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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. Bob

    Repeal of all laws governing the age of consent." David Thorstad, a spokesman for the h0m0s rights movement and NAMBLA, clearly states the objectives: 'The ultimate goal of the gay liberation movement is the achievement of s freedom for all – not just equal rights for 'lesbians and gay men, but also freedom of s expression for young people and children." This goal has not changed since it was articulated in 1972.

    July 7, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • midwest rail

      Having made several transparently false attempts at honest discourse, Bob will now revert to his original goal of equating hom0se-xuality and ped0philia. Whilst engaged in his Quixotic quest, Bob will again post outright falsehoods, yet claim to be a Christian. The entertainment never ends.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • jwt

      The question has to be asked – are bob and lorraine married ? I mean they are so much alike.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • jwt

      The question has to be asked – are bob and lorraine married ? I mean they are so much alike.

      Or maybe bobby and heavensent ?

      July 7, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Bob

      Socarides stated that the decision of the APA was the hoax of the century.did the vast majority of phycs agree with the APA decision? I

      July 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Bob

      10k of the APA were asked at random, asking them their opinion on this.

      July 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Bob

      I 69% said they believed h0m0 is usually a patho adaptation, as opposed to a normal variation,18% disagreed and 13% were uncertain.

      July 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Bob

      Similarly sizable majorities said that h0m0s are generally less happy than heter0s 73% and less capable of mature, loving relationships, 60% A total of 70% said that h0m0 problems have more to do with their own inner conflicts than with stigmatization by society at large

      July 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • jwt

      None of which is relevant to anything.

      July 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @jwt: 'they are so much alike'. You mean they both suffer from microcephaly?

      July 7, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Or did you mean they're both sock puppets of Doddering/Captain Ass hole, obsessed with Canada?

      Boob now contends that I am of "Irish decent" (sic) by way of Canada. I just have to laugh. What else can you do with such an obvious troll?

      July 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • jwt

      They are both seriously disturbed.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Bob

      A F-reed-om Too Far, anyone ever read this book?? Hey these are not my words I am just showing the book You think studnts are getting purposefully wrong info about gay Yes, and often enough in the name of two current fads: diversity and democ. Aca!deme has bought into diversity at any price, even to the ruination of the very idea of a uni-versity.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Bob

      Just look at the words. Diversity is the exact opposite of uni-versity. Uni says wholeness. Diversity implies division. And so now they're turning centuries of civilization on its head, by trying to insti-uti0na-lize gay And they're doing so in the name of diversity and democ Yes, but they're using spurious arguments–the kind that will destroy the civilization we built in this nation under the old theory of the melting pot–a theory that didn't deny differences brought to our shores from afar, but opted, wisely, not to put taxpayers' dollars into structures that would emphasize them. So, by analogy, we now have gay studies?

      July 7, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Bob

      DeCecco would never have me on his faculty. Why not? Because these courses are all pro-gay. They're intended to raise gay consciousness, one more proof that American education has become politicized–and become more propaganda than science. DeCecco and others like him around the nation who are setting up these gay they're nearly all gays and lesbians. Anyone who has different ideas gets plowed under.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Romper Room would have you on its staff even if all you were required to do was clean the toilets, Doodering/Captain Ass hole.

      July 8, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      *wouldn't.

      July 8, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  2. Bob

    the Adv0c-ate, the gay paper and discovered that chickens a common term for underage sought for inter-c0urse,

    July 7, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  3. Bob

    A study of Canadian ped0philes has shown that 30 percent of those studied admitted to having engaged In h0m0seual acts as adults, and 91 percent of the m0lesters of non-familial boys admitted to no lifetime se contact other than h0mseual W. L. Marshall, et al., "Early onset and deviant s-u-ality in child molesters," Journal of interpersonal Violence 6 (1991): 323-336, cited in "Pedo-lia: The Part of H0m0seuality They Don't Want You to see,

    July 7, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • YeahRight

      Poor Bob is such an uneducated fool he doesn't know the difference between being gay and a pedophile and he hates the the truth 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. 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."

      July 9, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  4. Bob

    since h0m0s ped0pils victimize far more children than do heter0sel ped0iles, it is estimated that approximately 80 percent or ped0phle victims are boys who have been molested by adultmales Thomas Schmidt, Straight and Narrow?

    July 7, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • YeahRight

      More lies on top of more lies. Poor Bob is such an uneducated fool he doesn't know the difference between being gay and a pedophile and he hates the the truth 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. 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."

      July 9, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  5. Bob

    Although h0m0se-uals account for less than two percent of the population. they make up about a third of m0lest-ers. K. Fre-nd and R.I. Wa-ts0n.

    July 7, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • jwt

      The report I found said tht 2 of 274 men were gay that molested the children. Keep going.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • YeahRight

      You are such a liar it's hysterical. Poor Bob is such an uneducated fool he doesn't know the difference between being gay and a pedophile and he hates the the truth 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. 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."

