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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. YeahRight

    "Hey have you guys told the gays that being socialists are going to kick them to the side of the curb after you get what you want???"

    Duh, this is about civil rights. 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 16, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  2. Primewonk

    Seriously! Who the hell keeps letting nutters like Bob and Lorraine get on the computers in the psych ward.

    July 16, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      I am personally happy these guys are there...a reminder to never let down your guard. These morons would impose their "morality" on everyone if given the chance.

      July 16, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I am personally happy these guys are there...a reminder to never let down your guard. These morons would impose their "morality" on everyone if given the chance"

      What's sad is how deep seeded their hatred and prejudices is regarding the gay community and none of it is based on facts.

      July 16, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  3. Bob

    Hey have you guys told the gays that being socialists are going to kick them to the side of the curb after you get what you want???

    July 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      That doesn' tmake any sense Bob
      You probably shouldn't drink so much this early in the day Bob

      July 16, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      I think Bob's given up attempting to make sense. Seems like he's just tossing out random idiotic assertions at this point.

      July 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Gays will burn for eternity. They need to read God's love letter to us.

      Amen.

      July 16, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Yup, nothing says love like eternal torture.

      July 16, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Make the wrong decision and find out

      July 16, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      I'm guessing this is the fake HeavenSent. That was an unusually quick reply.

      July 16, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Hellooooo dummy, God makes me smarter and quicker than you Atheists.

      Amen.

      July 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • JWT

      Bob, Lorraine and HS

      All with vicious vindictive gods. They deserve each other.

      July 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  4. Elaine

    In Genesis 18, the story about the angels coming to Lot's house, we learn that the reason they were coming to destroy Sodom was because of the wickedness that ALREADY existed in the city. The exact form of wickedness is not mentioned in that story!

    Let's just reinforce this CRITICAL piece of information. In the story of Sodom, in Genesis 18, God had ALREADY decided to destroy the city BEFORE the attempted rape of the angels – which incidentally was perpetrated mainly by heterosexuals since ALL the men of the city were involved, and we know that throughout history, gays have only represented about 10% of the population. Also, if they were homosexuals, why would Lot suggest that they take his daughters instead? That just doesn't make sense if the men were gay.

    So just to get this straight, the event that took place at Sodom was an act of violence and rape, mainly by heterosexuals. It had nothing to do with a loving relationship between two people of the same sex, and homosexuality was NOT the sin of Sodom in whatever form. The story of Sodom in Genesis 18 was about violence and domination, the same type of event that takes place in prisons and occupied countries, but it was NOT the reason for God's decision to destroy the city, and to use this story as a basis for prejudice against homosexuality in general is like comparing rape to marriage. There is NO similarity!

    The aftermath of Sodom aside, let's take a look at other passages of Scripture that mention the sin of Sodom. Here are 14 references to Sodom and not one of them mentions homosexuality!!!!! The overwhelming themes are idolatry, immorality and inhospitality! To me, this indicates people like Bob and HeavenSent have taken things out of context!

    Deuteronomy 29:17-26 – the sin – idolatry and images to false gods – "Why has the Lord done this to the land? . . . It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the Lord . . ."

    Deuteronomy 32:32-38 – the sin – idolatry – "He will say 'Now where are their gods?'"

    Isaiah 1:2-23 – the sin – idolatry, rebellion, injustice, murder, greed, theft, covetousness, mistreating the poor – "They have rebelled against Me."

    Isaiah 3:8-19 – the sin – idolatry, arrogance – "Their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying His glorious Presence"

    Jeremiah 23:10-14 – the sin – idolatry, adultery, lying by priests and prophets – "Both prophet and priest are godless. . . . They prophesied by Baal and led My people astray."

    Jeremiah 49:16-18 – the sin – idolatry, arrogance, oppression, pride of the heart – "The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived
    you. . ."

