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.
So Jesus told the crowd: "Which of you is without sin? Let that one cast the first stone at this woman." And then He stooped and started writing stuff in the dirt, and they all left one by one. Moral: Don't drop that stone on your foot while walking away.
Don't worry... Xtians will find a way around this story, to continue their hate campaign.
Here we go again cherry picking the Bible. It's not the simple book of life's rules and regulations that you're making it out to be. I'll tell you the same thing I tell everyone who pulls verses out of context to make a point. If you're confused as to why Christians seem to behave so differently than what you see in the Bible go talk to someone who can shed light on the subject for you-a trained member of the clergy of an established church body such as the Catholic church or LCMS. You will receive no pressure to agree with what they have to say and you might even learn something. What do you have to lose?
Oh so now they want to inject religion into gay marriage huh? Usually these are the same people who want nothing to do with religion or its people but only want to use it when it suits them. Pathetic.
I know lots and lots of gay people who practice a religion, even Xtianity. Your stereotype reveals your stupidity on the matter.
Tom Tom the Pipers son:
It is YOU who are the moron. Acting like a child and trying to insult me because I proved you wrong. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Make love elsewhere
When did you do that? You haven't proved anything except the fact you're to stupid to grasp the notion of the reply function.
Edit: "too stupid"
Who invented gay marriage anyway? For years men and women have been getting married. All of a sudden a gay guy sits up in bed and says...HEY!..why can't gay people get married!? That same guys says...HEY! I was fired cause I'm gay. That same guy says..HEY! I wasn't hired cause I'm gay! That same guy says..HEY! ........
Marriage was invented by the same people who invented abstract evil.
Hey... somebody finally got fed up! DUH !!!!
Gay marriage occurs in a number of cultures and goes far back into prehistory. It's frustrating that people imagine the last 100 yrs or so of the Western world is all there has ever been.
In case you have not noticed, marriage is a civil contract that establishes certain rights to jointly acquired property and inheritance. Hence, the reason for a state issues marriage license. Europe has the same legal practice in that one goes to one's town hall to get a license and to have the marriage contract signed and recognized. Again, in Europe, the couple then may or may not repair to their own religious house to conduct a Holy Matrimony ceremony – or not. It is the town hall ceremony that establishes the contract. Same here in the US. It is a secular contract that may be added to by the peer pressure and customs of one's own set of supernatural beliefs – or not.
Yes, marriage is a civil deal. Do Christians want the government meddling in their religious rites... Baptisms, Confirmations and such and telling them who is acceptable to receive them?!
That same guy says..HEY! I can't see my critically ill partner in the hospital. That same guy says..HEY! they're taking my house away because we couldn't legally put it in both of our names. That same guy says..HEY! I can't see my children because my partner's family (who disowned him because he was gay) has custody of them...
CNN – under what rock do you find the people who write your opinion pieces, especially in the area of faith????
There are other fallacies you guys can use, you know..
CNN does this all the time...find some fringe belief, twist the truth and spin it as a Religion/ Christian piece. I swear the CNN editors of this section are atheists. There is an absolute truth...it isn't difficult to understand or believe.
Typical lawyer, twisting and perverting the word of God to further his own deviant agenda. CNN does scrap the bottom of the barrel alot these days.
ad hominem is the fallacy for you, eh?
Ya, perverting the word of god is reserved for the faithful. Lawyers should stick to perverting the word of man.
Well, you do know that there are actually different versions of god's word between and among the varying christian sects as well as Islam, Judaism and the others don't you – PROFESSOR?
Just remember, that the Bible was INSPIRED by GOD, WRITTEN by MAN. You can use the bible to preach anything you want. What truly matters is not the bible, what matters is how you live your life. Love is the most important thing. God is about love, compassion and sharing. I don't believe in a vengeful God. I believe that God loves us all no matter who we are or what we do.
No Tsunamis then. Just happy parting of the Red Sea for one particular warring race.
Babies die by the thousands every day to disease and starvation. He has a twisted way of showing us humans love!
Oh Brother, yet another non-christian with zero understanding of the bible. If you do not go to church, if you do not read your bible daily, then just close your mouths!
You do not belive in a vengeful GOD, really?? Read a bible and then tell me that! 90% of the people sounding off on this board have not got a clue, but they sure think they are wise in there own eyes. FOOLS!
I'd be thrilled to stop discussing religion with you and your ilk, John, if you'd stop pretending you have a right to deny others their rights under the law.
Perversion isn't a right. Being qu-eer is a sin and a choice not a right.
@Perver alert – there countless heteros who are perverted. NOt sure what your definition of a pervert is. But if we're denying a license to any groups who are perverts, heteros would be excluded from marriage rights.
