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.
The best part about living in a secular country is that religious opinions of marriage are irrelevant to the legal definition as "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
The 1st amendment is something the religious people know nothing of.
Or any other amendment
Jesus used to catch hot wet man milk loads in his stretched out poo chute. Then apostles would suck the salty goodness out like a cream filling and French kiss each other passing Jesus holy loin love mouth to mouth.
All opinions have value. We may not agree on certain specifics, but neither should either of our opinions be sidelined or denigrated. America is a land of liberty, where we build laws for the common good. If we refuse one group's opinions access to the public square, we're certainly not acting 'American'. We need to work together to ensure nobody is disadvantaged.
This article is really about religious interpretation, not civil rights. They are two distinct issues.
I'd just like to say AMEN to that thoughtful and well written piece. Thank you for writing it!
You just ruined a nice statement by including the religious form of so be it.
Prayer changes things-
Are you sitting there with rosary beads?
You don;t want to know where he has been putting those beads.
Everyone starts out non-religious. One gets their religion from their community. For instance, if you were in the middle east you would more than likely be Muslim. If you were in Thailand, you would probably be Buddhist. If you are in Salt Lake City, you might be Mormon. As for other living things, I don't know what you are talking about. I've never met a religious dog, cat, or tulip.
we're all born atheists.
I have lived 21 years and for a large portion of that I was an Atheist. I've become spiritual through finding myself and exploring my beliefs but I think it's more that I've just become a Pantheist (belief that God [just a word to describe the power I recognize on a level that others understand what I'm saying] is in everything). I'm a morally upright person, and I'm very active in my communities. Atheism doesn't create children that are bad or unhealthy, incorrect parenting and the images of society create a misguided individual. Letting someone decide for themselves is the greatest experience one can be given. I'm so incredibly thankful to how blessed my life is from this decision.
Oh and let's not forget. SINCE WHEN THE FLIP DID IT MATTER IF CHRISTIANS CONDONE GAYNESS TO GET A FREAKING EQUAL RIGHTS LAW TO PASS AROUND HERE.
HELLO. Both Christianity AND the Government are supposed to support RESPECT for others beliefs unless it becomes unlawfully harmful.
Even as a Christian, I think its non of our freaking business about the legality of gay marriage. SINCE THIS ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE A THEOCRACY. If we apparently are inhibiting that right, let's just throw all the Jews, Hindus, Atheists and Protestants(oh wait they're Christian too, they can stay) into prison. That'll teach 'em to believe in the Bible!
What about the members of the christian churches that support and perform gay marriage ?
The Lord Jesus Christ did teach love, but mostly as a by-product of living his gospel. To the contrary, he also taught that his teachings would bring division (Matt. 10:34-37). Here, he made the point that love is often mis-placed (see verse 37), saying that such people are not worthy of him. This article attempts to say that there is no worthiness test for disciples of Christ. But the Lord did expect those who follow him to strive to be better. Yes, he often made it a point to not condemn those who transgressed the commandments (at least those who were humble and looked to him for help), but in every case, he instructed them to raise their personal standards of worthiness.
Peter *never* said that "none has the moral authority" to make decisions of worthiness. In fact, the Lord gave him the keys of the kingdom, and charged him and the other apostles with judging the affairs of the new church. Throughout the book of Acts and the letters of Paul we see example after example of Peter and the apostles exercising moral authority (in the name of Jesus Christ) over the affairs of the church and those who profess to believe in Him.
On a more general note, why profess Christianity, if you're not concerned with really understandanding the mind and will of the Lord. In ancient days, there were prophets and apostles who held authority that was granted them either directly from God, Jesus Christ, or from angelic ministers. Where are those prophets and apostles today? One of these must be the case:
1) A real God never existed, and as such, religion needs to be abandoned.
2) God "inspired" all religions and all paths lead to him. If this is the case, we can safely abandon religion, since whatever you think, that's good enough for him.
3) God talked with ancient prophets and apostles and gave them moral authority to administer his Gospel, but has suddenly lost interest in our high-tech world. Perhaps we just got too smart for him, or perhaps our modern culture is better than anything he can offer?
4) God has the same organization of apostles and prophets somewhere among us. The same organization *must* exists, since to suggest otherwise would be to assume that Jesus Christ made a mistake by implementing that organization two millenia ago, and is now testing some alternate plan.
Let's stop debating these things using psedo-Christian ideas and find out the definitive truth from God. But be careful, history suggests that the truth is often difficult to swallow!!
Any ideas on were the apostles and prophets are?
I am infiinely more concerned that gays get their civil rights upheld than where the apostles are.
Without religion, we would still be with the animals all doing that of animals! Without a Triune God there would be no understanding of people having one day, an eternal life! Without God being inside His Son there would be no savior upon which many people hold on to! Without the holy spirit ascending onto all the people there would be no reasons to wnat to pray! Without leading a naturalized life and seeking unnatural reasons will people be condemned! Without coming to lead a more righteous life will lead one to a hellish life,
Therefore, lead as righteous a Life as you know well to so do! Do not be deceived by idolters of illed sensualisms and they do willfully sodomize each other with vilenesss and wickedries all for but a moommets pleasures! We have natural and then unnatural? Which will one choose? One you win and the other you lose!
