home
RSS
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. theoldfool1950

    Good for this kid. He broke out of the cycle of ignorance that is the cornerstone of fundamental Christianity. It's amazing what you can learn when you see things up close and personal. If more people did things like this it could give many of us the real education we need.

    December 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Splovengates

      True education is knowing God

      December 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Splovengates

      Know, a thousand times know!

      December 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      true education is thinning for yourself.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • mama k

      Religion as education is most often bigotry and propaganda. That's why, in the U.S. since 1963, it is against the law to try to implement Bible reading and prayer in public schools. Thank goodness.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Splovengates

      If I spent all my time thinnnnnning for myself I would never go any where.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  2. truth

    Maybe we should just get rid of religion completely, then then this guy wouldn't have felt like he needed to live a lie for a year and others would feel like they need to live a lie for decades. When I was young, my family went to church on and off. It was basically just a place to spend our Sunday mornings. Religion didn't infiltrate our lives, we didn't spend our days talking and thinking about God, religion, politics or the way others choose to live their lives. I grew up believing that everyone is equal and as long people are hurting others or taking away other's rights they should live how they see fit. I came to this belief pretty much on my own and I certainly didn't need a year to "walk in someone else's shoes to understand that everyone should be treated with kindness and respect even if they are different than you. Yes, I recognize that society probably had some impact on my thinking, but overall no one brainwashed me or told me how to think.

    December 2, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  3. Splovengates

    The Hebrews cursed themeselves for the death of Jesus, for the "third and fourth generation". The are still under that curse, as a nation of people. Not individually

    December 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      jesus was a figure of myth, like hercules or any other. jesus likely never existed. if he did, he was just a looney cult leader like david koresh. he certainly never walked on water, raised the dead, healed with a touch, turned water into wine, etc. if he did live, and there's no good evidence he did - he was just a man that wanted people to kiss his @ss.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • theoldfool1950

      You're a goofball. Yeah, a big one.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Splovengates

      Above post was in answer to 'Sins passed of one generation to the next

      December 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Splovengates

      Oldfool? Who's the fool now? lol. Yeah, im a goof-ball.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Frank

      "Sins passed of one generation to the next"

      Then you worship an evil god, we don't claim children in our society are just as guilty as their felon parents, that's just stupid.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I've got to agree with Frank. If you take that seriously that would be one nasty god I'd want to stay clear of.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Splovengates

      God honored the Hebews request

      December 2, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • truth

      First, your God is unjust and I want no part of it. Second if you are going to call someone for a typo ("thinning"), you should probably be extra careful about your own typing ("Hebews"). Just so you know, I am not casting any stones, I recognize I make errors all the time, I am just pointing it out to you.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • mama k

      This must be the "truth be told" idiot. No one else could make such a fool of themselves.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Raymond J

      Um we totally uses the same 'sins of the father' logic in secular society. Why do you think that we have laws that require voting standards checks in areas that have historically been fraught with racially exclusive policies? What is the logic behind affirmative action if not to correct for historical imbalances in opportunity? The people living today may not be the cause of those problems but if they are part of the 'in' group they still benefit from it, so is it really so crazy that some of that iniquity be redressed (whether you think that AA policies work in practice you can still see the logic)?
      Of course it would be cruel to take a binary interpretation of 'sins of the father' punish every son with a sinning father, but it does make sense cases where the son benefits from the rewards of the father's wrongdoing (think living large on money your dad scammed from orphanages) or is likely to be influenced by the man his father was (think maybe don't elect hitler's son chancellor).
      This is a great example of why interpreting out of context lines of scripture in the most negative way possible is not at all informative.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  4. brandli

    For one thing, telling is a lie is just as wrong as any sin there is out there. Commiting a sin for the sake of another one is a sin also. Telling others things that hurt their feelings, ontop of it being a lie is just as wrong if not more wrong being it unnessary. If you want to reach out to people who are differnt than you, don't pretend to be them, it will not help. What will help is praying for them, and trying to lift them up. You can't change anyone, only God can do that. God knows what will be and we as mere humans can't change it unless we change our own lives first. Don't worry about anyone else. Be nice and civil and caring and love everyone, but its not up to you to do anything else. Thats God's job. You can sow a seed if its accepted, if not leave and pray in silence. Behind the scenes. You can be friends with anyone, but don't push your views.

