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.
End times are here:
Uh, end times? Wow so jesus is coming to dump blood all over the ground and murder everyone because he's so loving right?
The "end is nigh" nonsense posted by IT'S HAPPENING above is actually the Jewish answer to the failure of their covenant belief, that held that god would look after them if he kept his law. After a few hundred years of keeping the law, but being overrun by everybody except the Australian Aboriginals, they had to come up with an answer as to why their sky-god had not kept his end of the deal.
Two schools developed to explain why they were experiencing exactly what one would expect if there were no god. First, the “we’re being punished for our sins” school arose, that taught that the Jews were not living according to their sky-god’s law and that the sky-god was punishing them. This worked for a while, until they started to realize that those who TOTALLY ignored his law (i.e. gentiles) were doing much better than them.
So, once again they had to explain why they were experiencing exactly what one would expect if there were no god. Shazam, the apocalyptic school was born. This school taught that, while the gentiles were doing better NOW, the day would come when they would get their comeuppance. The Jews were suffering because of Satan (invented for this purpose and appearing nowhere in earlier Jewish literature) but God would return and defeat Satan in an epic battle. THEN the Jews would get their just rewards and the evil would be punished.
This view was perfect, because you never had to deliver. You could just keep putting off the issue by answering any skeptic with the “any day now” response. It was (and is) perfect to explain why they were experiencing exactly what one would expect if there were no god.
The Palestinians do the same thing with Allah, claiming the Jews will get their comeuppance “one day…one day, you mark my words”. So do the Chicago Cubs -
Jesus himself believed this as did St. Paul. They expected the second coming in their lifetime. They were wrong, as has every apocalyptic prophet since then to and including Koresh, Camping, the idiot Christian Evangelicals and the 21 December 2012 nuts.
Prayer changes things.
Religion warps children's brains.
again with the SPAMMING
tell your mom I told her to ground you from the computer for at least 100 years, God told me to tell her that.
Gay women are okay, but gay men are disgusting filty animals. I don't need to justify it. I don't need your opinion. That is just the way it is.....and I accept that.
Straight men are pretty gross too.
you are mutant.
the funny thing is he has actually contemplated the visual idea of what it would look like before he made his comment
Don't think about an elephant and the first thing you do is think about an elephant.
I think he saw himself as a BOTTOM.
Why are Christians so concerned with what other people do in their bedrooms? Isn't that something for God to judge? Isn't is kind of blasphemous to believe that we are the judges, and not God?
This is where Christians face some logical inconsistencies in their faith that are pretty hard to overcome. They say that God disapproves of gays, yet about 5% of the population is gay. This means that God, in the USA alone, has created 15 million people of whom he disapproves.
Even if one accepts the absurd notion that one's $ex drive is a "choice" why would he create 15 million people only to tempt them with urges that we hetero$exuals do not have?
Second, he could very easily end the contraversy by making his views known. Why does he not?
Why is it that every single thing we see in the World around us is consistent with there being no God and with our having created him and given him the wierd, schitzophrenic personality he would need to explain the rampent conttradictions in this silly faith?
simple... because theirs suck. or don't suck ...however you look at it.
So Mark, you need to change your name to try and avoid the truth? You lost. Get used to it already. You keep losing. Sad.
Mark never lost – you did. Your self serving posts have had no merit and your bad temper does not qualify as intelligence.
Shut up, Mark. Go suck your thumb somewhere else.
Travolta framed as SCAPEGOAT by mormon temple again in collusion with the vatican! Scientology centers are all safehouses for gay men and are the target of LDS oppression. Please READ and wake up!
NOW WILL SMITH IN SCANDAL!!!
You don't have to be religious to know sodomizing a hair man is disgusting. I am so tired of this pro-pervert movement.
You seem to be awfully obsessed with what other people are doing in the privacy of their own bedrooms. So WHO is the pervert, again?
What's worse than watching a christian and atheist claim victory? nothing
Just witnessed crom and mark duke it out for like an hour and these two f\/ckheads are all claiming victory over eachother
Dude, neither of you won sh1t it was a terrible display neither of you have proof or evidence of sh1t you both lose for speaking in terms of absolutes so I deem you both a couple f\/ckin losers
Since you "deem" a winner a loser, I guess that makes you a stupid fvcking liar, too.
