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October 17th, 2012
02:11 AM ET

Bible Belt Christian pretends to be gay

Timothy Kurek talks to HLN's "Evening Express" team about why he pretended to be gay for a year.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Christianity

soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. MPS

    Pretends? Whatever you say... whatever you say.

    November 15, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  2. gaydadinsocal

    My sincerest hope, although regrettably I will not live to see it, is that humanity will eventually free itself from the bonds of religion as we continue to evolve. The terrorizing thought that we must all one day die drives us to invent deity after deity over the centuries to comfort ourselves with the fact that something awaits us on the other side. That wouldn't be so bad if it just remained some panacea for our fears of an absolute end.

    Unfortunately, it is not in mankind's nature to leave it at that...we must wield religion as a weapon against all whom we fear and loathe. Conveniently, religion offers bigots and hatemongers an easy out–they can easily cloak their raw prejudice, fear in the mantle of religious piety that justifies their viewpoint and condemns all others.

    November 13, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • chockle

      If you believe that nothing awaits you after death, then why the heck do you care? If your thoughts are nothing more than a chemical reaction, what difference does it make if your chemical reaction says "there is no God" and mine says "there is a God"? If all that matters is the laws of science, then your and my chemical reactions/thoughts are an inevitable result of them, and terms like hope, freedom, right and wrong are inherently meaningless because they only exist as a chemical reaction that we have no supernatural control over. By the way, you can have your sincerest hope right now by going to your room, closing your eyes, and imagining you're in a perfect world (if you can't imagine one without eternal life, don't expect everyone else in the world to start lining up to become atheists).

      November 13, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Vlad

      @chockle:
      we feel pain and suffering in this current life. Even if there is no afterlife, we want to live our days on earth with dignity, and we want to create better conditions for our children that we have ourselves. Afterlife and judgement after death are not needed to strive for desire for a better society, and for treating each other well.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  3. Waassabee

    I still think its gross ...

    November 12, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Todd in DC

      You can believe what you want. It's when you impact on gay people's civil liberties that there is a problem.

      November 12, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  4. Nature

    It is not adaptive to try to form reality around beliefs. Rather, our beliefs should be formed to reality. And, they should help us deal with reality as it truely is. Just because I believe a speeding truck isn't coming down the street, doesn't mean a thing. The physical reality (although perhaps no the complete picture) should be taken into account, or there could be consequences if I cross the street. Just because I think gays shouldn't exist, doesn't mean they don't exist. Just because I think climate change isn't real, or that carbon-14 dating isn't true, doesn't mean its not. Religion and dogma is holding our adaptive process back. It is a holdover from a time when we did not know many things. Its time to change.

    Indeed, if one person tells you that you have a tail, you can laugh it off. Same with 2 or 10 people. But at some point, you should check for yourself. When you check, do it thoroughly, or you;re just kidding yourself.

    November 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  5. Erik

    "RATHER A CHOICE OF BEHAVIORAL PATTERN"

    Being gay is not a choice science, in fact, is actually not in dispute on this matter.

    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.

    Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy or reorientation therapy, "counsels" LGBT persons to pray fervently and study Bible verses, often utilizing 12-step techniques that are used to treat sexual addictions or trauma. Such Christian councilors are pathologizing homosexuality, which is not a pathology but is a sexual orientation. Psychologically, that's very dangerous territory to tread on. All of the above-mentioned medical professional organizations, in addition to the American and European Counseling Associations, stand strongly opposed to any form of reparative therapy.

    In my home country, Norway, reparative therapy is officially considered to be ethical malpractice. But there are many countries that do not regulate the practice, and many others that remain largely silent and even passively supportive of it (such as the Philippines). Groups that operate such "therapy" in the Philippines are the Evangelical Bagong Pag-asa, and the Catholic Courage Philippines.

    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!"

    Take this interesting paragraph I found on an Evangelical website: "The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" – meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are 'born that way.'"

    But that's not at all what it means, and it seems Evangelicals are plucking out stand-alone phrases from scientific reports and removing them from their context. This is known in academia as the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Interestingly, this is also what they have a habit of doing with verses from the Bible.

    This idea of sexuality being a choice is such a bizarre notion to me as a man of science. Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

    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).

    Furthermore, 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.

