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.
The Law contains different laws ranked in 3 orders
1) spiritual-the 2 love commandments
2) moral-all the laws concerning doing right by your fellow men.
3)ritual-things done to honour God.
there are specific time-bound commandments which are not part of the Law.
No, you are confusing "The Law" and your "book of fables written by old white guys".
Another great example of why CNN raitings are falling.
I saw Jesus playing with the unicorns.
I believe you wholeheartedly and declare Saturday to be Unicorn worship day. Write it down someplace! I'll start!
(1)Let all who follow know that to fail in thier honorings to unicorns on this day, is to further thier own condemnation.
When I was a teenager, I felt that I was meant to be with as many women as possible. In fact, that felt natural. I could even go so far to argue that it felt so natural that I couldve argued that I was born like that. Once I began to understand the Bible, I realized that it was against living like that. No matter how natural it seems, I never tried to insist that the Bible line up with my lifestyle, but I began to line my lifestyle up with the Bible instead
Ummm dude, the bible ADVOCATES polygamy.. The "wisest man" in it's pages had a thousand live-in prost.itutes.
Good for you! So hopefully this means you will NEVER EVER divorce. So hopefully, you never look at another woman and think "she's hot". And I"m sure, Mr. Goody Goody, you never slept with her before marriage!
Goody for you. Is anyone trying to stop you? Your belief is your business. Keep it out of mine.
Cooper, humanists arrive at that same conclusion because it is disrespectful of women and hurtful to other human beings. It's arguably a much more earnest revelation, than "because God said so"
Religion is not going to dominate all people.Gay marriage will be law of the land by the Federal Goverment
Hope you're right!
Religion shouldn't dominate anyone.
Except the modernist religion does get to impose its values on society. How long before Federal government then declares it is an act of discrimination and illegal for a Priest or minister to refuse to marry gays? Just like contraceptives. But then again, there's that pesky Const-itution and bill of rights to contend with.
Oh, you poor thing. You actually think there's a slippery slope.
Mike, the Government cannot force priests and ministers to marry people. That is strictly church policy. It's not like I can walk into a synagogue and demand that the rabbi officiate my marriage. Which is fine because, as you may not have noticed, in this country marriage is strictly a civil process. You do not need any sort of religious involvement.
Chris, right now Obama's administration is forcing religious insti-tutions to provide health insurance to cover abortions and contraceptives. It is not the place for the government to make these decisions either. This is one reason why the supreme court will likely declare his act to be unconst-itutional.
This is the reality of the current political environment. It is okay to enforce morality on others, so long as It is modernist politically correct morality that most people don't recognize as equally questionable to religious morality.
To the writter.... It is written not only in the Old Testament.... just read Romans 1 (in the New Testament). Jesus calls us to love one another, I love gays... no problem with that... But the Bible is clear, it is another sin. Though we are all sinners and we all make mistakes, real Christians have to resign to a sinful life. If you are a Christian, you don't need a Ph D or be a Law professor to know that the Bible is very about that. The Bible only mentions marriage between a man and a woman.
The difference between me and you is this... If you proved to me god existed, I would believe it. If I proved to you he does NOT exist, you would still refuse to believe it.
The bible also doesnt mention Ipods, the Internet or Heart transplants. It was written by a guy(s) a few thousand years ago and repeated by a bunch of guys ever since, changing every time some new guy decided to give his take on it.
If you actually read Romans you'd pick up that he's talking about pagan practices. Read Romans – all of it – but pay attention to 1:23 and think about what Paul is saying there. Is he talking about everyone? No. He's talking about pagans.
At some point, a religious group chastised some other group because they failed to follow the teachings of Apollo or Zues. Others screamed in the name of Amun, or any of the hundreds of gods before them. They too based thier rantings on blind "faith" of the unprovable. People decrying "sins" and worrying about "sanct.ity" look as silly today as those ancient people do now. If you need to believe in invisible fairy tales to behave yourself, be my guest ; but do not for a moment think that all people need that crutch to derive thier own morals, or that they place stock in your fiction at all.
Too bad that stoning law is not still in effect. I have some obnoxious neighbor kids that I would love to see disappear.
Maybe this New Testament describe the author:
2 Peter 2: The Rise of False Prophets
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;
Sounds like your god loves riddles... No wonder we have 30+ major religions on this planet.
LOL. The hate group known as the US Conservative Religious Right-wing is doing a good job of destroying Christianity. . .you don't need anyone else to blame for your religion's demise. Thank you btw. Your ignorance will soon be a thing of the past and future generations will avoid your religion like the plague.
The very same people who claim god is so obvious can't come up with one verifiable testing method for any of their esoteric claims.
Maybe this biblical passage applies to you Jim:
"Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows,
and by him deeds are weighed."
