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Can 'true Catholics' support same-sex marriage?
Ex-priest Jim Smith, opponent of Minnesota's ballot to ban same-sex marriages, says these are difficult days to be Catholic.
June 20th, 2012
09:35 AM ET

Can 'true Catholics' support same-sex marriage?

By Chris Welch, CNN

Minneapolis (CNN) - Jim Smith is a former Roman Catholic priest who left his post with the church 10 years ago. He's an ex-priest for several reasons, he says, but one of his main concerns was the church's stance against same-sex marriage and other LGBT issues.

But Smith remains a Catholic - though he says being a Catholic who actively campaigns for legalized same-sex marriages can be difficult these days.

"I'd much rather this wasn't happening," Smith says of the division that the issue has created among Minnesota  Catholics. "But it does provide some real opportunities because it challenges us to talk to each other, Catholics talking to other Catholics."

Minnesota has become the newest epicenter in the same-sex marriage fight. This November, voters will decide whether they want an amendment added to the state's constitution that would ban marriage between members of the same sex.

Smith will be voting "no." And he has helped spearhead efforts in the state to persuade other Catholics to do the same.

A group he helped form,  Catholics for Marriage Equality-Minnesota, aims "to encourage Catholics to consider the profound sacredness of same-gender relationships and to defeat this marriage amendment," Smith says.

Vatican edicts against same-sex marriage often give Catholic same-sex marriage supporters the impression they're in the minority.

Related story: Same-sex marriage by the numbers 

But a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) suggests 59% of American Catholics support rights allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry. One reason behind that statistic - says PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones - is because U.S. Catholics "overwhelmingly reject the idea that sexual orientation can be changed." A PRRI poll bears that out – with 69% of Catholics nationwide saying a person's sexual orientation cannot be changed.

In the Midwest alone, Catholics are evenly divided on the issue of same-sex marriage -– with 46% in favor, 47% against.

Opinion: GOP support for same-sex marriage growing

Related story: Both sides re-energized for upcoming same-sex marriage fight

Like Jim Smith, Michelle LaFrance is a Catholic who has also taken the bold step against the church in support of marriage equality.

"I remember thinking 'wow, maybe I shouldn't [remain a Catholic],' " LaFrance said. Ultimately they've remained with the Catholic faith, citing its many positive aspects including going to church. It's an important weekly ritual for LaFrance, her husband and their three kids.

"The Catholic Church, despite the media [attention] it typically gets, does a lot of great things, a lot of great social justice," LaFrance said. She noted the church "feeds the poor, houses the homeless, takes care of the abused."

The LaFrance family belongs to the Church of St. Margaret Mary in the Minneapolis suburb of Golden Valley, a congregation which LaFrance describes as fairly progressive. She says the majority of her fellow parishioners agree with her stance on same-sex marriage.

But when LaFrance hears the archdiocese telling people how they should think about it, she can't help but sometimes feel like less of a Catholic.

"I don't think anybody - whatever their religious denomination - whole-heartedly follows every single rule down to the letter."

Related story: U.S. history of same-sex marriage

On the other side of the debate stands Dave Deavel.

Although he agrees with LaFrance to an extent, he says he believes there are certain pillars of the Catholic faith that people should follow. One of those is the church stance that marriage should remain between one man and one woman.

"The whole point of what the church teaches is to form people's consciences," Deavel says.

For Deavel, his wife and their five children, attending church is so important they strive to go multiple times a week.

He's active with Minnesota for Marriage, which supports of the same-sex-marriage ban, and has written various blog posts on the topic for the Minnesota Catholic Conference.

Asked whether he believes a person can be "less of a Catholic" for disagreeing with the church, Deavel says the Vatican "doesn't really have a certain category for 'less of a Catholic.' "

"But they certainly don't represent what the church teaches," he said. "Is it a spiritual problem? I think yes."

Opinion: The secret gay agenda

In a written statement the MCC said groups such as Catholics for Marriage Equality "do not have any right to call their organizations 'Catholic.'"

In the past, the conference has issued statements accusing Catholics for Marriage Equality of trying "to confuse Catholics and the public about authentic church teaching" on marriage.