    December 2, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      sin is a disgusting device made up by the church to instill fear and guilt in its followers. the idea of sin has caused untold psychological damage to society. there is no god. grow up. think for yourself.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Patrick

      Yeah and I'm sure you get really upset and comment about "sin" when you read a story about a grown man police officer posing as a 14 year old girl online to nab a child molester. Right?

      December 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • brandli

      Patrick that is differnt, totally. The child molesters don't share all there secrets, and depend on the children. All they do is lie, and molest them. Get a grip, its totally differnt.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      Praying for people without their knowledge does absolutely nothing. Prayer only has the potential to help people who believe in the ability of prayer to help people. That is, prayer is only a placebo.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      patrick, yes, i do get upset. but the word 'sin' never crosses my mind. i do think the person is monster. and i think he's mentally deranged. and i think he should be locked up forever.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      actually, shannon, you're half right. prayer does nothing for people who don't know they're being prayed for. in a recent study, they showed that people who were recovering from surgery and knew they were being prayed for did worse than the people not told and the people not prayed for at all. the people who knew they were prayed for had more medical complications and did worse than the other groups. so actually, shows prayer can be bad for you. lol.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Patrick

      No brandli, it's not different according to what you said which was basically that lying is a sin period, whether your intentions are good or not.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  5. Se777en

    If he had come back with negative things to say about gays, most evangelical Christians would have looked past his dishonesty and praise him. Since they don't like his account of his experience and his resultant outlook of gays, they'll demonize him instead.

    December 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Patrick

      So true. If he had been "undercover to expose the gay agenda" they'd be pinning a medal on him.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Saraswati

      His book would have been required reading for every freshman at Liberty.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  6. Jeffrey

    they only thing that was proved was that Timothy Kurek was never a Christian.. just full of lies, deceit & spirutually dead. Going through routines & rituals does not make you Christian. Surrendering your life eternally to Christ does.

    December 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      so true, becoming a slave to your god makes you a good Christian...
      What else would you expect?

      December 2, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Frank

      "they only thing that was proved was that Timothy Kurek was never a Christian.. just full of lies, deceit & spirutually dead. "

      Wow, you're one judgmental evil christian, that means you're a sinner too and going to hell.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Patrick

      That fact that he is this extremely concerned with developing empathy shows that he's intensely spiritually alive. Like Jesus said, many who think they will be first are going to be last.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • mama k

      No Christian will give you the same answer on what it takes to be a good Christian. It is an extremely conflicted religion – straight from its core.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Jeffrey, whither you know it or not you are in an abusive relationship with your god.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      unclasp your hands. get up off your knees. think for yourself. go outside and put those hands to use helping others.

      congratulations - you're now a better person.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Jeffrey

      you are a slave to whatever has mastered you.. God loves everyone but everyone does not love God... God works for the good of those who love Him & wont be manipulated by those who deny Him.. the world is under the sway of the wicked one.. slaves of sin belong to Satan, the father of lies... Jesus breaks the bondage of sin by you loving Him.. the Children of God are not naturally born.. we are born again through the Holy Spirit of God, given & received through Jesus Christ ♥

      December 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      god is disgusting and cruel. love? lol. he only loves the ones that get down on their knees and kiss god's @ss. so explain how it was love when god drowned every baby on earth in his great flood...?

      December 2, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Jeffrey

      I understand your hatred for God, I hated him too.. living in a pit, surrounded by turmoil.. no answer to cries for help.. solemnly scraping to escape as every effort fails.. waves continuing to crash.. throwing hands to the sky & touting, "if you are God, why dont you get off your throne & do something?" ... finally deciding inside that God is either careless or impotent.. figuring either way to fight another day alone.. day after day battling & making your own way.. hating the ugliness of the world while growing to despise the idea of some magical being that could make life easier but just lets terror reign throughout the world.. then hearing some touchy feely idiot telling you that Jesus loves you & that you need to repent.. repent as if you have ever done anything to anyone, ridiculous.. & I wish I could tell you that by adding Jesus to your life things will get better, but they won't.. Jesus cant be added to your life & He does not fix your life.. you must die to yourself & become born again into His Life.. when you get to a point where you just no longer want to exist in this world.. He is ready to take you out of this world & give you new life..

