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After gay marriage successes, activists look to build on new faith outreach techniques
Faith-based activists in Minnesota helped defeat a proposed gay marriage ban there this month.
November 30th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

After gay marriage successes, activists look to build on new faith outreach techniques

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – It may not sound very powerful, but gay rights activist Debra Peevey said that a two-inch green button played a major role in convincing voters to legalize gay marriage this month in her home state of Washington.

“Another Person of Faith Approves R. 74,” said the button, which refers to the ballot initiative that wound up legalizing gay marriage in Washington.

As faith director for the statewide pro-gay marriage campaign, Washington United for Marriage, Peevey and her team distributed 5,000 of the buttons. They were conversation starters, she said, ways of letting people know they could relate to one another on the intimate level of religion. And that being religious didn’t meant you had to oppose gay marriage.

“We had people clamoring for the buttons,” Peevey said. “People of faith all over the state wore them. It amplified that perspective that people of faith do, in fact, support marriage equality.”

This year, voters in Washington State were joined by those in Maryland, Maine and Minnesota in handing big victories to the gay rights movement. In the first three states, voters legalized gay marriage. In Minnesota, they rejected a measure that would have banned same-sex marriage.

After watching dozens of states adopt gay marriage bans in recent years, gay rights activists hope this month’s victories mark a national turning point. And to help push other states to follow suit, they are holding up efforts like Peevey’s as a blueprint for how to successfully incorporate faith into future gay rights campaigns.

Some same-sex marriage proponents think their fight may move to Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Oregon or some combination of those states. Wherever the effort goes, gay rights activists say, faith will be a part of the mix.

“Faith became part of the solution and not just the problem in all four states” where gay marriage was on the ballot this year, said Sharon Groves, director of the religion and faith program at the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group. “We will never do a campaign moving forward where engaging people of faith will not be central part of that work.”

‘Be who you are, not something you are not’

For Grant Stevensen, a Lutheran pastor in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the faith director for the campaign opposing a gay marriage ban in the state, engaging faith communities depended on framing the debate the right way.

In past gay rights ballot fights, Stevensen said, the same-sex marriage movement put “a big emphasis on civil rights language and connection to the civil rights movement.” But the messaging didn’t work, he said, with many people rejecting the idea of a link between civil rights for minorities and marriage rights for gays.

Instead, Stevensen and his team used words like “love,” “marriage” and “commitment,” in their messaging about opposing a gay marriage ban, words that he said strike at the heart of Christian beliefs about marriage. “Our goal for the whole campaign was to emphasize those themes and talk specifically about gay people,” he said, “as opposed to making this another civil rights movement.”

Similar campaigns in other states took different approaches.

For instance in Maryland, gay rights activists emphasized outreach to African-American churches and played up civil rights arguments.

In Maine and Washington State, enormous effort went into mobilizing lay Catholics, even if their hierarchy actively opposed the gay marriage campaigns. Stevensen’s Minnesota campaign, meanwhile, targeted the state’s many Lutherans.

“Be who you are, not something you are not,” the pastor said, encouraging other gay rights activists to combat the stereotype that all Christians “are opposed to gay people.”

The right conversation

In past ballot fights, which resulted in gay marriage bans in more than 30 states, forces opposed to same-sex marriage had dominated the faith conversation.

A faithful same-sex marriage supporter was seen as an outlier.

When Ross Murray, director of religion, faith and values at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), was asked by his bosses to be one of the lead liaisons between the four state-based gay campaigns and the national gay rights organization, he knew more emphasis than ever was going to be put on religion.

Murray advised the campaigns to ask “people to vote the value that they have been taught” and “make sure that you can reach within all religious groups and get those who have passion and have them reach their friends, neighbors and co-congregants.”

That’s what Stevens tried to do in Minnesota: “We were going to either own this conversation about faith and if we can’t own it, no one is going to own it.”

Stevensen and his eight-person faith staff trained 2,500 "conversationalists," religious people who were taught how to have conversations about gay marriage with other people of faith. They were instructed to discuss same-sex marriage in terms of their religious beliefs. The campaign offered similar training sessions to more than 500 clergy.

The two-hour-long training sessions also focused on people telling their own faith stories. If someone had once been opposed to same-sex marriage because of their religious beliefs, they were encouraged to talk about that, too.

More than anything, said Stevensen, the conversationalists were encouraged to listen.

“People have their reasons to think what they do. [We taught how to] draw people out and make sure they are heard,” he said. “All of us like to be listened to.”

The Human Rights Campaign’s Groves said she was impressed by the lengths these campaigns went to reach deep into faith communities. As a veteran of the same-sex marriage fight, Graves was there when the movement struggled with this sort of outreach.

“It makes sense that we would have made some mistakes around that,” Groves said. “LGBT people have been harmed by the church.”

Perhaps the biggest mistake was around the gay marriage ban in California, known as Proposition 8.

Prop 8 mistakes

Debra Peevey was faith-based field organizer in Southern California during the fight against the Proposition 8 ballot initiative in 2008.

One reason she and her fellow gay rights activists lost that campaign was the way the religious conversation played out. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, along with the Roman Catholic Church actively campaigned for Prop 8. That framed the fight as one between secularists and believers.

“There was a resistance in engaging faith community,” Groves said. “We kind of let the religious right define the space for us and that was a real learning that we got from that.”

While religious organizations were pouring in money and manpower, said GLAAD’s Murray, anti-Prop. 8 opponents were apprehensive in reaching out to religious allies and ineffective at building enthusiasm from sympathetic religious communities and leaders.

Both Murray and Groves describe the post-Prop 8 reflection period as a “turning point” for the gay-rights community that gave rise to this year’s intense faith-based organizing.

Now, Peevey said, there’s no going back: “I can’t imagine that we will ever have a LGBT campaign where faith was not a part of the team.”

Moving forward

At pro-same-sex marriage organizations like GLAAD, Murray said conversations are turning to where the next gay marriage fights will happen.

“It is really hard to tell where this is going to come up again,” said Murray, adding that the next attempts to block or legalize gay marriage may happen legislatively in some states, as opposed to via ballot initiative.

He said gay rights groups want to tap into the Lutheran networks in Colorado, Illinois and Oregon early, to ensure that their LGBT outreach is well established by the time any ballot initiative or legislative efforts formally get under way.

By the time that happens, the gay rights community has learned, it may already be too late to frame the faith conversation around gay marriage.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Faith Now • Politics • Same-sex marriage • Sexuality • United States

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  3. 261 Ministers Proclamation

    As Christian clergy we proclaim: the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.

    In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:

    -to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;

    –to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;

    –to declare that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;

    –to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;

    Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

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    John

    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.

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    Don

    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".

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    Sarah

    Let me make one thing clear: being gay is not wrong. It is not unnatural. It isn’t immoral or gross or something that should provoke disgust. What is wrong, what is unnatural, what is immoral and what is gross is intolerance and discrimination against fellow human beings for their sexual orientation and active pursuit of preventing loving and committed homosexual couples from legally being married.

    I believe in God, and I identify as a Christian, and this identity as a Christian has provided me with the insight to know that people who oppose gay marriage based on “religious reasons” are just making excuses for their homophobia. The idea that homosexuality is sinful is a farce. The Bible never actually condemns homosexuality. You know what the Bible does condemn?

    Winking. “He who winks is plotting perversity.” Proverbs 16:30

    Rounded haircuts. “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.” Leviticus 19:17

    Tattoos. “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you.” Leviticus 19:28

    It is unacceptable that some modern Americans think it’s alright to toss rules like these aside and yet still vehemently oppose marriage rights for homosexual couples.

    As a Christian, I’ve been taught to love my neighbor. Somehow, active public discrimination against homosexuals and barring fellow human beings from marriage rights does not seem very loving or neighborly to me.

    Homosexuality isn’t a disease: it’s an innate way of being.

    Nobody is going to “catch” gay.

    Nobody is going to be “cured” of their homosexuality.

    Sexual orientation is personal and affects nobody but the individual and is absolutely not the business of anybody but the individual.

    The fact that people continue to suggest otherwise and perpetuate this idea that homosexuality is wrong and attempting to make outcasts of people who identify as gay is unbelievably disgusting and frightening and old-fashioned.

    It’s 2012, and we should have come much further than this by now.

    This matters. This is an issue that, if left unfixed, tacitly permits discrimination and harassment.

    The prevalence of anti-gay messages encourages bullying and hate crimes, and there are literally confused, hurt, frightened young people who actually kill themselves over issues like this — and yet people still insist upon calling homosexuality a sin.

    The cruelty and hypocrisy is infuriating and unacceptable.

    It needs to stop.

    Until marriage equality is legal in all fifty states, I hope Americans will have the courage to end hatred and homophobia.
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    Eric

    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.

