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.
Mark Osler takes a very bad and dangerous step when he labels his own pride "faith.". His arguments are unChristian and anti-Christian as they run contrary to the sound teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. God made marriage for man and wife as is stated in the bible. Just as no one has the authority to deny Gid's gift to those God has chosen, most certainly neither does anyone have the authority to impose a false facade against and over God's authority, and worse yet falsely label it as coming from God. Woe to those who call good evil and evil good. Mark has written sheer pride and willful arrogance and ignorance.
Sure, because we should all believe YOUR interpretation of the Bible, right?
There's no need to obfuscate by claiming "interpretations" differ. Jesus Christ did not teach that we are to bend His words to suit our own agendas. Put aside your own agenda, and look at the plain and obvious verses in the bible. God made them male and female, Jesus affirms, and for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. Yes, I understand these verses correctly and it is no boast. They are stated in a manner that anyone can understand.
Speaking of false facades, you do try to hide the Bible's support of slavery?
i agree. he is no a true christian. true christians kill g.ays, non-virgin brides, disobedient children and people that work on the weekend.
Observer, why do you beat up little kids? I'm not going to engage in a pointless argument with you. The old testament laws applied only to the Jews. Someone in debt could voluntarily become a servant to another and was freed after 7 years. No where does the bible justify what existed in the US. To the contrary Jesus came to set all free.
WHat a little sh1t you are, Chrissy. You have no more idea what anyone named Jesus really said than anyone else does, and your idea of the meaning of his supposed words is no more valid than any other.
You little dweeb, you're nobody.
Just some questions:
Is that the SAME God in both testaments? Did God actually make those laws?
Why did God save all the nonsensical laws for the Jews?
Why do Christians care at all about the Ten Commandments from the Old Testament?
This should be interesting...
jesus himself said you cannot drop a single letter from the OT. it still applies. the NT doesn't replace the OT - it adds to it. i know, christians are embarrassed by the OT, but you don't get out of it, sowwy.
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son,
Were you expecting to see a reply?
Observer, hope springs eternal...
Looks like hope sprung.
Looks like. Sad, ain't it?
Lots of people love to preach the Bible to tell you how to run your life, but have to run away before answering any questions.
Lucky that this isn't a theocracy, lucky their say-so is so much dreck, lucky people are free to do as they choose without legal repercussions. The issue of gay marriage won't be decided by such anencephalics, but by the courts. Too bad the fundies will have to eat crow.
Some of your "fans" are probably wishing the states had a chance to vote now on women's suffrage.
Chrism- if Jesus was all-inclusive in his teachings, how can any man thus deny salvation to any other man or woman?
Maybe you can explain that to us. Oh wait- you left, didn't you?
As you can see by the responses to my original comment, when someone talks with truth then there is really nothing nobody else can say. This is really not a complicated issue, however they have done a really good job confusing the weak with all the trash that is posted on CNN, TV, and all the fake priests who want a spot in Obamas white house. Can I get a witness up in here.
@booty what up boyee
how's it, bamadaniel?
Late here did you know Ezekiel saw a spaceship
wonder what kind of LSD he was on
A lot of these comments show the lack of biblical teaching and understanding of scripture in the home, of course its hard to teach biblical truth when the home is run by to men.
It's pretty hard to teach or learn anything from posts like yours. Care to translate your spew into English?
TOM TOM , my point is made
i agree. the christians show a definite lack of biblical knowledge.
study after study shows atheists know more about the bible than christians. sowwy.
No, dearie, you made my point when you failed to even comprehend your own error. Thanks for playing.
Most church goers just listen to the preacher they know he only speaks the truth
Booty, that's a pretty interesting finding. Would you mind posting references to these studies? I'd like to see where a statement like that gains credibility. Im not trying to say that there aren't many Christians that don't know what the bible says or atheists who actually read the bible but it would surprise me if atheists knew more of the Bible than Christians who were actually Christians.
BamaDaniel – because they were there when the universe was created right? You seem to place such importance on visual evidence, yet no one alive on this earth was there when it was created. Nor were they there when the dinosaurs existed. What you speak of is faith. As for me, I have faith in Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who will come again.
Typo I meant not in 100% agreement if that's the post you're referring to.not visual proof .I can put 2&2 together and get 4
We do, however, have evidence for all those sorts of things, while your book lacks the same level of evidence.