27 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30 The second 31 and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”
34 Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’[b] 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
39 Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” 40 And no one dared to ask him any more questions."
Try gargling with that s*hit, it'll choke you every time.
Thank you for posting ANY scriptures verbatim, without filter or interpretation.... I get what you're doing and it is a blessing even to me, but especially to so many here who will be too busy, too jaded, or frankly too disobedient to the call of God for them to ever search the scriptures for ourselves..... So on that note, I'll close with this: Acts 17:10-12 written by Luke, the same author of the Gospel according to Luke, which was his own eyewitness account of the person of Jesus Christ. The Book of Acts can be seen as a continuation of Luke since it is what he observed of the Disciples-turned-Apostles after Luke finishes reporting of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.
[10. Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.]
Nice parable to meditate upon!
Nice parable to p*oop upon!
Just curious: If scriptures can only be understood in context, than why were they divided into verses?
Repeat that please I'm from Alabama got say it twice this time real slooooow
Stay away from dark clouds, Mark.
The angels are bowling!
This is yet another classic example of a person who is intentionally trying to misinterpret religion to suit his goals. I am sure that the catholic priests who molested children justified their actions with a similar convoluted way of justification.
I am a christian because i believe in Christ.
Are you comparing child r a p e with two consenting adults pleasuring each other in a loving committed relationship?
You are a christian because you cannot think for yourself.
Actually, you are a Christian because you are terrified of burning for eternity in a lake of fire upon the moment of your death. Your belief is predicated solely on fear and the selfish need to achieve personal salvation.
and he is an euqal christian to you thoughts.
As Christians it is not our place to judge sin, God does that. He did it in Sodom and Gemorah and he will do it in other places as well. A person can make up their own rules or their own interpretation of the bible. But that does not mean it is right. How arrogant is the person that assumes to tell God what is right and wrong.
It is our responsibility as Christians to love everyone and to tell them the truth.
We have natural and then unnatural? Which will one choose? One you win and the other you lose!
Your god is unnatural.
I choose we accept the natural.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, that means you lose!
"Natural"? Is walking on water "natural"? Is eating another man's flesh "natural"? What about drinking his blood? Is THAT natural?
Voice of Reasons got you there, Serpent. You are the one calling for worship of the unnatural.
The more you continue using your "bible" to restrict people's civil rights, the worse it will be in the end for your "bible".
You can rationalize it, justify it, legislatively approve it, portray it as hip and en vogue, but at the end of the day gay marriage remains the same, a sinful p e r v e r s i o n of human s e x u a l i t y .
Very well said my friend
I see you are from the planet f*uck face.
Your religion has become irrelevant, as have your bigoted views..
You can rationalize it, justify it, legislatively approve it, portray it as hip and en vogue, but at the end of the day, the Judeo-Christian Bible remains the same, a sinful p e r v e r s i o n of the human race.
@momoya. Fifty percent of the American population concurs with my " bigoted views". Perhaps, if you would know your facts before pontificating, you would appear a little less foolish?
deecee. They say " imitation is the highest form of flattery". Thank You
cestlavie, I'm so sorry, but you're on the wrong side of history. Is that hard to understand?
deecee. What you fail to comprehend is that a particular side of history is irrelevant to absolute truth. We live in a culture of moral relativity and you are a shining example.
cestlavie, what YOU fail to see is that your book of myths is a huge mess that even Christians can't agree upon. Marriage has always changed; in fact, for most of the history of marriage, women were seen as chattel. . .mostly men's possessions who were kept for the purpose of making their husbands babies. There was also a time when only the rich married while the servants and regular folks had no "marriage". There was also a time when polygamy was totally fine, even with your bible's patriarchs. And that whole "Adam and Eve" idiocy is the worst argument you can possibly make for your bigoted cause. If your God is so all-knowing, why is it that he was obviously unaware that human-kind originated in South East Africa many many thousands of years ago before "Adam and Eve"? The writers of "Genesis" even listed the supposed lineage from "Adam and Eve". And if those two only had two boys, how did they reproduce the rest of humanity. Your side has lost big time and when you try to use your bible to attack other people's civil rights, it is your bible and religions that suffer the most for doing the wrong thing.
This from someone that doesn't even know that "baptize" means to immerse. This from someone who thinks babies have the inheritable "sin of their fathers" that needs to be cleansed (consequences yes, accountable–no) or that babies can make a choice to obey the gospel in baptism.
This from a guy who equates his dismissing of scripturual sin to that of an apostle. He is seeking favor and acceptance of that which God has, through his scripture, clearly not given. He is preaching religion, not relationship. No amount of any religion will get you to God, only a relationship with Christ.
And your proof is?