    Having said that, in the realm of legal rights, partnership rights, and anti-discrimination protections, the gay gene vs. choice debate is actually quite irrelevant. Whether or not something is a choice is not a suitable criterion for whether someone should have equal rights and protections. Religion is indisputably a choice, but that fact is a not a valid argument for discriminating against a particular religion.

    November 12, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Brian

      Thanks for your insight. The fact is, this nation - the USA - was founded at least in part to allow freedom from the religious preferences of groups that might gain political power. ALL anti-gay groups claim their authority is the Bible. This excludes them de facto from writing their opinion into legislation. But we have to ask: why is it that the last bastion of resistance to the expansion of human rights always seems to be people armed with Bibles?

      November 12, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  6. john

    Easy to "pretend" to be gay when you are gay.

    November 12, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  7. God

    I declare, in the name of myself, all Abrahamic faiths abolished.
    So it shall be written, so it shall be done.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • nojusticed

      I am going to pretend for a week that I have found god and lie to my family to see how they act towards me, then I will come back and tell them that it was a joke and that i actually still do not believe in god.

      November 10, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  8. GTA

    Timothy Kurek is not gay. But, he thanks God that his boyfriend is...

    November 9, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  9. The Eternal Satyr

    There is only one word in the bible anyone ever needs to read: Love.

    That's it. Love. If you can't do this one simply thing, you might as well throw your bible away.

    November 9, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  10. rudy espinoza

    A MAN, BORN WITH COJONES WITH A WOMAN'S MIND? RATHER A CHOICE OF BEHAVIORAL PATTERN, A PERVERTED LIFESYLE, THAN FOLLOWING CHRIST? WHICH JESUS ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? IT IS CLEARLY STATED IN THE BIBLE IF THEY PRESENT TO YOU ANOTHER JESUS LET THEM BE ANATHEMA. SORRY, FELLER, YOU NEED THE REAL JESUS IN YOUR HEART. READ THE LAST CHAPTER OF REVELATION YOURSELF TO PROVE YOURSELF RIGHT OR WRONG. SORRY. YOU HAVE HOPE THOUGH IF YOU CALL UPON HIS HELP. YOU KNOW WHAT YOU MUST DO IF YOU HAVE ANY KNOWLEDGE OF SCRIPTURE, PLEASE BE WISE IO SAID SCRIPTURES, NOT TWISTED SCRIPTURES. SORRY AGAIN. I WISH I COULD HELP YOU MYSELF. PLEASE DO NOT ANY ERADIC, IRRELEVANT NOR TWISTED BIBLE COMMENTS, DON'T MAKE YOUR CASE HARDER IN THAT DAY.

    November 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Not Your Average White Guy

      i would like to add three things to your rant:
      1. your caps lock is on.
      2. the scriptures were written by holy men not god.
      3. there is no god other than a made up belief by ancient people to explain the unknown.

      November 8, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Lisa

      Science much? Didn't think so...

      November 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Stefanie

      Rudy... STOP shouting. And, for goodness sakes be intelligent about that which you write!

      November 10, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  11. gahh

    If being Gay, is a sin, then let God do the judging of these people. The problem with christian conservatives is, they don't know their own Bible. So called christian conservatives, are the last people that should be judging other people. God does not appreciate anybody, doing his job. "Judge ye not, that ye shall be judged. For All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. It's easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter heaven". To all the christian conservatives, millionaires and billionaires, you bettered worry about your own sins, not everybody else's.

    November 7, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • chris

      well put

      November 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Bob

      Very well put

      November 9, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • GTA

      Very, very well put.

      November 9, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • john

      Nonsense! All your scripture quotes are out of context. And as far as judging another, well, it is also in your holy book that you need to judge others at times. The problem (or genius) of the bible is that it can be made to say anything you want it to as long as you pick and choose what to say disregarding all context entirely.

      November 12, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Brian

      Thanks. Well said.

      November 12, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  12. Brent

    Religion-based bigotry against LGBT people is wrong…just as it was wrong to use religious teachings to justify discrimination against Native Americans, African Americans, minority religious groups, woman and interracial couples.

    Connecting the dots between historical bigotry against other groups and the attitudes of some people today toward homosexuality is one of the most effective ways to educate people about the denial of equal rights to the LGBT community.

