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

My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage

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

By Mark Osler, Special to CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Take: Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality

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

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

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

Your Take: Rethinking the Bible on homosexuality

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

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

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

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Episcopal • Gay marriage • Opinion

soundoff (15,115 Responses)
  1. Don

    The most beautiful word in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is "whosoever." All of God's promises are intended for every human being. This includes gay men and lesbians. How tragic it is that the Christian Church has excluded and persecuted people who are homosexual! We are all created with powerful needs for personal relationships. Our quality of life depends upon the love we share with others; whether family or friends, partners or peers. Yet, lesbians and gay men facing hostile attitudes in society often are denied access to healthy relationships. Jesus Christ calls us to find ultimate meaning in life through a personal relationship with our Creator. This important spiritual union can bring healing and strength to all of our human relationships

    Biblical Interpretation and Theology also change from time to time. Approximately 150 years ago in the United States, some Christian teaching held that there was a two-fold moral order: black and white. Whites were thought to be superior to blacks, therefore blacks were to be subservient and slavery was an institution ordained by God. Clergy who supported such an abhorrent idea claimed the authority of the Bible. The conflict over slavery led to divisions which gave birth to some major Christian denominations. These same denominations, of course, do not support slavery today. Did the Bible change? No, their interpretation of the Bible did!

    Genesis 19:1-25

    Some "televangelists" carelessly proclaim that God destroyed the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of "homosexuality." Although some theologians have equated the sin of Sodom with homosexuality, a careful look at Scripture corrects such ignorance. Announcing judgment on these cities in Genesis 18, God sends two angels to Sodom, where Abraham's nephew, Lot, persuades them to stay in his home. Genesis 19 records that "all the people from every quarter" surround Lot's house demanding the release of his visitors so "we might know them." The Hebrew word for "know" in this case, yadha, usually means "have thorough knowledge of." It could also express intent to examine the visitors' credentials, or on rare occasions the term implies sexual intercourse. If the latter was the author's intended meaning, it would have been a clear case of attempted gang rape. Several observations are important.

    First, the judgment on these cities for their wickedness had been announced prior to the alleged homosexual incident. Second, all of Sodom's people participated in the assault on Lot's house; in no culture has more than a small minority of the population been homosexual. Third, Lot's offer to release his daughters suggests he knew his neighbors to have heterosexual interests. Fourth, if the issue was sexual, why did God spare Lot, who immediately commits incest with his daughters? Most importantly, why do all the other passages of Scripture referring to this account fail to raise the issue of homosexuality?

    Romans 1:24-27

    Most New Testament books, including the four Gospels, are silent on same-sex acts, and Paul is the only author who makes any reference to the subject. The most negative statement by Paul regarding same-sex acts occurs in Romans 1:24-27 where, in the context of a larger argument on the need of all people for the gospel of Jesus Christ, certain homosexual behavior is given as an example of the "uncleanness" of idolatrous Gentiles.

    This raises the question: Does this passage refer to all homosexual acts, or to certain homosexual behavior known to Paul's readers? The book of Romans was written to Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome, who would have been familiar with the infamous sexual excesses of their contemporaries, especially Roman emperors. They would also have been aware of tensions in the early Church regarding Gentiles and observance of the Jewish laws, as noted in Acts 15 and Paul's letter to the Galatians. Jewish laws in Leviticus mentioned male same-sex acts in the context of idolatry.

    The homosexual practices cited in Romans 1:24-27 were believed to result from idolatry and are associated with some very serious offenses as noted in Romans 1. Taken in this larger context, it should be obvious that such acts are significantly different from loving, responsible lesbian and gay relationships seen today.

    What is "Natural"?

    Significant to Paul's discussion is the fact that these "unclean" Gentiles exchanged that which was "natural" for them, physin, in the Greek text, for something "unnatural," para physin. In Romans 11:24, God acts in an "unnatural" way, para physin, to accept the Gentiles. "Unnatural" in these passages does not refer to violation of so-called laws of nature, but rather implies action contradicting one's own nature. In view of this, we should observe that it is "unnatural," para physin; for a person today with a lesbian or gay sexual orientation to attempt living a heterosexual lifestyle.