      Atheists believe that their unsettled inner agitation comes from religions.. they believe that if they remove all the 'signs' of God that they will remove the inner conviction that continually torments them.. but their own wicked heart is the culprit.. the only escape from everlasting anguish is to make peace with God.. repent & find life in Christ ♥

      December 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • mama k

      "you are a slave to whatever has mastered you.."

      yes, that can frequently be a childhood of indoctrination into delusional thinking; but it can happen anytime in life really.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • mama k

      Lol. you seem to be the one with an unsettled feeling of agitation.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Peter

      "Atheists believe that their unsettled inner agitation comes from religions.. they believe that if they remove all the 'signs' of God that they will remove the inner conviction that continually torments them.. but their own wicked heart is the culprit.. the only escape from everlasting anguish is to make peace with God.. repent & find life in Christ ♥"

      Funny how you have to lie to yourself about others, and this is a complete lie. I am none of those things.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Jeffrey

      It's your heart that makes my words read as hard.. soften your heart & see..

      You are loved, so care for your soul... dont let those that dont care for their own soul.. distract you from taking care of yours..

      there is no religion, philosophy, or ideology that does what Jesus does.. when you ask, He delivers into you the Holy Spirit, the inner minister of truth who brings you into a peace that nothing else can give you. Soul Service <3

      December 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • nope

      "He delivers into you the Holy Spirit, the inner minister of truth who brings you into a peace that nothing else can give you. "

      Your jesus is a fraud. All hail Mithra!

      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"

      December 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Jeffrey", but your assertions are unfounded. The God of Abraham and Jesus Christ, as the son of God, are elements of mythology.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Jeffrey

      the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God is absolute & unshakable... there is extreme desperation in wanting to disbelieve.. but in every search, He is there... waiting patiently.. the wicked shake their fists at God & vaunt themselves against Him.. the merciful, loving, patient God waits on their turn of heart & repentance.. the wicked mistake His patient compassion as inaction.. so some are emboldened to blatant blasphemy & streak into sinful madness.. rebelling until the peak is reached & the bow breaks.. a cold chill will crawl through every spine.. a door will close to the wicked & they will swallow a hallow, emptiness.. fear will strike their hearts as each sees themselves as vulnerable.. surrounded by many who are much more depraved & heinously hungry.. with no place to hide.. alone & not nearly as tough as you thought you were..

      There is no victory in wickedness.. victory is in Jesus † ♥ Repent & enter the Kingdom of Light.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • BurningMan

      @ Jeffery...

      Your spiritual diagnosis of atheists causes me to draw two conclusions:

      You've never spent any time with an atheist...(clearly, you're apologetic handlers have instructed you on how to think about the atheist model).

      Secondly, you're lying to yourself every time you interact with the Body of Christ...having spent the first 3 decades of my life as an Evangelical, and one who continues to sit in their pews as an observer, I have not encountered a more emotionally troubled, angry, and uhappy group...despite a book full of the "promises of god" that should have long ago convinced them about their spiritual status.

      And from the above, it is easy to conclude that, in fact, the daily lives of Christians confirm they do not actually believe their god exists.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • BurningMan

      Jeffery says: " there is extreme desperation in wanting to disbelieve"...

      When one considers the apologetic section of any Christian bookstore, or the apologetic courses taught in Christian colleges, and from the pulpit and in the Sunday morning classroom, one can find the opposite:

      The extreme desperation of the believer to sustain belief...

      December 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      "the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God is absolute & unshakable."

      The stories found in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1-12, such as the flood story, the record is quite different: the time period under consideration is much more ancient. The factual bases of the stories are hidden from our view archaeologically. The stories remain a part of folk traditions and were included in the Bible to illustrate and explain theological ideas such as: Where did humans come from? If humans were created by God (who is perfect and good), how did evil among them come to be? If we are all related as children of God, why do we speak different languages? It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

      It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  7. jirair23

    Is no one seeing this? This guy was deeply religious and then pretended to be gay for an "experiment". Are you kidding me? The man is gay, clearly. Now he's going to reap profits off this book and I would bet money that he comes out truthfully that he is really gay. This guy couldn't be anymore the prototypical gay religious person. Who cares that he supposedly told a lie, he actually wasn't, so that should quell some of the drama that community covets so well.