Holy mother of god. Did you actually read what you wrote before you posted it for the rest of the world to read? You ignored about 75 steps in the chain of logic on your way to your conclusion(s).
US Christians don't give a damn about what the bible says unless it can profit them or give them some control over everyone else. It wouldn't occur to any of them to actually follows Jesus' teachings, that's everyone elses job. Religion has become nothing more than a trump card in politics.
Do you have a point and how does it differ from that of christians from the beginning of the christian business?
oh brother. Yet another gay propagandist on CNN. Surprised?
Religion by definition is not open. It's an organized belief system that innately carves out a definition of "us" vs "them." Ultimately the standard that each religion wishes everyone to live by is its own. If we really truly want everyone to be accepted and have freedom of marriage and other things, then we first need to clear out the religion problem and how we've let it define our lives.
Fantastic idea!!!!! What I wouldn't give to see it catch on!
nothing wrong with loving people. but saying what God says is wrong is right is what separates a true follower of Christ from the wolf in sheep's clothing.
"God" is nothing more than "us" or "we"...when you say "God wants this" you're really only saying "I and the people who think like me want this"...that's it, and nothing more.
Heaven will be full of non-christians. The dead before 33 AD way outnumber those since.
Here's the deal. You name me ONE psychopathic murderer who did not come from a dysfunctional background. Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer (and the list goes on and on and on) all came from dysfunctional families. Name me ONE psychopath who had a wonderful loving family. You may be able to come up with a few, but I could come up with a million more who had abusive childhoods.
You made the claim, moron. The onus is on YOU to provide proof. When are you going to grow a pair and admit you have nothing?
I suspect it'll be about the same time you figure out how to use the "reply" function; that would be the twelfth of never.
Are you still touting your stupid "it's the parent's fault"? Good grief. If I ever decide to rob a bank, will you be my judge? My parents are deceased, so I guess nobody will have to pay the penance. If one of your kids does something wrong, I'm going to kick your azzz.
The Menendez Brothers....well off and yet decided to kill their parents.
Really, the stupidity of posters like Smurfy do more to discredit believers than any atheist ever could. And I love how the doofus changes the premise-now we're suddenly talking about psychopaths, not just ordinary criminals.
If you can't do better than this, Smurfy, you deserve the scorn you get.
Mark Osler is wrong. Christ's messege was always that "God loves you, but you must change your evil ways". You must follow the word of GOD.
Yes, he sentences us to eternal punishment, where there is weeping and wailing, and nashing of teeth. But he loves us??!
I am not evil but I do not have to follow your god's ways. Gays and gay marriage are nto evil either.
Were the Tsunamis evil or good?
You're wrong. Christ's message was always the only way to god is through me, leave your families and follow me, eat of me, drink of me, forget the entire world and follow me. me, me, me, me, me.
you can follow the word of the god or whatever it may be. Issue is when you try to enforce it on someone who thinks differently. Its not far away from terrorism
Pretty much any words can be twisted to make just about any argument you want. This article does a pretty good job of this. During various eras of the bible plural marriage was practiced, and yet I never hear anyone who advocates gay marriage also advocate polygamy. Of course to be fair, if one form of alternative marriage (in this case, gay marriage) is made legal, so should every other form (polygamy, marriage to one's own sibling, etc.) Who are we to judge which forms of alternative marriage are OK and which are not. The argument used against polygamy, etc. are the same as those used for years against gay marriage: it's not traditional, it's not natural, it's not best for the kids, etc. And no, the argument that a marriage should only included two persons is weak: like gender in a marriage, the number of spouses being two is merely convention and tradition. And the legal issues are easily worked out. I'm certainly no advocate of polygamy, etc., but it strikes me as quite self-serving and completely hypocritical to advocate for gay marriage while ignoring or advocating against other alternative forms of marriage.
Yep.. You'd think god would be able to make a book explaining himself that couldn't be "twisted," wouldn't you?. I mean he made math and chemistry "untwistable," why not his own message?
A Christian (follower of the teachings of Jesus) has no problem with gays. Those who follow the teachings of the OT and of Paul (which is their right) do.
Yes, Xtians have a way of picking out what they want to follow, and what they don't want to follow. But, either route, us gays are their whipping posts.
Ya, funny how much "god" got wrong in the OT, but there's plenty of nastiness and a lot of glaring errors in the NT too. Anyway, I find it funny it that this apparent divine (or divinely inspired book, depending on which Christian one listens to) is so susceptible to different interpretations? Wildly different, in fact; many readers find instructions for murder and other violence in it, and for some it justifies hate and bigotry, while others claim it to be promoting peace and love. Don't you think that if a god had a hand in it, such a powerful creature would do a better job of making sure that such an important message could not be so open to such varying interpretations?
