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.
All this judging from Christians and religous extremists. If they believe their God is so omnipotent, why dont they just let him pass his self-serving, hateful judgement himself instead of going around imposing their own wills on people who dont prescribe to their beliefs. You extremists claim to be American but you are the opposite. You want to take away peoples' rights because they are different than you and imprint your own philosophy on society as if yours is the only way. Insanity. You are no better than Muslim extremists. Disgusting.
Being gay is pretty disgusting.
I ought to know.
Children at its best! You dolts are too much! Time to change my alias.
I can change my alias, but I'm still going to post stupidity.
Interesting isn't it. Look...if Christians are right then my fate is sealed. It's the fiery pits of Hell for me and there's nothing to do about it. Myself and others like me are guilty of the one unforgivable sin...denying the Holy Spirit. I'm totally OK with that because short of God walking right up to me to demonstrate his existence there is nothing that will convince me that I'm wrong.
But what if I'm right? To many Christians it is inconceivable that the majority of humankind could be duped...convinced of something unreal being real. If my view is correct then thousands of years of human effort have been wasted. Millions have been persecuted for no reason. Science has been stultified and repressed. Huge amounts of money have been wasted spreading the Word and building ridiculous houses of worship. Oh yes the church has put some portion of its efforts into charity and social improvement but those could just as easily been handled by secular organizations without the need to print and distribute what could be worthless and some might argue harmful religious texts. If I'm right the cost paid by mankind for believing in supernatural nonsense is nearly immeasurable. I've made my bed and will own my decision but have any of you believers actually considered the cost your decision if you are wrong? Somehow I doubt it.
Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay
There are 25 million people in this so called economic recover who can't find work.
Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay
The mind has a way of punishing us if we don't face up to our issues.
Not the topic of THIS story...sorry that CNN doesn't post EVERY story about the economy...sheesh
Andrew: Considering it wasn't me that posted, you can forget what you said.
I'm still an idiot, Andrew. You can bet your buybull on that one!
I don't understand why gays don't just use a dil.do like me. Keep it clean and Christlike.
I guess any Christian (even me) can support gay marriage when you take God's Word on the matter and toss it in the trash, take verses out of context or twist the message to suit your own agenda. That's easy. The uninformed do that ALL the time. What Mark doesn't seem to realize is this. God loves the sinner but HATES the sin. God's Word is VERY clear on this issue. He intended marriage to be between a man and a woman. I'll take my cue from Him over mankind's ANY day.
Funny how CNN only allows articles that speak for gays and not against. Makes you wonder.
Funny how CNN only allows articles that speak for gays and not against.
Are you accusing a news organization of being pro human rights? How dare you! I guess you forgot about them running the article about Billy Graham speaking out against gay marriage. They ran that article a couple of days before the voting in North Carolina. It should always be about you and your ancient beliefs, right?
That's how CNN works. They find a Christian with views that are clearly out of the mainstream and write an article to conflate those views with other Christians.
It's great! Gives idiots like me a chance to post my hatred and stupidity on the web.
"God's" word??? Who do you think wrote the bible??? MAN wrote the bible, not God...
Spoken as a true soldier of confusion. Kyrian, did anyone ever tell you that everything you know is wrong? No? Consider yourself ... told."
Yes. Which is why I walked away from Christianity. Yes, Catholics *ARE* Christians. They believe in Jesus Christ. They read and believe the Bible. They follow the 10 Commandments, they believe the only way to get to Heaven is through Jesus.
Well I found my own Heaven. I found my own way and pray as you might. I found the truth. My eyes were blind but now I see. I am not confused. I actually havent been confused for a long time now.
I am content and happy in my belief and Faith. My question to you is. what if you are wrong about what you believe?
This guy obviously does not know the bible. I guess him and Obama go to the same bible study.
Set down the 2000 year old outdated book and attempt to reside within the 21st century.
I will never set it down.
Once again, truth(liar) prevails is not, repeat, is not an American and butts in on American business on a regular basis probably because no one in its own country wants its bull sh it there either. There's your sign
The GOP condemned Obama for attending Rev Wright's hateful sermons. Now he is condemned for wanting equal rights for all. I guess the GOP expects Obama to attend a hate filled church which has the same prejudices that are in line with the GOP.
I'm really an idiot.
That last by liar prevails is a no brainer and the most honest thing the foreign slug has ever put forth. There's your sign.
Stop picking on me. My boyfriend zoiked me up the wazoo last night and I'm having trouble sitting down.
