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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 • My Take • Opinion

soundoff (15,115 Responses)
  1. Douglas

    The premise of this blog is flawed.

    There is no Christian case for "gay marriage" because marriage, as defined by Jesus Christ in Matthew 19, is between one man and one woman. While it might be convenient to redefine marriage to satisfy the desire of GLBTQ people
    to be married in the presence of God, this is impossible because God has made it clear in the Bible that this is not his will.

    The marriage cannot be consummated since the act of LGBTQ coitus is condemned in the BIble in both the Old and New Testaments.

    In a secular society, LGBTQ folks can be married in a civil ceremony or in a church that has its own rules and regulations outside of the Holy Christian Bible.

    From the standpoint of Christian Orthodoxy, LGBTQ marriage is out of bounds.

    The problem with this blog is that LGBTQ advocates, encouraged by the lead author have attempted to redefine the Bible
    to accept LGBTQ marriage and coitus as Christian Orthodoxy...unfortunately it falls short.

    The message of Christianity appeals to LGBTQ folks because they want to pursue Christ like many other people. But unlike other people, they are not ready to jettison behaviors that are in conflict with Christian values.

    Since LGBTQ folk want to pursue same-s@x matrimonial pairings and coitus...they make themselves ineligible for marriage
    in a Christian setting as defined in the Holy Bible.

    As Jesus said in Matthew 19..."He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.""!

    December 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • James

      "There is no Christian case for "gay marriage" because marriage, as defined by Jesus Christ in Matthew 19, is between one man and one woman. While it might be convenient to redefine marriage to satisfy the desire of GLBTQ people
      to be married in the presence of God, this is impossible because God has made it clear in the Bible that this is not his will."

      No he didn't. 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 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Janet

      "encouraged by the lead author have attempted to redefine the Bible"

      The Biblical condemnation of homosexuality is based on human ignorance, suspicion of those who are different, and an overwhelming concern for ensuring the survival of the people. Since the Bible regards homosexuality as a capital crime, it clearly assumes that homosexuality is a matter of free choice, a deliberate rebellion against God. We have learned from modern science that people do not choose to be gay or straight; hence it is neither logical nor moral to condemn those whose nature it is to be gay or lesbian.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Brent

      " behaviors that are in conflict with Christian values."

      Religion-based bigotry is the foundation of anti-gay attitudes in our society and in the minds of a majority of Americans, particularly persons of faith. The term religion-based bigotry was coined because it best fits the description of the problem. The term religion-based bigotry encompasses the attitudes of prejudice, hostility or discrimination that are falsely justified by religious teachings or belief. We will never see full and equal rights unless we address the root of people’s anti-gay attitude.

      Religion-based bigotry is not synonymous with bigotry. It is a uniquely vile form of bigotry as the prejudice, hostility and discrimination behind the words are given a moral stamp of approval.

      Faith in America’s core message is that religious-based condemnation and rejection of LGBT people cause great harm to LGBT individuals and our society.

      We have learned that when we focus on the harms caused by religious hostility toward gay people – its destructive role in the lives of gay and lesbian Americans and explaining that being gay is not a lifestyle choice but is how you are born– persons of faith can understand why religion must no longer be misused to justify hostile attitudes and actions toward LGBT people.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  2. Sarah

    Let me make one thing clear: being gay is not wrong. It is not unnatural. It isn’t immoral or gross or something that should provoke disgust. What is wrong, what is unnatural, what is immoral and what is gross is intolerance and discrimination against fellow human beings for their sexual orientation and active pursuit of preventing loving and committed homosexual couples from legally being married.

    I believe in God, and I identify as a Christian, and this identity as a Christian has provided me with the insight to know that people who oppose gay marriage based on “religious reasons” are just making excuses for their homophobia. The idea that homosexuality is sinful is a farce. The Bible never actually condemns homosexuality. You know what the Bible does condemn?

    Winking. “He who winks is plotting perversity.” Proverbs 16:30

    Rounded haircuts. “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.” Leviticus 19:17

    Tattoos. “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you.” Leviticus 19:28

    It is unacceptable that some modern Americans think it’s alright to toss rules like these aside and yet still vehemently oppose marriage rights for homosexual couples.

    As a Christian, I’ve been taught to love my neighbor. Somehow, active public discrimination against homosexuals and barring fellow human beings from marriage rights does not seem very loving or neighborly to me.

