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.
Baptism is for everyone. After they repent and believe...
What you say now will be replayed on that day. Watch your words and repent. You think you're "hot" now? You'll be 10 times hotter in hell. Jesus saves.
The myth of hell is one of my favorite Christian superst.itions. Think it through. I don't have to kill, I don't have to steal, hell, I don't even have to litter. All I have to do is have a reasonable, honest and rational disbelief in the christian god andhet will inflict a grotesque penalty upon me an infinite times worse than the death penalty. And he loves me.
That is the problem with using the same diety to be both the carrot and the stick. It gets really silly really quickly.
You will inflict the penalty on yourself and be held responsible for the innocents you have deceived. God bless
Jesus washed other dudes feet which proves he's gay; if you're a guy washing another guys' feet YOU ARE GAY! No judgement, to each their own, but the christians need to accept the fact the jesus was gay, as the bible clearly shows us.
Jesus banged Mary mag. You need to read
Nice logic. I gave my baby a bath, does that mean I'm a pedophile?
God is gay, which is why he created man first. A straight guy would have created a woman first, so He's clearly gay. .
God is gay, which is why he couldn't get Mary pregnant the conventional way; god couldn't stand the thought of touching - eww! - a woman, so he used his magic to make her pregnant because he couldn't do it physically because he prefers guys.
Just another person bending the scriptures to get the result he wants. We live under the new testament, not the old testament. Jesus did clarify some things that needed clarification in the new testament that concerned the old testament. A lot of people claim if Jesus didnt teach on it than its ok to be gay. Jesus didnt need to, Jesus was teaching the Jews not the Genttiles. Jewsish law was very clear on the subjuect. The Romans and the Gentiles had the problem thats why Paul had to mention it again. The authour of this story needs to learn his history before he post anymore stories.
Jesus did say, if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better to enter heaven with only one hand, than to go into the eternal fire with both. In other words, He said, stop sinning, or you will go where the worms do not die and the fire is not quenched, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Not so fast. This guys makes a point. Peter did believe the gentiles shouldn't be precluded if they had in fact had the holy spirit fall upon them. Gentiles were those who did keep the sacraments of the old testament; so peter may have wanted to mention if he only meant "straight" gentiles... just sayin'.
sorry. meant "gentiles were those who DIDN'T keep the sacraments"
Tired of hearing about SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. Would someone please link the law that states this, please. Bet you can not do it.
Christians are a disease and I would love to see all of them jump into the same volcano. I'd record millions of them just hopping in hundreds, no thousands at a time. I'd replay it on my DVD player at home every day and toss one after the other off into massive wads of paper towel.
There's a special place in heel for people like you crom. Your mom told me about it after sucking my giant dick.
You need to chill…for your own sake, if not for others.
But, you see, the opposite will occur. Perhaps you are prophetic in that this is exactly what will happen to those who don't stop practicing sin and who don't believe in Jesus.
Funny, the pro gay group claim christians are the haters??????????????
On the contrary Crom, it will be the unbelievers who will be jumping (or rather thrown) into the volcano called the Lake of Fire. So, don't worry, we get the last laugh.
Crom sounds just like he's a Christian
Prayer changes things .
Let's hope it changes discrimination, bigotry, and hatred.
it already has, it will not change Truth. God bless
What does "Equal Protection under the law" mean? The answer should be clear in a secular society – EQUAL means equal, not some, not this kind or that kind, or this color or that...it mean EQUAL.
Men booty only for dooty.I paraphrased it for you
We have 'equal' marriage laws today – they are the same for everyone. Many people are seeking to expand these laws to give new rights to everyone, and maybe that's a good thing. But's it's not an equality thing.
I could really give a sh it at this point. Left-leaning people are becoming one-issue voters over gay marriage in the same way that right-leaning people make abortion a litmus test. There are other issues out there, this isn't the only one.
If scienties found a single organism or cell on another planet they would proclaim WE HAVE FOUND LIFE. Funny when its a fetus it is not considered a life.
