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.
I pray for the day that CNN stops writing articles about gay relationships and set them up for comments. We see the same thing on here week after week. It is an unsolvable battle that only serves to enrage both sides. Sometimes I wonder if the editors at CNN are just sitting on the sidelines laughing at all the comments. Just like they say, the arsonist always returns to watch the fire. Let's douse this one out for good.
Oh it will be solved in a few years with full marriage equality.
Unfortunately, just like with every other prayer, yours will not be answered, at least not by any divine entity since none exists.
Ok Bob, I will change my name.
I expect my prayer to answered by the United States Supreme Court when it takes up both DOMA and Prop8 next year.
Did my post seriously get deleted? Perhaps you should state to users you want nothing but agreement on the subject before allowing them to post.
I have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That includes freedom from your religion.
Oh lord, please save me from your followers.
Whoops, found it. 0_0 My bad! Bad frayed, bad frayed! Sorry!
It's the CNN nasty word fragments filter at work. Look around and you'll find it, but basically you need to put hyphens in words like docu-ment or else the filter will block you because it thinks you said cum.
this is the silliest article i've every read.
I think the same of your comment to it.
after all the people who really benefited from the Civil Rights movement are the white women and white gays. That's a fact.
Not really, but your point
Yeah, cause the whole "freeing the slaves" thing is so inconsequential.
really, monique? so the voting rights act did nothing for black people?
CNN, You ought to be ashamed of your selfs, feeding this garbage to people, God and his word the Bible tell us about Gay's very clearly about Gods feelings , Now you bring in another Gay person who is a Lawyer shame shame on you, Men can't have baby's by sticking their penis in another mans butt hole, The scripture tell us that me don't lay with men.
Thanks for the input, Goober. We'll give it all the consideration it warrants.
Many people marry for numerous reasons. My partner and I do not wish to procreate, but we wish to marry. My father died 15 years ago, and my mom remarried when she was 62, and her new husband was 60. Are you saying that my mother should not have been allowed to marry because she wasn't going to reproduce?
How crude and disrespectful you are and in the name of Christ. People like you give religion its sullied reputation. I feel sorry for your ignorance and your lack of decency, dignity and respect for your fellow human beings.
Wrong try reading the Bible, Christ NEVER says anything about hom ose xuality.
Then it sounds like you shouldn't marry a person of the same gender or be forced to only marry people of the same gender.. Hmm.
James R Broman, the bible says a lot of nasty stuff, so make sure that you heed it all, or nasty, unfair Christian god will torture you forever. Taking a look at some of the fine demands by your god, according to the bible, we have horrid stuff like this:
17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.
Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”
Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.
Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.
And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.
So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.
Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
Everybody lay off Mr. Broman. While its true you cannot reproduce in that manner he states with another man, you can have children from a WOMANS "butt hole" Everybody knows that! I think Mr. Broman here is a perfect example of someone born that way. Ignorant fool.
gosh, jimmy, your certainly are a cretin
The only thing required for evil (gay marriage) to triumph is for Bible-based Christians to buy into the left's "do not make any judgments" bs. John the Baptist spoke out strongly against King Herod's adultery, and Jesus called John one of the greatest men there was. So you can take a stand against sin and iniquity.
Christ spoke out about "Adultry " too, but NEVER hom ose xuality. It is not evil or a sin.
"Christians to buy into the left's "do not make any judgments" bs."
Right, the left does not want to be judged by ignorant bronze age religious zealots because we live in a democracy, not a theocracy, so keep your evil judgmental religion out of my countries laws.
CNN will give space to any fool who believes in CNN's gay agenda...so CNN found this idiot that will promote their belief...
What is a "gay agenda?" Equal rights and equal protection under the law? I'm all for it.
Hypocrisy of Marital Relationships: So many Christians try to rationalize this but it is clear that a true follower of Jesus can neither divorce someone nor marry someone who is divorced. There is an exception to the rule, however. If spouse commits adultery, divorce is permissible. On the same token, the Bible also says that anyone who obtains a divorce and marries another is in adulterer. Remember that 80% of this country is Christian yet we have a 50% divorce rate. A majority of divorces are a result of irreconcilable differences, not adultery, which implies that Christians are again practicing selective morality. How many Christians are working on a second, third or fourth marriage?
Yeah let them defend that. Oh and unlike hom ose uality which Christ NEVER said anything about, he did say that about divorce.
Indeed.. Rant and rave to get divorce illegal for ONLY the christians, and prove that it makes the country better, and then we'll let you come and sit down at the adult table and TALK about your OPINIONS on gay marriage..
Divorce is permitted in scripture as the Apostle Paul stated in scripture... You cannot use that as an excuse to condone an immoral act or behariour or lifestyle. Your neighbor steals a car so that gives you the right to rob a bank?
Divorce is only allowed for adultery, that is what Christ said. Do you really think that all the divorces in this country are for that reason?
