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Christian’s year of living 'gay' leads to dramatic change, sparks controversy
December 2nd, 2012
06:45 AM ET

Christian’s year of living 'gay' leads to dramatic change, sparks controversy

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Timothy Kurek’s motivation to spend a year pretending to be gay can be boiled down to a simple conviction: it takes drastic change to alter deeply held religious beliefs.

The experiment began after a lesbian friend opened up to Kurek about being excommunicated by her family. All Kurek, an avowed evangelical Christian, could think about, he says, “was trying to convert her.”

He was quickly disgusted by his own feelings, more pious than humane.

In fact, Kurek was so disgusted by his response to his friend that he decided to do something drastic. Living in Nashville, Tennessee, he would pretend to be gay for a year. The experiment began on the first day of 2009; Kurek came out to his family, got a job as a barista at a gay café and enlisted the help of a friend to act as his boyfriend in public.

The experience – which stopped short of Kurek getting physically intimate with other men - is documented in Kurek’s recent book “The Cross in the Closet,” which has received international attention, landed him on ABC’s "The View" and elicited some biting criticism.

The book is the latest entry on a growing list of experiential tomes revolving around religion. They include Rachel Held Evans’ recent “A Year of Biblical Womanhood,” in which the author follows the Bible’s instructions on women’s behavior and Ed Dobson’s “The Year of Living Like Jesus,” which had the author “eat as Jesus ate. Pray as Jesus prayed. Observe the Sabbath as Jesus observed.”

For Kurek, his year as a gay man radically changed his view of faith and religion, while also teaching him “what it meant to be a second class citizen in this country.”

A yearlong lie

For years, Kurek says, the only life he had was “his church life.” Being an evangelical Christian was his identity.

He was home-schooled until seventh grade, almost all of his friends were from church and his social life was a nightly string of faith-based events, from church sports to a Christian Cub Scout troop. “It was the only thing I was used to doing,” said Kurek, who attended Liberty University, the largest evangelical university in the world, before dropping out after freshman year.

Kurek grew up in an “independent Baptist church.” “We were evangelical,” he said, “but we were more conservative than evangelical, too.”

His churchy lifestyle led to some deeply held views about homosexuality. Most evangelical churches condemn homosexuality as sinful. Many rail against certain gay rights, like gay marriage.

“I had been taught to be wary of gays,” Kurek writes of his beliefs pre-experiment. “They were all HIV positive, perverts and liberal pedophiles.”

Those views began to be challenged in 2004, when he first encountered Soulforce, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights group, on Liberty’s campus. The group made the school an important stop on its cross-country tour targeting colleges that they alleged treated LGBT people unfairly.

Kurek was struck by what he had in common with the protesters at Liberty. “It really impressed me that people who were coming to push their agenda were able to do it and be so nice about it,” he said.

His doubt about Christianity’s condemnation of homosexuality, Kurek writes, was “perfected” in 2008, when a close friend recounted the story of coming out to her family and being disowned.

“I betrayed her, then,” writes Kurek. “It was a subtle betrayal, but a cruel one: I was silent.”

His recognition of that betrayal, he writes, led him to believe that “I needed to come out of the closet as a gay man.”

“I believe in total immersion,” Kurek says in an interview. “If you are going to walk in other people’s shoes, then you are going to need to walk in your shoes.”

To ensure the purity of his project, Kurek says, he had to lie to his deeply religious family about being gay, something that troubled him throughout the year.

“I felt like they loved me but they didn’t know how to deal with me,” he says. “They didn’t understand how to handle having a gay brother or sibling.”

In the book, Kurek recounts learning that his mother wrote in her journal that she would rather have been diagnosed with cancer than have a gay son. That experience and others left Kurek feeling outcast by people he loved, confused about his new life and conflicted about past religious beliefs.

Kurek was living a lie. And even though he was conflicted by his family’s reaction to his new lifestyle, he was longing to be honest with them.

The response

It’s no surprise that the “The Cross in the Closet,” has spurred strong reaction, especially from the LGBT community.

“I feel for the gay community of Nashville, and for every person who trusted Kurek enough to flirt with him, hang out with him, and confide in him about their lives,” wrote Amy Lieberman on the blog Feministing. “If I were in that community, I would feel so betrayed right now.”

In a Huffington Post blog post titled “Pretending To Be Gay Isn’t The Answer,” Emily Timbol, a religion blogger, expressed a similar opinion: “What's sad is that every interaction Timothy had during his year pretending was fake.”

