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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 • My Take • Opinion

soundoff (15,115 Responses)
  1. Bob

    As usual Tom is holding up 3 states that have approved gay marriage. When over 30 have resolutions banning gay marriage, The majority of the country knows that there is no justification in gay marriage and the country doesn't want it.

    November 13, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Can't answer the question, then, Boob?

      Thanks for confirming my beliefs about you and your sock puppets.

      November 13, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • midwest rail

      TTPS – of course he can't and won't answer, unless it is to regurgitate decades old stats that have since been shown to be false.To answer honestly would skewer the illusion that Bob's sense of self importance is built on. As it is, his ego is so over inflated that I suspect the only place he could buy a hat would be the tourist gift shop – on Easter Island.

      November 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • == o ==

      LOL. The boob just gets more booby as time goes on.

      November 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • End Religion

      Bob, have you begun doomsday prepping for when the majority of states pass gay marriage and legalize pot, causing the federal government to then consider it?

      November 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • mama k

      It matters not what you think the country wants, Bob. That's because you are on the wrong side of a civil rights issue. Civil rights guaranteed by our Constitution. And although the basic rights our government has afforded has changed little, what has changed is laws and rulings that better and better uphold those basic principles. It's happened many times before, it will happen for this cause, and I'm sure it will continue to be applied in better ways in the future. So get ready, Bob. There is absolutely no stopping the gay marriage issue because, as others have pointed out, it is a civil rights issue and those state laws against it will all soon be found unconstitutional. And it matters not what's in the Bible (which I'm sure you've found many who disagree with you on that), because our country was not founded on what's in the Bible. In fact, the people who founded our country were pretty PO'd at organized religion at the time because of fighting between religious fanatics like yourself (and because they were a little high on Deism).

      November 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      mama k, Booby's head is spinning. It's makin' me dizzy.

      November 13, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • mama k

      Another sign Bob that your kind is on the way out is the growing number of churches and associations who are accepting of gays. I never would have thought I would see this my lifetime, but we now have gays in leadership positions in various denominations. And who would have thought that we would now have something called the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists. My goodness. Religion is not my thing, but the writing on the wall is clear. But as I said, too much is already in motion regarding civil rights, so you better get ready. Bob.

      November 13, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  2. Bob

    As usual Tom is holding up 3 states that have approved gay marriage. When over 30 have resolutions banning gay marriage and they only passed by a incredibly slim margin. These states are already ones that have very liberal bias.

    November 13, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yes, Boob, we already know the margin was slim in many of the states that banned gay marriage. Eventually, this will be decided in the SCOTUS, honey. What are you going to do then? Have a temper tantrum? Tear your hair out?

      I still haven't seen you post a single negative consequence of legalizing gay marriage, Boob. When are you going to do that? Or are you just going to squirm and squeal ineffectually, as usual?

      November 13, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Bob

      The rise in the gay preference is shown among children raised by gay parents, that children raised by gay parents were much more likely to be open to same or gay relationships than those raised by straight parents. For example, only 61% of children of gay mothers reported themselves to be entirely hetero compared to 90% from straight likewise, only 71% of children of gay fathers reported themselves to be "entirely hetero This data shows that nurture has a large effect on preference and discredits the claim that people are born gay. This is one negative result.

      November 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Of course Bob is leaving this part of it out. "When all the data of the Regnerus study are combined into gay vs. straight, many of the differences between the groups tend to disappear."

      Bob doesn't want to believe the studies that were done by the hundreds of thousands of experts in this country that have stated. 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.

      Bob is a prejudice bigot and will post lies from well know hate groups and justify their own hatred of the gay community.

      November 13, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Bob

      Yeah leaves this fact out that when these difference disappear, it is because the family of male female is BROKEN UP when that happens the differences are not so dramatic but still there. But regardless there is still the a dramatic rise in the children who are much more likely to go gay which also blows away the lie that it is genetic and is one more consequence of approval of gays to adopt children. much less marry. This is why I posted this because these facts cannot be disputed. So again we are lied to buy the atheists and gays like yeah. The courts do not decide what marriage is people do and the people set up marriage and the courts have run roughshod over the people. Just like people said you cant marry your sister.

      November 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Erik

      " blows away the lie that it is genetic"

      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.

      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!"

      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).

      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.

      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 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "So again we are lied to buy the atheists and gays like yeah."

      More lies from Bob again, but he has to lie because there are no facts that support his prejudice and hatred toward the gay community.

      "On the basis of a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children, the American Psychological Association and other health, professional, and scientific organizations have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation," "That is, lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children. This body of research has shown that the adjustment, development, and psychological well-being of children are unrelated to parental sexual orientation and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish."

