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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 • My Take • Opinion

soundoff (15,115 Responses)
  1. joseph

    The only way those who call themselves Christians can make a case for gay marriage is to depart from scripture. But in doing so you also depart from Christ which strips you of any right to call yourself Christian.

    June 15, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • Primewonk

      Accordiing to you. But there are plenty of religious folks who are smart enough to understand that your bible verses do not mean what you think they mean.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      A "right to be a Christian"? Since when do you get to decide who is a Christian and who isn't? There are many Christians who interpret the Bible, having studied it for years, who don't believe what you do. Why should YOUR opinion hold sway?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Joseph, get a grip. You are not a biblical scholar and you have no business making such comments.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Facts Reveal

      Apparently, josef is an atheist was trying to say that Christian has nothing to say about gay marriage. Why? Kindly bear with me that you maybe driven back to your senses.

      He was trying to say that the Bible plays a vital role of being a Christian and they always base their takes regarding gay marriage in the verses of the Bible particularly in Leviticus 20:13. But for (josef)him the Bible has nothing to say when it comes to gay marriage.

      Hence, If the Bible has nothing to say when it comes to gay marriage and Chriatians are basing their opinions on the Bible, thus, Christian has nothing to say when it comes to gay marriage. Unless otherwise, (Christians) they would depart from the Bible which could be consequential to departing from Christianity.

      It could be that you folks are not reading joseph's post prior to your replies have been made. OR your comprehensions and level of intelligence are doing the limbo like most atheists do.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Jen

      Ummm...what the h-ll are you talking about Facts Reveal? First of all, his handle is joseph (not Josef), and everyone understood his post just fine. Your post on the other hand....perhaps you should not be insulting the intelligence of others when you can't put a grammatically correct sentence together if you tried.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  2. gal

    Apparently CNN will not post my real comments, they must be against freedom of speech and religious expression, even though my comments are completely friendly.

    June 14, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • PPLRWRD

      I have been noticing that too. They don't like things they can't put an arguement against.

      June 14, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • midwest rail

      There are NO 1st Amendment issues involved when commenting on a private corporation's message board. Perhaps a remedial civics class ?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      A remedial spelling class or a good spell-check wouldn't hurt PP, either.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Really-O?

      @gal -

      Paranoid much?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  3. gal

    It is hard to get a comment through these filters.

    June 14, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      gal,

      Yes, it is very frustrating.

      Maybe this list will help, if you don't already have it...

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ---
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-nthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      que-er
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sl-ut
      sn-atch
      sp-ank
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-oon
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      strip-per
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!
      There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).

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

      June 14, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • gal

      I did not use any of those words at all. I can only think that someone doesn't like what I wrote.

      June 14, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      gal,

      Look over your post very carefully for those word FRAGMENTS.

      There are no live moderators here... and certainly no-one who could read your post and stop it in the millisecond after you click "post".

      June 14, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      I've noticed that frequently even the most innocuous comments are filtered out while some pretty rough ones get through. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  4. sftommy

    Two people, God, and a Covenant between the three.

    Faith in God, before any faith in the opinion of men, their dusty books, and their high courts.

    June 14, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Soft Tommy, you're completely wrong and out of touch with reality.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • tallulah13

      If you are a citizen of the United States, the Const.itution is the ultimate basis for law.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  5. Bob

    Then God said, "I am giving you a sign of My covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed My rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of My covenant with you and with all the earth.When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds. Another counterfeit by gays the rainbow

    June 14, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahhhhahhaha! So god has a copyright on rainbows?

      Why is it you have time to post here citing the bible, Bob, but you're "too busy" to cite research that backs up the claims you've made?

      You can't find any studies that show that hom0s3xuality is an illness or that it's a choice and cite the actual research because of the filters, you say. But weren't your "IT guys" going to help you with that?

      Or are they "too busy"?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Bob, do you collect Care Bear stuff?

      June 15, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  6. Bob

    Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? therefore glorify God in your body.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Reann

      Amen

      June 15, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • justinstl

      I will glorify God in my own body in the way I see fit for Me and MY GOD. Its up to me NOT YOU! God wants it that way...What is a sin to you is your business and it may not be a sin to ME!

      June 15, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Boob, how can you believe this nonsense?