“He was welcomed under false pretenses, acting like someone who understood the struggle that his LGBT friends faced,” she wrote. “He did not.”

But Kurek says that that was not his aim. “This isn't a book about being gay, I could not write that book, I am not qualified,” he writes. “What this is about is the label of gay and how that label affected me personally.”

Throughout the book, Kurek emphasizes that distinction. While much of “The Cross in the Closet” is about the struggle to understand the gay community, which he tries to address by enlisting a friend to act as his boyfriend, much of it addresses how his former church’s community – and family – reacted to his new lifestyle.

“I am actually not friends or in contact at all with 99.99% of the people that I grew up with or the churches that I grew up with,” Kurek says.

Kurek says he isn’t opposed to interacting with people from his "former" life. When he has run into members of his old church, he said he generally has quick, cordial conversations and moves on.

But some of the new distance is by choice. When Kurek’s mother told a friend in her church that her son was gay, the person said Kurek’s sexuality could jeopardize his mother's standing in the church.

The evangelical community has remained fairly mum throughout much of the reaction; most responses have come from Christians who are in some way connected to the LGBT community.

The change

Though Kurek goes to church less now, primarily because he has yet to find one that feels like “home,” he says he feels more religious “in the biblical definition of religion.” He still considers himself a Christian, although no longer evangelical, and says he is interested in attending the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in the future.

Kurek quotes James 1:27 from the New Testament: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

There’s no mention of organized religion in passages like that, and Kurek says it’s the institutions of religion that worry him most today. He talks about his once robust church life as a distant memory.

Living as a gay man jaded him to religion, he says, though he has not surrendered all of his former beliefs. Yes, Kurek says, he is struggling with certain points of his theology, but he has been looking for the right church. “I am trying to figure out what place in the body of Christ I fit in,” he said.

As for his original goal, to radically change who he was, Kurek says mission accomplished. He says he has conquered his prejudices of the LGBT community and is happy with the person he has become.

“If anybody had told me back then who I would be or what I would believe now,” Kurek said, “I would have thought they were completely insane.”

For example, Kurek now thinks homosexuality is completely acceptable.

His family is happy to know that he is not gay, says Kurek. He has a new set of friends. And he lives in Portland, Oregon, where he moved shortly after finishing his experimental year.

The author plans to donate part of the proceeds from his book to help LGBT homeless youth who have been rejected by their families.

He is now at work on a book proposal for a follow-up to “The Cross in the Closet.” The book will be about the years after his experiment, transitioning back to honest living while continuing to engage the LGBT community.

“I want to tell more stories,” he says “and humanize the people who Christians always want to look at as labels.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Faith • Homosexuality • Sexuality • Uncategorized

soundoff (3,659 Responses)
  1. Three3

    "Home schooled" often equals brainwashed at a young age.

    December 2, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      Also very often true of religion.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  2. Bob

    I am going to join the Navy. Where do I sign?

    December 2, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Bob

      hey stupid: it's prejudiced. I wish I could curse you out on here.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  3. gango

    Here's an idea for a story, Dan. There's this guy who spent most of his life in gay community and who always felt something was missing from his life. He feels "drawn" to a certain evangelical church, finds that the members of that church are not nearly as cold, critical, and uncaring as he was led to believe they would be, asks Jesus into his life, and abandons the gay lifestyle for something he believes is more meaningful to him. Now he's happily married to a loving Christian woman and has two fine sons and he attends church weekly partly because he has found so many answers to the questions he has carried deep within his soul all these years and partly because he knows he's forgiven. How about an inspirational story like that for "the rest of us?" No? Sure, I understand. I guess in your world evangelical Christians are not capable of love or compassion and scenarios like this just do not happen (or at least are not worthy of being published at any rate.) A story like this would also require CNN to overcome their bias against evangelical Christianity (at least as far as this news section is concerned.)

    December 2, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • ShannonCT

      You can read fictional stories like that on the websites of gay conversion therapy businesses.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  4. Robert

    I'm an older gay guy who lived a life in the closet...Went to college....married a nice girl....had three beautiful daughters....lived life as was "expected" of me.... now I'm out (divorced of course) and for lack of a better word have found the gay scene -challenging....The youth of today have it made compared to the youth of my time....social media... has made this possible.....but I see so many young gays struggling to survive and can't help but feel compassion for them....Its great that Tim Kurek is donating money to help these kids... so many are turned away by their families and exploited by others...

