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My Take: What the Bible really says about homosexuality
The author argues that the meaning of the Bible's passages on homosexuality have been lost in translation.
May 15th, 2012
05:39 PM ET

My Take: What the Bible really says about homosexuality

Editor's note: Daniel A. Helminiak, who was ordained a priest in Rome, is a theologian, psychotherapist and author of “What the Bible Really Says about homosexuality" and books on contemporary spirituality. He is a professor of psychology at the University of West Georgia.

By Daniel A. Helminiak, Special to CNN

President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage, like blood in the water, has conservative sharks circling for a kill. In a nation that touts separation of religion and government, religious-based arguments command this battle. Lurking beneath anti-gay forays, you inevitably find religion and, above all, the Bible.

We now face religious jingoism, the imposition of personal beliefs on the whole pluralistic society. Worse still, these beliefs are irrational, just a fiction of blind conviction. Nowhere does the Bible actually oppose homosexuality.

In the past 60 years, we have learned more about sex, by far, than in preceding millennia. Is it likely that an ancient people, who thought the male was the basic biological model and the world flat, understood homosexuality as we do today? Could they have even addressed the questions about homosexuality that we grapple with today? Of course not.

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Hard evidence supports this commonsensical expectation. Taken on its own terms, read in the original languages, placed back into its historical context, the Bible is ho-hum on homosexuality, unless – as with heterosexuality – injustice and abuse are involved.

That, in fact, was the case among the Sodomites (Genesis 19), whose experience is frequently cited by modern anti-gay critics. The Sodomites wanted to rape the visitors whom Lot, the one just man in the city, welcomed in hospitality for the night.

The Bible itself is lucid on the sin of Sodom: pride, lack of concern for the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:48-49); hatred of strangers and cruelty to guests (Wisdom 19:13); arrogance (Sirach/Ecclesiaticus 16:8); evildoing, injustice, oppression of the widow and orphan (Isaiah 1:17); adultery (in those days, the use of another man’s property), and lying (Jeremiah 23:12).

But nowhere are same-sex acts named as the sin of Sodom. That intended gang rape only expressed the greater sin, condemned in the Bible from cover to cover: hatred, injustice, cruelty, lack of concern for others. Hence, Jesus says “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19; Mark 12:31); and “By this will they know you are my disciples” (John 13:35).

How inverted these values have become! In the name of Jesus, evangelicals and Catholic bishops make sex the Christian litmus test and are willing to sacrifice the social safety net in return.

The longest biblical passage on male-male sex is Romans 1:26-27: "Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another."

The Greek term para physin has been translated unnatural; it should read atypical or unusual. In the technical sense, yes, the Stoic philosophers did use para physin to mean unnatural, but this term also had a widespread popular meaning. It is this latter meaning that informs Paul's writing. It carries no ethical condemnation.

Compare the passage on male-male sex to Romans 11:24. There, Paul applies the term para physin to God. God grafted the Gentiles into the Jewish people, a wild branch into a cultivated vine. Not your standard practice! An unusual thing to do — atypical, nothing more. The anti-gay "unnatural" hullabaloo rests on a mistranslation.

Besides, Paul used two other words to describe male-male sex: dishonorable (1:24, 26) and unseemly (1:27). But for Paul, neither carried ethical weight. In 2 Corinthians 6:8 and 11:21, Paul says that even he was held in dishonor — for preaching Christ. Clearly, these words merely indicate social disrepute, not truly unethical behavior.

In this passage Paul is referring to the ancient Jewish Law: Leviticus 18:22, the “abomination” of a man’s lying with another man. Paul sees male-male sex as an impurity, a taboo, uncleanness — in other words, “abomination.” Introducing this discussion in 1:24, he says so outright: "God gave them up … to impurity."

But Jesus taught lucidly that Jewish requirements for purity — varied cultural traditions — do not matter before God. What matters is purity of heart.

“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles,” reads Matthew 15. “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”

Or again, Jesus taught, “Everyone who looks at a women with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Jesus rejected the purity requirements of the Jewish Law.

In calling it unclean, Paul was not condemning male-male sex. He had terms to express condemnation. Before and after his section on sex, he used truly condemnatory terms: godless, evil, wicked or unjust, not to be done. But he never used ethical terms around that issue of sex.

As for marriage, again, the Bible is more liberal than we hear today. The Jewish patriarchs had many wives and concubines. David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, and Daniel and the palace master were probably lovers.