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    James

    As usual, Bob is wrong again. The scriptures actually say nothing about homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation. Our understandings of sexual orientation are distinctly modern ones that were not present in the minds of Scripture writers. A few passages of Scripture (seven at the most) object to certain types of same-sex expressions or acts. The particular acts in question, however, are sexual expressions which are exploitative, oppressive, commercialized, or offensive to ancient purity rituals. There is no Scriptural guidance for same-sex relationships which are loving and mutually respecting. Guidelines for these relationships should come from the same general Scriptural norms that apply to heterosexual relationships.
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    Brent

    "There is no Christian case for "gay marriage"

    Religion-based bigotry 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 atudes of some people today toward hosexuality 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 atudinal 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 atudes 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 atudes 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.

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    Elaine

    "Sodom and Gomorrah is still a good example. "

    In Genesis 18, the story about the angels coming to Lot's house, we learn that the reason they were coming to destroy Sodom was because of the wickedness that ALREADY existed in the city. The exact form of wickedness is not mentioned in that story!

    Let's just reinforce this CRITICAL piece of information. In the story of Sodom, in Genesis 18, God had ALREADY decided to destroy the city BEFORE the attempted ra pe of the angels – which incidentally was perpetrated mainly by heterose xuals since ALL the men of the city were involved, and we know that throughout history, gays have only represented about 10% of the population. Also, if they were ho mose xuals, why would Lot suggest that they take his daughters instead? That just doesn't make sense if the men were gay.

    So just to get this straight, the event that took place at Sodom was an act of violence and ra pe, mainly by heterose xuals. It had nothing to do with a loving relationship between two people of the same se x, and ho mose xuality was NOT the sin of Sodom in whatever form. The story of Sodom in Genesis 18 was about violence and domination, the same type of event that takes place in prisons and occupied countries, but it was NOT the reason for God's decision to destroy the city, and to use this story as a basis for prejudice against ho mose xuality in general is like comparing ra pe to marriage. There is NO similarity!

    The aftermath of Sodom aside, let's take a look at other passages of Scripture that mention the sin of Sodom. Here are 14 references to Sodom and not one of them mentions ho mose xuality!!!!! The overwhelming themes are idolatry, immorality and inhospitality! To me, this indicates people like Bob and HeavenSent have taken things out of context!

    Deuteronomy 29:17-26 – the sin – idolatry and images to false gods – "Why has the Lord done this to the land? . . . It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the Lord . . ."

    Deuteronomy 32:32-38 – the sin – idolatry – "He will say 'Now where are their gods?'"

    Isaiah 1:2-23 – the sin – idolatry, rebellion, injustice, murder, greed, theft, covetousness, mistreating the poor – "They have rebelled against Me."

    Isaiah 3:8-19 – the sin – idolatry, arrogance – "Their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying His glorious Presence"

    Jeremiah 23:10-14 – the sin – idolatry, adultery, lying by priests and prophets – "Both prophet and priest are godless. . . . They prophesied by Baal and led My people astray."

    Jeremiah 49:16-18 – the sin – idolatry, arrogance, oppression, pride of the heart – "The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived
    you. . ."

    Jeremiah 50:2-40 – the sin – idolatry, pride, false prophets – "Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror. . . . . For she has defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. . . . . Their shepherds have led them astray."

    Lamentations 4:3-6 – the sin – cruelty and failure to care for the young and poor – "My people have become heartless."

    Ezekiel 16:49-50 – the sin – "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned: they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me."

    Amos 4:1-11 – the sin – idolatry, oppression, mistreating the poor – "I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom . . . . yet you have not returned to Me."

    Zephaniah 2:8-11 – the sin – idolatry, pride, mocking – "This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the Lord Almighty. The Lord will be awesome to them when He destroys all the gods of the land."

    Luke 17:26-29 – Jesus speaking – No specific sins mentioned

    II Peter 2:1-22 – the sin – idolatry, living after ungodliness, lawlessness, arrogance, blaspheming, adultery, greed, corruption, depravity, boasting, lust – "But there were also false prophets among the people . . . . ."

    Jude 1:7-8 – the sin – se xual immorality and perversion, i.e fornication after strange flesh (angels, see Genesis 6:1) KJV

    The dictionary defines "perversion" as "a se xual practice regarded as abnormal". That means that a heterose xual practicing ho mose xual acts is perverted as in the case of ALL the men of Sodom wanting to engage with the angels (strange flesh). However, since se x with the same gender is normal for a gay person, there is no perversion associated merely by the se xual act.

    Note also that, while the word "abomination" has been used with reference to hom ose xuality, the biblical interpretation of the word "abomination" relates to any act of uncleanness as set out in the Holiness Code, such as eating shellfish, trimming your hair, touching the skin of a dead pig (should we stone the entire NFL?), wearing clothes of two kinds of material (polyester/cotton) – the list is long. How can we discuss one sin to the exclusion of all others?

    This is an enormous subject, which has been reduced to simplistic values. It is plain and simple prejudice to portray ho mose xuals as immoral just because of the gender to whom we are attracted. Of course there are immoral hom ose xuals, just as there are immoral heterose xuals, but simple orientation carries no implication of morality or immorality.

    Our se xuality is God-given. God made us the way we are. It follows naturally that He loves us exactly the way He made us. So long as we embrace marriage with the same standards as any monogamous, loving heterose xual relationship there should be no barrier against us.

    When gays are only asking to have their loving relationships acknowledged and respected, why is there so much fear and anger? To strengthen marriage, why not take a stand against divorce and separation, instead of opposing love and commitment? Jesus spoke of divorce, but he never mentioned hom ose xuality. I believe that was because ho mose xuality was not even an issue in His day. Love was love. Love IS Love!

    "Protect marriage? Puhlease. With a 50 percent divorce rate, rampant domestic violence, Las Vegas drive-through chapels, and I wanna-marry-a-really-rich-guy reality TV shows, there's no way gays could trash marriage the way straight people have."

    This letter only refers to the sin of Sodom. There are actually six "clobber verses" which are used against gays. Space does not permit an explanation of each one, but just as the sin of Sodom has been misrepresented, so have the other verses. There is an explanation for each one that clearly indicates that, just as slavery was condoned by Scripture for many years, ("Slaves obey your masters . . . . ." Eph. 6:5-8) and civil wars were fought to protect the ownership of people, we now know that Scripture was interpreted incorrectly, for God would not have people to be possessions.

    We now have a fuller understanding of Scripture with regard to slavery. It's time to accept a fuller understanding of ho mose xuality based on new research into language, concepts and customs when these words were written.

    So please choose acceptance and inclusiveness whether or not you understand fully. One of us is wrong. Many of you think it's me. I think it's you, based on solid research into Scripture from another perspective. Yes, God encourages us to question Scripture.

    "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, REPROOF and instruction in righteousness." II Tim. 3:16

    If there is even a chance that I could be right, do you want to take the eternal risk of rejecting some of God's children, and slamming the doors of your churches to those of us who wish to enter? That's what you're doing when you treat us as less than yourselves simply based on our orientation.

    If we have done the research, and it is our understanding that God loves us, including our orientation, then why not just let God be the judge? He will be in the end anyway. If one of us is to err, why not err on the side of love and acceptance? Now that was truly Jesus' example!

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    Shawn

    Let me start this off with a quote from a famous lesbian, Lynn Lavner:

    "There are 6 admonishments in the Bible concerning ho mose xual activity, and our enemies are always throwing them up to us – usually in a vicious way and very much out of context.

    What they don't want us to remember is that there are 362 admonishments in the Bible concerning heterose xual activity. I don't mean to imply by this that God doesn't love straight people, only that they seem to require a great deal more supervision."

    I am going to attempt to keep this short and simple, so here we go.

    Some claim that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 clearly say that ho mose xual se x is an abomination. In fact, it merits death. Isn't it obvious that God hates hom ose xuality?

    Yes, depending on which translation you are using, Leviticus does say, "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female, it's an abomination." However, a few points must be made about this statement:

    a) It appears in Leviticus, which was given to preserve the distinctive characteristics of the religion and culture of Israel. However, as stated in Galatians 3:22-55, Christians are no longer bound by these Jewish laws. Even if you, for some reason, argue that these "laws" are still important, then you surely follow all of them, right?

    It is interesting that people who use Leviticus against the gay community forget the part that talks about religious sacrifices, making women sleep in tents outside during their period, the dietary restrictions placed on them and how to cleanse a leper, all of which appear in Leviticus.

    The laws of Leviticus are completely obsolete for today's Christian; however, even if you do claim to live by the laws of Leviticus, it is not fair to pick and choose which laws you are going to live by, or condemn a people by, if you are not going to follow the others. You should not need any more convincing evidence than this; but if you do, be my guest.

    b) The word that was in the original work, "to'ebah," which was translated into Greek as "bdglygma" actually means "ritual impurity" rather than abomination (or enormous sin). These passages in Leviticus can be translated to not mean hom ose xual se x generally, but only limiting hom ose xual se x in Pagan temples.

    c) This passage does not denounce hom ose xual behavior as a whole, but just the specific act of anal se x. This was meant for the prevention of disease. It was ruled unclean because it was physically unclean; however, hygiene has made wonderful advances since that time.

    d) These passages in Leviticus can be interpreted in many ways. I have seen it interpreted by scholars and priests to mean: "don't have se x with another man in your wife's bed;" "don't have se x with another man in the temple;" and "don't have se x with another man and pretend he is a woman," just to name a few.

