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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. Udontgetthepoint

    So all of you on here know better than Almighty God!!? If the Creator of the Universe says it's wrong, it's wrong! Period!

    December 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Don't care what you think your god 'said.'

      December 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Melvin

      " If the Creator of the Universe says it's wrong, it's wrong! Period!"

      The Scriptures at no point deal with homosexuality as an authentic sexual orientation, a given condition of being. The remarkably few Scriptural references to "homosexuality" deal rather with homosexual acts, not with homosexual orientation. Those acts are labeled as wrong out of the context of the times in which the writers wrote and perceived those acts to be either nonmasculine, idolatrous, exploitative, or pagan. The kind of relationships between two consenting adults of the same sex demonstrably abounding among us - relationships that are responsible and mutual, affirming and fulfilling - are not dealt with in the Scriptures.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • midwest rail

      @ udont – so you'll be leading the charge to make adultery illegal, right ? Shouldn't the immoral behavior of heterose-xual Christians also be the target of those who seek to use secular law to regulate other "immoral" behavior ?

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

      Actually God never said it was wrong, the authors of the Bible suggested that it was immoral. I'll talk to God later and find out. While I'm at it, I'll check with the Easter bunny and Santa....they might want to weigh in.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I know better than the christian god because that god does not exist. And besides...might does not make right.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • spc

      where does it say it is wrong?

      December 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      And if you think you can know the mind of your supposedly omniscient "god," you are nuts, nuts, nuts.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Udontgetthepoint

      God made the laws for man to live by. It is up to the individual to obey. God understands we are human and will forgive us for our mis-steps if we ask for forgiveness, but those who rebell against God and choose to live permanently in wickedness will soon have a very high price to pay.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Brent

      "but those who rebell against God and choose to live permanently in wickedness"

      Religion-based bigotry use religious teachings to justify discrimination against Native Americans, African Americans, minority religious groups, woman and interracial couples.

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

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

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

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

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

      December 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • midwest rail

      What a hypocrite.

      December 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      U don't have a clue what is "wicked" and what isn't.

      December 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Patrick

      And you really think "the Almighty God" said things like this too???

      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.”

      YOU'RE NUTS.

      December 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Udontgetthepoint

      It's true. Great evil has been done by man under the pretense of God's will, both in historical and modern day societies. Just look at the Pharisees and Sadducees in Jesus' day by way of example. My point is, each individual is accountable to the Creator of the Universe for his life lived. God has made his expectations clear. The age of Grace is rapidly coming to an end. Eternity is a very long time. Where do you want to spend it?

      December 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • james

      almost hard to believe so many of you take info about people that were doing things against God and his people and apply it to God.(see patrick) for example but do not want to read or hear about what God inspired his followers to write. One reference about his warnings to immoral people. 1 Cor.6:9-11. it does not say you can not be gay but you will not inherit the kingdom or blessings from his Kingdom. also it says that the gays can change. not that hard to understand. do it ,do not do it, your choice but God has the last word and decision about what will happen to you in the end. believe it or not, your choice. j

      December 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Udontgetthepoint

      Patrick, you make great folly of misrepresenting God's word. The entire passage goes like this:

      25 And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.

      26 And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king.

      27 And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?

      28 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow.

      29 So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son.

      30 And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh.

      Don't fall prey to the influence of Satan. Satan accuses man before God day and night, using the scriptures to do so by cherry picking verses like you have done. I can tell you lack understanding just in the way you mix old and new testament scriptures. The old testament was the ancient way, before the age of Grace. Please Patrick, if you truely seek knowlege, seek it thoroghly and understand fully before you scoff. You are placing yourself at great risk in eternity. I pray that the Holy Spirit will whisper to your soul and convict you to seek God before it's too late.