I don't need your agreement, loser. I already won on your stupid ass.
I do not expect you to be a good loser, as it appears you have no idea how to argue worth a shtt.
Your a fiesty little b11tch aren'tcha dude you and mark are f\/ckin idiots together – You deserve eachother
No, no, no. Never Say Never Again is not a real Bond movieAnd James Bond (well, Sean Connery acting as a bad guy who's pienetdrng to be James Bond in a mask) was choked at least once, in From Russia With Love. As for the collar, those do exist, don't they? They've been used in other movies and there's the misconception that that was the reason US Marines wore strips of leather around their necks (ie- leathernecks). I thank my years of playing Dungeons & Dragons for my knowledge of a garotte, not a lot of initial damage (d3) but caused hit point loss each round until unconsciousness, death if not removed. That felt completely nerdy. And the sergeant was strangled and hung in a locker (I was hoping he had something forced in his mouth but pretty sure it was supposed to be his tongue) I guess Connery was prepared to meet the same end.For years I have seen Outland for rent or purchase in stores. It took this podcast to have me watch it. The cover art always made me say, no, don't care if it has Connery, I'm not watching it. I have to say though, I found it very watchable. The whole film is subtle, which I think makes it stand apart. It all seemed gritty and with some thought I assume that's what a space mining camp would be like. I was impressed with the low key of it all; besides human space explosions, the fireworks were kept to a minimum.
The bible states the 10 Commandments that is broken by people of faith everyday. The bible states the sins that should not be committed but are committed by people of faith everyday. As with all things, no one is perfect and it is not the people of faith responsibility to decide who is permitted to follow the law. We all have our own interpretations and I hope for once, we will interpret the bible the way it was designed. To extend love and faith and to reach the lost to all. Many in the church still need love, need to increase their faith, and to recommit to God.
Man most certainly has the right to say who can be married because our marriages today are a state union, not a religious one (for some). The Bible CLEARLY states marriage is between a man and a woman. No moral person will defend someone's desire to commit sodomy. What's next? Pedophilia?
Huge difference idiot! Marriage involves consenting adults. Pedophilia involves children!
and their thrown in the "drawing a line" comment
you're a moron. sit down.
Hey PittUSMC, that great book you are quoting also says DO NOT JUDGE. It also says LOVE ONE ANOTHER. It also says DON"T EAT SHRIMP.
My point? How about treating people the way Christ treated people? He loved all. Not some. ALL. He invited ALL. He didn't say to live perfectly and he would accept you. He LOVED in spite of sin. Try it sometime.
No one really cares what the bible has to say. Just FYI.
Who gives a eff about your bible? Well you do!. I don't! I don't want to know what the hell you believe. Keep it to yourself and I will keep my belief to myself!
Why do Christians always scream about pedophilia? It's like they're *obsessed* with it. Every time we turn around, some Christian is saying that pedophilia is just around the corner.
Are Christians obsessed with pedophilia? That's kind of... creepy!
The is a impressive jump of logic there! Whats next priest taking advantage of children....oh wait
I once found a old book that said gay marriage was good for the soul, it had a lot of outdated infromation in it and im not even sure who wrote it. However it did say god in there so im sure its legit! According to this old holy book i must throw one carrot at every christian i see, and i dont believe they should be allowed to walk , they should hop everywhere they go.
I will blindly follow this book !
Well clearly you are a product of the poor educational system in the USA.. those who want 'their' version of the bible taught in school and clearly very light on basics. Who says your 'truth' is any less true than the writer's? Oh you! of course, you are all knowing, all powerful, all happy in your tight little world.. One I read drivel like yours I again recommit to having the military unfunded and all that wasted money spent on educating young Americans.. you better understand that the world is a big place, not just your narrow, angry world.
Jen, I am not a holyroller. I am a realist. Gay dudes are gross and deserve to be treated like the freaks they are. Plus, Jesus never said let disgusting perverts marry each other and hump each other in the behind.
realist christian????????? **** Blank look*****
can we say oxymoron??