    I Corinthians 6:9

    Any consideration of New Testament statements on same-sex acts must carefully view the social context of the Greco-Roman culture in which Paul ministered. Prostitution and pederasty (sexual relationships of adult men with boys) were the most commonly known male same-sex acts. In I Corinthians 6:9, Paul condemns those who are "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind," as translated in the King James version. Unfortunately, some new translations are worse, rendering these words "homosexuals." Recent scholarship unmasks the homophobia behind such mistranslations.

    The first word – malakos, in the Greek text-which has been translated "effeminate" or "soft," most likely refers to someone who lacks discipline or moral control. The word is used elsewhere in the New Testament but never with reference to sexuality.

    The second word, Arsenokoitai, occurs once each in I Corinthians and I Timothy (1:10), but nowhere else in other literature of the period. It is derived from two Greek words, one meaning, "males" and the other "beds", a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Other Greek words were commonly used to describe homosexual behavior but do not appear here. The larger context of I Corinthians 6 shows Paul extremely concerned with prostitution, so it is very possible he was referring to male prostitutes. But many experts now attempting to translate these words have reached a simple conclusion: their precise meaning is uncertain. Scripture Study Conclusion…No Law Against Love

    The rarity with which Paul discusses any form of same-sex behavior and the ambiguity in references attributed to him make it extremely unsound to conclude any sure position in the New Testament on homosexuality, especially in the context of loving, responsible relationships. Since any arguments must be made from silence, it is much more reliable to turn to great principles of the Gospel taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. Do not judge others, lest you be judged. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love . . . against such there is no law. One thing is abundantly clear, as Paul stated in Galatians 5:14: "...the whole Law is fulfilled in one statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself".

    November 15, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  2. John

    "Celibacy...means Exodus from sin for LGBTQ Christians."

    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 15, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  3. Douglas

    Exodus from fornication though celibacy.

    It works!

    November 14, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Observer

      Celibacy is unnatural. The PROFESSIONALS say trying to change gays is HARMFUL.

      Work on Christian adulterers if you really want to fix a much BIGGER problem.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • mama k

      I agree with Observer – celibacy is unnatural and obviously leads to problems. If you really need church, there are plenty of churches that are fully accepting of gays. And soon more states will be like Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington (as well as the District of Columbia). You can't hold back civil rights, once the ball gets rolling. Check out all the churches listed under this organization for instance:
      Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (www.awab.org).

      November 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • End Religion

      Hey Doug, we're gonna keep fuckin' like bunnies, pal. Why don't you go be celibate with yourself in a corner somewhere? Your arguments are so deft I bet you're a master debater.

      November 15, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  4. Douglas

    Celibacy...means Exodus from sin for LGBTQ Christians.

    Believe it or not!

    Exodus...to come out from...fornication.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • mama k

      NOT! You need to let some bigotry and harmful delusions exodus out of your brain.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Poor Dougie. Someone taught him to be ashamed because he wasn't just like everybody else. Now he wants others to be ashamed, too, so he doesn't have to be all alone. That is rather selfish of Dougie, but he was probably brainwashed at an early age and lacked the personal strength to start looking at the facts for himself.

      Hmm. Maybe I don't feel so sorry for Dougie after all. He has internet access, so he could actually look at the facts himself, but he chooses ignorance instead.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • James

      "Celibacy...means Exodus from sin for LGBTQ Christians.

      Believe it or not!"

      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 15, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  5. Observer

    Bob,

    What part of ""The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation." don't you understand? Do you need a translation into another language?

    November 14, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  6. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Pay me no mind for I am evil.

    November 14, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  7. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Boob is a coward. He is afraid to answer the question I asked. What a little weenie.

    November 14, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • End Religion

      He hangs out at Super Weenie Hut, Junior

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QdvLwfuJ60&w=640&h=390]

      November 15, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • Lorraine

      To END RELIGION, who says 'perverseness' is ok: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfWFKkGTkIA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfWFKkGTkIA

      Oct 1, 2010 ... Sorry, But I do not have this Clip in color or other clipsON. To each his own, but dont complain when the children of society goes a muck, and out of control.

      November 15, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • End Religion

      "To END RELIGION, who says 'perverseness' is ok"

      While maybe foreign to the majority of us, homeosexuality is perfectly natural. If you read some other book aside from the bible you might know that. The information isn't hidden anywhere. Many animals practice it. We are one of those animals.