      December 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • James

      " God has made his expectations clear. "

      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 4:03 pm |
    • james

      James; why do you try to capitalize on my name and knowledge? you should never try to mislead about God's word unless you are truly just uninformed about what you are talking about. Do you really believe what you say? The scriptures are clear about God's teachings on the subject of these immoral people. I speak of our creator not the god of this world and it is clear what I quoted from Paul's first letter to the Corinthian congregation. do not be misled God is not to be mocked,.what you are sowing you will also reap.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Melvin

      "James; why do you try to capitalize on my name and knowledge? you should never try to mislead about God's word"

      The Scriptures at no point deal with homosexuality as an authentic sexual orientation, a given condition of being. The remarkably few Scriptural references to "homosexuality" deal rather with homosexual acts, not with homosexual orientation. Those acts are labeled as wrong out of the context of the times in which the writers wrote and perceived those acts to be either nonmasculine, idolatrous, exploitative, or pagan. The kind of relationships between two consenting adults of the same sex demonstrably abounding among us - relationships that are responsible and mutual, affirming and fulfilling - are not dealt with in the Scriptures.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • james

      melvin; i think you wanted to respond to me and not the capital James but my response is the same "do not be misled" as it was to the other James. and i am sorry but you have been "misled" and you may want to do some more research on that scripture (1 Cor. 6:9-11) as well as (Rom.1:24-27) (1 Tim.1:9-11) (Jude.7 (compare Genesis 19:4,5,24,25)and as earlier noted (Gal. 6:7-10)

      December 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  2. Steve Leong

    Rather than condemn this man for not being a real Gay person, we should all look at it as an example of someone who "stepped into another's shoes" before passing JUDGMENTS.

    Gays are being born to every family in this WORLD, and perhaps looking at "why" before crucifying them would help. Given the world's overpopulation and amounts of children abandoned by straights, doesn't it fit into God's will to create GAYS. Rather than keep pushing "procreation" as the reason to judge, looking at it from God's position, may be better.

    December 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Nancy

      I have 't read the book, but I think him immercing himself into what he thought was an ungodly culture was brave. He experienced what so many people have: the rejection of people that were supposed to care for him and the predjudice LGTB's feel in everyday life. Bringing his realizations outto everyone in a bookis great.

      December 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  3. Wisdom4U2

    Sorry, Peter, I'm guessing you have a learning disability seeing that 'humanity'

    December 2, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm guessing you're a real dick.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If someone like you, Wiz, is a Christian, who'd want any part of your religion? If your posts here are indicative of what you consider "respect for other people," I shudder to think what sort of kids you raised.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Peter

      "Sorry, Peter, I'm guessing you have a learning disability seeing that 'humanity'"

      Now that is a stupid post.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      Ha-ha... I see y'all get my point. :-\

      December 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What point? The only point you have is the one on top your head. You claim that teaching children to worship god is going to give them respect for others. Bullsh!t. It will do nothing of the sort if the parent is an azzhole like you.

      December 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      Tom-Tom, you know.... Jesus loves you, but err'body else thinks you're an ass hole. Just saying.....

      December 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Keep stalling, Wizzer. It just makes you look worse. Kind of like the Chard.

      December 2, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  4. Loathstheright

    He's gay.

    December 2, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  5. poopmeister

    So most people posting seem to be on odds but are there Christians out there that support gay marriage and why are they not coming forward to speak out? I'd like to see how many people walk the line because in my eyes, those would be the true believers....believers in love and compassion, which I would think would be the way of Jesus.

    December 2, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  6. Apple Bush

    Akira, you here?

    Athy?

    realpeace?

    December 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Akira

      For the moment, Apple.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Hey Akira, I just wanted to get back in on the lucid dream conversation but I will chat with you later....

      December 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  7. nemo0037

    I find it rather sad to see (once more after thousands of earlier times) how difficult it is for people to develop a sense of empathy for outsiders. This fellow had to spend a YEAR walking in others' shoes to learn the lesson. And based on many comments I see here, it appears that "Christian empathy" is as much an oxymoron as it ever has been. Why is it held in such low regard, when Jesus made such efforts to instill it in his followers?

    December 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • TheGrimJester

      On a certain level I can agree with you. It is sad that people lack empathy for others. Yet take one of your most treasured beliefs...say something like child molesters are evil. Or whatever. Then tell me how much empathy you have for the way they are treated.

      Occasionally to find out someone is still actually human we must become like them and learn through action. I have many fiercely held beliefs and do my best to have empathy for others. It is hard though, and I was not raised and taught as he was. If I have empathy for someone that has a different belief structure, my friends, family and everything I know does not suddenly go away.