"Catholics for Marriage Equality MN attempts to convince Catholics that they can be in good standing with the church and oppose church teaching about human sexuality and marriage, which centers on the complementarity of the sexes and the mutual self-gift of loving spouses in marital union," said an MCC statement.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis declined CNN's request for an interview, but it agreed with sentiments expressed by the Minnesota Catholic Conference.

Does church doctrine make it impossible for same-sex marriage supporters to be true Catholics?

"There is no judgment intended about an individual's 'Catholicity' or 'Catholic-ness,' " says MCC spokeswoman Jessica Zittlow.

Minnesota's November ballot proposal to ban same-sex marriage isn't an amendment against LGBT individuals, say the MCC and the St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese. Instead, they say it should strictly be viewed as an amendment supporting traditional marriage.

For ex-priest Jim Smith, grappling with the issue has been difficult - a personal struggle that extends to the heart of his faith.

The inner conflict between what Smith believes is right and his love for the church has pushed him to consider leaving the Catholic religion altogether.

In the end, Smith vows he will stay. "It's in my bones."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Catholic Church • Christianity • Faith • Minnesota • Politics • Polls • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (2,849 Responses)
  1. Gary

    Me thinks Frank doth protest TOO much.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  2. Russellonius

    There is no evidence in the Bible that religious authorities ever condoned ho mo se4ual behavior except for when they were making money off it. They did so for at least 375 years, according to the Good Book: 1Ki 14:24, 1Ki 15:12, 1Ki 22:46 & 2Ki 23:7. It was secular authorities who put the kabosh on it. If only today's secular authorities were able to restrain the religious excesses of today. Amen.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • yeah

      who cares about the bible, we're talking government recognition, we do not live in a theocracy, who cares what any religion says about it

      June 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • hmmm

      cnn does, they seem to be the main pushers of this issue, if they stopped reporting on this nonsense nobody would even talk about the catholic church

      June 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Flippy1124

      @yeah – excellent point!

      June 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Russellonius

      @yeah Religious people are allowed to vote. Our secular leaders have determined that our civil rights should be put up for popular vote. Therefore it DOES matter what the Bible and religious inst-itutions say because religious people will vote on other people's CIVIL rights in accordance with their religious beliefs. I was speaking to my fellow Christians, not you. They seem to uniformly believe that 'ho mo you know what' is universally condemned in That Book. It isn't. The priests were pim-ps for a long, long time, and it wasn't hetero-style seks they sold in the Temple. So it is written.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  3. HB

    You can't have your cake and Christmas too.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  4. cnnmembuh

    Why do I have to "support" gay marriage? Do gays support my marriage? I rather think they'd be indifferent, as I am about theirs. But I can't see compelling a religious organization to embrace their union, any more than it would approve of hetero relations outside of marriage.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • yeah

      nobody wants the church to embrace their union, they want the government to, which is not linked to any religion

      June 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • cnnmembuh

      Well, the article is specifically addressing the Catholic Church vis-a-vis gay marriage...part of CNN's ongoing preoccupation with all things Catholic.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • hmmm

      for real, why all the catholic stories?

      June 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Biblical

      for those who didnt read the article it is about a conference called B4U-ACT, where they are trying to justify p3d0. very repulsive. it is NOT from any nut or fruit web site. In fact, they are awarding psycologist continuous education credits. Go ahead, read it.

      http://www.drjudithreisman.com/archives/2011/08/theyre_mainstre.html

      June 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  5. John

    But what does Santa Claus have to say about this?

    June 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  6. Biblical

    WHIRRR.. time machien takes me 20 years into future and I open newspaper. Article there says –

    p3d0ph1lia was called a mental disease 20 years ago. Now the correct term is "p3d0s3xual", and the psychological assoication has stopped calling it a mental disease. It's an orientation.

    See http://www.drjudithreisman.com/archives/2011/08/theyre_mainstre.html for what is happening NOW! very scary.

    Similarly now they are claiming h0m0s3xuality is not a mental illness....

    June 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      LOL funny considering the church is all about ra...ping 10 year old boys.....

      Now explain, if being g...ay is a mental illness, why it is RAMPANT in nature over many different species? I guess they are all mentally ill too eh?

      June 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Flippy1124

      excpet one is between two consenting adults, the other isn't.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "p3d0ph1lia was called a mental disease 20 years ago. Now the correct term is "p3d0s3xual", and the psychological assoication has stopped calling it a mental disease. It's an orientation."