The Bible’s Song of Songs is a paean to romantic love with no mention of children or a married couple. Jesus never mentioned same-sex behaviors, although he did heal the “servant” — pais, a Greek term for male lover — of the Roman Centurion.

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Paul discouraged marriage because he believed the world would soon end. Still, he encouraged people with sexual needs to marry, and he never linked sex and procreation.

Were God-given reason to prevail, rather than knee-jerk religion, we would not be having a heated debate over gay marriage. “Liberty and justice for all,” marvel at the diversity of creation, welcome for one another: these, alas, are true biblical values.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Daniel A. Helminiak.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Gay marriage • My Take • Opinion

soundoff (8,829 Responses)
  1. Bob

    Has anyone clicked on the link and seen this mans bios?? that he himself wrote? He is gay, openly of course his Bible wouldn't condemn gays. He is in error most who responded are atheists and they know nothing about the Bible or the true power of God. Would you listen to a ped or criminal say the there is no condemnation for them in the Bible? Of course not so why does a openly gay expriest maybe even ped get to have a article here? Plus the whole rebuttal is off topic because the atheists and lame Yeah want to talk about rights not what the Bible actually says about gays. Most atheists are not even qualified to do so that's why they just stir up feces. They quote other gays and gay ministers because that is all they can do. This man is in great conflict with himself and the Bible, his love of the Bible not necessarily God shows, but how do you love something that condemns not the person but the trait and acts of being gay? You lie to yourself that's how, then you teach others to lie to themselves and in the end when you die you go to hell and take a bunch of people along with you. There is NO acceptance of the gay lifestyle in the Bible but there IS acceptance for gay people. The man who wrote this seeks knowledge not the Lord. Fall on His mercy and see what He will do, just don't lie to yourself and others so at least there will be no condemnation for lying. I cant wait for the day when peds are writing this article saying that there is no condemnation for peds in the Bible. I wonder if the same group of people will be responding? Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.

    October 27, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Robert

      Bob, you're the one with the issues. A series of studies recently published in the prestigious Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2012 found higher levels of homophobia in individuals with unacknowledged attractions to the same sex, particularly when they grew up with authoritarian parents who also held homophobic attitudes. In the university press release "Individuals who identify as straight but in psychological tests show a strong attraction to the same sex may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves." In the same release "In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward."

      October 29, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  2. Douglas

    Does the Bible condemn LGBTQ coitus?
    You bet!

    Pastor Moore and Elder Duncan recently concluded a seminar on the current effort to redefine Christian
    morality in terms of LGBTQ goals and objectives.

    The audience was spell bound as Pastor Moore detailed the Biblical evidence that categorically refutes every
    claim made by the LGBTQ apologists.

    For starters, in Genesis God defines the human race as a man and a woman. From these two he builds the family unit.

    Fast forward...Jesus defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman (Matthew 19).

    Fast forward...Paul who preached the Gospel to the Gentiles...(the rest of us)...clearly warned believers of the pitfalls that await those who pursue the lust of fornication.

    Today you have a choice. You can choose salvation according to God's plan or you can choose fornication.
    For LGBTQ folk, celibacy is the path to salvation and righteousness.

    Let's close out this discussion now. The Bible has rendered its verdict to the jury.

    Fornication is guilty! Celibacy is innocent!

    October 26, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Who gives a sh!t what the Bible "condemns'?

      No one but fundiots.

      October 26, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Melvin

      "Today you have a choice. You can choose salvation according to God's plan or you can choose fornication.
      For LGBTQ folk, celibacy is the path to salvation and righteousness."

      The Scriptures at no point deal with homosexuality as an authentic sexual orientation, a given condition of being. The remarkably few Scriptural references to "homosexuality" deal rather with homosexual acts, not with homosexual orientation. Those acts are labeled as wrong out of the context of the times in which the writers wrote and perceived those acts to be either nonmasculine, idolatrous, exploitative, or pagan. The kind of relationships between two consenting adults of the same sex demonstrably abounding among us - relationships that are responsible and mutual, affirming and fulfilling - are not dealt with in the Scriptures.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Melvin

      "Today you have a choice. You can choose salvation according to God's plan or you can choose fornication.
      For LGBTQ folk, celibacy is the path to salvation and righteousness."

