home
RSS
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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Episcopal • Gay marriage • Opinion

soundoff (15,115 Responses)
  1. Bob

    Gay mindset is a abomination to God ,He created them man and woman. The command was go multiply and populate the earth. He created Eve out of Adams rib to be a help mate and said they shall become one flesh. There are so many commands of God that the gay relationship doesn't fulfill. It also doesn't fulfill any of the spiritual requirements for a relationship and is contrary to How God set things up to be. That is why we see so much hate on the sides of the atheists and gays because they cannot conform to Gods plans and know it. I am kind of interested in when we see that in these two passages the spiritual implications of copulation with someone I wonder how God will view gays as one flesh or maybe that your bodies are the members of Christ when we know that God and Christ are holy. So how can the gay relationship be holy when its not how God established a relationship to be? These passages are for a ho-oker but we see a pattern that in a relationship that there is copulation that we join ourselves to that person no matter how long we are with that person. We create a spiritual tie with that person so how is it that the gays think that this will be ok by God. A Holy and awesome God that no sin will enter His presence and only by the blood of Jesus can we go into the very throne room. That in the Old Testament priests had to tie a rope on there leg in case God found sin in their lives and they died offering worship to Him. How far off in this light is the poster of this article and the gays here.
    1Co_6:15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a ho–oker? May it never be!
    1Co_6:16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a ho-oker is one body with her? For He says, "THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH."
    NO one can do what they want contrary to Gods laws and desires that put their stamp of approval on it and say that God will accept it. Its not only because God thinks that the gay act not gays are a abomination but it is contrary to how God set this world to function. Love is great love outside of the norms and commands that God has set up is wrong. So all the distortions only address maybe one sentence when you start to get the big picture of how God really set this world up you understand that what God has made man can distort but it will never be acceptable to those with a heart after God.

    September 17, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Bob

      Other Bob, if you are determined to spew bible verse at us, then let's take a look at the other horrors that are in your Christian book of nasty AKA the bible. Fine stuff like this:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      September 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Douglas

      Bob,

      Excellent and thorough analysis of the problem with gay marriage.
      Jesus defines marriage in Matthew 19 as the union of one man and one woman.

      There are no provisions for "gay marriage" because God created man and woman as partners and equipped
      with unique capabilities that complement each other.

      Your continuing efforts to bring the truth to those who are wandering aimlessly in the fog of fornication
      are appreciated and noteworthy. Many of the GLBTQ folks we work with have begun to see the light and are turning their lives around. I give them credit for giving themselves a second chance at renewing their relationship with Christ and leaving
      behind the excess baggage of lust and fornication. The story of the gay men in San Francisco walking around without clothes in front of the "Harvey Milk Elementary School" is proof positive of the "slippery slope" on steroids once Pandora's box is open.

      As Dostoyevsky said, "If there is no God, then nothing is immoral!" The San Francisco situation is proof positive of Paul's description of the reprobate mind at work in the lives of the fornicators and sinners.

      Keep up the good work Bob!

      Yours in Christ,
      Douglas

      September 17, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Gay mindset is a abomination to God ,He created them man and woman. "

      This is a great example of the hatred and unfounded bigotry of this poster and the experts in this country have proven him wrong. This is also why you should just skip over everything that is posted from him. 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."

      September 18, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  2. Shawn

    Let me start this off with a quote from a famous lesbian, Lynn Lavner:

    "There are 6 admonishments in the Bible concerning homosexual activity, and our enemies are always throwing them up to us – usually in a vicious way and very much out of context.

    What they don't want us to remember is that there are 362 admonishments in the Bible concerning heterosexual activity. I don't mean to imply by this that God doesn't love straight people, only that they seem to require a great deal more supervision."

    I am going to attempt to keep this short and simple, so here we go.

    Some claim that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 clearly say that homosexual sex is an abomination. In fact, it merits death. Isn't it obvious that God hates homosexuality?

    Yes, depending on which translation you are using, Leviticus does say, "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female, it's an abomination." However, a few points must be made about this statement:

    a) It appears in Leviticus, which was given to preserve the distinctive characteristics of the religion and culture of Israel. However, as stated in Galatians 3:22-55, Christians are no longer bound by these Jewish laws. Even if you, for some reason, argue that these "laws" are still important, then you surely follow all of them, right?

