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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. Jeannine

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

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

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

    August 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  2. Bob

    I am the LORD.You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination So when it says you shall not lie with a female as with a male and before this they talk about relationships that couldn't mean that we are talking about any physical contact it could it? Like not only paid relations but also no relationship that is physically intimate? Or are you saying God doesn't know how to communicate correctly.What I have found to those new here they post the same stuff over and over in a effort to persuade you that its true so I guess we will have to do the same thing.Another part is people in gay relationships cannot procreate so why is marrage so important to them? It was God that started marriage so that there would be support for having children and a mother and father so civil unions accomplish the same thing for gays. Since God has the command to go and Multiply gays in a relationship are also breaking this command. So if the fact that God considers H0m0 a sin is not enough the fact that they cannot even attempt to achieve this command is also sin full.

    August 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • YeahRight

      This is how stupid this posters is on this subject. Christians don't follow Leviticus anymore, it's part of the Holiness Code, a ritual manual for Israel's priests.. Duh! So your whole post is CRAP! LMAO!

      August 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "It was God that started marriage so that there would be support for having children and a mother and father so civil unions accomplish the same thing for gays. "

      We tried separate but equal with African Americans and it didn't work. Keep showing the world how clueless you are on this subject. LMAO!

      August 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Robert

      "I am the LORD.You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination "

      Christians don't follow Leviticus anymore. The reason Christians don't follow it is because Christ didn't follow it either, in many particulars – he touched lepers and bleeding women and dead bodies among other breaches of the Leviticus code.

      August 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  3. Janet

    "Salvation and deliverance is upon us."

    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.

    August 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  4. Melvin

    "Welcoming and affirming celib@te GLBTQ couples into the fellowship of Christian family life!
    Salvation and deliverance is upon us."

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

    August 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  5. Douglas

    Trending now.....

    Welcoming and affirming celib@te GLBTQ couples into the fellowship of Christian family life!
    Salvation and deliverance is upon us.

    Best,
    Douglas

    August 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Welcoming and affirming celib@te GLBTQ couples into the fellowship of Christian family life!
      Salvation and deliverance is upon us."

      Douglas aka Bob is a prejudice bigot so his opinion is moot. 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."

      August 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  6. YeahRight

    "Gays, are not new people, get a grip, every since the 3rd, and 4th centuries, ok. Alexander the Great, I liked the guy, he was a good kick ass type. Let them go, for they too need to now have the same responsibility as any other married couple, why not, we are in the end times anyway, and this was prophesied in Jeremiah 50:37, prophecy fulfilled."

    Yo moron, sexuality wasn't studied till the 19th century which is why the experts determined just recently 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."

    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.

    The experts also proved that everything written in the past about gays and lesbians was done by bias and prejudice people, that includes the writers of the bible. Duh!

    August 10, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Lorraine

      Who's experts?, those who can't decipher what this book even means. Most scholars are lost when it comes to the book of remembrance, not bible, and miserable people use name calling as a crutch, its looking juvenile on you, so called educated one, good example you have here. Historically, Alexander the Great, loved having a choice. Get a grip.

      August 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Did you know Alex personally, Loopy? Or are you just reading selected historians?

      August 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Who's experts?, those who can't decipher what this book even means"

      LMAO – Thanks for proving you have really poor reading comprehension skills. LOL! Which why all your posts are crap and not based on REAL facts. LOL!

      August 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Lorraine

      you,and tom are such forked tounges. Get real, it doesn't work today.

      August 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's "TONGUES", Loopy. Why do you keep digging when you're already in a hole?

      August 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  7. Lorraine

    Gays, are not new people, get a grip, every since the 3rd, and 4th centuries, ok. Alexander the Great, I liked the guy, he was a good kick ass type. Let them go, for they too need to now have the same responsibility as any other married couple, why not, we are in the end times anyway, and this was prophesied in Jeremiah 50:37, prophecy fulfilled.

    August 10, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  8. Cindi

    LIKE YOU, I TAKE THE BIBLE SERIOUSLY! Many good people build their case against homosexuality almost entirely on the Bible. These folks value Scripture, and are serious about seeking its guidance in their lives. Unfortunately, many of them have never really studied what the Bible does and doesn’t say about homosexuality.