      Yo moron children can't consent and it would be rape! Duh!

      "imilarly now they are claiming h0m0s3xuality is not a mental illness...."

      Well DUUHHHH – they proved everything that was written in the past about gays were done by bias and prejudice people. Well guess what people used unfounded claims about African Americans too so they could enslave them and deny them their civil rights in the past because of their bogus prejudices and fears. DUHHHH!

      June 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Biblical

      before jumping on me, please read the link I pasted. read about the conference which Dr Reisman attended. Think about it. Then get back to me.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Chris

      Wow, your spelling is atrocious. The difference between your examples is that one is between consenting adults and the other is not.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Flippy1124

      WHO CARES!!! Mind your own business! Let concsenting adults live their lives. It's been observed in many other species other than human.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Biblical

      You're just parroting talking points about a slippery slope that doesn't even exist. Go back to church and revel in your self-righteous ignorance.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "before jumping on me, please read the link I pasted. read about the conference which Dr Reisman attended. Think about it. Then get back to me."

      There is NO thinking about it. By trying to compare a gay person with a pedophile proves you're clueless on this subject. Duh!

      Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      June 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Biblical

      OK This conference was about silently saying its ok to be a p3d0. Please read about the conference in the link I gave.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Biblical

      “The editorial board of the leading p3d0ph1le academic journal, Paidika, is dominated by prominent h0m0s3xual scholars such as San Francisco State University professor John DeCecco, who happens to edit the Journal of H0m0s3xuality,”

      June 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Biblical

      What does it fu.cking matter what some pe.do says? Children cannot give informed consent, and it will always be illegal you stupid little fu.ck stick.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Biblical

      a

      June 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Biblical

      The 'Journal of h0m0s3xuality' published a special double-issue “M@le Int3rgenerati0nal Intimacy,”

      June 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bibby, you are an idiot. Your link is to a piece of crap website.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Biblical

      which is what sandusky, and the catholic priests did.

      harry hay, g@y god from past supported N-A-M-B-L-A

      June 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Biblical

      @ Tom, because you dont agree with it its a piece of crap website?

      June 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "“The editorial board of the leading p3d0ph1le academic journal, Paidika, is dominated by prominent h0m0s3xual scholars such as San Francisco State University professor John DeCecco, who happens to edit the Journal of H0m0s3xuality,”"

      Wow you really are dense. Oh so if a K K K person was speaking and a black Christian leader was speaking then you would say all Christians are K K K members. Duh! They have proven that being gay is NOT a mental illness, it's NOT a choice and it can't be voluntarily changed that there sexual orientation is NORMAL. You can't say the same thing about a pedophile especially since their behavior harms children. Duh!

      June 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Biblical

      One of the articles from the double issue said that the 'p3d0ph1le who l0ves your son is to be welcomed into your home'

      June 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, it's a crappy website because it's run by a nut-case who has no credibility in the field, moron.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Ok I'm gonna call troll on Biblical. I don't think anyone can truly be that stupid.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do you believe the letters that guys write in Playboy, too, you dingbat?

      June 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Biblical

      @ yeahright

      no im not dense. my point is, there cant be smoke without fire.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Idiot, you're the only one blowing smoke here, bibbster.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Biblical

      @Tom

      Never mind the nutcase. dont attack the messenger. Can you prove that said nutcase did not attend the conference?

      ANSWER YES/NO only : conference where they said being p3do is ok and is not an aberration occured.

      To me this speaks about the psychological association that said being gay is OK

      June 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Biblical

      @Yeahright, you are miminizing the consequences in the post about being 'dense'.

      Do you know how one gets on the editorial board of a journal? ONLY if one is a subject matter expert and is respected by other people in this field.. now re-read my post and THINK.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You are beyond stupid, Bibby. Do you think someone only gets on a board because he/she is 'qualified'?