    It is interesting that people who use Leviticus against the gay community forget the part that talks about religious sacrifices, making women sleep in tents outside during their period, the dietary restrictions placed on them and how to cleanse a leper, all of which appear in Leviticus.

    The laws of Leviticus are completely obsolete for today's Christian; however, even if you do claim to live by the laws of Leviticus, it is not fair to pick and choose which laws you are going to live by, or condemn a people by, if you are not going to follow the others. You should not need any more convincing evidence than this; but if you do, be my guest.

    b) The word that was in the original work, "to'ebah," which was translated into Greek as "bdglygma" actually means "ritual impurity" rather than abomination (or enormous sin). These passages in Leviticus can be translated to not mean homosexual sex generally, but only limiting homosexual sex in Pagan temples.

    c) This passage does not denounce homosexual behavior as a whole, but just the specific act of anal sex. This was meant for the prevention of disease. It was ruled unclean because it was physically unclean; however, hygiene has made wonderful advances since that time.

    d) These passages in Leviticus can be interpreted in many ways. I have seen it interpreted by scholars and priests to mean: "don't have sex with another man in your wife's bed;" "don't have sex with another man in the temple;" and "don't have sex with another man and pretend he is a woman," just to name a few.

    I have never seen an interpretation in any Bible, or from any scholar, that specifically says to never have sex with a man.

    Some claim the Bible simply does not support gay marriage. Chapter two of Genesis defines marriage as a holy union between a man and a woman. And later, in Matthew 19:4-5, Jesus himself reiterates the traits of a traditional marriage. How can you argue that anything other than celibacy is honorable for gay and lesbian people?

    Yes, marriage is a holy union. However, in these passages, while Jesus reiterates (but does not require) the traditional marriage, he also provides an exception for eunuchs (castrated men – or otherwise impotent men, in today's terms), and allowed them to be married, saying that this law is given to those to whom it applies.

    Because these eunuchs were born sexless, God made an exception for them because it was natural. The same applies to the Gay community today. Science has proven homosexuality is completely natural, so it seems God would allow for homosexual marriages.

    In Matthew 19:4–5, Jesus encourages a traditional path, but does not discourage alternatives, except in the case of divorce.

    Jesus did stress purity of marriage, but not in regard to the sexes of the people within it. It can be seen that the reason that churches are against homosexual marriage is not because it is explicitly said by God, but because of a lack of instruction to specifically allow it.

    In the time that the Bible was written it would have been impossible to foresee the future to be able to specifically allow or forbid homosexual marriage.

    Some claim, in Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he lists homosexuals amongst the many sinners who will not inherit the kingdom of God. Doesn't that make God's position on this vice very clear?

    If we look at the other types of people listed in this passage, we can understand what it is actually talking about. Law breakers, thieves, adulterers and drunks are specifically mentioned. The word "homosexual" was not found until the 1890s, so it would have been impossible for it to be in the original version.

    What actually appears in the original is Paul condemning those who are "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind." In this context, the original Greek word, "malakos," is translated into effeminate, or soft, which, more than likely, refers to someone who lacks discipline or moral control.

    In this passage, when Paul condemns "abusers of themselves with mankind," he is speaking of male prostitutes.

    Then there are the people who claim that, even though science has proven that people don't choose their sexual orientation, the fact remains that homosexuality is unnatural. Romans 1:26-27 tells us that humans have a sinful nature, and therefore commit sins against God. Certain people are predisposed to be alcoholics and pedophiles, but that doesn't make their actions any less immoral. God tells us to "tear out your eye" if it makes you stumble. Why can't you just accept homosexuality as the part of your nature you must deny?

    Because the Bible has gone through so many translations, and through the hands of many people (some being non-believers), it is not surprising that the meaning has become a little fuzzy in parts.

    Homosexuality is normal. The phrase "para physin" appears in the original text for this verse. This term is often translated to mean "unnatural;" however, more accurate translation would be unconventional.

    Proof for this can be found in 1 Corinthians 11:14 where Paul uses this phrase to refer to men with long hair (unconventional, not unnatural) and in Romans 11:24 where Paul uses this phrase to refer to the positive action God made to bring together the Jews and Gentiles.