    Jeremiah 50:2-40 – the sin – idolatry, pride, false prophets – "Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror. . . . . For she has defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. . . . . Their shepherds have led them astray."

    Lamentations 4:3-6 – the sin – cruelty and failure to care for the young and poor – "My people have become heartless."

    Ezekiel 16:49-50 – the sin – "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned: they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me."

    Amos 4:1-11 – the sin – idolatry, oppression, mistreating the poor – "I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom . . . . yet you have not returned to Me."

    Zephaniah 2:8-11 – the sin – idolatry, pride, mocking – "This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the Lord Almighty. The Lord will be awesome to them when He destroys all the gods of the land."

    Luke 17:26-29 – Jesus speaking – No specific sins mentioned

    II Peter 2:1-22 – the sin – idolatry, living after ungodliness, lawlessness, arrogance, blaspheming, adultery, greed, corruption, depravity, boasting, lust – "But there were also false prophets among the people . . . . ."

    Jude 1:7-8 – the sin – sexual immorality and perversion, i.e fornication after strange flesh (angels, see Genesis 6:1) KJV

    The dictionary defines "perversion" as "a sexual practice regarded as abnormal". That means that a heterosexual practicing homosexual acts is perverted as in the case of ALL the men of Sodom wanting to engage with the angels (strange flesh). However, since sex with the same gender is normal for a gay person, there is no perversion associated merely by the sexual act.

    Note also that, while the word "abomination" has been used with reference to homosexuality, the biblical interpretation of the word "abomination" relates to any act of uncleanness as set out in the Holiness Code, such as eating shellfish, trimming your hair, touching the skin of a dead pig (should we stone the entire NFL?), wearing clothes of two kinds of material (polyester/cotton) – the list is long. How can we discuss one sin to the exclusion of all others?

    This is an enormous subject, which has been reduced to simplistic values. It is plain and simple prejudice to portray homosexuals as immoral just because of the gender to whom we are attracted. Of course there are immoral homosexuals, just as there are immoral heterosexuals, but simple orientation carries no implication of morality or immorality.

    Our sexuality is God-given. God made us the way we are. It follows naturally that He loves us exactly the way He made us. So long as we embrace marriage with the same standards as any monogamous, loving heterosexual relationship there should be no barrier against us.

    When gays are only asking to have their loving relationships acknowledged and respected, why is there so much fear and anger? To strengthen marriage, why not take a stand against divorce and separation, instead of opposing love and commitment? Jesus spoke of divorce, but he never mentioned homosexuality. I believe that was because homosexuality was not even an issue in His day. Love was love. Love IS Love!

    "Protect marriage? Puhlease. With a 50 percent divorce rate, rampant domestic violence, Las Vegas drive-through chapels, and I wanna-marry-a-really-rich-guy reality TV shows, there's no way gays could trash marriage the way straight people have."

    This letter only refers to the sin of Sodom. There are actually six "clobber verses" which are used against gays. Space does not permit an explanation of each one, but just as the sin of Sodom has been misrepresented, so have the other verses. There is an explanation for each one that clearly indicates that, just as slavery was condoned by Scripture for many years, ("Slaves obey your masters . . . . ." Eph. 6:5-8) and civil wars were fought to protect the ownership of people, we now know that Scripture was interpreted incorrectly, for God would not have people to be possessions.

    We now have a fuller understanding of Scripture with regard to slavery. It's time to accept a fuller understanding of homosexuality based on new research into language, concepts and customs when these words were written.

    So please choose acceptance and inclusiveness whether or not you understand fully. One of us is wrong. Many of you think it's me. I think it's you, based on solid research into Scripture from another perspective. Yes, God encourages us to question Scripture.

    "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, REPROOF and instruction in righteousness." II Tim. 3:16

    If there is even a chance that I could be right, do you want to take the eternal risk of rejecting some of God's children, and slamming the doors of your churches to those of us who wish to enter? That's what you're doing when you treat us as less than yourselves simply based on our orientation.