When we are all before God's throne on the judgment day, we will all not deny the truth found in God's Word. Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. It is clear that is condemned. Just because you are a good and nice and wonderful person doesn't mean you going to heaven and God is going to let you in. Only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will get you into heaven. And that only comes from believing that truth about God, Jesus Christ, and yourself. And then repenting from your sins and trusting in Jesus Christ as your only savior.
Christians have been waiting 2000 years for judgement day. How long do you intend to keep waiting?
OH great.. I'm going to be judged by a god who drowns babies in great floods. You don't think there were innocent babies in Sodom and Gomorrah? You don't think there were innocent babies in Noah's flood. I'm going to be judged by something any normal human would find morally reprehensible.
Post by 'Faithful' presents a form of the flawed argument known as Pascal's Wager.
Faithful: Just because you have given up on living in the 21st century and have chosen to remain ignorant of facts and evidence that are newer than your 2000 year old outdated book does not mean the remainder of the world has to follow you. When your belief impedes on the basic rights and freedoms of everyone else then your belief fails horribly.
You have no way to be certain of your claims unless you can produce a person who has returned from the dead to state that heaven and/or hell exists.
Imaginary friends belong to one of two categories: schizophrenics or children...which of these are you?
And just because a book says something, you don't have to believe it. There is no good reason to believe in anything supernatural, including a mythical Jesus, a god, or a tooth fairy.
The bible is a horrible source for a reliable historical account, yet, Christians use it as if it held some kind of validity. Before believing in anything the bible says, it has to be demonstrated that it is a good source of information.
Have any of you read the articles on allabouttruth.org? I would read those to see what the Bible, God, and Jesus are all about and how it is true.
Why read something that only points to what we already dismiss? It all points back to your book and in doing so proves nothing. Why is it that you can't see that we have updated evidence that is contrary to what the book says? Why is it that you are not capable of seeing how using your belief as justification to take away equal rights is wrong?
What would you do if your own child wished to introduce you to their same gender partner or if your sibling did or any other person that you hold dear to your life did?
I prefer non-fiction, Faithy.
I have no sins that I need be repentent from. I will never. My truth (equal to your truth) is that there is no god. Life is good.
but, WHERE IS THE GROOM???
That will be me. I am into polygamy.
Republicans want to deregulate everything..... except for personal freedom.
To those who are so against gay marriage, how does it affect you personally? I really want to know. I always ask people this question and they either go on a huge irrelevant rant or have no idea.
It offends my morals. PERIOD.
My children will grow up in a culture that believes my religion is bigoted, my beliefs are outdated, and my moral fiber is simply a "lifestyle choice."
It goes against God's teachings. It's as simple as that. Just last week I had to stone to death my son for talking back. Amen.
Christianity is still the same hate group it has always been. The 600 yr Inquisitions and wars in the name of their "god" are proof this cult likes to bully, being the hate group that it is. It's no wonder people laugh at the Pope and other closet case religious leaders whenever they open their mouths and utter stupidity in the name of their mythical "god".
It's such a good thing, Michael!!
Good for you Old School! You'll be in heaven some day for doing what is right! . . .because the bible tells us so!
Oh, malarkey. Your children will grow up and will develop their own beliefs, regardless of anything you or anyone else tells them.
Marriage is between a Man aand a Woman. Refer to the term Matrimony, usually preceeded by the word Holy. If you want to change marriage to include ceremonies of other than a man and a woman, then why stop there... how about a man and a dog or 2 men and 7 women.
Why does some idiot like Jim ALWAYS bray the same moronic refrain? Learn the meaning of "informed consent", Jimbo.
So are you saying that only those things that "affect you personally" should be legislated? I don't think you really believe that.
Jim, you are welcome to marry your dog. . .oh I'm sorry, other posters just informed me that you already have!
Do you understand these words: "adult" "consent"
Also, why is the bible completely fine with a man having multiple wives and concubines, but not with two loving people of the same s3x?
Get 2 dogs to sigh a marriage certificate and pay the fee, and legally represent themselves, and I've got no problem with it. Unfortunately, as you seem to be unaware, dogs have no rights. They are not legal persons under the law, therefor your statement is, pretty dumb. The law concerns itself with "Concenting Adults". It does not include animals,vegetation (tho, in your case it appears to have made an exception), minerals or invisible elves hiding behind the sun.
Michael, your religion is quite bigoted. Most of them are.
THor, did it ever occur to you that whatever screwed up personal moral beiefs you have do not apply to our government at all? Your psycho religious morals DO NOT MATTER when it comes to our country's laws. PERIOD.
No, Mark, that isn't what he said. He asked how gay marriage affects you personally. I notice you haven't answered.