      The APA was responding to the "New Family Structures Study," which called into question the effectiveness of gay parenting. But according to several equality groups, the study is majorly flawed.

      Of course it was done by well known hate group that have been proven over and over again their research is flawed and prejudice.

      November 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Wrong as usual, Boob. You're not very good at being honest, are you? You cite studies that don't show what you claim and don't even provide a link because you're so stupid you can't figure how to do it without getting your post kicked by the filter. You pea-brain, there is NO evidence that children of gay couples are more likely to BE gay than children of straight couples.

      Why do you lie?

      November 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • EndTheHate

      "children raised by gay parents"

      Like their heterosexual counterparts, many gay and lesbian people want to form stable, long-lasting, committed relationships. Indeed, many of them do and that large proportions are currently involved in such a relationship and that a substantial number of those couples have been together 10 or more years.

      Research demonstrates that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-sex partners closely resemble those of heterosexual partnerships. Like heterosexual couples, same-sex couples form deep emotional attachments and commitments. Heterosexual and same-sex couples alike face similar issues concerning intimacy, love, equity, loyalty, and stability, and they go through similar processes to address those issues. Empirical research examining the quality of intimate relationships also shows that gay and lesbian couples have levels of relationship satisfaction similar to or higher than those of heterosexual couples.

      A large number of gay and lesbian couples raise children. Children and teenagers whose parents provide loving guidance in the context of secure home environments are more likely to flourish – and this is just as true for children of same-sex parents as it is for children of opposite-sex parents. Based on research findings, mental health professionals have also reached a consensus that the quality of relationships among significant adults in a child’s or adolescent’s life is associated with adjustment. When relationships between parents are characterized by love, warmth, cooperation, security, and mutual support, children and adolescents are more likely to show positive adjustment. In contrast, when relationships between parents are conflict-ridden and acrimonious, the adjustment of children and adolescents is likely to be less favorable. These correlations are just as true for children of same-sex parents as for children of opposite-sex parents.

      Assertions that heterosexual couples are inherently better parents than same sex couples, or that the children of lesbian or gay parents fare worse than children of heterosexual parents, have no support in the scientific research literature. On the contrary, the scientific research that has directly compared outcomes for children with gay and lesbian parents with outcomes for children with heterosexual parents has consistently shown that the former are as fit and capable as the latter and that their children are as psychologically healthy and well adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents.

      November 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  3. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    So, Lookin' Stupid, Loopy, and Boob are unable to hazard any predictions as to what will transpire for Maine and Maryland now that the MAJORITY OF THE VOTERS VOTED TO MAKE IT LEGAL FOR GAYS TO MARRY. What a shock. They can't find a single shred of evidence based on what's occurred in other nations and in other states that backs up their nonsensical beliefs that some enormous harm will come from allowing less than 10% of the population to marry someone of the same gender.

    Morons.

    November 13, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • ImLook'nUp

      The wisdom of God shall prevail. Always does!

      The words of a proud woman will fail.

      : )

      November 13, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So you can't come up with a single instance in which gay marriage has had any negative consequences to our society, to our government, or even to your silly churches?

      I didn't think you could.

      November 13, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Lorraine

      tom piper, why do you keep including me in your animosity? I have no grip with gay being legal, for as i've said several times, its to be expected, its a law by man, so anything may conspire with man without YHWH . Especially when I've been taught by the Most High YHWH, that this will happen, its all been prophesied, as i've said before in Jeremiah 50:37, Malachi 3:13-15, and in Isaiah 3:12. As i explained, these kinds of things isn't new, and Y HWH tells us this truth in Isaiah 43:18, of Him doing a new thing (FUTURE PROPHESY), as He did a long time ago, today He's doing it, a 'sword' is upon the earth since the days of old of many going astray, and until we return to the law well, this is what we got, life anit easy. He will avenge all of these iniquities.

      This book is juxtaposed its a comparison to let us see what we are doing just as we did in the past, we think we have advanced, but we are actually going backwards, forgetting what is truly important in life; it is now called sophisticated ignorance to the law. So, to each his own, its not my call tom, only the King YHWH, has the answer. We all are responsible for our own righteousness, we have to answer for 'our own', this is why its not my call, and is not mine to care, or judge about, im not gay. YHWH BLESS.

      November 13, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • ImLook'nUp

      God joins male and female into union. Never did He join man + man or woman + woman in a marriage setting. When you find the Scripture to support it, please show it to us.

      Society falls when Godly ways are put aside. It was true yesterday and it will be true today and tomorrow.

