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

My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage

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

By Mark Osler, Special to CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Take: Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality

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

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

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

Your Take: Rethinking the Bible on homosexuality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Episcopal • Gay marriage • Opinion

soundoff (15,115 Responses)
  1. Erik

    "but not right by design."

    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 28, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Bob

      I guess yeah just cant keep his fingers off the repost keys what a shame hes resorted to spam bot

      November 28, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • YeahRight

      That's why you have re-posted over and over again, you're a hypocrite. I didn't write this post idiot.

      November 28, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Bob

      Wow thanks but did you repost it I know you didn't write it?

      November 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Bob

      Well it seems you try to deceive rather than outright lie that's encouraging at least. I also knew that you didn't write it you don't have that ability.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  2. Rick Warren

    Bob, will you come out with me? We could do it holding hands and then kiss to seal the deal.

    Well, I know what you're thinking but they wouldn't let us post a pic like that.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:56 am |
  3. Bob

    JESUS IS LORD every knee will bow and tongue confess

    November 28, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • George

      Wow, Bob, your god sounds like quite the mean ass hole. No thanks, you can keep your iron age delusions and bigotry to yourself. The modern world is moving on.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Rick Warren

      Bob, will you come out with me?

      November 28, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • JWT

      The only way my knee would bend when facing your god would be when I am about to kick it.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  4. Rick Warren

    Bob, will you come out with me?

    November 28, 2012 at 7:28 am |
  5. Douglas

    HIV infection rates up!!! Celibacy is the answer to Stop the New Plague.

    Recent reports reveal alarming statistics on new HIV infections, with heavy transmission of the virus from
    young gay/bi MSM according to the CDC.

    This heartbreaking news is disturbing because the practice of celibacy can stop the spread of virus from the host
    to the victim.

    Hold an information night forum at your place of worship. Feel free to use the Bible
    to point out the risks and dangers that coital fornication present. Have high risk groups
    at your place of worship sign celibacy pledges and provide recognition and rewards for
    couples who maintain disease free status.

    Hope springs eternal!

    November 27, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Rick Warren

      Douglas, will you come out with me?

      November 28, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • Saraswati

      Monogamy is every bit as effective and much more palatable – I would think you'd be promoting universal marriage.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • mama k

      I am all for people remaining healthy. So in that regard, I feel safe-se x practices is the answer. And if people can be happy and abstain from s ex, then fine. I think my problem with Douglas and Bob here is that I get the feeling that there is still an obvious degree of bigotry leveled against gays (by Bob) and that people like Douglas would go to any length to meet the approval of someone like Bob as a representative of the Christian god.

      So I have to ask Douglas – would you be comfortably able, for instance to kiss a same-se x partner on the cheek and hold hands in your church? I'm just trying to get a handle on what Douglas means when he uses the word celibacy all over the place. Because some people look at that word and think remaining single. And if he honestly answered that question, I'd be curious of Bob's views on this.

      So if there are Christians out there that do not want the right to marry, then I certainly would not want to interfere with their rights, but I would like to hear from them on what they think consti tutes a gay couple and are they able to comfortably worship together as a couple in their churches. I know there are in fact plenty of churches across the country that are fully accepting of gay couples, but I would like to hear from Douglas on this.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • YeahRight

      "This heartbreaking news is disturbing because the practice of celibacy can stop the spread of virus from the host
      to the victim."

      Try selling that to the people of Africa. Oh, that's right you're only prejudice toward gay people.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  6. the AnViL

    it has been shown that the largest portion of people who speak out against h o m o s e x u a l i t y are usually repressed/latent h o m o s e x u a l s.

    isn't that funny?

    November 27, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • lol??

      Are you a lyin' kweer?

      November 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • lol??

      An educated astronut that ripped off her hubby?

      November 27, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  7. lol??

    Gays are bullies and thieves. They thrive on demobocracy. Did I forget liars?

    November 27, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • oddjob

      Ah...a troll throwing out bait...let's see who bites

      November 27, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Gays are all those things and heroes, philanthropists... And some are quite ordinary people too.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • lol??

      Every engine of demobocracy needs a tachometer. They volunteered.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • lol??