Gotta love the immaturity of idiots who post using another persons alias! You people really need to grow up. To the moron posting using my alias...you're what 12 years old maybe and sneaking on the computer after Mommy and Grandpa spent a night drinking and are passed out drunk?
Stop arguing with me!
Oh, I am SO confused - and stupid........
The author mentions how Peter didn't think Gentiles should have to adhere to all the Jewish laws, but what he fails to mention is that in that same chapter, the apostles decided that there were a few Jewish laws that WERE still in force for both Jews and Gentiles, including a prohibition on se-xual immorality. The apostles sent a letter to the Gentiles that included the following: "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from se-xual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things." (Acts 15:28,29) To say that the prohibition against se2xual immorality is not for Gentiles the same as many of the other OT laws are not for Gentiles, goes against what the apostles said.
Basically the author is using the story in Acts 15 to say se2xual immorality is ok for Christians, when the very passage he is using as his text very clearly prohibits it.
There is a lot of this stuff going on. Heard a lot of people state that Jesus didnt teach on gays. He didnt need to, Jesus taught the Jewish people they already had laws forbidding it. The gentiles did not so the disciples had to teach this to them.
With all the problems this world faces we are left discussing the wants of a few whiney qu-eers?
It's better than listening to BIGOTS.
Whiney qu-eers are bigots.
You are so right political advisor.
Civil rights are always worth discussing and always important.
There is no civil right to perversion.
@pervert alert: Your bigotry is not a civil right.
There are plenty of other stories on page 1, yet, you chose to come here to "discuss".
But my stupidity IS a civil right.
Prayer changes things. .
I've been trying to comment on this article, for some reason it won't post my comment. Why?
Certain words are filtered....t.it as in consti.tution; ass alone is fine but if part of a word is not. Numerous pages back there is a list posted in the comments that offers more suggestions.
So when do the coffee shops open around here?
Bible belt. Sunday morning. That's a tough one.
AM/PM might be around....We got Timmies here open 24/7 YUM
After reading this article and some of the comments, It is obvious of the consequence we have paid for removing God from the classroom.
It is only obvious what allowing the buybull to be used in any context does. Maybe if people learned to reside in the 21st century and by the evidence that we have now opposed to information from a 2000 year old book, this world would be a better place. Taking god out of the education system allows for equality for all children who do not believe in your god and allows more time for actual important information to be taught.
We need less science and more God in the classroom.
Wow, now there's a brainwashed statement. When you provide evidence your god is real and the correct god, then you can impose it on other peoples children. Your god and every other god needs to stay out of the class. All that imposing your god on these innocent minds does is encourage bigotry, hate, and bullying. If you want god in your children's classroom, send them to a school run by a religious organization...public tax dollars should not be covering the teaching of god in any form, unless the church wants to start paying taxes.
truth prevails, I understand your position,but the 21st century has brought us children being raised in a home by two men who are "married" and that my friend is somewhere I do not wont to reside. Have a great day
Oh for FUCK SAKES. I am so thankful it's not in the classroom. Already too many Bible Thumpers. I want to see people actually become intelligent when they graduate thanks.
FREEDOM FROM RELIGION
And dragon slayer is a great example of these intelligent graduates.
That simply does not matter. Those children at least are being loved and it is not my place or the place of anyone to judge who can make the better parent. In the USA 1 in 6 children will go hungry today...if those same children can be given the chance to eat today because two people of the same gender living happily and peacefully are able to provide for them, then why fight it?
It is bull sh it when some qu-eer bait canadian has the brass to lecture America on our children in need. Leave US to US and mind your own F'n business There's your sign
"great example of these intelligent graduates."
I raised my 18 year old without a belief in god. She doesn't drink, doesn't smoke; doesn't do drugs; doesn't have a criminal record (and has never been in trouble with the law...and yes I know this, when a kid is able to tell a parent that they tried pot but didn't like it, you know they being honest). She will graduate high school in a month and attend college in the fall. We wanted her to form a decision about belief for herself and we encouraged her to seek out the answers. She took a Comparative Religions course this year that has helped her and she knows that regardless of what she decides, she will have the support from her family. She does not judge anyone and has friends from every walk of life and belief. As much as she is a typical teenager in a great many other aspects and is not perfect, overall she is a great person.
When reading liarprevails bear in mind that it is an undermining foreign enti ty with a qu-eer agenda, bent on bringing down real American values. There's your sign.
