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My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage
The author backs same-sex marriage because of his faith, not in spite of it.
May 19th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage

Editor's Note: Mark Osler is a Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

By Mark Osler, Special to CNN

I am a Christian, and I am in favor of gay marriage. The reason I am for gay marriage is because of my faith.

What I see in the Bible’s accounts of Jesus and his followers is an insistence that we don’t have the moral authority to deny others the blessing of holy institutions like baptism, communion, and marriage. God, through the Holy Spirit, infuses those moments with life, and it is not ours to either give or deny to others.

A clear instruction on this comes from Simon Peter, the “rock” on whom the church is built. Peter is a captivating figure in the Christian story. Jesus plucks him out of a fishing boat to become a disciple, and time and again he represents us all in learning at the feet of Christ.

During their time together, Peter is often naïve and clueless – he is a follower, constantly learning.

After Jesus is crucified, though, a different Peter emerges, one who is forceful and bold. This is the Peter we see in the Acts of the Apostles, during a fevered debate over whether or not Gentiles should be baptized. Peter was harshly criticized for even eating a meal with those who were uncircumcised; that is, those who did not follow the commands of the Old Testament.

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Peter, though, is strong in confronting those who would deny the sacrament of baptism to the Gentiles, and argues for an acceptance of believers who do not follow the circumcision rules of Leviticus (which is also where we find a condemnation of homosexuality).

His challenge is stark and stunning: Before ordering that the Gentiles be baptized Peter asks “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

None of us, Peter says, has the moral authority to deny baptism to those who seek it, even if they do not follow the ancient laws. It is the flooding love of the Holy Spirit, which fell over that entire crowd, sinners and saints alike, that directs otherwise.

My Take: Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality

It is not our place, it seems, to sort out who should be denied a bond with God and the Holy Spirit of the kind that we find through baptism, communion, and marriage. The water will flow where it will.

Intriguingly, this rule will apply whether we see homosexuality as a sin or not. The water is for all of us. We see the same thing at the Last Supper, as Jesus gives the bread and wine to all who are there—even to Peter, who Jesus said would deny him, and to Judas, who would betray him.

The question before us now is not whether homosexuality is a sin, but whether being gay should be a bar to baptism or communion or marriage.

Your Take: Rethinking the Bible on homosexuality

The answer is in the Bible. Peter and Jesus offer a strikingly inclusive form of love and engagement. They hold out the symbols of Gods’ love to all. How arrogant that we think it is ours to parse out stingily!

I worship at St. Stephens, an Episcopal church in Edina, Minnesota. There is a river that flows around the back and side of that church with a delightful name: Minnehaha Creek. That is where we do baptisms.

The Rector stands in the creek in his robes, the cool water coursing by his feet, and takes an infant into his arms and baptizes her with that same cool water. The congregation sits on the grassy bank and watches, a gentle army.

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

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

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

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

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

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Episcopal • Gay marriage • Opinion

soundoff (15,115 Responses)
  1. YeahRight

    "When man is joined with woman the emotions balance each other and add to each other. The differences allowing them to deal with children, life, and relationships"

    There are hundred of thousands of experts in this country that have proven this statement wrong. 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.

    November 5, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  2. Lorraine

    yeahright, start with yourself on lying what holiness code lol, did it come from YHWHs Word? If not its garbage, and lies. For YHWH changes not taught in Malachi 3:6, He has not changed nothing. And James, 'a man should not lay with another man as with a woman' is this not clear explanation or what? With all of your gibberish fabrications, and fancy words its still not right, not in the way of YHWH, now what man decided to call right, oh well then it goes, as taught it would in Malachi 3:13-15, just making up stuff as they mankind go along, skipping through the tulips, ha,ha, lol. YHWH Bless.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • mama k

      The OT is rehashed fable dear. Please get a life.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • MCR

      If you are only willing to engage in meaningful two-way debate with people who take the literal truth of the bible as the sole source of truth then you probably want to stick to posting in fundamentalist Christian forums.

      November 5, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Lorraine

      mama k, the only rehashing here is your forked tongue, which history evidently proved to be the real bull taught in this society with all its in differences, and greed, so stop the lies, the book of remembrance is the truth, no one listens to the 'forked ones' anymore step up to the end times deary this society has been robbed blind, goodbye america the free, patronism blah!! America is declining, and robbed especially from the truth of the law of righteousness of YHWH. Which is exactly why america is in debt, from all of its lies, and will not be saved again, Jeremiah 51:9, O daughter of Babel. Praise YHWH.

      November 5, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Lorraine

      Jeremiah 51:33, the U.S. shes due for a threshig, lol.