      He had powerful forces working against his empathy. While it is terrible he pretended to be gay and lied to so many, if it made him more kind and a better person then I am okay with it. What he does not realize is that could have developed that empathy as a straight man just by talking to gay people about their lives. Their struggles.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  8. JimK2450

    “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 one simple line tells me everything I need to know about religion, and what it teaches about love and about hate.

    December 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  9. Splovengates

    Sleeping with the enemy

    December 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Akira

      Who is the enemy again?

      December 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      You mean when the Israelites slaughtered all of the menfolk of their enemies but had their way with the virgin women? (Numbers 31)

      December 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • mama k

      I would love to see Splovengates' spice rack. It's probably easy to detail: salt and pepper. (Although pepper is probably as sin, so probably just salt.)

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

      The above story

      December 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  10. nfclrd

    Okay, I am pro (or neutral) to whatever side. People are human beings. I think I would applaud what Timothy Kurek did, even if it was "fake", because this brings up the idea that not being straight is also common in our society, and by being common, it is also NORMAL. So, the LGBT community should be THANKFUL of him doing this. It is true that someone who interacted with him during that "year" might have felt hurt, but also it is true that wanting to experience something that we are NOT might help understand other choices in life, and by saying choices I don't mean it is a choice to be gay, on the contrary, I mean, it is seen by a choice to others, but we are just… born this way. Imagine if a gay atheist person tries to go to church, for a year, and discovers that that is not "his thing". Would the church feel hurt? I don't think so, they would just move on, and continue living in harmony. Let's respect each other, and hang out with each other.

    December 2, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  11. Splovengates

    The Hebrews said. The blood of Jesus be on us for the third and fourth generation. We are now in the 4th gen. There will be no 5th generation, according to the Bible

    December 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      but since the bible is wrong about everything else, probably wrong about this, too.

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

      Whether he cursed someone' grandchildren or helped them curse the own its the same thing. Someone who lent a guy a gun to shoot his wife or found a hotel room for a child molester would still be an accomplice. If my neighbor wanted to curse his grandaughter for life and I thought it was in his power, I'd call the cops.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • mama k

      Yes, Booty – there is not a spec of credible evidence for any of the "magic" in the Bible, therefore we are left with a collection of stories with their roots in ancient mythology.

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

      Or your Bronze Age death-cult could be as full of nonsense as the Muslim's Iron Age death-cult.

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

      You are not understanding the real God of love. He does not force. He'd rather win the sinner over with love, not force. The power of choice is something that is God given.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Peter

      "The power of choice is something that is God given."

      So next time your child does something wrong I want you to take their hand and hold over an open flame on your stove till the skin comes off. If you can't then you'll understand why your god is evil and doesn't deserve to be worshiped.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      So god sends his "son" to be sacrificed....and then blames the Hebrews, what an asshat.

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

      "The power of choice is something that is God given."

      Except when God chooses to "harden the sinners' hearts" so that he can slaughter them and send them to hell.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Splovengates,

      My wife has the choice to love me, if she chooses not to she is not my enemy nor should I hurt her, if I did it would make me an abuser.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Splovengates

      You need to study the Bible to understand 4th & 5th generation. Interesting timeline study. Wont try to explain it here

      December 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      aloha, mama k :)

      yep. the stories of the bible were told before in other myths/cultures. want to read the original garden of eden story - read the epic of gilgamesh. the bible plagiarized.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Splovengates

      @Peter— Cmon man. God told us to" train up a child in the way he should go..."

      December 2, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      god gives a choice? are you kidding? love me or be tortured forever... that's not a choice.

      [God] puts an apple tree in the middle of [the Garden of Eden] and says, do what you like guys, oh, but don't eat the apple. Surprise surprise, they eat it and he leaps out from behind a bush shouting "Gotcha." It wouldn't have made any difference if they hadn't eaten it...Because if you're dealing with somebody who has the sort of mentality which likes leaving hats on the pavement with bricks under them you know perfectly well they won't give up. They'll get you in the end.
      - Douglas Adams

      December 2, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • nope

      "The blood of Jesus be on us for the third and fourth generation. We are now in the 4th gen"

      The kingdom is NOT a future event, but, as Mark 9:1 indicates, it CAME centuries ago in the lifetimes of THOSE followers of Jesus.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Peter

      "@Peter— Cmon man. God told us to" train up a child in the way he should go"

      No, the point is your god is holding your hand over the fire, either you believe or burn. So pretend to be your god and hold your child's hand over the fire, you can't do it which is why your god is evil.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Splovengates

      People, people. READ THE BIBLE FOR YOURSELVES. ALL THE ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS ARE THERE.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      "God told us to" train up a child in the way he should go"

      So you're saying the Bible thinks we should educate our children. Wow, where would human civilization be without the profound wisdom of the Bible?