      The Scriptures at no point deal with homosexuality as an authentic sexual orientation, a given condition of being. The remarkably few Scriptural references to "homosexuality" deal rather with homosexual acts, not with homosexual orientation. Those acts are labeled as wrong out of the context of the times in which the writers wrote and perceived those acts to be either nonmasculine, idolatrous, exploitative, or pagan. The kind of relationships between two consenting adults of the same sex demonstrably abounding among us - relationships that are responsible and mutual, affirming and fulfilling - are not dealt with in the Scriptures.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  3. John

    "Drive out fear...end the hate!"

    In days gone by, it was reasonable for Christians not to question conventional wisdom about the Bible. Because everyone used the Bible to justify slavery, for instance, Christians were OK with believing that some of their fellow human beings were just another species of farm animal they rightfully owned. Later, we Christians were entirely comfortable using the Bible to justify the atrocious idea that women are second-class citizens too simple-minded to be trusted with the vote.

    And up until the Internet made readily available all kinds of previously inaccessible knowledge and information, we could be excused for believing that the Bible indisputably states that God considers homosexual love a moral abomination.

    Today, however, anyone who can read, or simply watch YouTube videos, is forced to acknowledge the absolute credibility of the universe of scholarship, and the reasoning based upon it which unequivocally proves that the Bible does not, in fact, oblige Christians to believe that homosexual love, in and of itself, is necessarily any less moral than is heterosexual love.

    That closet door is now swung wide open. The truth of the matter is now there for anyone to behold.

    Christians today who take seriously the search for truth must admit that the old axiom that homosexuality is a sin has been forever reduced in status from objective truth to subjective opinion. From fact to belief. From beyond question to unquestionably dubious.

    Believing that homosexual love is a condemnable sin, in other words, is now a choice one must make.

    And what Christian - what person at all? - would choose ignorant condemnation over enlightened love?

    October 24, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  4. Melivn

    "LGBTQ Christian couples are trending toward celibacy as they mature in their lives as born again Christians."

    Douglas is not a real Christian with this lie. The Scriptures at no point deal with homosexuality as an authentic sexual orientation, a given condition of being. The remarkably few Scriptural references to "homosexuality" deal rather with homosexual acts, not with homosexual orientation. Those acts are labeled as wrong out of the context of the times in which the writers wrote and perceived those acts to be either nonmasculine, idolatrous, exploitative, or pagan. The kind of relationships between two consenting adults of the same sex demonstrably abounding among us - relationships that are responsible and mutual, affirming and fulfilling - are not dealt with in the Scriptures.

    October 24, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  5. Douglas

    LGBTQ Christian couples are trending toward celibacy as they mature in their lives as born again Christians.

    As LGBTQ couples come out of fornication they leave behind the fear that grips a soul, tortured by living a lie
    that has now been exposed and forever jettisoned as excess baggage.

    LGBTQ celibate couples take a bow!

    STDs...be gone!

    You are leading the way!

    Drive out fear...end the hate!

    It is time to stand out, proud, and celibate!

    October 23, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Cite your source, you lying sack of sh!t.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  6. John

    "Why does the Bible illuminate man-woman relationships?"

    Some argue that since homosexual behavior is "unnatural" it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.

    Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.

    There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally, it might be well for the one quoting to read the text in its entirety.

    Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman. Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and Romans 1: 26-27). But homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment visited upon idolaters by God because of their unfaithfulness. Homosexuality was not the sin but the punishment.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Sexual perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual liaison.

    Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of homosexual behavior. But was Paul's opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been challenged and transcended even by the church! Is Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned ideas?

    Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy, Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter respectively).

    That is all that Scripture has to say about homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist, these references do not build an ironclad case for condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition toward those of their own sex.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  7. Wow

    "David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, and Daniel and the palace master were probably lovers." Where is his evidence for that????????

    October 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  8. Chevelle Montoya

    It fills me with dread when people use the Bible as a means to justify what it condemns. How come God didn't just make one gender? How come procreation is unique to man-woman relationships? Why does the Bible illuminate man-woman relationships? I see all these comments pointing to some studies in pyschology but you do know that the Bible is not some psychology textbook, it speaks the truth about our nature as God made us. Marriage is ordained by God. Since when did we start putting what we only feel comfortable with in the Bible? It stirs me so...I hope one day mankind will face the truth. But that chance is very slim right now.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "How come procreation is unique to man-woman relationships?"

