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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. Douglas

    There is NO, I repeat NO condemnation of celibate, LGBTQ Christians since
    they reject the practice of fornication and coitus that are identified as sinful behaviors
    in the Holy Bible.

    Deliverance is possible.

    Salvation is at hand.

    Support celibate LGBTQ couples at your place of worship.

    Open the doors of the church and lt them know that through celibacy, salvation is possible.

    Jettison fornication by LGBTQ couples and extend the hand of fellowship to them next Sunday!

    December 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • mama k

      But many gay couples are smarter than that and have found Christian churches who accept them fully for who they are no strings attached! And that goes to prove that Christianity is conflicted over the issue, just like it has been conflicted over many issues since its beginnings. (Readers scroll down and see my posts with more about this conflicted nature of Christianity.)

      December 4, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Bob

      Keep up the good work Doug

      December 5, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion." (1 Corinthians 7:8-9 RSV)

      December 5, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Primewonk

      That of course is a cop out. A celibate gay person is still gay, just like a celibate straight person is still straight. And just like straight folks, gay folks have hundreds of sèxual thoughts and irrational each day. There is no way to avoid this. It is simply how humans are wired. It is how we evolved. And your bible clearly states that if you lust in your heart, it is the same as physically doing it.

      This whole thing shows just how scientifically ignorant your god is.

      December 5, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • lol??

      No wonk, you can flee......"2Ti 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart."

      December 5, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • lol??

      It's a self government thang.

      December 5, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Primewonk

      I'm sorry lol?? But I've given up talking with Dumbfuclerk ignorant sock puppets like yourself.

      Roddenberry 68:12 We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.

      December 5, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • lol??

      Where's your luv, wonk? Pining after the socie mama k?

      December 5, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • lol??

      The socie educratists USED to let children run at recess. No more. They are terrified of lawsuits from americult's pharisees if a kid manages to break a finger from falling. So you have many fidgety boys in class. No problem. Drug em.

      December 5, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Saraswati

      @lol??, That's not why recess was eliminated, but to squeeze both time and money for more studying. But if you are worried about medical lawsuits stunting us, keep in mind that they are fewer in countries that provide national healthcare so people don't feel they have to sue for treatment.

      December 5, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • James

      "Support celibate LGBTQ couples at your place of worship."

      This is not true. 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.

      December 5, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Phil

      "There is NO, I repeat NO condemnation of celibate, LGBTQ Christians since
      they reject the practice of fornication "

      This person is not someone who understands what real loving relationships are about. The belief that sex is not important is a dangerous and intimacy-eroding myth. Sex provides an important time-out from the pressures of our daily lives and allows us to experience a quality level of closeness, vulnerability and sharing with our partners. If your sex life is unfulfilled, it becomes a gigantic issue. People like Douglas are dangerous for our society and don't understand the fundamental of human intimacy, gays or lesbians.

      December 5, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  2. Bob

    As a atheist how do you qualify that these are indeed Christians? You hold them up as a standard so how? I can say I'm anything I want, but what does the Bible say K

    December 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Moby Schtick.

      You can't ever "qualify" someone as a christian or not; you have to take it on faith that they are what they say they are. It's why so many christians will say other christians aren't really christians and then the other chrisitans say that others are not "true christians" and the silliness goes on and on.

      December 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • mama k

      Exactly, Moby.

      Readers – scan down to my post at: December 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      where I discuss how conflicted Christianity has always been – you'll see my quote there from James Madison, addressing the Virginia General Assembly where he says:

      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.