      ***
      "To each his own"

      You keep saying that but then go on complaining about it. If you mean what you say then keep your condemnations to yourself. If you truly realize that it isn't up to you to judge, and its' none of your business then you shouldn't care one way or another about it. But you do, because deep down you feel the need to judge, even knowing it is against god's will. Therefore you do not really believe he'll punish you for it. therefore you do not believe in him. Therefore you are an atheist.

      ***
      "but dont complain when the children of society goes a muck, and out of control."

      Gayness doesn't make children go out of control, lol. You need to have your head examined. Now, sugar, you might want to ban that because I think there may be evidence to support that it will cause children to have too much energy. Good luck with that.

      November 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  8. Bob

    Well of course the bottom line is there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible and the US is still founded on Christian values.

    November 14, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Of course, you're completely wrong. As usual.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      What a useless moron you are Bob. You post the same refuted bullshit for 6 months straight and still think you're relevant?

      November 14, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • mama k

      Again, many other Christians don't think as you do about it. And more importantly, it makes no difference because U.S. law is not the Bible. I'm confident that as a civil right issue these traditional marriage state laws are going to start falling like dominoes. Civil right issues are like that in the U.S. Public opinion is making the courts see the error of state legislatures' ways. And thankfully, as we have recently seen, the popular vote by itself has been enough to enable gay marriage in more and more states. Get ready, Bob – the tide is turning.

      November 14, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Sorry, Bob. Even if you say the same lie over and over again, it still remains a lie. Try studying some real history. I know it's more difficult than letting someone else tell you what to think, but it's worthwhile. Unless, of course, you prefer to be an ignorant liar.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • End Religion

      Well of course reality is the opposite of what Bob says.

      November 15, 2012 at 2:35 am |
  9. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    I know Boob won't answer, but I'll ask again anyway: Why is this such a crucial issue for you, Boob? It involves a small fraction of the population. States and countries which have embraced gay marriage have suffered no negative repercussions. If they had, you surely would have posted them; you can't find any and that's why all you've been able to post are outdated and spurious "studies."

    What is your major malfunction, Boob?

    November 14, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I suspect that Bob fears his own feelings. I suspect he may even call himself "Douglas" in an effort to be honest about his se.xuality without admitting it with his "real" name.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  10. Bob

    When the Framers drafted the US Cons ti-tu-tion in 1787, the only mention of religion was , which states “no Religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the US. That groundbreaking language marked a shift from prior practice in abroad and the states. At the time of the Cons ti-tu-tion drafting, most states had religious qual ific ations for gov officials, following the pattern in Brit, where the monarch was required to be a member of the Church of Eng-land. Overseas the guiding principle was the religion of the people is determined by the religion of the ruler. Many of the Framers, especially James Madison, believed that the new Cons ti-tu-tion protected liberty of conscience by creating a gov of enumerated and separate powers that gave Con-g-res no authority over religion. During the ratification process, however, Cons ti-Tu-tional critics demanded greater protection of individuals from the power of the gov. In order to secure the Cons ti-tu-tions ratification, the new Con-g-res drafted a Bill of Rights that protected religious freedom in the following language: “Cong-ress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

    November 14, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So you can cut and paste. What's your point, Boob? Are you going to make one or just continue plagiarizing?

      November 14, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Observer

      The Preamble to the Const-itution states why it was created. There is ZERO reference to the Bible or religion.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Observer

      Here's what many of our founding fathers had to say:

      "The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation."
      — Treaty of Tripoli (1797), carried UNANIMOUSLY by the Senate with many members who were founders of the U.S. and signed into law by President John Adams

      November 14, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Bob

      To bad on the treaty to Tripoli you didnt do your homework. Its not a good example.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's "TOO," Boob. You claim it's "not a good example." Not a good example of what? Why isn't it? Who says so?

      You? You can't write a single three-word sentence without fvcking it up. Who do you think you are?

