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 find it ironic that this guy claims his position is somehow based on "the Bible’s accounts of Jesus and his followers" and then he goes on to ignore Jesus' actual statement on the subject of marriage: "But from the beginning of the creation, God 'made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."
(this is Mark 10:6-9 – a parallel passage is in Matthew 19:4-6)
You may want to argue about whether you think the Bible is valid, but for anyone to claim to believe the Bible is the word of God and then make statements like this author made is ludicrous.
Sounds like Jesus came down pretty solidly on the side of a marriage being between a male and a female.
Wrong Sctt, that segment in the bible is in response to a question about divorce which Christ was very much against as it is adultery. Christ NEVER said anything about HOM OSE XUA1ITY.
I think he was pretty dead set against divorce, too.. Why don't you christians hold YOURSELVES accountable to marriage for a while, and when you've proved you can do that, then you get to come to the grown up table and argue for whatever definition of marriage you believe your little fairy tale tells you is the right one..
Or, you could just let other people have the exact same rights as you enjoy, now.. Nobody's telling you how to live.
As a Christian, I am dead set against divorce as well. Jesus said right there that God created them male and female from the beginning so that a man would marry a woman. If you can find a corresponding verse where he says "but ignore that and feel free to define marriage however you like regardless of gender" I am sure there are a lot of folks out there who would be thrilled to read it, but it's not there.
@scott I am a Christian as well, that statement was made purely in the context of divorce, he never address the issue of hom ose xuality, but may have approved in the store of the Centurion and his "servant"
Does the bible say only one man and one woman ? 2Chronicles: 11: 21 "Rehoboam loved Maacah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines: (for he took eighteen wives, and sixty concubines, and became the father of twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.)"
I know, it's the OT so it doesn't count right ? But OT, NT, it's still the same god isn't it ?
So what?. The point is that you christians can't abide by your bible's definition of marriage, anyway.. If you can't abide by your own bible, then WHAT THE FVCK are you doing trying to get other people to follow.. How hypocritical and stupid..
You don't want to marry a person of same s3x, then don't..
You don't want to get a divorce, then don't.
You don't want to be around gays, then don't.
But don't pull some "hollier than thou" bull sh!t on everybody in the country when you already got all your rights in your hands.. You christians svck at marriage.. Maybe the gays can show you how it's done..
The Scriptures say one man and one woman. While there are examples of people who were polygamous in the OT, none of them are ever commended for that behavior and that behavior is never endorsed.
So do you believe that it doesn't matter how physically or mentally abusive someone is to their spouse and children, the victim should never be allowed to divorce as long as the spouse doesn't cheat?
Is your thinking REALLY that warped?
Wrong Scot, beit the OT only, but polygamy is condoned. The new covenant has no law against hom ose xua1ity.
OH bull sh!t!!! Solomon, wisest man that ever lived– most blessed of god– given wisdom by god about a thousand wives/wh.ore-slaves/conc.ubines or so?? Yes?
Give it a rest.. You got nothing.
@scott: that's pretty weak. It wasn't condemned either.
Get serious. The epitome of wisdom in the Bible was King Solomon who had 1,000 wives and concubines.
Read the Bible sometime.
@a Frayed knot, Just say'n that if the bible is right and most folks is wrong then it is going to get very hot, if its not then so what
And you all are misinterpreting the bible and more importantly the word of Christ, guess where you are going?
but the ord of your god has no meaning thus his rewards and all have no meanring either.
All religion really has to offer is the threat of hell and false promise of heaven. For many people, that's enough to buy in.
We are treading on very thin ice. What a joke of a article.
Too much unassailable logic there for me to take on!. What an outstanding argument!! Keep up the good work.
It may not matter now , but it will matter whose right and whose wrong when you exit this life. Just say'n.
Coercion by threat of physical pain and emotional torment is terrorism.. You sure you want to stick with that?
'Yes and to earn eternal life you must "Live in Spirit with Jesus Christ" Do you realize what that means?
And your verified evidence for this is...?
*my post was addressed to @forreal
Yes, we know, believe or burn. Is that why you believe ?
Guess it's a good thing then that I am in the right forreal/.
"Episcopal church" .... No wonder he supports gay marriage.
One of the few decent churches out there and that is from a former Catholic of Irish ancestry.
Contrary to myth, Christianity's concept of marriage has not been set in stone since the days of Christ, but has constantly evolved as a concept and ritual.