    I have never seen an interpretation in any Bible, or from any scholar, that specifically says to never have se x with a man.

    Some claim the Bible simply does not support gay marriage. Chapter two of Genesis defines marriage as a holy union between a man and a woman. And later, in Matthew 19:4-5, Jesus himself reiterates the traits of a traditional marriage. How can you argue that anything other than celibacy is honorable for gay and lesbian people?

    Yes, marriage is a holy union. However, in these passages, while Jesus reiterates (but does not require) the traditional marriage, he also provides an exception for eunuchs (castrated men – or otherwise impotent men, in today's terms), and allowed them to be married, saying that this law is given to those to whom it applies.

    Because these eunuchs were born se xless, God made an exception for them because it was natural. The same applies to the Gay community today. Science has proven hom ose xuality is completely natural, so it seems God would allow for hom ose xual marriages.

    In Matthew 19: 4-5, Jesus encourages a traditional path, but does not discourage alternatives, except in the case of divorce.

    Jesus did stress purity of marriage, but not in regard to the se xes of the people within it. It can be seen that the reason that churches are against hom ose xual marriage is not because it is explicitly said by God, but because of a lack of instruction to specifically allow it.

    In the time that the Bible was written it would have been impossible to foresee the future to be able to specifically allow or forbid hom ose xual marriage.

    Some claim, in Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he lists hom ose xuals amongst the many sinners who will not inherit the kingdom of God. Doesn't that make God's position on this vice very clear?

    If we look at the other types of people listed in this passage, we can understand what it is actually talking about. Law breakers, thieves, adulterers and drunks are specifically mentioned. The word "hom ose xual" was not found until the 1890s, so it would have been impossible for it to be in the original version.

    What actually appears in the original is Paul condemning those who are "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind." In this context, the original Greek word, "malakos," is translated into effeminate, or soft, which, more than likely, refers to someone who lacks discipline or moral control.

    In this passage, when Paul condemns "abusers of themselves with mankind," he is speaking of male prost itutes.

    Then there are the people who claim that, even though science has proven that people don't choose their se xual orientation, the fact remains that hom ose xuality is unnatural. Romans 1:26-27 tells us that humans have a sinful nature, and therefore commit sins against God. Certain people are predisposed to be alcoholics and pedophiles, but that doesn't make their actions any less immoral. God tells us to "tear out your eye" if it makes you stumble. Why can't you just accept hom ose xuality as the part of your nature you must deny?

    Because the Bible has gone through so many translations, and through the hands of many people (some being non-believers), it is not surprising that the meaning has become a little fuzzy in parts.

    Hom ose xuality is normal. The phrase "para physin" appears in the original text for this verse. This term is often translated to mean "unnatural;" however, more accurate translation would be unconventional.

    Proof for this can be found in 1 Corinthians 11:14 where Paul uses this phrase to refer to men with long hair (unconventional, not unnatural) and in Romans 11:24 where Paul uses this phrase to refer to the positive action God made to bring together the Jews and Gentiles.

    All in all, hom ose xuality is obviously not a sin, unless you take passages from the Bible and add your own words or you just try really hard to interpret it that way. Let's just remember Galatians 5:14, where Paul stated, "the whole Law is fulfilled in one Statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

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    YeahRight

    Bob – the biggest liar anywhere. We've pointed out over and over again you are using reports from well known hate groups that the experts in this country have proven are false. The experts in this country are stating that heterose xual behavior and hom ose xual behavior are normal aspects of human se xuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bise xual 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 hom ose xuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

    Like their heterose xual counterparts, many gay and lesbian people want to form stable, long-lasting, committed relationships. Indeed, many of them do and that large proportions are currently involved in such a relationship and that a substantial number of those couples have been together 10 or more years.

    Research demonstrates that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-se x partners closely resemble those of heterose xual partnerships. Like heterose xual couples, same-se x couples form deep emotional attachments and commitments. Heterose xual and same-se x couples alike face similar issues concerning intimacy, love, equity, loyalty, and stability, and they go through similar processes to address those issues. Research examining the quality of intimate relationships also shows that gay and lesbian couples have levels of relationship satisfaction similar to or higher than those of heterose xual couples.

    A large number of gay and lesbian couples raise children. Children and teenagers whose parents provide loving guidance in the context of secure home environments are more likely to flourish – and this is just as true for children of same-se x parents as it is for children of opposite-se x parents. Based on research findings, mental health professionals have also reached a consensus that the quality of relationships among significant adults in a child’s or adolescent’s life is associated with adjustment. When relationships between parents are characterized by love, warmth, cooperation, security, and mutual support, children and adolescents are more likely to show positive adjustment. In contrast, when relationships between parents are conflict-ridden and acrimonious, the adjustment of children and adolescents is likely to be less favorable. These correlations are just as true for children of same-se x parents as for children of opposite-se x parents.

    Assertions that heterose xual couples are inherently better parents than same se x couples, or that the children of lesbian or gay parents fare worse than children of heterose xual parents, have no support in the scientific research literature. On the contrary, the scientific research that has directly compared outcomes for children with gay and lesbian parents with outcomes for children with heterose xual parents has consistently shown that the former are as fit and capable as the latter and that their children are as psychologically healthy and well adjusted as children reared by heterose xual parents.

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    mama k

    Bob and Douglas continue to push their bigoted agenda here on this article. They seem stuck in the past – quoting outdated material and living with this very narrow view of the world.

    I have a funny feeling that SCOTUS will soon do away with DOMA. Even many of the people who were pushing for it before have vocally turned around on it. So whether it be slow, or sped up by SCOTUS, traditional marriage laws will fall reasonable soon. It's difficult to slow down a civil rights movement once it gets going.

    Whether one likes it or not, the Biblical case for gay marriage was actually made quite a long time ago. Gay couples have been getting married in quite a number of Christian and other churches in the states where it has been legal. The opportunities will grow as more and more states push for gay marriage laws. It's hard to stop a justifiable civil rights movement once it gets going.

    For those interested, the following faiths perform same-s ex marriage:

    -Washington National Cathedral
    -Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
    -United Church of Christ: The United Church of Christ was the first mainstream Christian church to fully support same-s ex marriage and perform marriage ceremonies.
    -Jewish: Reform Judaism embraces same-se x marriage and rabbis can perform ceremonies.
    -Quaker: The willingness to perform gay marriages varies by meetinghouse, but there is some acceptance and performance of same-se x marriages among Quakers.
    -Metropolitan Community Church
    -Unitarian Universalist

    and I'm confident that more mainstream faiths in the U.S. will join that list as DOMA is repealed and more states join the list of those that have already legalized gay marriage.

    Also, for those interested, check out these gay-friendly organizations if looking for a church:

    http://www.gaychurch.org/
    http://www.awab.org

    And I'm sure there are more. Do your own research and if you really want church, find one that is fully accepting of you and your partner.

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    February 17, 2013 at 1:46 pm |

  4. 261 Ministers Proclamation

    As Christian clergy we proclaim: the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.

    In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:

    -to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;

    –to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;

    –to declare that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;

    –to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;

    Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

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    John

    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.

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    Don

    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".

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    Sarah

    Let me make one thing clear: being gay is not wrong. It is not unnatural. It isn’t immoral or gross or something that should provoke disgust. What is wrong, what is unnatural, what is immoral and what is gross is intolerance and discrimination against fellow human beings for their sexual orientation and active pursuit of preventing loving and committed homosexual couples from legally being married.

    I believe in God, and I identify as a Christian, and this identity as a Christian has provided me with the insight to know that people who oppose gay marriage based on “religious reasons” are just making excuses for their homophobia. The idea that homosexuality is sinful is a farce. The Bible never actually condemns homosexuality. You know what the Bible does condemn?

    Winking. “He who winks is plotting perversity.” Proverbs 16:30

    Rounded haircuts. “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.” Leviticus 19:17

    Tattoos. “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you.” Leviticus 19:28

    It is unacceptable that some modern Americans think it’s alright to toss rules like these aside and yet still vehemently oppose marriage rights for homosexual couples.

    As a Christian, I’ve been taught to love my neighbor. Somehow, active public discrimination against homosexuals and barring fellow human beings from marriage rights does not seem very loving or neighborly to me.

    Homosexuality isn’t a disease: it’s an innate way of being.

    Nobody is going to “catch” gay.

    Nobody is going to be “cured” of their homosexuality.

    Sexual orientation is personal and affects nobody but the individual and is absolutely not the business of anybody but the individual.

    The fact that people continue to suggest otherwise and perpetuate this idea that homosexuality is wrong and attempting to make outcasts of people who identify as gay is unbelievably disgusting and frightening and old-fashioned.

    It’s 2012, and we should have come much further than this by now.

    This matters. This is an issue that, if left unfixed, tacitly permits discrimination and harassment.

    The prevalence of anti-gay messages encourages bullying and hate crimes, and there are literally confused, hurt, frightened young people who actually kill themselves over issues like this — and yet people still insist upon calling homosexuality a sin.

