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.
Prayer changes things,.
Everyone "sins" according to the Bible and the Bible doesn't differentiate between sins.
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors
J, how do you explain why God does not want to make His existence apparent to all humans?
Seems that Him made His existence apparent to only very few people: Moses, JC, Mohamed, Joe Smith, Oral Roberts...
My answer is: God wants each of us to define Him. Of course, lazy or retarded people cannot define God themselves,
so they follows others wise guys definitions.
Seems to be a recent increase in ignorant bigots in these comments. Church must have let out.
Nah. The article is back on the front page. Always brings out the hordes (or herds).
The numbness from the morning service finally wore off!
The Declaration of Independence has superseded the Bible, the Koran, and The Book of Mormon!
The problem is that many have forgotten: ,,, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
It seems that many believe that the Creator did no created the gays!
The problem is the "rights" seem to increasing whenever you turn around. 20 years ago, there wasn't a push for gay marriage. Now, we've moved the line, and are again calling people bigots for not moving with it. While it was correct the last time (I wasn't alive then), it is not correct this time since it completely goes against the wishes of the majority of the country.
Rights are not about what the majority think, never have been. The majority of the country is for gay marriage anyway. Now whether they can be othered to vote or not is a key question.
//it is not correct this time since it completely goes against the wishes of the majority of the country.//
I'll take civil rights era South for 500, Alex.
I have heard of Adam and Steve but not Maddam and Eve!! LOL
I suspect there is a quite a lot that you haven't heard of.
you should get out more often.
Have you heard of "Science"? Anthropology? Evolution? DNA? 21st century? "moving on"?
Trav, all the dna within your own body proves that all of your earliest ancestors came from South East Africa. . . I'm so sorry.
Listen all. No reason to speak scripture to those who reject. However your mind tells you gay marriage is wrong. You refuse truth and therefore your mind is seared like a hot iron where you dont kow any truth. God does give people like this over to a corrupt mind to believe a lie and committ abomniable acts. Whose side are you on? Truth or lie...your choice.
Given the drivel you're peddling, I'm probably on whatever side you're not.
PS – how despicably arrogant of you to paint your addled opinion in terms of Truth or lie. What a pig.
You said, "Whose side are you on? Truth or lie...your choice."
I stopped believing the lies when I outgrew other fairy tales. If doesn't do any harm, there is no reason to outlaw it. If you grant a right to one group, it's immoral to refuse it to another. I'm on the moral side.
Personally, I believe the Truth.....which is that there is nothing wrong with ho mo se x uality......and therefore gay marriage should be allowed......And that's the TRUTH!
Ah yes the good old either/or fallacy. Either you are with us or you are FOR terrorism (George Bush Jr.). The reason why it is a fallacy of reasoning is because you have given us only 2 options – when, with the amount of people there are in this world... there are obviously more than two options.
Well, "trav" it's obvious that YOU are on the WRONG SIDE of history.
I am on the side of truth – hgay marriage is a just and honourable position.
Trav,YOU ARE CORRECT,SIR ! THE U.S. IS SPEEDING UP IT'S TRIP DOWN THE TOILET STOOL ! I AM GLAD I AM SAVED !
Don't mind the puke others do spit at the Godly! They are hideous perverts of vanities deplorabilities! Sodomites seek excremented pleasures over righteous sensualisms! All is not well on the western fronts!
This is very true. While I don't believe in gay marriage I accept that it must happen in order for the Lord to return. So, I don't agree, but do understand that this is just another event in human history that must come to past. Al we can do is speak to those who chose or are thinking about choosing this lifestyle and hope that they accept the right thing.
go get gay rights in MUSLIM countries – respectfully
sooner or later they'll get civil rights.
You really are a caricature of your own beliefs aren't you?
There are no civil rights for perversion. No right to be qu-eer at all.
Sorry for the cut and paste but still interesting:
The language of the Bible has a way of leading unsuspecting readers into thinking it was recording human historical events when, in reality, it was referring to the patterns of the stars. A general overview serves to explain how the Bible's allegorical language reflects a supersti*tious fear of darkness.