    If we have done the research, and it is our understanding that God loves us, including our orientation, then why not just let God be the judge? He will be in the end anyway. If one of us is to err, why not err on the side of love and acceptance? Now that was truly Jesus example!

    July 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      You might want to check that third to last line..."He will be in the end anyway"
      In a discussion about h o m o s e x u a l i t y, that can be taken a few different ways. (that's what she said)

      July 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  5. YeahRight

    "Yup in a loving relationship why not get married?"

    Keep showing the world how clueless you are because in some states and countries they already do. 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 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  6. YeahRight

    "As for the sodomy description what do you think they would have said that one gay person was plowing another bent over the table in the rear??"

    LMAO – husbands do it their wives moron.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Bob

      Wrong hole fool maybe thats the problem you haven't a clue well I know you dont but I mean about the copulation

      July 16, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Wrong hole fool maybe thats the problem you haven't a clue well I know you dont but I mean about the copulation"

      The fact that you don't have a clue that gays can shows your stupidity.

      July 17, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How can anyone be that dumb? Bob, what part of the fact that straights engage in anal intercourse is difficult for you to grasp?

      July 17, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  7. Lorraine Voss

    myweightinwords, yes much has to be discerned in the book of remembrance, so called OT, for the priest did all go astray from the ways of YHWH, but one must read, pray, and do the righteous ways of YHWH to get His anointment to understand, and call 1-773-874-0325, YHWH Our Righteousness, the Movement, and arm, and Branch of YHWH, prophesied in Jeremiah 23 vs. 1-8, and Jeremiah 33 vs. 14-21, also as described in Isaiah 59, and Malachi 3 vs.1-4, to get any answers to any questions about this book. Many scholars have to go to this Movement to get answers, many.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      There is no such thing as a religious scholar....the terms are mutually exclusive.

      July 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      yes much has to be discerned in the book of remembrance, so called OT, for the priest did all go astray from the ways of YHWH, but one must read, pray, and do the righteous ways of YHWH to get His anointment to understand, and call 1-773-874-0325, YHWH Our Righteousness, the Movement, and arm, and Branch of YHWH, prophesied in Jeremiah 23 vs. 1-8, and Jeremiah 33 vs. 14-21, also as described in Isaiah 59, and Malachi 3 vs.1-4, to get any answers to any questions about this book. Many scholars have to go to this Movement to get answers, many.

      1) I have read and studied. What I found led me to walkaway from the Judeo-Christian scripture completely. It is at best, a book describing the evolution of the Jewish mythology, at worst it is the definition of an evil deity I could never again revere.

      2) I think I'll pass on your propaganda phone call. I have no need of being recruited. I am very happy in my own faith.

      July 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  8. Lorraine Voss

    No, not a christian, nor jew, never, just being the Hebrew Iraelis that I am, and a child of YHWH of Hosts. YHWH Bless. samich wow!! such sarcasm, or implementing of what? Pinewonk are you being stereotypically, cheap?, lol. Lets grow up here we are all adults I hope.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  9. Bob

    Yup in a loving relationship why not get married??? To your daughter or your horse or maybe a underage child your sister or maybe your first cousin also, I know your not gay are you a ped o ph ile? As for the sodomy description what do you think they would have said that one gay person was plowing another bent over the table in the rear?? Well lets see how many more descriptions I can come up with. Oh maybe they could revise it and say those that did anal fisting was what we were talking about no that doesn't work either for a description in the Bible. Fudge packer maybe, nope thats just plain derogatory. Sorry I dont know how they could describe a destable act any better.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Bob
      You really love proving you are an idiot and love taking things out of context

      You said "Yup in a loving relationship why not get married??? To your daughter or your horse or maybe a underage child"

      in a loving relationship with your daughter...incest is illegal
      your horse...bestiality is illegal...
      underage child...pedophilia is illegal.
      Being gay is not illegal Bob...it is not an abomination, nor a sin Bob
      Love thy neighbor Bob, and judge not lest ye be judged.