@CA: DragonSlayer is also Canadian. Your Xenophobia is getting getting rather pathetic. Time to realize that WE ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE! This is CNN, an international website that fortunately you have no control over. I'd say I'm surprised that you haven't clued in yet but given your low IQ, I'm really not.
It is as important that fellow Americans are aware that there is a foreign invader undermining American values on these blogs as it would be important to detect any cancer at an early stage. Unless called on it these immoral roaches try to impersonate Americans and post as if their opinions have some relevance to US . (They don't) There's your sign.
I'm really an idiot. I wake up early Sunday morning to vent my spleen.
Does it show?
CA: And it's important the people of your country know that you've gone AWOL out of the asylum. Not foreign invasion dumb-ass when this is an international website. You intend to live in the 21st century when exactly?
BTW: I'm still an idiot. Some things never change.
you lousy attempt to mock me just doesn't faze me . Religion has always been the root of all evil. I'm quiet educated thanks.
AWWW @ captain america
are we hating?
BOO WHO like I care
not my fault your education system lacks back but it would definitely would be worse if you added that cruel religion you guys squawk about
Seem that captain America just can't wrap his little Pea Brain on the fact that his so-called logic doesn't faze his fellow American either. Now that he can't win his argument with his fellow Americans, he has to fuel his rage to the neighbor to the north.
I CAN TALK ABOUT YOUR SHITTY SYSTEM ALL I WANT. DOESN'T MATTER ABOUT MY NATIONALITY. CANADIAN SCHOOL SYSTEMS ROCK.
We don't have religion in the class room unless you go to a religious school.
So if putting your focus on me......listen to this FUUK YOU and all your bible thumpers
(by the way, how do you know FOR SURE that I'm Canadian???? Is it because I just SAID I was???? Do you KNOW this FOR SURE....................LOL!)
Let's see you prove I'm Canadian like you can prove you have a God!
Sit down now village IDIOT
Gotta love the internet! I can be whatever I say I am SMH
First of all things need to get worse morally world wide so prophecies can be fulfill. therefore do not get scare of all moral decadency. Read Romans 1:18-32. second: a real born again Christian Believe all the Bible and the BIBLE CONDEMNS such marriages . Third for those who think they can change Gods moral statues just wait until God judges this world you will find out if it was worth it to violate Gods moral principals by the time you find out it will be too late for all of you. Lastly guy marriage its a sin against God in the past in the present and in the future it always be. READ FAMILY AND CIVILIZATION BY CARL ZIMMERMAN and find out why the strongest civilizations perished. They perished for the same things this great nation is practicing : praising Immorality and killing Family values God gave us to live in harmony with Him and one another. READ ISAIAH 5:20-25.......God will humiliate this nation if it doesn't repent. after all what hope do we have without GOD.....
I adore those who misspell a word so vital to the argument. It would be GAY marriage not guy marriage. God made us all. Humans wrote the bible. Use sufficient evidence to provide backing for your argument. People should have the right to be miserable or happy with whoever they decide. It is really about time to get over taking the bible literally... stand by some morals, but some details are CLEARLY outdated.
Yeah, whatever. If thats what you believe than lets just wait to see whose good n bad in the world sir. How bout as you stated we let God be the judge. Or are you a hipocrit.
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh" Mark 10:7-8. One man. One woman.
Times have changed. The days of using scripture to justify discrimination are coming to an end.
As usual, you are missing the point, or are you and others just so hardened in your judgement of others that your now blind to any point, belief or opinion other than your own.
So let me make a point. You are welcome and encouraged to find all the passages in all the books in all the world that support and defend what you blindly believe, but you are not welcome to force me or anyone else in this world to act as you do, to believe as you do, to JUDGE others as you do. You should apply as many passages in the same book, The Bible, to that fact of you judgeing, I will not supply those passages as you seem quite able to find just what you need to support what you believe. And yes I fully understand your not in that boat of belief by yourself. I wonder though, is that boat your in flowing down the same Minnehaha Creek the gentleman mentioned?
To BobbyRooster: Per the Bible, those who think to change times and laws will go to hell......
There is no Christian case for gay marriage, because that would be like a Christian case for bestiality. There is no such thing as gay marriage, just as there is no such thing as a male pregnancy.
There is a Christian case for priest/altar boy ass pounding.
There is a Christian case for spousal abuse.
There is a Christian case for child abuse.
Your screen name is 'pimpson'...your argument is invalid.