    We gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians take the Bible seriously, too. Personally, I’ve spent more than 50 years reading, studying, memorizing, preaching, and teaching from the sacred texts. I earned my master’s and doctoral degrees at a conservative biblical seminary to better equip myself to “rightly divide the word of truth.” I learned Hebrew and Greek to gain a better understanding of the original words of the biblical texts. I studied the lives and times of the biblical authors to help me know what they were saying in their day so I could better apply it to my own.

    We must be open to new truth from Scripture.

    Even heroes of the Christian faith have changed their minds about the meaning of various biblical texts.

    It took a blinding light and a voice from heaven to help the apostle Paul change his mind about certain Hebrew texts. A sheet lowered from the sky filled with all kinds of animals helped the apostle Peter gain new insights into Jewish law.

    Jerry Falwell believed the Bible supported segregation in the church until a black shoeshine man asked him, “When will someone like me be allowed to become a member of your congregation?” Through those simple words, the Holy Spirit spoke new truth about the ancient biblical texts to the Rev. Falwell, and in obedience he ended segregation at Thomas Road Baptist Church.

    Even when we believe the Scriptures are “infallible” or “without error,” it’s terribly dangerous to think that our understanding of every biblical text is also without error. We are human. We are fallible. And we can misunderstand and misinterpret these ancient words — with tragic results.

    What if someone asked you, “Is there a chance you could be wrong about the way you’ve interpreted the biblical texts sometimes used to condemn homosexual orientation?” How would you respond? What does it say about you if you answer, “No, I could NOT be wrong”? I am asking you to re-examine these texts — carefully and prayerfully. Lives hang in the balance.

    If heroes of the Christian faith could change their minds about the meaning of certain biblical texts, shouldn’t we be prepared to reconsider our own interpretations of these ancient words when the Holy Spirit opens our minds and hearts to new truth? That’s why we study the Bible prayerfully, seeking the Spirit of Truth, God’s loving Spirit, to help us understand and apply these words to our lives.

    On the night he was betrayed, Jesus told his disciples he was going away from them for a while, but that the Father would send them a “Comforter,” an “Advocate,” the “Holy Spirit” who would “teach them all things.”

    I believe with all my heart that the Holy Spirit is still teaching us. When we reconsider the texts that are used by some people to condemn God’s gay children, we must fervently seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance, or we risk being misled by our own prejudices.

    The Bible is a book about God – not a book about human sexuality.

    The Bible is the story of God’s love for the world and the people of the world. It tells the history of God’s love at work rescuing, renewing, and empowering humankind. It was never intended to be a book about human sexuality. Certainly, you will agree.

    In fact, the Bible accepts sexual practices that we condemn and condemns sexual practices that we accept. Lots of them! Here are a few examples.

    DEUTERONOMY 22:13-21
    If it is discovered that a bride is not a virgin, the Bible demands that she be executed by stoning immediately.

    DEUTERONOMY 22:22
    If a married person has sex with someone else’s husband or wife, the Bible commands that both adulterers be stoned to death.

    MARK 10:1-12
    Divorce is strictly forbidden in both Testaments, as is remarriage of anyone who has been divorced.

    LEVITICUS 18:19
    The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman’s period. If they disobey, both shall be executed.

    MARK 12:18-27
    If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.

    DEUTERONOMY 25:11-12
    If a man gets into a fight with another man and his wife seeks to rescue her husband by grabbing the enemy’s genitals, her hand shall be cut off and no pity shall be shown her.

    I’m certain you don’t agree with these teachings from the Bible about sex. And you shouldn’t. The list goes on: The Bible says clearly that sex with a prostitute is acceptable for the husband but not for the wife. Polygamy (more than one wife) is acceptable, as is a king’s having many concubines. (Solomon, the wisest king of all, had 1,000 concubines.) Slavery and sex with slaves, marriage of girls aged 11-13, and treatment of women as property are all accepted practices in the Scriptures. On the other hand, there are strict prohibitions against interracial marriage, birth control, discussing or even naming a sexual organ, and seeing one’s parents nude.

    Over the centuries the Holy Spirit has taught us that certain Bible verses should not be understood as God’s law for all time periods. Some verses are specific to the culture and time they were written, and are no longer viewed as appropriate, wise, or just.