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

      "People, people. READ THE BIBLE FOR YOURSELVES. ALL THE ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS ARE THERE."

      Many atheists posting here are former christians and have read the bible more than once. Some are even former ministers. It still means the god you worship is evil. If you actually read the bible for what it is, the god of the bible is evil.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Splovengates

      To study the Bible is this way "Precept upon precept (principle upon principle-translation), line upon line. Here a little there a little"

      December 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      " ALL THE ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS ARE THERE."

      Too bad the answers are rubbish.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Splovengates

      "nough said"

      December 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Peter

      "To study the Bible is this way "Precept upon precept (principle upon principle-translation), line upon line. Here a little there a little""

      That's why chrisians cherry pick the bible to justify their prejudice view points without understanding it.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I have read it....and that is why I have rejected it.

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

      Splove: Can you tell us one bible prediction that has verifiably proven true?

      December 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  12. vic

    Timothy Kurek is no Christian. If he was, he would want to follow the teachings of God. In this particular case, two points stand out.
    1. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
    2. Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

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

      I guess he decided that there's nothing evil about being gay. He used his innate moral sense to decide that certain scriptures in the Bible are nonsense. All Christians do it.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Caleb

      If being Christian required following the Bible to the letter then I say nobody is Christian in this day and age.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Patrick

      These verses stand out to me.

      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 1:34 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      vic; Matthew 7:1 "Judge not lest ye be judged."

      December 2, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  13. sleepytime

    Anyone else think this guy might not actually have been pretending?

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

      OK, let's go with that.

      So what?

      It doesn't in any way change his experience or the lessons learned from it. Your question is precisely equivalent to asking whether his socks match.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Have you ever had a girlfriend? If so, I think she was pretending.

      December 2, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Haha, I'm actually amazed that not one but two people apparently missed the point of my comment.

      December 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  14. Jake

    Modern day Black Like Me, is it not? Although the implications are more family-centered than society based, at least more so now-a-days.

    December 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Andy Daniel

      Very apt analogy – though I don't know how many people under the age of 50 would recognize Black Like Me. I think this guy definitely took it a step further by having to involve his family.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  15. Focus on the "Family"

    Seems everyone is missing one of the main points of the article, which is the treatment of a person that doesn't toe the line within the church. When you step back and allow yourself to question the existence of God and the way the church represents his existence, you end up being "shunned" by the church. I used to be a very evangelical person but had many questions I couldn't find the answers to within the church world. Stepping away from it to re-examine becomes a one-way ticket out of that world and the friends that you had in it.

    December 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  16. energylawwisconsin

    Timothy Kurek's year of being gay reminds me of John Howard Griffin's year as a white man going under disguise and living as a black man, detailed in his 1961 book, "Black Like Me". The only difference I see is that since skin color is on the surface, Griffin didn't have to self-label himself as "black" to experience prejudice. I can understand the gay community's anger at the deceptive aspects of Kurek's experiment, but I still think something valuable has come out of it, including the discussion in this forum (except for the knee jerk hatred comments).

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

      As a gay guy (not a gay "man"–which for some reason is the word the media applies to gay GUYS whereas every other straight dude ,they call a guy), I take issue with the word gay being used CONSTANTLY to mean something that is visible–as in the case of this guy pretending to be "gay". I think they mean pretending ,that is,dressing,talking,etc in an EFFEMINATE/wierd way which they use the term "gay" to refer to. It cheapens the brand and makes me ashamed to sue the word since I like to be the guy next door,jock that looks like most Of USC 's football team . A lot of gay guys in the military,for example, are like ME. So,constant use of the word "gay" when they mean "overtly effeminate" or something is an insult. I am not on a campaign against that type of gay guy but don;t feel I should be called by the same term. Scott ,LA,CA

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

      Scott, you have an overactive imagination.

      December 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  17. Patrick

    So many gay people, including me were so encouraged by society and family, friends and religion to live a lie and did for many years – it's nice to see someone was willing to put the shoe on the other foot for once.