      June 15, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  7. Bob

    God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.The man said This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • justinstl

      B S storybook fantasy!

      June 15, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • atheist llama

      Argh, the silly filters on this website keep deleting my comments.

      To put it simply, in no way is it a mental illness, it is love! Simple as that. Love, it should be something sweet and irrational that makes you smile, not a political or religious argument. You shouldn't deny people acceptance and respect, just because your religion doesn't consider who they love normal.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:25 am |
    • atheist llama

      Accidentally posted my last reply on the wrong comment. Sorry bout that.

      It's still true though.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:27 am |
  8. Bob

    bDr. Stanton L. Jones, professor of psyc at Wheaton states that there is a “mixed scorecard” among professionals on this. He writes: “I would not regard gays to be in the same sense as schizophrenia or phobic disorders. But neither can it be viewed as a normal. But it is clear that the APA’s 1973 decision cannot be cited as medical consensus that gay is a “normal” condition.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Well according to the current % and using standard deviation models, hom.ose.xuality is within the realm of normal.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • atheist llama

      Oh for goodness sakes, 'hom.o.s.ex.uality' (Sorry about that, I've heard that the filters on this website react badly to a lot of words.) Is in no way a mental illness! It is simply love. Two humans who love each other, regardless of their gender, should not be denied the opportunity to marry, basic respect, or acceptance.
      I mean seriously people, why can't we all just be nice to each other?

      June 15, 2012 at 5:21 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Before his appointment as Provost in 1996, Dr. Jones was the Dr. Arthur P. Rech and Mrs. Jean May Rech Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Psychology Department.

      Dr. Jones is Wheaton's chief academic officer and second ranking administrator, reporting directly to the President. He oversees the undergraduate and graduate programs of Wheaton College through the Dean of Arts, Media and Communication, the Dean of Humanities and Theological Studies, and the Dean of Natural and Social Sciences. Additionally, the Assistant Provost, Dean of Information and Technology, the College Librarian, and the Director of Admissions report to him. Dr. Jones also has oversight of the programs of the Billy Graham Center.

      Dr. Jones joined the Wheaton College faculty in 1981 having completed a B.S. in Psychology at Texas A&M University, an M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Arizona State University, and an internship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Veterans Administration Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. He is the author of over 50 articles and book chapters, and is co-author or editor of a number of books including Modern Psychotherapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal, Hom0se3xuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate, Psychology and Christianity: Four Views, and the God’s Design for S3x book series.

      Do you REALLY think this man is neutral on h0m0s3xuality?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Really-O?

      @Bob -

      Do you understand what the term "normal" means when used in the sciences?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Bob, let me first and foremost congratulate you on being able to post ill-conceived, illogical comments while burdened by such a low IQ. It's quite an accomplishment.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  9. Bob

    On March 25, 2000 the Massachusetts Departments of Education and Health teamed up with the GLSEN and conducted a conference for school children and educators. instructor Michael Gaucher, prompted by a teen’s question, verbally guided the students on the mechanics of “fisting”

    June 14, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So this happened 12 years ago? And it has what to do with gay marriage, Bob?

      How is it you have yet to produce cites for those studies you have been on about? Still "too busy"? Or wouldn't the IT guys help you figure out how to post?

      June 14, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Bob, how is that you can produce irrelevant articles about fisting but can't produce a shred of evidence for your imaginary friend?

      June 14, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Bob, you're making this stuff up, right? No one could be that stupid.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  10. RandyM

    Science saying gay is normal does not make it correct in Gods mind. Hating someone who has bullied you is normal it is also not good for you. The hate destroys you on the inside. But it is normal. Most sins are normal behavior but that does not mean they are good for you nor does it mean they are the correct way to behave.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So you presume to know what god thinks, do you?

      June 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • The Doctor

      Seems atheists have no problem with saying what God thinks. They always say that if God is so vast and infinite that he wouldn't be worried about an individual human.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • JWT

      I say it doesn't matter in the least what anyone's personal god thinks on the matter, It's solely a matter of civil rights.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not very bright, Doc. Atheists are unlikely to know what a non-existent ent ity thinks, or claim that they do. What they do is ask believers to defend their claims as to what god's will is, since they're the ones who say he exists.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • The Doctor

      We'll keep this in mind the next time some atheist tries to say what an inifite God would say or do. Thank you kid.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Who's "we"? Got a mouse in your pocket, Doc?