We go back to the ancient world when it was believed that earth was enclosed by a metallic dome called the firmament. Because of sky's blue color, they believed the firmament shrouded them from the water above.
6 And God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."
7 And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. (Gen. 1:6-7)
They believed that earth was stationary and that the stars moved in a circular fashion around earth.
10 He has described a circle upon the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness. (Job 26:10)
Isaiah describes God sitting above the circle, and the dome as a curtain and a tent. Apologists who say that the word "circle" implies that they knew earth was spherical don't know what they are talking about.
22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; (Isaiah 40:22)
I love Isaiah. You should read the whole book...but I know you are an athiest.
Hey, who is the father of the Big Bang theory? Why don't you answer that for us....hint...is was a Belgian Priest. Science!
You don't find that plausible?
So when Jesus told his disciples he will be with them until the age, he meant the Age of Pisces. His time is almost over. There will be no end of the world, only the end of an Age.
20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matt. 28:20 NIV)
It must have been hell to thinking human beings back then. . .not knowing the basics of how our Solar System works. . . .heck, we just figured out not that long ago that there is more to the universe than our galaxy. I'm so glad I live in this time in history. I probably would have gone crazy looking up at the sky every day not really knowing what I was looking at. . . .how horrible. . .not knowing why people get sick since people back then had no knowledge of bacteria or even molecules.
It makes sense, the analogy of astronomy and the bible, but unfortunately the believers will not even give it the respect of a plausible explanation.
Jesus was a Jew and adhered to most of the O.T. Laws. Back then He didn't have to speak about g a ys because it was understood to ALL Je ws that Ho mo behavior was immoral and sinful. All Jews understood this so there was no need for Jesus to preach against g a y marriage or sodom y. However, Jesus' followers did preach against it especially saint Paul. Liberal Christians and none believers can white-wash their pro-H omo views but the simple fact is the Bible condemns Sodo my. The Catholic church cares about the soul. She understands that S odomy is a grave offense against God. You can try and justify your sinful lifestyles but when it comes to the truth So domy is a grave offense against Scripture, God, nature, and society.
Fuck your bible and fuck you.
Not Jewish not gay,don't know what Paul said unless you have a time machine,so it doesn't apply to me.
No need to respond to swine as bile calls them The truth will prevail and the believers will soon rule earth 1000 years with Christ. Peace out!
Catholic church against sodomy.hahahaha
Why not 1000000000years.that's closer to eternity than 1000
The majority of Catholics support gay marriage according to two recent polls. Their hierarchy has always been the major source of embarrassment for the Church......dating back to the little fiasco with Galileo (which took them 400 years to finally acknowledge).....up to the current scandals.....along with their current views on gays (which, like Galileo, goes against the empirical data now known).
I can see where gay marriage is against your personal scriptures but it is not a position taken by the majority – and many christians know gay marriage is fine and ok. Besides your beliefs about god only apply to you and to no others – The catholic church is fine for those who are members but it's relgious teachings are less then nothing to the rest of the world.
Gosh, why does it seem like the preponderance of the Christian, anti-gay respondents here can't use proper grammar, punctuation or spelling? I could have sworn, the few times I cracked open the darn thing, that the Bible was written mostly correctly. On the other hand, most of those advocating gay rights and either agnostic or atheist seem to present the most lucid, well-written arguments. Is it an evangelical requirement to drop their poor babies on their heads to mess up their cognitive functions or something?
I think St. Peter would not put Gentile baptism and gay marriage in the same context. Jesus said to Peter..go out and preach the gospel to the whole world. Jesus did not specifically say....and marry the gays. Even the Jews persecuted gays in that era. I bet Peter would preach to them in the love of Christ, I am certain he would baptise them to release them of sins and I am sure he wouldn't pronounce them man and man.
If this is a "feel good" moment for you Mark, smile and be happy. Then go look up the principals of the Episcopal church and learn how wrong you are. You need to start early next Sunday.
I'm sick of everyone trying to figure out the bible. Its a book. We gays are going to get married and have our rights no matter what a book says. Whether your trying to justify gay marriage or condemn it, in the end it doesn't really matter. Gay rights are coming no matter what.