      You justify the right to join man + man or woman + woman in marriage because you want them to be seen under the law as a normal condition as being. It is not so. I would never support such a measure.

      I answer to a Holy Father, Jesus my Savior and The Holy Spirit. I know whom to seek true wisdom from.

      November 13, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • YeahRight

      "the law as a normal condition as being"

      LMAO – there are hundreds of thousands of experts in this country that have proven it's a "normal condition of being." They 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."

      So you're clueless about the real truth.

      November 13, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • ImLook'nUp

      The truth is: man + man or a woman + woman in a marriage setting is false.

      November 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Brent

      "The truth is: man + man or a woman + woman in a marriage setting is false."

      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.

      In the Bible, the patriarch of the Hebrew people, Abraham, and his wife, Sarah, couldn’t have children so Sarah put forth her slave Hagar for Abraham to have children by.

      In Old Testament times, it was normal, sometimes even required for a man to take multiple wives. A man having multiple wives was accepted by the church as late as the 5th Century, 500 years after the teachings set forth in the New Testament. The church for a very long time apparently did not interpret biblical teaching as an edict for one-man, one-woman marriage.

      The tradition of marital unions in the 1700s and 1800s in America doesn’t seem to measure up to God-ordained – especially from the female perspective.

      One third of brides were pregnant at the altar in Concord, Massachusetts during the 20 years prior to the American Revolution.

      In this quote from a wedding couple in 1855, we see that the church had no problem blessing a legal marriage that was considered by many – including this couple – as a violation of the woman’s dignity and civil rights:

      “We believe that personal independence and equal human rights can never be forfeited, except for crime; that marriage should be an equal and permanent partnership, and so recognized by law; that until it is so recognized, married partners should provide against the radical injustice of present laws, by every means in their power…”

      So we can look back and see that religious teachings which uphold the ideals of love, dignity, compassion and respect for each person within marital unions throughout history has taken a back seat.

      In other words, the definition of a God-ordained tradition of marriage has never been constant rather it has evolved.

      History shows us it’s the marital union that should be uplifted…not the evolving traditions of a social institution. In other words, it’s not about how we come together but why.

      Rev. Mark Gallagher, a Unitarian minister, in 2004 asked “what about a marriage could have that quality of spiritual beauty? What makes for sacredness in a marriage?” He names four things.

      “First and foremost, mutual love. A feeling of heightened affection, respect, concern, and appreciation between marital partners. It gives a certain sparkle to the time spent together, and potentially to the entire experience of life. The presence of love makes a marriage sacred.

      “Fidelity contributes to the sacredness of a marriage. Commitments fulfilled. Coming through. Hanging in. Placing the integrity of the relationship over personal preference and convenience. It builds a powerful trust. Fidelity makes a marriage sacred.

      “Intimacy brings sacredness in a marriage. When two people reveal themselves to one another over time, they cannot help but gain acquaintance with the deep regions of the human experience. They get to know one another, of course. But more importantly, they get to know themselves.

      Through relating intimately over time, deeper honesty and authenticity become possible. This is the spiritual journey to know and be known, behind the public charade, however subtle or crude that may be.

      “And forgiveness generates sacredness in a marriage. We all make mistakes and need forgiveness. Our spiritual liberation requires that we become masters of forgiveness letting go of resentment for slights and injuries. The prolonged togetherness of marriage will present myriad opportunities for the practice of forgiveness. When forgiveness flows freely, there is a palpable quality of gentleness and compassion.”

      Does the heterosexual couple uniting in marriage today lift up the union as characterized by love, fidelity, intimacy and forgiveness. We expect they do and we suspect those characteristics as Gallagher concluded in his sermon are what exude sacredness.

      We also know that gay and lesbian couples uphold those same characteristics for their unions. Why would they not? Why would a parent of a gay son or daughter not want their child to enjoy the happiness derived from a lifelong devotion to those characteristics? Why would a brother or sister with a gay sibling not want their brother or sister to enjoy the happiness derived from a lifelong devotion to those characteristics?

      Why would a person of faith not want the gay or lesbian individual to enjoy the happiness derived from the pursuit of marriage sanctity?

      Why would we as Americans not want our government and its laws to recognize that same marriage sanctity for gay and lesbian individuals in their pursuit of liberty and happiness?

      There can be only one reason and that is because many of us have been conditioned by years of misguided church teaching to look upon gay and lesbian individuals as morally inferior, unworthy and therefore undeserving of that which we uphold as good and sanctified in our lives.

      November 13, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • End Religion

      hilarious! lorraine asks why Tome why include her in a rant about insane assholes and then goes on to act like an insane asshole. Comedy gold!