      November 5, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • mama k

      The Hebrew Bible, the Christian Bible, and any other writings that men have put forth to attempt to describe a higher being are folklore, Lorraine – plain and simple. There is no credible evidence to support any of the myths. Ancient writings about what ancient men experienced is not credible proof. And I hope you know what a circular reference is, Lorraine. Trying to prove the validity of a writing by using the same writing is not credible proof. You can therefore look at all the spiritual writings that man has ever dreamed up and they all fall into that category. They assert something that, to date, they cannot prove in any credible way. I don't care what religion it is – writings from the Hebrew Bible, NT, parts of the NT, Book of Life, Book of Remembrance, you name it. The god of israel, the god of abraham, allah, zeus, Yahweh, whatever you want to call it – it simply myth.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Lorraine

      mama k, you should seriously research your facts,or better yet why not call The Lord Yhwh Our Righteousness, at 17738740325, with any of your questions, historical facts, dates that you have, or want to ask about this book of remembrance the so called OT, and learn the truth of the real history, if you dare to know, take the challenge, call with any of what you know, and dates to compare. Praise Yhwh.

      November 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • mama k

      And I see Lorraine – that rather than face the music and provide any credible proof for your beliefs, you post a phone number that I should call? LOL. That's a pretty good admission that you have nothing.

      November 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Lorraine

      mama k, ive put plenty of the facts, and dates here at this site in my post, the ones that they would allow of course, for they hide the truth from those who are mislead the masses, but what a copout on your part, the movement, The Lord YHWH Our Righteousness, at 17738740325, is the main source to this book of remembrance the so called OT, you have been in denial otherwise.

      Must I refresh your memory, again ok. For an example, The prophets of YHWH, Nehemiah, and Ezra were with the american historical Artexeres king of Babylon around 465, and 444 bce, look it up. Not to mention but i will David, and Solomon both of the american history as well, oh and David wrote most of the book of Psalm to YHWH. and theres more, by the way there is no christian bible, nor a Hebrew bible, its again 'The Book of Remembrance, its true name in Malachi 3:16' by the last prophet until this day, oh look that up too, its a fact. YHWH BLESS, PRAISE YHWH.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Lorraine

      mama k, or should i call u forked tongue, again stop lying, ive put dates, and facts here. This column is about gays, so let me add 'a man should not lay with another man as with a woman' this is clear explanation, by YHWH, but what man says well, we all know how that goes, anything to be exact just do it, ooh also prophesied in Malachi 3:13-15, that this future generation would do, prophesy fulfilled. But not to judge, for we are all responsible for our own righteousness in the end. Yhwh Bless.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • mama k

      Lorraine – your brand of religion based on the god of Abraham is no more credible than the next one. You still use the unfounded OT fable as a source for your beliefs. If you have something concrete other than what you've posted so far (or other than the videos I viewed at YHWH Our Righteousness website), that you could post, I would certainly look at it here, but I seriously doubt you'll come up with anything. Gleaning a different understanding of the OT than others is interesting, but it's still based on nothing other than iron age writings which were fable based on rehashed fable based on word-of-mouth fable. So, you can claim insight into your Book of Remembrance all you want, but unless you can show credible proof of anything, then you will stay categorized as loonier than mainstream religion which also has no real credibility. And since you have no credibility, you might want to not be so judgmental on people's behavior – your judgment is clearly based on myth.

      November 6, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Lorraine

      mama k, this your forked tongue just wagging with lies, and total denial of the truth that i've provided. This is why i instructed that you call with questions of the history, for just viewing the videos is not always enough for 'some' viewers, especially if you have not read this book from Genesis-Malachi. Which as taught in Isaiah 8: 20-22 , there is simply no light within you to turn on. Your denial even dismisses the fact that this is no religion, it is a law of righteousness, and peace, to do complete righteousness by one another of the 10 commandments. Many in this society ran by those in dominion the 'enemy', in Exodus 17: 14-16, the future generations, as yourself have been taught to stray from what is 'right to do' to what might be, etc..of whatever is convenient to satisfy their reward. I have given facts here, but you won't see them if they slapped you right in the face from the heavy blinders of darkness you have. Again stop lying, I have provided substantiation of these truths, but my post are for whomever can see, i have no problem with you personally its your choice as its mine, good day. YHWH BLESS.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Lorraine

      To add: The ones who are in dominion of this society TODAY was prophesied that they would have their dominion in the future, in Genesis 27, from Isaac their father, and they have it now ever since 1904, starting with the the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913. And many still don't get who's responsible of the days of the great depression in the 1930s, along with the WW II, many are so blind. Have a good day, and all praise goes to YHWH, YHWH BLESS.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Lorraine

      In 1904, the one in dominion joined with the monarch, bringing together the Bretton Wood Agreement, yes all around the times of the great depression, and WW II, getting their independence from England, and the world, for they are now known for being the international bankers, ha, ha, lol running this whole w o r l d now, my my they have been clever, those demagogues you have to hand it to them they know what they're doing, and so under this civilization being gay is where its at today, all ran by man. Also, 1897 was another good year for them this was the time of their Theodore Herzl Movement, which led up to other accomplishments of running this society. Is this enough creditable history for you. YHWH Bless.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How many bottles have you consumed today, Loopy?