    All in all, homosexuality is obviously not a sin, unless you take passages from the Bible and add your own words or you just try really hard to interpret it that way. Let's just remember Galatians 5:14, where Paul stated, "the whole Law is fulfilled in one Statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

    September 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Simon

      Shawn you are twisting scripture in the worst way to fulfill your own desires. Find a religion that does agree with this lifestyle...wouldn't that be so much easier than hacking at Christianity with a chainsaw. I could take the time and with great ease take down scripture by scripture all you just wrote....but it is easier to just say – why don't you actually read the bible for a change?? I do not agree with Christians behaving in a cruel or stupid manner towards any people group....but what we see more of these days is – ANYONE who even disagrees politely is called a hateful person....? This is wrong.....I do not hate anyone....but I fully agree with the scriptures....marriage is for a man and a woman – period.

      September 18, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Find a religion that does agree with this lifestyle"

      There are thousands and thousands of Christian churches that agree with this lifestyle and are welcoming gay couples to worship with them because they understand the real truth about sexual orientation. Part of reading the scriptures in to put it into historical context to get the real meaning and understanding or did you miss that lesson in grade school. LOL!

      September 18, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • fred

      YeahRight
      Why all the focus on ho-mo$exuals and not drunkards, hate, adultery etc. One would think that was the only sin mentioned in the Bible. Jefferson cut out lots of parts in the Bible until he found one that suited him. I would suggest that we are all designing a Bible that fits our lifestyle rather than accepting God who is and does not change.
      Don't get me wrong as our understanding of God has changed as we evolve intellectually and socially but, God has not changed.

      September 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Grand Ole Party of Christian Taliban

      Fred,

      And God told you this himself? lol

      September 18, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • fred

      Grand Old Party
      Well, the Bible does say God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow so I will stick with that. The part about our view of God evolving was my add-on and that is usually questionable. I was justifying why the God Mosses wrote about appeared very different from Christ who was the full radiance of God.

      September 18, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  3. Bob

    YEAH RIGHT IS THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE SHAWN,JEANNINE,MATTHEW,JP,JOHN,250MINISTERS,DON,ERIK,JS. So if you see these posts please avoid them or look in the past posts thanks, He actually may start responding for himself and offer intelligent discussion instead of other peoples warmed over comments.

    September 15, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Bob is a well known liar on this blog and a hypocrite, he has posted under several alias on this blog which is why he is accusing others of doing it. He copies and paste from well known hate groups and they aren't based on any real facts of today. Duh!

      September 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Bob

      Yeah you must be really stupid ever time you show up all these other names show up too what a moron.

      September 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Yeah you must be really stupid ever time you show up all these other names show up too what a moron."

      When ever you post all the other names show up as well. Duh! Herbie, Douglas, lookinup, pervert alert...etc... LMAO! Poor baby you can't handle the fact your prejudice and bigotry isn't based on any real facts. LOL!

      September 18, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • ImLook'nUp

      @YeahRight
      I can speak for myself. I stand by Gods teaching that marriage is between a man and woman. I am not Bob or Douglas or any other poster.

      Yep. God teaches that marriage is a union between a male and female. On that point, I agree with whomever may say the same.

      September 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  4. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago**; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Sometimes, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). Sometimes, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Religions are just big old evil clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division along the way (disguised as love).

    So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts. My goodness.

    ** (yes, charlatan spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think it hadn't?)

    mama kindless

    September 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  5. AF

    Oh look – a protestant that has their own version of the Bible and interprets it very badly. Pretty clear and cut and dry, all you have to do is read it. However, I support gay union or gay government marriage, I just can't suppport from my religious view. This is America nd people can do what they want and believe what they want. I know that's hard for you atheists to do but you should try it some itme or move to another country.

    September 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • mama kindless

      Are you replying to someone?? There is a button for that.

      September 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  6. Michael

    This one goes out to all you fundamentalist Christians out there. Selah! I may be too narrow addressing this to just the fundamentalists. Many traditional Christians also fit the bill. Really, it’s anyone who believes that homosexuality is a sin, and that somehow God, infinite and eternal creator and sustainer of the very Universe, is ‘against’ a tiny human behavior that harms no one. So, in other words, uneducated and ridiculous people everywhere.