    The cruelty and hypocrisy is infuriating and unacceptable.

    It needs to stop.

    Until marriage equality is legal in all fifty states, I hope Americans will have the courage to end hatred and homophobia.
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    Eric

    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.

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    James

    As usual, Bob is wrong again. The scriptures actually say nothing about homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation. Our understandings of sexual orientation are distinctly modern ones that were not present in the minds of Scripture writers. A few passages of Scripture (seven at the most) object to certain types of same-sex expressions or acts. The particular acts in question, however, are sexual expressions which are exploitative, oppressive, commercialized, or offensive to ancient purity rituals. There is no Scriptural guidance for same-sex relationships which are loving and mutually respecting. Guidelines for these relationships should come from the same general Scriptural norms that apply to heterosexual relationships.
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    Brent

    "There is no Christian case for "gay marriage"

    Religion-based bigotry 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 atudes of some people today toward hosexuality 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 atudinal 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 atudes 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 atudes 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.

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    Elaine

    "Sodom and Gomorrah is still a good example. "

    In Genesis 18, the story about the angels coming to Lot's house, we learn that the reason they were coming to destroy Sodom was because of the wickedness that ALREADY existed in the city. The exact form of wickedness is not mentioned in that story!

    Let's just reinforce this CRITICAL piece of information. In the story of Sodom, in Genesis 18, God had ALREADY decided to destroy the city BEFORE the attempted ra pe of the angels – which incidentally was perpetrated mainly by heterose xuals since ALL the men of the city were involved, and we know that throughout history, gays have only represented about 10% of the population. Also, if they were ho mose xuals, why would Lot suggest that they take his daughters instead? That just doesn't make sense if the men were gay.

    So just to get this straight, the event that took place at Sodom was an act of violence and ra pe, mainly by heterose xuals. It had nothing to do with a loving relationship between two people of the same se x, and ho mose xuality was NOT the sin of Sodom in whatever form. The story of Sodom in Genesis 18 was about violence and domination, the same type of event that takes place in prisons and occupied countries, but it was NOT the reason for God's decision to destroy the city, and to use this story as a basis for prejudice against ho mose xuality in general is like comparing ra pe to marriage. There is NO similarity!

    The aftermath of Sodom aside, let's take a look at other passages of Scripture that mention the sin of Sodom. Here are 14 references to Sodom and not one of them mentions ho mose xuality!!!!! The overwhelming themes are idolatry, immorality and inhospitality! To me, this indicates people like Bob and HeavenSent have taken things out of context!

    Deuteronomy 29:17-26 – the sin – idolatry and images to false gods – "Why has the Lord done this to the land? . . . It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the Lord . . ."

    Deuteronomy 32:32-38 – the sin – idolatry – "He will say 'Now where are their gods?'"

    Isaiah 1:2-23 – the sin – idolatry, rebellion, injustice, murder, greed, theft, covetousness, mistreating the poor – "They have rebelled against Me."

    Isaiah 3:8-19 – the sin – idolatry, arrogance – "Their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying His glorious Presence"

    Jeremiah 23:10-14 – the sin – idolatry, adultery, lying by priests and prophets – "Both prophet and priest are godless. . . . They prophesied by Baal and led My people astray."

    Jeremiah 49:16-18 – the sin – idolatry, arrogance, oppression, pride of the heart – "The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived
    you. . ."

    Jeremiah 50:2-40 – the sin – idolatry, pride, false prophets – "Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror. . . . . For she has defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. . . . . Their shepherds have led them astray."

    Lamentations 4:3-6 – the sin – cruelty and failure to care for the young and poor – "My people have become heartless."

    Ezekiel 16:49-50 – the sin – "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned: they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me."

    Amos 4:1-11 – the sin – idolatry, oppression, mistreating the poor – "I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom . . . . yet you have not returned to Me."

    Zephaniah 2:8-11 – the sin – idolatry, pride, mocking – "This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the Lord Almighty. The Lord will be awesome to them when He destroys all the gods of the land."

    Luke 17:26-29 – Jesus speaking – No specific sins mentioned

    II Peter 2:1-22 – the sin – idolatry, living after ungodliness, lawlessness, arrogance, blaspheming, adultery, greed, corruption, depravity, boasting, lust – "But there were also false prophets among the people . . . . ."

    Jude 1:7-8 – the sin – se xual immorality and perversion, i.e fornication after strange flesh (angels, see Genesis 6:1) KJV

    The dictionary defines "perversion" as "a se xual practice regarded as abnormal". That means that a heterose xual practicing ho mose xual acts is perverted as in the case of ALL the men of Sodom wanting to engage with the angels (strange flesh). However, since se x with the same gender is normal for a gay person, there is no perversion associated merely by the se xual act.

    Note also that, while the word "abomination" has been used with reference to hom ose xuality, the biblical interpretation of the word "abomination" relates to any act of uncleanness as set out in the Holiness Code, such as eating shellfish, trimming your hair, touching the skin of a dead pig (should we stone the entire NFL?), wearing clothes of two kinds of material (polyester/cotton) – the list is long. How can we discuss one sin to the exclusion of all others?

    This is an enormous subject, which has been reduced to simplistic values. It is plain and simple prejudice to portray ho mose xuals as immoral just because of the gender to whom we are attracted. Of course there are immoral hom ose xuals, just as there are immoral heterose xuals, but simple orientation carries no implication of morality or immorality.

    Our se xuality is God-given. God made us the way we are. It follows naturally that He loves us exactly the way He made us. So long as we embrace marriage with the same standards as any monogamous, loving heterose xual relationship there should be no barrier against us.

    When gays are only asking to have their loving relationships acknowledged and respected, why is there so much fear and anger? To strengthen marriage, why not take a stand against divorce and separation, instead of opposing love and commitment? Jesus spoke of divorce, but he never mentioned hom ose xuality. I believe that was because ho mose xuality was not even an issue in His day. Love was love. Love IS Love!

    "Protect marriage? Puhlease. With a 50 percent divorce rate, rampant domestic violence, Las Vegas drive-through chapels, and I wanna-marry-a-really-rich-guy reality TV shows, there's no way gays could trash marriage the way straight people have."

    This letter only refers to the sin of Sodom. There are actually six "clobber verses" which are used against gays. Space does not permit an explanation of each one, but just as the sin of Sodom has been misrepresented, so have the other verses. There is an explanation for each one that clearly indicates that, just as slavery was condoned by Scripture for many years, ("Slaves obey your masters . . . . ." Eph. 6:5-8) and civil wars were fought to protect the ownership of people, we now know that Scripture was interpreted incorrectly, for God would not have people to be possessions.

    We now have a fuller understanding of Scripture with regard to slavery. It's time to accept a fuller understanding of ho mose xuality based on new research into language, concepts and customs when these words were written.

    So please choose acceptance and inclusiveness whether or not you understand fully. One of us is wrong. Many of you think it's me. I think it's you, based on solid research into Scripture from another perspective. Yes, God encourages us to question Scripture.

    "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, REPROOF and instruction in righteousness." II Tim. 3:16

    If there is even a chance that I could be right, do you want to take the eternal risk of rejecting some of God's children, and slamming the doors of your churches to those of us who wish to enter? That's what you're doing when you treat us as less than yourselves simply based on our orientation.

    If we have done the research, and it is our understanding that God loves us, including our orientation, then why not just let God be the judge? He will be in the end anyway. If one of us is to err, why not err on the side of love and acceptance? Now that was truly Jesus' example!

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    Shawn

    Let me start this off with a quote from a famous lesbian, Lynn Lavner:

    "There are 6 admonishments in the Bible concerning ho mose xual activity, and our enemies are always throwing them up to us – usually in a vicious way and very much out of context.

    What they don't want us to remember is that there are 362 admonishments in the Bible concerning heterose xual activity. I don't mean to imply by this that God doesn't love straight people, only that they seem to require a great deal more supervision."

    I am going to attempt to keep this short and simple, so here we go.

    Some claim that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 clearly say that ho mose xual se x is an abomination. In fact, it merits death. Isn't it obvious that God hates hom ose xuality?

    Yes, depending on which translation you are using, Leviticus does say, "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female, it's an abomination." However, a few points must be made about this statement:

    a) It appears in Leviticus, which was given to preserve the distinctive characteristics of the religion and culture of Israel. However, as stated in Galatians 3:22-55, Christians are no longer bound by these Jewish laws. Even if you, for some reason, argue that these "laws" are still important, then you surely follow all of them, right?

    It is interesting that people who use Leviticus against the gay community forget the part that talks about religious sacrifices, making women sleep in tents outside during their period, the dietary restrictions placed on them and how to cleanse a leper, all of which appear in Leviticus.