      July 9, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  6. Bob

    The Gay Report, published by h0m0seual researchers Jay and Young in 1979, revealed that 73 percent of h0m0seuals surveyed had at some time had intercourse with boys 16 to 19 years of age or younger.

    July 7, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • jwt

      A statistically worthless survey/.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • jwt

      Froma rough glance at stats thats about the same percent of males having se x with girls in that age range.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Bob

      Don't like the results do you?? but you cant discount them either there will be much more coming.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • jwt

      The results say gay males are just like non-gay males.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • YeahRight

      More lies....Poor Bob is such an uneducated fool he doesn't know the difference between being gay and a pedophile and he hates the the truth 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. 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."

      July 9, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  7. TC

    Bob
    "love it another lie from the gays that's what the problem is they want to equate a preference to a body attribute which is a total lie. Height eye color skin color is all found in the dna, none of them are preferences, all these are the body characteristics you were born with and will not give you a emotional desire but a body part. "

    Is left-handedness a "body part"? Some people can taste certain poisons and some can't. Is THAT a "body part". Some people are ONLY attracted to the opposite gender. Is this just a whim? A simple "preference"?

    You make things up to try to prove your opinions. Silly, really.

    July 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Bob

      So you are acquainting taste with screwing man on man? Like I said dna determines male and female and the traits that go along with them.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      'Acquainting"?

      Doddering, you're dumber than HeavenSent.

      July 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Bob

      NO matter what I am you are not a born here US citizen looser, why don't you go back to where you came from rather than trying to pollute this country. Irish came to US through Canada garbage.

      July 7, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • midwest rail

      Poor Bob. It must be so embarrassing being you.

      July 7, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • Bob

      Tom were they going to arrest you in Canada so you had to come to the US? Why if you don't like it here why don't you go back where you came from? You don't respect true citizens wishes on how this country should be and want to change it to the place you came from that threw you out so go back instead of making this a hell hole.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Bob

      oh Mid whats embarrassing is people like you being here.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • jwt

      So what you are saying bobby is that she is looser than you ? You've has so much gay s ex that you are loose ? Interesting.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • jwt

      The bulk of citizens support gay marriage. At least they understand rights and letter other people live their lives.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • Bob

      Actually the MAJORITY DON'T SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE that why you had to have the peoples will overturned in court and in every place where gays needed a vote for marriage it was overturned or the heads of gov rammed it down peoples throats and why are sticking up for Tom you aren't US citizen by birth either?

      July 7, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • jwt

      The meaningful surveys, unlike yours, show that a majority support gay marriage and that the numbers are growing at a steady rate. Give it up bob you are a dinosaur on this. You and your god can sleep together tightly imagining where you went wrong.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Bob

      IN yours and toms talk post it or your a liar end of story

      July 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • jwt

      One does indded hope bobby that you are the end of the story of yet another page of human bigotry.

      July 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  8. "YeahRight"

    "Marriage in the bible and a law in the US as a union between a man and a woman. "

    Actually you're wrong since gay marriage is legal in several states already. Duh! Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

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

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

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

    July 6, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Lorraine Voss

      YEAHRIGHT, so, this law what 'man has made' into a new law makes it right? NO, not in the sight of YHWH the Creator, but once again this is more sophisticated ignorance to cover up the truth from this unrighteous doctrine of law is what this really means. Again, 'the sign of the times' as prophesied in the book of Daniel, and in Jeremiah 50 vs. 37. Good luck with that in the end of things, in the day of YHWHs return, of the future prophecy in Malachi 4.

      July 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • jwt

      Only you are righteous in that particular way lorraine. I;d hate to think that there are more.

      Your version of god is yours – other people hold equal views of their own gods 0 or no god at all. The way the world is supposed to be.

      July 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Judaism God was stolen from Sumerians

      Lorraine,

      Judaism was created from the God of the Sumerians. Judaism is not original and is a fraud. Your God is made up and simply fiction.....a false God and religion.....which means your Christ is false. Enjoy your journey.

      July 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  9. Matthew

    "Transgressing against the warning of Sodom & Gomorrah,1st Corinthians 6:9-10 the Book of Romans 1:23-32 that even a fifth grader can understand."

    Homosexuality is not a sin according to the Bible. Any educated Christian would know that. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, prostitution, and rape, not homosexuality. That’s why Jesus never mentions it as well. There is nothing immoral, wrong, or sinful about being gay. Jesus, however, clearly states he HATES hypocrites. If you preach goodness, then promote hate and twist the words of the Bible, you are a hypocrite, and will be judged and sent to hell. Homosexuals will not go to hell, hypocrites will. This is very similar to the religious bigots of the past, where they took Bible passages to condone slavery, keep women down, and used Bible passages to claim blacks as curses who should be enslaved by the white man. People used God to claim that blacks marrying whites was unnatural, and not of God's will.