    December 2, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • letushelp

      Gays should not marry against their will and ruin Bill Clinton's all life.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  5. Bob

    I LOVE MEN.

    December 2, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • letushelp

      Your dog is a man.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  6. Bob

    anyone need release?

    December 2, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  7. Nietodarwin

    “The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullspit.”
    _ Richard Pryor
    If god created man in his own image, how come I'm not invisible?”
    _ David Powers

    December 2, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • letushelp

      Thank God for your generosity to show the extremists whose next step is to legalize marriage to dogs.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • midwest rail

      @ letushelp – you seem obsessed with bestiality. Anything you'd like to share ?

      December 2, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  8. Bob

    Bob and Kneel

    December 2, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Bob

      is that your name or what you do daily?

      December 2, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  9. Nietodarwin

    THE SAD part is he says he is STILL looking for a church. The church is the problem, not his lies to the LGBT's or his church.
    RELIGION IS THE OPPOSITE OF PATRIOTISM We Must stop the influence of religion on our government,on our young. Here's the REAL MATH

    “Countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers are among the freest, most stable, best-educated, and healthiest nations on earth. When nations are ranked according to a human-development index, which measures such factors as life expectancy, literacy rates, and educational attainment, the five highest-ranked countries - Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands - all have high degrees of nonbelief. Of the fifty countires at the bottom of the index, all are intensly religious. The nations with the highest homicide rates tend to be more religious; those with the greatest levels of gender equality are the least religious. These associations say nothing about whether atheism leads to positive social indicators or the other way around. But the idea that atheists are somehow less moral, honest, or trustworthy have been disproven by study after study.”
    _ Greg Graffin

    December 2, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • letushelp

      You are promoting gay and marriage to dog as your religion.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • letushelp

      Obama's next approach is to legalize marriage to dog?

      December 2, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • letushelp

      You deserve all the empty promise and fiscal cliff by Obama. You cult are created by God to honor himself.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Bob

      "You are promoting gay and marriage to dog as your religion."

      Prejudice people are so immature.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      @ letus: better to have a dog for the parent of a child than a hateful, retarded t-wat such as you.

      You truly are too stupid to live.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  10. RICHARD

    The real hate language here is written and spoken by the gay community and those who support it, for they deny the very freedoms they espouse for themselves. The shame, if there is any to be assigned, is theirs not that of the church.

    but that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

    December 2, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • ShannonCT

      Freedom to a Christian is using their numerical superiority (in the US, though not for much longer) to deny equal rights to those who don't worship, talk, look, or screw like they do.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  11. Name*RM

    forWhat's really sad is that the people that are against this are only trying to get people to understand this from there POV. Trying to make it seem like this man betrayed people by doing this and that all his encounters where "fake". Most religious people act like things are always supposed to be the way they are in the Bible yet most of you don't even live by half the things in the Bible. You hate people who aren't like you, who don't act like you do, who doesn't eat like you, who doesn't talk like you, a lot of you even hate other people that pray just because they don't pray to the same people you do. I just wish that the religious people of this world are really about a better life for everyone and not only those that are like them.

    December 2, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  12. Just the Facts

    Religion is like a pe nis, some are big and some are small, some people have one and some do not. It's fine to have one and it's fine to be proud of it, but please don't whip it out in public and start hitting people over the head with it... and PLEASE don't try to shove it down a child's throat.

    December 2, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Name*RM

      Weird but true

      December 2, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • letushelp

      I am not proud of religion. YOu should not be proud of marriage to your dog either.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • letushelp

      You should not use marriage to dog as your approach for election.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Bob

      "You should not use marriage to dog as your approach for election."

      Another uneducated prejudice remark from the troll.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Bob

      I just told you how to properly spell 'prejudiced'. why do you want to remain an illiterate loser?

      December 2, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • SkepticalOne

      @letushelp you need to get help.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  13. dmt717

    Amazing how many people he exposed as being hateful, and hypocrites. That's what the church condemns the most, any exposure of their own faults and failures.

    December 2, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • letushelp

      Or he only has this approach to "win" a position which he ruined himself.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Bob

      "Obama is the hypocrite whose only accomplishment is legalizing gay pride and marriage to dogs."

