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.
Prayer changes things .
God watches me when I po.op. I pray that He stops, but he keeps watching me. Why does He like to watch me po.op?
Talking to imaginary beings is a sign of mental illness.
I hope you find God in your lieftimes. I pray that you will be saved
Disregard the stupid filth the name thief posts but enjoy the Truth that Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things. God bless
"God seeks those who seek Him"
Any smart person would simply go the source to find out what's real or not. Ask God with an honest heart. Most on here won't though, because they've already chosen evil. They choose to listen to men. God tells us "all men's hearts are evil". Trust the Truth.
Only those with Truth in them will seek God.
No truth in god for his existence is a lie. Pwnd.
Have you tried to find out what is real? I think not.
Amen, very well said
Repent you prideful sinner. Repent. I do not have to tolerate your wicked agenda masking as the Word of God.
If god said all men's hearts are evil does that include yours ?
All the smart people have already gone to Google and Bing to look up everything they can find about god stings, public appearances, miracles performed, music played, virgins impregnated, seas parting, and they cannot find anything.
Faith is a difficult thing for all religions. Its faith without evidence. Science cannot answer everything in this world. That is the wonder of God. Stop imposing liberal views on a religion. Marriage is a sacrament, not a right. and it is between 1 man and 1 woman
JRL – If marriage is just a sacrament, then government should not provide benefits and incentives to only certain taxpayers for partaking in that sacrament. People are fighting for that inequality. If you have any moral foundation, you will support gay marriage equality.
Also, marriage has had many different interpretations in many different cultures, so you're wrong about that as well.
Same as a self-fulfilling prophecy – what a load of smelly bs Truth7
I heard it is possible to cure christianity and the christianity life style because christianity is not genetic. Does anyone on this forum know whether that is true or not? I am desperate and depressed and have asked everyone I know and everyone they know if anyone knows how to cure my christianity. Are there any therapists you know of? Is anyone working on a vaccine where I might be able to get into a clinical trial? Please get back to me if you have any information that might help.
i will pray for you to find God.
There are recovery groups for transitioning to non-belief. As far as the genetic aspect; I think it is a social dynamic to be in groups but unfortunately religion (being a group) has utilized evolved morality to claim it was created by a god.
Whhy is there such hate for a religion? It is not a religion forcing its views on anyone. This is about Obama and radical liberals imposing government on religion. Marriage is a sacrament, not a right for gay people or straight people. It is a sacrament between one man and one woman. Those without faith often hate. And hate destroys
Can't you see how twisted your last statement is?
This guy has made his case for gay marriage. Now I'd like to see him make his case for christianity.
Christianity is loving thy neighbor as yourself. It is about serving others. Putting others ahead of yourself. That is what Jesus taught us. Why do you have such hate for that?
It is not hate. It is mockery. And we do it for thjree reasons:
1. It is so much fun.
2. It is so easy.
3. It is the right thing to do.
Matthew 19: 4-6) And He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female. 5) And siad, for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh. 6) Wherefore they are no more twain , but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.
Scoobypoo 19: 66
... and the twain kept a rolling, all night long...
Quoting scripture from 2000 year old fairy tales written by racist, misogynistic, backwards ancient men and believing it as truth makes you look stupid.
Christ also didn't come to banish the old law, but to amend it. People think the old testament no longer applies at all, but it does save for Christ's amendments.
I hear that twain a comin'
comin' down the twack.
Thoughtless, brainless babble.
One man, one woman ? Apparently the bible is OK with one man two wives.
15 If a man have two wives, the one beloved, and the other hated, and they have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers who was hated;
16 then it shall be, in the day that he causes his sons to inherit that which he has, that he may not make the son of the beloved the firstborn before the son of the hated, who is the firstborn:
This country is already a cesspool so let them marry. As long as the church can condemn them and excommunicate them from the church without government goose stepping on the rights of those who are against it so be it.
The only cesspool is in your head. Literally. Really.
I agree that country is often seen as a cesspool. Now as soon as you clean yourself off it will be a little less of one.
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3
How do you live in that body?
"Don't be stupid."
That is the only one that counts.
Don't be an as$hole
Don't push tour religion on others.
For those of you that don't beloved in God or are for gay marriage. If you are right, it only matters if God agrees with you. If you don't believe in God and you are right, we will both be eaten by worms. If you are wrong, and God is for real, you are in for something so terrible, you can't even begin to imagine it. Amazing how we get the the same thing if I am wrong. But if I am right, I will have eternal life and you, well, not so good. Not argueing, just thinking out loud.
On another one that preaches Pascal's Wager.. it's so refreshing to see that drivel.
You really shouldn't think out loud as it illustrates how stupid you are.
So I guess you believe that the al qaeda suicide bombers are rewarded with 40 virgins in heaven, right?
