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My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage
The author backs same-sex marriage because of his faith, not in spite of it.
May 19th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage

Editor's Note: Mark Osler is a Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

By Mark Osler, Special to CNN

I am a Christian, and I am in favor of gay marriage. The reason I am for gay marriage is because of my faith.

What I see in the Bible’s accounts of Jesus and his followers is an insistence that we don’t have the moral authority to deny others the blessing of holy institutions like baptism, communion, and marriage. God, through the Holy Spirit, infuses those moments with life, and it is not ours to either give or deny to others.

A clear instruction on this comes from Simon Peter, the “rock” on whom the church is built. Peter is a captivating figure in the Christian story. Jesus plucks him out of a fishing boat to become a disciple, and time and again he represents us all in learning at the feet of Christ.

During their time together, Peter is often naïve and clueless – he is a follower, constantly learning.

After Jesus is crucified, though, a different Peter emerges, one who is forceful and bold. This is the Peter we see in the Acts of the Apostles, during a fevered debate over whether or not Gentiles should be baptized. Peter was harshly criticized for even eating a meal with those who were uncircumcised; that is, those who did not follow the commands of the Old Testament.

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Peter, though, is strong in confronting those who would deny the sacrament of baptism to the Gentiles, and argues for an acceptance of believers who do not follow the circumcision rules of Leviticus (which is also where we find a condemnation of homosexuality).

His challenge is stark and stunning: Before ordering that the Gentiles be baptized Peter asks “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

None of us, Peter says, has the moral authority to deny baptism to those who seek it, even if they do not follow the ancient laws. It is the flooding love of the Holy Spirit, which fell over that entire crowd, sinners and saints alike, that directs otherwise.

My Take: Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality

It is not our place, it seems, to sort out who should be denied a bond with God and the Holy Spirit of the kind that we find through baptism, communion, and marriage. The water will flow where it will.

Intriguingly, this rule will apply whether we see homosexuality as a sin or not. The water is for all of us. We see the same thing at the Last Supper, as Jesus gives the bread and wine to all who are there—even to Peter, who Jesus said would deny him, and to Judas, who would betray him.

The question before us now is not whether homosexuality is a sin, but whether being gay should be a bar to baptism or communion or marriage.

Your Take: Rethinking the Bible on homosexuality

The answer is in the Bible. Peter and Jesus offer a strikingly inclusive form of love and engagement. They hold out the symbols of Gods’ love to all. How arrogant that we think it is ours to parse out stingily!

I worship at St. Stephens, an Episcopal church in Edina, Minnesota. There is a river that flows around the back and side of that church with a delightful name: Minnehaha Creek. That is where we do baptisms.

The Rector stands in the creek in his robes, the cool water coursing by his feet, and takes an infant into his arms and baptizes her with that same cool water. The congregation sits on the grassy bank and watches, a gentle army.

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At the bottom of the creek, in exactly that spot, is a floor of smooth pebbles. The water rushing by has rubbed off the rough edges, bit by bit, day by day. The pebbles have been transformed by that water into something new.

I suppose that, as Peter put it, someone could try to withhold the waters of baptism there. They could try to stop the river, to keep the water from some of the stones, like a child in the gutter building a barrier against the stream.

It won’t last, though. I would say this to those who would withhold the water of baptism, the joy of worship, or the bonds of marriage: You are less strong than the water, which will flow around you, find its path, and gently erode each wall you try to erect.

The redeeming power of that creek, and of the Holy Spirit, is relentless, making us all into something better and new.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Osler.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Episcopal • Gay marriage • Opinion

soundoff (15,115 Responses)
  1. chris

    what is the purpose of marriage is the real question no one is asking

    June 11, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • YeahRight

      It's a civil right granted to couples.

      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 non-citizen spouse.
      -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

      June 11, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Evangelical

      @YeahRight

      You described the benefits of marriage. You did not answer the question. What is the PURPOSE of marriage?

      June 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "You described the benefits of marriage. You did not answer the question. What is the PURPOSE of marriage?"

      The fact you don't know proves how clueless you are on this subject. Duh!

      June 11, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why don't you tell us, Eva? You know you want to. What you're really looking for is a statement that you can misuse some Bible verse to discredit.