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

      Good point, that living a lie is part of the learning experience.

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

      "Good point, that living a lie is part of the learning experience."

      Christianity is a lie and breeds deep hated towards other not like them, that is not a good learning experience.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  18. Mary

    What is there to be upset about? This is a guy who wanted to understand what it was being in someone's shoe. No one can understand how discriminated a group feels till they experience it first hand. Hats off to this young man for doing something so radical and coming out a better person. All those stuck up so called feminists with their jaded and "ideology that can never be wrong", can learn something from this man. Good for you young man! This is what true Christianity is all about! God bless you!

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

      While I agree with the majority of you post, I am confused by this phrase " All those stuck up so called feminists with their jaded and “ideology that can never be wrong"...elaborate, please.

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

      True christianity is going undercover to expose the intolerance and hypocrisy of christianity.Huh?

      December 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  19. BurningMan

    @ Splovengates...

    You said recently: Why go into the enemy's camp! You might not get out alive (or something close to that).

    Apparently, Romans 5:20 is not all that important to your walk with the lord.

    It takes courage to be a presence among "sinners." If your god had any power at all, you'd be "protected" from the influence of the "enemy camp" and you could actually make a difference by showing them love and caring for them.

    (But we both know that Evangelicals care nothing about anyone but themselves.)

    Once again, just your choice of words helps me to understand why the Christian god doesn't exist. All the proof one needs is the daily lives of the Body of Christ.

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

      An evangelical's purpose should be to goes into the camp of the enemy, with the"armour" of God to win souls

      December 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • mama k

      Lol. Splovengates must be Dr. Evangelical's little hunchback "helper".

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

      ...as expected, Splov...a non-answer...

      Onward Christian soldier! Just ignore that part in Ephesians about flesh and blood not being the "enemy" and the weapons not being carnal...

      You can always spot an Evangelical by the selective-verse theology they espouse...

      December 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  20. Nietodarwin

    it is a telling fact that, the world over, the vast majority of children follow the religion of their parents rather than any of the other available religions. (Richard Dawkins)
    So yeah, it's brainwashing.

    December 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      It's not 'brainwashing' at all, it should be about teaching them respect for God, people, animals and nature. However, most children WILL test their upbringing morals to find the 'Truth'....as they should, ours did. Finding their life paths from the school of hard knocks is always painful to parents...but it is what it is, and so it is. :-)

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

      yes, it's absolutely brainwashing. christianity is a cult, like all religions. there is not god. grow up.

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

      @bootay ~~~ I see your parents taught you all wrong....that's if you even had parents. Your replies read as if you are so totally unloved. However, I love you, Booty; And God loves you too. May His love break through to your calloused cold heart. :-) Peace Out, Honey.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Peter

      "your calloused cold heart."

      Actually I think their heart is full of love and humanity. The same can't be said of you.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      @ Peter ~~~ Are you stupid or just dumb? I was addressing 'BootyFunk', not the gay community. Duhhhhhhhhhh. Get some understanding. Man, what a bunch of ignorant goons.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Wiz, I think you're just mad that Booty doesn't agree with you and you can't show any proof that you're "right." There is no reason children can't learn to respect others, treat animals with kindness, and appreciate and preserve nature without being inculcated with religious beliefs.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Peter

      "Peter ~~~ Are you stupid or just dumb? I was addressing 'BootyFunk', not the gay community. Duhhhhhhhhhh. Get some understanding. Man, what a bunch of ignorant goons."

      I was talking about BootyFunk.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son ~~~ You must be new to these forums, 'cause most that comment on here know I don't give a rat's ass if anyone 'agrees' with me, EVER. Don't ever try and put me into that 'lil psychological BOX you've created for yourself....you'll never get me to fit....that's a given, you freaking control freak. Ha-ha... :-)

      December 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Nietodarwin, the same goes for all beliefs, so basically parently is brainwashing...that's just how culture works. But the trick is to raise kids with a flexible framework and lots of knowledge so they can adapt to a changing world.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Nietodarwin, the same goes for all beliefs, so basically parenting is brainwashing...that's just how culture works. But the trick is to raise kids with a flexible framework and lots of knowledge so they can adapt to a changing world.

      December 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.