Not Again, SHUT UP!!!!
Fetus = sack of cells. Nothing more. If it belongs to a christian, ABORT ABORT ABORT. We don't need any more of that running around.
i think your forgetting that if scientist found a single cell life form that that would be a living fully developed organism and a fetus is a multicellular organism and isn't fully developed yet
"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."
GOD's laws DO NOT "evolve" (or become transformed). They are the same now as they were when he gave them to our ancestors thousands of years ago.
Does that not mean the God of the Old testament – the one who asked for blood sacrifices and who smote people down – didn't evolve into the God of love of the New Testament?
God did not change.
Katie: The God of the Old Testament provided Jesus as the final sacrifice for sins. He's the same God, requiring repentance and faith for salvation and He serves up the same justice for those who do not repent–death. Both OT and NT portray God as a God of love and justice. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever.
To the Non Believers.....My question still stands. Why try so hard? If you don't believe or accept Christianity, why go through all the cut and paste? Why not just ignore the article and move on? What strikes such a deep nerve that you have to comment on something you have no belief in? Ignore the Christians and keep going is my suggestion. You won't hurt anyone's feelings.
There is NO GOD. NONE. NEVER. Christians deserve suffering and pain, agony and torment for being so stupid.
Because young people read these posts and the more minds we can help elevate out of the nonsense of religion, the better the country will be.
Like your butt
The reason why both Christians and non-Christians do not ignore this is because we want to know and understand various views.
Will the principles for gay marriage be the same for marriage between brothers and sisters, father and daughter etc. (assuming the legal age of consent) ??
Name one such couple – one such instance – of a father-daughter alliance looking to be married. Just one.
You want the truth about the bible ? The bible already approve incestous relationship. If God made Adam and Eve, where did Cain get to impregnate another woman? Where else except the mother.
Good question..what about non gay males and non gay females and can juveniles get married ..what about arranged marriages at birth..Let's ALL get married.
His argument is flawed from the start. Baptism and the taking of Communion are sacraments-marriage is not. We are not instructed to marry.
Marriage IS a sacrament in the Catholic Church. I didn't think protestants had any sacraments.
Actually Ed, it my church, marriage is a sacrament.
Communion? What a disgusting and barbaric ritual.
Screw your church. I hope a tornado hits your town and they evacuate a christian school and they use your church as a shelter and then an earthquake knocks your church down and it falls into a huge sinkhole full of trillions of angry, hungry fire ants
A few questions should help shed light on the relationship between religion and rational thought.
The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the field of:
(c) Economics; or
You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking serpent if you are a:
(c) NASA astronomer; or
I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am
(a) A gifted psychologist
(b) A well respected geneticist
(c) A highly educated sociologist
(d) A Christian with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.
If I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me, I am
(a) a delusional schizophrenic;
(b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly
(c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or
(d) your average Christian
Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:
(a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;
(b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;
(c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or
(d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely f.cking absurd nonsense.
The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:
(c) Archeology; or
What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from religion:
(a) Religion tells people not only what they should believe, but what they are morally obliged to believe on pain of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;
(b) Religion can make a statement, such as “there is a composite god comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;
(c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas religion is regional and a person’s religious conviction, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than an accident of birth; or
(d) All of the above.
If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:
(a) a deep psychiatric issue;
(b) an irrational fear or phobia;
(c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or
(d) my religious belief.
Who am I? I don’t pay any taxes. I never have. Any money my organization earns is tax free and my own salary is also tax free, at the federal, state and local level. Despite contributing nothing to society, but still enjoying all its benefits, I feel I have the right to tell others what to do. I am
(a) A sleazy Wall Street banker
(b) A mafia boss
(c) A drug pusher; or
(d) A Catholic Priest, Protestant Minister or Jewish Rabbi.
Avoid this idiot.
@Colin I'm a man and take it in the poo shute.what am I? (a)gay man (b)male dog (c)not worth living (d)neanderthal
That was mighty tolerant of you. Yep, no hate there.