      The Herodian Dynasty fancied themselves as heroes.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • mama k

      I would urge newcomers to view the posts by "lol??" in various other articles. I think you'll soon realize this is someone crying for attention. And frequently with nothing of substance to add to the conversation. If we could just find the right size pacifier . . .

      November 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  8. CSX

    You are not a Christian. In support of something that is an abomination and goes against nature itself?
    Is your steering wheel where the tire is? and the steering wheel a tire?
    Doable, but not right by design.
    Even so, the seed deserves better, no?

    November 27, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Better than a dolt like you or Boob.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • oddjob

      CSX
      No I am not a christian. It would be a great insult to be called one as they have proven to be the least moral people you could meet.
      Being gay does not go against nature when it is nature that makes them feel the way they do. It is natural for them, not everyone, but certainly for some. It is not an abomination. The Bible is an abomination against reality, and you belive it, which makes you a hypocritical fool.
      Grow up CSX, judge not lest ye be judged.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Elaine

      The majority of the people in our jails are Christians, getting what they deserve.

      Many of them are doing each other, in same sex prisons.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      But, Elaine, are they true christians? (with heavy sarcasm).

      November 28, 2012 at 7:43 am |
  9. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Come on, Boob. When are you going to answer Huebert's question? Or are you going to pretend not to see it, as you always do, you cowardly dip wad?

    November 27, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  10. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Nope. Bob's gay, gay, gay.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • oddjob

      There was a time when gay was another word for happy and it wasn't an insult.

      Gay still isn't an insult except to the ones who don't want to admit it;s true.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't intend it as an insult. I don't see it as one. Bob pretends he does, though.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • oddjob

      my point exactly Tom...my point exactly

      November 27, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  11. Bob

    Tom I have read it and its the same dribble put out by you that only lets everyone know that you don't know human nature or the way things are setup in nature. Relationships must escape you because even the courts unless something gross happens will rule in favor of a bio mother over a adopted mother in most cases or in family situations if either spouse is a bio parent the ones that is not cannot gain custody in a divorce. Or if that doesn't work for you then reread the reasons I have stated that children will go with a bio mother or father over a spouse of marriage. So I would say it makes a difference, even if you cannot see it which is sad. Like i have said before knows how to write knows nothing about human nature. Or maybe that fact that I put DNA in replacement for bio-lo-gi-cal throws you off.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That has nothing whatsoever to do with anything, you dishonest little creep. You are claiming that gays have children that are not related to them biologically, which is simply not the case, first of all, and secondly, even if that were the case, why would you imagine that such a thing matters? It doesn't, you idiot. We're not TALKING about divorce and who gets custody, dolt. My word, you're unbelievably stupid. You HAVE to be a poe. NOBODY could be this backward and still remember to breathe.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Bob

      You are really amazingly stupid aren't you? I will keep my knowledge of interpersonal relationships and you can keep your spelling. I am far ahead of the game if that is all you have to aspire to especially when you cannot comprehend a simple idea on relationships and I used to think yeah was bad.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I am more convinced than ever that Boob is a poe. He's in favor of gay marriage, and is likely gay himself. He's posing as an opponent and posting the most nonsensical arguments agains gay marriage to point out the idiocy of such positions.

      Nobody could be that stupid.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bob,

      I'll leave you with this observation:

      Your interpretation below is wrong:
      "The 1797 treaty with Tripoli was one of the many treaties in which each country officially recognized the religion of the other in an attempt to prevent further escalation of a "Holy War" between Christians and Muslims."

      As you have essentially agreed in subsequent posts, the point of the treaty was to prevent attacks by the Tripolitanian pirates on US shipping. No more, no less. It had NOTHING to do with "holy war" between Christians and Muslims.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Bob

      In March 1785, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams went to Lon-don to negotiate with Tripoli's envoy, Am-bass-ador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman . Upon inquiring "concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury", the ambassador replied It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy's ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once. Yes I would say that they were Muslims and that this was a real problem. Its a shame that you only get half the facts before having the bravado to say what you think you know.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • Bob