    Officially, the majority of Christian churches say that homosexual behavior is a sin, thus proving that the theologians behind those churches don’t understand their own Bible. There are a whole bunch of goofball laws written down in the Old Testament that everyone ignores. Why is being bigoted toward homosexuals the one people latch onto?

    The various Christian brands go through the Old Testament, picking and choosing the parts they consider cool. No one accepts the whole thing. No one. I mean, when was the last time a cheating spouse was actually put to death in keeping with the commandments of the Bible?

    Using the Old Testament to determine if something is a sin is simply a matter of human and not godly opinion. It’s meaningless and certainly not ‘the word of God’. His teachings aren’t some basket of fruit for you to pick over. You either have to accept the old law in its entirety and start killing lots and lots of people or reject it in its entirety. Hand-picking the stuff you like is bogus, especially when you only pick the stuff that seems to legitimize your meanness to other people.

    So the Old Testament is out.

    Before we all start playing REM’s “Losing My Religion,” consider this denying someone the right to marry is not Christian, and certainly not American.

    The people who are opposed to gay marriage, and by extension, gayness itself have no excuse. They are bigots and bigots alone. They can’t use their special book to justify their hate, even according to the special book itself. They have no one to thank but themselves. They take the Lord’s name in vain and feel righteous about it

    Yes, they take the Lord’s name in vain. Most people believe incorrectly that this commandment is about cussing, but it’s not. It’s about using God for yourself, for your own vain (personal) ends. They hold the Bible in the air and use it like a bitch to bolster their own prejudices and bigotry and hate and that is vanity, all is vanity.

    The teachings of Christ are plain enough: love and forgiveness, tolerance and healing, acceptance and rebellion. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing more needed. Add what you will to it, it still won’t be from the Christ. It will come from your own (black?) heart.

    Jesus Christ is the origin of the word ‘'Christian'’. Perhaps we should pray about that a bit more.

    Today’s Christians tend to be followers, accepting of the notion that religion is just a box built by someone else into which they must stuff their spirit. They are naive and willingly line up like lemmings wherever told. They have a casual ignorance that tells them the Beast will come in the obvious guise of science or secularism or liberality. They cannot conceive of the Father of Lies actually lying to them.

    Sinclair Lewis said that when fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying the cross. When the Beast comes to the world, you can bet your sweet ass he will be thumping the Bible and preaching a hate disguised as love.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Douglas

      Michael says, "So the Old Testament is out."

      Well then, what about all of the prohibitions against gay coitus in the New Testament?

      Best,
      Douglas

      September 14, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • old ben

      As an exercise, try taking things a bit further. There is not much on gay coitus in the NT, and if you ignore all but the gospels, there really isn't anything at all (in the NT). What does this tell us? That the few references that are there, and outside of the gospels, are attributed to Paul, who is attributed with authoring a big chunk of the NT. And a stance on gay coitus is not the only thing that gets weird starting with Paul. I consider it a turning point towards the divisive side of Christianity that allows a well-versed Christian to speak with a forked tongue. Going from the small group that surrounded Jesus to the politics of Paul and who and what he had to deal with and the beginnings of Catholicism is a huge leap. By today's standards, it would be easy to dismiss Paul completely, much in the way that many find it easy to dismiss Joseph Smith. Paul was, after all, a self-proclaimed "apostle".

      IMHO, much of the weirdness still in Christianity, especially the more fundamental forms, including Catholicism, has its roots with the Epistles, and not with the Gospels – or with attempting to justify one from the other. I only use some of Jesus' words and ideals as a guide (with a regard for him as just another good-hearted human being). But I often think of how much clearer and consistent and how much more conscience-free a Christian could be without some of the conflicted ideals just in the NT. Even as a believer, one must realize that issues such as women's role in the church, contraception, gay coitus, celibacy – all were strongly decided and enforced by the early Christian church for quite a long period of time when the justification for these tenets were hidden from the average person. (So by the time is was readable by the masses, everyone was already too indoctrinated to start asking the proper questions.)

      It's all political sales literature to me, but I did study it, and thought I would share.

