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.
Christians think Sharia Law is immoral but impose their own Sharia Law in America.
No matter what version, it's immoral to impose your religious superstition and deny others civil rights.
Talkin' sense, eh? That'll get you lynched in a large number of communities.
I don't recall seeing "Thou shalt corn-hole thy neighbor" as one of the commandments.
Nope, but HETEROS still do it.
Okay, we can have Gay churches along as we can also have Luster Churches, Thief Churches, Murderer Churches, and Liar Churches. Why would any Christian believe than the gay lifestyle is ok in gods eyes when scripture clearly says different. Go, be gay if you so choose, but stop trying to twist the bible to say something it does not.
Are you really so IGNORANT that you can't tell the difference between gays and murderers and thieves? It doesn't seem possible.
The problem is scripture does not say that clearly any more than it said clearly that interracial marriage is sinful or women voting is sinful. It is your interpretation of scripture.......but there is nothing that says your interpretation is consistent with the mind of God.
Maybe you should ask someone who is Gay and Christian. Seems that they might be able to answer your questions on your interpretation of the scriptures.
Mark – It would seem that this article probably reflects that interpretation.
Be- I think it is something that you have to accually have a open discussion with them. I was anti-Gay until I met a Gay couple and watched this Gay father teach his son how to ride a bike without training wheels. He must have ran the equivalent of three miles holding on to the back of that kid's bike until that kid was riding his bike on his own.
This was more than many fathers, these days, would do. More than my father did. I still do not know enough to how they will be judged, and I take much heat from many traditional Christian friends on my not holding the belief that God will condemm those who are Gay and Lesbians, but many of them probably have never talked to or have "openly" Gay or Lesbian friends. For them its like the inner city kid who hates Whites but has very limited contact with any Whites. Same for the White child that hates African Americans and has never been in contact with one,
Its great to read the positive accounts of Gays in society but some times it can not beat have one on one communications or contact to help destroy hate.
Quote showing Mark is a bigot
"Mark from Middle River
I really wish they'd ban gays from this country. These trashy people don't belong here.
May 8, 2012 at 1:29 am "
All this "oh my dad and gays got along so well and we are friends and play together" is just so much BULLSHlT.
Mark the liar from a liar's river of bs. As bigoted and racist as you could wish.
Another quote from "Mark from Middle River" the lying low-down sc.um of the earth.
"Mark from Middle River
Raise "their" children? Let's be clear. Gays cannot have children. Why? It's simple anatomy. Men cannot produce offspring with other men, and the same goes for women. Therefore, they do not and cannot have any children. It should also be noted that their kind should never be allowed to raise ANY children in any case. They are immoral and cannot teach moral values to children. Do any of you agenda-supporting people care to explain to your children why Bob was deep penetrating Steve's butt hole? Go ahead and talk that one up to your kids and tell them it's "natural." Sure.
Or maybe you're just too afraid to admit it's wrong because of the giant gay movement being forced down your throats. Just take it. Take it all. Don't fight back because you don't have any backbone, or any of your own morals. Atheists are such cowards it makes me sick. None of you support anything at all. Instead, you just take it hard from everyone and pretend like you support it so people don't see you for the weaklings you are. You haven't fooled this guy.
May 8, 2012 at 4:28 am"
Is there anyone who still wants to listen to this lying piece of trash? Not me.
What do you do with the verses in Romans?? In end times they exchanged the truth for a lie–women had lust for women, men for men etc.? i can't square that away–what about the babies/kids that were abused and now are gay–are you going to lie to them and tell them they were born that way? Andmaybe some of them are–the science says testosterone starts to develop around the brain in teh womb–what happens if this deosn't happen–right they are born gay–so it'snot god's plan or intention but a malfunction like down's syndrome babies who are born that way–but ws not God's plan-should they marry–don't know yet!
Um...if you think that having a birth defect means you aren't part of god's plan, then you are really making a case for abortion, right?
How could you possibly think that someone born with a disability is NOT part of god's plan and why would you compare that to being gay?
You obviously haven't thought this through because the logical errors in your reasoning are comical in their retardedness....maybe that means you aren't part of god's plan!!!
I guess I don't understand what you do with the verses in Romans that talks about in end times they will exchange the truth for a lie and woman will have unatural relations with each other as will men? This I can not square away–however, I look at the gay issue much differently than most–I think it's much to complicated and we are jumping the gun by saying we just accept gay marriage–or it's an evil sin–what about the science that says testosterone starts forming around the babies brain when they are only 8 weeks into the womb? What if there was a biochemical glitch and a baby did not form this horomone–they would then not develop their masuline traits and be more feminine and be attracted to men (be gay)–okay so I believe they could be born that way but it was not God's plan–and what about the babies/kids that are abused and then become gay because of it–what we lie to them and tell them they are born gay and let the perps go free? I think the truth switching for a lie is that being gay is God's plan–I think he loves them very much like a down syndrome baby–but being gay is an ailment they have to live with–so we can have grace and mercy on them but don't lie about it–should they get married–I have no idea–?