Also while Christ had a lot to say about divorce, he NEVER said anything about hom ose xuality.
Romans declares that it is an abomination and that God gave them up to a reprobate mind. I don't know what this fool is saying about the bible being ok with gay marriage...this man is a coward and all cowards will end in the lake of fire.
" I don't know what this fool is saying about the bible being ok with gay marriage." Likely because you are one of the 90% of Christians who have never actually read the bible and take cherry picked scriptures to base your beliefs.
It's obvious you're quite happy about it, too.
Really, dude, why would anyone want to go to a heaven if people like you will be there?
First Romans does not say that in the original Greek. Second that is not part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and only the Gospel is part of the new covenant (law) of Jesus Christ. Christ never said anything about hom ose xuality.
@Bob you are completely wrong!!! "God gave them up to a reprobate mind because men exchanged their natural use for woman to burn with lust for another man. committing what is shameful" I don't know if you read your Greek upside down or you are a total liar...either way you are not true.
@stank I a born again Christian and have not only read the entire bible through and through, but several translations as well as the how it was translated from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek to English. You are wrong.
First: Romans is NOT part of the new covenant, but only part of the new testament.
Second: It does NOT read that way in the original Greek.
LIVE and LET LIVE - a simple concept that needs to be mentioned in churches every now and then! Kind of goes hand in hand with NOT being judgmental; oh yea, I forgot Christians are on this earth to judge the rest of us! If what they believe is true, THEY are in for a BIG surprise when they reach the pearly gates and are turned away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
They won't make it that far
They are not Christian they are anti-Christian for you they are no where near following the teachings of Jesus Christ and are not living in "Spirit with Jesus Christ" Which is what is required for eternal life.
You won't even make to the pearly gates... Sin must be repented of and not endorsed. If you consent then you are just as guilty. We are to judge between what is right and wrong. Judging is good when it is righteous judgment based on God's moral law.
@stank you wouldn't know Gods moral judgement it if hit you in the head. Christ in all of his Gospels very clearly lays out what is necessary for everlasting life. It is essentially a restatement of the ten commandments in his own words and you must also give to the poor as much as you can. That is it, nothing about hom ose xuality.
I realize that there are so many things that I/we do not have the answers for – the interpertation given in the column is very well put.
CNN is obviously pushing the so-called gay agenda. MN is a liberal state
All of that would be good if it's true.
gay agenda? oh yeah, equal rights
Thank you Mark from Middle River.
Your well spoken words are appreciated.
I wish more of the world thought like you.
I have seen folks steal a person blog handle and had it happen to me before but the real Mark from Middle didn't wake up until 12 noon EST.
Some days I don't even get out of bed.
Excellent momoya, according to your logic, about the only people in this country who should be allowed to vote are white males. . . .since civil rights are not important.
Wow, you must have really missed the mark on the meaning of one of my posts!!
In Minnesota, mostly of the religious and gays fanatics are white people whom at the end of the day ,they go back to theirs suburban homes ,while the rest of the population are struggling with poverty. This election time should be about poverty , unemployment, health care issues, period.
Part of the reason I hate gays was that I was molested by a gay man when I was 14, so don't tell me they are "ok". My father used to touch me, too.
Oh so sorry. . . .like I said, your incestuous parents should have just aborted you when they had the chance. I can't believe how low Christians such as yourself will go in order to dish out your disgusting hatred of other people. You need help.
Ha ha ha ha good one doo doo digger
So because of the actions of two gay guys you condemn tens of millions. You must condemn the whole world then for I am sure str8 people have wronged you at some time, how about blacks, latins, asians. Are you going to tell me none of them have ever wronged you?
You are just looking for an excuse to hate GAYS. Didn't you read the bible about what Christ said on this issue. You are to love those that wrong you as much as those that have not.
You make Christianity look as dumb as the kkk.
LOL you were 14? Really cause you uh would of been able to stop that. I mean you didn't have to say yes silly.
Ridiculous post... there are plenty of hetero men who have molested young girls..just because yours was supposedly gay doesnt mean you should persecute all gays. Time to grow up man
Bob. . . ."BamaDaniel" is a troll. All he does is post incendiary remarks whether they're true or not. He's just trying to mess with everyone's head. That's how he amuses himself.
Awesome...... Brilliant article. Thank you
jack and bill
went up the hill
jack fell down and broke his crown
bill said don't worry for the insurance now :)
Gays reject civil unions although most people are OK with them. They want the religious aspect of marraige to be recognized by God and others thru a law. I did not know God obeys they laws of the USA! Apparently these people do not understand the religious side of marraige or believe they can command God and make thier own commandments. "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Leviticus 18:22 "
No they don't they seek civil marriage.
Civil marriage has nothing to do with your myths or gods. Get over it.
Did you really just quote Leviticus. I bet you eat shrimp, you should be stoned, or you wear cotton and another fabric together so uh you should be stoned....any one whom quotes fairy tales as if it is nonfiction should be seen as a child.