    Most people know that, historically, religion has been used to justify discrimination against women, religious minorities and people of color. Putting anti-gay religious beliefs in this historical context can be a powerful tool in connecting discrimination that most Americans today accept as morally wrong and the discrimination faced by LGBT people. By citing historical instances of religion-based bigotry and prejudice, you allow people to be more comfortable with attitudinal change – they realize they are not stepping out alone against a commonly accepted viewpoint but rather following historical progress toward justice and equality.

    When talking about the misuse of religion to justify discrimination in the past, it is important not to say that the LGBT community’s struggle with discrimination is exactly the same as the Civil Rights Movement. Rather, the point is that religion-based bigotry has been a common denominator of injustice toward many groups in American society’s past. When given a chance, many people will see the underlying historical pattern of using religious teachings and beliefs to justify harmful discrimination.

    There is another benefit to citing other times in the past when religious teachings have been used to justify discrimination. Many times, when people of faith are challenged about their anti-gay views, they cite biblical verses or other religious texts as a safe haven when they are unable to articulate why they hold prejudiced attitudes toward LGBT people. Instead of telling people that their interpretation is wrong, you can remind them that other religious texts have been used in the past to justify attitudes and laws that are recognized today as morally wrong and unjust – such as discrimination against women, people of color and religious minorities.

    History provides the moral judgment, and we do not have to be theologians engaged in scriptural debates to point people to the judgment rendered by history.

    November 7, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  13. Don

    " being gay does not mean that either the parent or god accepts their behavior."

    The most beautiful word in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is "whosoever." All of God's promises are intended for every human being. This includes gay men and lesbians. How tragic it is that the Christian Church has excluded and persecuted people who are homosexual! We are all created with powerful needs for personal relationships. Our quality of life depends upon the love we share with others; whether family or friends, partners or peers. Yet, lesbians and gay men facing hostile attitudes in society often are denied access to healthy relationships. Jesus Christ calls us to find ultimate meaning in life through a personal relationship with our Creator. This important spiritual union can bring healing and strength to all of our human relationships

    Biblical Interpretation and Theology also change from time to time. Approximately 150 years ago in the United States, some Christian teaching held that there was a two-fold moral order: black and white. Whites were thought to be superior to blacks, therefore blacks were to be subservient and slavery was an institution ordained by God. Clergy who supported such an abhorrent idea claimed the authority of the Bible. The conflict over slavery led to divisions which gave birth to some major Christian denominations. These same denominations, of course, do not support slavery today. Did the Bible change? No, their interpretation of the Bible did!

    Genesis 19:1-25

    Some "televangelists" carelessly proclaim that God destroyed the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of "homosexuality." Although some theologians have equated the sin of Sodom with homosexuality, a careful look at Scripture corrects such ignorance. Announcing judgment on these cities in Genesis 18, God sends two angels to Sodom, where Abraham's nephew, Lot, persuades them to stay in his home. Genesis 19 records that "all the people from every quarter" surround Lot's house demanding the release of his visitors so "we might know them." The Hebrew word for "know" in this case, yadha, usually means "have thorough knowledge of." It could also express intent to examine the visitors' credentials, or on rare occasions the term implies sexual intercourse. If the latter was the author's intended meaning, it would have been a clear case of attempted gang rape. Several observations are important.

    First, the judgment on these cities for their wickedness had been announced prior to the alleged homosexual incident. Second, all of Sodom's people participated in the assault on Lot's house; in no culture has more than a small minority of the population been homosexual. Third, Lot's offer to release his daughters suggests he knew his neighbors to have heterosexual interests. Fourth, if the issue was sexual, why did God spare Lot, who immediately commits incest with his daughters? Most importantly, why do all the other passages of Scripture referring to this account fail to raise the issue of homosexuality?

    Romans 1:24-27

    Most New Testament books, including the four Gospels, are silent on same-sex acts, and Paul is the only author who makes any reference to the subject. The most negative statement by Paul regarding same-sex acts occurs in Romans 1:24-27 where, in the context of a larger argument on the need of all people for the gospel of Jesus Christ, certain homosexual behavior is given as an example of the "uncleanness" of idolatrous Gentiles.