The way you feel about Mormonism and Islam and the "heretical" christian denominations?? That's the way I feel about your belief.. It's pretty disgusting–like they all are.
@ abloigo, "The reason your argument is wrong is based on the fact that 40% of straight couples practice so domy. This is not about a phy sical act; it's about rights under law for an oppressed minority. Let's stay on topic."
40% of heteralists are then sodomites and no longer heteralists! If we were to give all the "oppressed minorities" their rights to do whatever- what would societal civilities then become? Sodomy is a un-civil parody that cannot be allowed to grow past its' roots and must be killed off before it grows past its' trunk!
Just your ignorant opinion.
I don't know why you want Big Government in our bedrooms, but shall we educated and enlightened people assume you also support banning un-civil activities such as American football, wrestling, hunting, mixed martial arts fights, boxing, and any warfare for any reason? What are your criteria to give you the opinion that one act behind closed doors is un-civil but beating up or killing other humans is not?
So are you advocating killing the MILLIONS of HETEROS who engage in SODOMY?
It's all HYPOCRISY on your part if you pretend HETEROS don't do it.
people need to stop picking and choosing what to follow from the bible. "When a woman has a discharge, and the discharge in her body is blood, she shall be in her menstrual impurity for seven days, and whoever touches her shall be unclean until the evening. And everything on which she lies during her menstrual impurity shall be unclean. Everything also on which she sits shall be unclean. And whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening. And whoever touches anything on which she sits shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening. Whether it is the bed or anything on which she sits, when he touches it he shall be unclean until the evening. ..." I don't see people getting up in arms when a man shares a bed with a woman on her rag. Stop being hypocritical people, you follow/believe one excerpt from the bible but don't follow another...
What???? Spend some time in the new testament.
Is the old testament not also "God's Word"?
@chubby not it is not, it never was binding to anyone but the Jews. Christ gave us a new convenant which only included the ten commandments from the OT.
@spud you do realize there is a difference between the new testament and the new covenant? The Law of God given to US by Jesus Christ is solely based on the Gospels of Jesus Christ.
@Robairdo. If the old testament was not the word of God, how then did Jesus himself defend himself against Satan with the following scripture written in Matthew ch04, vs03-04: "And when the tempter came to him he said, if thou be son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, it is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedth out of the mouth of God?"
@Robairdo. If the Lord gave mankind a new covenant not based upon the laws given to Israel(Jews), why then did he prophesy against all mankind, threatening to destroy man for breaking the everlasting covenant? Isaiah ch24, vs05-06 reads: "The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof because they have transgressed the LAWS, changed the ORDINANCE, BROKEN THE EVERLASTING COVENANT! Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left?"
Check this out – the early Christian church's rituals for performing gay marriages. Sorry they've forgotten their original purpose of inclusiveness and diversity... http://anthropologist.livejournal.com/1314574.html
This was done in the paganized Christian church, not in the church of Christ and the Apostles. I wish people would just be honest and say they are not willing to follow God, rather than these dishonest attempts to create a God who allows all sin. In fact, many of you would say there is no "sin".
So, in your personal life, are you saying you never make any mistakes, no room for improvement? What a great thing that we can make mistakes, learn from them and improve. If we deny making any error, we deny ourselves the possibility to learn and grow.
It is a spiritual impossibility to be a Mormon and a Christian. God bless
Mormon in the opinion of many Mormonism is NOT Christian but a cult. So stop passing judgement. As for God, Jesus NEVER said anything about HOM OSE XUA1ITY, it is NOT a sin. You so called "Christians" are the one's misinterpreting the word of Christ.
Many would say a Mormon is not following God. So, you and gay people face the same bigotry. I hope it feels good.
Google First Scandal.
You miss a crucial point. Your claim "It is not our place, it seems, to sort out who should be denied a bond with God" is true.......HOWEVER; batism, marriage, etc. is not "bonding with god". Baptism, marriage, and other RELIGOUS "sacraments" are not how God bonds with us. God "bonds" with our hearts, and our souls. His bonding, is a spiritual one. That is why it can NEVER be denied by any other person! Marriage can be denied, at anytime by anyone or anything. True spiritual connection with God cannot.
Marriage is a legal instrument that all adults have a right to, see Loving vs. Virginia.