      September 14, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  7. YeahRight

    "The terrorists used sodomy as a humiliating insult because in Judaism, Islam and Christianity the act of gay coitus is seen as a filthy, sinful perversion, which it is. "

    No idiiot, it's called rape and has NOTHING to do with the loving long term relationship of a gay couple. Only prejudice bigots like you would equate the two. Duh!

    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."

    September 14, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  8. Melvin

    "A cursory review of scripture reveals a plethora of warnings and cautions regarding participation in
    and acceptance of gay coitus.

    We are working with GLBTQ youth and young adults to help clarify the path to salvation and the pitfalls
    that are ever present when a person backslides into fornicational behavior."

    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.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  9. Douglas

    Reports coming out of Libya indicate that the late Ambassador Stevens was sodomized, similar to the way Libyan strongman Ghadaffy was, before he was killed. The terrorists used sodomy as a humiliating insult because in Judaism, Islam and Christianity the act of gay coitus is seen as a filthy, sinful perversion, which it is. The terrorists who treated both Ghadaffy and Stevens in this way are sinners for participating in these disgusting perversions.

    In the West we must stand up agianst the evil of gay coitus. The whole world is watching!

    Repent and be saved! Celibacy is the answer for GLBTQ folk!

    September 13, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • YeahRight

      This just proves this posters reading comprehension and why the can't even understand the bible, they don't know the difference between rape and being gay. LMAO!

      September 14, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • YeahRight

      Typed to fast....that should have stated: This just proves this posters reading comprehension issues and why they can't even understand the bible, they don't know the difference between rape and being gay. LMAO!

      September 14, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  10. Douglas

    Gay coitus is inconsistent with Biblical instruction.

    A cursory review of scripture reveals a plethora of warnings and cautions regarding participation in
    and acceptance of gay coitus.

    We are working with GLBTQ youth and young adults to help clarify the path to salvation and the pitfalls
    that are ever present when a person backslides into fornicational behavior.

    As fate would have it, after a thorough review of scripture, GLBTQ youth and young adults find acceptance,
    encouragement and affirmation as they strive toward celibate partnerships.

    Reach out to GLBTQ celibates at your place of worship. There is plenty of room at the foot of the cross
    for sinners to repent.

    Heaven rejoices when a sinner is saved! Support GLBTQ celibates on the road to salvation!

    September 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Again, this poster is only a prejudice bigot trying to justify their own hate. The experts have stated 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."

      September 14, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  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?

    September 12, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Douglas

      Yes...it is a sin.
      Celibacy is not.

      September 12, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Also a sin: getting raped.

      September 12, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • old ben

      It depends on who you are asking. A sin of your own faith? I would say though that if the answer you get is simple – as in "yes it is", then you obviously have to dig and investigate why the replier said that – what their background is, what they believe, etc. Many religions are conflicted on the issue, so obviously you will get different answers from different people. I believe all religions are the product of charlatans and politicians, and sometimes ordinary people trying to survive, so my answer is simple – no it is not a sin – it is as natural as the rising sun.

      September 14, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  12. Jeannine

    "There is salvation at the foot of the cross for celibate GLBTQ folk who have rejected fornication!"

    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.

    September 12, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  13. Douglas

    Good News!

    There is salvation at the foot of the cross for celibate GLBTQ folk who have rejected fornication!

    In Matthew 19 Jesus defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. "Gay marriage" is in
    conflict with Jesus' direction to us.

    Celibate GLBTQ partnerships are perfectly acceptable and should be encouraged.

    Reach out and welcome celibate GLBTQ couples at your place of worship!

    September 12, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • YeahRight

      This poster is only a prejudice bigot trying to justify their own hate. The experts have stated 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."

      September 14, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  14. JS

    Christians are increasingly divided over the issue of the acceptance and inclusion of gay persons into the church. The debate itself is usually framed as essentially pitting the Bible, on one hand, against compassion and social justice on the other. Our Christian hearts, runs the (usually impassioned) argument, compel us to grant full moral and legal equality to gay and lesbian people; our Christian faith, comes the (usually impassioned) rebuttal, compels us to cleave, above all, to the word of God.

    Compassion for others is the fundamental cornerstone of Christian ethics; the Bible is the bedrock of the Christian faith. What Christian can possibly choose between the two?