      November 14, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • mama k

      Well this is a hell of a lot different than claims of the country being founded on the Bible, Bob. And I really don't have a problem with that, since you are mostly just stating the primary purposes of the 1st Amendment. You're just leaving out some of the insight that I supplied on previous pages as to what led to it and how the key framers felt about it some time before and after. Their insight is important because it shows their intent. As I said, James Madison came to the opinion that different religions flourished peacefully and none of them had an improper involvement with government based on how the Const itution and 1st Amendment turned out:

      Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together. (1822)

      It was the Universal opinion of the Century preceding the last, that Civil Govt could not stand without the prop of a Religious establishment, & that the Xn religion itself, would perish if not supported by a legal provision for its Clergy. The experience of Virginia conspicuously corroborates the disproof of both opinions. The Civil Govt, tho' bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability and performs its functions with complete success, Whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, & the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State. (1819)

      Madison also came to believe that the earlier decision to pay chaplains that served congress from the national treasury was faulty and against his principles that went into the 1st Amendment:

      I observe with particular pleasure the view you have taken of the immunity of religion from civil jurisdiction, in every case where it does not trespass on private rights or the public peace. This has always been a favorite principal with me; and it was not with my approbation that the deviation from it took place in congress, when they appointed chaplains, to be paid from the national treasury. (I am leaving out sources here since I supplied them on recent previous posts here.)

      And again, I have to post this new John Adams quote that I found – it really shows his Deistic side:

      The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • mama k

      And really, Bob – you give no value to the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797 for its language – a treaty between President Adams and the Senate on behalf of the U.S., and you want to give more credit to language regarding the founding of the U.S. to the Mayflower Compact, some ~150 years before the government was established?? Wow. I'll let other readers let that sink in.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • mama k

      Another founder that we usually don't associate with Deism is Benjamin Franklin. Franklin wrote is his autobiography:

      some books against Deism fell into my hands; . . . The arguments of the Deists . . . appeared to me much stronger than the refutation; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.

      (Colonial Williamsburg: http://www.history.org)

      November 14, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • mama k

      Some people like to quote Thomas Jefferson using his letter to the Virginia Baptists in 1802. And evidently the Supreme Court has referenced those words in upholding the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment to the Const itution. But I like this later letter that Jefferson wrote to the Virginia Baptists in 1808:

      "Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.

      Again, although a Christian influenced by Deism, Jefferson was witness to feuds between Christian sects in his home state of Virginia, as was Madison, Mason and Washington.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  11. Bob

    Further how about this address by LIncoln
    Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

    November 14, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What a president believes is not relevant, Boob. How many times do you have to read that to comprehend what it means? The laws of this country are NOT based on presidential speeches, but on the Const itution, which, as Observer astutely pointed out to you, mentions god not even once.

      Again, what is wrong with you? Were you born this stupid or do you practice?

      November 14, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Observer

      There can be a BIG difference between speeches prepared for consumption by the masses and one's personal beliefs.

      “My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have
      become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them."
      - Abraham Lincoln, to Judge J S Wakefield, 1862

      November 14, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • mama k

      It is always interesting to hear what presidents like Lincoln had to say, but things like this have little to do with the laws that we live by – especially the Constitution.

      November 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  12. Bob

    Just-ice Story was a Just-ice of the Supre-me Cort in 1811 after having previously been a distinguished polit-ician from Mass. He figured prominently later in the era of the John Marshall Cort as the Supre-me Cort solidified its position as presumed final arbiter of Consti-tutionality of laws passed by gov the great doctrines of religion, the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to him for all our actions, founded upon moral freedom and accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues these never can be a matter of indifference in any well ordered community. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive, how any civilized society can well exist without them. And at all events, it is impossible for those, who believe in the truth of Christianity, as a divine revelation, to doubt, that it is the especial duty of gov to foster, and encourage it among all the citizens and subjects. This is a point wholly distinct from that of the right of private decision in matters of religion, and of the freedom of public worship according to the dictates of one's conscience."

    November 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      My word, but you're stupid, Boob. What does this have to do with the price of rice? Nothing, not one thing you've written, indicates that this is a nation founded on Christianity. What in the world is wrong with you? Are you daft? Just plain dumb? I know you're not well educated; that's obvious from the quality of your writing.

      What I don't understand is why you choose to remain ignorant.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Observer

      The number of occurrences of the words "God", "Jesus", "Christ", "Christian" or "Bible" in the Declaration of Independence and the Const-itution:

      Zero. Zip. Nada. None. Nil. Zilch.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • mama k

      So was he ever involved in a SC (Court with a "u", Bob) ruling where they decided something that clarified the position of the 1st Amendment? I'll give you some time to research that, Bob. I doubt you'll find much that has helped shape our current law.