There is no such thing as theocracy in this country.
pimpson: You're an idiot! One requires consent (ie; two consenting adults) and the other is impossible to get consent. Try using what working brain cells you have and think before spewing such moronic stupidity next time.
Another one throwing "Bessy" into the argument. I bet you they teach these bible thumpers that at church. That's were they get it from.
Christians ARE dumb people and apparently thinking about "Banging Bessies" a lot.
Christians declare Sharia Law 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.
You can sleep well and not worry about a Christian Sharia... that would require all of us Christians to be on the same page or at least down to two or three. Atheist always have this fear that they will wake up one day and find all Christians in a united interpretation of the Scriptures. As if all of the denominations that we have had all these 100s years would stop.
Sigh...my Atheist friends.... we can't even get a consensus on the Trinity, so how do you think we could agree on a united Sharia law?
Since you don't view us as friends, Mark, don't bother pretending that you do. You lie so much I wonder how you keep any of it straight in your deformed head.
Immorality is not a civil right....
So you think adulterer's should be stoned to death?
And the guy who authored DOMA......Is he on his third or his fourth wife now? I guess he meant that marriage was between one man and one woman at a time.
"We've arrived at a point where the president of the United States is going to lead a war on traditional marriage." – Rush Limbaugh
Rush's 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th wives could not be reached for comment.
Yeah, but at least he marries WOMEN. He'd never take it up the schpoikla like I do.
God Bless you Mr. Osler!!! It's very refreshing to hear from a christian who doesn't preach hate from the pulpit. It's really pathetic and can be quite frightening when christians use the bible as a weapon to harm people rather than to build them up. It's no wonder that so many people have turned away from their faith in disgust of all the hatred.
The more the church fights civil rights the more young people will wake up and reject religious superstition.
Reason wins either way.
Ahhh... the "this generation youths will change things" .... yeah, they have been saying that since the 60s peace movements....and people will always be people. The next generation of racist, hom'ophob's extremist Atheist and Religious Extremist and feminist and male chauvinist are being born right now.
Sounds like Mark is expecting to have lots of kids born any second now.
Christians should care as much about what the Bible says regarding homosexuality as they do about how it commands parents to stone their disobedient children to death.
For Christians would not Jesus requirement of who can stone (execute) a person according to the law, kind of make your point moot?
@Mark, you had too much to drink. Go to sleep.
Why, because you say that the Bible commands that parents stone their children .... and i easily countered with what it is said that Jesus himself said when asked about stoning someone for a crime/sin?
Can I ask where is this command... I am not one of those "know the Bible up one wall and down the other".
Mark doesn't understand what "moot" means.
JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED.
Im quite sure there the folks that pass the most judgement on others are probubvly the same folks that have skeletons packed in several closets.
When any of you pay our debts and provide our food, then I welcome your control of my life. Until then your "opinion" is worthless for no more than idle debate on here, or in your favorite meeting place where you sit and gossip about how perfect your world is and how God himself has placed you on that mountain to dictate his rules to the world because your so clean of any sin. And remember a sin is a sin big small dont matter its a sin, so Id start focusing on your issues. Maybe then you would have the ability to let others do with their lives as they choose so long as it hurts no one else.
Some of my best friends are republican......But the "religious right" do tend to promote prejudice, which is in no way a "Christian Value." There are many conservative republicans, however, who are quite supportive of gay marriage.....but remain fiscally conservative.
So...since we are talking about religion and morality here, let's compare it side by side. The gays are fighting in the courts for (1) Marriage so that they can live in legally recognized, monogamous, committed relationships. (2) Family so that they can raise their children as a couple in a nurturing household and adopt those children rejected by straight biological parents (3) Service to County....in the military. The religious right are fighting in the courts for (1) control of women's reproductive rights (2) keeping their ministers out of jail for illicit se x ual conduct (3) protecting their money and corporal possessions from taxes and lawsuits. Between the two, it appears to me that the gays are the true moral minority.
And the Gays that are Christians and openly Gay clergy?
Your list makes it seem that there are no Gays in the Christian Faith.
They do not tend to be the "religious right." They tend to be the Christians who are more balanced and middle of the road.
Aint the Middle grand. :)
Oh yeah, that open Gay military service ... the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.
... You can thank the Gays in the Republican Party for it. Obama just talks but, it took a few gay Republicans to get the job done. :)
Yeah, the Commander-in-Chief has absolutely no influence with the military. What a pathetic joke.
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.