That's true. Its called progress.
Your totally wrong! the book is Gods Word and standard for humanity for those who love truth and righteousness. Your opinion and excuse doesnt not count on judgement day. Wake up!!
It's called equality for all
Rights are sometimes hard won. Are you willing to pay the price?
To True Story:
Lol, Your argument sounds logical. By the way I am being sarcastic! The truth hurts doesn't it! If your gay and wish to get married fine! Go do it civilly, but don't come into our Christian churches and demand us to except your beliefs. So domy is wrong and down right gross. If you wish to fudge pack someone don't except God to condone it! Now thats a "True Story"!
I know my people still feel like we fighting even though we have rights
Really, consider the irony of what you just wrote:
Christianity is a lifetime commitment to Jesus, no compromises, it is a slippery slope if WE start compromising OUR values, Jesus is the son of God, let's (US) follow his teachings, God loves everyone, so can we Christians be left alone with our beliefs please...
You just tried to dictate what "we" should all do (while making an argument about what "they" should not be allowed to do), and then innocently asked to be left alone with your humble beliefs. You're really that blind to it, aren't you?
*that was intended as a reply to Walter Alvarez
One more group going in the right direction. :-)
US black civil rights group, NAACP, endorses equal marriage
Good for them! Good for everyone.
Some of us understand that regardless of our personal misgivings we must stand for justice for all Americans.God speed you will need it.they don't give up easy
Interesting that a racist group would endorse gay marriage. Are there that many gay blacks? Are y'all losing your grip?
NAACP is the most bigoted organization out there. Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton deserve this for each other. They're a cute couple.....of racists!
Spoken by true believers.Christians the reason we the NAACP
Sorry, Osler, but you are full of crap.
I'm sure his response would be, "Right back at you dude!"
Christianity is a lifetime commitment to Jesus, no compromises, it is a slippery slope if we start compromising our values, Jesus is the son of God, Let's follow his teachings, God loves everyone, so can we Christians be left alone with our beliefs please...
Yes, if you promise your beliefs will leave me alone. There's the rub.
the bible is repulsive:
You said, "can we Christians be left alone with our beliefs please..."
Under one condition. Keep your beliefs out of everyone else's lives.
Also, please don't presume to speak for all Christians. Many of us know without a doubt that God does not condemn ho mo se xuality.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
mandarx – the LMNO's are telling us to change our beleifs forcing that lifestyle into the words of the bible how about forcing the muzlems to change thier holy coran
@JM Gee, what happened to the original translation, "..and on Earth peace to men of good will."? Did he go back on his word or something? Great lyrics for music!
us, who are the LMNO's?
A lovely little tale... problem is, there is no verified evidence for supernatural beings - angels, gods, demons, spirits (holy or otherwise).
You believe this particular 'angel' story, but not the one of Mohammad?
You said, "the LMNO's are telling us to change our beleifs forcing that lifestyle into the words of the bible"
Nobody is telling you what to believe, or how to live your life. You are free to interpret your holy book in any way you see fit. Nobody is telling you to marry someone of the same sex. Nobody is telling your church they need to participate, or even accept same sex marriage. Nobody is telling you to like it.
You just don't get to force your delusion on anyone else. You don't get to restrict civil marriage to be limited to those that you approve of.
Forcing others to live by your religious beliefs is akin to rape. You are free to ask someone you like to have sex with you, you don't get to take it by force. No means no.
Top ten reason why Islamic Muslim Sharia law is Repulsive – FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
Islam is Repulsive – FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
@ booty God doesn't cause natural disasters.one it's only a disaster if we are involved.natural disasters happen because of energy being released from inside the earth.if I started slapping dummies after Katrina who said it was punishment from God I would still be slapping people from right here and we know we have a hurricane season.or does God play dodge ball half the year?
you definitely got that right. hard for a figment of the imagination to cause anything.
Stop trying to make sense of someones misunderstanding. Unicorns were horned dinos.last one probably died out thousands of years before bible was chiseled in stone.but the ancients passed the story down around the campfire
To the LMNOP community – give it up – go to the muzlems and ask forgiveness, and get validation from them for your sinful lifestyle
no such thing as sin.
