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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. John P. Tarver

    In 1953 Charles Darwin first attempted to publish his racist notional hypothesis, only to have it rejected. Then in 1859, with ant study added, Charles Darwin was able to publish his racist nonsense, as an ant study; red ants enslave black ants.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Observer

      Totally irrelevent to whether the theory of evolution is correct, but good trivia.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  2. TownC

    Maybe an atheist should pose as a Christian for a year to try to understand them?

    December 2, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I was a christian for 35 years, I understand them all too well.

      December 2, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  3. J.W

    In my opinion Jesus is the most important person in the history of Christianity. He did not say anything about hom0s3xuality. Paul says two sentences which could possibly be talking about it, but he thought that it was a way of people going against what is natural to displease God. He did not have the knowledge of human s3xuality that we have today.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • hindu Gay ism = filthy hind loving ism, WAY OF hINDU FILTHY ANIMALS.

      Jesus is a fictional figure created after son of blessed Mary, and hindu Paul is none but a hindu sanatan, pagan goon pretending to be follower of son of blessed Mary to spew hinduism, absurdities of hindu Mithra ism, pagan savior ism on his blessed name.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • J.W

      Well it is your opinion that he is fictional, but I do not share that opinion.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • GetReal

      Jesus, being the devout Jewish man that he was, followed the Old Testament law to the letter ( thus his perfectness among men). This would have included the actions of condemning men/men and woman/woman relationships.

      Jesus was not a Christian....He was the Christ(Savior/Messiah)..

      December 2, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Saraswati

      JW, seems like a reasonable approach. Hindu, btw, is almost certainly a mentally disturbed person who types incoherent messages at regular intervals (I'm not being judgmental here, you'll see what I mean soon enough). Its a bit disturbing best probably best ignored.

      December 2, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  4. John P. Tarver

    Charles Darwin was a rqacist crank and completely wrong about evolution being a means to species.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Nut, nut, nut. I'm a nut, nut, nut.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Jack Dubious

      That is fascinating. I would love to read your paper on your theory of species diversity.

      December 2, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  5. STB

    I love how these religious people are so afraid of a christian accepting gay people; that they are insisting he must be gay.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • hindu Gay ism = filthy hind loving ism, WAY OF hINDU FILTHY ANIMALS.

      Not any different than accepting child molesters in community, none others but their own kind, nehbor hood of hindu gay's, filthy hind lovers.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  6. 1WORD

    Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    "ATOM?" Are you friggin' kidding me?

    How do people like you tie your own shoes?

    Here's why I said Atom, why would the bible say "them" when referring to adam? You think all their names was Adam? Since man is made up of Atoms, I believe this was the man first name.

    Genesis 5:2
    Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • John

      "Male and female created he them"

      Some argue that since homosexual behavior is "unnatural" it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.

      Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.

      There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally, it might be well for the one quoting to read the text in its entirety.

      Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman. Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and Romans 1: 26-27). But homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment visited upon idolaters by God because of their unfaithfulness. Homosexuality was not the sin but the punishment.

      1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Sexual perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual liaison.

      Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of homosexual behavior. But was Paul's opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been challenged and transcended even by the church! Is Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned ideas?

      Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy, Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter respectively).

      That is all that Scripture has to say about homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist, these references do not build an ironclad case for condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition toward those of their own sex.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • mama k

      Go ahead and interpret the mythology however you like. It still doesn't make Gullible's Travels an more true.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      Take a biology class, high school, community college.

      December 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  7. Peaceful Christian

    He is NOT gay because he is fat and ugly, but he is christian tho.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  8. John P. Tarver

    The largest benificiaries of the civil rights act of 1964 were white women and now gays want a bigger piece of that pie.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  9. Peaceful Christian

    Both Jesus and Mohammed are Gay! Fark Christians.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      I have heard the story of Mohammed smuggling the ass bomb of Allah, but what has that to do with Jesus?

      December 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • hindu Gay ism = filthy hind loving ism, WAY OF hINDU FILTHY ANIMALS.

      Only in hinduism, stupidity of a hindu ignorant, follower of hindu filthy RAM, preacher of hinduism,incest. Please visit limitisthetruth.com to learn hinduism, criminality of hindu's, deniers of truth absolute GOD.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  10. Peaceful Christian

    Americans are still fighting for Gay right.
    You all christians are peaceful but pathetic.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      Christians and Muslims are NOT peaceful. It's not beauty logic or truth that have kept these religions going for centuries. It's not logic, or human advancement, or care for humanity It's MURDER OF NON'BELIEVERS, AND MURDER OF THE OTHER RELGION.. Read some history, (or go to Spain.........curdle your blood that history.)

      December 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • hindu Gay ism = filthy hind loving ism, WAY OF hINDU FILTHY ANIMALS.

      teachings of Mohammad and son of blessed Mary are not hinduism, corruption of truth absolute called religions, but hinduism, criminality of hindu Jew's, criminal secular called religions, hindu, ignorant.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  11. John P. Tarver

    Some scientists know from Relativity that gravity is mass bending time, while other scientists are Relativity deniers; like the Nobel committee.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  12. Blasphemy

    Pensions should be individually owned and controlled and Insurance companies should not be our keepers.

    Gays do not want to fix this problem. They want to participate in it.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Gays do not want to fix this problem. They want to participate in it."

      Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

      The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:

      No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

      These rights include:
      Tax Benefits
      -–Filing joint income tax returns with the I R S and state taxing authorities.
      -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.
      Estate Planning Benefits
      -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
      -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
      -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
      -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.
      Government Benefits
      -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
      -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
      -–Receiving public assistance benefits.
      -–Employment Benefits
      -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
      -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
      -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
      -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.
      Medical Benefits
      -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
      -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.
      Death Benefits
      -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
      -–Making burial or other final arrangements.
      Family Benefits
      -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
      -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
      -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
      -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.
      Housing Benefits
      -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
      -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.
      Consumer Benefits
      -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
      -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
      -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
      -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
      -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
      -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
      -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
      -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
      -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
      -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  13. Nietodarwin

    'm not gay, I'm a straight male who support ALL gay rights, (yeah one of those heathen liberal atheists) I didn't much like all those men kissing in front of the Chick fil A 's in protest, but I admired the strategy. No christians murdered them, so it worked.
    What about all these kids being dragged into church and lied to every week. Why arent' we atheists looking out for them, at least by standing (legally) across the street with signs that say KIDS, THERE IS NO GOD THERE IS NO PROOF
    THINK THINK IT MIGHT BE A LIE THINK THINK!!!!

    December 2, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      Galileo is a LIAR. The earth DOES NOT revolve around the sun, the sun goes around us.....(see it "move" in the sky!!!)
      Sir Isaac Newton was a liar , gravity is not real, see that bird fly.
      Albert Einstein was a liar, nothing is relative, there is no such thing as an atomic bomb, the Manhattan Project is a lie. All colors of red are still just "red" even though they look different.
      Charles Darwing is a LIAR. We did not, do not , will not evolve. "God created us in 6 day, and women are just ribs from men."

      December 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • SueNJ

      Pure garbage....GOD exist and you know it, read what you wrote and if you repent you just might have a change with HIM. It's sad–your a dead man walking, b/c to live is to have GOD.

      December 2, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  14. Blasphemy

    If you think that joining the corruption and getting special privileges is better than fixing the corruption and dysfunction in the system you may as well JOIN THE PARTY.

    You are already half way towards being a fascist.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Meanwhile, I'm sure YOU don't have any insurance and won't accept Social Security when you reach the age of eligibility, right?

      December 2, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Blasphemy

      If I am not exclusively on your side I must be against you?

      December 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Apparently. Can you explain how you're not opposed to gay marriage?

      December 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  15. Peaceful Christian

    It's ok to stone Gays and Pedos according to the Holy Bible and Peaceful Christians.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  16. freedomm

    Romans 1:24-27: 24 Why God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up to vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet."

    There is noting compassionate about condoning sin, which is the cancer of humanity that leads to certain spiritual death. Only love will bring our gay brothers and sisters to the light.

    1 Cor. 9: 20-23:"20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."

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

      "There is noting compassionate about condoning sin, which is the cancer of humanity that leads to certain spiritual death"

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

      Genesis 19:1-25

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

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

      Romans 1:24-27

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

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

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

      What is "Natural"?

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

      I Corinthians 6:9

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

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

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

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

      December 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Observer

      freedomm

      Why quote from Romans and Corinthians when NO ONE believes or follows every word of them?

      December 2, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  17. lionlylamb

    The Universally-Formed Cosmos of Triune Manifestation

    We all live amid two chasms of cosmological orders. We have the inner-cosmos and the outer-cosmos. The inner-cosmos is atomically made and is the universal construct of the outer-cosmos. One could not have an outer without an inner. Both are synonymously of the same natures. It stands to reason the inner-cosmos was made first and the outer-cosmos came into being only after the passive finalization of the inner-cosmos was made near complete. The inner-cosmos is transcendent and fixed while the outer-cosmos is ascendant and malleable in their dualities natures.

    The third cosmos is of life itself made from the inner-cosmos decidedly living upon the terrestrial faces of the celestial outer-cosmos. This third cosmos is the celled cosmos or the cellular cosmologic orders of all life forms made anywhere cellular life can gain a foothold to evolve and gain in the abundant natures toward the evolution of its structures ever evolving. Without the two main Cosmos coming into existence; living cellular cosmologies could not exist.

    The triune or threefold nature of chasm cosmologies is being one of the greatest and grandest gestures ever to have been formulated! To say God had nothing to do with such a feat of cosmologic inter-dependencies seems an infallible congruency inconsistent for one to say or think otherwise. To say the nature of God is to keep inflating the physical elements of the outer cosmos while deflating the essence needs for the inner-cosmos leaves one to wonder about the third cosmological construct’s real nature for having been created. Why then is there cellular cosmos of living cosmologies and when did such life become established?

    The history of multifaceted cosmological expansionism within celestial symmetries comes from the terrestrial complacencies of planetary regularities and solarized objectivism wherever the abundance of inner cosmologies coalesces to form stars, planets and moons among many other fragmented structures within the spatial confines of a universally formed Cosmos.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      TLDR.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  18. Willy

    This is a travesty of justice, im not payin anymore

    December 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  19. Mason

    Ohhh, suuuure...he was "PRETENDING" to be Gay.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  20. Reality

    Only for new members of this blog:

    Some added nitty-gritty:

    Because of basic biological and physical differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-se-x unions not same-se-x marriages.

    To wit:

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

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

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

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

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

    December 2, 2012 at 5:16 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.