    The laws of Leviticus are completely obsolete for today's Christian; however, even if you do claim to live by the laws of Leviticus, it is not fair to pick and choose which laws you are going to live by, or condemn a people by, if you are not going to follow the others. You should not need any more convincing evidence than this; but if you do, be my guest.

    b) The word that was in the original work, "to'ebah," which was translated into Greek as "bdglygma" actually means "ritual impurity" rather than abomination (or enormous sin). These passages in Leviticus can be translated to not mean hom ose xual se x generally, but only limiting hom ose xual se x in Pagan temples.

    c) This passage does not denounce hom ose xual behavior as a whole, but just the specific act of anal se x. This was meant for the prevention of disease. It was ruled unclean because it was physically unclean; however, hygiene has made wonderful advances since that time.

    d) These passages in Leviticus can be interpreted in many ways. I have seen it interpreted by scholars and priests to mean: "don't have se x with another man in your wife's bed;" "don't have se x with another man in the temple;" and "don't have se x with another man and pretend he is a woman," just to name a few.

    I have never seen an interpretation in any Bible, or from any scholar, that specifically says to never have se x with a man.

    Some claim the Bible simply does not support gay marriage. Chapter two of Genesis defines marriage as a holy union between a man and a woman. And later, in Matthew 19:4-5, Jesus himself reiterates the traits of a traditional marriage. How can you argue that anything other than celibacy is honorable for gay and lesbian people?

    Yes, marriage is a holy union. However, in these passages, while Jesus reiterates (but does not require) the traditional marriage, he also provides an exception for eunuchs (castrated men – or otherwise impotent men, in today's terms), and allowed them to be married, saying that this law is given to those to whom it applies.

    Because these eunuchs were born se xless, God made an exception for them because it was natural. The same applies to the Gay community today. Science has proven hom ose xuality is completely natural, so it seems God would allow for hom ose xual marriages.

    In Matthew 19: 4-5, Jesus encourages a traditional path, but does not discourage alternatives, except in the case of divorce.

    Jesus did stress purity of marriage, but not in regard to the se xes of the people within it. It can be seen that the reason that churches are against hom ose xual marriage is not because it is explicitly said by God, but because of a lack of instruction to specifically allow it.

    In the time that the Bible was written it would have been impossible to foresee the future to be able to specifically allow or forbid hom ose xual marriage.

    Some claim, in Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he lists hom ose xuals amongst the many sinners who will not inherit the kingdom of God. Doesn't that make God's position on this vice very clear?

    If we look at the other types of people listed in this passage, we can understand what it is actually talking about. Law breakers, thieves, adulterers and drunks are specifically mentioned. The word "hom ose xual" was not found until the 1890s, so it would have been impossible for it to be in the original version.

    What actually appears in the original is Paul condemning those who are "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind." In this context, the original Greek word, "malakos," is translated into effeminate, or soft, which, more than likely, refers to someone who lacks discipline or moral control.

    In this passage, when Paul condemns "abusers of themselves with mankind," he is speaking of male prost itutes.

    Then there are the people who claim that, even though science has proven that people don't choose their se xual orientation, the fact remains that hom ose xuality is unnatural. Romans 1:26-27 tells us that humans have a sinful nature, and therefore commit sins against God. Certain people are predisposed to be alcoholics and pedophiles, but that doesn't make their actions any less immoral. God tells us to "tear out your eye" if it makes you stumble. Why can't you just accept hom ose xuality as the part of your nature you must deny?

    Because the Bible has gone through so many translations, and through the hands of many people (some being non-believers), it is not surprising that the meaning has become a little fuzzy in parts.

    Hom ose xuality is normal. The phrase "para physin" appears in the original text for this verse. This term is often translated to mean "unnatural;" however, more accurate translation would be unconventional.

    Proof for this can be found in 1 Corinthians 11:14 where Paul uses this phrase to refer to men with long hair (unconventional, not unnatural) and in Romans 11:24 where Paul uses this phrase to refer to the positive action God made to bring together the Jews and Gentiles.

    All in all, hom ose xuality is obviously not a sin, unless you take passages from the Bible and add your own words or you just try really hard to interpret it that way. Let's just remember Galatians 5:14, where Paul stated, "the whole Law is fulfilled in one Statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

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    YeahRight

    Bob – the biggest liar anywhere. We've pointed out over and over again you are using reports from well known hate groups that the experts in this country have proven are false. The experts in this country are stating that heterose xual behavior and hom ose xual behavior are normal aspects of human se xuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bise xual 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 hom ose xuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

    Like their heterose xual counterparts, many gay and lesbian people want to form stable, long-lasting, committed relationships. Indeed, many of them do and that large proportions are currently involved in such a relationship and that a substantial number of those couples have been together 10 or more years.

    Research demonstrates that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-se x partners closely resemble those of heterose xual partnerships. Like heterose xual couples, same-se x couples form deep emotional attachments and commitments. Heterose xual and same-se x couples alike face similar issues concerning intimacy, love, equity, loyalty, and stability, and they go through similar processes to address those issues. Research examining the quality of intimate relationships also shows that gay and lesbian couples have levels of relationship satisfaction similar to or higher than those of heterose xual couples.

    A large number of gay and lesbian couples raise children. Children and teenagers whose parents provide loving guidance in the context of secure home environments are more likely to flourish – and this is just as true for children of same-se x parents as it is for children of opposite-se x parents. Based on research findings, mental health professionals have also reached a consensus that the quality of relationships among significant adults in a child’s or adolescent’s life is associated with adjustment. When relationships between parents are characterized by love, warmth, cooperation, security, and mutual support, children and adolescents are more likely to show positive adjustment. In contrast, when relationships between parents are conflict-ridden and acrimonious, the adjustment of children and adolescents is likely to be less favorable. These correlations are just as true for children of same-se x parents as for children of opposite-se x parents.

    Assertions that heterose xual couples are inherently better parents than same se x couples, or that the children of lesbian or gay parents fare worse than children of heterose xual parents, have no support in the scientific research literature. On the contrary, the scientific research that has directly compared outcomes for children with gay and lesbian parents with outcomes for children with heterose xual parents has consistently shown that the former are as fit and capable as the latter and that their children are as psychologically healthy and well adjusted as children reared by heterose xual parents.

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    mama k

    Bob and Douglas continue to push their bigoted agenda here on this article. They seem stuck in the past – quoting outdated material and living with this very narrow view of the world.

    I have a funny feeling that SCOTUS will soon do away with DOMA. Even many of the people who were pushing for it before have vocally turned around on it. So whether it be slow, or sped up by SCOTUS, traditional marriage laws will fall reasonable soon. It's difficult to slow down a civil rights movement once it gets going.

    Whether one likes it or not, the Biblical case for gay marriage was actually made quite a long time ago. Gay couples have been getting married in quite a number of Christian and other churches in the states where it has been legal. The opportunities will grow as more and more states push for gay marriage laws. It's hard to stop a justifiable civil rights movement once it gets going.

    For those interested, the following faiths perform same-s ex marriage:

    -Washington National Cathedral
    -Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
    -United Church of Christ: The United Church of Christ was the first mainstream Christian church to fully support same-s ex marriage and perform marriage ceremonies.
    -Jewish: Reform Judaism embraces same-se x marriage and rabbis can perform ceremonies.
    -Quaker: The willingness to perform gay marriages varies by meetinghouse, but there is some acceptance and performance of same-se x marriages among Quakers.
    -Metropolitan Community Church
    -Unitarian Universalist

    and I'm confident that more mainstream faiths in the U.S. will join that list as DOMA is repealed and more states join the list of those that have already legalized gay marriage.

    Also, for those interested, check out these gay-friendly organizations if looking for a church:

    http://www.gaychurch.org/
    http://www.awab.org

    And I'm sure there are more. Do your own research and if you really want church, find one that is fully accepting of you and your partner.

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    February 17, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  5. Douglas

    "i.e. g@ys are six times as likely to m0lest"

    The distinction between a victim's gender and a perpetrator's sexual orientation is important because many child molesters don't really have an adult sexual orientation. They have never developed the capacity for mature sexual relationships with other adults, either men or women. Instead, their sexual attractions focus on children – boys, girls, or children of both sexes.

    The research to date all points to there being NIO significant relationship between a homosexual lifestyle and child molestation. There appears to be practically no reportage of sexual molestation of girls by lesbian adults, and the adult male who sexually molests young boys is not likely to be homosexual. The debates about gay people as molesters "have little to do with everyday child abuse" and lamented that they distract lawmakers and the public from dealing with the real problem of children's sexual mistreatment.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • teavangelist

      Nope. man (male) + boy ( male ) = male/male = gay

      for eg. the catholic church scandal it was coz buncha g@ys infiltrated catholic clergy

      December 5, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Huebert

      Teabagger

      That is completely incorrect. Adult male/ male child is pedophilia, adult male/ adult male is ho.mose.xual.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • teavangelist

      Hubert, keeping things simple, lets define male/male as g@y OK?

      December 5, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Huebert

      Teabagger

      Lets keep things accurate instead. Gay is adult male/ adult male, or adult female/ adult female. Pedophilia is adult/ child, gender is irrelevant.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • lol??

      So Huebert, your gandhi was a PEDOPHILE. I don't like your lawyers.

      December 6, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  6. teavangelist

    I was reading somewhere. found mathematical proof of connection between g@y and p3doph1le

    Lets say 3% of the population is g@y and 20% of child m0l3stations are done by g@ys.