@robairdo: Marriage, just the same as everything else in life, is not a guarantee. Your very life can be taken from you at any moment, no matter how many laws/regs our govt. puts in place. That is just a cold-hard fact of life. But your own personal connection with God belongs to you, and to you alone. Nothing can prevent your heart from seeking God. That is my point.
@Coug it most certainly is a right, you should review Loving vs. Virginia. Very clear and applicable.
I doubt that the Bible is the word of God. I expect the word of an omnipotent, omniscient being to be logical and consistent. The bible tells 2 versions of creation in the first 3 chapters and doesn't agree on the details. That's why it's not God's Word. I'm not saying there isn't good stuff in there, but mostly I think it's a mirror. You only see in it that which is already in you.
Logical to you isn't logical to an omnipotent God. Also what Bible where you talking about? You seem to have gotten it wrong. Try reading the whole thing.
Mor importantly, no religion, christianity and the bible included, can provide a sure-fire way to verify their claims about god and his nature/plan.. If there's nothing to test and verify, then it's myth.. It doesn't even matter if it happens to be true.. If it can't be measured and tested, it's a description and a myth.
There are 2 versions because there was a Spiritual creation (or a dress rehearsal for the actual) and a Physical creation. I believe in a God who exists within the universe which means he understands perfectly all the laws of Science and operates within them. The Universe was "organized" from existing matter (since it cannot be created or destroyed). God used the principles of evolution to create our Earth.
@MormonChristian - the omnipotent, omniscient God had to practice creating the universe? That seems kind of absurd.
I would maybe leave all the gay business out of religion. I would also not call it marriage, call it something else like they do in Europe. Also leave the bible out. I am not religious but I know it was Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve.
The mere fact that you used the phrase "Adam and Steve" means everything else that comes out of your mouth is merely ass vapor...
Just for Political Advisor.. GWAKKK!!
Doo doo diggers eat sh it burgers
Prayer changes things..
Top Ten Signs You're a Christian in Name Only
10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Al lah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some id iot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.
Avoid the 10 piles of horse sh it directly above this reply
Excellent thoughtful posting. Lots of Christians can't handle the truth or be objective.
EndTheHate has many valid points, such as that many who call themselves "Christian", but actually know little to nothing about the Bible. A true Christian will apply Proverbs 2:4, 5, that "if you keep seeking for it as for silver, and as for hid treasures you keep searching for it, in that case you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God."
He is also correct in that there is no "Hell of Suffering", though many will acclaim this as the case because of the King James Bible's use of the word "hell" with regard to Jesus sayings. However, Jesus did not use the word "hell", but rather used two Greek words, (1) hades, as at Matt 11:23; 16:18; Luke 16:23, that corresponds to the Hebrew word sheol, and (2) geena (Gehenna), as at Matt 5:22, 29, 30. A genuine Christian will understand that hades means mankind's common grave from which there is a resurrection, not a place of fiery torment and that Gehenna means everlasting destruction from which there is no resurrection. Jesus used fire to symbolize everlasting destruction, not torment.
And EndTheHate has a valid point regarding "a Triune God", for God, Jesus ,and the holy spirit do not comprise a "Triune God" or trinity, for Jesus readily acknowledged that his Father, Jehovah God, was superior to him at John 14:28 and that upon his resurrection, he told Mary Magdalene: "I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God."(John 20:17)
In addition, the holy spirit is God's active force that he used in creating all things (Gen 1:2; Ps 104:30) and that even Jesus had, for Luke 4:1 says that after Jesus baptism , he was "full of holy spirit" that led in the wilderness, and of which Isaiah 44:3 compares to water.
He also has a valid point in that the earth was not created in six literal days, but its foundation was created at the same as the universe, for Genesis 1:1 says: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." And the six "creative " days at Genesis 1, are not as creationists say as being six literal 24 hour days, but were each several thousand years long, for of the "seventh day", it has not been spoken as having closure as had the previous six "creative days"(Gen 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31), but is still ongoing even as we speak, and of which a person can still enter "into God's rest".(see Heb 4:1-4)
Tho real subject which some are afraid to talk about is the fact that sodomy is wrong. People are admitting they know sodomy is wrong when they use the word "gay" to hide what they are really talking about.
Please read this with a earnest heart and pray about it.
1DO NOT judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves.
2For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.
3Why do you stare from without at the very small particle that is in your brother's eye but do not become aware of and consider the beam of timber that is in your own eye?