      November 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Apparently, with all that "looking up" Looky Loo does, it can't find a shred of proof that gay marriage is in any way harmful.

      Thanks, Looky. I knew I could count on you!

      November 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • End Religion

      sorry, horribly butchered...

      Hilarious! Lorraine asks why Tom would include her in a rant about insane assholes and then goes on to act like an insane asshole. Comedy gold!

      November 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • End Religion

      ImLook'nUp, find evidence to support scripture being anything but manmade myths, then maybe we'd take it seriously. until then, marriage is between any 2 consenting adults. Ramen.

      November 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  4. Erik

    "This data shows that nurture has a large effect on preference and discredits the claim that people are born gay."

    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 13, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  5. Bob

    The Bible says there is no justification for gay marriage nor gay copulation. The rise in the gay preference is shown among children raised by gay parents, that children raised by gay parents were much more likely to be open to same s relationships than those raised by straight parents. For example, only 61% of children of les mothers reported themselves to be entirely hetero compared to 90% from straight likewise, only 71% of children of gay fathers reported themselves to be "entirely hetero This data shows that nurture has a large effect on preference and discredits the claim that people are born gay.

    November 13, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • YeahRight

      Hey look more prejudice and bigoted posts from Bob full of lies from well known hate groups that don't base their reports on real facts. The hundred of thousands of experts in this country have stated that 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.

      Notice the part that states prejudices that are "unfounded" – just like Bob's prejudice and hatred toward the gay community.

      November 13, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      The Babble is 100% pure bullsh!t. Prove me wrong!

      November 13, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nobody cares what is "justified" in your bigoted, hateful view, Boob. Maryland and Maine voters proved it. Gay marriage is legal in those states and others will follow. Your god can't stop it and neither can you.

      Now, when are you going to provide evidence that gay marriage has caused ANY harm to society in countries and states where it's already been legal for some time, Boob? Or are you pretending you just don't "feel like answering" again?

      November 13, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  6. Brent

    "what the Lord says about it."

    Religion-based bigotry use religious teachings to justify discrimination against Native Americans, African Americans, minority religious groups, woman and interracial couples.

    Connecting the dots between historical bigotry against other groups and the attitudes of some people today toward homosexuality is one of the most effective ways to educate people about the denial of equal rights to the LGBT community.

    Most people know that, historically, religion has been used to justify discrimination against women, religious minorities and people of color. Putting anti-gay religious beliefs in this historical context can be a powerful tool in connecting discrimination that most Americans today accept as morally wrong and the discrimination faced by LGBT people. By citing historical instances of religion-based bigotry and prejudice, you allow people to be more comfortable with attitudinal change – they realize they are not stepping out alone against a commonly accepted viewpoint but rather following historical progress toward justice and equality.

    When talking about the misuse of religion to justify discrimination in the past, it is important not to say that the LGBT community’s struggle with discrimination is exactly the same as the Civil Rights Movement. Rather, the point is that religion-based bigotry has been a common denominator of injustice toward many groups in American society’s past. When given a chance, many people will see the underlying historical pattern of using religious teachings and beliefs to justify harmful discrimination.

    There is another benefit to citing other times in the past when religious teachings have been used to justify discrimination. Many times, when people of faith are challenged about their anti-gay views, they cite biblical verses or other religious texts as a safe haven when they are unable to articulate why they hold prejudiced attitudes toward LGBT people. Instead of telling people that their interpretation is wrong, you can remind them that other religious texts have been used in the past to justify attitudes and laws that are recognized today as morally wrong and unjust – such as discrimination against women, people of color and religious minorities.

    History provides the moral judgment, and we do not have to be theologians engaged in scriptural debates to point people to the judgment rendered by history.

    November 13, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  7. YeahRight

    " nothing that anyone can do to make it pretty, nice, sweet, loving"

    It's actually hundreds of thousands of experts that are saying it which is why no one should listen to hateful and prejudice people like you. 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."

    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 13, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  8. John

    " marriage between one man and one woman."

    Some argue that since homosexual behavior is "unnatural" it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.

    Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.

    There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally, it might be well for the one quoting to read the text in its entirety.

    Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman. Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and Romans 1: 26-27). But homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment visited upon idolaters by God because of their unfaithfulness. Homosexuality was not the sin but the punishment.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Sexual perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual liaison.

    Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of homosexual behavior. But was Paul's opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been challenged and transcended even by the church! Is Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned ideas?

    Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy, Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter respectively).

    That is all that Scripture has to say about homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist, these references do not build an ironclad case for condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition toward those of their own sex.