      November 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  3. Bob

    Our God is a God of restoration of being made whole. That includes marriage as a form of being complete and whole. Man is complete when the rib taken out of man is rejoined to him and when God views him with his wife as one flesh. When man is joined with woman the emotions balance each other and add to each other. The differences allowing them to deal with children, life, and relationships. This also in the bedroom deeply personal man and woman personal meanings, ties in copulation each bringing to the table the very fabric of their being. Each different each blending with the other in the way they were made in their body and emotionally. We see what screams made naturally by God in His image with His blessing being joined by the nature of who we are as beings, this coming together joined in one, each missing something till this union is joined. This when done with God in the center is the three strand cord that is not easily broken that God would establish, hold, preserve, change hearts minds even appearance so that the two, not only in the spirit but even in appearance become one flesh. God said its not good for man to be alone and created for him the one He wants him to have. He didn't create man for man but woman for man.

    November 3, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Brent

      The term “traditional marriage” is a term employed by anti-gay religious groups and individuals to promote bigotry, prejudice, hostility and discrimination toward gay and lesbian citizens.

      The term is used to justify a social injustice both in terms of denying gay and lesbian individuals equal treatment guaranteed by our Constitution and also denying them human dignity. The use of the term is an action that promotes constitutional unfairness and human indignity and therefore one which is morally wrong.

      If a person of faith agrees that a practice that promotes looking upon a segment of society as inferior, unworthy and undeserving of that which we find as good in our lives, the use of the term “traditional marriage” therefore also must be sinful.

      Regardless of their particular faith, the person would be hard-pressed to say that love, compassion and wanting what is best in our lives for others around us are not the core principles of most religions. When a person of faith stands opposed to those principles, their attitude and actions stand opposed to the principles which they strive to uphold in the everyday interactions with those around them.

      There is also deceit involved in the use of the term “traditional marriage” because those who employ the term attempt to perpetrate an untruth and ulterior motives of hostility and prejudice.

      The untruth comes when “traditional marriage” is offered up as a term that defines a religious concept of a God-blessed union of a young man and woman who fall in love, get married with no prior sexual experience, have children and remain together into old age. They are implying that this is how God ordains marriage.

      If it is, it took him until just 50 years ago to arrive at that conclusion.

      The tradition of marriage in Old Testament times meant the man and his wife could have the same father.

      November 5, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  4. Douglas

    The Bible (the eternal guidebook to Christian living) makes no provisions for LGBTQ marriage or coitus.

    As a matter of fact, LGBTQ coitus is condemned in the Old and New Testament.

    It is encouraging to see so many atheists and LGBTQ apologists flock to the Bible as a source of inspiration
    and comfort in their lives, as we see here in the many LGBTQ posters who contribute to this forum.

    Unfortunately, most of them don't undersand that the BIble is not a book you can hijack as a means to justify LGBTQ marriage and coitus, just because it represents an open appeal to all sinners to repent.

    Remember, sin as defined inn the Bible, has to be rejected and the old ways have to be jettisoned and left behind if we are true believers.

    Remember what Jesus (not Douglas) said in Luke 5:36,

    "[36] He told them this parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. [37] And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. [38] No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. [39] And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better."

    You can't take your old lifestyle that has been condemned and claim you are a reborn Christian. Leave the excess baggage behind.

    LGBTQ coitus and marriage is contrary to Christian family life.

    Celibate LGBTQ Christians...welcome to the family!

    November 3, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Lorraine

      You seriously need to learn what the King YHWH says, and He never said to be celibate, not with all of the begats that are in Genesi-Malachi, stop misleading the people. He specifically said to 'procreate' the right way of course, a man, and a woman, joined by the law of righteousness, the 10 commandment so do right, and read the truth from the Only Savior, and Redeemer In Isaiah 49:60, and Isaiah 60:16, these do not say jc. And all praise goes to the creator of all life the King YHWH. And all religions are crap, pagan, idolatry, and not from the spirit of the King YHWH, and the truth.