4Or how can you say to your brother, Let me get the tiny particle out of your eye, when there is the beam of timber in your own eye?
5You hypocrite, first get the beam of timber out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the tiny particle out of your brother's eye.
If you have such a disdain for it then the solution is simple...
Don't do it.
Sodomy includes many acts (such as b j s) that have nothing to do with homers3xuality.. Also, it's not wrong between consenting adults..
Does the Lot story teach that sodomy is wrong, or that attempting to r.a.p.e men when perfectly fine daughters are being offered instead is wrong?
Who says sodomy is wrong? All it is is a s.e.xual organ placed into an anus. What is the big freakin' deal? Frankly, I have never attempted it and I really do not have any desire to but I could care less if anyone or anything does. I mean, come on.
@gary, you have either a very antiquated or very immature perspective on se.xuality. so I suspect you are either very young, or very old. what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their home cannot be labeled as right or wrong by outside opinions.
No one...but NO ON believes sodomy is wrong unless it is wrong for them on a personal level. For me? Not my thing at all, for me it's not the way I'm wired. But for someone else, why should I be afraid of what they do to make their partners happy? Just don't think about it, I'm sure there are people who do things that you don't personally do and you don't spend a fraction of the energy on them that you do gay people.
@ Observer, "Since you love women's bodies, are you one of the MILLIONS of HETEROS who engage in sodomy with women?"
I stand apart from women and admire their lovely shapes! I need not be physical with them to love them. I am not a sodomite nor am I one who lusts after a woman for physical want! Blessed are many a woman and blessed moreso be those who are less physically blessed!
two women just can't have sex. get over it! marriage is and will always be between a man and a woman.
I was wondering when the king of the universe would show up.. Hey god, why can't you stop ho.mos from having s3x?? Too big a chore for you?? What about making your existence and plan as clear as say.... gravity.. or math. .or chemistry???
That is 100% correct.
One man cannot make love to another man and one man cannot make love to his dog either.
Momoy-shhh go away! you are a reprobate!
Thanks, Bob.. I appreciate your concern.
Sounds like you have Bill Clinton's sense of what actually is, and isn't "$ex".
"two women just can't have s.ex"
Really? Who taught you biology?
I got some news for you… I've had se?x with two women… And they do it just fine! in fact, sitting there watching them, I wondered if I was even needed at all. you might be surprised to find that the world does not work I think it works in your lonely imagination.
cq-Clinton's definition is good enough. Have you been patted down at an airport ?is that s e x according to your definition?
well viennese the christian church diagreees completely with you.
Marriage is not a Christian principle, it existed way before christianity was even an idea. It's one of a long list of things the Christians have tried to steal. Gay marriage is gonna happen, get ready...or don't. Either way it's not my problem if you can't get over your superiority complex.
No, but I usually consider my wife running her hands over me part of the $ex we share.
Geez. Knock it off, you guys. I'm typing here.
"The redeeming power of that crack is relentless"
In this Gospel passage, Jesus describes marriage as between a male and female:
“From the beginning of creation, ‘God made man male and female.’ For this reason a man may leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and two shall become one. So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10:6–9
Jesus also said he'd be right back.
Jesus also believed in a world-wide flood that didn't ever happen because it's physically impossible.. Can't trust that guy.
Jesus also told his own loving mother to gtf away from him.
What a great guy!
"Greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women."
2 Samuel 1:26.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
2 Peter 3:8
20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses
So what ? It does not matter what jesus said about marriage anyway or even if he said it – it onlymatters to christians and many of those believe and perform gay marriages.
For all the Jesus haters, remember this: " that at the name of Jesus every knee SHALL bow .......and every tongue SHALL confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father".
By the distortions from Loi, it is quite obvious that he has never read the Bible, just took other people's spin on it.
For one thing, He never said He would be right back but He did say that He will come again and seeing that everything else He said was accurate, we can also count on that.
With respect to telling His mother to get away from Him. that must have come from a book of atheist fairy tales – not the Bible.
Sorry hal but your are totally wrong. My knee will never bend to your god and my tongue will never speak its praises. This is true whether it exists or not.
Poor ol' Ezekiel.... such clueless, phallus-driven garbage. Technique is a thousand times more important and pleasurable to a woman than huge size - and emissions... meh.
is "evolving" same as degenrating ??
Is a science book the same as a kick in the groin?
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