      You won't admit that people come to marriage for many purposes, not just the one you happen to approve.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Tony

      Seems now Tom Tom has an imposter.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Maybe, but no impostor posted the one here.

      Don't know why you'd imagine so.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Cross

      The private purpose behind someone getting married is secret, private, and you may never get a straight answer from anyone you ask.
      chris, it's none of your business why someone wants to marry someone else. It just isn't your business at all.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • davidbeschauer

      There is no PURPOSE in marriage, except to trap people into a relationship which they may subsequently decide is unsuitable for them....then it provides income for lawyers.

      June 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  2. Bob

    Do you know that only certain people can put hmoexul in without getting censored

    June 11, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Do you know that only certain people can put hmoexul in without getting censored"

      It's because we know how to get around the filters.

      June 11, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Bob

      You can say homosexual here only if you have an IQ>80.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Bob

      I almost shit my pants laughing at that one.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How can you tell?

      June 11, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  3. trey

    Guess what you are not special anymore , soon you will be able to legally marry, and you will be just another demographic...that is what you wanted isn't it, to be the same as all of us? Congraualtions you are there! Oh sure african americans, native amercians like myself still deal with descrimination, but it is just a part of living, again nothing special, welcome to the real world, you have arrived

    June 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Knock off the spam, trey. Posting the same inanity over and over won't make it any less stupid.

      June 11, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • trey

      yeah and you are so original you pizzy old spell ck

      June 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you're simpleton.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're A simpleton.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • .

      "
      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you're simpleton.
      June 11, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're A simpleton."

      – It's pretty funny when someone becomes the very thing they try to condemn over and over again – it means you stooped to their level and you loose.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Loose"? "Loose" what? OOOH, you meant "lose", didn't you, dumbfuck?

      June 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • .

      "Loose"? "Loose" what? OOOH, you meant "lose", didn't you, dumbfuck?

      Your comment is directed at the wrong person, your assumptions are making you look like the ass you are.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You made the post in which you screwed up and used "loose" instead of "lose". Your problem, dumbazz, not mine.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I wonder little . , are you just Boob posting under . because you've been outed as an idiot? Boob makes the same error, confusing "loose" with "lose".

      June 11, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  4. TC

    It is undisputable that God create gay folks as they are, with ONLY the ability to be attracted to the same gender. It's not a sin issue, or a moral issue, simply a natural trait shared by some. A God-given natural trait that harms no one, and does not separate anyone from the communion with God.

    The only thing that comes into question is how people act, towards God, and towards eachother.

    This thread is about marriage. Falling in love, forming families, raising kids–the whole nine yards. ALL things that are considered wonderful and life-affirming, if one happens to be straight.

    The ONLY time these behaviors are considered immoral, is when gay people value them. Can you really say that this makes any sense?

    God creates gay folks, instills in the SAME ability to love and commit, and the SAME need for love and relationship that everyone else on the planet shares. And then, some of you believe that a loving God then condemns gay people for doing the very things that he applauds in straight folks?

    Some god you worship. I would never follow such a sick and twisted deity.

    Fortunately, I follow Jesus Christ.

    June 11, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • ImLook'nUp

      @ TC

      I follow Jesus as well, and I can assure you that the Bible states up front that God the Father put male and female together. Which chapter changed that? I haven't found it.

      June 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • JWT

      Well look lots of mainstream christian churches and individuals have found it.

      June 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • ImLook'nUp

      @ JWT

      They didn't find it.

      June 11, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "They didn't find it."

      Well DUUUHHHHHH! The bible was written by straight people who didn't have a clue about sexual orientation as we know and understand it today, that's the point. The experts have shown that what was written in the past were done by bias and prejudice people, that includes the writers of your bible. LMAO!

      June 11, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • davidbeschauer

      Except...there is not and has never been a god.

      June 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • ImLook'nUp

      @ davidbeschauer

      Except...there is and He's A W S O M E !!

      June 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  5. RICHARD

    JESUS said to beware of the words of lawyers, especially when it came to interpreting the heart of God. If Jesus didn't trust them, should we? Since when does a lawyer, speaking outside the scope of his profession, assume the mantle of theological expertise?