This is what is funny about christianity, Christians change the meaning of the bible so that it makes every satam act as biblical, one day everything will be biblical even walking naked in the streets. That is why christianity will vanish, because it was built on moving bases.
next thing they'll be doing is following Jesus with the whole wilting trees thingy because their branches bare too much fruit. How dare they bring you food for your belly. Bad trees.
LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOO this is just getting sad now
Religions deserve to be banned from public. You practice your nonsense in private. Keep your garbage out of my face. I am not gay and don't care as long as they don't disturb me and my freedom. How someone wants to live their life is upto them, if they don't get in the way of others. You have no bleddy right to tell others how should they live their life. Your opinion and beliefs are important only to you. Keep your belief to yourself and STFU.
I co-sign that
Freedom FROM Religion
I second that.if you ban man on man couples from showing affection in public.
Then you speak your blaspheme in private. No one wants to hear how important and smart you are that you are an empty soul and will perish. You just appear foolish to me. Keep thinking everything started from nothing all scientifically. God is the BEGINNING AND THE END. THAT is the only logical answer.
If one group have the right to do something, them every group has the right. You don't have a say.
In my personal opinion, let it be man on man or man on women, showing affection in public is disgusting. Do it at home or take a room idiots.
If God is BEGINNING AND THE END like you say, then he has NO place IN-BETWEEN. Get lost with that nonsense.
I feel the same about Religious Nut Jobs. Wish they would take that indoors and keep it there.
I would LOVE to never read another 'christian' article pro or con again.. never another world about 'god' I'd love to read about the goodness of humans to each other, love, life, laugh.. practice relgion in private.. people like you Pitt are the reason why people like me read this stuff, we are AFRAID that you will overrun our world, force your anger and hate down our children's throats, you like living in fear of your god, yup you do.. it gives you purpose, go away little person. Let's let the light of caring come through the window, tolerance, respect for each other, kindness, it would be a very nice world.. bye Pitt.. don't let that door hit you on the way out.
If you ban man on man, then you must apply that you man on woman and every other form of public affection...equal rights mean just that...everyone gets them!
We do not care what you do in canada we will deal with US. Perversion is not a right in America. There's your sign
you you think your "little" jabs about Canada affect me?
**breaks out the popcorn**
i think you got you're own problems to deal with first. This is just too entertaining for us Canadians.
DragonSlayer: He was not pointing at you, he was pointing at me but thank you. He's Xenophobic and we've just learned to ignore him. I don't think he's clued in to the fact that this is the World Wide Web yet...only proves how small minded he is.
Sodom And Gomorrah. I think that says it all.
As is the case with most Christians, you appear to have only the most tenuous grasp of what the bible actually says. Please go back and re-read that story, as I think you will find that the underlying message is quite a bit more complex than just the simplistic act of butseks.
But like most Christians, you're all hung up on the butseks and can't grasp the deeper meaning.
Kim, no it doesn't. It was a story. It isn't given any more importance than any other story in the Bible. Jesus said with his own mouth; LOVE ONE ANOTHER. He doesn't give a laundry list of things to accomplish first. He doesn't say that you can only love him if you follow a ton or rules. He accepted ALL. Try it.
not really. since you would have to read the WHOLE story to get the FULL picture.
Nicely put, Mark. As someone who has spent much of my life on and around rivers, I can attest: the water always wins.
This is in the Bible....men will say what is evil is good.
What the bible says is irrelevant. It does not apply to all men, nor to all women for that matter.
Since that is what you are doing, isn't it ironic?
We have Republicans going around saying evil things are good and good things are evil.
Just saying that someone is going to say something, and someone comes along and says it, when it was as va.gue and general as any 10 cent horoscope, doesn't prove your prophecy to be true. It only proves that it was written deliberately va.gue so idiots like you could repeat it mindlessly. You are so stupid.
It does apply to all. You just choose to disobey it. That is your lot.
Thats nonsense. There are a lot of different religions in the world, all equal when you get right down to it. Christianity (in all its different flavours) applies only to those that want to follow it. It does not apply to any others. It certainly does not, has neverm and will never apply to me.
Margie – it also says LOVE ONE ANOTHER. It also says DO NOT JUDGE. It also says DON'T EAT SHRIMP. If you are going to quote the Bible, you have to know all of it. Not just the parts about a certain thing you find distasteful.