      June 14, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Doctor Duck Poo, what nonsense is this? You don't really believe this stuff I hope. You're joshing us, right? You and your boyfriend sit down at breakfast and think this stuff up over a cold beer and maybe some crack cocaine. It's beyond the pale.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  11. RandyM

    To YeahRight, The Bible is historically correct and the entire field of Archeology was for the most part developed by Christians setting out to prove the extents of cities and peoples mentioned in the Bible. Most places and people have since been proven to exist. The very oldest stuff like Adam, Eve, Noah are not proven archeology but just about everything else is.

    Not only that if you compare the science in the Bible to other religions then you begin to understand how ahead of its time it has been. The general progression of creation is pretty much how scientist see it today, fish the birds then cattle. None of the other ancient religions knew any of this. God spoke creation into existence certainly could coincide with the big bang theory.

    There are many naysayers on the Bible but there are not any "proven" falsehoods. You do not have your facts straight and I must point out your error. There are stories we do not completely understand but there are no "proven" falsehoods.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Of course there are. You can pretend otherwise, but the bible is not infallible.

      Furthermore, if god told you tomorrow that heter0s3xuality was wrong, would you become celibate? Why should someone renounce his own nature when according to you, it all came from your infallible god?

      If being gay is natural, as you concede science is showing, then it must have come from your infallible god of all creation. It can be no more 'wrong' any of his other creations.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      So calculating pi = 3.000...000 puts The Babble ahead of modern science. Fascinating!

      June 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "To YeahRight, The Bible is historically correct and the entire field of Archeology was for the most part developed by Christians setting out to prove the extents of cities and peoples mentioned in the Bible. Most places and people have since been proven to exist. The very oldest stuff like Adam, Eve, Noah are not proven archeology but just about everything else is."

      The Smithsonian is the one that state the bible is NOT an historical document. It is the world's largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums, 9 research centers and more than 140 affiliate museums around the world.

      LMAO!

      June 15, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  12. colleen

    Can't go there......Too much scary video in my mind....

    June 14, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It can't be as scary as what (doesn't) go on in Bob's mind....

      June 14, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Bob must be REALLY REALLY "busy."

    June 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  14. Great Caesar's Ghost

    Change is Coming...

    http://caesarsghost.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/eleven-satanic-rules-to-be-displayed-in-iowa-courthouse/

    June 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  15. kindness

    This is my experience... Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

    June 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  16. Bob

    Bob already been covered if you cant keep up dont insult our name by being stupid. We are not animals and in animals hormones have been found to make them gay or straight but hormones in humans is NOT the determining factor. Thats the true problem in humans no smoking gun either way as to why humans are gay

    June 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where do you get the notion that hormones don't play a part? Erik just said that studies show they do.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Jen

      Studies have shown there are brain differences between gay and straight people. Are you saying because there is no smoking gun (yet) that proves people choose to be gay? They can't figure out what causes autism either so I'm just going to conclude that people choose to be autistic....

      June 14, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  17. Bob

    I will say that therapy can change a person from gay to straight. I have also seen a person in their lives have a sx abuse and turn gay. The group that got Spitz to consider a new study was the group that was chanting outside the meeting and saying that in fact they were gay now straight. The studies have proved it also.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What studies? You have shown not one iota of anything to be true. Your little "anecdotes" are meaningless. A group chanting outside a meeting is meaningless. Unless you can cite a peer-reviewed study that shows what you claim, you can forget about convincing anyone that you are right.

      June 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I will say that therapy can change a person from gay to straight."

      Wow are you clueless on this subject. Because of the aggressive promotion of efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy, a number of medical, health, and mental health professional organizations have issued public statements about the dangers of this approach. 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 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Erik

      Bob, 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.

      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!"

      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).

      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.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Bob

      tom Personally I dont have to convince anyone because most here already know the all the studies that have been done on both sides. What you say or what I say will have little or no affect on most its just a slug fest and the filters and time constraints make this hard. While you dont have a life I happen to be quite busy and this is taking some effort. I will post the studies just like I posted about dr spitzer but it will be at my convenience not at your demand. Actually your crudeness is the only reason I have been here at all. I do have access to IT guys and as soon as I can spend some time I will learn a few more things.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You are truly pathetic.