      Prejudice people are so immature.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • letushelp

      Gay marriage and marriage to dogs should not generate pride.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Bob

      "Gay marriage and marriage to dogs should not generate pride."

      Another immature prejudice remark, grow up.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Bob

      to illiterate Bob (and Kneel): It's prejudiced (with a D at the end). You sure are a fool. Thanks for showing everyone on this idiotic message board what a retard you are. Get a life and walk away from your computer, probably located in the basement of your divorced mother's house. You probably stand to lose a few hundred pounds

      December 2, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Name*RM

      Wow Obama really? What does Obama have to do with any of this? Your religious?

      December 2, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Bob

      "Get a life and walk away from your computer, probably located in the basement of your divorced mother's house. You probably stand to lose a few hundred pounds"

      Another immature remark from the troll.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  14. mia

    So how is this guy a Liberty University student if he dropped out after his freshman year? If he had actually graduated with a bachelor degree, his association to Liberty University would make a lot more sense. And only homeschooled until 7th grade? He was in the public schools for as long as he was home schooled. Furthermore, why is this a story? This guy is obviously being used by the media in order to portray evangelicals, home schoolers, and Chrisitian universities as being hateful toward gays. Actually, it is the other way around. Gays are the ones who as a rule are intolerant of others.

    December 2, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Yes, mia, that's why the media is just chock full of stories of gangs of drunken gays going around beating Christians to death.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • midwest rail

      False, but you already knew that. Contemporary Christians will seize any disagreement, no matter how slight, as proof of hate and discrimination against them. They love nothing better than wrapping themselves in the mantle of victim-hood and persecution.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • ShannonCT

      Yeah, curse those gays for demanding equal rights and not tolerating Christians' rights to have marriage all to themselves. After all, Christians invented marriage.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Blasphemy

      The fact that you are professing that intolerance is one sided should give you a clue about intolerance.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • dave

      The only intolerence most LGBT people advocate is of those who hate them. There are exceptions, of course. But your generalizations only confirms the article writers premise. That people are more intolerate the more they are immersed in their own life choices. You may want to look at your own views before assuming 'everyone' from a certain quarter is 'something'. That, by definition is prejudice.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  15. Bob

    To all men out there. It is natural to be gay for a few years, as I was.

    December 2, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Erik

      " It is natural to be gay"

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

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

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

      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).

      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.

      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.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Erik

      Excellent !

      Peace...

      December 2, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  16. Nietodarwin

    BOTH SIDES ARE ANGRY ........way to go. Here's something from Penn.....the magician.

    “What I have a problem with is not so much religion or god, but faith. When you say you believe something in your heart and therefore you can act on it, you have completely justified the 9/11 bombers. You have justified Charlie Manson. If it's true for you, why isn't it true for them? Why are you different? If you say "I believe there's an all-powerful force of love in the universe that connects us all, and I have no evidence of that but I believe it in my heart," then it's perfectly okay to believe in your heart that Sharon Tate deserves to die. It's perfectly okay to believe in your heart that you need to fly planes into buildings for Allah.”
    _ Penn Jillette

    December 2, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • 1word

      Anyone led by God will not Kill innocent people. Thou shalt not Kill! This is a commandment from God.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • sam stone

      No True Scotsman fallacy

      December 2, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      @ 1word:
      Deuteronomy 21:18-21 :
      If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
      Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
      And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
      And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Romnesia

      1word, but the religious get to decide what is innocent right? For example, religious nuts kill staff at abortion clinics; abortions are within the law, but the religious nuts cannot accept that and place those people outside of the innocence requirement. Therefore god says it's OK for me to kill.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  17. Bob

    well, I gotta go take a shower and jack off

    December 2, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Bob

      another prejudice remark from an immature person, grow up.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • letushelp

      What's next step? Legalize your marriage to your dog?

      December 2, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Bob

      "Legalize your marriage to your dog?"

      Animals can't consent, it's harmful to the animal and is illegal.

      How many trolling handles do you use for your immature prejudice remarks?

      December 2, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Bob

      to illiterate Bob (and Kneel): It's prejudiced (with a D at the end). You sure are a fool. Thanks for showing everyone on this idiotic message board what a retard you are. Get a life and walk away from your computer, probably located in the basement of your divorced mother's house.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Bob

      "Thanks for showing everyone on this idiotic message board what a retard you are. Get a life and walk away from your computer, probably located in the basement of your divorced mother's house."