      Did it hurt when you fell off that turnip-truck yesterday?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Biblical

      How about you actually think and realize that your little article is completely irrelevant to same-se.x marriage. Straw men make for really bad arguments you know.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Biblical

      please answer YES/NO : Harry Hay, founding father of g@y movement supported N-A-M-B-L-A

      June 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "please answer YES/NO : Harry Hay, founding father of g@y movement supported N-A-M-B-L-A"

      This is a typical tactic of a prejudice bigot who's thinks that by associating gays with pedophiles they can get people to block their civil rights. The fact this moron can't get the difference between the two speaks volumes of their unfounded personal prejudice toward the gay community.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Biblical

      it's all connected. read http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=25-01-024-f#ixzz1iXEDxQfl for a full analysis.

      let me lay out in simple terms what the conference I was talking about in above post was: They are saying that may, just maybe p3d0 is not a deviancy or a mental disease. This is exactly how h0m0s3xuality mainstreamed. Im afraid p3do will be next. ALso it makes me think, is h0m0 a similar deviancy like p3do?

      June 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Erik

      "This is exactly how h0m0s3xuality mainstreamed. Im afraid p3do will be next. ALso it makes me think, is h0m0 a similar deviancy like p3do?"

      All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

      The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

      On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

      The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

      Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

      There are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "This is exactly how h0m0s3xuality mainstreamed. Im afraid p3do will be next. ALso it makes me think, is h0m0 a similar deviancy like p3do?"

      Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      June 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Biblical

      To abusive tom and his turnip truck.

      Yes, for academic journals, it is an honor to be on the board. Only after solid experience and respect by fellow academicians.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Then obviously, YOU'RE not on one, are you, boob?

      June 20, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You friggin' nutbag, you're posting a link to WORLD NUT DAILY, you idiot! And you wonder why you're being laughed at by ever sane person here? What kind of stupid ARE you?

      If you don't know what a "peer-reviewed study" is, dumbsh!t, look it up. Then go find one, just ONE that supports your hatred. You are completely PWND.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Biblical

      @erik:

      so, P3do is also an inborn or genetic trait? thats a good excuse for them.....

      June 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Biblical

      No Tom im not posting link to any nut or fruit daily.

      see the domain name.

      Anyway, LOOK AT THE CONFERENCE details in there. dont shoot the messenger.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "so, P3do is also an inborn or genetic trait? thats a good excuse for them....."

      LMAO! What a moron. So why don't you now try and get the hundred of thousands of experts that have proven being gay as normal to buy into the crap you're trying to push to justify unfounded prejudice and bigotry towards the gay community. Obviously you're not a Christian with all the lying you're doing. 😉

      June 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Biblical

      for those who didnt read the article it is about a conference called B4U-ACT, where they are trying to justify p3d0. very repulsive. it is NOT from any nut or fruit web site. In fact, they are awarding psycologist continuous education credits. Go ahead, read it.

      http://www.drjudithreisman.com/archives/2011/08/theyre_mainstre.htm

      June 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Biblical

      @Yeahright, you accuse me of lying.

      I just asked whoever said its all natural, even if a gene was not found, etc etc... a simple innocent question : not a lie.

      is asking questions wrong?

      June 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Biblical

      Also, TOTAL SILENCE about the 'male int3rg3neration int1m@cy' journal issue I posted above and an excerpt from one of the papers in that issue. Note the name of the journal. go ahead, scroll up and read. I guess bury what you cant defend under the carpet.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Read the article, and this lady is a complete idiot attempting to justify her opinion through asinine assertions like her constant use of the word anarchy. I'm definitely willing to question this womans supposed "report" on what was said within the conference.
      Be that as it may, ped.ophilia has absolutely nothing to do with hom.ose.xuality, and this womans attempted correlation is disgusting.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Biblical

      Do you really expect people like me and tom, or other vocal atheists to take anything thouchstone says on its word alone, let alone take it seriously?

      June 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  7. Agapatos

    Fallacy #3 in this article:

    (3) That an ex-priest (who may have been defrocked over this very issue) would be a good authority to interview regarding such a key question as who can stay, or can't stay, in the church.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  8. Agapatos

    Fallacy #2 in this article:

    (2) That public opinion (poll numbers) determines who is theologically correct.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  9. Daniel B.

    This question presumes that you are an UNTRUE Catholic?

    June 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  10. KLDGBB

    How do we know what a "true" Catholic is? Who is the judge of this?