Colin: Don't know where to start. Faith is the only way. Your "at the same time" dilemmas are caused by your assumption that God lives in the same time frame as we do. Salaries of Methodist ministers are taxable--don't know about the others. God has a plan for your life. Hope you discover it.
You over-embellish a little. But the thrust of your little quiz is well-founded. The idea that a huge portion of the world that believes in things that cannot be proven nor seen nor understood by reason, is affecting the life and death of the rest of the world that doesn't find those things based in truth or reality...IS WRONG, AND IS RUINING LIVES AND DESTROYING OUR PLANET....
Jesus loves you. Be blessed today and every day.
If you don't have faith in Jesus to save you and forgive you for the wrongs you have done you will:
1. Have to be punished
2. Not inherit eternal life
3. Have your life reviewed in the hopes that you did believe
4. As a result of God's justice be thrown into the lake of fire
If you read and understood the bible you would understand the difference between religions today and why they are condemned. Read it as a science or history book and not a religion book. To help you understand you should have a choice (E) and list "politician" as a choice or just add it to (D) and you will see how they fit together. If you can see how they relate you are on your way to understand the men of god vs. the true God of man. Hint: This is a riddle but the answers are in the bible.
This is why we have separation of church and state and let's keep it that way. and we must remember even our best scientists have not understood the universe , its beginning, and why we are here. There are limits to human reason.
And if you read Colins statements you may believe that he is:
a) a genius
b) an athiest
c) a philosopher
d) a person who once was a God believer but became disillusioned
e) a fool
People...pay attention to this!! There is so much falsehoods under the name of God that this little test will cause us to think, and the christians don't want that.
I really liked your quiz. You simplified the positions, so that a 5 year old could understand it, or somebody with very little education.
Science has many articles of faith also.
– 13.75 billion years ago, there was a big bang
– life developed out of some cosmic condiments and here we are
– your great grand daddy is a monkey or better yet a horseshoe crab
Bottomline is that you can't take a measurement of 1" on a road and tell me what, when and where for a 3000 mile road. You have to have faith, in either the priest, the scientist, or both. Scientist have been wrong before and they will be wrong again. The great thing is that there are very important scientist that have religious belieffs. Do a search for religious scientist to get a perspective and pray for understanding.
out of all the millions of words i have read about "marriage" in which ever form.. this is so much more real and fits so much better with the image of a kind and loving god... thumpers would have u believe that god is the angriest, most spiteful, micro controlling, bitter, nasty character ever put out to this world... we must remember that the god thing is supposed to produce caring, inclusion, peace and love~ not murder, hatred, exclusion and bullying.. I really wish that the US would take a moment to take a deep breath, lower their shoulders, close their eyes and breath out slowly, each and every day.... the hatred is so heavy, it feels good to put it down once in a while..
But God is angry with the wicked every day. He is trying so hard to tell everyone to stop sinning so they can come and live with Him in the gold bejeweled mansions He's so lovingly built, but so few, bother to listen, like you.
Last I checked this is what is written: What! Do YOU not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom. And yet that is what some of YOU were. (Showing they no longer are, changed there ways) Next chapter tells you about Marriage, Husbands and wives. So say what you want. The creator has condemned those who do not change not men. It's not a man's judgement.
This is not a Christian – non Christian matter; it is a civil rights matter. Whenever one group of people decides to force their set of values or beliefs on another group, that's civil rights. And, from a practical viewpoint, with the economy in the tank, unemployment out of limits, and us fighting a war that never had a possible solution, anything a couple of people can do to make themselves happy is none of anyone's business and, as far as I am concerned, OK.
Yeah, but you know what Lewis Black said. There's gonna be a knock on the door and two gay guys are gonna start #$#@ing each other up the wazoo.
Whattareya gonna do then?
Get a rope
If thats the case then marriage should be abolished, not recognized and you be with anyone you want. Have 10 husbands and tax them all as individuals.