"I think the truth switching for a lie is that being gay is God's plan–I think he loves them very much like a down syndrome baby–but being gay is an ailment they have to live with"
Mindless ignorance. Get an education.
First of all, if the Bible says that men and women should not have relations that are contrary to their nature then it would seem that if a man or woman is gay, having straight relationships would be "contrary to their nature" and therefore sinful in the eyes of God. Second, who are you to say that the hormonal influences that occur in-utero are not part of God's plan. You do not know the mind of God or His plan. Who is to say that having Gays and gay relationships in the world are not part of God's plan? Rather than rejecting it, we should learn from it.....like learning that marriage should be more about what is in your heart rather than what is between your legs and family is more about uniting people in a nurturing home than uniting a sperm with an egg. The religious right have reduced marriage and family to one's genitals....They are the true perverts.
Men can change. The Word of God does not
Not exactly. Jesus got God to change all kinds of things according to Christians.
Since your god does not exist, everything you say about it is meaningless.
The intolerance of other views or interpretations proves what is wrong with organised religion
Man is what is wrong with organised religion.
End of discussion, except to borrow from Linus van Pelt- "I Love Mankind- it's PEOPLE I can't stand!"
name calling of "intolerant" really isn't an argument or a point.
Its simply says, that if I disagree with your view – then I'm intolerant. Right?
and if I disagree, then I must be downgraded to a lower "c" christian. That's your argument, correct?
I love ones that come to a severely active blog or message board and declares "End of Discussion". Like folks will automatically bend to their view.
LOL. I agree.
This is a great forum for discussion.
So far, I've been called immoral, intolerant (twice), and a discriminatory against the handicap (not sure of the connection there). :)
Carl- you are frankly free to disagree with anything and everything I say. Differences of opinion are things I actually value, and I respect everyone`s right to disagree with my own view. Perhaps my ènd of discussion`statement was a trifle brash, but when our fellow largely anonymous commentators attack interpretations and theories that vary even slightly from established conservative doctrine, I tend to get annoyed.
That said, I pose the question- what is wrong with a new interpretation of St Peter? New interpretations gave us the teachings of Martin Luther, after all. Farther back, new interpretations gave us what we now call "Christianity" in general. Where is it written that the Bible itself cannot be re-read with a new, open mindedness?
You wrote: (can't) the Bible itself cannot be re-read with a new, open mindedness?
that's your point, right?
Sure, anything can be re-read with a new open-mindness.
But how does the basic argument change?
Even you believe marriage is between a man and woman only - or not.
Many newer translations have been written. Changing one word here or there.
When I read the scriptures, I read with an open-mindedness – and new perspectives come forward.
I see things in a new view, points I haven't thought of.
But this is a fundamental issue that remains the same.
Carl, when did I say that?
Small – Linus Van Pelt ... I am impressed. :)
Baptism was not to be denied to those who had demonstrated that they were fulfilling the purpose of the law.
It was done for those who had become Christians, not followers of the Greek gods.
Scripture is VERY clear about how one should approach the sacrament of communion.
It is an act of remembrance and worship not one of drunkenness and gluttony.
By the same standard marriage was set aside as a holy bond between a man and a woman.
To say that entering into such a holy bond in a way that is directly described as sin is heretical. The same would be said for communion if one were to attempt to uses it to get drunk.
Fine... if that's the way you want to run your church, do it. City Hall is not a church.
I'm not talking about the case on a governmental level. The article said it was trying to make a case for Christians to support it. The article would have had a better attempt at success if it had talked about Jesus loving sinners and rebuking hypocrites. The comment was meant as a critique of the article and a demonstration of how its views would be considered heretical in most churches and to most scholars who study theology.
thanks for the reply. This article is just his opinion. And every one is free to have one.
I'll give you an example below of a professor who teaches Religious Studies, yet doesn't even believe in the Bible,
Fact check me.
Bart D. Ehrman (born 1955) is an American New Testament scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While Ehrman is a leading New Testament scholar, he has also achieved acclaim at the popular level, authoring four New York Times bestsellers. (Wikipedia)
I can tell from your posting, you have a lot of anger. Your sarcasm comes out clear.
Yes, I have read the Bible. Four times, actually.