      This is how stupid this poster is regardless of their multiple handles, gays and lesbian have children. Duh! Time to go back to school. LOL!

      October 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  9. YeahRight

    "So this article is supposedly authoritative because it comes from a former Roman Catholic priest"

    What an idiot you might want to work on your reading comprehension skills, it stated "My Take" which means its and opinion piece. Duh!

    October 19, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • olivaswjesus

      Idiot seems to be a favorite word of yours and seeing that you don't understand context you actually fit the description better.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Idiot seems to be a favorite word of yours and seeing that you don't understand context you actually fit the description better."

      That's all you got. LOL! It's uneducated people like you that fuel the hate and bullying in this country. So yes, you're an idiot.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  10. olivaswjesus

    So this article is supposedly authoritative because it comes from a former Roman Catholic priest – that's like saying a bankrupt investor is giving me advice on how to get rich. C'mon!

    October 19, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  11. John

    "There is hope in couples coming out from fornication and leaving sins of the past behind in an exodus of hope."

    In days gone by, it was reasonable for Christians not to question conventional wisdom about the Bible. Because everyone used the Bible to justify slavery, for instance, Christians were OK with believing that some of their fellow human beings were just another species of farm animal they rightfully owned. Later, we Christians were entirely comfortable using the Bible to justify the atrocious idea that women are second-class citizens too simple-minded to be trusted with the vote.

    And up until the Internet made readily available all kinds of previously inaccessible knowledge and information, we could be excused for believing that the Bible indisputably states that God considers homosexual love a moral abomination.

    Today, however, anyone who can read, or simply watch YouTube videos, is forced to acknowledge the absolute credibility of the universe of scholarship, and the reasoning based upon it which unequivocally proves that the Bible does not, in fact, oblige Christians to believe that homosexual love, in and of itself, is necessarily any less moral than is heterosexual love.

    That closet door is now swung wide open. The truth of the matter is now there for anyone to behold.

    Christians today who take seriously the search for truth must admit that the old axiom that homosexuality is a sin has been forever reduced in status from objective truth to subjective opinion. From fact to belief. From beyond question to unquestionably dubious.

    Believing that homosexual love is a condemnable sin, in other words, is now a choice one must make.

    And what Christian - what person at all? - would choose ignorant condemnation over enlightened love?

    October 19, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Douglas

      God's word is eternal.

      It is convenient for fornicators to try to reinterpret the good book to justify fornication
      but that was prophesied in the Bible, "they will exchange the truth for a lie".

      LGBTQ coitus is condemned repeatedly in the Holy Bible.

      Celibacy is the path foward for LGBTQ Christians.

      John, it is time for you to get on board and accept celibacy as you embrace the Christian faith.

      I'm standing with you in your journey to celibacy.

      You are not alone.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Janet

      Douglas you are misguided by your own hate. The Biblical condemnation of homosexuality is based on human ignorance, suspicion of those who are different, and an overwhelming concern for ensuring the survival of the people. Since the Bible regards homosexuality as a capital crime, it clearly assumes that homosexuality is a matter of free choice, a deliberate rebellion against God. We have learned from modern science that people do not choose to be gay or straight; hence it is neither logical nor moral to condemn those whose nature it is to be gay or lesbian.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  12. Douglas

    Celibacy Rocks!

    This refrain is heard over and over again from LGBTQ couples taking ownership of their responsibility to remain
    celibate in their Christian journey. The Bible is unambiguous about the prohibition against gay/lesbian coitus in both
    the Old and New Testaments. As LGBTQ Christians pore over the Bible in their journey to salvation, they find they
    have a place as celibate believers following the path toward righteousness.

    It is refreshing to work with these couples and to provide guidance and counseling along the way.

    There is hope in couples coming out from fornication and leaving sins of the past behind in an exodus of hope.

    With God...anything is possible!

    –Douglas

    October 19, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • James

      "This refrain is heard over and over again from LGBTQ couples taking ownership of their responsibility to remain
      celibate in their Christian journey."