      However, once the US declared in-de-pen-den-ce, Br-it-ish dip were quick to inform the Barbary sta that US ships were open to attack. In 1785, Dey Moham-mad of Algiers declared war on the US and captured several US ships. The financially troubled Con-fe-d-era-tion Gov of the US was unable to raise a navy or the tribute that would protect US ships.In contrast to the dispute with Algiers, US neg-ot-ia-tions with Morocco went well. Moroccan Sidi Mo-ham-mad had seized a US merchant ship in 1784 after the US had ignored diplomatic overtures. However, Mu-ham-mad ultimately followed a policy of peaceful trade, and the US successfully concluded a treaty with Morocco in 1786. However, Con-gre-ss was still unable to raise enough funds to satisfy the Dey of Algiers. So now you all see why the Treaty of Tripoli was a bad example of the US not being a Christian country. I hope you all will remember this. History lesson over.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • Bob

      Hey K did you get the info why the treaty of Tripoli was a bad example?? Some say I don't answer this forum its pretty hard and there are so many that don't know the truth that I have to pick my time to explain things and hope that all would do their own homework and not look at the atheist biased books for answers but seek the truth and that will set you free. Praise Jesus

      November 28, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Bob, You wrote "So now you all see why the Treaty of Tripoli was a bad example of the US not being a Christian country."
      I don't see that at all from anything you wrote. Was there supposed to be something in there showing that the US was, despite the unanimous statement of our Senate to the contrary, a Christian country? Or is your argument that you believe the entire Senate agreed to lie about the founding of the nation to promote commercial interests?

      November 28, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • mama k

      Yeah, Bob, I'm with Saraswati on that one. You still fail to realize just how Deistic Adams and many of his contemporaries were when it came down to real law or their reflection of such. Sure they made speeches, performed ceremonial duties, etc. referencing their God, but when we hear them write about how the new government was to work, that's when the Deism comes through; that's when hear them call out for the need for a secular government. When Adams says these things about our government's founding, Bob:

      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

      Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery

      it is of no surprise to me that he meant every word of what is stated in the treaty with Tripoli that the U.S. is not founded on the Christian religion.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Bob

      Swastika. The 1797 treaty with Tripoli was one of the many treaties in which each country officially recognized the religion of the other in an attempt to prevent further escalation of a Holy War between Christians and Muslims. This statement simply distinguished America from those historical strains of European Christianity which held an inherent hatred of Muslims it assured the Muslims that the US was not a Christian nation like those of previous centuries with whose practices the Muslims were very familiar and thus would not undertake a religious holy war against them.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bob,

      I have no argument when you post historical facts, but your interpretations of the facts you post continue to be wrong. The purpose of the Treaty of Tripoli was to stop the Barbary pirates from preying on American shipping, pure and simple.

      It had absolutely nothing to do with 'holy war'.

      The Barbary pirates used the Koran as justification to wage piracy on non-Muslims. Religion was their rationalization to legitimize the crime of piracy. Once the Crusades ended (arguably with the Reconquista) there was no holy war between Christians and Muslims. Doubtless there was retributive behavior by the Barbary states toward Spain whom they no doubt considered their implacable enemy but to conflate piracy with state-sponsored holy war is just silly.

      November 28, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Bob

      goober I presented facts and quotes, I did not interpret you presented no facts just your interpretation that is unacceptable.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Bob

      The writings of General William Eaton, a major figure in the Barbary Powers conflict, provide even more irrefutable testimony of how the conflict was viewed at that time. Eaton was first appointed by President John Adams as "Consul to Tunis," and President Thomas Jefferson later advanced him to the position of US Naval Agent to the Barbary States," authorizing him to lead a military expedition against Tripoli. Eaton's official correspondence during his service confirms that the conflict was a Muslim war against a Christian America.For example, when writing to Secretary of State Timothy Pickering, Eaton apprised him of why the Muslims would be such dedicated foes: Taught by revelation that war with the Christians will guarantee the salvation of their souls, and finding so great secular advantages in the observance of this religious duty the secular advantage of keeping captured cargoes their the Muslims inducements to desperate fighting are very powerful.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  12. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Why is it that Boob can't answer the questions posed? Why does he pretend he hasn't read them? If his cause is so just, shouldn't he be able to defend it instead of changing the subject every time he doesn't want to/can't answer? Huebert asked a very good question and Boob ignored it. Boob claimed that gay marriage would destroy the fabric of society. Huebert asked how. Boob has ignored the question because he knows that gay marriage will do no such thing. The societies of states and countries where gay marriage has been legal for some time show no signs of a deteriorating society. But that's just an inconvenient fact that Boob can't handle, so he pretends he hasn't seen it.