    June 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Nikita019

      Only God...no man nor woman can judge regarding this.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • BOOM

      the pope, tard

      June 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • asifyoucould

      WHO CARES? A "True Catholic" is a "True Moron"

      June 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  11. Agapatos

    Fallacy #1 in this article:

    (1) That civil marriage is the same thing as the church sacrament of marriage. After all . . . you could support Gay marriage (or civil unions) for purely practical reasons (to limit disease) without saying ANYTHING about whether you agree that the church SACRAMENT of marriage is objectively between 1 man and 1 woman.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • yeah

      winner winner chicken dinner

      June 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • John

      "whether you agree that the church SACRAMENT of marriage is objectively between 1 man and 1 woman."

      Some argue that since homosexual behavior is "unnatural" it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.

      Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.

      There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally, it might be well for the one quoting to read the text in its entirety.

      Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman. Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and Romans 1: 26-27). But homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment visited upon idolaters by God because of their unfaithfulness. Homosexuality was not the sin but the punishment.

      1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Sexual perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual liaison.

      Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of homosexual behavior. But was Paul's opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been challenged and transcended even by the church! Is Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned ideas?

      Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy, Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter respectively).

      That is all that Scripture has to say about homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist, these references do not build an ironclad case for condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition toward those of their own sex.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Russellonius

      @John. You said, "That is all that Scripture has to say about *it." What about 1Ki 14:24, 1Ki 15:12, 1Ki 22:46 & 2Ki 23:7? These verses are the most extensive and least ambiguous statements about *it in the Bible.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  12. I believed

    I believed and all i got was a bunch of guilt....not much love at all..they told me everything i did and thought was a sin, and then begged me for money to fix their roof and ac in the church, while the vatican lives high off the hog...its all bs

    June 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • asifyoucould

      Religion is a sucker's bet

      June 20, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  13. JohnnyC

    That's a clown question, bro.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  14. Adam

    The message I take from being raised Catholic is that God is love and love is sacrifice: putting the needs and wishes of someone else ahead of your own. That is how to love each other. Its more than a feeling and it's more than lust. If two people regardless of gender can do this for each other, it should be celebrated in marriage or union with same civil benefits of marriage. Having slept with a few priest in my day, i can tell you that the whole celibacy thing ain't working for them. My partner and I used to go to a Catholic church, but the priest kept giving us the hairy eyeball so we just stopped altogether.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • QS

      Interesting, you say you learned that from being raised Catholic....I learned it despite having no religious influence in my life growing up. Hmmm.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Frank

      You are wrong.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • stephen

      Then just throw out (or rip out) the book of Romans and most of the other authored books in the Bible that the Catholics 'state' to hold to high esteem. If the Bible is going to by one's absolute (standard) then live by it rather than picking and choosing what you want to apply.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • KLDGBB

      Great point, QS.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  15. QS

    Religion is made up of conjecture, opinion and convenience – the largest and most often used of these conveniences is "hate the sin, love the sinner"....this way, religious people can give the impression they are caring and tolerant, without having to actually go through the anguish of being tolerant....see, they can claim they love the person, but because being gay to them is a "sin", they can still justify discriminating against gay people in general. Neat trick, huh?

    June 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • LOL Religion

      "Love the believer, hate their ridiculous bigoted religion"

      June 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • J

      You always have to say bigot when it doesn't apply.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Frank

      Funny... the same can be said of your post

      June 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  16. HeavenSent

    Google male penis docking

    June 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • LOL Religion

      This takes me to the Vatican home page.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  17. Phil in Oregon

    Enough of the Catholic bashing. There are about 1 BILLION members, and some of them are going to be bad apples. I personally believe they pressed too many men into celibacy when it is a very special calling. Only God can enable a person to succeed at that vow. Taking the vow without His ordination is a recipe for disaster.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • QS

      I've heard it said that the only difference between religion and a cult, is the number of followers.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Hugo

      "Taking the vow without His ordination is a recipe for disaster." Because?

      One gripe I have with many Catholics (and certainly not all of them) is the business of not citing their sources.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Madtown

      Only God can enable a person to succeed at that vow.
      ----
      But, I thought we all had free will?

      June 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Madtown,

      "Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

      June 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Madtown

      DamianKnight
      "Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21
      ----–
      Damian, thanks for quoting the word of man. That verse has some nice poetic ring. Seems to only amplify my confusion, though, is there free will, or does the lord's purpose prevail?