    November 13, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Bob

      Gay copulation is a abomination in the Bible, God gave us the pattern for marriage and marriage does not sanctify gay copulation. There is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible..

      November 13, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Melvin

      "Gay copulation is a abomination"

      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 13, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Brent

      " God gave us the pattern for marriage"

      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.

      In the Bible, the patriarch of the Hebrew people, Abraham, and his wife, Sarah, couldn’t have children so Sarah put forth her slave Hagar for Abraham to have children by.

      In Old Testament times, it was normal, sometimes even required for a man to take multiple wives. A man having multiple wives was accepted by the church as late as the 5th Century, 500 years after the teachings set forth in the New Testament. The church for a very long time apparently did not interpret biblical teaching as an edict for one-man, one-woman marriage.

      The tradition of marital unions in the 1700s and 1800s in America doesn’t seem to measure up to God-ordained – especially from the female perspective.

      One third of brides were pregnant at the altar in Concord, Massachusetts during the 20 years prior to the American Revolution.

      In this quote from a wedding couple in 1855, we see that the church had no problem blessing a legal marriage that was considered by many – including this couple – as a violation of the woman’s dignity and civil rights:

      “We believe that personal independence and equal human rights can never be forfeited, except for crime; that marriage should be an equal and permanent partnership, and so recognized by law; that until it is so recognized, married partners should provide against the radical injustice of present laws, by every means in their power…”

      So we can look back and see that religious teachings which uphold the ideals of love, dignity, compassion and respect for each person within marital unions throughout history has taken a back seat.

      In other words, the definition of a God-ordained tradition of marriage has never been constant rather it has evolved.

      History shows us it’s the marital union that should be uplifted…not the evolving traditions of a social institution. In other words, it’s not about how we come together but why.

      Rev. Mark Gallagher, a Unitarian minister, in 2004 asked “what about a marriage could have that quality of spiritual beauty? What makes for sacredness in a marriage?” He names four things.

      “First and foremost, mutual love. A feeling of heightened affection, respect, concern, and appreciation between marital partners. It gives a certain sparkle to the time spent together, and potentially to the entire experience of life. The presence of love makes a marriage sacred.

      “Fidelity contributes to the sacredness of a marriage. Commitments fulfilled. Coming through. Hanging in. Placing the integrity of the relationship over personal preference and convenience. It builds a powerful trust. Fidelity makes a marriage sacred.

      “Intimacy brings sacredness in a marriage. When two people reveal themselves to one another over time, they cannot help but gain acquaintance with the deep regions of the human experience. They get to know one another, of course. But more importantly, they get to know themselves.

      Through relating intimately over time, deeper honesty and authenticity become possible. This is the spiritual journey to know and be known, behind the public charade, however subtle or crude that may be.

      “And forgiveness generates sacredness in a marriage. We all make mistakes and need forgiveness. Our spiritual liberation requires that we become masters of forgiveness letting go of resentment for slights and injuries. The prolonged togetherness of marriage will present myriad opportunities for the practice of forgiveness. When forgiveness flows freely, there is a palpable quality of gentleness and compassion.”

      Does the heterosexual couple uniting in marriage today lift up the union as characterized by love, fidelity, intimacy and forgiveness. We expect they do and we suspect those characteristics as Gallagher concluded in his sermon are what exude sacredness.

      We also know that gay and lesbian couples uphold those same characteristics for their unions. Why would they not? Why would a parent of a gay son or daughter not want their child to enjoy the happiness derived from a lifelong devotion to those characteristics? Why would a brother or sister with a gay sibling not want their brother or sister to enjoy the happiness derived from a lifelong devotion to those characteristics?

      Why would a person of faith not want the gay or lesbian individual to enjoy the happiness derived from the pursuit of marriage sanctity?

      Why would we as Americans not want our government and its laws to recognize that same marriage sanctity for gay and lesbian individuals in their pursuit of liberty and happiness?

      There can be only one reason and that is because many of us have been conditioned by years of misguided church teaching to look upon gay and lesbian individuals as morally inferior, unworthy and therefore undeserving of that which which we uphold as good and sanctified in our lives.