    This raises the question: Does this passage refer to all homosexual acts, or to certain homosexual behavior known to Paul's readers? The book of Romans was written to Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome, who would have been familiar with the infamous sexual excesses of their contemporaries, especially Roman emperors. They would also have been aware of tensions in the early Church regarding Gentiles and observance of the Jewish laws, as noted in Acts 15 and Paul's letter to the Galatians. Jewish laws in Leviticus mentioned male same-sex acts in the context of idolatry.

    The homosexual practices cited in Romans 1:24-27 were believed to result from idolatry and are associated with some very serious offenses as noted in Romans 1. Taken in this larger context, it should be obvious that such acts are significantly different from loving, responsible lesbian and gay relationships seen today.

    What is "Natural"?

    Significant to Paul's discussion is the fact that these "unclean" Gentiles exchanged that which was "natural" for them, physin, in the Greek text, for something "unnatural," para physin. In Romans 11:24, God acts in an "unnatural" way, para physin, to accept the Gentiles. "Unnatural" in these passages does not refer to violation of so-called laws of nature, but rather implies action contradicting one's own nature. In view of this, we should observe that it is "unnatural," para physin, for a person today with a lesbian or gay sexual orientation to attempt living a heterosexual lifestyle.

    I Corinthians 6:9

    Any consideration of New Testament statements on same-sex acts must carefully view the social context of the Greco-Roman culture in which Paul ministered. Prostitution and pederasty (sexual relationships of adult men with boys) were the most commonly known male same-sex acts. In I Corinthians 6:9, Paul condemns those who are "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind," as translated in the King James version. Unfortunately, some new translations are worse, rendering these words "homosexuals." Recent scholarship unmasks the homophobia behind such mistranslations.

    The first word – malakos, in the Greek text-which has been translated "effeminate" or "soft," most likely refers to someone who lacks discipline or moral control. The word is used elsewhere in the New Testament but never with reference to sexuality.

    The second word, Arsenokoitai, occurs once each in I Corinthians and I Timothy (1:10), but nowhere else in other literature of the period. It is derived from two Greek words, one meaning, "males" and the other "beds", a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Other Greek words were commonly used to describe homosexual behavior but do not appear here. The larger context of I Corinthians 6 shows Paul extremely concerned with prostitution, so it is very possible he was referring to male prostitutes. But many experts now attempting to translate these words have reached a simple conclusion: their precise meaning is uncertain. Scripture Study Conclusion…No Law Against Love

    The rarity with which Paul discusses any form of same-sex behavior and the ambiguity in references attributed to him make it extremely unsound to conclude any sure position in the New Testament on homosexuality, especially in the context of loving, responsible relationships. Since any arguments must be made from silence, it is much more reliable to turn to great principles of the Gospel taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. Do not judge others, lest you be judged. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love . . . against such there is no law. One thing is abundantly clear, as Paul stated in Galatians 5:14: "...the whole Law is fulfilled in one statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself".

    November 7, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Brian

      Well done. It should also be pointed out that the Prophet Ezekiel boldly states that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was pride. Just pride. A clear understanding of the relationship of communities in that part of the world at the time of these stories will explain to those without an agenda that it is the anti-gay movement - not the gays - who embody the spirit of Sodom and Gomorrah. How ironic is that!

      November 12, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Kevin

      We need more people like you in the world. Well done and thank you for your insight!

      November 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  14. Mike

    More propaganda, instead of guiding our youth we allow our youth to guide us. Just because some parents would rather have a relationship with their children then to throw them out on the street for being gay does not mean that either the parent or god accepts their behavior. This kind of reporting is attacking religious faith for not changing their moral beliefs.

    November 7, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • fintastic

      Replace the words "moral beliefs" with bigotry.

      November 8, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Lisa

      Don't you mean your so-called moral beliefs? I know you mean well but, by every indication, you are wrong wrong wrong and judgmental to boot.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Lisa

      I'd like to add that even bigotry against blacks has been supported by reading of scripture in the past.
      Scripture can be twisted into all sorts of evil things.

      True morality comes from the heart.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  15. Mike P

    And another Christian falls victim to "compassionate compromise." Sad.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Tricia

      I am so tired of "Christians " Judging people. look inside yourself and read the bible. Compassion and love are what it is supposed to be about but alas it is not that way. No one is asking you to be gay but simply to show love and compassion which supposedly is whatchristian values are built on

      November 7, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
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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.