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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. mama k

    Douglas, consensual, safe se x among adult couples, regardless of gender, is always a goal for preventing the spread of disease among any population. But you're going to have to be more realistic in this day and age than prescribe abstinence against "fornication", especially for one segment of the population that your extremist version of Christianity has already judged and deemed not worthy of the same benefits in life as their straight counterparts. Celibacy might be OK for priests, but it is not a helpful goal for people in love or who are already couples.

    December 13, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  2. Douglas

    Read it and weep.

    If only they practiced celibacy instead of fornicating.....

    HIV Infections Attributed to Male-to-Male S@xual Contact — Metropolitan Statistical Areas, United States and Puerto Rico, 2010
    Weekly
    November 30, 2012 / 61(47);962-966
    Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections attributed to male-to-male s@xual contact comprised 64% of the estimated new HIV infections in the United States in 2009 (1). Assessing the geographic distribution of HIV infection by transmission category can help public health programs target prevention resources to men who have s@x with men (MSM) in areas where HIV infection from male-to-male s@xual contact is most frequent. In 2004, CDC published data on acquired immunodeficiency syndrome diagnoses among MSM and others by metropolitan statistical area (MSA) (2). To examine geographic differences in the prevalence of HIV infection from male-to-male s@xual contact among persons aged ≥13 years in the United States and Puerto Rico, CDC estimated the number of HIV infections in persons newly diagnosed in 2010 and analyzed them by transmission category and location. Results indicated that HIV infections attributed to male-to-male s@xual contact made up the largest percentage of HIV infections in MSAs (62.1%), smaller metropolitan areas (56.1%), and nonmetropolitan areas (53.7%).

    December 13, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Jen

      People that are in monogamous committed relationships (like say for example – gays that are married), don't spread s-xually transmitted diseases. You're not too bright there Doug.

      December 14, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • YeahRight

      Douglas is only focusing on things that support his prejudice because he also skipped over this part. Black/African American men and women were also strongly affected and were estimated to have an HIV incidence rate that was almost 8 times as high as the incidence rate among whites. So based on Douglas's poor logic we should deny them their civil rights and tell them to be celibate too. LMAO!

      December 14, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Damocles

      Maybe they should try it without saxophones?

      December 14, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  3. Bob

    Yeah or whoever post the John posts screwed up you shouldn't have used Johns name for both one was John but I think the usual one is yeah or James

    December 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • midwest rail

      You make consecutive posts quite frequently. Why can't John ?

      December 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Douglas

      Bob,

      Hilarious!

      Screen names galore to make it appear that LGBTQ coitus is "trending" on the blog.

      You have to get up a little earlier than that to fool Bob.

      Keep up the good work Bob. Eventually they will see the light.

      The condoms and toys will be cast aside and the Bible will be revered instead of cursed.

      I have seen LGBTQ Christians turn their lives around. It can happen with these folks too!

      –Douglas

      December 13, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, brother. As if no one can guess you're one and the same.

      Please. Don't assume everyone else is a stupid as you are.

      December 13, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Bob's too stupid to realize there can be multiple people with the same name so he has to lie about it further proving this poster is not a Christian but a troll. LMAO!

      December 14, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  4. John

    "LGBTQ coitus is a sin and is condemned in the Bible."

    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 13, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  5. John

    "There is no justification for gay marrage 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 13, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  6. mama k

    I have a funny feeling that SCOTUS will soon do away with DOMA. Even many of the people who were pushing for it before have vocally turned around on it. So whether it be slow, or sped up by SCOTUS, traditional marriage laws will fall reasonable soon. It's difficult to slow down a civil rights movement once it gets going.

    Whether one likes it or not, the Biblical case for gay marriage was actually made quite a long time ago. Gay couples have been getting married in quite a number of Christian and other churches in the states where it has been legal. The opportunities will grow as more and more states push for gay marriage laws.

    For those interested, the following faiths perform same-s ex marriage:

    -United Church of Christ: The United Church of Christ was the first mainstream Christian church to fully support same-s ex marriage and perform marriage ceremonies.
    -Jewish: Reform Judaism embraces same-se x 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-se x 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. Do your own research and if you really want church, find one that is fully accepting of you and your partner.

    December 12, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  7. Douglas

    I love you Bob. Let's come out of the closet together. You first, then me coming from behind like I always do.

    December 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Douglas

      To the fake Douglas.

      Very funny!

      The activities you describe are why AIDs and STDs are resurging in the LGBTQ community.
      Celibacy is the answer to stop the spread of these terrible plagues. Encourage celibacy in your place of worship for the LGBTQ folk among you.