      November 14, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Lorraine

      DEUTERONOMY 15, ooh!

      November 15, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  13. Erik

    "said that their references and behavior were learned."

    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 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  14. Bob

    Two large studies asked gays to explain the origins of their desires and behaviors, how they became gay. The first of these studies was conducted by Kinsey in the 1940s and involved 1700 gay. The second, in 1970, involved 979 gays. Both were conducted prior to the period when the gay rights, movement started to politicize the issue of gay origins. Both reported the same findings, gays overwhelmingly believed their feelings and behavior were the result of social or environmental influences. In a 1983 study conducted by the Family Research involving a random sample of 147 gay 35% said their desires were hereditary. Interestingly, almost 80% of the 3,400 hetero in the same study said that their references and behavior were learned. its amazing how the story has changed with the gay agenda.

    November 14, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Observer

      Maybe they no longer have to fear the ignorance of h0mophobes.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Family Research is a well known hate group which is why the hundred of thousands of experts released statements proving what Bob keeps posting over and over again is false.. More lies and hate from Bob what's new further proving this poster is not a Christian but a bigoted troll.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Both were conducted prior to the period when the gay rights"

      The experts proved that what was written in the past about gays were done by prejudice and bigoted people making all the past reports flawed. Which is why they have recently released the statement that states 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."

      November 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • mama k

      As I said before to homophobic Bob – I doubt studies that old would be seen as valid today. Education and understanding on the issue has changed dramatically since then.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  15. YeahRight

    "Also you haven't corrected me on anything because if I believed you I would have believed a lie"

    You've been lyig about gays and lesbians on this blog. The hundreds of thousands of experts have proven what you've been posting to be a lie and are from well known hate groups. 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."

    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. 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 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  16. Bob

    The significance in life is not in how you write but in what you say for out of the heart the mouth speaks. Also you haven't corrected me on anything because if I believed you I would have believed a lie

    November 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • mama k

      I'm assuming that Bob, who had trouble constructing one sentence in his previous post, meant to use the reply button here. I will leave it to the readers of my posts on page 180 to determine who has presented a better case for or against the notion that the U.S. was founded on the Bible. LOL. (I'm sure some won't even need to go there since the entire notion is false, ridiculous, and well known to most with a high-school education. But just in case, I've included several James Madison quotes there.)

      November 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  17. Brent

    "There is no justification "

    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 14, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  18. Bob

    There is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible no matter how many time yeah reposts this post.

    November 14, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • mama k

      Bob: "There is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible no matter how many time yeah reposts this post."

      Many followers of the Bible would, of course, disagree with Bob on his point. It actually doesn't matter because in the U.S., the Bible is not our law. Bob earlier tried to make a point that the U.S. was a Christian nation founded on the Bible. Lol. I corrected him on that misinformation on page 180. Also, I'm not surprised at how poorly Bob writes. This usually goes hand-in-hand with someone who has misunderstood history and many other things in life. I don't harp on people all the time about their writing skills, but this is, after all, a blog – a mode of communication and expression where writing skills are essential.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Observer

      Bob,

      "God also dictated how to treat them and it was more than fair"

      Fair? lol. The Bible tells how much you can INJURE your slave without punishment. Read the Bible sometime.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Bob

      Observer
      You seem to know what the Bible does and doesn't say why don't you find me the scripture that contradicts me?

      November 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bob

      Why don't you give us non-Christians (i'm assuming with mama k and others) why we should give a shit what the bible says about anything? I couldn't care less what that Big Book Of Multiple Choice says about anything.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Observer

      Bob,

      As long as you are going to hypocritically pick and choose from the Bible, here's a verse that few Christians pay any attention to:

      – Matthew 7:12 “Treat others as you want them to treat you. THIS IS WHAT THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS ARE ALL ABOUT.”

      November 14, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Bob

      K I guess my communication skills are good enough that you understood my full meaning. That actually most know that there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible and that the US is built on a Christian foundation. Maybe you are declaring a victory early to in hopes to gain as much ground as possible before you lose so soundly. I would rather be counted a fool for Christ than a literate going to hell.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Ok I'm gone from this thread. Bob is still as dishonest and useless as he was 6 months ago when this article started. Have fun with your delusional idiocy Bob.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Observer

      The Bible supports slavery.
      The Bible supports discrimination against women.
      The Bible supports discrimination against the handicapped.
      The Bible supports discrimination against gays.