    December 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  8. albie

    religious people are some of the most violet and hateful people you will ever encounter

    December 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  9. mama k

    I was reading yesterday about the Unitarian Universal Churches. I was thinking I would camp out incognito at one of those, but then I started to realize one would not have to since they seem to be so accepting of different beliefs. I would be curious if there are other readers to participate to any degree with this type of church – possibly even as a convenience for doing charity work. I see that evidently the person attributed with inventing the www is one of these UU's. I also wonder, with such advertised diversity why a typical "service" or educational session at of these UU churches doesn't wind up with people coming to blows over their differences. Maybe in a particular area this type of church leans more Christian than in other area?

    December 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • mama k

      typo correction – third line: who participate

      December 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      I would love it for some Christian fundamentalists to try living as atheists for a year... That would require that they'd start thinking though......
      Not sure if that's possible

      December 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • mama k

      sorry – another typo: last line areas>?

      December 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Saraswati

      They vary from area to area. Some use the word god while others do not. Either way I don't think anyone will care if you disagree. I'm not a UU but have been to a few churches and no a few UUs.. If you want to try it out, go now...they often close down in the summer. Some humanist orgs also do charity work.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • BurningMan

      Mama K,

      I've followed your posts and am a fan.

      I highly recommend an incognito visit to a local UU church. They do vary widely and they do hold a service with some rituals like most religions do.

      Their hallmark is that they are inclusive. The one I visited had a strong Wiccan presence. Their website also invites atheists to fellowship. A UU church in Jacksonville, Florida has an atheist professor of Philosophy speak regularly from the pulpit.

      A huge plus is to consider what Evangelicals say about them...that is usually a good indicator that there is value to be found in a place the Evangelicals despise. :0)

      December 2, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Saraswati

      With regard to coming to blows in the UU church, I don't think that happens much, but there is a lot of discussion among members about the extent of tolerance. People have quite a few different views, but until recently it was a combination of secular (largest group), liberal Christian and Buddhist type members who coexisted fairly well. There was a big controversy I remember when the Wiccans started joining as they were considered less rational and didn't apply reason as other UUs expected it to be applied. I think that's blown over, but you'd have to be aware it's a group of people with some shared principles but also very diverse views.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • mama k

      Thank you BurningMan and Saraswati for your replies. I will check it out. It seems like it couldn't hurt to have more dialog, but more face-to-face.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • mama k

      It does seem like conflict management must be a key tenet.

      December 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  10. brolip

    this guy sounds like a good man. who cares if he is straight or gay. he went out there and tried to understand something. that's what life is all about.

    December 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  11. Splovengates

    the right thing" is a can of worms

    December 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Peter

      Really like what?

      December 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Splovengates

      In todays world, the right thing of one is not the right thing for another. But God doesnt change. He meant what He said and says what He means. 'THOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY"

      December 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  12. mklsgl

    This is pathetic and absurd. Pretend to be gay? That's like pretending to be Black.

    December 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      ...and many have pretended to be Black, and have learned from them. Duhhh

      December 2, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @wisdom
      name one.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Meghan

      @bootyfunk, John Howard Griffin

      December 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i stand corrected. :)

      December 2, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  13. KPARSONS

    As a gay man if I found out that someone I met "lied" to me for this purpose I would welcome him and thank him for making the huge effort to open his mind, heart and soul to grow as a person and be a better person in the long run. I don't know where these reporters would ever think that someone would get mad at a person for gaining insight into themselves. If they do, whether gay, straight or otherwise, they have their own issues to sort out and maybe should do some soul searching themselves. I had a read an article about this gentleman a while back and I am proud of him for what he did and the giant leap he took for himself and I appreciate a human being like this who is willing to try and see more than the immediate world around him and get glimpse of something more in the world.