    Often, the Holy Spirit uses science to teach us why those ancient words no longer apply to our modern times. During the last three decades, for example, organizations representing 1.5 million U.S. health professionals (doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and educators) have stated definitively that homosexual orientation is as natural as heterosexual orientation, that sexual orientation is determined by a combination of yet unknown pre- and post-natal influences, and that it is dangerous and inappropriate to tell a homosexual that he or she could or should attempt to change his or her sexual orientation.

    While there are some people now living in heterosexual marriages who once perceived themselves to be gay , there are millions of gay and lesbian persons who have accepted their sexual orientation as a gift from God and live productive and deeply spiritual lives. The evidence from science and from the personal experience of gay and lesbian Christians demands that we at least consider whether the passages cited to condemn homosexual behavior should be reconsidered, just as other Bible verses that speak of certain sexual practices are no longer understood as God’s law for us in this day.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  9. Melvin

    "Trending now.....GLBTQ CELIB@CY!"

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

    August 10, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  10. Lorraine

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE0yWn07y4Y&w=640&h=390]

    Here's a little history to back up the prophecy of who is who, according to the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27, of the command from YHWH to restore the temple. When the last destruction of the Solomon temple from Demetrius the 1st. the nephew of Antiochus the 5th, in 161bce destroyed the temple after Zerubbabel got stopped,who was the prince, and messiah, this is confirmed in Ezra 1:7,8, where it says Sheshbazzar, which was the slave captive name of Zerubababel, and in Ezra 2 of the captives then of this same command to restore in 565bce. Then the walls were rebuilt again by Nehemiah in 444bce. This is not jc, but the prince, and messiah of Yhwhudah(Judah), then was Zerubababel in 565bce. This continued effort of the enemy of YHWH to tear down the temple of Solomon to destroy any evidence of the Hebrew Israelites, the true chosen, which were all not talked about anymore after 161bce from the last attack of Demetrius the 1st, this can also be found in the Maccabees.

    One must read Genesis-Malachi to know the truth, that is being hidden by the enemy using the NT to mislead the flocks from what really happened in the history of the captive slaves, the Hebrews who came out of Egypt at night in Exodus 12. Who are still in captivity until this day all in the prison houses, or under imposed poverty, taught to us in Isaiah 42, teaching us the work that will, and is being done by the servant, the elect of YHWH, prophecy is in progress as we speak. Praise YHWH.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  11. Douglas

    Trending now.....GLBTQ CELIB@CY!
    Celib@cy Rocks!!

    Best, Douglas

    August 9, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Trending now.....GLBTQ CELIB@CY!
      Celib@cy Rocks!!"

      Prejudice and bigotry is a menace to our society! Grow up and get an education! 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."

      August 10, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  12. Lorraine

    All redundant, it won't matter soon anyhow in the end, being gay, it will not even be the least of our problems in a little while.

    August 9, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ooooh, more predictions of the 'end of days' from a nut-bag.

      *yawn

      August 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What do you bet that every time it thunders, Lorraine has an orgasm?

      August 9, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's probably the only time she gets off.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  13. 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?

    August 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  14. Bob

    hey boomerang another repost huh

    August 9, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  15. John

    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.

    August 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  16. YeahRight

    "Now here is part of the the hate groups for sure and they are not Christian but gays and atheists so know when they say your a bigot they are targeting you to take away your first amendment freedom and freedom of speech while pleading bigotry on Christians part. Same tactic they have used from the beginning."

    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.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Bob

      Over the rights and wishes from the majority of the population.and you still cant marry your sister, your brother or your ped abused child but that may change also. boomerang

      August 9, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • YeahRight

      "Over the rights and wishes from the majority of the population.and you still cant marry your sister, your brother or your ped abused child but that may change also"

      See more lies not based on any facts. Thanks for proving us all right .

      August 9, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How many times are you going to try to persuade people (those imaginary friends you think are reading your posts, Boob) that anyone is interested in such 'unions' or that they'd ever be legal?

      As for the "majority", you're wrong. The majority of people now believe that gays should be allowed to marry, Bob. But you'll ignore my post, just as you always do, because you know I am correct and you can't refute it.

      Why are you such a coward?