Christians annoy me. They can all just shut up since they don't know Jack in the first place. This guy doesn't understand that the Bible unmistakenly condemns gay partnership. That annoys me, but I am more annoyed because gays don't need the Christians' approval. Christians, your opinion is not important.
And why do you think yours is???
The bitle says many, many things. I had lobster for dinner last week. Have I sinned? My daughter spoke to me in an argumentative manner and refused to listen to me. Do I stone her to death, or should I get the onlookers who were there to do the stoning? Who was the authority in these edicts? MAN! Not some higher authority who spoke to the MAN. The bible is no greater an authority than the Quran or the Torah or any text considered holy to any one faith or religion. The book of Morman says Blacks must be cast out since they were not of the children of God. The Mormons also excommunicate gays and cast them from their families. Oh my, what are we to do? Everyone is telling us that we must conform to something. I conform to my own conscience and treat my fellow man as I would be treated. I don't care who tells me that I must scorn someone or cast someone out. All are welcome in my home.
He's not basing his opinion off of a book written 2000 years ago, in a time where they did not understand anything about being gay.
Apparently, the author has chosen to ignore what Christ Jesus reaffirmed. He reiterated that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. Sorry but I know better than to follow a false prophet.
Apparently you don't...
All you know is that it would immoral for you to do. It says nothing about others.
Why not let God sort it out? Are you so foolish as to believe you know better than God?
lol sacred bond.
tell that to the adulterers you are friends with and who live next door to you.
LOL SACRED BOND
That one kills me.
Tylerjsilver – have you ever brushed up against a woman who is on her period? You are unclean then. Says so in the Bible. Have you ever tasted shrimp or shellfish? You have sinned against God if you have. It says so in the Bible.
It also says to LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Did you read that part? It also says DO NOT JUDGE. Did you see that?
Christ never said that. State book, chapter and verse!
Have a good weekend everyone. I won't be back until at least Monday. Stop giving into sin, stop giving into liberalism. Stop believing the lies of the left gay agenda and stand up for what's right. Write your politicians so we can start getting the gays out of this country. Remember, we ARE a Christian nation. The majority rules, and we have the right and a moral obligation to send the trash packing.
FREEDOM FROM RELIGION!!!!!
some people can read anything they want to into the bible.
we don't need a book of lies to know that sticking a DlCK in the pooper isnt right
We are a secular nation. We have always been a secular nation. We will always be a secular nation.
Get over it. You do NOT get to impose your religion on anyone else, ever.
So typical of Mark to run away having lost again and again.
Bye, loser! Don't bother coming back. You can't argue worth a shtt.
guess the obvious TRASH is packing up to go away for the weekend. CHOW CHOW
Mark, you seem concerned with what is in the Bible. One of the main tenants, you could say the MAIN IDEA of Christ was to LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. Christ accepted all. The "trash" and the righteous. But, he said that those who judge would also be judged.
The Old Testament says you shouldn't eat shellfish. Have you ever eaten a shrimp? Your hateful heart has no place in a "Christian Nation." Perhaps we should ship YOU out?
We are not a Christian Nation!!! The Nation was founded upon religious freedom. That means the freedom to practice whatever religion you want, or no religion at all. DAMNIT WE ARE NOT FOUNDED AS A CHRISTIAN NATION. Immigrants came here for freedom of or from religion. End of Story!!!
I don't understand this controversy. If the bible is unclear why don't they just amend or edit it to make it clear?
because then that would be changing the fact that their God told them this was his word....that would be sinful to use a brain. They should at least come out with a Coles Note version like they do with plays. Probably too smart of them to think of that. But seriously, leaving any room for individual interpretation will always be a failure. Everyone will see what THEY want.
You dont understand Jesus at all, if you did you would not utter such nonsense. I cant believe how repobate and deceived some"christians" have become when it comes to iniquity, transgression and sin. You profess yourself wise but have become a fool. I am flabbergasted that an intelligent person like yourself and a professing christian cannot see the deception in this whole issue of "gay marriage", I have nothing else to say to you. PP
LOL hating on his own KIND
how Christian of him
Christians cant even get along with other Christians...figures
What makes you think you have a better understanding of Jesus than the author? Isn't that kind of arrogant to think that you know better?
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.