    December 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i can understand the other side too. if you were one of the ones lied to - because he did lie - you may feel different. you're putting your trust in someone when everything they've told you is a lie, regardless of the intentions of the experiment. i see both sides.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  14. Ethan

    I'm surprised the LGBT community was upset about this. How is this different from projects where people switch races or when they pretend to be homeless. I think it was courageous of this guy to really put himself in someone else's shoes. Sometimes that's the only way people can sympathize. Another way is to accept people for who they are and not judge them before getting to know them, but to each his own. Glad to see the progression.

    December 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Patrick

      I think it was just a couple of nuts in the GLBT community that were upset. I'm gay and I thought it was a great thing the man did.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Saraswati

      It doesn't bother me at all, but you'll find divergent ideas in any group.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      it's a mixed bag. in a way, of course, he was helping to shed light on h.omophobia and was changing his own h.omophobic views. but on the other side, it's like joining a black community in really good black face and then after a year saying, surprise, i'm white!

      December 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      Exactly. I don't think it was really the gays who were upset...just the critics pretending to be them. However, just as God came to live among us and showed us compassion, I see nothing wrong with Timothy doing the same. Actually, what he did is what Jesus did....he hung out with the misunderstood and loved them.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @wisdom
      compassion? are you kidding? there would be no h.omophobia without religion. shows compassion? like in leviticus when the bible commands christians to kill g.ays? or the compassion god showed when he drowned everyone on earth? including babies, the elderly, physically disabled, mentally challenged, the infirm, etc. god is compassion in the same way hitler was compassionate.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      @bootystank ~~~ Pull up your drawers, you're showing your ignorance. You keep trying to bring up the 'Old Testament', but what you fail to understand is that Jesus 'fulfilled' the Old Testament. You can't even go there anymore...we have been 'REDEEMED'. Jesus IS the COMPASSION of God. DUHHH. 'Above all else, get WISDOM' (and that's from the Old Testament).

      December 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @wisdom
      and you're showing you've never read the bible. you can't do away with the OT because it's convenient to you. jesus himself said you must follow every letter of the OT. the 10 commandments are in the OT - do you follow those? christians who realize how cruel and atrocious the OT is always try to use that excuse. sorry, the NT didn't replace the OT - it just added to it. you are still bound by the old laws.

      and slavery is promoted throughout the NT, too. even by jesus himself. there's plenty of NT cruelty to go around.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      @booty ~~~ Again, because you lack understanding I really shouldn't dignify my answer to your off-the-wall reply. But, nonetheless, you stated "....you can't do away with the OT ..", I did NOT say anything about doing away with the Old Testament. I stated that Jesus FULFILLED the New Testament; There's a huge difference there. Now go and get some Wisdom, bootay.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      *Old Testament* :-)

      December 2, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why don't you explain what you mean by "fulfilled the Old Testament," Wiz? You keep repeating it and attempting to discredit and ridicule Booty, but nothing in your posts clarifies what you've stated. Why don't you stop stalling and get to it?

      December 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son ~~~~ I'm not casting pearls amonst the swine, let me make that perfectly clear.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What's "perfectly clear" is that you don't know the answer, and can't explain what you mean.

      Poser.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Calgon

      Wisdom4U2
      "I'm not casting pearls amonst the swine"

      What makes you think that you have "pearls"? More likely you have some of those little globular, sweet-smelling bath beads, which dissolve in water.

      December 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @Calgon, Wizzer can't even explain his own beliefs. He's just an impostor.

      December 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  15. dippidy doo dah

    I see many articles cited in which many scientist concur that being gay is not a choice. Then none provide actual scientific evidence. Might as well say the state of being gay is summoned by dark energy and interacts with dark matter. It sounds much better than saying they have no friggin clue.

    December 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Where is your evidence that it is a choice?

      December 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I see many articles cited in which many scientist concur that being gay is not a choice. Then none provide actual scientific evidence."

      It's based on decades of research and if you really did your homework they do cite it. If they didn't they wouldn't be winning in the courts. Duh!