      And while you're reading Genesis-Malachi, look in the back of any of your books you learn that the Holy One,has a name, it is not Lord, or God, men have called themselves that, and putting the creator of life on the same scale as a man is great blasphemy. Look under tetragrammation, and the so called yahweh, also not His name but these defines YHWH.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • mama k

      Too bad, that for every Christian, there is another one waiting to tell them they are not a Christian. That's the way of Christianity. The contradictions are built into the religion. And "correct interpretation" is often the arguing point. Many Christians can take any side of an argument and argue it from the conflicted Bible, often ignoring how the position they've taken relates to some of the simplest lessons of their key figure – Jesus Christ. So it often becomes a tool of divisiveness, or even a tool of war.

      Fortunately, in the U.S., the founders realized as they observed deadly fighting between different Christian sects in their own states that the government should be as free from religion as possible while also guaranteeing freedom of religion. This is why we have a strong, secular Constitution with its 1st Amendment with its Establishment Clause. To protect the rational population from bigots such as Douglas here.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Lorraine

      mama k, look up the word 'cretin' before you speak, for never should anyone claim to be christian, its a joke played on the people those who just want to 'believe' and not learn to 'know'a thing of substantiation. poor wretched victims.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • mama k

      Anyone putting much stock in the OT is a joke as well, dear.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • William

      Sad to see more lies from this Douglas. Please don't listen to ignorant people like this Douglas and those like him. Just as too much sexual activity can harm your prostate gland, no activity in your prostate gland can also cause serious health problems. Sex is a normal for overall well being and health. Douglas is coming from a place of ignorance, hatred and prejudice so please don't listen to anything he posts.

      November 5, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Lorraine

      mama k contain that forked tongue of yours, if you checked the facts, DO SOME RESEARCH, there is no OT, only the book of remembrance, the truth, and the prophesy of what is going on right now, you have been mislead to 'believe lies' there is nothing old about this book, its juxtaposed; but of course you could not see it if it were right in front of you, oh that's right it is, and you obviously cant see turn on the light mama k if there is one, and stop lying. Praise YHWH.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Lorraine
      The only Book of Remembrance of which I am aware is the one housed in The Canadian Parliament Building, doc/umenting the names of fallen soldiers from the Great Wars.
      And if there is no such thing as the Old Testament, why is the story of Jesus called the "New Testament" and not the THE Testament?

      November 5, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Lorraine

      Doc V i tried to answer but they kept erasing the truth lol, THE NT SHOULD FULFILL THE SO CALLED OT, BUT IT CONTRADICTS INSTEAD. JC IS NEVER MENTIONED IN THE OT, NOT EVEN HIS STORY.
      As its said this is all allowed by YHWH to magnify Himself, and to separate those who are wholeheartedly seeking Him. In Malachi 4 YHWH WILL return not jc, many will have to decide, His righteousness is near in Isaiah 51:5, of His vengeance of these lies, and in Malachi 3:18. Oh, the book of remembrance is in Malachi 3:16, named by YHWH, given to His prophet Malachi. Boy I had some facts to tell before they erased it, read Genesis-Malachi, and know who the savior, and redeemer is, its not jc according to Isaiah 49:26, Isaiah 60:16 its YHWH the King, and creator of all life as He teaches in Deuteronomy 32:39, and Isaiah 43. Praise YHWH.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Lorraine

      Doc V, also refer to Isaiah 56, so that you know that this is not just for the chosen descendants of 'Israel", its for all nations their descendants,all people,today also Zechariah 12, all future nations are to be addressed of their righteousness by the King YHWH.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • mama k

      Lorraine

      Let me be clearer, Lorraine. You want to run circles around the fact that your belief finds modern interpretation of books that are now part of the Bible in context with the mythological Book of Remembrance. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but it doesn't matter because I can take them individually if you like. The book of Isaiah is myth. The book of Daniel is myth, and so on and so on. Those writings assert certain truths – none of which has ever been proven to been anything other than ancient stories – folklore. You are foolish to put such stock and judgment on people based on that. And it is obvious that all you can do is reference it and not show anything credible from it, otherwise I'm sure we would have heard or been shown something different from you by now.

      November 6, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Lorraine

      mama k, nutty one, as i said you could not see these truths if they hit you smack in the face, and saying that current events or modern which ever word you used, is 'now' in the book, are you dense? What do you mean 'now' these prophesies were in this book before america was discovered, and earlier, of the original writting of the book of remembrance,the so called OT, with Moses around 1400bce, this has not just begun silly. And again your forked tongue is wagging lying overtime the substantiation is there but big as your denial is you won't see it anyway, and that is between you, and YHWH, i can't help you, but i did say you have your right to choose, and so do i, now good evening to you deary, get a 'life yourself' duces, and YHWH Bless.