      November 13, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Bob

      To show the perversion that the atheists insist on lets take the following phrase
      "The Scriptures at no point deal with gay copulation as an authentic s orientation, a given condition of being". Actually this is a correct statement why because when the Bible says gay is a abomination it does not give any instance that something that God says is a abomination can be made holy and acceptable, because it cannot be in any form. A further hint of what God means is said in this statement, a man cannot even wear woman's clothing. A sin committed and acted upon cannot be made righteous in any form. Repentance is the forgiveness of sin and the turning away from that sin. Indulgence in any sin is a walking away from Gods commandments and a walking away from God. It is distancing you from God. You can desire for a change but to continue in that sin is rebellion. So why do we have to distort the Bible because there is no justification for gay marriage and if we want to commit a sinful act and want to feel justified we have to lie and change the standard. When your parents told you not to do something, no variation on that act was acceptable to do. so whats not to understand?

      November 13, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Damocles

      @Bob

      My parents told me to stay away from a hot stove when I was younger. Should I continue to avoid hot stoves now that I'm older? The variation of my age shouldn't matter, right?

      November 13, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • End Religion

      "There is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible"

      There is no justification for the Bible.

      November 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  9. James

    "who can come to the conclusions that he or she is right...and that God is wrong"

    No one is saying God is wrong, we are saying the people who wrote the bible didn't understand sexual orientation. 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 13, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  10. End Religion

    there are "infallible words of god" supporting not only the gay lifestyle, but also that one should have lots of sex, paid and otherwise.

    2 Corinthians 9:6 - The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

    Ecclesiastes 11:6 - In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

    Luke 8:11 - Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

    Galatians - For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

    2 Corinthians 9:12 - For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.

    Acts 20:35 - In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

    1 Corinthians 9:11 - If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?
    (the above supports prostitution)

    November 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • AvdBergism source of filthyRainerBraendleinism©

      True gutter hind Christian bible se x with seeds. Filthy.

      November 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  11. Douglas

    Amber and Julie, a lesbian couple at our church, just celebrated two yerars of celibate living!

    We celebrated with them with cake, ice cream, and punch. Amber and Julie continue to set an example and are
    wonderful role models and mentors for young LGBTQ adults struggling to free themselves from the death grip of fornication
    and LGBTQ coitus.

    LGBTQ celibacy is completely consistent with Biblical guidance.

    Gay marriage is anathema to Biblical direction for marriage between one man and one woman.

    All the best to Amber and Julie today!

    Douglas

    November 12, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      You're such a fu*cking loser.

      November 12, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Douglas", but "TheVocalAtheist"'s assertion is correct – you are, in fact, a "fucking loser".

      November 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Douglas

      @TheVocalAtheist

      If you don't like what the Bible teaches, find another religion to practice fornication with.
      I will pray for you to cease the acts of fornication that have condemned your soul to the lake of fire.
      It is never too late to move toward celibacy. You will be a happier soul!

      November 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • End Religion

      Sex is perfectly natural. What the fuck is wrong with you?

      November 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Douglas", but the "lake of fire" is mythological, therefore, "TheVocalAtheist" cannot go there.

      November 12, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I'm betting Amber and Julie ate more than cake that night. God seems to be much more against humans growing back amputated limbs than he is against any sort of s3x between any two people.

      November 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • William

      "LGBTQ celibacy is completely consistent with Biblical guidance. "

      Please don't listen to ignorant and hateful people like 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 13, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Why would any right thinking (sane) couple celebrate their celibacy with any "third persons"? It's no one's business but their own.

      November 13, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  12. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    So, Lookin' Stupid, Loopy, and Boob are unable to hazard any predictions as to what will transpire for Maine and Maryland now that the MAJORITY OF THE VOTERS VOTED TO MAKE IT LEGAL FOR GAYS TO MARRY. What a shock. They can't find a single shred of evidence based on what's occurred in other nations and in other states that backs up their nonsensical beliefs that some enormous harm will come from allowing less than 10% of the population to marry someone of the same gender.

    Morons.

    November 12, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  13. Osen

    All of the public figures and the rich or elites can endorse this until the end of time. Shape it, color it, bend it and repackage it, legislate it and post it on signs. The fact is if you believe the words of God and the teachings of Jesus, this practice is an abomination and nothing that anyone can do to make it pretty, nice, sweet, loving or any other thing to make it acceptable can override what the Lord says about it.

    And I want to add..... I am a born again Christian and I came to Christianity in my 30s after leading a riotous life. Becoming a Christian and putting on the New Man was as hard for me as anything I've ever done but I have stayed with it and made a lot of progress.

    As I have progressed in my Christian walk I've learned that the Lord is right on every single issue related to our lives and I certainly do challenge the "Christianity" of anyone....anyone....who can come to the conclusions that he or she is right...and that God is wrong....on this particular subject. If you profess to be a Christian and still believe that this kind of behavior is acceptable in God's eyes you're listening to the wrong Spirit.
    God made Adam and Eve....not Adam and Steve. 'Nough said.