      At least it is consistent.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • mama k

      Bob: " . . . the US is built on a Christian foundation."

      Actually, that is not true, either, Bob. If you could prove that Christianity "owns" freedom and liberty then you might have a case. I would assert that the US is built on a common vision of liberty by Christian founders who were highly influenced by Deism. All of the key documents that we live by today reflect this. There is an overwhelming evidence in these documents of a universal God (although very little reference for these key documents), and no reference to religious dogma or of Christianity. Just take a gander through the Constitution, Bob – show me where it mentions Christianity. Show me in the Amendments where it mentions Christianity. For other readers, be sure to check page 180 on this issue.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Mark Barnet

      There is no justification in the Bible for bigotry and gay bashing, but they exist among christians like yourself who are unable to separate their fears and inadequacies from actual Biblical teachings. Give me one scripture where Jesus said anything bad about gays or lesbians. Show me one where He told his followers that they should hate those they didn't understand or those who were different than they were.
      If America was founded on the Bible then Americans would still practice poligamy, send their women out of their towns and cities when they were menstrating, cut off the hands of thieves, and stone adulterers. We would still treat women as property and enslave people of other nations. Fortunately America wasn't founded on the Bible nor on Christian beliefs.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Bob poor poor pitiful Bob,

      Why don't you do what the gospel tells you to o do?

      Mathew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God."

      or Bob have you found its location? Tell me please where I can find it!

      November 14, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  19. Don

    The most beautiful word in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is "whosoever." All of God's promises are intended for every human being. This includes gay men and lesbians. How tragic it is that the Christian Church has excluded and persecuted people who are homosexual! We are all created with powerful needs for personal relationships. Our quality of life depends upon the love we share with others; whether family or friends, partners or peers. Yet, lesbians and gay men facing hostile attitudes in society often are denied access to healthy relationships. Jesus Christ calls us to find ultimate meaning in life through a personal relationship with our Creator. This important spiritual union can bring healing and strength to all of our human relationships

    Biblical Interpretation and Theology also change from time to time. Approximately 150 years ago in the United States, some Christian teaching held that there was a two-fold moral order: black and white. Whites were thought to be superior to blacks, therefore blacks were to be subservient and slavery was an institution ordained by God. Clergy who supported such an abhorrent idea claimed the authority of the Bible. The conflict over slavery led to divisions which gave birth to some major Christian denominations. These same denominations, of course, do not support slavery today. Did the Bible change? No, their interpretation of the Bible did!

    Genesis 19:1-25

    Some "televangelists" carelessly proclaim that God destroyed the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of "homosexuality." Although some theologians have equated the sin of Sodom with homosexuality, a careful look at Scripture corrects such ignorance. Announcing judgment on these cities in Genesis 18, God sends two angels to Sodom, where Abraham's nephew, Lot, persuades them to stay in his home. Genesis 19 records that "all the people from every quarter" surround Lot's house demanding the release of his visitors so "we might know them." The Hebrew word for "know" in this case, yadha, usually means "have thorough knowledge of." It could also express intent to examine the visitors' credentials, or on rare occasions the term implies sexual intercourse. If the latter was the author's intended meaning, it would have been a clear case of attempted gang rape. Several observations are important.

    First, the judgment on these cities for their wickedness had been announced prior to the alleged homosexual incident. Second, all of Sodom's people participated in the assault on Lot's house; in no culture has more than a small minority of the population been homosexual. Third, Lot's offer to release his daughters suggests he knew his neighbors to have heterosexual interests. Fourth, if the issue was sexual, why did God spare Lot, who immediately commits incest with his daughters? Most importantly, why do all the other passages of Scripture referring to this account fail to raise the issue of homosexuality?

    Romans 1:24-27

    Most New Testament books, including the four Gospels, are silent on same-sex acts, and Paul is the only author who makes any reference to the subject. The most negative statement by Paul regarding same-sex acts occurs in Romans 1:24-27 where, in the context of a larger argument on the need of all people for the gospel of Jesus Christ, certain homosexual behavior is given as an example of the "uncleanness" of idolatrous Gentiles.