Call it "faith" that I believe multiple lines of evidence which yield consistent results, but your "faith" would fail to even match that criteria. If we have a video of a murder, and a gunshot victim with wounds that match the video, and have recovered both the bullets and the gun with matching ballistics then, even if we were not there, could we say we have reasonable evidence to believe that a man was shot and killed based on what we do have? Cause that is more or less how science works. I mean, the CMB lets us know the universe is 13.7 billion years old by essentially giving us a photographic snapshot of the universe at that time. All claims must be treated with scrutiny, and judged according to available evidence. That's science. You can call it "faith" in that methodology, but clearly it works, since you are typing on a computer.
You have a "testimony" at best of some old guys from 2000 years ago. That's not very robust evidence, and there's nothing physical to link that to your god. Excuse me for putting a higher standard on what I choose to have faith in than you, I prefer evidence to unsupported claims. If both are "faith", they are certainly not the same degrees of blindness.
you seem to place no value on evidence
Romans 1: 18-32
Quit the spamming. If you really believed it, you'd stick around and answer questions.
"God, through the Holy Spirit......"
WHAT is this guys trip??? God IS the Holy Spirit!!!!
no such thing as god.
Bonnie didn't author the Bible. Your problem is with the God who created the universe. He also created all living things.
Biologically speaking He did a great job. Man + Man = 2 Men. Man + Woman = New Life. God knows what He is doing. Nuff said.
I have observed that whenever some bozo posts drivel that concludes with such pronouncements as: wake up, people; case closed; nuff said, and the like, the content of said posts is most likely bullsh1t. Except that bullsh1t is more attractive and useful than said content.
god created man right after man created god
Well, man+woman=new life if they choose to have it and aren't sterile or infertile and haven't gone through menopause.
Incidentally, I can't think of a single reason why menopause should exist from a god so concerned about "man+woman=new life". It seems a strange thing to happen. Now, there are some possible conjectures from an evolutionary perspective, such as how child birth at greater age gives risk to mothers, but those who cannot conceive at later age can take care of grandchildren, but if a god could, you know, make things so perfect... why couldn't god make it so giving birth to children isn't such a dangerous process for humans in particular? "To punish women for eve's temptation"? Ok, well if the pain of childbirth is the punishment, why give women a biological cutoff? Or why make them unable to survive the process well in later age rather than have them be able to endure that pain throughout their life?
"Intelligent design" seems a bogus concept if, for no other reason, god seems to be a very poor engineer. For all this talk of "he made things so perfect", it's not very difficult to conceive of ways to improve the world and biology if you had unlimited powers as a god and all.
I love how these bible thumper put "ENOUGH SAID" at the end..... Like that means something
MAKES ME GIGGLE
Shut up and sit down now clown
Hey, here's a thought. How about somebody proves that Jesus or any other god acutally exists before we go on devoting so much time and energy worrying over how the gods want us to behave down here on Earth?
Seems to me that's the obvious first step.
Yeah, one would think. Too bad the nut-job Christards are in charge of running the country.
This is simple if you want to participate in a holy sacrament then you must turn away from your sin. Just like when Jesus came upon the lady that was married five times and was living in sin with a man who wasn't her husband. He told her to turn away from her sin. The story of Peter is a very very bad example. Please stick to your law books and defending the guilty. Also I have a question to the public, if this becomes the "legal" then should we also allow people to have more than one wife or husband since it makes them happy and they are not bothering society? After we legalize that whats next? hmmm
Hemp.and yes multiple wives for any fool that wants more problems
Just about the first time I've head St Peter called a "poor example"...
what's next? burning ALL the BIBLES!
As you can see by the responses to my original comment, when someone talks with truth then there is really nothing nobody else can say. This is really not a complicated issue, however they have done a really good job confusing the weak with all the trash that is posted on CNN, TV, and all the fake priests who want a spot in Obamas white house.
He's right in that we have no say whose going to heaven or hell because we're not god, so don't make his decisions for him.
I get the feeling that some of our more vocal Christians here wouldn't be very happy with God if they ended up in a heaven that they had to share with people they just KNEW were sinners in life. A few of them would probably challenge God on it and leave. Sound like some other character you've heard of? Wasn't it Satan who supposedly claimed to know better than God? Hmmm...
Heaven means sky
Good point, Cq. Conversely, were I admitted to heaven (not likely, as I don't believe there's any such thing), I'd be horrified to think I'd have to spend eternity with idiots like Chard.