      Grow up Bob

      July 16, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Bob

      My point exactly since some deluded physc took gays off the dsm with no research and no verification and harassing by gays to me its still illegal and to alot of others not to mention it will never be legal in the Bible

      July 16, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Bob
      You think that being gay should be illegal?
      Go to Iran Bob, I'm sure you'll love it.
      You can tell on your gay friends to the religious police Bob.
      Fortunatley our fore-fathers realized the dangers of religious beliefs and made sure that religions are kept away from law.
      Too bad you aren't in Iran Bob, then you could see what REAL persecution is Bob.
      Love thy neighbor Bob, Judge not....

      July 16, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Good to see our quintessential faux Christian Bob is still at it, still posting absurd straw man arguments, still lamely trying to tie gay folk to ped0philia, still being Bob – everything but a real Christian.

      July 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Yup in a loving relationship why not get married???

      Marriage isn't for everyone, of course, but sure. If you are two consenting adult human beings and you desire to have a loving, committed relationship in which to raise a family, and you wish to have all of the benefits and responsibilities that comes with it, marriage is a good choice.

      To your daughter or your horse or maybe a underage child your sister or maybe your first cousin also, I know your not gay are you a ped o ph ile?

      Again, you immediately equate being gay with being a predator, when you have been shown repeatedly that it is not the case. Being gay has nothing whatsoever to do with incest, whether of the sort that spans generations or the kind that remains within the same generation.

      I feel I must point out that incest has not always been taboo. One need only look to the bible to see that isn't true. The bible is full of cases of God-approved incest.

      As for the sodomy description what do you think they would have said that one gay person was plowing another bent over the table in the rear?? Well lets see how many more descriptions I can come up with. Oh maybe they could revise it and say those that did anal fisting was what we were talking about no that doesn't work either for a description in the Bible. Fudge packer maybe, nope thats just plain derogatory. Sorry I dont know how they could describe a destable act any better.

      Again, the word Sodomy in the bible refers to the city. The word Sodomite in the bible refers to people who lived in the city. It only came to be used as an alternative to ho.mo.se.xual behaviors around 1300 CE.

      And, it can be pointed out that technically, in the modern vernacular, the word sodomy can mean any se.xual act that is not directly penile penetration of the va.gina...many of these acts are regularly used by hetero folks, including anal penetration, the use of toys for penetration, etc.

      July 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  10. Lorraine Voss

    What part of 'a man should not lye with another man as with a woman' which is considered an abomination, and in those days one was also put to death, in Leviticus, that you people cannot comprehend, or are just plain in denial of? There is also a scripture which reads that a man should not wear the clothing of a woman, nor a woman wear a man's apparel in the book of Leviticus. I have no grips with people being gay, for as I said before, everyone is responsible for their own righteousness in the sight of the Creator YHWH, and no one of flesh, and blood can judge anyone else, only the Almighty YHWH is the judge here, and regarding in all sins, or wrong doing, according to the ways of YHWH.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Lorraine...did you get permission from your husband to speak?

      July 16, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Lorraine Voss

      typo...should not lay with a man as with a woman, lol.

      July 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Does not our apostle Paul tell women to sit down and shut up? Does he not command women to be silent and sit at the feet of their husbands. Women are not to given authority over men, especially to lecture them in matters of faith.

      And that is exactly what you are doing here Lorraine. Now, be a good christian girl, shut up, and go make us men a sammich!

      July 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Lorraine Voss

      who invited you, YHWH is speaking here through the book of Leviticus, not me dear. These are the words of the Creator YHWH, and praise YHWH, for all He has done for us from His grace, and mercy, that we should be thankful of in, Exodus 32, and 33.

      July 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Lorraine...those are the words of the jewish men who created the OT....I do not see anywhere that any god signed the work.
      And the same jewish men said you should not talk back to a man...so in my own words STFU

      July 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      What part of 'a man should not lye with another man as with a woman' which is considered an abomination, and in those days one was also put to death, in Leviticus, that you people cannot comprehend, or are just plain in denial of?