The laws in a secular nation are not based on some biblical notion of morality. They are based on preserving the rights and freedoms of the individual. How does gay marriage infringe on your rights? On anyone else's rights?
How can you square equality with denying people the same benefits you enjoy because they want to marry someone of the same gender?
"And God made them male and female".
The 144,000 who are chosen are those who are pure. The opposite is degradation, and that applies to all, straight or gay.
Tom that is exactly what he is saying. His appeal is that gay marriage doesn't effect me personally. But that question is really of little benefit because there are many things that are legislated that don't impact me one way or another.
I hate to break it to you but this country's laws are based on some biblical notion of morality presently. Otherwise why the need to defend "gay rights." But I assume you know that as well.
So if you get the same benefits I enjoy do we have to be called marriage? You are welcome to the same benefits as far as I am concerned.
Yippee! The 144,000 Club. Is Pat Robertson a member?
Mark, you are wrong. The law is not based on morality. Never has been. Look it up. Morality is subjective. Rights are guaranteed by the Consti tution.
And no, you don't have some 'right' based in the law to claim the word "marriage" is copyrighted for use only by heteros3xuals. And here's a big news flash for you: I'm straight.
Why is it you don't answer the question as to how marriage "effects" (sic) you personally? And then acknowledge that unless someone else's acts infringe upon anyone else's rights under the law, they're none of your business?
Progression is sometimes a slow process. We used to try people for witchcraft.
Mark laws are based, in part on ethics – not morality. Morality is very different than ethics. However, laws are primarily based on the desire for a well ordered regulation of interactions between individuals in order to further the stability of the state. This is why the law and justice only intersect by chance rather than design.
The most terrible interpretation of scripture I have seen as of late! Context in scripture is everything. Whether you are a believer or not basic reading skills dictate that you do not read a piece of anything to interpret the entire meaning of the work. Gentiles are those that aren't Hebrews/Jews. Once they REPENTED as John prescribed the received the Holy Spirit and are Baptised. Again, if you shoot one writer down or in this case choose lift one absolutely deplorable interpretation of another up then you may as well throw the whole thing out. Say you believe they should get married because you cannot legislate one's idea of morality. All in all, who can trust a lawyer anyway?
I like your idea of "throwing everything out".
John, what you need to ask yourself is how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself there.
But no matter how poor your reading comprehension skills are, you have to acknowledge that there are some pretty nasty demands that Christian god is said to be making, in the bible. Stuff like this:
17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.
Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”
Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.
Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.
Again, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.
So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.
Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
I don't trust lawyers or fundamentalist Christians. They both are full of horse feathers.
Edwardo I can respect that. Bob, definitely not the basis of my statement today. I was an atheist already. I won't argue with you based on the fact I know for a fact that you have not read fully what you attempt to quote. I have. Case in point Gentiles don't sacrifice because of Christ. No offense, no animosity, all respect to you for your opinion.
Remember, in the early 19th century, Christian churches across the land were using the Bible to justify slavery. Many Christian churches split over that debate. "Jesus never freed one slave" was just one of their arguments. I don't think any Christian today will would accept that Jesus and the Bible were promoting or condoning slavery. I think one needs to step out of their own preconceived notions of what Jesus was teaching and preaching and look at his message. I think Osler has made a valid point that it is not up to us to judge and condemn.
This New Testtament – it talks about marriage, it says nothing about a woman and a woman
1 Peter 3: Godly Living
1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,
2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
3 Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;
4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands;
Excellent. You keep your myths while I go get married. My marriage is much better than your book of myths btw.
but Jesus doesn't deny it either.
Jim: Spewing bubyull scripture only proves that you are not capable of forming a thought for yourself.
The NT also doesn't say anything about Cthulu worship being bad. Therefore it must be ok. HAIL CTHULU
Prayer changes things .
Really? Did prayer stop the Holocaust? Does prayer get rid of us atheists? Does prayer save little kids stricken with cancer?
Prayer only works for delusional believers and schizos.
peteyroo – does atheism?
Pray for brains.
What a stupid post–atheism is not a religion, you twit. No atheist claims that atheism "does" anything. That's the point, bonehead.
Rather than spending all this energy on gay marriage, we should establish studies linking religious fundamentalism to LOW IQ.. and how that shows itself in a cowardice to follow mythical notions of what is right and wrong. Cant think for yourself and need others to tell you how to live? Then religion is perfect for you.
Trying to justify that the Cristian Bible accepts gays is like a Jew trying to explain that Nazis liked the Jews and didn't try to annihilate them. Just plain moronic!
But you have no way to measure the veracity of any interpretation of scripture.. If you did, there'd no be the massive number of denominations.. If you can't measure any part of the thing, then it's myth.
Ths confederacy wasn't racist
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