      December 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Patrick

      We've had the ability to accurately and affordably test people's $exuality in a lab setting since the 1950s. And in all that time, not one person has ever been able to show that their $exuality changed during the course of their lifetime. Not from gay to straight, not from straight to gay, not even from gay to bi$exual. Not through theraputic means and not through religious means. Also, there have been tons of studies done on ho mo$exuality – if it was a choice there would be precursors to that choice leading someone to want to be attracted to the same gender or leading them to actually having attraction for the same gender – yet not one study has ever found any precursor or cause.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      so stop being lazy and look up the original research. articles summarize the research - you should look up the actual studies. sheesh.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Maybe you should try reading the actual studies rather than relying on third hand rehashing written by journalism majors who are catering to people with a sixth grade reading level.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  16. OhioPatti

    Those who live by the Spirit of God recognize the Spirit which is alive in others. "pretending" to live as someone you're not for a year is good for selling a book to others who like to "pretend". Those who recognize the spirit of God in ALL of God's creations, simply love...inclusively, not exclusively.

    December 2, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Patrick

      Actually walking in someone else's shoes for a year is Godly, a brilliant lesson in empathy to be shared with others who desperately need to learn it.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      and that's your opinion... it's your own idea of your god
      you don't know who or what your god is or says and neither does anyone else, because it doesn't exist

      December 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Splovengates

      Here we go! "God doesnt exist. Now it gets nasty

      December 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      apparently you haven't read the bible. it says to kill g.ays. the bible is disgusting.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Splovengates

      Nastier

      December 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Splovengates

      They are killing themselves. HIV Hello

      December 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      Splovengates, anyone can contract HIV

      December 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Splovengates

      Not if you "do the right thing"

      December 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      Splovengates, one can be born with HIV.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Peter

      "They are killing themselves. HIV Hello"

      There are millions of straight people dying from HV and it actually affects more women than any other group.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Saraswati

      For a woman, having se x only with other women is apparently the right thing then. And so I enter the kingdom of god.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Splovengates

      Sins can be passed down from one generation to the next

      December 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Splovengates

      I see your god is all lowercase

      December 2, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Peter

      "Sins can be passed down from one generation to the next"

      So an innocent women that gets a blood transfusion and passes HIV to her child is a sinner?

      December 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      "Sins can be passed down from one generation to the next"
      Your god allowed HIV to happen. Think about that. Where is his benevolence? Punishing people for being born from the 'wrong' (according to your effed up world-view) parents.
      Your god is evil.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Splovengates

      Satan has been blaming GOD since the beginning

      December 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      God allows for Satan to exist.. not only that, but he created him.
      Your god is evil.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      god said he created evil himself:

      Isaiah 45:7
      "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

      yep, god created evil. doesn't seem like such a good guy to me.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  17. Rev. J.T.

    Hey all you arrogant, judgmental evangelicals, 'Don't throw the first stone!' Be humble for ye too are sinners one and all.

    December 2, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Splovengates

      Yeah, but im a SINNER saved by grace

      December 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      "Yeah, but im a SINNER saved by grace" yeah yeah....
      you were created sinner and ordered to ask for forgiveness
      yours is an awesome god

      December 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  18. Patrick

    Is it easier to believe that some people are born gay which seems clearly obvious or is it easier to believe that the following is the "Word of God"???

    Leviticus 25:44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

    Exodus 21:20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

    Genesis 19:33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

    34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

    36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father.

    Deuteronomy 22:28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and r@pes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

    Genesis 19:8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

    1 Timothy 2:11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

    1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

    34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

    Matthew 19: (Jesus Speaking) 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for $ ex ual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

    1 Corinthians 7:10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

    Numbers 31: (Moses Speaking) 15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the LORD in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people. 17 Now ki11 all the boys. And ki11 every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    2 Kings 6:27 The king replied, “If the LORD does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” 28 Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?”

    She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”

    December 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      the bible is disgusting. the bible supports slavery throughout, and says to kill g.ays, non-virgin brides, disobedient children and anyone working the weekend. god drowns babies in his great flood. read that again: BABIES. only a monster could fill an infant's lungs with water and call it divine justice.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  19. gango

    I'd like to see that scientific evidence. I don't subscribe to "Psychology Today" and don't read every issue of "Discover," so it's possible it slipped by me. What professional articles in the literature can you cite?

    December 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Peter

      You're too lazy to use google?