    Homosexuality isn’t a disease: it’s an innate way of being.

    Nobody is going to “catch” gay.

    Nobody is going to be “cured” of their homosexuality.

    Sexual orientation is personal and affects nobody but the individual and is absolutely not the business of anybody but the individual.

    The fact that people continue to suggest otherwise and perpetuate this idea that homosexuality is wrong and attempting to make outcasts of people who identify as gay is unbelievably disgusting and frightening and old-fashioned.

    It’s 2012, and we should have come much further than this by now.

    This matters. This is an issue that, if left unfixed, tacitly permits discrimination and harassment.

    The prevalence of anti-gay messages encourages bullying and hate crimes, and there are literally confused, hurt, frightened young people who actually kill themselves over issues like this — and yet people still insist upon calling homosexuality a sin.

    The cruelty and hypocrisy is infuriating and unacceptable.

    It needs to stop.

    Until marriage equality is legal in all fifty states, I hope Americans will have the courage to end hatred and homophobia.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Bob

      If being gay effects no one then why are we having to change laws for being gay?

      December 18, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • JWT

      For a simple reason Bob. So that they have equality when it comes to the rights, priveledges and responsibilities of marriage.

      That is more than sufficient reason.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • The Truth

      Wow, Bulldog Bob just will not let it go. You have lost Bob, you are on the wrong side of history once again, much like a few decades ago when you were infuriated that a black man could legally marry a white woman, oh the humanity!! Or when those villians decided to allow women and blacks to actually cast a vote and have a say in our democracy whatever are the gentle white males like Bob supposed to do?...

      Just accept that you hate people who are different than you Bob. I accept that I hate people who choose to stay ignorant and racist. The only people I cannot tolerate are those who are intollerant.

      December 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • lol??

      Sarah, the only thing clear is you like the Beast and his pals to be "in charge" of marriage. That's not how God did it, sorry.

      December 18, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • lol??

      The Beast is an Equal Opportunity Destroyer. Get your slot now before time runs out.

      December 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Brent

      "That's not how God did it, sorry."

      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.

      December 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Bob

      While Brent is not a real person on this board but a alias of yeah I never the less want to respond to the false comments and slanders made.Being gay means pushing the parameters of s@x and family, and in the process, changing the very fabric of society.”National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy director, Paul Ettelbrick Kurtz, 2003 It is these atheists that are the destroyers of society that call everyone else the names that they themselves deserve and have earned. I am appalled at the manipulation of words and ideas and the Bible to pervert the truth and obtain their own way. These atheists here have denied the fact that the gay agenda wants to change the very fabric of society and transform it to anything goes like the Castro section of Cali. A way that is said in the Bible is a abomination. Taht Sodom and Gomarrah was destroyed for. They twist love and faith because they don't know either but try to talk as if in authority and having the truth. But if you love your child and they want candy would you feed them candy all day long of course not. What do you look like to your child when you say no to them like the meanest person in the world. But it is for their own good not destruction. The atheists here being very liberal hating God and not knowing the Bible have no respect for anything that has come before. The arguments are full of deceit and lies and assumptions and manipulations. This also says nothing that since they have nothing to back them up except hype they insult and try to intimidate everyone here. The facts are that gays who want to get married are less than 1/4 of 1 percent of society. So that means we all have to bear the burden and problems of defining a marriage as a free speech issue rather than a cherished contract that it is. That we have to allow the stated goal of the task force to change the very fabric of society. To allow gays to trample on the monogamous nature of marriage to allow a more open marriage definition to supplant one man one woman married for life that now defines marriage. To change a way of life of raising children and this reason for getting married, to be able to raise and give birth to children of this union of man and woman. To have to multiply the children's chances to be gay sometimes up to 40 percent more in these gay marriages. To change this status to allow these sacred benefits to gays or men that think they are women or women that think they are men, or pay for men committing indecent acts with men that we will have to pay for. We are condoning men copulating with men in the approval of gay marriage. We are approving of revolving partners in gay marriage. We are approving of the use of US money to fund these actions if we allow gay marriage. Since we are allowing change in the laws not for anything but s@xual preference then how can we keep peds or others from claiming the same right? The gays have been successful in bringing the choice of s@x preference to a new height of discrimination by being able to jail all those who oppose them. through the hate laws being enacted. The act of s@x in gay is the problem it is a sin by allowing gay marriage we say we approve of this act. Is this really the good and wholesome US that we know or the sordid castro section of Cali?