      November 6, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Lorraine

      And whatever problem, or judgment you get out of just telling people of the way of righteousness, well that just goes to show how many have been taught, to stray from it righteousness, as if it were a crime, it is the best way of life, and we are all responsible for doing it, doing what is right, and its a process, or course. But doing righteousness is also what many intentionally do not do, either they are just wicked, or some are learning the right, from wrong; but i can bet many know better they just don't care to do right, and right is an abstraction for them, again they are just selfish, and 'wicked' YHWH BLESS.

      November 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  5. Bob

    Jon 4:1 But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry.
    Jon 4:2 He prayed to the LORD and said, "Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.
    Jon 4:3 "Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life."
    Jon 4:4 The LORD said, "Do you have good reason to be angry?"
    Jon 4:5 Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city.
    Jon 4:6 So the LORD God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant.
    Jon 4:7 But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered.
    Jon 4:8 When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah's head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, "Death is better to me than life."
    Jon 4:9 Then God said to Jonah, "Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?" And he said, "I have good reason to be angry, even to death."
    Jon 4:10 Then the LORD said, "You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight.
    Jon 4:11 "Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?"

    November 2, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  6. midwest rail

    Responding to Bob/Salvatore/Douglas is pointless, and amounts to nothing more than playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how skilled a player you are, the bird will wander aimlessly across the playing surface, knocking over pieces, and sh!tting on the board. Then the bird will do a victory strut.

    Replying to Bob/Salvatore/Douglas only encourages him. This is what he lives for.

    November 2, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Agreed

      Yes, he is a well known troll on this blog.

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian.

      November 2, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Bob

      So middy if the bird can outsmart your best moves then who is really the smartest???

      November 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Eliot Nest

      Bob,

      You just proved midwest rail's point.

      Nice strutting, dodo bird.

      November 2, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @Boob, why are you so obsessed with this topic?

      November 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  7. Erik

    "Not the person but the lifestyle, we can all choose to sin or we can choose not to"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    November 2, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  8. John

    "This would be called a open marriage. The argument that since the gay copulation doesn't draw gays away from God then it must be ok, is the farthest from the truth."

    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.

    November 2, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  9. Bob

    What we see here is a justification of sin because 2 people are fornicating. Love is not created in fornication that is lust. The stats on gay relationships show that lack of one partner life long relations. Even in countries that allow gay marriage. we don't see all of them wanting to get married because why marry when you want to have many partners. Even in marriage its not the same for most gays since this desire and idea of marriage is to have not one partner for life but one main and as many as desired outside partners. This would be called a open marriage. The argument that since the gay copulation doesn't draw gays away from God then it must be ok, is the farthest from the truth. All have sinned yet all who come to God find themselves looking to God for the forgiveness of sin and the help to turn a life around. To have a life that shuns sin and desires to have more of God in their lives and to conform to what God and the Bible says is the way life should be lived. Gays just like anyone else need to come to God, as they like everyone else are created in Gods image. But do not look to justify a wrong relationship but look intently into the face and laws that God has setup as the pattern for how things should be. It is compromise to want to have a relationship with God yet continue in a sinful pattern of relationships. The same argument can be made about couples wanting to get married but living together. The promises and will of God will not be fulfilled in this way. This is why the Law in the Old Testament was given to act as a guide so all would know what is acceptable and not. They didnt try to change the law, they changed their lifestyle to conform to the law. The atheists here would want to change the laws of God to accept a lifestyle that is wrong. Not the person but the lifestyle, we can all choose to sin or we can choose not to. Isnt it wonderful that we have a God that didnt leave us as orphans and helps us in our weakness. I know my failings but I know my God also, So when I am weak He is strong to help me past every failing and change from Glory to Glory and not to sit and wallow in my sin.

    November 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Bob

      Actually those who have come against Doug and myself are actually bigots and haters as the definition is below. While Douglas and I have been saying what the Bible says you have been espousing moral decay in the form of insults. This although you may not like our views it is not bigotry but holding to a form of spiritual teaching while you low life's have a narrow view and ranting and insulting which is a bigot. It is YOU that espouse hate., not us. Yeah and the rest so know your English and what you are next time you rant. Because of your intolerance to anyone with a different idea than your own translates into a threat.
      Oxford Concise: One who holds irrespective of reason, and attaches disproportionate weight to some creed or view. – Originated in the 16th Centuary In other words, a bigot is someone who's intolerant and prejudice, whether it be to another person's quality (gay, jewish, foreign, etc.) or to their way of thinking.

      November 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • JWT

      If people do not believe in your particular version of your god and your perceived rules then they are not sinners in that sense.