      December 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Bob

      Exactly my point YOU don't know yet but I will know and most who are Christian will know but being a atheist you wont. So I would be a less willing to hold up someone I know as a Christian. As when it comes to gays and marriage the bible is very clear, as it is also clear as to what a Christian is. I have studied so much and spent time in prayer to find out who God really is. To develop a relationship with Him and follow what He says. Like I said there are guides in the Bible that tells who the Christians really are. But I also have seen quite a few that call themselves Christians that I would say that they are the farthest thing from. So this also goes to the point here, You don't have the ability to judge the validity of this guys argument, you could accept anyone's word that they are Christians good or bad. You have no idea why being a Christian is good or even what truly by Gods word what makes a Christian. No wonder you like others think a church is religious or just people getting together to do their thing or if your friend says hes a Christian but has no power and nothing special so its just another set of nuts getting together. Just like you listen to words and say he is or isn't one because you don't know.Thats why you don't understand the significance ot what being a true Christian means. Therefore to you its mans laws so they can bend or be broken.

      December 4, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • mama k

      No, Bob. It is the very nature of Christianity to be conflicted about what makes a good Christian. They've always been like that. That's why I posted the quote from James Madison to show how this internal conflict among Christians has plagued U.S citizens since our country was founded (readers, please scroll down to my earlier posts). Bob is quite mistaken that atheists don't understand Christianity. He is passing judgment on people as if he were God regarding things that many other Christians are in disagreement about. Don't buy into the Bobigotry people!

      December 4, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Bob

      Well that pretty much sums it up, and I quote, It is the very nature of Christianity to be conflicted about what makes a good Christian. atheists telling a Christian that we don't know what makes a good Christian in fact I know better than you, now that is funny. They always know better on all things don't they, LOL. I guess the Christian faith as she sees it has no guide lines and anyone can be one so why not allow gay marriage and all her friends are true Christians,ok. Its double edged sword in this portrayal, I guess that is why so many are falling away from religion and have found the peace,joy power that comes only one way through relationship with Jesus. He makes it perfectly clear what is and is not a Christian its really a shame that more don't show the true nature of Christ so the world would have no doubt. Its about a personal relationship with Christ that is the heart of the Christian walk to be filled with the Spirit and to listen intently at the doors of the Temple for the words spoken by the true Lover of our soul. Do you realize in one swoop she told us that all our days of seeking and reading the Bible were useless. That she insults the very nature and demeanor of a Christian? This is ignorance and arrogance at its finest the two walking hand in hand plodding through life leaving in their path a wake of destruction. She doesn't care about truth about the people around her or about the little glimmers of life in people. She needs to get her way and that's it This is the way of an adulterous woman She eats and wipes her mouth, And says, "I have done no wrong The Bible puts things so well in that quote from Psalms. Atheists don't care about the US they don't care about how this country was founded and on what grounds they don't care what will happen in the future from decisions that will be made now. They are like a virus they take over a body change it and eventually terminate the host. Gays for the most part are never this way, but atheists will use anyone and everyone they can to achieve personal goals.

      December 5, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • Jen

      True Christians are not allowed to judge Bob, as that is God's job. You judge so you are not Christian. That is a simple fact. Even you can not dispute that Bob.

      December 5, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Bob
      The definition ofa Christian is one who strives to live in the image of Jesus Christ.
      Many Christians lose sight of this core principle and get lost in sectarian dogma, arguing mythological minutiae.
      Faith in miracles, divinity, resurrections, and other fantastical flourishes isn't required to live a life of pacifism, charity and humility.

      December 5, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Bob

      Jen, We are allowed to judge for if we couldn't how would we survive? Also just a small fact that we will someday be judging angels. All the Apostles used their judgement along with the Spirit to decide things. Just another misconception from atheists about Christians.

      December 5, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • YeahRight

      " But I also have seen quite a few that call themselves Christians that I would say that they are the farthest thing from."

      This poster has proven over and over again they are not a true Christians and they do not follow the teachings of the bible. They have posted comments from well known hate groups that are full of lies to try and justify their unfounded hatred and bigotry toward the gay community. This poster is not a Christian but a prejudice troll.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  3. mama k

    LOL. Bob embarrasses himself by saying "6 is not a lot of church members that don't agree."

    You should know Bob not to assume things about someone you don't know.