    What a lily-livered milquetoast.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • mama k

      I heard about this somewhere else. I think it's called fred's disease or something like that, Tom.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't think even fred is as stupid as this goober. Nobody could be this dumb. He's a poe.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    I believe that Bob is gay and is posting this sort of nonsense to create controversy and to paint those agains gay marriage as ignoramuses, dolts, idiots, and morons. That's why Bob is writing like someone who flunked out of eighth grade-he's putting on an act. He's actually gay himself and very much in favor of gay marriage.

    November 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  14. Bob

    Let us begin with a quote from James Madison, the Father of the Con-st-itu-tion. “The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it. Of course Madison means that Christian concept of morality that he learned from the Anglican Church which was a required state religion in his home state, when he was a child.

    November 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No. Answer the question, Bob. Why does it matter whether there's common DNA between parent and child? Why do you believe that people who adopt children are less of a family than those who procreate?

      Answer, you little dweeb. Stop trying to change the subject. The words of dead presidents are irrelevant.

      November 27, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Saraswati

      How about starting with an actually official government declaration:

      "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" – John Adams, in declaration unanimously ratified by the US senate in 1797.

      November 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • mama k

      Yes, Bob, we all know Madison was a Christian, but even before the time Madison was writing parts of the Constitution, he and his fellow Virginians witnessed terrible fighting between Anglicans and Baptists. So let's see what he had to say about that:

      During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

      (A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the Virginia General Assembly, 1785)

      You see, Bob, Madison was very affected by Deism as was his fellow key founders like Paine, Adams and Jefferson. When he was addressing the Virginia General Assembly – he was actually more upset with his fellow Anglicans because of their persecution of the Baptists. His other writings during this period show him as a much more moderate Christian – interested actually in the well-being of other types of Christians, unlike the feuding fundamentalists who could never understand another flavor of Christianity. Sound like someone, Bob?

      November 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Bob

      The American envoys negotiated numerous treaties of "Peace and Amity" with the Muslim Barbary nations to ensure protection of American commercial ships sailing in the Mediterranean. However, the terms of the treaty frequently were unfavorable to America, either requiring her to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars of tribute official extortion to each country to receive a "guarantee" of safety or to offer other "considerations providing a warship as a "gift" to Tripoli, a "gift" frigate to Algiers, paying $525,000 to ransom captured American seamen from Algiers. The 1797 treaty with Tripoli was one of the many treaties in which each country officially recognized the religion of the other in an attempt to prevent further escalation of a "Holy War" between Christians and Muslims. Consequently, Article XI of that treaty stated. As the government of the US of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion as it has in itself no character of enmity [hatred] against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims] and as the said States have never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. We were streached to the point of breaking and could not defend ourseves against the Muslim hoard so we had to pay the price. The Muslims had just come off conquering quite a few countries and were ready for battle. Learn your history it may help you some day or at least you would understand things and the reasoning's of our fore fathers.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • mama k

      That is – the latter type, the feuding, divisive type – does that sound like a certain someone here who can't entertain the idea of churches fully accepting gays for who they are? Hmm?

      November 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why does it matter whether there's common DNA between parent and child? Why do you believe that people who adopt children are less of a family than those who procreate?

      How many times do you think you can pretend you haven't read this, Boob?

      November 27, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Bob

      The First Amendment to the US Con-st-itu-tion prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, This was established not to take religion out of the gov but to stop it from mandating a certain religion. It address these types of arguments, This was a time that in order to belong to gov you had to be a Christian in one form or another and had to go to church a far cry from today.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • mama k

      Of course it is quite obvious how Deistic John Adams was. Here, he reflects on the founding of the government:

      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.

      (A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America [1787-1788])

      November 27, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • mama k

      Bob: "This was established not to take religion out of the gov but to stop it from mandating a certain religion."

      That's right, Bob. And Madison realized that the only way to keep any particular religion from gaining the upper hand was to keep it away from the primary functions of government as much as possible. We here this from him here in letters to Edward Livingston and Robert Walsh:

      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.

      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.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bob,

      "The Muslims had just come off conquering quite a few countries and were ready for battle."