    This raises the question: Does this passage refer to all homosexual acts, or to certain homosexual behavior known to Paul's readers? The book of Romans was written to Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome, who would have been familiar with the infamous sexual excesses of their contemporaries, especially Roman emperors. They would also have been aware of tensions in the early Church regarding Gentiles and observance of the Jewish laws, as noted in Acts 15 and Paul's letter to the Galatians. Jewish laws in Leviticus mentioned male same-sex acts in the context of idolatry.

    The homosexual practices cited in Romans 1:24-27 were believed to result from idolatry and are associated with some very serious offenses as noted in Romans 1. Taken in this larger context, it should be obvious that such acts are significantly different from loving, responsible lesbian and gay relationships seen today.

    What is "Natural"?

    Significant to Paul's discussion is the fact that these "unclean" Gentiles exchanged that which was "natural" for them, physin, in the Greek text, for something "unnatural," para physin. In Romans 11:24, God acts in an "unnatural" way, para physin, to accept the Gentiles. "Unnatural" in these passages does not refer to violation of so-called laws of nature, but rather implies action contradicting one's own nature. In view of this, we should observe that it is "unnatural," para physin, for a person today with a lesbian or gay sexual orientation to attempt living a heterosexual lifestyle.

    I Corinthians 6:9

    Any consideration of New Testament statements on same-sex acts must carefully view the social context of the Greco-Roman culture in which Paul ministered. Prostitution and pederasty (sexual relationships of adult men with boys) were the most commonly known male same-sex acts. In I Corinthians 6:9, Paul condemns those who are "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind," as translated in the King James version. Unfortunately, some new translations are worse, rendering these words "homosexuals." Recent scholarship unmasks the homophobia behind such mistranslations.

    The first word – malakos, in the Greek text-which has been translated "effeminate" or "soft," most likely refers to someone who lacks discipline or moral control. The word is used elsewhere in the New Testament but never with reference to sexuality.

    The second word, Arsenokoitai, occurs once each in I Corinthians and I Timothy (1:10), but nowhere else in other literature of the period. It is derived from two Greek words, one meaning, "males" and the other "beds", a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Other Greek words were commonly used to describe homosexual behavior but do not appear here. The larger context of I Corinthians 6 shows Paul extremely concerned with prostitution, so it is very possible he was referring to male prostitutes. But many experts now attempting to translate these words have reached a simple conclusion: their precise meaning is uncertain. Scripture Study Conclusion – No Law Against Love

    The rarity with which Paul discusses any form of same-sex behavior and the ambiguity in references attributed to him make it extremely unsound to conclude any sure position in the New Testament on homosexuality, especially in the context of loving, responsible relationships. Since any arguments must be made from silence, it is much more reliable to turn to great principles of the Gospel taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. Do not judge others, lest you be judged. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love . . . against such there is no law. One thing is abundantly clear, as Paul stated in Galatians 5:14: "...the whole Law is fulfilled in one statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself".

    November 14, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  20. Bob

    The Jews in owning slaves did so with the idea that the year of Jubilee they had a decision to make and it was decreed by God. The slaves were to be given a choice stay and be slaves forever or go with the blessings of the keeper. This also included being given money and land. It was called the Jubilee and debts were also forgiven in this time. Slaves were usually peoples captured from conquest of other lands or people who had sold themselves and sometimes the whole family because they didn't have food or money and no prospects to make a living. So the Jews took them in and they essentially worked for them for a predetermined time and a good portion decided to stay with their masters because the Bible and God also dictated how to treat them and it was more than fair. So when you hear atheists mentions slaves dont have this idea of overbearing beasts of burden but people who were taken care of and had to work for their masters.

    November 14, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Damocles

      Ohhhh so as long as you can justify slavery, it's ok. Would be slave owners appreciate your show of support.

      November 14, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Bob

      Damoclish I don't have to justify anything by your logic they should have let them perish, good job LOL

      November 14, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Damocles

      Tsk, tsk, Bob. Stand up for your want of slavery and own it. I'm sure many slave owners have thought of themselves as the proud protectors of a people.

      You are saying that if an owner of slaves could convince you that he or she was doing it for the good of the slaves, you'd be ok with it.

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

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.