      November 2, 2012 at 7:18 am |
    • ImLook'nUp

      @JWT
      To nonbelievers: If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
      REVELATION 20:15

      Seek Him while ye are yet able.

      November 2, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian.

      November 2, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • YeahRight

      "Actually those who have come against Doug and myself are actually bigots and haters as the definition is below. While Douglas and I have been saying what the Bible says you have been espousing moral decay in the form of insults"

      Oh did I hit a nerve idiot? Yes I did, why because you know that everything you have been posting come from well known hate groups and aren't based on real facts. You are the one not telling the truth because you are only here to fight and try to justify your unfounded prejudice and hatred. Your ego is why you continue to post your lying crap over and over again because you can't handle that your wrong, so I am playing your game but that 's just it – a game. Anyone reading these post will understand that. Duh!

      November 2, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Melvin

      " The atheists here would want to change the laws of God to accept a lifestyle that is wrong."

      I am a Christian. 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.

      November 2, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • YeahRight

      "This is why the Law in the Old Testament was given to act as a guide so all would know what is acceptable and not. '

      Hey christians are you reading this the old testament applies to you. So Bob, are you going to stone your children to death when they talk back to you now? Are you going to try and force a woman to marry her rapist? Are you going to make women sleep with their brother-in laws when their husbands are infertile. Oh....that's right what you are trying to refer too – Christians don't follow anymore, it's part of the Holiness Code, a ritual manual for Israel's priests. What an idiot. LOL!

      November 2, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Bob

      If anyone does not believe in my God then that is on them but the name of God in the Bible is I AM. The reason for that name because He is God and above all, that's why Jesus could say I AM that I AM. Also that there is no way to the Father but through Him. That is the reason I say find the truth for yourself and ask God if He truly is the Great I AM. An example is, if don't believe in the government, you could live independently or oblivious to the government but break the law and you will go to jail, so is is with God, Although He is not mainly there to punish but to guide and reward. HE is the creator of life and therefore if you don't believe that is your choice but one day there will be a price to pay. All and I mean All will face the Judge. I find it really funny that so many don't understand the story of Moses. It was not only that the children of Israel were delivered but that God showed His power and authority over every other god. Israel in that time didn't even know who this God was because they like today worshiped so many gods that's why Moses had to ask, who shall I say sent me and that is why God continually demonstrated His power over so many areas of life. So as it was then we see it now that is one reason prophecy in the Bible is so rewarding it is a confirmation that He knows the end from the beginning this no other religious book does only the Bible. So you can choose not to believe, but those who do believe are not bigots or haters but have faith that God knows what man doesn't and that God has the pattern and guidance to live a fulfilled successful life and want all to come to know that. We as believers have more backbone and strength than those who don't believe because we don't just accept what man says but rely on the standard that God set before the foundation of the world.

      November 2, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • YeahRight

      "but those who do believe are not bigots or haters"

      More excuses and lies from Bob, what's new right. You are a bigot and a hater, because you won't acknowledge the new truths that have been revealed today. Part of reading comprehension 101 is putting the scriptures into historical context to get the real meaning. The writers of the bible had NO comprehension of sexual orientation since it wasn't actually studied till the 19th century. There are hundreds of thousands of expert today that have stated that being gay is not a choice, it's not a mental illness, and it can't be voluntarily changed. There is no way the writers of the bible knew that. Duuuuhhhhhh!

      Bob you're a homophobic, homophobia is an aversion to the gay lifestyle. Other definitions identify homophobia as an irrational fear of homosexuality. Yup that's you Bob you a homophobic. LMAO!

      If I was a betting person, I would say you're gay. ;-)

      November 2, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Brent

      Bob, religion-based bigotry is the foundation of anti-gay attitudes in our society and in the minds of a majority of Americans, particularly persons of faith. The term religion-based bigotry was coined because it best fits the description of the problem. The term religion-based bigotry encompasses the attitudes of prejudice, hostility or discrimination that are falsely justified by religious teachings or belief. We will never see full and equal rights unless we address the root of people’s anti-gay attitude.

      Religion-based bigotry is not synonymous with bigotry. It is a uniquely vile form of bigotry as the prejudice, hostility and discrimination behind the words are given a moral stamp of approval.

      Faith in America’s core message is that religious-based condemnation and rejection of LGBT people cause great harm to LGBT individuals and our society.

      We have learned that when we focus on the harms caused by religious hostility toward gay people – its destructive role in the lives of gay and lesbian Americans and explaining that being gay is not a lifestyle choice but is how you are born– persons of faith can understand why religion must no longer be misused to justify hostile attitudes and actions toward LGBT people.