Personally, I find the above problem to be one of several good reasons why I do not believe in the Christian god, and why I think the bible is 100% man-made, as is the god that it speaks of.
Prayer changes things .
Two wonderful Truths. God bless
You managed to spout your lie without chocking this time. Good for you!
Define "chocking". God bless
Prayer can help?
With God all things are "possible" and "can" happen, not guaranteed.
1. A block or wedge placed under something else, such as a wheel, to keep it from moving.
chocking Verb: 1.Prevent the forward movement of (a wheel or vehicle) with a chock
However I meant choking sorry that I confused you, you jacka.ss.
Have you also signed up for the hopey changey thingy?
Why does the Church have ANY say about who can marry who an marry who? Also what truly valid reason do states have, not to legalize Gay marriage? Some feel it's a political issue, I believe it's a moral issue and morals like religion, should be kept the hell out of this.
Remember family is the most sacred unit on earth. Being a part of a family is a great blessing. God created at the beginning a man and a woman, and commanded Children, to obey your parents in the Lord : for this right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee,and thou mayest live long on the earth. Ephesians 6 :1-3. I do believe by having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and following His plan of Salvation we will have an eternal life; and the one who choose not to obey to God will have the result the worked for. I hope people reviews the Noah times and Abraham to see what happen with the city of Low's family. Jesus Christ said : But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the son of man be. ST MATTHEW 24 : 37-51.
So, if you value family so much, why are you denying gays (and their children), the very thing you hold so dearly? Why haven't you outlawed divorce?
eduardo nails it.
Perversion is not a right.
Prove being gay is a 'perversion'. Then prove all 'perversions' that follow the definition are illegal.
Hopefully someone reading this blog is looking for a change in their life. Seeing that the path that they are on is not working for them. The scriptures reveal the steps to take to give us all a chance to start anew:
Everyone needs salvation because we have all sinned.
Romans 3:10-12, and 23
As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” ... For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (NLT)
The price (or consequence) of sin is death.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (NLT)
Jesus Christ died for our sins. He paid the price for our death.
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (NLT)
We receive salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:9-10, and 13
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved ... For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (NLT)
Salvation through Jesus Christ brings us into a relationship of peace with God.
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. (NLT)
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT)
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NLT)
Responding to Romans Road
If you believe Romans Road leads to the path of truth, you can respond by receiving God's free gift of salvation today. Here's how to take a personal journey down Romans Road:
Admit you are a sinner.
Understand that as a sinner, you deserve death.
Believe Jesus Christ died on the cross to save you from sin and death.
Repent by turning from your old life of sin to a new life in Christ.
Receive, through faith in Jesus Christ, his free gift of salvation.
Leviticus also tells us that un c i r c u m cised men shall not enter the kingdom of god.
Amen!! It's really a condition of the heart.
But he commanded that you should repent and be baptized . And he said unto the children of men : Follow thou me; repent yourself and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and be willing to keep the commandments of the Father.
Jesus would not throw stones, of course, for He loves everyone. But he would say, "Go and sin no more".
And that's exactly what christians should SAY to people they don't agree with.. But christians don't get to set laws according to their views of an old dusty myth book.
Everyone should stand back and let the filth of sin brought on by qu-eers destroy all mankind. Don't dare say anything against the filth that gave the world AIDS, that would be "hate" speech and would hurt the qu-eers feelings.
Thanks for providing an example of the end result of your brain virus.. There it is folks in it's crude, raw form..
You're so fond of AIDS and perversion hope it finds its way to you then you can really enjoy the benefits being qu-eer brings to the world.
P.A., you are an example of the perversion of the truth. Stop lying.
You are right, but follow him with all your heart and be willing to obey to him
I don't think perv has any idea that his own spite and anger is fvcking up his own brain with all that negativity.
AIDS COMES FROM PEOPLE SLEEPING WITH ANIMALS. What about syphilis, gonorhea, clamydia. crabs, DID GAYS cause THAT TOO...Its spread because of everybody sleeping with everybody..... People are so stupid. im gay, have been with my partner for 6 years, and I have no diseases. Im 100% blessed everyday..I know GOD made me, I am his creation, I am what he wanted me to be, am I to be with someone I dont want to be with to please MAN... marriage is not sacred.. how can it be. Too many get married that I know God wouldnt recognize, if its likE MAN says. God is the only one that can JUDGE ME...MAN can take your life or your posessions, but only GOD can take all that and your SOUL.. SEEMS EVERYBODY IS TRYING to take HIS SEAT ON THE THRONE, IM SURE he'll INTERVENE SOON..
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.