    The answer is that no Christian is called upon to make that choice. The text of the Bible on one hand, and full equality for gay and lesbian people on the other, is a false dichotomy. God would not ask or expect Christians to ever choose between their heart and their faith.

    Reconciling the Bible with unqualified acceptance and equality for LGBT people does not necessitate discounting, recasting, deconstructing or reinterpreting the Bible. All it takes is reading those passages of the Bible wherein homosexuality is mentioned with the same care we would any other passage of the book.

    We can trust God; we can trust that God is loving.

    And we can trust that we can - and that we certainly should - take God, in this matter, as in all things, at his Word.

    If there is no clearly stated directive in the Bible to marginalize and ostracize gay people, then Christians continuing to do so is morally indefensible, and must cease.

    What cannot be denied is that Christians have caused a great deal of pain and suffering to gay persons, by:

    Banning their participation in the church, thus depriving them of the comforts and spiritual fruits of the church;

    Banning their participation in the sacrament of marriage, thus depriving them of the comforts and spiritual fruits of marriage;

    Damaging the bonds between gays and their straight family members, thus weakening the comforts and spiritual fruits of family life for both gays and their families; and

    Using their position within society as spokespersons for God to proclaim that all homosexual relations are disdained by God, thus knowingly contributing to the cruel persecution of a minority population.

    Christians do not deny that they have done these things. However, they contend that they have no choice but to do these things, based on what they say is a clear directive about homosexuals delivered to them by God through the Holy Bible. They say that the Bible defines all homosexual acts as sinful, instructs them to exclude from full participation in the church all non-repentant sinners (including gay people), and morally calls upon them to publicly (or at least resolutely) denounce homosexual acts.

    Without an explicit directive from God to exclude and condemn homosexuals, the Christian community's treatment of gay persons is in clear violation of what Jesus and the New Testament writers pointedly identified as the most important commandment from God: to love one's neighbor as one's self.

    The gay community has cried out for justice to Christians, who have a biblically mandated obligation to be just. Because the mistreatment of gay persons by Christians is so severe, the directive from God to marginalize and ostracize gay people must be clear and explicit in the Bible. If there is no such clearly stated directive, then the continued Christian mistreatment of gay and lesbian people is morally indefensible, and must cease.

    The Bible is not a contract, or a set of instructions, with each passage spelling out something clear and specific. It is not a rulebook for being Christian. It is instead a widely varying collection of poetry, history, proverbs, moral directives, parables, letters and wondrous visions. We would be foolish to fail to understand that not everything in the Bible is a commandment, and that Christians cannot take any small section of the Bible out of its own context, and still hope to gain a clear understanding of its meaning.

    We can be confident that Paul was not writing to, or about, gay people, because he simply could not have been, any more than he could have written about smart phones or iPads. We do not know what Paul might write or say today about gay people. All we know is that in the New Testament he wrote about promiscuous, predatory, non-consensual same-sex acts between heterosexuals.

    If we are to rely on the Bible, then we must take its text as it is. It does condemn homosexual (and heterosexual) sex that is excessive, exploitive and outside of marriage. It does not, however, address the state of homosexuality itself - much less the subject of homosexual acts between a married gay couple. Christians therefore have no Bible-based moral justification for themselves condemning such acts.

    Because there was no concept of gay marriage when the Bible was written, the Bible does not, and could not, address the sinfulness of homosexual acts done within the context of gay marriage.

    The Bible routinely, clearly and strongly classifies all sex acts outside of the bonds of marriage as sinful. But, because there was no concept of gay people when the Bible was written, the Bible does not, and could not, address the sinfulness of homosexual acts done within the context of marriage. Christians therefore have no biblical basis for themselves condemning such acts.

    In fact; by denying marriage equality to gay people, Christians are compelling gay couples to sin, because their intimacy must happen outside of marriage, and is therefore, by biblical definition, sinful.

    Being personally repelled by homosexual sex doesn't make homosexual sex a sin.

    Christians cite as additional evidence of the inherent sinfulness of homosexual acts their raw emotional response to such acts. It is understandable that many straight people find homosexual sex repugnant (just as many gay people find heterosexual sex repugnant). It is normal for any one of us to be viscerally repelled by the idea of sex between, or with, people for whom we personally have no sexual attraction. It may feel to a straight Christian that their instinctive negative reaction to homosexual sex arises out of the Bible. But, all of us necessarily view the Bible through the lens of our own experiences and prejudices, and we must be very careful to ensure that lens does not distort our vision or understanding of God's sacrosanct word.