    This man rewrites the Bible according to his own spiritually bankrupt philosophy. It's like buying a forged work of art. It's ok as long as you admit it to the buyer up front. This guy doesn't. Like the practiced con man I'm sure he is, this man of the law uses his forked tongue to pitch lies and perpetual indulgence. Many buy it and get hooked on his lies – a thing which laywers are very good at.

    Holy scripture never approves of the gay life style. One can protest and shout until Christ returns, but it just isn't so. Leave the preaching to the preachers and interpretation of scripture to someone who is actually qualified. Would you hire a lawyer to do your dental work or to fix your car? You could and he'd charge you plenty, but the results of his work wouldn't be acceptable.

    If you have legal matters to straighten out, hire a lawyer. If you have spiritual or moral matters to consider, you would be well advised to avoid consulting an attorney. Seek guidance from someone who knows what they are talking about and who will not pander to political correctness or the almighty dollar.

    but thats just me, hollering from the choir loft...

    June 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Jeannine

      "'Holy scripture never approves of the gay life style."

      The Scriptures were written approximately 2000 or more years ago when there was no knowledge of constitutional homosexuality. The Scripture writers believed that all people were naturally heterosexual so that they viewed homosexuality activity as unnatural. Women today are pointing out that the inferiority of women expressed in the scriptures was a product of culture and the times in which the Bible was written; it should not be followed today, now that we are beginning to appreciate the natural and God-given equality of men and women.

      Similarly, as we know that homosexuality is just as natural and God-given as heterosexuality, we realize that the Biblical injunctions against homosexuality were conditioned by the attitudes and beliefs about this form of sexual expression which were held by people without benefit of centuries of scientific knowledge and understanding.

      It is unfair of us to expect or impose a twentieth century mentality and understanding about equality of genders, races and sexual orientations on the Biblical writers. We must be able to distinguish the eternal truths the Bible is meant to convey from the cultural forms and attitudes expressed there.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • RICHARD

      Jeannine – who ever said that the Bible was fair or that the decisions of God were fair? They are not. God is just, not fair. That means that He applies His actions according to His standards, not ours. If those standards are based upon principles that were written about 2,000 or 4,000 years ago what of it? They apply today, in the Twenty First century just as much as they did six thousand years ago.

      By the way sister, you cannot rewrite the Bible and then justify your opinion over that stated by God. To do that is to call God a liar, a thing which the serpent in the Garden of Eden used to persuade Eve to commit sin. Eve was the first girl to believe a lie. You are not the last.

      That's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

      June 11, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • JWT

      While I don't personally care what the bible says about anything there are a lot of churches that marry and accept gays. They are no less christian than those that preach against it.

      June 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • James

      "Jeannine – who ever said that the Bible was fair or that the decisions of God were fair? They are not. God is just, not fair. That means that He applies His actions according to His standards, not ours. If those standards are based upon principles that were written about 2,000 or 4,000 years ago what of it? They apply today, in the Twenty First century just as much as they did six thousand years ago."

      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.

      June 11, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Bob

      Im really glad that you guys told us that God didnt manage to have some things worked out and didnt understand relationships. That Jesus in Roman times didnt have any idea that there were gays in relationships. Read your history

      June 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "That Jesus in Roman times didnt have any idea that there were gays in relationships. Read your history"

      LMAO Your bible even depicts them worshiping a pagan god using sex, it has NOTHING to do with the loving respectful relationship of a gay couple we know and understand today. You actually have no clue about Roman culture because part of reading comprehension 101 is you put the scriptures into historical context to get the real meaning and you HAVEN'T been doing that. Duh!

      June 11, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • davidbeschauer

      Since there is no god, the "bible" is invalid, except in certain aspects as a record of history.

      June 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  6. Tom from Charlotte

    What a one sided bunch of garbage. Its my own fault for reading this.. this author is so far outside the mainstream I don't know where to begin to comment. CNN.. how about posting an opposing view from a National pastor.. not some lefty you dug up that agrees with your Editorial board.

    June 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "this author is so far outside the mainstream I don't know where to begin to comment."