    Lets say the probability of a child m0lestation by general public is 'p'

    then probability of child m0lestation by gay accoridng to 'conditional probability' mathematics = 0.2 x p / 0.03 = 6 x p

    i.e. g@ys are six times as likely to m0lest

    December 5, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • teavangelist

      it was explained this way in my reference. If I run a shop and 5% of my thefts are by purple haired people. But purple haired people are just 0.5% of my customers, when a purple haired customer comes in, the probability to remember is not that 80% of thefts are done by black haired people. the conditional probability of a purple haired people stealing is ten times higher than that of a black haired person (0.05 * p / 0.05). That is the important probability in a SCIENTIFIC (emphasis mine) calculation.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • teavangelist

      er 95% not 80% in above example.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Huebert

      Teabagger

      Pulling numbers out of your @ss does not a convening argument make. Additionally pedophiles are niether ho.mo nor heretose.xual. They are pedophiles, thus they are incapable of relationships with other adults.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • teavangelist

      er its 0.05 * p / 0.005 = 10 * p in above calculation

      December 5, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • sam stone

      What's your source, teabagger?

      December 5, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • teavangelist

      Sam stone for conditional probability look up any math textbook. I have a paper book in fron of me.

      for the numbers, 3% of pop. being g@y is from many credible sources according to my research

      the 20% number, we cant peg down. it can be between 20 and up to a third. See http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=is02e3

      December 5, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Huebert

      Teabagger

      What percent of the population is gay depends on how you define gay. If you define gay as anyone who self identifies as gay you do get a number around 3%. If you define gay as anyone who has participated in a ho.mose.xual act the figure is closer to 10% of the population.

      No information from the FRC can be trusted. They have been designated a hate group by the SPLC.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • teavangelist

      Hueber, thanks for confirming the 3% statistic. I rely on the self identification factor.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • myweightinwords

      A pedophile is an adult man or woman who is sexually attracted to children.

      A homosexual is an adult man or woman who is sexually attracted to another adult person of the same gender.

      A pedophile may have a preference in his victim based on gender and/or age or may choose his victims based on convenience, this does not, in anyway, define his orientation as either gay or straight. Many pedophiles are not sexually attracted to any adult, of the same or opposite gender. Others can fake it, and can be found married with children of their own.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • TeaPatriot

      Hubert, I define SPLC as a hate group coz they hate everything that has made us great and are against any element of traditional culture.

      December 5, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • End Religion

      hey Cro-Magnon TeaPat, no wonder your clothes are so dirty. We'll keep dragging you into the future like we've always done. So keep kicking and screaming. Keep hating. It makes for nice entertainment. It's fun to teach our children to point and laugh at cavemen startled by wondrous FIRE!

      December 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  7. Sid

    Just one more nail in Christianity's coffin. Hope the next set of god stories is more interesting.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      One more nail in Christianity's coffin? What next, Sid? Are you still awaiting that Great Humanist Era? The 17th and 18th centuries were times of great scientific and technological progress. The 20th century was supposed to be the Humanist age. It opened with ethnic genocide of Armenians by the Turks. It ended with Hutugenocide of the Tutsies. In between, Hitler practiced genocide a la social darwinism. Secular gubments turned technology into the the meat grinder of WW1. Science and secular gubments gave us Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the forty years Cold War. Stalin, the atheist, produced more corpses than Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin put together. Your alternative to Christianity was stillborn in 1900. What next, Sid?

      December 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • nope

      “In between, Hitler practiced genocide a la social darwinism.

      Hitler was a Christian.

      “Stalin, the atheist, produced more corpses than Hitler”

      Stalin was a totalitarian. He sought total authority, which means getting rid of religions which would compete with that authority. The pursuit of atheism was not the cause for the bloodshed; it was the pursuit of control over a people.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Douglas

      "One more nail in Christianity's coffin? What next, Sid? Are you still awaiting that Great Humanist Era? The 17th and 18th centuries were times of great scientific and technological progress. The 20th century was supposed to be the Humanist age. It opened with ethnic genocide of Armenians by the Turks. It ended with Hutugenocide of the Tutsies. In between, Hitler practiced genocide a la social darwinism. Secular gubments turned technology into the the meat grinder of WW1. Science and secular gubments gave us Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the forty years Cold War. Stalin, the atheist, produced more corpses than Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin put together. Your alternative to Christianity was stillborn in 1900. What next, Sid?"

      Such negativity, yet religion hasn't been able to make this planet any better has it? Why, because people like you bring negativity into the world so it can't heal. Religion like yours brings conflict. You really should get professional help for your negative outlook on humanity.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      @ nope Same question? With religion gone, what next? When a mirror is held in front of an atheists face, he blinks.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Huh?

      "With religion gone, what next? "

      Religious people find it very annoying that people don't need God to be good, as science has now incontestably proved.

      For millennia, we've been brainwashed into believing that we needed the Almighty to redeem us from an essentially corrupt nature. Left to our own devices, people would quickly devolve into beasts, more violent, tactless, aggressive, and selfish, than we already are.

      Today, we know that this isn't true. With the discovery of mirror neurons by Italian neuroscientist Giaccomo Rizzolatti in the 1990s, we now have physiological proof of why - and how - our species became hard-wired for goodness. Mirror neurons are miraculous cells in the brain whose sole purpose is to harmonize us with our environments. By reflecting the outside world inward, we actually become each other - a little bit; neurologically changed by what is happening around us. Mirror neurons are the reason that we have empathy and can feel each other's pain. It is because of mirror neurons that you blush when you see someone else humiliated, flinch when someone else is struck, and can't resist the urge to laugh when seeing a group struck with the giggles. (Indeed, people who test for "contagious yawning" tend to be more empathic.) These tiny mirrors are the key to most things noble and good inside us.

      It is through mirror neurons - not God - that we redeem ourselves, achieve salvation, and are "reborn" in virtuous ways once co-opted by religions. Evolution knew what she was doing. A group of successful cooperators has a much higher chance of thriving than a population of selfish liars. In spite of what we read in the headlines, the ratio of bad to good deeds done on any given day across our planet holds at close to zero any day of the year. Although we are ethical works-in-progress, the vast majority of us are naturally positive creatures - meaning not harmful to our environments - most of the time in most of the ways that matter. And God has nothing to do with it.

      Spirituality does but God doesn't. Evolutionary psychologists tell us that our brains are hard-wired with a five-toned moral organ that focuses on a quintet of ethical values - one of which is purity, or sacredness. In a world that can sometimes be disgusting, we evolved an upper tier of emotional longing - the aspiration for purity - to keep us balanced in this satyricon of carnal delights (where animality beckons and frequently wins). Our need for sacredness is part of our ancient survival apparatus, and manifests in what we call faith, the need to connect with that sacred dimension. This has been the primary purpose of religion, of course - to congregate people for the Greater Good - but God has been, in fact, the divine carrot. The important part was communion, a context in which to transcend ourselves, if only for an hour on Sundays. Without this ability "to turn off the Me and turn on the We," moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt tells us, our species would still be wandering around as groups of nomads, unable to create a civilization.

      Aside from mirror neurons, there's oxytocin, the molecule of connection (also known as the molecule of love). It's fascinating to learn that the vagus nerve produces more oxytocin when we witness virtuous behavior in others that makes us want to be better people ourselves. We are wired by nature to be elevated at the sight of other people's goodness, mirror neurons and oxytocin conspiring to improve the species. Miraculous though it is, this natural human phenomenon has nothing to do with theology.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Akira

      When a mirror is held up to a tryrant, he blinks.
      When a mirror is held up to a mysogynist, he blinks.
      When a mirrir is held up to a Christian, he blinks.
      When a mirror is held up to a Muslim, he blinks.
      Wanna know why?
      Humans blink.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • the AnViL

      huh? how DARE you attempt to inject the truth that science provides us with into this dialog!!!!! how dare you attempt to confuse people with the facts!!!!

      only one e n t i t y would ever deign to stoop so low... i wonder who it could be,,, hmmmmmm maybeeeeee
      SATAN!!!

      ha chaaaaaa

      December 3, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Tod

      PrimeNumber
      Hitler treated and killed Jews like Christian Europeans had been doing for centuries before Darwin was even born. Check out Martin Luther's own views on Jews and you'll see that they aren't that different to Hitler's. Also, many millions of those Stalin killed were nazis, just like the millions we killed in the war. Not many historians would argue that we could have won that war without his help. Get your facts straight!

      December 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Sid

      PrimeDumber, the question one should ask, considering your reply to my post, is just how much further ahead science would be today if your backward religion had not held it back by hook and (Christianity's many) crooks. The answer is obviously that we would be much further ahead. Do the names Galileo and Copernicus mean nothing to you? You are pathetically ignorant, like so many of your ilk.

      Your claims about Hitler are a pure straw man argument, and in addition, others have rebutted your falsehoods there.

      Sadly, even today, Christianity stifles medical progress and blocks funding for important research into stem cells and much more.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Tod

      PrimeNumber
      Religion has given us genocide, human sacrifice and cannibalism. The first two are in the Bible. I think the more accurate argument is "All things are permissible if you believe some god/God wants you to do them."