      December 18, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Brent

      "Bible to pervert the truth and obtain their own way. "

      Religion-based bigotry is the foundation of anti-gay attitudes in our society and in the minds of a majority of Americans, particularly persons of faith. The term religion-based bigotry was coined because it best fits the description of the problem. The term religion-based bigotry encompasses the attitudes of prejudice, hostility or discrimination that are falsely justified by religious teachings or belief. We will never see full and equal rights unless we address the root of people’s anti-gay attitude.

      Religion-based bigotry is not synonymous with bigotry. It is a uniquely vile form of bigotry as the prejudice, hostility and discrimination behind the words are given a moral stamp of approval.

      Faith in America’s core message is that religious-based condemnation and rejection of LGBT people cause great harm to LGBT individuals and our society.

      We have learned that when we focus on the harms caused by religious hostility toward gay people – its destructive role in the lives of gay and lesbian Americans and explaining that being gay is not a lifestyle choice but is how you are born– persons of faith can understand why religion must no longer be misused to justify hostile attitudes and actions toward LGBT people.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • YeahRight

      " To have to multiply the children's chances to be gay sometimes up to 40 percent more in these gay marriages. "

      More lies from Bob again. The hundreds of thousands of experts in this country have proven this statement wrong. Social science has shown that the concerns often raised about children of lesbian and gay parents—concerns that are generally grounded in prejudice against and stereotypes about gay people—are unfounded. Overall, the research indicates that the children of lesbian and gay parents do not differ from the children of heterosexual parents in their development, adjustment, or overall well-being.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "We are approving of revolving partners in gay marriage."

      Another lie from Bob of course, not based on real facts but he doesn't even want to talk about the high divorce rate among Christians. LOL! The experts have shown that 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 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Melvin

      " The act of s@x in gay is the problem it is a sin "

      No it's not, the Scriptures at no point deal with homosexuality as an authentic sexual orientation, a given condition of being. The remarkably few Scriptural references to "homosexuality" deal rather with homosexual acts, not with homosexual orientation. Those acts are labeled as wrong out of the context of the times in which the writers wrote and perceived those acts to be either nonmasculine, idolatrous, exploitative, or pagan. The kind of relationships between two consenting adults of the same sex demonstrably abounding among us - relationships that are responsible and mutual, affirming and fulfilling - are not dealt with in the Scriptures.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  3. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    What negative repercussions have occurred in nations and in states where gay marriage is already legal? Produce links to the sources of your information. Move it, Blob.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  4. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Quote from a wonderful "Christian," born again into the love of god. Nice, huhBob
    BLOBBY: "Because tom you are a waste of skin and not interested in what is right but in furthering ignorance"

    December 18, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  5. YeahRight

    "There is no acceptance of gay marriage or the gay lifestyle in the bible"

    It doesn't matter because in this country it's about civil rights. Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

    The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  6. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    I'm posting this at the top of the page because the Blob continues to fail to answer the question.

    What negative repercussions have occurred in nations and in states where gay marriage is already legal? Produce links to the sources of your information.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  7. Bob

    I am repostng this to get it to the top of the page. Yeah in his spam proliferation has taken up most of the page
    Mat 23:25 "Woe to you, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.
    Mat 23:26 "You blind first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.
    Mat 23:27 "Woe to you, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.
    Mat 23:28 "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
    Joh 2:19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
    Joh 2:21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
    1Co 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
    1Co 3:17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.
    1Co 6:17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
    1Co 6:18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.
    1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
    1Co 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
    Mat 19:4 And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,
    Mat 19:5 and said, 'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'?
    Mat 19:6 "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
    Mat 19:7 They *said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?"
    Mat 19:8 He *said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.
    Mat 19:9 "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."

    December 18, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Marc

      "There is no acceptance of gay marriage or the gay lifestyle in the bible. it is a abomination and people can be delivered of it."

      If marriage was an institution designated for the sinless there wouldn’t be marriages at all, for we have all sinned and fallen short.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Bob

      I have come up with enough to refute you and others while you have come up with nothing and it has not made a difference in your insults, or claim of victory or anything so it I am free to do as I wish just as you always took that freedom.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You haven't refuted a thing, Blob. You don't even know how to post links.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Marc

      " it has not made a difference in your insults"

      How did I insult you?