      It's when Christians lie like this that you have to laugh at their pathetic comments since the obviously they don't really understand their own bible. There are thousands of gay churches, there are even some gay clergy. Many pastors, nuns, rabbis have gone on record stating that being gay as we know and understand it today is NOT a sin. Heck there were a hundred pastors that even wrote apology letters to the gay community. Duh!

      June 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • RICHARD

      Dear Tom from Charlotte:
      You miss the point, Tom. True spirituality isn't about church. The Kingdom of God isn't a democracy. God doesn't change his mind just because there are thousands of gay preachers and churches.

      The gay life style is forbidden. The Bible says so. One cannot rewrite the pages of scripture just so they can collect a hefty donation on Sunday morning or whenever the gay congregation meets. The gay folk are being swindled by such lies.

      One can make peace with God only through Jesus. It doesn't happen because you are politically correct or 'because everyone else does it'. Gay=sin and you've got to be willing to lose it if you really really want to know God's heart. Those are hard unpopular words, but they are free. Take it or leave it but know this, God IS willing to forgive and put His animosity aside. Are you?

      that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

      June 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "The gay life style is forbidden. The Bible says so. One cannot rewrite the pages of scripture just so they can collect a hefty donation on Sunday morning or whenever the gay congregation meets. The gay folk are being swindled by such lies."

      Nowhere in your bible does it condemn the loving respectful relationship of a gay couple as we know and understand it today. What is forbidden in your bible is worshiping a pagan god using sex, rape, idolatry and male prostitution.

      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.

      June 11, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  7. Bob

    John keep posting the same garbage you did before if your looking for a spot on CNN maybe they'll pay you to write a comment since its no better and just as off track as the authors one

    June 11, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • .....

      pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Melvin

      I agree with John. 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.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Bob, I couldn't help but notice that neither you, nor any other fundiot, has bothered to refute a single point John made.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  8. Janet

    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..

    June 11, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  9. John

    I agree with this article. 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

    June 11, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Evangelical

      Whose word are we going to take regarding this? Yours or the church which has studied it for millenia?

      June 11, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Whose word are we going to take, Eva? That of the fundie ministers of the kind of churches you attend, or that of the scholars who don't interpret the scriptures the way you like?

      June 11, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • davidbeschauer

      Since there is no god, it is all a wasted use of bandwidth and paper.

      June 12, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  10. Bob

    We already have a Christian theocracy in case you didn't realize it, even if men dont acknowledge God He is still the one in control. He doesn't need your ok to do what He wants and will act on the heart of the worst heathen in government to achieve His goals. This country was built on the laws in the Bible the White House has pictures of prayer meetings painted on the walls,The first school books were Bibles and there was BC and AD. This is were I have a problem trying to strip every bit of God out of this country so that we forget where this country came from and who blessed it and still does.

    June 11, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Primewonk

      What does Article VI, Section 3 of the Constîtution say? What does Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli say?

      If we are a theocracy your first commandment would trump my first amendment. It doesn't. I win. Every freaking day. Every freaking time.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • juan es de la Marque

      Since God is in control of every nation , is China a Christian communist Theocrisy too? or Saudi Arabia a Christian Islamic theoracy ?????

      June 11, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • RICHARD

      Dear Bob:

      You write in few words,
      deep waters to describe.
      True intent your heart to share,
      yet fickle ears hear not.

      Swing and a miss....

      Nice try though.

      it's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

      June 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You are so completely wrong it's hard to believe you are not a troll, Bob. Our laws are NOT based on the Bible. They are based on ethics that precede the Bible by thousands of years.

      Go back to school and try to remain awake this time.

      June 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  11. Bob

    God moving on people, defined, to broaden and enlighten you. Gods desire made mans desire. Gods provision is already set up in these cases both will have the same goals, so the success is guaranteed

    June 11, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • YeahRight

      "God moving on people, defined, to broaden and enlighten you."

      Actually were are doing that all by ourselves which is why African Americans and women have their civil rights now. Based on the research done by the experts it's time for the gays to have their equal civil rights. 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."

      June 11, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • davidbeschauer

      Except...there is no god.

      June 12, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • davidbeschauer

      The only problem with this rant is that, of course, god does not exist.