      June 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  18. Hmmmm

    live and let live

    June 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  19. spartan74

    Here's an idea. Ban religion. All religion. Everywhere. That would get rid of 90% of the conflict, hatred, intolerance and ignorance in the world and the turmoil discussed in this article would be non existent.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • humberto

      What for, You all don't practice it anyway .

      June 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Nikita019

      Disagree. No, you would have to ban people as hate is in people, not in any religion! People hate, people judge, people cause wars and use religion as their reason. You would have to ban PEOPLE and that sir would be the end of mankind.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "What for, You all don't practice it anyway ."

      Evidently you cannot read. Go back over their post, slowly this time.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • J

      No it wouldn't

      June 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Nikita019

      No problem reading here.Religion is not the problem........People are!

      June 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • mkelloggwilson

      Banning religion is a ridiculous answer. There will always be those who want to believe in something not in the physical world. It can be found in every corner of the world for thousands of years.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • humberto

      @ religion a way to control a weak mind.

      You practice Fuch yourself .

      June 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Actually, if you want to get to the root of the problem, ban money. Any currency of any kind. At the end of the day, it all comes back to economics, if you follow the line far enough. So obviously, all of these horrible things in the world happen due to finances. After all, "Money is the root of all evil." So let's just put a ban on any type of economics and figure out a way to work without any sort of barter system.

      And this idea is as ridiculous as getting rid of religion.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Frank

      The hatred and intolarance problem comes from those who hate a particular religion..Catholic, Judism, Mormanism, ect. That is why America was founded. Too much hatred in Europe & Asia.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Father

      Sadly its true. There would be no w©rld p€ace or a happily ever after if r€ligion was gone. Man kill$ and abuses its power over other men. Always have, always will.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "No problem reading here.Religion is not the problem........People are!"

      Wasn't talking to you, but anyway....

      June 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • sarge325

      The Soviets and the Maoists banned religion. Did that prevent murder and persecution? Yes, much evil has been done by the organized religions over the centuries, but it is the intolerance and quest for power by those in charge that causes this, whatever the ideology.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  20. Jim In Frankfort

    Ultimately the answer to the question is between any individual who chooses to define themselves as a "true catholic" and god. I am called to be the best catholic I can be, not to decide whether anyone else is a "good catholic" or a "true catholic".

    June 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      you are making a rather large assumption that your god is REAL, without proof.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Father

      As are y©u are assuming evolution is REAL, without proof! If y©u can produce even one set of complete tr@nsitional f©ssils, we can debate this further.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • J

      And you make an assumption he's fake, without proof.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Tom, Tom the Piper's Father

      The good old creation argument of a non-complete transitional fossil set. And if one were to be found, it's always said that there needs to be one more on either side otherwise it's not complete. Over and over this has been brought up. GO to talkorigins.org and educate your ignorant self.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "And you make an assumption he's fake, without proof."

      First, I do not have prove anything. The burden of proof is on the person who is stating such outlandish statements based on NOTHING. Especially when it comes to the rights of others.

      "As are y©u are assuming evolution is REAL, without proof!"
      Second, I never stated I assume evolution is real. Where did you read that? Or are you just putting words in my mouth? Typical christian, everything is black and white. Sorry but I actually think critically and make educated decisions based on my own experiences, not what someone tells me.

      Third, when you wake up and realize that FALLIBLE HUMAN BEINGS wrote the bible to control people, then other FALLIBLE HUMAN BEINGS edited the bible to fit an agenda (Money and power), you will see what I see. Until then, you are just blind.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Father

      Y©u said it y©urself IF. Because it does not exsist, nor can y©u produce anything complete. Sad thing is that this fundamental knowlege is basic understanding and does not require a phd, yet y©u dont get or see the lack of proof y©ur theory (does not) contains.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      mema, what part of science class did you actually attend before you dropped out of high school? The incompleteness of the fossil record–how does that prove that evolution is nonexistent?

      June 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • TR6

      @J:”And you make an assumption he's fake, without proof.”

      Yes, just like my “assumptions’ that UFO’s, Santa Clause and big foot are all fake without proof. Your god is just another member of the group of imaginary beings that no one can conclusively prove don’t exist.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
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About this blog

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.