      December 18, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  8. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Blobby, why don't you answer the question I asked?

    December 18, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Bob

      Because tom you are a waste of skin and not interested in what is right but in furthering ignorance

      December 18, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      AHahhhahha! I knew you'd fold yet again. You can't come up with ANY statistics or any sort of facts.

      Because there aren't any-gay marriage has had no ill consequences where it's already legal.

      Moron, thy name is The Blob.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Bob

      whatever

      December 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  9. Erik

    "people can be delivered of it."

    Being gay is not a choice science, in fact, is actually not in dispute on this matter.

    All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

    Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy or reorientation therapy, "counsels" LGBT persons to pray fervently and study Bible verses, often utilizing 12-step techniques that are used to treat sexual addictions or trauma. Such Christian councilors are pathologizing homosexuality, which is not a pathology but is a sexual orientation. Psychologically, that's very dangerous territory to tread on. All of the above-mentioned medical professional organizations, in addition to the American and European Counseling Associations, stand strongly opposed to any form of reparative therapy.

    In my home country, Norway, reparative therapy is officially considered to be ethical malpractice. But there are many countries that do not regulate the practice, and many others that remain largely silent and even passively supportive of it (such as the Philippines). Groups that operate such "therapy" in the Philippines are the Evangelical Bagong Pag-asa, and the Catholic Courage Philippines.

    The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

    On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

    Take this interesting paragraph I found on an Evangelical website: "The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" – meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are 'born that way.'"

    But that's not at all what it means, and it seems Evangelicals are plucking out stand-alone phrases from scientific reports and removing them from their context. This is known in academia as the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Interestingly, this is also what they have a habit of doing with verses from the Bible.

    This idea of sexuality being a choice is such a bizarre notion to me as a man of science. Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

    The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

    Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

    Furthermore, there are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

    Having said that, in the realm of legal rights, partnership rights, and anti-discrimination protections, the gay gene vs. choice debate is actually quite irrelevant. Whether or not something is a choice is not a suitable criterion for whether someone should have equal rights and protections. Religion is indisputably a choice, but that fact is a not a valid argument for discriminating against a particular religion.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  10. James

    "There is no acceptance of gay marriage or the gay lifestyle 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 18, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  11. 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 18, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  12. 261 Ministers Proclamation

    "Turn up the gain. We stand in defense of the Bible.
    If not now..when? If not us..who?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    December 18, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • lol??

      Bubba expresses his gratytude. This message was forwarded by the gang bangers at da Big House.

      December 18, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • lol??

      New message
      :Bubba demands his chapter be called The Church of the Open Back Door. This message forwarded by the gang bangers at da Big House.

      December 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  13. John

    "Turn up the gain. We stand in defense of the Bible."

    So do we. 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 18, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  14. Bob

    Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
    Gal 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
    Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
    Gal 5:19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
    Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
    Gal 5:21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
    Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
    Gal 6:8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
    Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
    Eph 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
    Eph 2:15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,
    Eph 2:16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
    Eph 2:17 AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR;
    Eph 2:18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.

    December 18, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  15. Bob

    Mat 23:25 "Woe to you, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.
    Mat 23:26 "You blind first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.
    Mat 23:27 "Woe to you, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.
    Mat 23:28 "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
    Joh 2:19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
    Joh 2:21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
    1Co 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
    1Co 3:17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.
    1Co 6:17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
    1Co 6:18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.
    1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
    1Co 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
    Mat 19:4 And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,
    Mat 19:5 and said, 'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'?
    Mat 19:6 "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
    Mat 19:7 They *said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?"
    Mat 19:8 He *said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.
    Mat 19:9 "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."

    December 18, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • YeahRigh

      That's why Bob the divorce rate is highest among Christians, yet bigots like you don't go ranting about the fact they have committed adultery, and trying to deny their rights to re-marry. OH, that's right your prejudice and bigotry is only toward the gay community with your warped interpretation of the scriptures. LMAO!