      August 9, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • WASP

      @bob: the only people that try to commit such acts are the religious freaks. so stop betraying yourself.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  17. Bob

    Now here is part of the the hate groups for sure and they are not Christian but gays and atheists so know when they say your a bigot they are targeting you to take away your first amendment freedom and freedom of speech while pleading bigotry on Christians part. Same tactic they have used from the beginning.
    Pro-family activist Peter LaBarbera warns that a $65 million endowment given to several groups that promote the h0m0 lifestyle will be used in their efforts to "crimin-0,alize" Christian opposition to their agenda.The Pride Foundation of Seattle Lambda Legal Defense and Education Network, the National Gay and Les Task Force, and Parents and Friends of Les and Gays (PFLAG).
    Weiland, who retired, terminated himself at age 53 after a long struggle with depression and being gay

    August 9, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • WASP

      @bob: -slap- welcome to the 21st century, we believe in equal rights regardless of race, ethnic background, s-e-x-ual orientation, creed, or religious/non-religious affliation.
      you don't see a single gay person coming on to you do you?
      atheists aren't outside washington or a christian funeral protesting while your loved ones grieve the loss of your life do you?
      live and let live, best saying in the history of man......other than "where's the beef?" lmfao

      August 9, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Is there a gay person outside your house or office right now, Bob, who is threatening to cut off your access to the internet? Is someone telling you that your marriage will be nullified? Where?

      Why are you so frightened?

      August 9, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Bob

      Activist Peter LaBarbera warns that a $65 million endowment given to several groups that promote the h0m0 lifestyle will be used in their efforts to,,, "criminalize",,,, Christian ,,,,,opposition ,,,,,to their agenda.!!!!!! there's more to come..

      August 9, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm sure there is, and you're so gullible you'll swallow every word of such propaganda.

      Why are you so frightened, Bob?

      August 9, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • YeahRight

      Bob is getting all this crap from Christian conservative hate groups against the gay community. It just shows how far he'll go since this is from 2008.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Your idol is so ignorant that he thinks Sally Ride "fell into lesbianism."

      Dumb and dumber.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  18. 100 Pastors Proclamation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    August 9, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @100 Pastors Proclamation

      ^Like^

      Peace...

      August 9, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Nope!

      Care to give a website with names of the 100 participating pastors?

      August 9, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Care to give a website with names of the 100 participating pastors?"

      Just google it – Duh!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  19. Bob

    Boomerang is re-posting the post below says the same as other posts not worth responding to because its pretty much lies just like all the atheist chatter.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Lies"? Says who? You've been completely unable to disprove what Yeah Right has posted, Bob.

      You can't. There are no facts on your side.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • YeahRight

      Bob you've the one that has been re-posting your lies so that makes you a hypocrite. Duh! LMAO!

      August 9, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Bob

      Already disproved and you and yea aren't worth the reposts When necessary I will

      August 9, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I have to laugh. Bob is SO far behind he's like the guy who meets himself making the donuts.

      Dumb, dumber, dumbest.

      He can't even finish a simple sentence without fvcking it up.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  20. 2Cents

    This is about civil rights. The NAACP has passed a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage as a civil right, putting it stamp on an issue that has divided the black community.

    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's board voted at a leadership retreat in Miami on Saturday to back a resolution supporting marriage equality, calling the position consistent with the equal protection provision of the US constitution.

    "The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure political, social and economic equality of all people," board chairwoman Roslyn M Brock said in a statement. "We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law."

    Same-sex marriage is legal in six states and the District of Columbia, but 31 states have passed amendments to ban it.

    The NAACP vote came about two weeks after President Barack Obama announced his support for gay marriage, setting off a flurry of political activity in a number of states. Obama's announcement followed vice-president Joe Biden's declaration in a television interview that he was "absolutely comfortable" with gay couples marrying.

    "Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP's support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the fourteenth amendment of the United States constitution and equal protection of all people" said NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous, a strong backer of gay rights.

    Gay marriage has divided the black community, with many religious leaders opposing it. In California, exit polls showed about 70% of black people opposed same-sex marriage in 2008. In Maryland, black religious leaders helped derail a gay marriage bill last year. But state lawmakers passed a gay marriage bill this year.

    Pew Research Center polls have found that African Americans have become more supportive of same-sex marriage in recent years, but remain less supportive than other groups. A poll conducted in April showed 39% of African-Americans favor gay marriage, compared with 47% of white people. The poll showed 49% of black people and 43% of white people are opposed.

    The Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights advocacy group, applauded the NAACP's step.

    "We could not be more pleased with the NAACP's history-making vote – which is yet another example of the traction marriage equality continues to gain in every community," HRC president Joe Solmonese said in a statement.

    August 9, 2012 at 10:48 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.