      December 2, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      what exactly are you asking for? evidence for what? being g.ay? there's plenty out there. do a search.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Saraswati

      What you are reading are magazines, not scholarly journals. I'd start by reading up on the difference and then if you can't find the research on your own talk to a reference librarian who'll hook you upwiththe appropriate databases.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  20. Brampt

    “Shouldn’t Christians respect all people, regardless of their sechulality orientation?”

    “Absolutely.The Bible says: ‘Honor men of all sorts’ or, as Today’s English Version renders it, ‘Respect everyone.’ (1 Peter 2:17) Therefore, Christians are not hophobic. They show kindness to all people, including those who are gay.”—Matthew 7:12.

    December 2, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      guess you forgot about leviticus 20:13 where christians are commanded to kill g.ays.

      you obviously haven't read the bible. people cherrypick bible passages and skip the ones the find distasteful - convenient.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • poopmeister

      So Bootyfunk, when did killing gay people become legal? Oh wait, it's not, because that would be completely stupid. The bible was a different time period and it shows with the vicious nature within it. New day and age, being gay is completely acceptable but they are constrained by the same thing that the rest of us are constrained by...backwards thinking. I'm not saying that we should be completely liberal on everything, there are some limits but being gay, really? Is that truly a pressing issue, can we focus on other more important items...world hunger, war, etc..

      December 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      ummm... when did i say killing g.ays was legal? i said the bible tells christians to kill g.ays - and it does. no, it's not legal to kill people. that's my point. if we followed the bible, the world would be a monstrous place. don't put words in my mouth.

      "I'm not saying that we should be completely liberal on everything, there are some limits but being gay, really? Is that truly a pressing issue, can we focus on other more important items...world hunger, war, etc.."
      ignorant thinking. do you realize how many g.ays have been imprisoned, tortured and killed for being g.ay? but it's not a "pressing issue"? perhaps if you were g.ay you'd have a change of heart. if you were g.ay bashed, as one of my good friends was a year ago, perhaps you'd have a change of heart. if you received the same prejudice that g.ays receive, perhaps you would think differently.

      and to say let's solve war and hunger and concentrate on nothing else tells me you have a childlike view of the world. it's not that black and white. it'd be stupid to only focus on the top three issues of the world and ignore all others. we need to work on every wrong - not just the worst ones.

      December 2, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Akira

      Brampt says:

      “Absolutely.The Bible says: ‘Honor men of all sorts’ or, as Today’s English Version renders it, ‘Respect everyone.’ (1 Peter 2:17) Therefore, Christians are not hophobic. They show kindness to all people, including those who are gay.”—Matthew 7:12.

      I wish everyone would use this version of the Bible, for those who are inclined to read the Bible.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • poopmeister

      Booty, you misunderstood my post. I didn't mean that it wasn't a pressing issue for gays, I meant it shouldn't be pressing for the Christian community to ban the lifestyle. Of course gays face more problems than the average person and if I saw some guys gaybashing someone....I wouldn't care if there were 20 of them, I would fist fight for that gay person. One of my best friends is gay, so don't misunderstand my post. As far as world hunger and war...I'm just giving religious people something more to focus on instead of trying to keep gay people from being able to marry. I did put a reply that said that I did know your stance but I was using your post for my platform....the reply didn't show up I guess.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      seems like we're on the same side then. that's good. :) when you said:
      " I'm not saying that we should be completely liberal on everything, there are some limits but being gay, really? Is that truly a pressing issue, can we focus on other more important items...world hunger, war, etc.."
      it sure didn't sound like you were being very compassionate there. sounded like you were belittling the g.ay struggle.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • poopmeister

      Not really trying to belittle, just trying to get the Christian community to relax a little. Days of burning witches are done and I don't think being gay needs the attention that it gets but you are absolutely right when you said "do you realize how many g.ays have been imprisoned, tortured and killed for being g.ay?". I actually didn't think about that because where I live it is completely acceptable and if someone makes a negative gay comment, they are usually looked at like they are crazy. It makes me sick what gay people have to go through. That's why I never even talk about someone being gay, I just say "my friend John, etc...." and even gay people up here in CT usually make fun of themselves, so it is a completely different for me and my experiences....makes me want to get involved in the cause to know that crappy stuff like that is still occuring.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.