      November 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Bob

      Brent why do you and others here use cursing and insults and no points to make a point? You don't like those that don't agree with you that is hate/bigotry. I don't hate, my conviction is not done from a emotional stand. If a doctor tells you that you are sick does he hate you? But if you in turn call him names and such doesn't that mean you hate him? You would be the bigot that is what you are and most of the rest. Like a child with a temper tantrum that calls their mother all kinds of names just because he cannot have his way is a direct comparison to you and others here. The mother knowing better doesn't give in to the child but the child looks at the mother with hateful disdain for not getting what he wants but if the mother agreed with him then for now things would be great and the child would feel affirmed. Last explanation Trump does things in real estate that he knows will make money. I'm sure that some said that he needs to go this way, yet he had the vision not to do it and is reaping the rewards. Shortsightedness by some doesn't translate to giving in or compromise that is tantamount to blackmail. That is the blind leading the blind and they both will fall into the pit.

      November 2, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bob, why do you care what others do in the privacy of their bedrooms?

      November 2, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  10. John

    "We know better. LGBTQ couples need your support, my support and the support of Christian believers everywhere
    to refrain from sinful acts that put their salvation"

    In days gone by, it was reasonable for Christians not to question conventional wisdom about the Bible. Because everyone used the Bible to justify slavery, for instance, Christians were OK with believing that some of their fellow human beings were just another species of farm animal they rightfully owned. Later, we Christians were entirely comfortable using the Bible to justify the atrocious idea that women are second-class citizens too simple-minded to be trusted with the vote.

    And up until the Internet made readily available all kinds of previously inaccessible knowledge and information, we could be excused for believing that the Bible indisputably states that God considers homosexual love a moral abomination.

    Today, however, anyone who can read, or simply watch YouTube videos, is forced to acknowledge the absolute credibility of the universe of scholarship, and the reasoning based upon it which unequivocally proves that the Bible does not, in fact, oblige Christians to believe that homosexual love, in and of itself, is necessarily any less moral than is heterosexual love.

    That closet door is now swung wide open. The truth of the matter is now there for anyone to behold.

    Christians today who take seriously the search for truth must admit that the old axiom that homosexuality is a sin has been forever reduced in status from objective truth to subjective opinion. From fact to belief. From beyond question to unquestionably dubious.

    Believing that homosexual love is a condemnable sin, in other words, is now a choice one must make.

    And what Christian - what person at all? - would choose ignorant condemnation over enlightened love?

    November 1, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  11. YeahRight

    "Most who respond are atheists and low lifes so they dont know what they are talking about."

    That's why Bob ignores the hundred of thousands of experts in this country.

    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.

    November 1, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • tallulah13

      Bob is an empty-headed bigot. Douglas is either Bob with another screen name, a liar, or a sad individual indoctrinated into self-hate by a mythology-based cult. No news here.

      November 1, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  12. Douglas

    It is time to stand up against the bullying of LGBTQ couples who strive for celibacy.

    LGBTQ fornicators find joy in attacking celibate LGBTQ Christians in this forum...they have made it a sport.

    The LGBTQ fornicators in this forum continue to dissemble with false and disengenuous arguments about
    how we need to "reinterpret" the Bible to accept all forms of LGBTQ fornication as examples of "loving, committed,
    relationships".

    This is heresy since it is in direct contradiction to Old and New Testament guidance against LGBTQ coitus.

    The Bible warns us about these lies. Look no further than 2 Corinthians 11:14:

    "No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."

    Stop bullying LGBTQ Christians who are serious about their faith and strive for celibacy.

    Celibate LGBTQ Christians will be saved!

    November 1, 2012 at 6:56 am |
    • William

      Please don't listen to ignorant people like this Douglas and those like him they are posting from a place of hate. Just as too much sexual activity can harm your prostate gland, no activity in your prostate gland can also cause serious health problems. Sex is a normal for overall well being and health. Douglas is coming from a place of ignorance, hatred and prejudice so please don't listen to anything he posts.

      November 1, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • James

      "This is heresy since it is in direct contradiction"

      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.

      November 1, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  13. Bob

    Deu 17:1 "You shall not sacrifice to the LORD your God a sheep which has a blemish or any defect, for that is a detestable thing to the LORD your God.
    Deu 22:5 "A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.
    Deu 23:1 "No one who is emasculated or has his male organ cut off shall enter the assembly of the LORD. .
    Lev 20:13 'If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.
    1Ki_15:12 He also put away the male cult prost from the land and removed all the idols which his fathers had made.

    October 31, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • YeahRight

      This is how stupid and ignorant this poster is Christians don't follow Leviticus anymore, it's part of the Holiness Code, a ritual manual for Israel's priests.. LMAO! Keep showing people Bob that you are only here to try and justify your unfounded hate and bigotry toward the gay community. You post crap from well known hate groups that have been proven wrong over and over again. It's also why the hundred of thousands of experts in this country came together and release the statements they did. They are showing America that people like you are lying about the facts.