    Regardless, for those interested, the following faiths perform same-sex marriage:

    -United Church of Christ: The United Church of Christ was the first mainstream Christian church to fully support same-sex marriage and perform marriage ceremonies.
    -Jewish: Reform Judaism embraces same-sex marriage and rabbis can perform ceremonies.
    -Quaker: The willingness to perform gay marriages varies by meetinghouse, but there is some acceptance and performance of same-sex marriages among Quakers.
    -Metropolitan Community Church
    -Unitarian Universalist

    and I'm confident that more mainstream faiths in the U.S. will join that list as DOMA is repealed and more states join the list of those that have already legalized gay marriage.

    Also, for those interested, check out these gay-friendly organizations if looking for a church:

    http://www.gaychurch.org/

    http://www.awab.org

    And I'm sure there are more. I am not religious. But if you need a church, find one that accepts you for who you are – avoid the Bobigotry.

    December 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  4. Bob

    of course through all this there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible.

    December 4, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • mama k

      Well and awful lot of other Christians don't think the same as you, Bob. I know quite a number. And of course there are entire organizations of gay-friendly churches out there that fully accept gay couples. But for other readers, just scan down and read my last post – it addresses the disparity between different kinds of Christians and how obvious and harmful that has always been on our American society.

      December 4, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Bob

      6 is not a lot of church members that don't agree.
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      While the atheists try to spin hate and anger in dramatics that people who don't follow them and their ideas are bigots I only see that they lie about the origin of the country, lie about what the Bible says about gay marriage, subvert gov with money from the wealthy to promote gay laws and then call us bigots who adhere to what this country was founded on. These are just like the socialists, communists and Nazis that burned books, banned the Bible or any other religion that gave people the option to have individuality. They seek to make people forget where they came from and who died to make this country great in order to push their own perverted agenda. So who are the ones that really hate when they take away our very great heritage pull down morals so anything goes and forget the benefits of doing things right instead of perverting everything. Why don't I see gays arguing the point here instead of atheists? What do they want to achieve? If gays found it so important don't you think they would want to promote themselves? Don't drink the koolaid they are serving we are the greatest nation in the world and we didn't get that way on their ideals.

      December 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Bob
      You sound like Wally Criswell railing against interracial marriage in the 50's.
      "They are all a bunch of infidels, dying from the neck up."
      Scarcely half a century later, the zeitgeist has shifted so radically that such open racism is considered abhorrent to the very same Christian sect that spouted scripture to justify insti.tutionalized bigotry.
      Your condemnation of ho.mose.xuality will soon be viewed with the same sense of shame that the memory of segregation elicits.

      December 5, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Saraswati

      There's no justification for iPads or democratic governments of McDonald's either.

      December 5, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  5. mama k

    Bob, the bigoted one, keeps insisting that the U.S. was founded on Christianity and is a Christian nation. Well it is obviously not entirely a Christian nation and it is not a theocracy and it was not founded on Christianity. God nor Christ are mentioned in the Constitution that we live by. If one listens to the words of our key founders reflecting on our government, we more and more hear a call for moderation for Christians. We hear more and more the influence of Deism on the founders, who were fed up with the persecution between various Christians sects that was going on at the time.

    Listen to James Madison, POTUS #4, and the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution:

    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 Remonstrance . . to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785.)

    Listen to John Adams, POTUS #2:

    The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. 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.

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

    Listen to Ben Franklin:

    Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of the sermons which had been preached at Boyle’s Lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them. For the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to be much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.

    (from his Autobiography)

    Thomas Paine was very Deistic. He witness Quakers being hung in Massachusetts by other Christians.

    Thomas Jefferson had his own Deistic version of the Bible.

    Of course Deism holds to the belief of God as the creator of the universe. But many Deists also believed that God did not interfere with the lives of his creation. And many Deists disbelieved in all of the "magic" in the Bible – some of them refuting the Bible completely.

    Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Paine, Mason & Madison all witnessed violent persecution between Christian sects in their home states around the time the government was being established. So it is of no surprise that they needed a secular government and they knew the only way to enforce freedom of religion was to keep religion out of the government as much as possible.

    Listen to James Madison speak about the need for the need to keep religion out of government (Jefferson wasn't the only one to explicitly speak of the separation of church and state):

    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.

    (from letters to Edward Livingston and Robert Walsh)

    Madison as president vetoed two bills that he believed would violate the separation of church and state. He also came to oppose the long-established practice of employing chaplains at public expense in the House of Representatives and Senate on the grounds that it violated the separation of church and state and the principles of religious freedom. (Library of Congress – James Madison Papers – Detached memorandum, ca. 1823.)

    President John Adams and the U.S. Senate on behalf of the U.S.

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;

    (from Article 11 of the U.S. treaty ratified with Tripoli in 1797)

    Senator John F Kennedy said on Sept. 12, 1960, just prior to his winning the Presidential election:

    I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.

    So secular the government was, and secular it is, Bob. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    December 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  6. James

    "Of course the real discussion is there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible. "

    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.

    December 4, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
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    December 4, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  8. John

    "gay marriage in the Bible."

    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.

    December 4, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  9. Bob

    Mammy K why are you here along with Tom Why you are atheists and dont know the Bible and in no way are keeping with the thought of the article. The Mayflower Compact was signed aboard ship on November 11, 1620 This ruled the land with the Bible and English law. This is what he pilgrims drafted who founded this country that even the atheists live in. Then the articles of con-fed-er-a-tion Articles of Con-fed-er-a-tion was unanimously adopted in 1781. The US Con.sti-tu-tion was written in 1787 in response to the inadequacy of the articles of Con-fed-era-tion due to new trade. This is in light that all members where mandated to belong to a religion of choice in order to serve in a state position. Also did you know in the Capital building today that in the main room there are paintings of prayer meetings held there. So the US is a Christian Nation. The Bible was also used as the first school books and look how far down the road to perversion when from 1620 to 2012 in 392 years we are told that the US was not a Christian nation. The bankers still plunder with impunity the people and gov doesn't do anything about it and we also have teen pregnancies and atheists telling us what the Bible says and that gay barrage is not a perversion now the courts are mandating the laws because congress is lost. In 1913 Roos-e-velt signed the reserve act that officially took control of our money out of our hands. Atheists like these say that they have a better way well all I see is the farther we have come away from the Bible the farther this country has slid down a slippery slope. So I guess George knew what he was talking about when he said gov without the Bible to bridle peoples passions doesn't work, how wise. Of course the real discussion is there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible. Yes they have nothing to say so lets spam the board I rest my case.

    December 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Hey look Bob's re-posting over and over again the very thing this moron keeps complaining about. What a hypocrite and a liar. LOL!

      December 4, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Yes they have nothing to say so lets spam the board I rest my case."

      No, you've been the one spamming the board with your false reports, hate and prejudice about the gay community and you've re-posted it over and over. You're a liar and not a christian but a troll!

      December 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  10. YeahRight

    "Gay mindset is repulsive to God ,He created them man and woman."

    Hundreds of thousands of experts in this country have shown that 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.

    December 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
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    December 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  12. Don

    "There are so many commands of God that the gay relationship doesn't fulfill. "

    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".

    December 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  13. John

    " It also doesn't fulfill any of the spiritual requirements for a relationship and is contrary to How God set things up to be."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    December 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  14. James

    "Gay mindset is repulsive to God"

    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.

    December 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
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    December 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  16. Brent

    "Of course the real discussion is there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    December 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
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    December 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  18. mama k

    Bob, the bigoted one, keeps insisting that the U.S. was founded on Christianity and is a Christian nation. Well it is obviously not entirely a Christian nation and it is not a theocracy and it was not founded on Christianity. Please Bob – the Mayflower Compact is not our law – lol. God nor Christ are mentioned in the Constitution that we live by. If one listens to the words of our key founders reflecting on our government, we more and more hear a call for moderation for Christians. We hear more and more the influence of Deism on the founders, who were fed up with the persecution between various Christians sects that was going on at the time.