      You are wrong again as usual and don't understand the bible. The scriptures actually say nothing about homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation. Our understandings of sexual orientation are distinctly modern ones that were not present in the minds of Scripture writers. A few passages of Scripture (seven at the most) object to certain types of same-sex expressions or acts. The particular acts in question, however, are sexual expressions which are exploitative, oppressive, commercialized, or offensive to ancient purity rituals. There is no Scriptural guidance for same-sex relationships which are loving and mutually respecting. Guidelines for these relationships should come from the same general Scriptural norms that apply to heterosexual relationships.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • /// o \\\

      As the NT and OT (and all Abrahamic religion) are nothing more than written fable with no credibility, often based on other written or word-of-mouth fable, the point is moot. So knock yourself out Douglas – be all the ding-dong you can be.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  13. YeahRight

    "Legally if people need to get their finances, and assets in order, by marriage, or what have you, then according to this world yes why not? It should not be publicized, this is discrimination"

    No idiot this is about civil rights. In America marriage has been declared a civil right.

    Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

    The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws

    A federal appeals court on May 31st ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it denies equal rights for legally married same-sex couples, making it likely that the Supreme Court will consider the politically divisive issue for the first time in its next term. This most likely will be decided in the courts and since most courts keep ruling in gays favor they should be able to over turn all the unconstitutional laws prejudice bigots have been trying to pass.

    These rights include:
    Tax Benefits
    -–Filing joint income tax returns with the I R S 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 assistance 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.

    October 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Lorraine

      What part of 'what have you' that you could not comprehend idiot? Whatever rights Duh. It is still a man's law, and not OF YHWH. So, yes do what they will, its by man, civil, or not, whichever, bad, or so called good goes on more than anything today, so again, everything else is accepted so why not? and as many say its a free country, yeah right, lol.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • YeahRight

      " It is still a man's law"

      Yes it's which is why gays and lesbians deserve to have equal civil rights. Duh!

      October 19, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  14. Lorraine

    Hear this, you tell that to the oppressors of the land, and see how that works out. There are many in imposed poverty, and prison who have not done a thing, in Memphis TN, a young Hebrew man was accused of fondling a so called white girl, 'Caucasian' yet all say she approach him, and even if he did, hes been locked up for years? lol, take off your heavy blinders.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • .

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "The Truth" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Lorraine" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian..

      October 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  15. Lorraine

    Joshua, We all have One Creator, it is YHWH, His divine name, and all praise is to go to Him, always, He is alone, there is no one, or nothing with Him other than His Spirit, that is upon the face of this earth today, Deuteronomy 32:12, 39, and 40. Take heed not to anger the King YHWH with lies taught by His enemies in Psalms 83, and Malachi 2, Jeremiah 23, Ezekiel 14, and chapter 20, for YHWH teaches us this to read His book of remembrance, the so called OT, Genesis-Malachi, to know His truth, and don't ever provoke Him, taught in Deuteronomy 32:16, don't give His praise to another, this is idolatry, and just a tip, ALL RELIGIONS ARE IDOLATRY TO YHWH, He does not condone religion, never, and is why we have the mayhem in our world today, prophesied in Jeremiah 25:13-38.

    October 17, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Lorraine

      Also refer to Zechariah 14:9, learn the truth of our Creator, our King YHWH, such as the prophets Nehemiah, and Ezra, were in the times of the Persian king Artaxerxes around 465, and 444 bce, making our history, until this day, YHWH is here, always since the beginning, Genesis 1, and 2, and Praise YHWH, and YHWH Bless.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Hear This

      Lorraine,

      Whatever. Just obey the laws of the land, stay out of jail and off of the public dole.

      October 18, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  16. YeahRight

    "You will notice that many of the apologists for same gender matrimony as a "Christian" practice can
    find nothing in the BIble to support their position, so they talk about how the Bible must be "re-interpreted
    for the modern age"."

    This is how uneducated this posters is because sexual orientation wasn't even studied until the 19th century. Duh!

    Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. 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."

    October 12, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  17. 250 Ministers Proclamation

    As Christian clergy we proclaim the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.

    In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:

    –to affirm– that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;

    –to embrace– the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;

    –to declare– that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;

    –to celebrate– the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;

    Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

    October 12, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  18. James

    "For starters, all things Christian are based on the Bible and the BIble clearly
    directs believers to abstain from gay/lesbian coitus and makes no provision for any kind
    of marriage union for same-gender couples."