      LGBTQ coitus is a sin and is condemned in the Bible.

      The concept of "gay marriage" is contrary to scriptural guidance.

      Honor and respect celibate LGBTQ Christians and deliver them from sin.

      –Douglas

      December 12, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're a bald-faced liar, Doogie. You deserve to be trolled.

      December 12, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "The activities you describe are why AIDs and STDs are resurging in the LGBTQ community"

      Actually AIDS is re-surging in straight women and is also found throughout the straight community. Your prejudice is a disease.

      December 13, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Phil

      "Encourage celibacy in your place of worship for the LGBTQ folk among you."

      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 13, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  8. Bob

    Wow its was so nice and quiet
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    Jesus is Lord
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    There is no justification for gay marrage in the Bible
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    Next page
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    See you.

    December 12, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  9. Don

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

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

    Genesis 19:1-25

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

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

    Romans 1:24-27

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

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

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

    What is "Natural"?

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

    I Corinthians 6:9

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

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

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

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

    December 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Lorraine

      The problem is in your first sentence; we are not to go by the word of anyone but YHWH the Almighty Creator of all 'Life' in Genesis chapters 1-7 of all His creation, for He is the only Savior, and Redeemer in Isaiah 49:26, and Isaiah 60:16, not jc, if the word is not from the King YHWH jc hasn't a leg to stand on. Yes the word of YHWH "The Strong One" (EL), Hebrew for With Us Is The Strong One; and not the word 'God' is for everyone taught in Isaiah 56. Said by the word of YHWH, His Son, and Firstborn is "ISRAEL" taught in Exodus 4:22. Its impossible to have 2 firstborn sons, rationalize people learn the true word of YHWH through His true prophets taught in Amos 3:7, YHWH does nothing without the prophets, a man can't just say what He wants unless He gives all say, and praise unto YHWH FIRST. PRAISE YHWH, and YHWH BLESS.

      p.s. taught in Ezekiel 14:14-20, Jeremiah 31:30, and in Deuteronomy 24:16, 'no man can die for another man's sins, we ae all responsible for our own righteousness' So now tell me why would the Almighty YHWH say this through His true prophets from Genesis-Malachi the book of remembrance named in Malachi 3:16, the so called OT; then turn around and say that anyone, or jc died for our sins, rationalize people, YHWH is not contrary He does it all Deuteronomy 32:39, and Isaiah 44:24 alone, He is the Holy One taught in Isaiah 43:3,15, and Isaiah 43:13, 'No man can be delivered from out of His hands'. His word changes not taught in Malachi 3:6. wake up, Selah! YHWH Bless.

      December 15, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  10. YeahRight

    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 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  11. YeahRight

    "he gay agenda that has gone to court to change the status quo"

    The 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."

    December 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  12. James

    "Once again, there is no Christian case for "gay marriage".
    LGBTQ coitus and marriage are not permitted in the Holy 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 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  13. John

    "LGBTQ coitus and marriage are not permitted in the Holy 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 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  14. Douglas

    Ms Tom,

    You are acting very feisty lately...snapping at anyone who has an opinion different from you...que paso?

    This is a blog for crying out loud...right?

    Once again, there is no Christian case for "gay marriage".

    LGBTQ coitus and marriage are not permitted in the Holy Bible.

    The Supreme Court will probably rule against gay marriage based on Stare Decisis of the California voter's decision in
    Proposition 22. The voters voted to reject the proposition that gay marriage was acceptable.

    The voter's choice is what lays the ground work for the Stare Decisis approach. The decision will conclude with a 5 to 4 count with old reliable Clarence Thomas, joined by Antonin Scalia, Sam Alito, John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy casting the deciding thumbs down vote on gay marriage.

    –Douglas

    December 11, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • mama k

      Well Doogie, even if SCOTUS doesn't come around this early, the momentum is obviously in favor – as I am sure we will see more and more states join the ranks of those that have already adopted gay marriage. But I have a funny feeling that SCOTUS will do away with DOMA. Even many of the people who were pushing for it before have vocally turned around on it. So whether it be slow, or sped up by SCOTUS, traditional marriage laws will fall reasonable soon. It's difficult to slow down a civil rights movement once it gets going.

      You certainly have your opinion, Doogie, but whether you like it or not, the Biblical case for gay marriage was actually made quite a long time ago. Gay couples have been getting married in quite a number of Christian and other churches in the states where it has been legal. The opportunities will grow as more and more states push for gay marriage laws.

      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. Do your own research and if you really want church, find one that is fully accepting of you and your partner.