      December 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Tod

      PrimeNumber
      Oh, I forgot to add terrorist bombings to that list of great things religion has given us.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • teavangelist

      Tod, only muslims have given us terrorist bombings. thank you.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  8. PrimeNumber

    The same generation of people who tossed out marriage forty years ago ("its only a piece of paper", i.e, "I'm terrified of signing it !" , "let's just shack up") , and the kids they've raised according to zeitgeist mandates, is now agitating for the "freedom to marry" for people of alternate orientation.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Which God?

      Yep, from your lips to your butt. Spoken like an uneducated fool who knows little of history. Where you alive then azzhole? I was. The only schit you know is what comes out of your mouth, synonomous with your butt.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      Hello again, Which God? You've resorted to insult again, yet made no rebuttal. And yes I was there. And I learned a great deal from it. And being a working class, non-hippy kid, my head was clear enough to learn something from the times.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Primewonk

      One reason women in the 60's and 70's were a bit leery of marriage was the the last states to pass laws against marital ràpe didn't get around to it until the late 70's. Additionally, until the 70's many states still had head and master laws on the books. These laws said the the husband had the final say in all matters in the marriage. And guess what? All these laws wewe because of religious idiocy.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      @Primewonk So explain to us how women are better off these days? They are working away their lives in cubicles and factories like men have always done (their early feminsts tried to sell them a Glass Ceiling) . They are beaten up more than ever. They are raising kids by themselves in huge numbers. They are incarcerated more than ever. I don't know about you, Primewonk, but I'd be embarassed trying to defend the wasteland produced by secular society.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Rick

      "They are beaten up more than ever."

      We know the numbers now because women are finally speaking up and we offer them an out. Remember women were stuck in abuse relationships in the past and not allowed to leave. We as a society have actually improved that. Plus, keep in mind the population growth when talking about numbers.

      "They are raising kids by themselves in huge numbers."

      That means the men in their lives are worthless pieces of crap. Then again, are you including the population growth again in your lame opinion.

      "They are incarcerated more than ever. "

      Again, population growth, but you are also forgetting we have more laws than ever too.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Akira

      Lol...just...lol.
      Barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen...gee, what woman wouldn't aspire to that?

      December 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      @ Akira Most women in the past could get their kids out of the house when mommy was in her forties. Then she had another thirty years to do what she wanted, financed of course by her husband who hoped for an early death. But men are free now, and women are working their lives away in dead-end jobs.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Brenda

      " But men are free now, and women are working their lives away in dead-end jobs."

      You have a very low opinion of women. I am a VP of my company, most of the women I know make over 80,000 a year, I am one of those people good old Obama wants to tax. I wouldn't call those dead end jobs. You could say all the men working in construction are working dead end jobs.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Akira

      "The same generation of people who tossed out marriage forty years ago (“its only a piece of paper”, i.e, “I’m terrified of signing it !” , “let’s just shack up”) , and the kids they’ve raised according to zeitgeist mandates, is now agitating for the “freedom to marry” for people of alternate orientation."
      Yep the freedom to marry...or not.
      That is correct.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • nope

      " I wouldn't call those dead end jobs. You could say all the men working in construction are working dead end jobs"

      Wasn't it mostly men that lost all their jobs too when the housing bubble burst.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Akira

      "Then she had another thirty years to do what she wanted, financed of course by her husband who hoped for an early death."

      Tell me, what exactly are you arguing for again?

      December 3, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Tod

      Funny, divorce rates are highest in Southern, Bible Belt states. How do you figure that, PrimeNumber?

      December 3, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Before a woman couldn't leave a cheating or abusive husband, now she can. That's the main difference, and a very important one. Most women I know make well over the national average...not everyone can, of course, but even a low wage job is better than being forced to stay in an abusive marriage from which you can't escape.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • TeaPatriot

      Saraswati

      women could always divorce for abuse or adultery. lets not get revisionist here. Only divorce upon demand with no good reason was not possible in the past. if you can prove abuse/adultery, you could leave then and that was the correct policy

      December 5, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  9. realcon

    all will solve if govt gets out of marriage business. and managing health insurance plan like medicare or obamacare. or retirement account aka slush fund called social security which isnt good at either. or making all kinds of rules and regulations and driving out businesses. or doesnt tell you what size of toilet to have inside your bathroom.

    Reagan – "government is not the solution it is the problem". Fav political refrain of my dad who was a reagan democrat

    Norquist – "government to me made small enough to drown in bathtub.

    December 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Sid

      Modern nations have health care.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • realcon

      Attn: Sid

      This is an aside. so I be quick. We need to follow our const1tut10n to the "T". it only allow federal govt minimal powers. Running healthcare is not one of them. DOnt understand this gymnastics that Roberts did. Obama specifically said that it wasnt a tax. Roberts says its a tax.

      We need to run this country as if it is still 1787 coz the const1tut10n is brilliant.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Sid

      Con: you have no idea what we need. You lost the election on your pathetic ideas. Get over it and move on, loser.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • realcon

      This isnt about 1 election. its abt the const1tut10n. the states have all the rights. they should run a obamacare or whatever. we should be almost 50 nation states bound by common immigration and defense as originally designed.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  10. ball0011

    I would be willing to bet my life on the fact that the day will come when every person ever Created will bow to Jesus Christ one day and call Him Lord of All!

    December 3, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • nope

      All hail Mithra – Your jesus is a fraud.

      Mithra
      Was born of a virgin on December 25th, in a cave, attended by shepherds
      Was considered a great traveling teacher and master
      Had 12 companions or disciples
      Promised his followers immortality
      Performed miracles
      Sacrificed himself for world peace
      Was buried in a tomb and after three days rose again
      Was celebrated each year at the time of His resurrection (later to become Easter)
      Was called "the Good Shepherd"
      Was identified with both the Lamb and the Lion
      Was considered to be the "Way, the Truth and the Light," and the "Logos," "Redeemer," "Savior" and "Messiah."
      Celebrated Sunday as His sacred day (also known as the "Lord's Day,")
      Celebrated a Eucharist or "Lord's Supper"

      HAIL MITHRA!

      December 3, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Huebert

      And I am willing to bet eternity that what you say is not true. The fact that I am willing to do this without any fear or hesitation should give you at least a moments pause.

      December 3, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • sam stone

      wow, bet your life, eh?

      how do you propose to verify this?

      December 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      @nope So who are the fraudulent dieties in your life? Possibly yourself? Are you a theologian of yourself? Ever wonder why you want something, yet are not happy when you get it? Does your reason take you one way and your emotions the other? Any destuctive habits you wish you control? Do you interpret your own will infallibly?

      December 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Which God?

      @PN. Strawman arguments. Your words are meaningless, except to your befudddled mind. Grow some braincells,, or learn to evolve. No, wait... let scientist study you, you may be the missing link, the link that connects your azzhole to your brain.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • nope

      "Ever wonder why you want something, yet are not happy when you get it? Does your reason take you one way and your emotions the other? Any destuctive habits you wish you control? Do you interpret your own will infallibly?"

      Nope, don't have any of those issues but that must mean you did which is why you think there is a god. I am not so weak minded like you to still need an invisible friend help me cope with life. Time to grow up.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  11. ball0011

    Jesus is Lord! Jesus is King! If you do not believe it makes no difference at all. He still is.

    December 3, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Which God?

      Jeesus never existed. Please prove he did, scientifically, without the use of the babble.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • ball0011

      @ which god, I don't have to prove anything. I have already bowed to my God! It is you that had better start seeking!

      December 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'ball0011' is a form of the flawed argument known as Pascal's Wager.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      December 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Athy

      Ball just believes because somebody told him to and he can't think too well on his own. This is the case with all believers. No one has any solid evidence of either jebus or god, so they just go along with their crowd. The bible, of course, is no evidence of anything, considering its origin and age. True independent thinkers reject religion because of this.

      December 3, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • sam stone

      Whether you believe it or not, it is still a myth.

      December 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  12. ball0011

    There really are very few atheist. They are people who are 1. Ignorant of who God is. Or 2. Fools. So each one of you denouncing God, which one are you. Just because you do not believe in the Living God and that He gave His only son to die for you, does not make Him any less true. Jesus is Lord! Jesus is King!

    December 3, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Huebert

      Claiming that God exists does not change the fact that he is a myth. Just like every other god or goddess through out history.

      December 3, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • ball0011

      @Huebert, the fact that you would die with no hesitation that God is not real only confirms what the bible says. When you harden your heart against God, He will harden it further, giving you no chance for salvation! If you were to sincerely ask God if He really exists, He would show you!

      December 3, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • nope

      "When you harden your heart against God, He will harden it further, giving you no chance for salvation! If you were to sincerely ask God if He really exists, He would show you!"

      So your god is a child and it's as powerful and loving as you claim but mimics human beings that's one pathetic god.