    July 6, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  10. YeahRight

    "to say being gay is normal"

    Because it is moron. 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."

    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.

    July 6, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  11. Erik

    "Height eye color skin color is all found in the dna, none of them are preferences, all these are the body characteristics you were born with and will not give you a emotional desire but a body part. "

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    July 6, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  12. John

    "Marriage in the bible and a law in the US as a union between a man and a woman"

    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.

    July 6, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  13. YeahRight

    "Changing your views with intellectual ignorance is not going to fly here, according to Leviticus 18 vs. 22-30, and Leviticus 20 vs. 1"

    Yo moron how many times does it have to be told to you Christians don't follow Leviticus. Duh!

    July 6, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • MasterWooten

      Christians are to follow the WHOLE bible, moron! Jesus (who Christians follow) said that He came to fullfil the scriptures. What scriptures did you think He was talking about? Clearly you yourself are not a Christian and haven't read the bible so please do yourself a favour and desist from displaying your ignorance about the faith you know nothing about. Go back to being a smartmouthed liberal and spouting off bad legal opinions!

      July 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • jwt

      Depends on what brand of christian you are wooten.

      July 6, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Christians are to follow the WHOLE bible, moron! Jesus (who Christians follow) said that He came to fullfil the scriptures. What scriptures did you think He was talking about? Clearly you yourself are not a Christian and haven't read the bible so please do yourself a favour and desist from displaying your ignorance about the faith you know nothing about."

      Yo moron you're the one who is clueless. Christians don't follow Leviticus anymore, it's part of the Holiness Code, a ritual manual for Israel's priests. Duh!

      July 9, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    "Bob" is Captain America/Dodney Rangerfield. Nothing more than a troll. Ignore him. He's a chucklehead.

    July 6, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  15. Lorraine Voss

    I have no idea of what part of mankind should not lie with a man as with a woman that this is an abomination committed, and in those days was punishable by death, that you people don't understand. Changing your views with intellectual ignorance is not going to fly here, according to Leviticus 18 vs. 22-30, and Leviticus 20 vs. 13. Remember, YHWH changes NOT, in Malachi 3v6, none of His law, His statues, and judgments, none as He taught us through Isaiah 24 vs. 5. For which now we have to face the consequences for, since the days of old until today people, there is no way to get around it, but everyman is responsible for his own righteousness anyway, as written in Ezekiel 14 vs. 14,16,18 and 20, and in Jeremiah 31v30, and Ezekiel 18. I have nothing against the gays, nor them marring, its their own faith to hold, or answer to the Creator of, and as I've said before, these are the 'signs of the times' in the book of Daniel, praise YHWH.

    July 6, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Keep on yapping, Lorraine. Your insistence that your interpretation of the Bible is the only correct one is simply arrogance on your part. Your posts are about as useful as a fart in a windstorm.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Who invited me?

      You keep siting the same lines from your ancient tome. You are so lost, allow me to show you some light.
      You might be right, you are probably not right.
      Listen to the viewpoints of another and open your mind.
      You have dug yourslef a little foxhole and can only see a tiny portion of the world.
      Expand your mind or be lost, but stop quoting what some jew told you is true.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • jwt

      It's easy to understand Lorraine. What part of we don't care what your personal interpretation of an old book is. Its your, which is fine, and for you and you alone to follow, it means nothing to us.

      July 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • TC

      YOU may be a jewish priest, but I am not, and the laws for such ancient priests do not apply to , not are they adhered to by, ANY Christians today.

      July 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  16. Bob

    I love it another lie from the gays that's what the problem is they want to equate a preference to a body attribute which is a total lie. Height eye color skin color is all found in the dna, none of them are preferences, all these are the body characteristics you were born with and will not give you a emotional desire but a body part. That’s like saying the gene in your body didn't know how to make a male or female and went haywire and made your body a man or woman but gave you the emotional desire for the same gneder. Not one shred has been proven to be true it just has not been disputed and the facts let out. The gay pr machine has been working overtime to secure marriage in this society and to say being gay is normal. The phycs have given up to define deviant behavior with much bullying by the gay community and I do mean bodily contact, bullying read the transcripts of the APA meetings and basically said they don’t have the ability to determine deviant behavior, Not that its not deviant behavior, just they don’t have a basis to determine it.

    July 6, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • jwt

      yawn. This is 2012 bob not 1952.

      July 6, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're an idiot, Bob.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Tell us again why you're opposed to gay marriage, Boob. How will it affect you? How HAS it affected you, since gay marriage is legal in 5 states and DC now?

      I'll bet you'll be unable to give any answer that doesn't reveal you to be hateful, ignorant, and a crummy writer.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Who invited me?