      You "have access to IT guys"? Good grief. You need an "IT guy" to help you post on a blog?

      Your claims are baseless. You can use all the IT guys you want but it won't change the facts. Did you even READ what Erik wrote?

      The only 'studies' you'll be able to find that support your hatred and prejudice are bogus. NARTH and The Family Research Council don't count, Bob.

      As for my 'crudeness', if you are here because of it, what does that say about you? If you don't like it, don't read it. No one's holding a gun to your head.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Bob

      The other Bob is an idiot. Idiot Bob, go look here
      http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/07/0722_040722_gayanimal.html
      and try to understand that even mainstream pop science lit talks about the many, many species in which ho.mo.se.xual behaviour is observed

      The truth seems hard to take for religious wackos but the evidence is clear and abundant.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Bob

      So Eric if this is all solid how does a person who suffers from abuse suddenly become gay? Or a person who has been married for years all of sudden discover their gay?

      June 14, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Didn't you say you were really "busy", Bob? You didn't have time for this?

      June 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Erik -
      Excellent, thoughtful, well reasoned and supported post. What is disheartening is that, in the 21st century, this issue is still on-the-radar. Gay rights (civil rights) is all non-believers need as justification for actively opposing religious belief (lest we forget...Loving v. Virginia 1967). Well done Erik.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "So Eric if this is all solid how does a person who suffers from abuse suddenly become gay? Or a person who has been married for years all of sudden discover their gay?"

      LMAO this just show how much you really don't get about this subject. Different lesbian, gay, and bisexual people have very different experiences regarding their sexual orientation. Some people know that they are lesbian, gay, or bisexual for a long time before they actually pursue relationships with other people. Some people engage in sexual activity (with same-sex and/or other-sex partners) before assigning a clear label to their sexual orientation. Prejudice and discrimination make it difficult for many people to come to terms with their sexual orientation identities, so claiming a lesbian, gay, or bisexual identity may be a slow process.

      So Bob you figuring it out yet that prejudice and bigotry like yours toward the gay community makes it hard for people to come out. Unfounded prejudice and discrimination towards this minority is a HUGE issue in our society, and YOU are part of the problem.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Bob – again, which peer-reviewed scientific research studies show that gays can be cured? And please don't cite Spitzer, he has now retracted his study and apologized.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • atheist llama

      YeahRight, Eric, and Tom Tom The Pipers Son, I agree with you guys completely, very well put. Bob's an idiot.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:34 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Anyone who claims that therapy changed them from gay to straight, or that abuse changed them from straight to gay, was actually neither to begin with.

      We seem to forget that gay and straight are two extremes on a spectrum and in the middle lies bi-s-exuality. More people cluster near the center than live at either extreme. Most bi-s-exual folks, growing up in a society that dictates "normal" to be hetero-s-exuality, will dismiss their same-gender attraction as an oddity, or not recognize it for what it is. Bi-s-exuals who are exposed to ho-m-s-exuality may likewise figure that they are gay, and dismiss the opposite gender attraction as an anomaly.

      I have known someone who went through so-called conversion therapy and came out the other side saying he was cured and now straight. Five years later, when his marriage fell apart, in counseling he confided that the attraction to men never went away, he simply discovered that he was also attracted to women. He was never "cured"...and that is because there is nothing to cure.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Peteyroo

      What? We have two Bobs? Can't one of you give us a little more than just "Bob"? How can we pick you apart if we don't know which is which?

      June 15, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  18. Arvoasitis

    One of the difficulties of having a genuine public debate is that people tend to get confused between reasoning and rationalizing. Reasoning involves collecting information until a valid conclusion can be drawn. Rationalizing begins with a conclusion and proceeds with a search for any information that either supports it or can be shaped to fit it. Unfortunately, the religious arguments are often based on rationalization. But, there is considerable chain rattling and yanking going on on both sides.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • Bob

      What you said is something we can both agree on but for me the rationalization goes on from the other side. Well put.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, Bob. Science is not based on rationalization. It is based on the facts available to us at this time. You do exactly what the poster described: you want h0mos3xuality to be "wrong", so you look for studies that "prove" it is, only to find that current research indicates that's not the case.