    November 12, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • midwest rail

      That's WONderful. Now show me where it says any of that in the Consti-tution.

      November 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Douglas

      Osen,

      Good point!

      It is odd that practicing LGBTQ folk who wallow in fornication would frequent a Christian centered forum to challenge
      the Holy Bible, but in our anything goes society it's not surprising.

      It is sort of like you as a Chrisitan going to a Mormon website and reinterpreting the cult of Mormonism to fit into a Christian perspective. The two don't mix. Similarly here, LGBTQ apologist and open fornicators try to hijack the Bible and dissemble about what the Bible says about LGBTQ coitus.

      LGBTQ coitus is condemned as a sin in the Bible. It can't be reinterpreted or hijacked for the personal satisfaction of the sinner.

      Gay marriage may be possible in a secular society but it remains contrary to Christian experience and teaching.

      Keep up the good work Osen and thanks for remaining a defender of the faith!

      Best,
      Douglas

      November 12, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • End Religion

      Osen I'm a good God-fearing Christian as well. I have some property in Florida that is a very good deal right now. Unfortunately there are others looking at it that are very interested. I'm afraid it won't be available much longer but God has spoken to me and wants me to make sure the property goes to a good Chrisitan owner. I need your deposit immediately or you might miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity. Please PayPal a deposit as soon as possible. Thanks, and God Bless!

      November 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  14. midwest rail

    Well done, Maine. Well done, Maryland. Two victories for rational discourse.

    November 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  15. Bob

    There is no justification of gay marriage in the bible

    November 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Bob

      You said, "There is no justification of gay marriage in the bible"
      Who gives a fuck what that rag of yours says?

      November 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Bob

      Obviously you and a few others do because you try to slander it and change the words for acceptance

      November 12, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Bob

      You said, "Obviously you and a few others do because you try to slander it and change the words for acceptance"
      Nah. I couldn't care less what that piece of garbage says about anything. I care what deluded believers like you think it says, because you can't seem to help yourself, and feel the urge to push that bullshit on the sane part of society.

      If you think your imaginary friend doesn't want you to enter into a same sex marriage, feel free not to. Nobody is trying to force you to. But have the fucking decency to keep your delusion out of the lives of others. You have no right to expect anyone else to be just as deluded as you are. Your religion has no bearing on the lives of anyone else.

      November 12, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Douglas

      Touche'

      Nice work Bob! You remain the heavyweight champ of the forum.

      Best,
      Douglas

      November 12, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • End Religion

      There is no justification of the bible.

      November 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Doogie: "the heavyweight champ of the forum. (bob)

      LMAO! uh, maybe a half a notch above truth be mold. lol

      November 12, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Evelyn

      "You remain the heavyweight champ of the forum."

      All of his posts are filled with hatred and prejudice while twisting the bible he is uneducated and ignorant of the facts. That is not a champ of love and compassion that Christ teaches in the bible.

      November 13, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  16. Erik

    "The orientation was made by God"

    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 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Marius

      HERE'S LIES THE PROBLEM CNN. IF YOU WANT TO PROMOTE THAT BEING GAY IS NORMAL, THAT IS FINE. BUT ONCE YOU BEGIN TO BRING RELIGION INTO THE MIX TO JUSTIFY SOMETHING AS CONTROVERSIAL AS THIS THEN THAT IS WHERE YOU BEGIN TO LIE AND TRY TO DECEIVE OTHER PEOPLE. STICK TO YOUR PROGRESSIVE IDEAS AND LEAVE THE BIBLE OUT OF IT. FREAK.

      November 12, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Lorraine

      Marius, the only problem with your post is, one of the posters here gave a comment on the fact that many churches, ministers, priest, clergymen,politician, other high officials, doctors, lawyers, etc. etc. are all gay, and to be honest its kinda, or is true, there are many catholics, and other professionals, and many people of this society who are gay. As i told the poster, i think something was put in the food back in the 70s until now, even more so now, and many are popping up, or even being born who knows. I have no problem, as you say it is a man's law now accepted, but of course it is not of the King Almighty YHWH, Creator of all 'life' MAN, the earth, the heavens, and the waters, never. I'm not to judge, but the King YHWH can dear. So to each his own. Praise YHWH.

      November 12, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  17. YeahRight

    " The differences allowing them to deal with children, life, and relationships."

    This is how prejudice and stupid this poster is because they can't grasp that gays and lesbians have the same type of relationships. The experts in this country 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."

    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 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  18. 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. There is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible

    November 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Melvin

      " There is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible"

      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 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Brent

      "When man is joined with woman the emotions balance each other and add to each other"

      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.