      November 1, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Bob

      Yeah is a atheist trying to tell a Christian what the Bible says and why. Not a good Idea to talk about something you know nothing about.

      November 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Bob' is an instance of the ad hominem fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      November 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  14. Bob

    As usual the typical stuff that Yeah and his many alias posts and reposts. All a lies all a bunch of BS. The only one with truth is Douglas because he lives the life and walks the steps. Most who respond are atheists and low lifes so they dont know what they are talking about.

    October 31, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • YeahRight

      " All a lies all a bunch of BS"

      The one that is lying here is you. It's because of prejudice and hateful people like you that the hundred of thousands of experts in this country came together and released these statements because they know that people like you are lying about the facts.

      November 1, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  15. JP

    " from sinful acts"

    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?

    October 31, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  16. James

    "Let us respect and dignify the practice of celibacy for our celibate LGBTQ brothers and sisters."

    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.

    October 31, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  17. Janet

    "There is no condemnation for LGBTQ Christians who strive to practice celibacy."

    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.

    October 31, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  18. Douglas

    There is no condemnation for LGBTQ Christians who strive to practice celibacy.

    Let us respect and dignify the practice of celibacy for our celibate LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

    There are bullies out there who would try to seize on the opportunnity to mock celibate LGBTQ believers as
    wimps because they fail to surrender to the temptation to fornicate at any opportunity that presents itself.

    We know better. LGBTQ couples need your support, my support and the support of Christian believers everywhere
    to refrain from sinful acts that put their salvation at risk.

    Together let's honor and respect our celibate LGBTQ heroes.

    Please keep all who have suffered in the crisis brought about by Hurricane Sandy in your prayers.

    October 31, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Melvin

      "There is no condemnation for LGBTQ Christians who strive to practice celibacy.

      Let us respect and dignify the practice of celibacy for our celibate LGBTQ brothers and sisters."

      You are wrong regardless of how many times you post this. 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.

      October 31, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • William

      Please don't listen to ignorant people like this Douglas and those like him. Just as too much sexual activity can harm your prostate gland, no activity in your prostate gland can also cause serious health problems. Sex is a normal for overall well being and health. Douglas is coming from a place of ignorance, hatred and prejudice so please don't listen to anything he posts.

      October 31, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  19. Ramon

    The other day I decided to take a break to watch Mythbu sters, one of my most DVR'd shows. Each episode, hosts Adam and Jamie and their team turn physics into fun by proving or disproving common urban legends and household myths. Can an alligator really travel up a toilet? Can ninjas run on water? Will your stomach explode if you eat Mentos and Diet Coke? The myths are endless and so are the old wives tales to which we model our habits.

    I watch with nerdy fascination as they blow things up and crush other things. I usually believe the scientific explanations given by Adam, Jamie and the other uber-geeks. But for some reason there was one myth-buster I had a difficult time believing. It was the legend that bullets that fly in the air can kill people on their way back down to Earth.

    No matter how many times Adam and Jamie proved that the impact of a bullet coming back down to Earth after being shot straight in the air is not fatal, I shook my head in disbelief. I've never experienced a gunshot, neither have I met a person who has been injured by a descending bullet. Yet, I still found it hard to believe Adam and Jamie. I believed every other mythbuster they presented. Why not this one?

    After probably too much thought, I realized that the reason why I refused to believe was because I fear gun and bullets. So no matter what proof was presented to me, my natural instinct was to gravitate towards what has always been ingrained in my head: Guns are bad and bullets kill. I had no proof, just fear. And that fear taught me to hold on to what I've always been told, without question.

    I'm not advocating for guns or the fun of physics; I'm showing you how easily we can revert back to what we've always been taught when a topic becomes too sensitive or causes great pain. This often happens when one is dealing with being gay and religious.

    I'm sure you've heard it all, especially being as devout as you are: Gay people are going to hell; homosexuality is an abomination; God hates gays... The list of sins and the interpretations are endless and so is your confusion.

    As I learned, seeing is not always believing; and believing is definitely not always seeing.

    I don't believe God would put a gay person on this Earth to be an "abomination." Being gay is not bad; it's who you are—a loving creation of God. I won't lie, there are many people in your faith that will try and convince you otherwise. All I can urge is that you trust yourself, your own feelings and your own relationship with God.

    Don't get caught in the religious hype that preaches of a hateful deity or a list of sins with no practical relevance. Bust the myth and trust in your own proof: Your love for God and his love for you.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  20. 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.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:17 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.