      December 12, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Jen

      Mama k is right. The Supreme Court has to rule based on law, so that California vote is meaningless. The majority does not get to suppress the minority (though over 50 percent of the country supports gay marriage). They don't get to vote based on their personal biases, and there's no legal reason to uphold DOMA. And who cares what the bible says anyway??? What the bible says is completely meaningless.

      December 12, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If the SCOTUS rules against gay marriage, it will be a ruling based on LAW, Doogie, not religious belief.

      Now, when are you going to tell us all about the celibate lesbian couple who supposedly filled out a visitor card and were welcomed by the congregation?

      You lie. Why should anyone care what your opinion is?

      December 12, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  15. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Notice that the Blob has yet to tout his own charitable giving, yet expects others to discuss their donations?

    That's because the Blob is a hypocrite. He can't spell the word (can't manage to figure out the "you're/your" thing, either), but his is one anyway.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  16. Lorraine

    I can't believe that there is still folk arguing aboutt this topic, as if it were important to the Almighty Creator as valid. It is not about who is gay, its about what is right, and what is wrong in the eyes of the Holy One; and it is definitely not about a law made by man. At the end of this whole conversation in the creation of the new earth of YHWH, there will be all righteousness, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what righteous behaviors will be accepted its just plain common sense, that many of you should try using at some point, let it go. Taught in, Isaiah 45: 5-13, and Isaiah 45: 17-25.This civil rights law is only a man's law, not a righteous law of YHWH the Holy One of creation, 'procreation.' These are two separate subjects here people. One is doing what man wants to do, and one is doing the 'law of righteousness' of the most high. Take your pick, its an individual choice, NP. YHWH Bless.

    December 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yappity yap, says the little dog.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  17. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Well, well. Look at that. Blob was challenged to show what a great Christian he is and he folded like the cheap suit he is.

    Big surprise.

    December 10, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Bob

      Tom its ok I understand that you need to attack to make yourself feel better about your life. You could always start giving but oh yea that's right your a atheist and have no reason to give just attack. I cant imagine what its like to be so hollow.

      December 11, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Jen

      Right Bob, because only Christians make charitable donations. Tell me...who is a better person? Me – an agnostic who donates to charity because it is the right thing to do, or you – who makes donations because it will help you get into heaven?

      December 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Bob

      Jen you have that wrong first I doubt you give and you lie so we know we cant believe you next you cant buy your way into heaven so that is also wrong. 2 for 2 good work

      December 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Jen

      Like I give a rat's -ss what you think Bob. Another stellar sentence. Must be humiliating to have a lesser education then my three year old.

      You just can't stand the fact that the younger generation (mine) are teaching our kids to be tolerant (I have three and all of them are being raised to be pro gay marriage). Gay marriage will be legal everywhere – just a matter of time. You and your intolerant generation will die off and there's nothing you can do about it. Sucks to be you.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Bob

      Hey Jen when will tom be back maybe on Thursday?

      December 11, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm back now. I just got home from donating blood at the Red Cross.

      What did YOU do for others today, Blob?

      December 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • YeahRight

      That's great Tom, I 've been gone helping to build a home for a homeless couple and their children right in time for xmas! I am sure Bob has sat on his azz all day doing nothing but whining.

      December 13, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  18. Bob

    Did you take your lithium today?

    December 10, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Since I'm not on Lithium, dear, no. I don't take something I don't need and am not prescribed. I am guessing you neglected to take yours, though.

      Now, when are you going to step up to the plate, BLOB?

      You're the one claiming to be the great Christian. You're the one who claims to be the font of all knowledge concerning the US history of religious belief.

      Why don't you answer your own questions? How much have YOU donated to causes that aren't associated with any religious organizations? How many new cars have you given to others without claiming ANY tax deductions for such donations? How many NEW clothes have you bought for the needy? Not your cast-off, sweat-stained, worn-out scraps, Blob, but NEW, never worn clothes? How many children have you adopted? How many women have you supported through unwanted pregnancies?

      Cough it up, hypocrite. You're the one bellowing about your faith. Spew, liar.

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

      Oh, gee. Look at that. Blob's speechless. Guess why. He's never given a thing to anyone unless it's been for his church. Never donated anything that he couldn't trumpet about like some bloated cow elephant.

      Big surprise.

      December 10, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  19. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Yup. Blobby's a real Christian, all right. Can't you tell? He hates everyone who isn't JUST LIKE HIM.

    December 10, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Blobby's third favorite Christmas song, to the tune of "O Little Town of Bethlehem": "O little town of Castro in San Francisco's vale...I hate the gays that travel there, they're perverts true to tell. They never let me near them, those qu eers I hate so much. I hope they will expire of AIDS and die without God's touch."

    December 10, 2012 at 9:38 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.