It also says no tattoos. And there are a lot more people with tats than there are gays.
Wrong they want all the same legal rights as marriage. There are over 1000 churches in America that will marry them already, they don't need or want your Church.
You are also pretty ignorant, Leviticus is the Law of Moses in the OT only applicable to Jew and it died on the Cross with Christ when his new covenant went into affect binding on Jew and Gentile alike. Try reading and understanding the bible before you quote it, because you have just committed blasphemy to the word of Jesus Christ.
I LOVE ALL PEOPLE....I WILL NOT JUDGE ANYONE,,,,ITS NOT MY PLACE....
GOD DIDNT GIVE US PERMISSION TO TAKE HIS JOB
GOD SAYS: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last – Who exist from everlasting to everlasting. How clear, incontestable a proof, does our Lord here give of his divine glory
JAMES 4:12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge your neighbor?
ROMANS 2:1 You have no excuse-every one of you who judges. For when you pass judgment on another person, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, practice the very same things
It makes no difference. My civil rights have nothing to do with your bible or whether you believe in any "god".
i'll take the time to hit that lobbed ball...God tells us not to judge hypocritically...he never tells us not to judge...take the plank out of your own eye first and then help your brother...never does he say leave the object (sin) in your brothers eye...a reasonable percentage of the old and new testament is practical wisdom that helps Christians to be discerning...you have to make value judgments based on what you believe to be true (I believe God gave us His guiding principles through His Word)...you have to make judgments on right or wrong every day...try to go through today without making a judgment on something moral..it's impossible...
@HELLONEWS, I hear what you are saying, but i make judgements in MY LIFE... ITS not my place to judge whats going on in someone else's bedroom....If thats the case, we have to do it to everybody. Who someone wants to be with, is not my concern... Ive fornicated, I sinned, Who am I to say what is right for someone else, when I have so much to answer for myself....
DeeCee, as of now marriage is not one of your civil rights. Some day it may be but today you still have much work to do to make that so. It probably will not be universal in your lifetime, so have a good time, give it a good fight and good luck.
Keith, while you're correct about something, I'm confident that you're incorrect about how long it will take. My generation and the younger ones are overwhelmingly pro-gay marriage. I will definitely see it within my lifetime here in this country. I have no doubts about that.
I do not care for gay or religious issues, what I care the most finding a job so I can pay my bills and have food on the table, the other issues are minor comparing of all the unemployed people not only in Minnesota but across the country.
Why comment if you don't care
Yeah who cares about those pesky Civil Rights. Maybe you should denounce your Civil Right to vote as a woman since you know in your heart how unimportant these silly things are to individuals and society.
Because she cares little in comparison to other issues.. It's an excellent point, and one we should all share.. I too feel that way.. Thanks Margaret!!!
momoya, according to your logic, about the only people in this country who should be allowed to vote are white males. . . .since civil rights are not important.
w t f??? I'm saying that the gay thing shouldn't be an issue–the way to resolve it is obvious.. Let people make their own civil arrangements.. Solve the dam problem already and get on to issues of our declining resources.
momoya, thanks for the clarification. . . .kinda. So you're saying that gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry?
I know to some people Civil Rights aren't that important. . .but if it had not been for Civil Rights, women would still be treated as possessions and not allowed to vote in this country, Blacks would still be treated as lesser human beings and made to drink from separate water fountains, the list goes on. So when you hear about the Civil Rights of the LGBT, just remember how important YOUR OWN civil rights are. There is no reason any group should be treated the way the LGBT minority is being treated by this country's bigoted leaders. At one time, that "group" included women and other minorities. Think about it.
Of course.. It should be such a minor, irrelevant issue that nobody ever considered the alternative..
ON civil rights.. It's such an easy, simple issue to get correct.. You just make the laws fairly apply to everyone.. Easy.. Fixing the economy is the unknown, dark art that should be getting all the attention.
@momoya "ON civil rights.. It's such an easy, simple issue to get correct.. You just make the laws fairly apply to everyone.. Easy.."
=>defining marriage as between a man and a women applies equally to everyone. It isnt like they enforce the law for some and not for others.
Chad, you're a fvcking moron if you don't see how it's unequal to only allow certain people to marry whom they choose.. Grow a brain.
"defining marriage as between a man and a women applies equally to everyone"
I know you can't see past your own ignorance Chad, but let's change up your sentence a little and see if you can't piece it together:
"defining a government regulated contract as only between a man and a women applies to only contracts between men and women, if two guys wanted to start up this type of contract and get the same government protection and benefits, then too bad for them, they are not considered an equal partnership to those between our preferred male and female companies.."
Or even more simply:
"Defining religion as eating raw snakes with forks attached to your finger tips applies equally to everyone. It isnt like they enforce the law for some and not for others."
So.. "civil rights" means, the government has to sanction any and all behavior?
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.