be happy about life on their own without an imaginary friend telling them how to live their life there Jay. Just because you need magic sky kings to be happy doesn't mean the rest of us do.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Scott

      For a preview of a world without organized religion, check out North Korea. Until then, enjoy your God given right not to believe in God.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Humanist11

      Scott....The vast majority of western Europe is non-religious and is a very nice place to live. North Korea is a political ideology that suppresses freedom that is the cause of their misery.

      The religious right is worried that reason and common sense is going to win over blind faith and mysticism. They have reason to worry as the internet and science is not their friend.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  16. Mommy

    People have the right to live their life they way they want it's called free will. Just because our leader says that he beleives gays should have rights does not make him right. The government and people can say until they are blue in the face that it is ok make it a law, etc. However, in God's eyes it is not and He has the final say in everything. Show me a gay couple that can procreate without medical help, and give the children what a man and woman God intented to give.... It is not physically possible and God made it that way for a reason. We live in a broken world that what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right. It is sad that when someone does not agree with this they scream slavery! Find a better argument because this is just stupid.....

    May 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • H in Texas

      Silly rabbit, there is no God.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Shane

      If you believe in God then you must know that gay people are his children, his invention and his worry. Stay out of their lives.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • GOD

      Show me the couple who is barren and I too will condemn thee. Your straw house argument is not impressive. Go worry about your own life. In 50 years you will be the villian in the movies made about this struggle to , ghasp change a definition that has been changed from a transfer of property, only whites can marry, to only the same race may be married... History is more powerful of a learning tool than that Bronze age texy you all cherry pick from.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Ozymandias71

      Ridiculous post.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Bravo

      I am part of a straight couple that can't procreate, so what are you trying to say? Show me a religious person that doesn't claim to know the intricacies of God's mind and what He wants, and I will show you a reasonable person.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • JREV

      I think most any gay couple will do just as good a job at raising a normal child as a husband & wife. And, more importantly, I think they will do a much better job raising a job than most single women/men trying the raise them on their own. At least they won't be on welfare with 5 kids. The key here is LOVE, not hate like you are endorsing through your bigotry. Yes, it is bigotry, because you are endorsing limiting a large swath of people just because you personally don't "like" their lifestyle. Who are you to judge? Let God do that in the afterlife.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • DB

      You JUST DON'T GET IT, do you?

      It must so convenient to be able to condemn human beings and dehumanize them, and then be able to say, "well God told me to."

      May 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • alv71

      Mommy, very well said. Your right God made both Man and Women for each other......As dumb as it sounds God made Adam and Eve..... not Adam and Steve. I think we all suffer from some kind of love of Pleasure that eventually will pull us so far away from God that we will see him as a villian and the devil as a hero or liberator. To atheists I know the whole thing is silly because they don't believe in a God. They are there own god's and can do what they want....and they can. What's amazing God allows us to do completly what we want and always has. To a believer, we understand we were made like him...free, and we are called to immortality....everlasting life. Sometimes I think the Kingdom of Heaven is a citizenry, to be a citizen you pledge alligence and obey it's laws. It's always been our choice. ...

      May 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Show me a gay couple that can procreate without medical help, and give the children what a man and woman God intented to give."

      You've been proven wrong. 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 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "It is sad that when someone does not agree with this they scream slavery! Find a better argument because this is just stupid....."

      It's about civil rights. These rights include:

      Tax Benefits
      -–Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
      -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

      Estate Planning Benefits
      -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
      -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
      -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
      -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.

      Government Benefits
      -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
      -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
      -–Receiving public as-sistance benefits.
      -–Employment Benefits
      -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
      -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
      -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
      -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.

      Medical Benefits
      -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
      -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

      Death Benefits
      -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
      -–Making burial or other final arrangements.

      Family Benefits
      -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
      -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
      -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
      -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

      Housing Benefits
      -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
      -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

      Consumer Benefits
      -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
      -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
      -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
      -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
      -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
      -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
      -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
      -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
      -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
      -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • fred

      Yeah Right
      BS you cannot say that ever. All children are a product of many things and one of them is the relationship the parents had with each other and with their children. Stop your BS. You have no standard to compare child A with who child A would have been given a different set of guardians.
      Nothing personal against parents of all sorts it is just a fact.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "BS you cannot say that ever. All children are a product of many things and one of them is the relationship the parents had with each other and with their children. Stop your BS. You have no standard to compare child A with who child A would have been given a different set of guardians.
      Nothing personal against parents of all sorts it is just a fact."