    Listen to James Madison, POTUS #4, and the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution:

    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 Remonstrance . . to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785.)

    Listen to John Adams, POTUS #2:

    The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. 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.

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

    Listen to Ben Franklin:

    Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of the sermons which had been preached at Boyle’s Lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them. For the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to be much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.

    (from his Autobiography)

    Thomas Paine was very Deistic. He witness Quakers being hung in Massachusetts by other Christians.

    Thomas Jefferson had his own Deistic version of the Bible.

    Of course Deism holds to the belief of God as the creator of the universe. But many Deists also believed that God did not interfere with the lives of his creation. And many Deists disbelieved in all of the "magic" in the Bible – some of them refuting the Bible completely.

    Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Paine, Mason & Madison all witnessed violent persecution between Christian sects in their home states around the time the government was being established. So it is of no surprise that they needed a secular government and they knew the only way to enforce freedom of religion was to keep religion out of the government as much as possible.

    Listen to James Madison speak about the need for the need to keep religion out of government (Jefferson wasn't the only one to explicitly speak of the separation of church and state):

    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.

    (from letters to Edward Livingston and Robert Walsh)

    Madison as president vetoed two bills that he believed would violate the separation of church and state. He also came to oppose the long-established practice of employing chaplains at public expense in the House of Representatives and Senate on the grounds that it violated the separation of church and state and the principles of religious freedom. (Library of Congress – James Madison Papers – Detached memorandum, ca. 1823.)

    President John Adams and the U.S. Senate on behalf of the U.S.

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;

    (from Article 11 of the U.S. treaty ratified with Tripoli in 1797)

    Senator John F Kennedy said on Sept. 12, 1960, just prior to his winning the Presidential election:

    I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.

    So secular the government was, and secular it is, Bob. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    December 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  19. Bob

    Mammy K why are you here along with Tom Why you are atheists and dont know the Bible and in no way are keeping with the thought of the article. The Mayflower Compact was signed aboard ship on November 11, 1620 This ruled the land with the Bible and English law. This is what he pilgrims drafted who founded this country that even the atheists live in. Then the articles of con-fed-er-a-tion Articles of Con-fed-er-a-tion was unanimously adopted in 1781. The US Con.sti-tu-tion was written in 1787 in response to the inadequacy of the articles of Con-fed-era-tion due to new trade. This is in light that all members where mandated to belong to a religion of choice in order to serve in a state position. Also did you know in the Capital building today that in the main room there are paintings of prayer meetings held there. So the US is a Christian Nation. The Bible was also used as the first school books and look how far down the road to perversion when from 1620 to 2012 in 392 years we are told that the US was not a Christian nation. The bankers still plunder with impunity the people and gov doesn't do anything about it and we also have teen pregnancies and atheists telling us what the Bible says and that gay barrage is not a perversion now the courts are mandating the laws because congress is lost. In 1913 Roos-e-velt signed the reserve act that officially took control of our money out of our hands. Atheists like these say that they have a better way well all I see is the farther we have come away from the Bible the farther this country has slid down a slippery slope. So I guess George knew what he was talking about when he said gov without the Bible to bridle peoples passions doesn't work, how wise. Of course the real discussion is there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible.

    December 4, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Bring'em Young

      The bible is made by men, as is your god. As people gain knowledge and experience, we realize more and more how wrong the bible is. You are not on the moral high ground bob. You are just a sad fool.

      December 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  20. Bob

    Well lets see Do the atheists have anything to add to this article NO So why are they here and off topic?? Because no one else will allow them to post their tripe.

    December 4, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Bring'em Young

      You are the one who has nothing valid to say bob. Round and round you go. I'm just amazed that this topic is still here. Probably because of one nut job that wants to discriminate against gays. His name is bob

      December 4, 2012 at 12:48 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.