      December 3, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • JohnQuest

      ball0011

      "There really are very few atheist", not true, we are all Atheist. You are an Atheist in regards to every God that you do not believe in (Ba'al, Zeus, and So on). Seems to me that there are no differences between the God you believe in and the God that Hindu's believe in. I gather that you do not believe in any other God, hence you are an Atheist.

      December 3, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Huebert

      Ball

      I absolutely would NOT die to prove that god does not exist. I never said I would bet my life on it, I said I would bet eternity. What I'm wagering is the time after I die. And, seeing as eternity is a made up concept, I'm really only betting with monopoly money. You just happen to believe said monopoly money is real.

      December 3, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • the AnViL

      ball0011: what you've done there – is present what's known as a "false dichotomy".

      it's what ignorant people do. good work!

      December 3, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • sam stone

      f off, inbred cvnt

      December 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Bob

      ball0011, the whole premise of Christianity that the death of the son of god would have been any kind of "sacrifice" and was required to deal with "sin" or was required to do supposed 'saving' is utter nonsense. This is a supposed omnipotent being that we are discussing. Christians, think this through a bit: how come your 'omnipotent' creature couldn't do all that supposed saving without the loony son sacrifice bit? And for that matter, how was it a sacrifice at all, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time it wants with less than a snap of its fingers? Pretty feeble god it is that you've made for yourself there. Give that some thought and maybe it will help you leave your delusions behind. You will remain a laughingstock otherwise, and the more you dwell in your silly delusion and ancient myths, instead of keeping up with advances in medicine and technology, the more America slips downward relative to the rest of the world in science and other fields.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      December 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @ball0011

      " If you were to sincerely ask God if He really exists, He would show you!"

      LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! Look up confirmatory bias and you might then realize why what you said is so stupid.

      December 3, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  13. TeaPatriot

    socialist govt forcing elitist view on general population

    December 3, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Huebert

      What is socialism to you?

      December 3, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • fred

      TP: The teabagger agenda is now dead. You lost the election and you are now even marginalized in, and becoming splintered from your own party. Licking your wounds was OK for you for a while, but it's time you got a new game.

      December 3, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • the AnViL

      teatard – one would think – after having been shown to be incorrect so so so many times... you'd have learned to keep your ignorant fingers still by now.

      do you get off displaying your ignorance to the world? are you some sort of masochist??

      December 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • TeaPatriot

      Au contraire, Anvil. I replied to your post in that thread. didnt hear anything from you. summary was – "those who will sacrifice essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither". basically you should take care of yourself, not expect government to do it. the general welfare clause is qualified by enumerated powers. for the EPA, FDA everything your answer was general welfare.

      SO THERE

      December 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Yeah, we should definitely go instead for rule by the uneducated masses who think the bible is a history book.

      December 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • the AnViL

      teatard – that's where you're ignorant... in your very limited, myopic view of the world – your assumption that everyone should be able to just "take care of themselves" might ring "true" – but in reality – it's not.

      you'd force the old and indigent to a much swifter death – due to your ignorance, apathy and sheer stupidity.

      it is good that our supreme court – and those who understand the needs of the general public do not share your sentiment.

      as for the general welfare clause... you've already shown yourself to be uneducated and ignorant – why would anyone expect you to understand any of it???

      here again – in this piece on cnn – about gay marriage and people of faith who ~seem~ to understand the principle of equality – you feel a need to turn things into some sort of soap box to vent your frustration with what you very wrongly believe to be our 'socialist" republic. oh that's right – according to you we don't have a republic.

      lolz

      you should really educate yourself instead of parroting other ignorant dimwits. you're a disgrace to this nation – and you bring shame to all the real patriots that ever existed.

      December 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • the AnViL

      teatard:

      "those who will sacrifice essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither" does not apply to this article – or any of the
      environmental or social welfare reforms of the last century.

      if you want to decry the patriot act... you should probably do it in a more appropriate forum, among your peers – so you look slightly less retarded.

      December 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • the AnViL

      it will be amusing to see how this piece equates to "socialist govt forcing elitist view on general population".

      December 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • TeaPatriot

      This is not main topic of this article. Only brought it up because you said erroneously you disproved me. The liberty vs securty quote applies to environmental and social welfare reforms. The states have power to regulate environment and do social welfare. so each of the 50 states should do their own system. no federal system.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  14. JohnQuest

    CSX, What "Law" are you referring to in the statement "sin is the transgression of the law"?

    December 3, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  15. jimbocombo

    'Reality' speaks with a presumed authority that which rivals being there first hand. In fact 'Reality' you've put quite a bit of faith in references which you cannot verifiable verify. So that puts you smack dab in the boat of having faith – faith that what you believe and the knowledge you have acquired sanctifies you of the evil that is in your life. What exacting truth is there to reality without some kind of faith. I too have faith. My faith is on the demonstrated power of the sanctification only Christ can offer my evil that is in me. The deliverance of God in my life is unmistakable and verifiable based on 'True Reality'. I don't say that with pride but with love. That is the difference.

    My experiential Christianity is based in the here and now and is freely available to you and anyone else who seeks Christ out will find Him..."Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Rev. 3:20. But you have to sincerely open the door, realizing your knowledge which is your faith is flawed, based on human reasoning in clearly a fallen world which has been overcome by Jesus Christ.

    Amen
    (My life is my reference)

    December 3, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • Reality

      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther once "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      December 3, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • fred

      jimbo, you forgot to take your meds.

      December 3, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  16. Reality

    At http://www.census.gov/dmd/www/pdf/d61a.pdf , there is a check box for "unmarried partner" under Person #2. There of course is also a check box for "husband/wife". One assumes a gay couple could check this latter box but how does one choose which is which for a gay union?

    Future census forms should have a check box "gay union partner" for a better description?

    December 2, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Akira

      Again, they will change the wording on the census form once all citizens are granted equal rights.
      What is your continued interest in this?

      December 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Reality

      The need to call gay unions what they are i.e. they are not gay marriages.

      To wit:

      Actually, I have seen situations where a gay man refers to his male partner as his wife so indeed there are some interesting takes on the situation.

      And some added nitty gritty:

      From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, ga-y s-exual activity is still mutual mas-turbation caused by one or more complex s-exual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.

      Yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male.

      As noted, there are basic biological differences in gay unions vs. heterose-xual marriage. Government benefits are the same in both but making the distinction is important for census data and for social responses with respect to potential issues with disease, divorce and family interactions.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Akira

      Bullsh!t.
      They need to call it what it is: marriage.
      If you do not like that word, by all means, use whatever word of choice you would care to use when you wed your spouse.

      December 3, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Reality

      Again to the nitty-gritty:

      From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, ga-y s-exual activity is still mutual mas-turbation caused by one or more complex s-exual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.

      Heterose-xual se-x is basically intercourse.( intercourse: co-pulation between male and female).

      Bottom line: gay unions and heteros-exual marriages. Now everything is correct biologically and physically and should be noted this way in laws and government regulations to include census forms and requirements.

      Regarding gayness: once again:

      o "Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

      To wit:

      1. The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

      “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

      2. "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

      3. See also the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”

      Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions supposedly abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

      December 4, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • ..

      And again, you'e trying to marginalize people. Grow the fuck up. There's YOUR nitty-gritty. None of your fucking business what a person checks on the census, asshole.

      February 17, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  17. realcon

    "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." – Grover Norquist

    December 2, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  18. realcon

    I am a real conservative. The government has no business telling who can mary who. It also has no business running a retirement ponzi scheme (social security) or a healthcare (medicare) or telling me what kind of toilet I should have.

    December 2, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Dippy

      Marry, not marry.

      December 3, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Dippy

      Aw, fuck it. Damn auto correct.

      December 3, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • fred

      No way. Plumbing bills are getting out of hand. Teabaggers need larger toilets for all that comes out of their mouths, and the law should demand that.

      December 3, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • realcon

      what do you mean, fred? I am not a teabagger. I am a libertarian who want to shrink government. it has become too big. Dont care about same s3x marriage, ab0rt1on or social issue.

      If any of them raise taxes rather than cut spending, beware....... My congressman and senator I will vote based on this single issue.

      December 3, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  19. CSX

    Man, sin is the transgression of the law. You may call yourself Christian and justify sin in your own mind, but there is hell to pay, for the wages of sin is death. You are of your father the devil. If you knew the Son you would obey him. Does not nature itself teach you it is dirty physically and called an abomination by the Lord?

    Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

    Avert the warth of God. BTW, the cross is the way out, by which we can be cleaned.

    December 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Reality

      The Apostles' Creed 2012 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      December 2, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Don

      "Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: "

      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".

      December 3, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • sam stone

      Gosh, CSX....your empty proxy threats are amusing.

      December 3, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Reality

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      December 3, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • lol??

      You are disgusting, Don...."1Cr 6:11 And such WERE some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.".......Were, past tense, done, over, kaput, no more, finished, washed up, and through.

      December 3, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • lol??

      Don, have you been sneaking around a church? Your pals might wise up if they ever hear this, "1Cr 5:2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you."......"1Cr 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." ...."1Cr 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened...."

      December 3, 2012 at 10:48 am |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.