If you want to debate the Scriptures, then give me the verses of your argument.
And yes, I did read Paul's comments.
But did you also read the Book of Genesis? and how God created one man – and one woman. And she was his help mate?
God knows every thought, even deed , and keeps good records. Have you not heard of "The Book of Life". Those not written in the Book of Life will be destroyed. Impossible to keep such records you say ? Look at all the data one can put on a computer chip. God knows your even thought every moment, every deed.
Really CREEEEEPY, isn't it? No wonder Christians seem so obsessed with what people are doing in the privacy of their bedrooms.
If God knows your every thought, why bother to ever pray?
What's "creepy"? The issues isn't about what is being done in the privacy of the bedroom, the discussion here is what being promoted in a national blog and national magazine covers, being promoted in films and television.
The obsession is what is being constant presented to us. When someone counters this agenda, they are then labeled intolerant.
Just like for women and blacks, this will remain an issue until enough people wake up and support equality for all. The future is obvious.
I don't think anyone is "asleep".
I have no need to wake up. We just have fundamentally different views.
Mine is Christian, and yours is secular.
Equal rights for gays is just a matter of time away.
We do have fundamental differences. You support a Bible that supports slavery and the inferiority of women and discrimination against the handicapped. It's your choice, not mine.
wow, I'd be interested in to see how you connected all those dots.
How did the handicap get inserted into your argument? Even as an non-Christian you've heard stories of Jesus healing the sick and the Christian Relief efforts today. Do you really think that Christians are against the handicap?
And slavery? How many Christian leaders have fought against slavery?
And women's rights? I'm against abortion (if that is your point)
I was assuming you had read the Bible where it gave instructions on how badly you could hurt your slave without having any punishment. I assumed you had read about women not talking in church or instructing men or having to marry their ra-pist. Thought you might have seen God's commands on not having handicapped people in his church.
Fake BamaDaniel is just sad that he has nothing intelligent to say unlike the real BAMADANIEL! I hope Atheists here help stop this bad practise. TOM TOM is a prime suspect.
If you can get CNN to change this blog so that this sort of thing never happens again, then maybe you could get them to tell you who was doing what.
And, no, it wasn't me. I hate this name-stealing filth more than you do. CNN is empowering these @#$# and they don't care.
An outsider would think that the US media is obsessed with "gay issues." Every way you turn, I'm having this agenda shoved in my face. The first "gay" President.This.
Yet for all their work, my opinions haven't changed. Now my visual filters simply tune it out.
And the national sources of news, like CNN, Time, and Newsweek, all wonder why their ratings are dropping and people are tuning out. Americans know when an "agenda" is being force fed to them.
Now this blog has a lawyer commenting on Christian views? I honestly haven't read it – and most likely won't. Its just propaganda supporting an agenda.
Carl, you should look at what that lawyer does. It will shock you to read his biography. Click on his name at the top and you will see this in his biography. Christians pay attention:
"He serves as the head of the Association of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools, and often lectures on issues relating to sentencing, ethics, and faith and the law. "
Sheila please explain...
... It sounds like ur trying to make a very important point about this author and I apologize, but i'm just not getting it... So pls explain the connections and what we should be noticing about this lawyer and why... Thx!
You said, "a professor who teaches Religious Studies, yet doesn't even believe in the Bible"
Doesn't surprise me. Anyone who studies the bible with an open mind can reach but one conclusion.
thanks for the repy.
You wrote: Anyone who studies the bible with an open mind can reach but one conclusion.
this is a very open-ended statement and I'm not sure of your point.
Define an "open mind"?
What is that "one conclusion"?
FRJ in LA,
I can't speak for Sheila, but the blog author is head of an Association of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools.
Her point may be that his opinion will influence his role within this organization.
The concept is change from within.
You said, "Define an "open mind"?"
Without letting preconceived notions and beliefs influence the processing of information.
You said, "What is that "one conclusion"?"
I would have thought that was obvious from me replying to your comment about a NT scholar who doesn't believe in the bible. The one conclusion is that it is all a fairy tale. A myth. Baloney.
L in CA,
You wrote: I would have thought that was obvious from me replying to your comment about a NT scholar who doesn't believe in the bible. The one conclusion is that it is all a fairy tale. A myth. Baloney.
No, I'm the complete opposite. I believe in the literal word of God. Its not a fairy tale, myth, or baloney.
You said, "I believe in the literal word of God. Its not a fairy tale, myth, or baloney."
That is unsurprising, but my guess is that you skipped the "open mind" part when you read it. I bet that you were a believer when you started reading it for the very first time, and that you never seriously questioned the core of your belief.