      June 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  12. Bob

    Canada a good country has not achieved what the US has ,Israel for a small country that was totally destroyed came back as the Bible foretold which has been done 2 other times in history, but they actually speak Hebrew something that was predicted in the Bible. At no other time in history has this happened that the conquered country got back their own language. I say it is the Blessing of God on these countries. The Bible predicted it and it happened against great odds. Your view is pretty narrow and maybe if you could see a bigger picture then you could understand.

    June 11, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Jen

      What has the US achieved that Canada hasn't? A lower standard of living? Check. Worse healthcare? Check. Worse education? Check. Fighting illegal wars? Check.

      As someone that has lived in both countries, the major difference between Canada and the US is religion. Yet Canada has continued to be more successful with less 'god' involved. And there are far more train wrecks in the US then in Canada. And you don't see Canadians railing against providing free healthcare for poor children or providing a social safety net for those less fortunate (unlike the 'good' Christian Americans).

      You're right Bob. I don't believe you own your own company. People don't work for or do business with the functionally illiterate. And without god I've managed to get a masters degree, get a high paying career, donate to charity, nice house, amazing husband, fantastic friends and family, and am pregnant with my third beautiful child. But according to you I couldn't possibly have a good life.
      Interesting. Actually anyone can have a train wreck for a life. Religious or not. I choose to treat people like I want to be treated and not judge people for things they can't change. I think that's much more moral than living by your set of morals. You say I have choices and then say we must live by certain moral standards (ie yours). So you completely contradicted yourself.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • YeahRight

      "I say it is the Blessing of God on these countries."

      Gays can marry in Canada. LOL! Which is why they deserve their civil rights here.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Bob

      You didn't say where you lived now. what country Jen. I doubt your in the US, As for Canada and The US why do the people who have money come to the US to do medical procedures and I hadn't seen Canada's aircraft carriers in the Gulf or their helicopters or gun ships or submarines or any number of military hardware. Not to mention Why is all Europe not speaking Germany now? Ok lets see how many US men died protecting other countries. Where is Canadas men on the moon. The US contributes the most in donations than any other country. I can go on but you get the idea.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Bob

      Then go marry in Canada simple isn't it

      June 11, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Jen

      Well Bob, that's where you prove you don't know anything again. I live in Massachusetts actually. One of the few states in the country I would live in because it's where the liberal and intelligent people live and where all the top schools are located (notice gay marriage is legal here). I wouldn't live in the bible belt if you paid me millions of dollars. The amount of unintelligent people there is astounding (I'm not saying there are not intelligent people in the south but FAR FEWER then there is in the northern part of this country).

      Why should people have to leave the country of their birth to have rights? Emigrating to another country is not easy and not everyone can pick up their lives and move somewhere else. It was a huge pain for me to emigrate here and my husband is American. Telling people to get out of the country because they are gay – very tolerant of you.

      And far fewer people come to the States for medical care then people like you seem to think. I lived in Canada for over thirty years and I only know one person that has come to the States for medical treatment (just to be told that the Canadian doctors were right). Most people that come are either trying to jump the queue for elective surgeries (because non life-threatening surgeries have a wait in Canada), or for specialized care for rare types of cancer (however I know Americans who have went to Canada for cancer treatment as well). I had a c-section in Canada and one in the US. Guess which one was better...Canada (the doctor here even said that's she never seen a better c-section scar in her 20 years of practicing medicine – thank the Canadian doctor for that).

      Canada doesn't have weapons of destruction and that is a bad thing? The reason that Canada doesn't have a huge military is because they don't NEED one. Name one country that wants to attack Canada....can't think of one? Cause there aren't any. And unless you fought in World War II personally I don't think you should be taking credit for the world not speaking German (and the US only got into the war once they were attacked. They didn't give a crap about their allies).

      June 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • davidbeschauer

      Might as well get used to it, Bob: gay marriage is here, gays in the military are here, government recognition of rights of partners is here....we won, you lost. I guess your nonexistent god must be pretty upset, huh...