      In 1797? Nonsense! The Muslim conquest of north Africa (Ifriqiya) occured in the late 7th century – fully 11 centuries before the period in question. Piracy was business as usual for the Barbary Corsairs in the late 18th century. In fact Spain had just opened a 'can' on the Algerians in 1784 that the Dey of Algeria agreed not to attack Spanish ships.

      Negotiations with the Barbary Corsairs were necessary because American flagged ships no longer had the protection of the Royal Navy and they were sitting ducks in the Mediterranean.

      The first Barbary war between the USA and Tripolitania would not begin until 1801.

      "Learn your history" indeed!

      November 27, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Bob

      goper So why did we need Brits protection and from who??

      November 27, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bob,

      of the first amendment you said:

      "This was established not to take religion out of the gov but to stop it from mandating a certain religion."

      Only the second part of this statement is true. The first amendment WAS created to take religion out of government. Not out of the society – just out of the government.

      "This was a time that in order to belong to gov you had to be a Christian in one form or another and had to go to church a far cry from today."

      Your statement here is true for the Colonial period. The beautiful part of the first amendment is that once ratified, it was NO LONGER true in the new United States and never will be.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bob,

      prior to independence, colonial American shipping was protected by the Royal Navy. After independence, the American flagged ships were own their own. They had no navy to protect them and were vulnerable – hence the need for the treaties.

      Morocco became the first country to recognize the sovereignty of the USA, which doubtless led to increased trading in the region and increased vulnerability to US shipping.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • mama k

      Yes, good point, "not a GOPer". I knew about certain landmark rulings based on the Establishment Clause, but recently I saw a good list that shows that its been used quite a number of time to argue for separation of church and state, which shows there are always fundies out there still trying to turn us into a theocracy.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bob,

      sorry I didn't fully answer your question:

      "So why did we need Brits protection and from who??"

      From the Barbary Corsairs. They were the 'pirates of the Mediterranean'.

      The following treaties were conducted:
      Treaty with Algeria (1795)
      Treaty with Tripoli (1796)
      Treaty with Tunis (1797)
      Treaty with Tripoli (1805)
      Treaty with Algeria (1815)
      Treaty with Tunis (1824)
      Treaty with Morocco (1836)

      November 27, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • mama k

      And here is a link to a list of some SC separation cases dealing with religion and education:

      http://candst.tripod.com/table1.htm

      November 27, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Bob

      So gopee who were they being attacked from the Muslims?? and who were the Moroccans??Throughout this long conflict, the four Barbary Powers regularly attacked undefended American merchant ships. Not only were their cargoes easy prey but the Barbary Powers were also capturing and enslaving "Christian" seamen in retaliation for what had been done to them by the "Christians" of previous centuries the Crusades and Ferdinand and Isabella's expulsion of Muslims from Granada. In an attempt to secure a release of captured seamen and a guarantee of unmolested shipping in the Mediterranean, Washington dispatched envoys to negotiate treaties with the Barbary nations. Maybe you had better brush up on your history and find out not only the big words but more about who the people were and what conquests had been done.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • mama k

      Well let's see, last time we had this discussion, Bob you indicated that the Mayflower Compact had more impact for us today than reflections of the key founders about the Constitution that they crafted that we still have as our primary law today. Lol. I'm guessing you still maintain that position.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • mama k

      So exactly what does Madison mean here Bob – it seems awfully complex:

      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.

      But I'm sure with your ability to correctly interpret the Bible, you would tell us what he means by this.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bob,

      Are you so stupid that you think you have to explain to me that the Barbary Corsairs were Muslims?

      This statement you made is pure bullshït:
      "The Muslims had just come off conquering quite a few countries and were ready for battle."

      What countries had Tripoli just conquered in 1797?

      You also said:
      "the four Barbary Powers regularly attacked undefended American merchant ships."

      Which is exactly what I said in at least three posts. They attacked ANYBODY who could not defend themselves. That's what pirates do. Everybody else had navies or treaties to protect their shipping. In the beginning, the United States had NO navy and were more vulnerable than the others.

      At the time, the Royal Navy's Mediterranean fleet was blockading the French in their home ports. When the French slipped out to attack Egypt in 1798, Nelson destroyed them at the Battle of the Nile.

      The pirates didn't want to mess with British shipping so they picked on the Americans.

      What's your point?