We have "manifested oreintations" in which all societal complexities of situational life orders may be ordained from. I am just a "s.e.x.u.a.l heteralist" due certain manifestations oreintated throughout my ongoing social complexisms! To say differently would be lying and not worth its' weightiness! A gay individual likewise is gay due their manifestations' oreintationed societal complexities surmized in their life's livelihoods keeping. S.e.x.u.a.l.i.s.m is a socal oreintation the same way religion is a socially oreintated construct, Without society we could not oreintate our life upon or against a model of constructivism therefore social oreintations are the mainframes of individualities!
The "mountain peaks" of many societal impartations will never oblige the realisms of God! Neither will the abundant rocks, being the people spread upon the mountains' grounds accept the principalities of Godliness! Sodomy will raise its' ugly heads as LGBT's to crown themselves as being the enlightened and mankind will flock to their heads shining as the lights of a new age! Such is now happening upon many lands! Stand fast all you who still believe in God's Truths! Be not swayed by sodomy's ugly perceptions of vanity and ungodliness ideals!
you are truly one of the ugliest people to blog here. and i'm not talking about your looks.
um, frankly, you make no sense. you want to make sense. you need to make sense because you feel what you feel about "sodomites" and the LGBT community so fervently. Yet I read and re-read your comment and you talk yourself into a box of nonsense, my dear creature. I am gay because I was born that way, given this attribute by God in His Divine Wisdom and by His Will. I was made this way. I never chose it. I'm not interested in turning other people gay, nor do I care what YOU or ANYONE ELSE thinks about my status as a sinner. My relationship with God is personal and my own. Stay out of our bedrooms and our marriages and we'll be fine. Trust me when i tell you that i will marry whomever i please, as Love is there, and where there is Love, there is God. Plain and simple.
I don't get it.
I feel truly sorry for you Bill! The love of a man for a woman and her love for her man is one of the most treasured understandings in God's eyes! I do not hate you yet I do sorrow for your vanities sakes! I do though beseech you to reconsider your own actions and how God views sodomy as being vile and wicked actions! Even the "heteralists" do sometimes commit the actions of sodomy! The five heads of S.e.x.u.a.l.i.s.m with the "heteralist" head being the most prominent and the (4) LGBT heads being the least heightened do hold high the five crowns of s.e.x.i.s.m!
The fruits of all Life is in their sensualisms pleasantries giving rise to many ills of socialisms' diseased constructs!
Serpent, please work on your grammar before posting any more. I feel like I just read an essay written by a third grader who is trying to write like an adult.
i don't need your pity, and i trust you feel sorry for me because of some piety on your part. You feel that you have the answer where all of us swimming in the Lake of Fire or about to wander hopelessly on Earth among the already dead. You speak of God's word. Interesting. I've never known God to have written anything, nor do you. Have you seen this event yourself? Has anyone actually SEEN God write anything. I've also never heard God speak, nor have you, save for your own hallucinations possibly. You may WANT to hear Him but i trust you nor anyone can produce a tape of God's voice. You see, this is because He has none. God is a force of Love. It moves among the trees and over the waters. Your book was written by men to control men because fear is the best way to do that, as history shows us. You're so determined that YOUR WAY is THE way because you're afraid of burning and of what happens after death. How truly sad that is. You little primate. Playing with your gods and your navel-gazing as if it matters. it doesn't. What matters is experience. Love. Loving others as yourself. Allowing all people the right (given no rulebook save the one written by other people to control other people) to live and express, to discover, as they are led to do by their own consciences. Instead, you punish. You crave punishment because it makes you feel somehow superior, or correct in your discovery of "God's Word" in a book which was written and edited and re-edited (as well as redacted) by countless rulers and scholars along the way, each wishing to have some stake in the claim of the Eternal. Save your pity for your own sad lot, my friend.
Christians consider 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.
My take: the muzlem case for gay marriage – how come we dont see 5 stories a day with that headline
They say behead end of story
as opposed to the christians, who preferred burning their victims.
Hey "Us" Learn how to spell. It's Muslim. You need to respect other faiths as you seem to demand everyone respect yours.
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