Discounting that silly belief is no different than discounting your silly belief in eternal damnation.
Time to stop believing in fairy tales.
No worries. It's just a myth.
VOR, does it upset you that someone has a different opinion as you? Amazing how you are so quick to jump straight to name calling. Maybe that is just your style.
Scoobypoo, terrorists will get 40 virgins. All of them will be nuns with shotguns.
TD yours' is not an opinion. It's just a plain simple justification for yourself.
You are on the premise to give yourself a gamble. And implying it to everybody that it is equivalent to actually getting into heaven. Think it over stupid.
Last time I checked I can say what I want for any reason I want but frankly your words speaks volumes of ignorance and stupidity. Quit talking nonsense, get a brain and a life!
Pascal's Wager is no way to run a life or a kingdom. It is a fear-based hedging of bets. Congratulations. You learned a new phrase today.
-And here in your reply... is the anger and hate that you want to justify for another religion – that they will be punished and tortured in getting what they deserved. It settles your mind that these 'people' (actually to you- they're sc.um") and you hope they are what you would HOPE they would get shafted. So much love from you and your crazy whacko mind.
It was 10 FVCKING YEARS ago. I was molested. I love hot chicks now. I was never gay and made a choice to give it up.
@fake doo doo digger Bama hahahaha did I make you that mad.tell your boyfriend that evil man made you cry
@holly not the real Bama just some mad doo doo digger
Actually nothing is sacred to most of these people. Forget marriage, fidelity, faith, devotion, vows, family,religious leaders, the bible, and do whatever you feel like, to whomever you like and whenever you like. Their verbiage tries to hide their true intent: social chaos!
Yes, Rich, we're all out to get you.
Seriously, there are far better bases for morals than the evil, error-riddled Christian bible. Google the golden rule some time.
You don't know many gay people, do you? Most are upright, productive members of society. Don't let propaganda from extremists sway you from the Truth.
I would agree, this site does not even invite a healthy dialouge. When you ask the athetists to share what is the basis for their truth – on this site- all they seem to reply is anger and insult.........rather boring
Yes, look around. As Jesus stated, the dragon is going to use a "flood" to go after God's people. A flood in this instance is "many words".
The wicked have not a clue that they have willingly forfeited their birthright for a bowl of soup. How sad.
Bob tell us how science explains the awful things that happen in the world. instead of telling me all that Christians aren't tell me what you are for?
Be warned all – the person posting as Truth7 is a deep sinner. He not only practices idolatry but is also guilty of one of the gravest of all sins – pride. He actually believes he speaks for God!
I have tried to save him and turn him to the path of Christ, but his wicked pride seems too entrenched at this point. Pray for our young sinner, for he knows not what he does.
"When you ask the athetists to share what is the basis for their truth..."
I don't know that it is asked very often, many times it's just statements like '... you'll all burn in hell' or '... every knee shall bow...' etc.
Since you asked, though, Atheism, in most definitions, is not a claim of truth, it is simply a lack of belief in god(s). The basis for understanding and living in this world comes from other sources and depends on the individual, many are Humanists, a secular philosophy, but that is not inherent nor mandatory for Atheists.
Hope that helps.
wow MEII – thank you! It does help as I am trying to formulate what non god people are for. I am very clear about what they are not for, that is easy to see, but I am respectfully curious for them to articulate what they stand for. Thanks again for an articulate response................
There is absolutely NO Christian case for gay marriage; only the lies of the devil as given by false prophets who are already acursed. They are children of the devil.
You are disturbingly delusional.
Robert, so how come the message from your all-powerful sky fairy is so susceptible to being misrepresented by such "false prophets"? Seems your god is a pretty weak and flaccid one. Zeus could zap him out in one bolt.
There is absolutely NO case for christianity; only the lies of the false religious patriarchs who are already acursed. They are children of the ignorant and beget yet more ignorance and intolerance.
Love is the case for gay marriage. Christ taught us only Love. You are in my prayers, Robert. Your sin can be cleansed from your soul.
bob so why doesn't your science answer all the questions for us?
Most Christians do not hate gays. The deal is the Bible says it is immoral and that gays will not enter into the kingdom of God. Stop trying to avoid the real issue and say this is all about Christians hating gays.
So how big is this kingdom?
Bigger than your backyard? Close to hell? Can anyone visit? Any wars going on in that place?
Stop avoiding the real issue, gods and religions are the inventions of man's imagination. Therefore, no religion can be a gold standard for anything.
You should probably do some research first to learn why you're wrong about what the Bible says, and why would anyone want to live in the kingdom (any kingdom, really) of someone so resistant to two people experiencing their love for one another? That is not what Christ taught us. He also never ordered us to worship a book.
the real issue is government forcing a religion to make a change. This is nothing to do with religion forcing itself on people. get it straight one one. no pun intended
@The Flamingo Kid,
"The deal is the Bible says it is immoral and that gays will not enter into the kingdom of God."