      I am quoting the hundreds of thousands of experts on this subject. So you're the one who is a liar full of B S. Duh! LOL!

      May 14, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • fred

      Yeah Right
      Read the fine print as those who conduct these studies know as well as you do that who your partents are matters. The studies you quote will conclude things like having gay parents does not mean your children will be gay. OK, true since orientation is orientation. What the studies cannot say is what John Boy Walton would have grown up to be if his parents were atheist gays. Let me repeat no study has done that or can it do that.
      Simple common sense is what you need to use not a bunch of statistics that seem to point to the fact you are ok Yeah Right and you are just as unique as everyone else is. It is not a personal attack it is the fact and can be observed if you simply take a honest look. Parents matter and how parents model relationships matter.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  17. glyder

    here we go,the msm's you should be on our side crap.

    May 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  18. Mike

    Depeche Mode said this pretty well:

    People are people
    So why should it be
    You and I should get
    Along so awfully
    People are people
    So why should it be
    You and I should get
    Along so awfully

    So we're different colours
    And we're different creeds
    And different people have different needs
    It's obvious you hate me
    Though I've done nothing wrong
    I've never ever met you so what could I have done

    I can't understand
    What makes a man
    Hate another man
    Help me understand

    People are people...

    Help me understand
    Help me understand

    Now you're punching
    And you're kicking
    And you're shouting at me
    I'm relying on your common decency
    So far it hasn't surfaced
    But I'm sure it exists
    It just takes a while to travel
    From your head to your fists

    I can't understand
    What makes a man
    Hate another man
    Help me understand

    May 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • arun

      I can't understand
      What makes a man
      Lie down with another man
      Help me understand

      May 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • arun

      I can't understand
      What makes a man
      Penetrate another man
      Help me understand

      May 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • H in Texas

      You don't HAVE to understand arun. As long as they both want to do it, why should anyone else give a @#$%?

      May 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • arun

      H in Texas. You are right. I would be ok if the minded their own business and let me mind my business but now they have turned militant. They no longer just do not want to do it. They want to take over the educational system and "indoctrinate" all kids about their lifestyle. They want to aggressively lobby and influence the Govt to legislate their lifestyle choice on the rest of the people. And they do it deceptively with victimhood and civil rights stance. There is nothing civil rights about hijacking a term and changing its definition. It is like breaking into someone house and demanding civil rights to be able to live there. Yes, I have no problem with their lifestyle but I have problem if they want to be in your face militant about it and stand on my toe. They are intolerant bunch posing as tolerant and one day the remaining society will regret to have indulged them to the extent they did. Unfortunately it would be too late because by then they would have taken over the education, administration and Govt and we would be living in an officially gay state.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • DB

      arun:

      You're a liar. "They" are not doing any of those things. And you sound unbelievably pathetic ranting and raving that you're some kind of victim. Shut your mouth.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  19. Larry Smith

    Any first-year religious studies student knows that James Cone is perhaps the most radical leftist theologian on the planet. CNN could have quoted any one of the hundreds of other well-respected theologians who could speak to the subject. But typical of its lack of journalististic objectivity, CNN yet again showed how out-of-touch it really is with reality

    May 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Sadened

      Just as Jesus was in his time.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  20. MHindin

    PLEASE QUOTE WHAT JESUS SAID ABOUT GAYS.

    May 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • big brother

      yeah, I want to hear what JESUS had to say . . . .namely, NOTHING

      May 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • notatall

      Jesus didn't say anything against gay marriage. That is why "Christians" don't condemn it. However, we are sadly in a country that has a "Christian cult" that uses self or pastor interpretations rather than following the true words and deeds of Christ. So, you want to follow the Old Testament, fine, but don't call yourself a "Christian."

      May 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Believer

      Romans 1:22-28

      22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

      24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

      26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

      28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;

      May 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • DB

      Believer:

      Nice try, but you're not quoting Jesus. You're quoting Paul, a mere mortal...fallible, with imperfections and capable of making mistakes.

      For crying out loud, I know your own scriptures even better than you do.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things."

      They were worshiping a god using sex, it has nothing to do with what we now know and understand about loving gay relationships. Part of reading comprehension 101 is putting it into historical context.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Believer

      DB

      If you know scripture than you should also know that though physically written by Paul every word of his writings, unless stated in the text, was written through the Holy Spirit.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:48 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.