    You're completely wrong. The scriptures actually say nothing about homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation. Our understandings of sexual orientation are distinctly modern ones that were not present in the minds of Scripture writers. A few passages of Scripture (seven at the most) object to certain types of same-sex expressions or acts. The particular acts in question, however, are sexual expressions which are exploitative, oppressive, commercialized, or offensive to ancient purity rituals. There is no Scriptural guidance for same-sex relationships which are loving and mutually respecting. Guidelines for these relationships should come from the same general Scriptural norms that apply to heterosexual relationships.

    October 12, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  19. Douglas

    Gay "marriage" is condemned in the Holy Bible.

    For starters, all things Christian are based on the Bible and the BIble clearly
    directs believers to abstain from gay/lesbian coitus and makes no provision for any kind
    of marriage union for same-gender couples.

    You will notice that many of the apologists for same gender matrimony as a "Christian" practice can
    find nothing in the BIble to support their position, so they talk about how the Bible must be "re-interpreted
    for the modern age". Also you will see talking points about how gay/lesbian coitus was not "understood" in Biblical times
    like we understand it now.

    This is at best disingenuous and serves to clearly illustrate the failure of the LGBTQ apologists to rationalize a revision of
    Biblical authority which opposes LGBTQ marriage.

    LGBTQ relationships that are celibate are consistent with Christian teaching since gay/lesbian coitus is removed from the picture.

    Marriage is defined by Jesus, who the last time I heard founded Chrisitanity, as the union of one man and one woman who leave their homes and are joined as one flesh. You can look it up in Matthew Chapter 19 of the Bible.

    Please show me where Jesus defines marriage as the union of two men or two women?

    In Matthew 19 Jesus says that some will remain celibate and should not be married. This is the category
    for LGBT folk.

    Peace,
    Douglas

    October 12, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  20. Erik

    "Do you realize that this also means that God can change a mans desire for another man???"

    Being gay is not a choice science, in fact, is actually not in dispute on this matter.

    All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

    Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy or reorientation therapy, "counsels" LGBT persons to pray fervently and study Bible verses, often utilizing 12-step techniques that are used to treat sexual addictions or trauma. Such Christian councilors are pathologizing homosexuality, which is not a pathology but is a sexual orientation. Psychologically, that's very dangerous territory to tread on. All of the above-mentioned medical professional organizations, in addition to the American and European Counseling Associations, stand strongly opposed to any form of reparative therapy.

    In my home country, Norway, reparative therapy is officially considered to be ethical malpractice. But there are many countries that do not regulate the practice, and many others that remain largely silent and even passively supportive of it (such as the Philippines). Groups that operate such "therapy" in the Philippines are the Evangelical Bagong Pag-asa, and the Catholic Courage Philippines.

    The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

    On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

    Take this interesting paragraph I found on an Evangelical website: "The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" – meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are 'born that way.'"

    But that's not at all what it means, and it seems Evangelicals are plucking out stand-alone phrases from scientific reports and removing them from their context. This is known in academia as the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Interestingly, this is also what they have a habit of doing with verses from the Bible.

    This idea of sexuality being a choice is such a bizarre notion to me as a man of science. Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

    The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

    Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

    Furthermore, there are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

    Having said that, in the realm of legal rights, partnership rights, and anti-discrimination protections, the gay gene vs. choice debate is actually quite irrelevant. Whether or not something is a choice is not a suitable criterion for whether someone should have equal rights and protections. Religion is indisputably a choice, but that fact is a not a valid argument for discriminating against a particular religion.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Lorraine

      These are all personal opinions of course but again according to man's ways, yes, it is acceptable, but not of YHWH. His design for man was for procreation, and this isn't to say anyone is right, or wrong, it is just what He is about and that is life, and creation. I personally feel that a person's personal life choice is no one's business. Take Richard Simons for instance, a wonderful man, very talented, and a beautiful person, loved by many, myself included, now what he does in his personal life is none of my business, or anyone else, it is between him, and YHWH God, and until this day I don't know what he does personally, and don't care.

      Legally if people need to get their finances, and assets in order, by marriage, or what have you, then according to this world yes why not? It should not be publicized, this is discrimination, for Its their business. When I go to take care of my personal business I don't want the world to come with me. Besides, Its between them, and YHWH, we are all responsible for our rights, and our wrongs, taught in Jeremiah 31:30, and Ezekiel 14. YHWH Bless.

      October 18, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • YeahRight

      " His design for man was for procreation"

      This is how dumb this poster is because gays and lesbians have their own children. What an idiot.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:51 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.