Hey I'm an ordained Assemblies of God minister & I loved the article.
My response to the Context is your Friend is that this is a guy who doesn't know his bible & this is from a guy that is judgmental. How can you speak of relationship with Christ if you are this mean in a comment. You don't sound like someone I'd like to have a relationship with.
Yes its about relationship, but most evangelicals & people who talk like you have no love even though you say you do. No one on the outside thinks we do. Its easy to give yourself an A. Everyone on the outside gives US an F for love. Guess we must not be disciples yet.
So sometimes people like Mark are the ones I really want to be brothers in Christ with! I've been in conservative denominations & ordained for 23 years & I find almost love within my circles. Jesus didn't say those get it right or know it all or even have a relationship are my disciples ....... he said it was love ..... and many whom we call liberal are MUCH better at love that we are.
So I think we all should shut up, love, build relationships with all, and let the Holy Spirit do his job. Jesus didn't give the woman at the well or the gay centurion with a slave lover a sermon he loved & helped their brokenness & put them on the path to healing.
"Hey I'm an ordained Assemblies of God minister"
What do you have to do to become an ordained Assemblies of God minister?
will, I'm not a believer at all, but that was a beautiful and respectful post. Peace.
Voice of Reason it appears you need no knowledge of the bible to be an assemblies of god minister.
Gays should be put to DEATH AT ONCE WITH OUT FAIL
Romans 1:24-32 Death to them and them who support them
Revelations 20:13-15 they will be judged according to their deeds this means their second death
Can we just put them to death WITH fail??
Yeah! And don't forget to put to death your disobedient kids too!. . .and any wife who commits adultery!. . .and countless others for doing anything your god doesn't like!. . . .that should leave our country with about 3 citizens by the time we're done stoning everyone to death!
Thanks captain obvious..
Are you for or against equal marriage rights for all?
1 + 1 = 2
1 + 1 = 3 (the religious answer)
And your point is?
OMG! Alan, you're a genius! Why didn't anyone else figure THAT out! Now all we have to do is outlaw any str8 marriages that do not produce a baby every time they &uck!
Guess the word:
that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality
And this word:
the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment
this suppose to be a pastor or whatever he want call himself ,I recommend to him or probably he saw the movie ," the sinner need a companion " Iam sure he will like , remeber what happen to pinocchio man with woman reproduce something call son or daugther , man with man don reproduce nothing the same woman with woman n nothing only somethincall abomination
Gee, shouldn't be too hard to get a GED, right?
Thank you for clarifying things.
There's no way to tell from all that incoherence, but here's hoping your working on the other team.. Cheers.
NESTOR. . .I. . .LIKE. . .YOU ! ! ! (Gawd what a total ignoramus.)
Let's not forget that allowing gays to get married is none of your business.
Exactly. The fact that any religion has any say whatsoever in the secular, federal issue of civil rights is disgusting.
I am also a Christian. I have no problem with gays-men or women-getting married. Who are we to judge other's happiness?
Now that's a sunny outlook!
Well, as a Christian, you should have a problem with it. God is the judge and He has declared the gay lifestyle sinful. Perhaps you should reassess your faith.
You should tell SAY LA V. that he is the one who needs to reassess his faith.. Since he thought it was so powerful a line with you, that is.
cestlavie3, perhaps you should reassess your faith. Sunny sounds a lot more like the Christian ideal to me. Shame on you for chastising someone for being kind, and then pressuring them to be ugly instead in the name of religion. You are the problem.
Actually cestiavie3 – possibly you should reassess YOUR faith. Sunny has it right. You are a throw-back to those Christians who thought inter-racial marriage was sinful and that women's right to vote was sinful. Like them you will come down on the wrong side of history (and you already have come down on the wrong side of God).
Thank you Sunny, for letting people know that there are REAL christians out there.
@mandarax and be. Well, of course you would feel this way, sunny's view supports your lifestyle, your concern is not with what is true.
Gays should be put to DEATH AT ONCE WITH OUT FAIL
Romans 1:24-32 Death to them and them who support them
Revelations 20:13-15 they will be judged according to their deeds this means their second death
It's tough being a dinosaur, isn't it.. TO THE TAR PITS WITH YOU!!!
Supports MY lifestyle? You don't know jack about my lifestyle. Her opinion supports my innate sense of right and wrong. Your idea of morality is not based on any thought or consideration. You should consider actually thinking things through rather than relying on the arbitrary prejudices of Iron Age sheepherders as your moral compass.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to." – Jesus
Mortex, MY bible says that I'm supposed to drop an bomb on anyone named "Mortex". . . .you better hope I'm not real religious.
@ mandrax. My apologies. If not your lifestyle, your ideology.
My ideology is generally the Golden Rule. You see the irony in this situation don't you?
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.
don't put words in the mouths of all christians. you're just stereotyping.
There is no civil right to perversions and immorality.
he thinks he's a crafty and witty little bugger.
he's wrong. he's just a garden-variety idiot.
Who is herbie?
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.