      There is no lack of understanding, nor denial. There is merely the fact that the outdated scripture of a people who lived thousands of years ago has absolutely no bearing on the law of the United States of America, nor on any person who does not believe it.

      There is also a scripture which reads that a man should not wear the clothing of a woman, nor a woman wear a man's apparel in the book of Leviticus. I have no grips with people being gay, for as I said before, everyone is responsible for their own righteousness in the sight of the Creator YHWH, and no one of flesh, and blood can judge anyone else, only the Almighty YHWH is the judge here, and regarding in all sins, or wrong doing, according to the ways of YHWH.

      There are a lot of things in Leviticus. Have you sacrificed the prescribed bird/animal every month after your menstrual cycle? For that matter, have you set yourself "apart" during you menstrual cycle? Have you stoned your children when they were mouthy? Have you eaten shellfish? Pork?

      If you chose to live your life by the writings of the Old Testament, none of us will stop you (well, unless you start with that stoning bit, that might land you in prison).

      July 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "What part of 'a man should not lye with another man as with a woman' which is considered an abomination, and in those days one was also put to death, in Leviticus, that you people cannot comprehend, or are just plain in denial of?"

      This tells why you don't understand the bible. LMAO! Christians don't follow Leviticus anymore, it's part of the Holiness Code, a ritual manual for Israel's priests. Duh!

      July 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  11. JP

    Is homosexuality a sin?

    Self-indulgence is a sin. But the relationship of two people of the same sex may or may not be self-indulgent.

    Abusing the neighbor is a sin. But the exploration of relationships among homosexuals as they search for partners, evaluate their existing formative relationships, and relate to each other may or may not be abusive.

    Disobeying what God commands in the Bible is a sin. But, we have biblically-derived criteria for assessing and applying specific commands by reading them against larger themes.
    Turning your back on God is a sin. Homosexuals are often among those who have turned their back on the church, and may be sinning because they also rejected the God they found in church. The church needs to be in mission to homosexuals with the message of Jesus and who God really is.

    Yielding to your passions, even celebrating them is a sin. Homosexuals do include those who have done this. But it is not an inherent aspect of being gay.

    Since we see people who have dedicated themselves to God, and for whom their gay sexual life is integrated into that decision and we see that their sexuality does not draw them away from church we must conclude that being and living gay is not a behavior in and of itself that produces pain to the neighbor and leads one away from God.

    By the criteria the scripture sets for us for what is godly life, and by the reasoning scripture asks us to employ, homosexuality cannot be described as against God’s law.

    If this seems like a rather quiet sort of justification for homosexuality, then perhaps it is because the grand clichés of this debate have been shouted at us for too long. But look at the Bible: it's demands and vision cut across all categories, not staying on the surface but penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, rejecting all forms of self-justification, all forms of attack on the "other" and all forms of escape from God's assessment of our behavior. How on earth could we have ever thought that a series of flat rules was all God wanted to tell us on morality?

    July 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  12. YeahRight

    "So dont bother responding to them its really not worth it just think of it as a propaganda blog "

    And you are one of the worst offenders with your continued lies about the gay community, accusing everyone who posts in support of gay rights gay themselves even though you've been told over and over again they are not. What a hypocrite. 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 16, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  13. YeahRight

    "They dont serve God have no idea who He is and do cut and paste on every post they do there is no one else."

    That's why there are 1000's of gay churches and gay clergy because no where in your bible does your god condemn the saved loving respectful relationship of a gay couple. CNN just posted how a church is now doing marriage ceremonies for gay couples. This just PROVES you are a LIAR, have really bad reading comprehension and not a real follower of your Christ. Duh!