But that doesn't explain why gays can't get married by the state (churches marry who they want.)
I think the Bible also says that a "rich man" won't get into heaven either, but we don't outlaw getting rich, do we?
Separation of church and state means it is not important whether the Bible supports gay marriage, slavery, subjection of women, infanticide, genocide, etc. Gays are citizens of this country with the same rights as other citizens.
You should talk to the governments who are in bed with the religions. All bad.
marriage is a sacrament, not a right. liberals create rights where they dont exist to push their power agenda
Right, except this article is arguing that gay marriage ought to be offered as a sacrament.
Gay marriage does not exist. Marriage between a man and woman exists. again, liberals creating rights and sacraments that don't exist.
again another invasion of government into religion. Another direct violation of the seperation of Church and State by the liberal democrats
There comes a time where man loves himself more than God. And God will respond by destroying man. He did it before with the flood and He will do it again. This is vastly approaching, if liberals succeed in their transformation of thousands of years tradition under the guise of "progressive" reforms. Marriage is between 1 man, and 1 woman. Why do liberals constantly force their perverted views on others? CONSERVATIVE VIEWS ARE NOT THE MINORITY, THEY ARE THE MAJORITY. And this country will reject this incredibly radical president and corrupt democrat party come November. It will be a complete rejection of liberalism and the ever biased media like CNN
if conservatives had their way, there would still be segregation. liberals have always been fighting the good fight; conservatives have always been on the side of prejudice and bigotry. sad thing is that because the bible supports that sort of disgusting view, conservatives often think they're dong the right thing.
Oh look, a visitor from Opposite World.
Actually it was one man many women.I like it more p u s s y in the bed is always good
The christian church performs and supports gay marriage. This is undeniable. Some churhces do not and that is their choice and loss. Religion has nothign to do with civil rights anyway.
What a joke ! Religion is all about love of self.
I believe that gods came from man's imagination. However, I recognize a lot of people believe in gods and all the lore associated with them.
It makes them feel good to think they have a personal relationship with THE all powerful creator of the universe who loves them and will protect them.
Their beliefs and values are aligned with god, therefore they must be 100% right.
When they die, they get to go to heaven for eternal bliss.
Finally, they have the satisfaction of knowing all those who doubted them will suffer god's eternal wrath.
In the end, religious belief is really all about ME, ME, and, ME.
BamaDaniel, you sound like Mr. Garrison from the South Park movie:
"I can't wait to get some fvcking p.oontang!"
it is the republican party that ended slavery. facts are so inconvenient for liberals. The democratic party abuses minorities by keeping them in a dependent state in order to keep their votes. Liberalism is hypocrisy on every single subject
Dear god, DanielBama, what is wrong with you. You just admitted you were gay. You think we will fall for that comment about women. Do you think we are that stupid.
Abraham Lincoln was a republican.change takes time. this will take along time to be fully accepted
marriage is a sacrament JWT, not a right. Liberals create rights where they dont exist to push their agenda of power
i notice you said republican, not conservative. study some political history. the republicans today are not the republicans from yesterday. Lincoln would be a democrat today. the republicans did a 180 on their political views. they used to be the liberal party.
Liberals are the most judgmental and bigotted people around. They keep minoroties down and believe government should make the best decisions for them because they are too poor and stupid to help themselves. It doesnt get more racisist than the liberal mindset
I know booty I'm black I study stuff like that. Ever heard of pots and pans
JRL – I have to correct your ignorance. Republicans were the progressive party in the 19th century / early 20th and Democrats were the conservative (remember, all those KKK members were Democrats). The two parties flipped. Please educate yourself better before posting.
"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."
– Beautifully written sir. God Bless
Kaetra – the author doesn't even understand that God is the Rock, not Peter. How much else did he then get wrong?
This guy has no concept of what Christianity is all about. Speaks out of intelectualism but from a faith based belief.
Yes, you have to have faith that god wants you to hate gays
Drew – the ONLY ones who is hateful on these forums are of your ilk. You are doing EXACTLY what both God and Jesus state is a sign of evil, you caol "evil good and good evil". You do not care about the gay community. You are using them to advance evil's agenda of taking away souls from God. At least a goid Christian CARES about their soul. God says "Evil will be used to take out the wicked". Then guess what? The evil are plucked out.
Wow. This post says a mouthful. People who use their minds rather than follow blind faith are misguided? I don't want to live in a world ruled by your interpretation of God. I am far smarter than that.
Consider these quotes, and how you might feel if you lived in a country where these sentiments were mainstream:
“Our leader was not elected…he was appointed by Allah.”
“Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of Allah…must be denied citizenship."
“I, your Provincial Governor, do hereby proclaim… a day of prayer and fasting for our country.”
“Allah called me to this government position…my family fasted for three days to make sure it was true.”
“"I would not put a Christian among my advisors, or in my government."
“(our founding doc.uments) are quite clear that we would create law based on Allah of the Qur’an and Sharia Law, it’s pretty simple.”
“I hope I will live to see the day when…we won't have any public schools. The Mosques will have taken over them over again and Imams will be running them. What a happy day that will be!"
“There will never be world peace until Allah's house and Allah's people are given their rightful place of leadership at the top of the world."
These statements should rightfully alarm you. Now consider this, YOU DO live in that country, and these are not Taliban quotes. In the above quotes the religious references have been changed. They are quotes from prominent, politically powerful Americans who would establish religious control over America’s government. Here are the actual quotes:
“George Bush was not elected by a majority of the voters in the United States, he was appointed by God.” –Lt. General William Boykin, US Army
“Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church's public marks of the covenant–baptism and holy communion–must be denied citizenship." –Gary North, Inst.itute for Christian Economics
“I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby proclaim August 6, 2011, to be A Day of Prayer and Fasting for Our Nation.” –Rick Perry, Texas Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate
“God called me to run for this office, and my husband fasted for 3 days to make sure it was true.” –Michelle Bachman, US Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate
“"I would not put a Muslim in my cabinet, or in my administration." –Herman Cain, Republican Presidential Candidate
“(Our founding doc.uments) are quite clear that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the 10 commandments, it’s pretty simple.” –Sarah Palin
I hope I will live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken over them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!" – Jerry Falwell
There will never be world peace until God's house and God's people are given their rightful place of leadership at the top of the world." –Pat Robertson
These statements should be no more frightening in an Islamic or a Christian context – this kind of rhetoric is a serious threat no matter who it comes from. Theocracy is dangerous no matter whose God is invoked. We hear these things from pious politicians every day and are likely desensitized to them, but even momentary consideration reveals them to be un-American to the core. Religious fundamentalists make no secret of their goal of controlling our government and establishing their narrow beliefs as law. We must not let that happen – not here, not in our country.
It happens in small steps – the Ten Commandments in courthouses, prayer and creationism (“Intelligent Design”) in schools, revising science, history, and civics textbooks in Texas, State-endorsed prayer rallies, faith-based initiatives, and on and on – and because these steps may individually seem harmless, many people underestimate their consequences. That is why we must stay alert and fight to keep church and state separate. We should shudder whenever a politician or policymaker alludes to his or her religious beliefs as a justification for public policy. We should be deeply suspi.cious of anyone who claims to be chosen by God to lead us. We should aggressively defend our free society against any religious group who would hope to gain control over it.
Do not underestimate the importance of defending the separation of church and state. Stand up for it at every opportunity with your voice and your vote.
Great post. Puts it in context very nicely.
Yes, this pops up every so often. It's well worth the read.
then vote out Obama who has taken an unprecedented step to government intervention into the regligious beliefs of the Catholic Church.
What Colin said. 100% agree.
Colin, be patient: share whatever it is that you can share of Wisdom. :) We can't have it all...
Sorry, wrong post. I can't delete my previous post. *to Colin*
Plucking strange quotes from the fringe and/or out of context? Sort of smells like a strawman argument to me.
Repent! Beware of Ragnarok! Submit to Odhinn! (Yes this was sarcasm BUT hwo is what I say fallacy and what you say "The Truth" because ONE book says so?)
“Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
I have not met anyone who is not celibate according to their vocation in life and who displays the Gifts of the Spirit, such as Speaking in Tongues. Have you met any openly gay people who have received a visible tongue of fire above their heads? This is what Saint Peter witnessed, Gentiles receiving the Spirit, not as a figure of speech, but as a Physical Paranormal Phenomena. The Holy Spirit gave a tangible confirmation that is the Spirit who is in charge of the Church. Saint John the Baptist first Baptized with water. Back in those days he discerned those who were a brood of vipers and who also showed up to be baptized because of different intentions.
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’
The Membership and the Sacraments are not to be given as a 'get out of jail card' to those who do not want to abandon their life to God's moment-by-moment promptings.
If you want to preserve your life, you will lose it. If you surrender your life for the sake of the Gospel you will gain it.
So much knowledge, so little Wisdom.
The short form: "be a sheep".
So much effort wasted on a rambling collection of stories, myths, delusions and just plain lies know as a the Holy Babble. So much apologetics just to avoid the obvious: there is *nothing* holy in the Holy Babble (same applies to the Quran).
You have solved it, Mr. Dupin!
Bingo. We have a winner.
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.