Your aim when reading the bible four times appears to have been to better understand the story, not to evaluate whether the story was true.
The Devils believe in GOD and at least they TREMBLE!!
And your verified evidence for this is.....?
he's quoting scripture
None of the supernatural beings in scripture have been verified.
Devils don't have palsy. They don't shake at all. They don't even exist except in your mind. But nice try.
I shlt on your god all day long and pee all over the Holy Spirit everytime I catch it drinking out of the toilet.
It's hard to be scared of something you can see does not exist. Are you scared of Santa? He can damn you to hell too.
Mark Osler is just a troll. They've intentionally published this inflammatory article to stir the hive mind.
Is it just me or is he wearing a horrible rug on his head?
A hairball? The neighbor's dead cat?
Seriously, is he a member of Rogaine Anonymous? Somebody help me out here...
This is really misleading. Sorry Mr. Osler. Gay marriage is in conflict with the bible because it is condoning their sin whereas baptism or communion does not.
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?, Matthew 19:4-5.
There's no such thing as "sin". What you define as sin is anything you think is wrong, disgusting, or undesirable to you.
Too bad, dear. Nobody cares what you think. And sin is irrelevant in a secular nation.
False. We don't define sin, God does. In this verse, Jesus pretty clearly sums up what he thinks about marriage, one man, one woman. All these people holding signs saying "oh Jesus never said anything about gay marriage", he never had to. He summed up what God's definition of marriage was in this verse.
According to you, maybe. There are more brilliant minds who disagree. What makes you imagine you're correct, you arrogant dweeb?
And why should anyone care if you and your Jesus say anything? This isn't your little kingdom, honey, and your 'rules' aren't relevant in a secular nation.
false again – there is no proof of your god or any other god; you pointing to the bible saying "the book says god exists" is NOT proof, and neither is "I KNOW he exists"; provide viable scientific proof and we can talk, until then you can believe that you want but what you CHOOSE personally to believe CANNOT and SHALL NEVER determine how society in general is conducted – its LUDICROUS to try to base ANYTHING of what goes on in your head because its written in an old book!!! Religious people are weak and self delusional!!!
Guess you missed the rest of what Jesus said there. "What God has joined let not man separate".
So are you advocating that no one should be allowed to divorce?
I mean it really saddened me to read ur post that "all religious people are weak and self-delusional".
"let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer."-Psalms 19:14.
I wish I could have a personal conversation with you, not to try to convince u of anything but just to testify of at least one religious person whom u wud not find to be weak or self-delusional, as I think you would determine me not to be so.... The Word also teaches us to submit to one another for Christ's sake.
I think we'd better start shootin everyone who has had a divorce. No kidding. This is some serious stuff.
If Jesus said that you can not stone some one to death then I doubt that we should shoot and kill someone for a sin unless we meet the requirements that he set down for Christians.
Who is this idiot who thinks Jesus was talking to Christians when he said anything? Seriously W T F?
Let's say God doesn't define sin but that it does exist and can be defined just for the sake of argument.
Now then, even people who believe it does not exist would have a definition of what sin is. it seems here that the definition of sin is based on personal perception of right and wrong. because that is so arbitrary people often tend to discard or dismiss it claiming that such a values system is inherently biased and flawed. Point conceded. However, is it not also the case that even the most narcissistic of people would have to admit that they have at some point or another in their lives done something which they have regretted? If they regretted it then this means that they believe that they did the wrong thing or did not do it in the best possible way. Thus they themselves must admit that even according to their very biased scale they have "sinned." Therefore it follows that since everyone can say they have failed even there own test for sin I must concede another point and admit that you are right. Son of the Most High's opinion isn't what you will be judged by, heck, God himself may not need to assert his divine authority; He may just use your own.
This article is blasphemous. CNN threw out their brain when they let this man publish this article.
Why? Because it doesn't square with your version of Christianity?
Really, you idiots are just plain tiresome. You don't even agree with other Christians on doctrine.
No wonder people don't give a dam what you think about anything.
you don't know Jesus
Oh, and you do?
I saw him at the kush man house yesterday,he said y'all need to get on it and chill
Jesus is dead. He died around 2000 years ago.
NOBODY alive today knows him.
Not even from reading third-hand half-remembered bushwah written by greedy filthy priests lording it over the suckers, I mean the followers they had gathered at the time.
@ booty NASA says shtf between now and end 2013.
Ancient gods proof in the bible that's what it is mostly about
"Peter and Jesus offer a strikingly inclusive form of love and engagement."
Are you saying Jesus and Peter were gay together?
Kind of reminds me of Bert and Ernie
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