      It seems your behavior is deviant Bob. You are the one who is intolerant of people the way thatyour god made them. Your mind is rusted shut.
      Fortunatley, younger generations are realizing the facts of the situation and realize that we are all stronger together, Than when you attack another for being the way they are, when they aren't hurting anyone, is the same as attacking all of us, and in turn yourself.
      Fortunately, your generation is dying off, one by one, day by day.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Bob

      The gay agenda has gotten things done by violence against the APA in their meetings.Here presented with facts we see the continued harassment of those of opposing views. We see the same garbage spewed out again and again not in any truth but but the koolaid of the gay agenda. We see them going in schools and teaching the kids fisting and acceptance of gay lifestyles. I have called the gay agenda terrorists and like Nazis the tactics used are the same tactics so truth hurts but it still is truth.

      July 6, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Who invited me?

      Bob
      You are clearly in need of some psychological assistance.
      Love thy neighbor

      July 6, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why are you opposed to gay marriage, Boob? How will it affect you?

      I am still waiting for you to grow a set of balls and answer, coward.

      July 6, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • tallulah13

      Bob, the "gay agenda" is the desire for equal rights, something that you and your kind have denied them on the basis of your personal belief.

      You are the Nazi. You are the filth that thinks your hatred and discomfort is reason enough to treat people who are different than you as less than human. You and people like you are the reason gay and lesbian teens commit suicide at a higher average than straight. You and people like you are the reason that Brandon Teena and Matthew Shepard and countless others were brutalized and sometimes murdered. You are not good people.

      But the good news is that our society is starting to recognize that discrimination based on ignorance is wrong. You and people like you are becoming the minority.

      July 6, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  17. NorEaster TC6

    Professor Osler,

    Your comment and approval of gay marriage shows you have willingly disregarded Holy Scriptures! Genesis 2:24 & Matthew 19:4-6 both the Old and New Testament.

    Transgressing against the warning of Sodom & Gomorrah,1st Corinthians 6:9-10 the Book of Romans 1:23-32 that even a fifth grader can understand.

    Therefore you are a Heretic! twice pluck up by the roots and your reward awaits you and justly so.

    Heretics like yourself use deceit like your father(Satan) did in the Garden of Eden against Eve and Adam to bend twist and distort the word of God.

    Roman 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a Lie and worshiped and served the creature (Lucifer) more than the Creator, who is blessed forever Amen.

    July 6, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Chris

      It's so confusing when people in 2012 quote the Bible as if it actually mattered.

      I mean, seriously, who cares? And why do those that for some reason do want to force others to live their lives according to what they read in some book?

      July 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Transgressing against the warning of Sodom & Gomorrah,1st Corinthians 6:9-10 the Book of Romans 1:23-32 that even a fifth grader can understand."

      Sodom & Gomorrah was about bad hospitality and rape – NOTHING to do about gays.

      1st Corinthians 6:9-10 – the word homosexual was added later by a prejudice scribe, most scholars will tell you it's about male prostitution and nothing in there is about the saved long term relationship of a gay couple as we know and understand it today.

      Romans 1:23-32 – glad to see you included 23 since that set the precedence for that scripture they were worshiping their pagan god using sex. Again, it has NOTHING to do with gays as we know and understand it today. Duh!

      July 9, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  18. Jim

    Marriage in the bible and a law in the US as a union between a man and a woman. Now any country can make any rules they want as man has done throught time. It doesn't change the facts of the bible. If the bible is wrong you have lost nothing. If the bible is right then judgement is eternal, god gave that choice to man. Many don't like christianity because it holds man accountable for their actions. Non belief in god doen't change judgement. Judgement is not by christians as they will also stand before god and be judged.

    July 5, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Jim

      Wrong, if the bible is false, then you have lost time. You have wasted the one and only life that we KNOW without a doubt we have. It will have been wasted being divisive, hateful, and going through misguided attempts to force others to conform to what YOU think.

      July 5, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Pascals Wager may seem like a good idea, up until you actually spend any amount of time actually thinking about it.

      July 5, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • jwt

      Another bully god unworthy of worship.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:24 am |
  19. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    And you're full of sh!!t, Boob, as usual. I qualify to be a member of the DAR, as swipe.

    July 5, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Bob

      Your Irish decent you lying sack of sht and a Canadian probably just married some poor US ciiizen that didnt know what he was getting into

      July 6, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You moron, Captain Ass hole/herbie/Doddering Fool, you are beyond fvckwitted.

      July 6, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  20. James

    "I blamed sin, perversion,"

    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.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Bob

      Oh what bs from the cut and paste gay hell most of them including tom are not even US citizens and we have to put up with this bs

      July 5, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Boo hoo hoo. Booby is upset because someone cut and pasted factual information! Wah, wah, wah.

      You moron, you cut and pasted in post days ago.

      July 5, 2012 at 8:50 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.