Heaven is the sky Tom. God is in heaven because spaceships fly in the sky(Ezekiel 1)
Well if you are a "true" Christian" then the bible is tells you what is right and what is wrong. We are suppose to hold accountable our brothers in Christ and not let them jump of the mountain. Not the show Glee or Prez Obama.
Are you even conscious?
You're right, we don't have say but God does and clearly both. parts of the Bible clearly consider it sin. This is not a spiritual buffet. You can't just tale what suits your view and ignore the rest any more than you can put cheese in the oven without pizza crust because you don't like crust and expect to get anything like pizza.
I get a giggle every time I hear these bible thumpers talk like they are going to go to their Heaven...Boy are they gonna have a big wake-up call when that day comes.....hopefully sooner rather than later.
What would be easier is if you just accepted your holy book is a fairy tale.
It would be just as easy to accept that many people never will do this and you co-inhabit a world with people of faith and mocking them is not the way to build up a dialogue.
Neither is denying others the rights you enjoy. Neither is calling others sodomites.
@Tom Tom you right
Hell just froze over.
Tom, Tom, you are assuming that any person of faith commenting here is opposed to gay marriage and that they call gays sodomites. I know many people of faith who support gay rights and consider using the word "sodomite" to be on par with using racial epitaphs.
Nope hurricane season got going early .may need some help this year.
I find that nothing ruins dialogue faster then when a complete stranger insists that I deserve eternal torture just because I don't believe the same things they do.
You're assuming that I assume something I don't assume, Tom Paine. Stop doing that.
Oh, and Tom? I'm guessing you meant "epithets", not "epitaphs". Unless you plan on killing off and burying the opposite in some graveyard behind your house.
CQ, I agree! But just remember there are many many people of faith who do not think that way.
lol....Tom Tom, you are right I meant epithets, it is late and it has been a long day. I simply read the belief blog to look for interesting comments and find it disappointing going the ever going (and rather simplistic) battle between fundamentalist people of faith and rather smug atheists going back and forth. There is another way. All the best folks and goodnight.
Another way? Might you be the Piddler by any other name?
What a shame if so.
A number of years ago a catholic priest refused my mother communion because she was not catholic. My elderly mothers reaction was to shake her finger in his face and tell him that it was Gods communion, not his, and he was simply Gods waiter.
You cannot deny Gods gifts to anyone.
Very true you can not deny Gods gifts to anyone. Well put.
Christians think Sharia Law is immoral but impose their own Sharia Law in America.
It is immoral to impose your religious superstition on others no matter what version it is.
@Mike, Obama is not imposing gay marriage on anyone. It is a civil right, not a requirement.
If you do not want to marry the same gender then do not.
If a believer has cancer is it because their god gave it to them because they were bad people or is it to test their faith in their god? Just curious.
None of the above. People get cancer. They die. End of story.
The really amazing thing to consider is that people have gotten cancer and other deadly diseases since the dawn of time and this has not shaken people's faith over the eons.
Cancer is new
SCRIPTURE TEACHES WE ARE ALL BAD EPHESIANS CHAPTER 2 TELLS US WE ARE DEAD IN ARE SIN, BUT GOD WHO IS RICH IN MERCY WHILE WE were still sinners Christ died for the ungodly.
Bama, cancer diagnoses might be new. Cancer is not. Smoke 2,000 years ago (as those we call native Americans did) and you'd get lung cancer. There were many cancers active in ancient times. People just didn't understand it as such back then.
Tom prove it .cancer wasn't around because people are organic.native Americans smoked hemp cancer fighter.that's why they loved so long.until you know who came
Uh, what? Did you have a point before you passed out?
Except, thousands of years ago, people sacrificed some animal to YHWH, Zeus, Baal, Thor, or some other god, and they probably ended up feeling just as reassured that they did everything they could to affect a good outcome as people do when they pray nowadays. The only difference from the pagan days is that one god has become the most popular to pray to, and that killing animals has been partly replaced with helping your pastor buy a new Bentley.
Though many of us a blind to the actual reasoning, it is as simple as this: THE CHOICE OF NATURAL SELECTION
SOLI DEO GLORIA!
HERE I STAND
Romans Chapter 1 Verses 18-32.
You're going straight to hell. I damn you to hell for wasting my time. Plus, I'm giving you cancer. Enjoy your hell.