      June 12, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  13. Bob

    While my spelling concerns you the real issue is reverse prejudice, fundamentalists have started many countries. Two that come to mind is Israel and the United States both were started by God moving on people. Both enjoy prosperity, both make lives better for those who live in them, both have forces trying to destroy them. Some from within some from outside. Both have given maybe to much liberty to allow these forces to change them. Both have the same God, So we see that spelling and grammar isn't so much a issue as you may think, even fundies have importance. Not so if you were in the Muslim world we wouldn't be in this exchange would we?

    June 11, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Primewonk

      Our founding fathers were not fundiots. If they were, they wouldn't have included Article VI, Section 3 in the constîtution. Nor would they have included Article 11 in the Treaty of Tripoli.

      We are not a theocracy. If you fundiots try and make us one, you should expect a bloodbath.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Jen

      Well your spelling and grammar are an issue when your sentences don't make sense. 'both were started by god moving on people'. What does that even mean???? It also goes to your credibility. I'm certainly not going to take the opinion of someone that hasn't even made it through high school seriously.

      No one is arguing that we would be better with a Muslim theocracy. But that doesn't mean that it is okay to have a Christian theocracy either. Look how you were railing on about how Eve destroyed the garden of Eden (yikes if you actually believe that stuff). Just because Christianity treats women better, doesn't mean it treats women well at all.

      The US needs to take a look at Canada. A secular, peaceful, kind nation that allows gay marriage. That's what this county should be trying to emulate.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Jen

      I mean country. See how much more intelligent my post is than yours Bob? My three year old could have written a more intelligent post than yours.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • davidbeschauer

      God moving on people??? Come on, Bob...your non-existent god doesn't have enough power to move his bowels.

      June 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  14. Luke

    Man what Bible do you read?

    June 11, 2012 at 7:27 am |
  15. Bob

    So tom a teacher and Scottish

    June 11, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • Jen

      Actually I've been in business for well over a decade and they are definitely not called secretaries. Also, I've worked for several multiple billion dollar companies and the days of a manager 'dictating' to a secretary went out when typewriters did. Now even CEOs write their own emails, and I've never once received an email from a manager, vp, CFO, or CEO where he/she spelled 'too' or 'you're' wrong (not even someone who had English as a second language). To be successful at business you HAVE to have superior oral and written communication skills.

      So unless you work at a company from the 1950 s that does not use computers, you are a liar. (also, high level people in business are never raging bible thumpers ).

      June 11, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • Bob

      Jen while I appreciate what you are saying its nice to know that not everything conforms to your way of thinking. Including the companies that conform to Godly principles that may not state it up front.

      June 11, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Jen

      Well guess what Bob. Not 'everyone' (not everything as you post) thinks the same way you do either. How about you live the way you want to, you let me live the way I want to, and let gay people live the way they want to. You would never want to live by my set of beliefs, and yet you think people should be forced to live by your set of beliefs. Ridiculous and hypocritical. You can't make the argument that gay people are going to go to hell so should not be allowed to marry for that reason, because you also believe that I am going to hell because I'm agnostic. So what should the rules be for me? Forced into Christianity? Force my children into religious schools because I'm not raising them Christian? Do you see how it's not okay to do that? That by making rules/laws based on religion you would make this country exactly like Iran?

      Also, I'm not too aware of any Fortune 500 companies that follow 'godly' principles. Shouldn't you be headed to work to go 'dictate' to one of your many secretaries? You sure have a lot of time on your hands for someone that has an important job. I'm on maternity leave. What's your excuse? I'm guessing you haven't given birth recently.....

      June 11, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Bob

      I like owning my own company the boss doesn't really say to much if Im late or slack occasionally one of the perks. It doesn't matter if you believe or not and in the US I have never seen anyone forced to worship anything but their own god. But I do care for a standard you can call it moral or civil. I have learned in business that there are corners I can cut but there are risks involved in every decision. I have also learned that unchecked policies change like ones implemented by government for good are now are a burden. So you look at the world and say anything is alright but I consider another side that there is a spiritual price to be paid also. One more restraint in considering decisions, I left a post above about the founding of the US, I have a problem making any decision that I dont know God will bless. I trust His blessing more than mans promises. We both know people and the games but the foundation of a good life doesn't change. There are allot of train wrecks of lives thats what we want to avoid. Most wrecked lives I have seen have been devoid of God and I have seen some with God but the underlying current is how much are you willing to let go of your own personal desires and find the path and do what God says to do. I have never seen anyone fail if they listen and love the Lord. I have never given up something that the Lord hasent replaced it with something better or it was going to hurt me. Your salvation and where you go when you die is not really my concern. if you make the choice then its your choice. I know personally that there are ideas and perceptions that without the Lord we cannot go around these change our life mostly for the bad. I like what the US was built on and I really think it has worked well.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • YeahRight

      "I like what the US was built on and I really think it has worked well."