    "The greatest of these is love."

    The overriding message of Jesus was love. Jesus modeled love; Jesus preached love; Jesus was love. Christians desiring to do and live the will of Jesus are morally obliged to always err on the side of love.

    September 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  15. James

    "God teaches the family unit consists of male and female. Yep. Hasn't changed."

    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.

    September 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  16. ImLook'nUp

    God teaches the family unit consists of male and female. Yep. Hasn't changed.

    September 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • JWT

      which god ?

      September 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • old ben

      And which religion? Then we can start a debate.

      September 14, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  17. John

    "God teaches the family unit consists of male + female. "

    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.

    September 10, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • old ben

      And you really get rid of most of the notions if you just don't adhere so closely to the self-proclaimed "apostle" Paul. Non-Mormons these days give little "cred" to Joseph Smith, but if we were in the time of Paul – we would probably feel the same about him – a self-proclaimed "apostle" (and attributed with writing a big chunk of the NT). I personally don't buy any of it, but I think it is sad that fundamentalist Christians for so long have led people down this conflicted path with such poor basis for their tenets in many cases.

      September 14, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  18. Douglas

    The is peace, salvation and hope for our celibate GLBTQ believers!

    September 1, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      free people do not need salvation, only slaves do

      September 4, 2012 at 3:35 am |
    • TC

      And the married ones with families, too!!

      September 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  19. Doc Vestibule

    Jesus had two dads.

    August 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • ImLook'nUp

      ...and a blessed mommy!

      August 31, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Lorraine

      Two dads, and a virgin mommy, what crap, LOL. That seed had to come from somewhere, but from what, or where? Our chosena Hebrew Israelite out of Judah, is prophesied to come from Ephratah Bethlehem as where David of old was born in Micah 5:1,2. But in matt.2:1,2, jesus is born in Judea Bethlehem, born a jew, not from the Hebrew Creator YHWH, in Exodus 3:18, and Exodus 5:3. This is Another Contradiction from the NT, of the OT.

      August 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Bob

      Funny Vesti got tired of Bill Nye so now hes here :)

      September 1, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  20. Lorraine

    It is amazing how people use the word christ in troubles, or problems that they may encounter, when this word only means 'anointed' just as the word messiah, it too only means 'anointed' so, when people use these two words to express their anguish, it is used in vain. Just as much is taught in christianity, nothing but all man made up. When this book, truly called the book of remembrance, taught to us in Malachi 3:16, was written, it starts out in Genesis 1:27, 28, and in the creation of a male, and of a female, all people, to inhabit this earth, and they were told to be fruitful, and to multiply this earth with their children, and in the 5th chapter of Genesis it is all the generations of Adam. We are not suppose to stay celibate, we are to truly love, and care for one another, and procreate, and nurture, and properly raise our children to be righteous, and caring of one another, and this is to be repeated by each generation, this is called 'life' There is no shame, no restrictions, only love, only life, it is to be lived, and let live, as said in Deuteronomy 4, do not add, nor deminish the law of life, and we are all responsible for all life, as well as our own.

    Two people brought together as one is a blessing from YHWH, to bring life, He made us for His own sake, and this reason was for us, to live, and allow us all to live a wholesome, righteous, and fair life. Loving, and caring and respecting each other fully, and do 'right' by one another. Of course He wants usto eat clean, live clean, work togeher to maintain a prosperous being, and share equally, this is to prolong our lives in Deuteronomy 30, 32. Don't confuse man made laws, with the law of life that YHWH gave us. I know doing right is an abstraction for those full of pride, and greed, but neither of these will prevail what true life is all about, and that is 'love' YHWH Bless. ps. jesus, and no other can say anything without the Word of YHWH allowing it first hand. I see more love in the movie King Kong, by an ape, and animals period, than in most of you people on this site, and on this earth with all of your bias man made laws, and religions, honestly in my opinion,I do. Praise unto YHWH always.

    August 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228
Advertisement
About this blog

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.