      In the Bible, the patriarch of the Hebrew people, Abraham, and his wife, Sarah, couldn’t have children so Sarah put forth her slave Hagar for Abraham to have children by.

      In Old Testament times, it was normal, sometimes even required for a man to take multiple wives. A man having multiple wives was accepted by the church as late as the 5th Century, 500 years after the teachings set forth in the New Testament. The church for a very long time apparently did not interpret biblical teaching as an edict for one-man, one-woman marriage.

      The tradition of marital unions in the 1700s and 1800s in America doesn’t seem to measure up to God-ordained – especially from the female perspective.

      One third of brides were pregnant at the altar in Concord, Massachusetts during the 20 years prior to the American Revolution.

      In this quote from a wedding couple in 1855, we see that the church had no problem blessing a legal marriage that was considered by many – including this couple – as a violation of the woman’s dignity and civil rights:

      “We believe that personal independence and equal human rights can never be forfeited, except for crime; that marriage should be an equal and permanent partnership, and so recognized by law; that until it is so recognized, married partners should provide against the radical injustice of present laws, by every means in their power…”

      So we can look back and see that religious teachings which uphold the ideals of love, dignity, compassion and respect for each person within marital unions throughout history has taken a back seat.

      In other words, the definition of a God-ordained tradition of marriage has never been constant rather it has evolved.

      History shows us it’s the marital union that should be uplifted…not the evolving traditions of a social institution. In other words, it’s not about how we come together but why.

      A minister asked “what about a marriage could have that quality of spiritual beauty? What makes for sacredness in a marriage?” He names four things.

      “First and foremost, mutual love. A feeling of heightened affection, respect, concern, and appreciation between marital partners. It gives a certain sparkle to the time spent together, and potentially to the entire experience of life. The presence of love makes a marriage sacred.

      “Fidelity contributes to the sacredness of a marriage. Commitments fulfilled. Coming through. Hanging in. Placing the integrity of the relationship over personal preference and convenience. It builds a powerful trust. Fidelity makes a marriage sacred.

      “Intimacy brings sacredness in a marriage. When two people reveal themselves to one another over time, they cannot help but gain acquaintance with the deep regions of the human experience. They get to know one another, of course. But more importantly, they get to know themselves.

      Through relating intimately over time, deeper honesty and authenticity become possible. This is the spiritual journey to know and be known, behind the public charade, however subtle or crude that may be.

      “And forgiveness generates sacredness in a marriage. We all make mistakes and need forgiveness. Our spiritual liberation requires that we become masters of forgiveness letting go of resentment for slights and injuries. The prolonged togetherness of marriage will present myriad opportunities for the practice of forgiveness. When forgiveness flows freely, there is a palpable quality of gentleness and compassion.”

      Does the heterosexual couple uniting in marriage today lift up the union as characterized by love, fidelity, intimacy and forgiveness. We expect they do and we suspect those characteristics as Gallagher concluded in his sermon are what exude sacredness.

      We also know that gay and lesbian couples uphold those same characteristics for their unions. Why would they not? Why would a parent of a gay son or daughter not want their child to enjoy the happiness derived from a lifelong devotion to those characteristics? Why would a brother or sister with a gay sibling not want their brother or sister to enjoy the happiness derived from a lifelong devotion to those characteristics?

      Why would a person of faith not want the gay or lesbian individual to enjoy the happiness derived from the pursuit of marriage sanctity?

      Why would we as Americans not want our government and its laws to recognize that same marriage sanctity for gay and lesbian individuals in their pursuit of liberty and happiness?

      There can be only one reason and that is because many of us have been conditioned by years of misguided church teaching to look upon gay and lesbian individuals as morally inferior, unworthy and therefore undeserving of that which which we uphold as good and sanctified in our lives.

      November 12, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • End Religion

      Bob, you might be a better advertisement for your cult if you could string a coherent sentence together.

      November 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Bob you might have a point if you would only prove that your god exists. . . Well, you might then have a point, but you'd still be wrong and your god would be an asshole.

      November 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  19. John

    "that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and 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.

    November 12, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  20. WhenaManLovesAWoman

    Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” – Matthew 19:5-6
    “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” – Mark 10:6-9

    November 12, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • James

      "But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female"

      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 12, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Bob

      The Bible is timeless God created man and knew the way relationships are supposed to be, gay copulation in the Bible is a abomination, marriage does not make it right nor justify it.The orientation was made by God. Now atheists want to tell us He didnt know.

      November 12, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Janet

      "knew the way relationships are supposed to be,"

      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.

      November 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.