      Oh you mean the Christians coming here murdering and stealing the land from the Native Americans, kidnapping and enslaving the African Americans, denying women their civil riights. Killing people they thought were witches even thought they were not. Yeah, you would like what this country was built on. It took time for people to come to their senses and it wasn't till very recently that we actually started to become more moral. We are now headed in the right direction and that is why gays deserve their equal civil rights. The experts have shown that 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. Plus 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. So their is no need to continue the discrimination of this minority group and allow them to have equal civil rights as straights in order to protect their families. Duh.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  16. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    The fact is that Boob was given every opportunity to answer specific questions concerning gay marriage and was unwilling and/or unable to do so. It is quite apparent from his posts that he's below average in both intelligence and education. It's also obvious he's dishonest and a jerk.

    If you think he's got a point, then maybe you can articulate it. Boob surely couldn't.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • davidbeschauer

      It doesn't matter. Boob has missed the boat, which sailed for good when NY got gay marriage rights. We have won. It is only a matter of time now. Sorry, Boob. You lost again.

      June 12, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  17. Bob

    Actually I had a little time on my hands and wanted to see if anything would make a difference to you and the others and found it didn't so there's no point to wasting more time. Not to mention if anyone had any hope of having a meaningful conversation with you or thought that the response was from anyone who actually was trying to figure things out and open it would be shown it is useless. The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Stick it up your fundament, Boob. Anyone with a lick of sense can see right through you; you have no intention of doing 'good' of any kind. You are here to promote your brand of prejudice and hate and nothing more. Go screw yourself and the horse you rode in on. You're a worthless POS.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • YeahRight

      "Actually I had a little time on my hands and wanted to see if anything would make a difference to you and the others and found it didn't so there's no point to wasting more time. Not to mention if anyone had any hope of having a meaningful conversation with you or thought that the response was from anyone who actually was trying to figure things out and open it would be shown it is useless. The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good."

      Your constant lying on this blog proves you can't even follow your own bible and you're nothing but a prejudice troll. 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."

      They have helped people to show that being gay is a normal and is NOT a mental illness, they deserve the same civil rights as straights. Duh!

      June 11, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  18. Boss Lady

    Ridiculous. This article makes no sense from top to bottom and the misuse of scriptures is offensive to any christian with the Holy Spirit. I could write for CNN if this quack can..I just wasted 4 minutes of my life...

    June 10, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How sad for you. What were you going to do with those 4 minutes? Take a trip to Tahiti?

      June 10, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • John

      "Ridiculous. This article makes no sense from top to bottom and the misuse of scriptures is offensive to any christian with the Holy Spirit."

      I disagree. 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.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      John, you should have written the article. Your discussion was more cogent than the emotional drivel CNN published. Thank you.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • davidbeschauer

      Inasmuch as god does not exist, what scripture has to say about anything is totally irrelevant.

      June 12, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  19. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Rah, rah, rah. Sis, boom, bah! Boob is vanquished! Yay!!!! Team!

    June 10, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  20. Bob

    Thanks guys its been fun, the author of the article is still wrong and way off there is no case for gay marriage in the Bible.

    June 10, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Who gives a sh!t what you think is "in the Bible", Boob. You've yet to prove your case, or your sanity. Thanks for bowing out while you're a big behind.

      June 10, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • James

      "Thanks guys its been fun, the author of the article is still wrong and way off there is no case for gay marriage in 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.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • davidbeschauer

      Boob...there is "no case" for cancer cures in the bible either, but I don't see you arguing against the progress made toward that end. But it is all a moot point since there is not god...there is no need for or validity in "scripture".

      June 12, 2012 at 5:58 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.