      November 27, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  15. Bob

    In Ezekiel 37:10-14, the prophet receives a vision in which Israel was seen as a scattering of dried-up bones. In this vision, God tells Ezekiel that the bones (Israel) would be brought back to life. Just as Ezekiel had prophesied about 2600 years ago, the Jews were brought back to the land, and the country of Israel was brought back to life. Israel re-established sovereignty in 1948, a mere three years after the end of the Holocaust, during which the Nazis killed about one-third of the world’s Jewish population. Ezekiel 37:10-14 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them they came to life and stood up on their feet a vast army. Then he said to me “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.

    November 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Elaine

      Bob, prophecies that don't give exact dates for the events they are predicting aren't worth a plugged nickel. Anyone can say stuff will happen, and so much stuff does given enough time that eventually something will happen close to what they predicted that they can claim to be right.

      Put up a prophecy with the exact dates in it (year, month, day), and then show that those events happened on the predicted dates. I bet you can't. Put up, or ...

      November 28, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • Bob

      Elame its really amazing that everyone besides you accept this and if you look at all the predictions in the Bible that came true the chance of that happening is one in 100000000000000000 to the tenth power. So if you want more proof than that I don't think your going to get it. You will just have to suck up the disappointment and maybe stay on a stupid course. Why, because anyone who doesn't want to accept the probability that there may be something there considering the number and accuracy of the predictions that came true is just plain ignorant or has their own agenda to fulfill.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • ImLook'nUp

      @ Elaine
      If you study God and His Prophets, the focus was on the message. The time scale was in Gods hands. So to say that a Prophet must supply (day, month, year) can be tossed.

      November 28, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  16. mama k

    As Brent below states religion-based bigotry is nothing new. It's been around as long as religions have been around. It was even a problem around the time of the founding of the U.S. James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and other key founders had to face terrible feuding between different fundamentalist Christian sects in their home states. Madison, a moderate Christian influenced by Deism (who would go on to be the chief architect of the Constitution that we live by today (and 4th POTUS)), was not happy about these know-it-all extremist fundies fighting with each other:

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    (A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the Virginia General Assembly, 1785)

    Bob scrambles to protect his extremist Christian view by referencing outdated science. HIS tenets promote bigotry and disenfranchisement in an opposite fashion as the tenets of MANY churches that are now fully accepting of gays.

    Celibacy is not realistic, it is not natural, and it is not healthy. For every 250 bigoted ministers, there are another more moderate 250 waiting to accept gays as they are. There are even entire associations of churches who are FULLY accepting of gays.

    Get a grip, Bob. Come down to reality. The tide is turning, Bob. Hope you are ready.

    November 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Bob

      It is interesting in mama criticism of celibacy she says it’s not realistic and not natural. I suppose two men copulating is natural now that's funny that’s the pot is calling the kettle black. How can you in good conscience say that it’s unnatural, what a hypocrite? Fighting for a cause that many said the same thing about now she reverses the table and calls ones like Doug unnatural and also saying it’s an unrealistic idea. You are two faced, either anything goes or it stays the same. Who made you the one who now decides what is right and wrong or unnatural. You would not know unnatural or natural if it hit you in the face. You essentially have become me on a more liberal scale and now stand as the one to hold moral ground when you have less to stand on than me. I at least follow the Bible you follow self and it shows the hardness of your heart. You cannot preach gay marriage yet deny somebody a lifestyle that works for them on the basis of copulation. Remember if gay marriage is ok why is anything else not ok and its just the law and men make the law so the law can be changed and you are not the one to deicide.

      November 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Bob, mama k, you both are getting into trouble by trying to use the word "natural" which doesn't really mean anything. Drop the word, drop the shell of the idea, and you'll be better off.

      November 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Bob

      In Hinduism, Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, music, arts and science. The universe obeys certain rules laws to which all things must adhere. These laws are precise, and many of them are mathematical in nature. Natural laws are hierarchical in nature; secondary laws of nature are based on primary laws of nature, which have to be just right in order for our universe to be possible. But, where did these laws come from, and why do they exist? If the universe were merely the accidental by-product of a big bang, then why should it obey orderly principles or any principles at all for that matter? Such laws are consistent with biblical creation. Natural laws exist because the universe has a Creator God who is logical and has imposed order on His universe (Genesis 1:1).