    July 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  14. Bob

    H0m0,s,e,x,u,a,l,i,t,y is never condoned in the Bible NEVER dont listen to these who dont have any idea of what the Bible says. They dont serve God have no idea who He is and do cut and paste on every post they do there is no one else. Probably part of the socialist agenda and not US citizens either. So dont bother responding to them its really not worth it just think of it as a propaganda blog There is good info if you are fighting the gay agenda though and wonder how its done and what is really being said.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • YeahRight

      "H0m0,s,e,x,u,a,l,i,t,y is never condoned in the Bible NEVER dont listen to these who dont have any idea of what the Bible says."

      What the bible condemns is rape, idolatry and worshiping a pagan god using sex. No where in your bible does your god condemn the saved loving respectful relationship of a gay couple. Plus it's been proven that the writers of the bible had no clue about sexual orientation as we know and understand today. 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 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  15. James

    "I will post on the rest thank you for this opertunity to explaiin the Bible to those that may have never heard these things before."

    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 16, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  16. John

    "insomuch that they did not call to mind the advantages they received from him: they hated strangers, and abused themselves"

    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 16, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  17. YeahRight

    "insomuch that they did not call to mind the advantages they received from him: they hated strangers, and abused themselves with Sodomitical practices"

    Thanks for proving you have really bad reading comprehension because you are so blinded by your hate and prejudice toward the gay community. That scripture is talking about RAPE and has NOTHING to do with the loving saved respectful relationship of a gay couple as we know and understand it today. 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 16, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  18. Bob

    This is for you yeah you hateful little bigot
    About this time the Sodomites grew proud, on account of their riches and great wealth; they became unjust towards men, and impious towards God, insomuch that they did not call to mind the advantages they received from him: they hated strangers, and abused themselves with Sodomitical practices. God was therefore much displeased at them, and determined to punish them for their pride, and to overthrow their city, and to lay waste their country, until there should neither plant nor fruit grow out of it.
    This was from Josephus so you don't even have to interpret the Bible I have made it easy for you there is no guessing thank you for showing us how the twisting of the Bible is done. When Jesus was up on the mountain and the devil tempted Him with the three questions Im sure if you didn't know the word of God they would sound good too. But when you know the word you dont twist it and if you do you really have to question if that person is really a Christian and of their very Salvation. I will post on the rest thank you for this opertunity to explaiin the Bible to those that may have never heard these things before.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Who invited me?

      You are the hateful little bigot Bob.
      Can't accept reality of the naturally existing gay people
      And want to control and condemn them based on your interpretation of your ancient book.
      You Are fortunately a dying breed Bob.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • YeahRight

      "I have made it easy for you there is no guessing thank you for showing us how the twisting of the Bible is done."

      You're the one trying to twist the scriptures to justify your unfounded hate and bigotry, which is why you've been proven a LIAR over and over again. You are nothing like your Christ.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Bob

      H0m0,s,e,x,u,a,l,i,t,y is never condoned in the Bible NEVER dont listen to these who dont have any idea of what the Bible says. They dont serve God have no idea who He is and do cut and paste on every post they do there is no one else. Probably part of the socialist agenda and not US citizens either.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Yeahright

      "H0m0,s,e,x,u,a,l,i,t,y is never condoned in the Bible NEVER dont listen to these who dont have any idea of what the Bible says."

      What the bible condemns is rape, idolatry and worshiping a pagan god using sex. No where in your bible does your god condemn the saved loving respectful relationship of a gay couple. Plus it's been proven that the writers of the bible had no clue about sexual orientation as we know and understand today. You're the one in denial of 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 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Bob you sound kind of gay. Are you sure you are not wearing 2 masks?

      Amen.

      July 16, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  19. YeahRight

    "That is what matters if you don’t pin point the problem then you will never come to the solution"

    You're problem is you are a liar and nothing you post is based on the REAL facts. 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 16, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  20. Janet

    "Jesus does call h-om-o-s4xuality an abomination"

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

    July 16, 2012 at 10:28 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.