And the Lord said to Obama, use the gay marriage endorsement to create a diversion from the crappy economy you created.
And Obama said, "Good idea Lawdy!"
And so it was that Obama was destined to be a one term president, as was Jimmy Carter.
that Obama created???
What rock did you crawl out from under?
The bad economy was created by the Bush Village Idiot. It's going to talk more than 1 term for any other President to help what the Bush Demon created.
Mark Osler should Read Romans 1:16 – 32 and ask the Holy Spirit to teach him.
And M, you should learn the meaning of but a single word: Grace.
Christians are pieces of shtt and every time one dies of cancer, I rub one out.
Do you find it hard to sleep at night with all that hatred bottled up inside your pea sized brain?
I wouldn't go that far...but they and their brother religion Muslimism, are RUINING life on the planet for everyone else. Why can't they just mind their own business and be quiet and non-violent like the Buddhists?
Every christian whose child catches cancer deserves to watch their kids suffer.
Crom is a pea brain.
And this is why people who preach tolerance and anti-hate are as intolerant as the next guy and just as hateful. Exhibit number one.
Crom is a loser! He's still upset because he lost that argument about god/no god from a couple pages ago. Can't prove god exists and you can't prove it doesn't exist idiot! No such thing as a winner in that argument. Just a couple retard losers that think they won!! Get over it and stop posting your rampant mongrel stupidity!
and what do you say about the non christians that die from cancer...shoot them or yourself?
Mr Osler says the church is built upon Peter,not so, the church is built upon Jesus Christ. Jesus was referring to himself, as He is called the rock in scripture many times. Peter could not save himself or anyone else. Christ died for our sins not Peter.
Are you sure he didn't mean his church was built on "a peter", like his boyfriend's peter?
Christ died so you would become better people, not so that your hatred, greed and violence would be forgiven. The absolute WORST misunderstanding and the TERMINAL CANCER in Christianity is the idea that you don't have to change and become Chris-like yourself, you just have to let Jesus do all the work – hanging like a sack of dead meat so you can keep on sinning...
well said....jesus is the corner stone..not Peter or any other apostle...
Not so. Peter is called "the rock" and Jesus says "upon this rock I build my church."
And in any case, it was Paul who actually created the new religion. It wasn't Jesus' intention for people to be anything but better Jews. John was the one who made Jesus 'holy'; Jesus talked about his being the son of God, as we are ALL God's children. Emperor Constantine of Rome moved the Sabbath to Sunday, to usurp the Roman-god worshippers' holy day of worshipping the Sun god, and to distinguish the new religion from the Jewish religion, whose Sabbath was Saturday. (He also moved Christmas – Jesus' birthday – from the late spring to December, to usurp the pagan rituals of Saturnalia and the Winter Solstice.) Catholics have always been opportunists!
Thus, even Christianity has evolved...
Not so...The ROCK refers to the foundation, something hard to move. Jesus builds his "church" on the rock. He never said Peter would build it. Paul did not build the religion. He became one of the later chosen and givin the knowledge the other Apostles.
If you don't like marriage between two men then don't marry a man!
HERE HERE Well said
@ edpus stop putting in our public society
@BamaDaniel Sorry, I don't play golf! I'm more interested in promoting human rights than pushing a little white ball around in the grass.
If you are interested in "human" rights why are you on a story about qu-eers?
PervertAlert I am protecting other humans from perverts like you!
To deny someone a sacrament is so wrong, we are are our own path toward salvation-don't deny someone their rewards. Marry who you love!!
Yeh, if so called "gay marriage" passes federal law then Romney can fight to have more than one wife as a Mormon. It's his civil right to marry who he wants. Heck he can get a husband too! He can say it's a union between two consenting adults and his other wife has nothing to do with it. It will be her civil right to divorce him but not on the grounds of "cheating" because he's married to someone else. All because the definition of marriage has changed or not defined.
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.