      November 27, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      There is absolutely not a shred of evidence that ties the "order" of the universe to some fairy godfather, Boob. Not one.

      November 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Bob

      can you prove it doesn't?

      November 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Are you retarded? How many times do you have to be told that one can't prove a negative. The onus is on you to prove that your god designed the universe. Get on that right away, Boob.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Bob, you made the claim so it's up to you to prove it. Or admit you are mentally ill, a liar or both.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  17. Bob

    Get Yeah with all of his different names off the spam mode

    November 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Bob you are such a liar and a homophobic that your posts are hilarious. Keep showing why you're not a real Christian but a troll on this thread. LMAO! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL!

      November 27, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "John 3:16" degenerates to;
      "pervert alert" is the degenerate.

      This troll is not a christian

      November 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  18. Bob

    Since yeah has decided to spam the board I decided to repost this and will do it many times more so enjoy but remember there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible. While we have been to hell and back on this issue the truth comes down to this the author of this article is sorely mislead and trips on the fantasies of his own mind, he must have been a flower child. The truth is that there is NO support for gays in the Bible except to say they are welcome to receive Jesus as Lord of their lives. Any continuation on the H0m0 lifestyle is strictly forbidden and carries penalties with it. Gays should be supported and welcomed in churches like everyone else but they are not to be in ministry just as anyone else who is in sin. Jesus does provide a way out of this lifestyle and will heal the hurts that allowed a person to enter in to it in the first place. I actually think that is a failing of the church to throw out the ones that are having a hard time conforming rather than showing the true love of Jesus to them. The atheists here don't know the Bible and I seriously doubt have any gay friends much less real friends so they speak not from any caring point but to take The Bible out of society. That is there motive and plans the gay rights issue is a mere stepping stone to a God less society for them. May they either receive the truth of the Bible or pay justly for their deeds which are well known.Two large studies asked h0m0 respondents to explain the origins of their desires and behaviors – how they "got that way." The first of these studies was conducted by Kinsey in the 1940s and involved 1700 h0m0. The second, in 1970, involved 979 h0m0. Both were conducted prior to the period when the "gay rights" movement started to politicize the issue of h0m0 origins. Both reported essentially the same findings: H0m0 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 h0m0 35% said their desires were hereditary. Interestingly, almost 80% of the 3,400 hetero in the same study said that their preferences and behavior were learned.bDr. Stanton L. Jones, professor of psyc at Wheaton states that there is a “mixed scorecard” among professionals on this. He writes: “I would not regard gays to be in the same sense as schizophrenia or phobic disorders. But neither can it be viewed as a normal. But it is clear that the APA’s 1973 decision cannot be cited as medical consensus that gay is a “normal” condition.You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, nor shall you take her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness; they are blood relatives. It is lewdness.You shall not marry a woman in addition to her sister as a rival while she is alive, to uncover her nakedness.Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness during her menstrual impurity.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "In a 1983 study conducted by the Family Research involving a random sample of 147 h0m0 35% said their desires were hereditary."

      More lies again being posted by Bob over and over again. FR is a well known hate group who's reports have been proven bogus. 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."

      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 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Melvin

      " The truth is that there is NO support for gays 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 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • 250 Ministers Proclamation

      " Any continuation on the H0m0 lifestyle is strictly forbidden and carries penalties with it. "

      As Christian clergy we proclaim the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.

      In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:

      -to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;

      –to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;

      –to declare that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;

      –to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;

      Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

      November 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Brent

      " I decided to repost this and will do it many times more so enjoy but remember there is no justification for gay marriage"

      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 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  19. Huebert

    This article is now nothing more than a copy & paste war isn't it.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • fred

      Yes it is and a great example of the problem with this debate. One is posting facts while the other is posting rhetoric because they are homophobic, just like what happens around the world. People build up such deep hatred without questioning themselves if what they believe is actually true or not. It's just history repeating itself over and over again, I hope like in the past hatred and prejudice loses.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      And both sides are to blame.

      Clearly actual discussion on the subject is not going to happen.

      November 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • midwest rail

      The next time the fundiots engage in honest discourse will be the first time.

      November 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  20. Erik

    " But it is clear that the APA’s 1973 decision cannot be cited as medical consensus that gay is a “normal” condition."

    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 27, 2012 at 12:43 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.