Bonnie, The "end is nigh" nonsense is actually the Jewish answer to the failure of their covenant belief. This quintessential Jewish doctrine held that held that god had chosen the Jews as his favorite people and would look after them if he kept his law – circu.mcising boys, not working on the Sabbath etc. After a few hundred years of keeping the law, but being overrun by everybody except the Australian Aboriginals, the Jews naturally started to question where their god was and why he wasn’t keeping his end of the deal.
By about 200 BC, two schools had 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 the Jews.
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 Christians, in a sense, with the “he’ll burn in hell for that” response they proffer when they feel somebody has gotten away with something they don’t like. So do the Chicago Cubs.
As you point out, Jesus himself believed this as did St. Paul. But, 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.
No Bonnie, when you, me and most reading this post die, it will likely be in a bed, riddled with cancer or other age-based disease. No horses, no goblins, just morphine, long days and bored younger relatives.
Bonnie can't read anything like that unless you whip her into a frenzy of frothing fanaticism first.
She's going straight to hell. She's been on the list for a long long time.
@Colin NASA warns once in a lifetime solar storm coming 2012 _ 2013 says it will take us back to the 1800s. They estimate most of America dead in a year lack of good clean water.layoff us 2012ers (google NASA solar storm warning only take a second
god dam it!
Too many coc.ktails?
Trying to figure out how some people swear without the spaces.
Okay, this is the best laugh I've had all night. I have no idea what's going on, but this series of posts is hilarious.
How horrible!! The collapse of civilization!! Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh!!
LinCA is badazz!!
Are those b's boobs
Motherfucker! It works! Thanks, momoya and LinCA.
Can I have what you're having tonight
SH IT looks good
hahah I got it
All this debate really does is help christians alienate themselves from youth and further erode their numbers. Kids today are much more accepting and exposed to same se.x couples. The more christards whine and spout their silliness the less relevant they become.
Dam good point!
Spot on. Those Christianists are ghettoizing themselves into a small bigoted fringe. This is a good thing –they need to be marginalized and for the world to leave their gutter religion in the dustbin.
I agree, but I fear what may occur is more divisiveness.
The religious environment is changing, and conservative Christianity will have to adapt, or face extinction. All things evolve, even fundamentalists. It's a sweet irony. ;-)
"But on the day that Lot came out of Sodom it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed them all, The same way it will be on that day when the Son of man is to be revealed." ~ Jesus Christ. Yes, people, we are engaged in spiritual warfare, better known as Armageddon, and the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah is a warning for all who mock and disobey God. When Jesus returns, no one will be laughing. Please read the teachings of Jesus in the book of John in the Bible and get the truth now.
Found at Luke 17:29 & 30.
Meteor impact. Happens sometimes
What a sick and disgusting freak your god is!!! If you can spend all eternity giving your god blow j o b s while he tortures people forever and ever in his private fire pit, then go for it.. And just remember I said "fvck you too!"
Found at meteor crater NASA tracking a mumber of neo's
What language are you speaking?
Mark is an embarrassment to his family for defending the sodomites
Hawaiians used to worship volcanoes
Bonnie, you are truly a delusional person and illustrate perfectly what a disgusting, filthy disease of the mind religion is.
I feel sorry for you.
Hey Bonnie! Can you hear me? Go F*UCK YOURSELF!
@yikes: I'll bet you're an embarrassment to your family. Period.
@really Sodom was destroyed by natural event meteor strike .that's why NASA has a program for tracking near earth objects(neo).meteor crater in Arizona is proof it happens not gods wrath
Some of the stories from the Bible remind me of Aesop's Fables. Bonnie let me ask you. Moses led his people to the promise land, but was not allowed to enter. They say he was buried out side of it but no proof. Noah builds this enormous ark and again no proof of it, Jesus, the single most important person in religious history was crucified, places in a tomb rapped in cloth and again no proof if it. You would think at some point something would be revealed of the true existence of these people. Instead we are taught to have faith, look to our heart. We have found dinosaur bones millions of years old, proof of their existence and science has insurmountable evidence of the creation of the universe. If religion is so bent on selling us a bill of goods, they need to deliver the proof, otherwise it's just Aesop's Fables.
Astronomers and astrophysicist are in 100% agreement in how the universe was created
If a mob of men come to my door to r.a.p.e my male guests I would consider that an immoral act, because $exual assault is harmful to the victims. Too bad Lot didn't consider this when he offered his daughters to the mob to be r.a.p.e.d instead. If he was the MOST moral man in that city then it was truly an evil place.
the TRUTH is that you are FUCKED in the head. Ya we already knew that one
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