      June 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      Thanks for your comment, Bob. You're quite right; I may very well have been unfair to the religion side because the other side is as bad, if not worse, when it comes to rationalizing. But, I do think that the naive religious arguments tend to be more apparent.
      As for TOM, TOM, and science, controversies abound. And there is a distinction between "bad" science and "wrong" science. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-science but having spent much of my career in related fields, I'm aware that everything is not cut-and-dry.)

      June 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's 'cut and dried'. Why not explain the distinction, then?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      Okay, bad science is based on rationalization; wrong science results from an error in reasoning.

      June 15, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So, Av, how about looking at the studies and analyzing them: which are valid and which are 'bad science' or 'wrong science'?

      Of course, since Bob hasn't cited ANY studies, it will be difficult to compare what he says his studies show with what current studies seem to indicate.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Peteyroo

      D'accord!

      June 15, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  19. Bob

    These filters stop a reasonable response tom all the criticism you have given me over sentences has been partially the fault of the filters. I am having a extremely difficult time with them. I will say this dr spitzer is best recognized in the apa history for his scientific role in the team he led the removed gays from the list of the dsm reversed himself after at the annual meeting of the apa gays staging a protest said they had changed and change is possible. This was done with exodus and the national association of research and therapy

    June 14, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • Primewonk

      Robert Spitzer has now apologised in the same academic journal that published his original study, calling it "fatally flawed". "I believe I owe the gay community an apology," his letter said. "I also apologise to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works."

      June 14, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • Jen

      Bob, I thought it was because only your secretaries type for you that you can't produce a first grade sentence. We all deal with the filters so that definitely is not your problem (and I'm using an ipad). For example, I'm pretty sure the filters didn't change what should have been the word 'that' in between led and removed and put in 'the' instead. That's just you showing off your level of education.

      Also Bob, as for those studies. Putting aside that Spitzer has recognized the error in his studies, you would have to at least admit that if therapy can change you from h-mos-xual to h-teros-xual, that therapy can also do the reverse (change you into a h-mos-xual). Do you admit that if you underwent therapy like this you would then be h-mos-xual at the end of it?

      June 14, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Bob

      The vacillation in his stance is what the scientific community is always capable of. Cholesterol was a thing that was bad then good and now the trend is changed again. Its scientific fact till its not it is a religion just as much as Christianity. The only difference is Christianity they cant put their hands on it to qualify it, it has to be from the heart in a relationship.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • YeahRight

      "I will say this dr spitzer is best recognized in the apa history for his scientific role in the team he led the removed gays from the list of the dsm reversed himself after at the annual meeting of the apa gays staging a protest said they had changed and change is possible."

      If you are talking about gays changing their orientation then you are WRONG. 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."

      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 14, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bob, what you are calling "vacillation" is not any such thing. Science reaches new conclusions because we are constantly able to discover new information not previously known. You want to stay in the dark ages when gays were considered "sick" because you LIKE that idea. You're unwilling to realize that research has shown that to be untrue.

      That's just too bad for you.

      June 14, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Bob

      So science is definitely true till its not or if it finds a better explanation or different way then thats true well how long will that be true. And this is what people base their lives on? One minute its true the next its not. Psychology is not a exact science it never has been. The Bible has been true for centuries now that is truth, it doesn't shift.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You really are a sad case, Bob.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You do know, Bob, that at one time people thought the sun revolved around the earth.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "The Bible has been true for centuries now that is truth, it doesn't shift."

      That's why it's been proven not to be an historical document and many things in it have been proven false. LMAO!

      June 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • justinstl

      How do you know that what is in the modern bible is anything like what was in the original writings....half of the words do not translate. And why did God show up only 2000 years ago when man has been here for hundreds of thousands of years So the story of Adam ans eve and half that book is nothing but made up theory . that was only put to writing 2000 years ago...COME ON PEOPLE!!!

      June 15, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Your arguments are hard to follow because your education is so limited. Go back to school and finish the Third Grade. Please!

      June 15, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  20. Douglas

    TEST

    June 14, 2012 at 2:05 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.