      December 18, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Bob

      While I do my part to help married couples and the failings it is not justification to do more that is against what the Bible says. We don't add to sin we try to abolish sin. Just because little johnny does something wrong it does not give Suzie the right also.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Marc

      " We don't add to sin we try to abolish sin. "

      If marriage was an institution designated for the sinless there wouldn’t be marriages at all, for we have all sinned and fallen short.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  16. Bob

    There is no acceptance of gay marriage or the gay lifestyle in the bible. it is a abomination and people can be delivered of it.

    December 17, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Douglas

      Bob,

      Good work, brother.
      Turn up the gain. We stand in defense of the Bible.
      If not now..when? If not us..who?

      Eph 6:10-17 (NIV) ...Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

      Hallelujah!

      –Douglas

      –Douglas

      December 18, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Bob

      Mat 19:10 The disciples *said to Him, "If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry."
      Mat 19:11 But He said to them, "Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.
      Mat 19:12 "For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it."

      December 18, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • YeahRight

      "it is a abomination and people can be delivered of it."

      This is how stupid this poster is, Christians don't follow Leviticus anymore. So what about all those other abomination are you going to deny people their civil rights too? LMAO! Unclean things (Lev. 7:21) ; Cheating (Mic. 6:10) ; A proud look (Pro. 6:16-17) ; A lying tongue (Pro. 6:17; 12:22) ; Hands that shed innocent blood ((Pro. 6:17) ; A wicked scheming heart (Pro. 6:18) ; A false witness that speaks lies (Pro. 6:19) ; A sower of discord (Pro. 6:19) ; A false balance or scale (Pro. 11:1) ; The proud of heart (Pro. 16:5) ; Justifying the wicked (Pro. 17:15) ; Condemning the just (Pro. 17:15) ; Refusing to hear the law (Pro. 28:9) ; Wearing clothes of the opposite sex (Dt. 22:5) Re-marriage of former companions (Dt. 24:1-4) ; Cheating others (Dt. 25:13-16) ; Making images/idols (Dt. 27:15) ; Eating unclean things (Isa. 66:17) ; Robbery (Ezek. 18: 6-13) ; Murder (Ezek. 18: 6-13) ; Adultery (Ezek. 18: 6-13) ; Oppression of others, particularly the poor or vulnerable (Ezek. 18: 6-13) ; Violence (Ezek. 18: 6-13) ; Breaking vows (Ezek. 18: 6-13) ; Lending with interest to a brother (Ezek. 18: 6-13) ; Lying with a menstruous woman (Ezek. 18: 6-13)

      LOL!

      December 18, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Bob

      Yeah I wouldnt quote the Bible all the verses you quoted can in some measure be applied to gays

      December 18, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The Blob farts again.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Bob

      We are also told that while we are forgiven of sin through the blood of Jesus we are not to indulge and continue in sin other wise we call into question whos we really are. Are we a Christian with the love of Jesus and His commandments in our hearts or are we seeking our own good and not really a Christian.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • YeahRight

      "Yeah I wouldnt quote the Bible all the verses you quoted can in some measure be applied to gays"

      No, it was directed at straights.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • YeahRight

      " Are we a Christian with the love of Jesus and His commandments in our hearts or are we seeking our own good and not really a Christian."

      That's why when gay Christians get married before their god, they do not sin, which is why there are now thousands of churches that are performing gay marriages.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  17. Lorraine

    liars, liars ya'lls pants are on fire,...lol.Man's law 'yes' YHWHs law 'no'

    December 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Douglas

      Lorraine,

      I have not heard that saying in years!

      Your point is well taken.

      YHWH's law is NO to this stuff.

      Excellent analysis.

      Keep up the good work.

      –Douglas

      December 18, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Bob

      Mat 18:7 "Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!
      Mat 18:8 "If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire.
      Mat 18:9 "If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.

      December 18, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Doogie, Blob, and Loopy: The Three Stooges

      December 18, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  18. mama k

    Bob and Douglas continue to push their bigoted agenda here on this article. They seem stuck in the past – quoting outdated material and living with this very narrow view of the world.

    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. It's hard to stop a justifiable civil rights movement once it gets going.

    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 17, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  19. John

    "After 197 pages in this blog, no contributor has produced any evidence to refute Jesus' command for the rite of marriage."

    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 17, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  20. James

    "Gay/Lesbian coitus and marriage are prohibited in the Holy Bible...the Christian religious guidebook."

    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 17, 2012 at 8:56 am |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.