      Grow up troll.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • sam stone

      no, letushelp, you will have to continue mounting your dog without the consent of the state

      December 2, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  18. 1word

    God is willing to forgive everyone for their sins. There are some behaviors that are against the Bible and unfortunately being Gay is one of them. It doesn't mean the followers of Christ should shun these people and treat them differently. We should continue to show love to them and once they come to Christ, they will eventually be changed from their past behavior. No one is Born a Killer, Drug Addict, Gay, Pervert etc.... The List goes on, in life we will continue to have a change in the way we think. God wants to renew our minds so we will live in peace and Joy.

    December 2, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • John

      "There are some behaviors that are against the Bible and unfortunately being Gay is one of them."

      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.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • sam stone

      You equate being gay with being a killer?

      Perhaps the moral lessons contained in the bible are more representative of the prejudices of iron age man than the word of god

      December 2, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Christians should be treated exactly the same as believers in astrology. Each has the same amount of evidence to support their looney tunes beliefs.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @John

      Always like seeing that posted...thanks.

      Peace...

      December 2, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • 1word

      John, if God wanted man to be with men, he wouldn't have made woman. God Blessed Man and Woman to be fruitful and multiply the world. If everyone was Gay how can we populate the world? By people trying to make it okay to be gay it's causing more people to continue to live in Sin rather than seek God to help them.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • James

      "John, if God wanted man to be with men, he wouldn't have made woman. God Blessed Man and Woman to be fruitful and multiply the world."

      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.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Saraswati

      Just a tip, if you want to win someone over to your side don't equate with murderers.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @1word

      Not everyone wants to "be fruitful and multiply the world."

      There is plenty of room on this planet for all types, 1word.

      Peace...

      December 2, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • 1word

      RENEW YOUR MIND THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD!

      December 2, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • David

      Too 1word... You're right. God made Adam & Eve not Adam & Steve! He also made Adam & Eve to not grow old and die from age related illness. Isn't it sad that so many Christians accept decrepit old people when we all know they choose that "life style". Sick old people just need to renew there mind! I can't believe we allow old people to flaunt there sickly lifestyle in our churches! Do we believe the bible or what!!!??? God created Adam & Eve to be youthful and free of illness and sickness. FYI: Being gay just as growing old is a legacy if the fall of man. If you want to condem or use the bible against gay people you are a hypocrite if you don't equally judge old people! Old people don't "choose" to be old... And neither do gay people! The whole point of Gods word is to show how the love and grace of God covers even those like you that don't "get it". Which begs the question... Is ignorance a choice?

      December 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Janet

      "God made Adam & Eve not Adam & Steve! "

      The Biblical condemnation of homosexuality is based on human ignorance, suspicion of those who are different, and an overwhelming concern for ensuring the survival of the people. Since the Bible regards homosexuality as a capital crime, it clearly assumes that homosexuality is a matter of free choice, a deliberate rebellion against God. We have learned from modern science that people do not choose to be gay or straight; hence it is neither logical nor moral to condemn those whose nature it is to be gay or lesbian.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  19. Blasphemy

    Pretending to be gay is as ludicrous as accepting someone who acts a certain way as being one of us while rejecting all of those who do not act that way as being one of them.

    But people in general think and work that way.

    December 2, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Margaret

      No, not ludicris. You can never be what you are pretending, but you can get a deeper understanding of what it is. Years ago a an colored his skin and lived as a black man. It never made him truly black, but he learned something and passed that knowledge on. Some people changed their own opinions after reading what he went through. You could try a year of farming, or working in a factory, or living as a homeless person, but you always know that you can go back, but you still can get a better understanding, and I guess that in the end is what we are need to understand, feel empathy for the other person.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Blasphemy

      You can choose to be a farmer. You can learn to be good farmer even if you are not orientated for farming.

      You can't choose which pheromones you react to.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  20. Bob

    I hope gay people find God and change their ways.

    December 2, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • ShannonCT

      I hope god people find gays and change their lays.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Blasphemy

      How much does that cost? 10%?

      December 2, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Bob

      Another immature prejudice remark from the troll.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Bob

      10% of your gross income.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • ShannonCT

      At least it's buy one (the father), get two free (the son and the holy spirit). They're rolling back prices all over the church.

      December 2, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @ShannonCT

      " I hope god people find gays and change their lays. "

      LOL ! :D

      Peace...

      December 2, 2012 at 11:22 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.