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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. lol??

    H saps are at the peak (which is arrogant for any species) of eviloution and after 400,000 years are still trying to figure out s e x? HHHhhhmmmm.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Jones

      Only religious people see us as being better than all other living things.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • lol??

      jones, the educratists have a course for you somewhere in self esteem.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Jones

      lol??
      "educratists"? Might I suggest a course for you in English As A Second Language, or even one as a First Language?

      December 3, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • lol??

      You might, can, and it sounds like you just did.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  2. Reef

    I grew up as a stud with money. You guys and your crappy lives must suck.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  3. Jones

    Rick
    According to the text, his daughters thought he was the last man on earth so they got him drunk in order to take advantage of him. Still, they were spared by God too right?

    December 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheese makers

      How drunk do you have to be to allow your daughters to take advantage of you? And if Lot was that drunk I wouldn't think he could "perform".

      December 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  4. A Convert Myself

    I grew up in a conservative Protestant evangelical environment, and I was taught that we must live according to the Bible, but that we must all read the Bible and interpret it for ourselves. As an adult I struggled with that, because it is impossible to take a "Biblical" position on virtually any issue if each person interprets the Bible a different way. I suspect this fellow came to the same conclusion. I had a great crisis of faith and to my surprise, I found the answers I was looking for in the Catholic Church. The Christian community requires unity and good leadership to respond to the world with love and to effectively live and proclaim the Gospel, not the divisions and conflicts of Protestant evangelicalism.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • lol??

      The churches are fully leavened at the present. Keep asking.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  5. Liberty

    Okay, so the second picture where he's with two men dressed and pretending and wishing to be woman is normal? Anyone who advocates this is just as disturbed. This is not normal, will never be normal and you don't have to be religious to figure it out. However, I do take GOD's word that this is a sin obviously, but even if GOD never mentioned it, I would know deep down that this is not normal. It's unfortunate that we have a government that is now pushing gay evil marriage on us.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      How would it be god's word if it never said it?
      The way to look at it really is – why do you resist civil liberties?

      December 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Jones

      It's not what you would do, but who are you to judge what's "normal"?

      December 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      How about symbolic cannibalism....is that normal?

      December 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • James

      @Liberty, I'm fairly sure you don't know the meaning of the word normal. Gifted children are by definition not normal.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Okay, so the second picture where he's with two men dressed and pretending and wishing to be woman is normal? Anyone who advocates this is just as disturbed. This is not normal, will never be normal and you don't have to be religious to figure it out."

      Talk about stereotyping the gay community. The hundreds of thousands of experts in this country have proven your prejudice post wrong.

      Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

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

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

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

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

      December 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • sam

      It's hilariously ironic that your name is Liberty. That's all that really needs to be said.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  6. Fish

    What this guy did is no different from what many closeted gays go through. Acting 'as if', getting someone to act like your partner, and live a lie when you so desperately want to tell everyone the truth. Well done, sir. Very 'black like me.'

    December 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Jones

      Funny how this guy's critics would all support a gay man acting as though he's straight and living a lie, but can't imagine the reverse?

      December 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  7. Tod

    " You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

    from To Kill A Mockingbird

    Solid wisdom, yes?

    December 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  8. DePopeIzGay

    Just when I thought half the comments on these blogs could never get any more dumb...I get surprised again!

    December 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  9. JFCanton

    Interesting that he would quote James: that isn't in the Protestant Bible, is it?

    December 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • lol??

      Scotch and the KJV were good enough for Churchill.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  10. Sivick

    I think it's a great thing. More ultra-religious types need to have their eyes opened to their bigotry.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Tod

      All forms of bigotry come from the ignorance of the subject being discriminated against.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • lol??

      The Big O T ried that. BTW, keep pushin' the hypHEN.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  11. myweightinwords

    @1stPrime...below you said,

    Look, go and study and read about "Sodom and Gomorrah." You, I and everyone else are constantly faced with choices in our lives.

    Even the bible says that the sin of Sodom was pride and cruelty/violence.

    The life style is a choice.

    Which lifestyle? I know a lot of LGBT people. There are many, many lifestyles there.

    One can have desires, but to act on them is when one has committed him or her self to doing what one should not do.

    I'm sorry that isn't very clear. What is it you are trying to say? It's okay to want to fall in love, get married and raise children, but it's wrong to do so?

    The gay life is an offense against one's self in every way, but becomes acceptable once one chooses to justify the behavior as being acceptable.

    It isn't good until it is good because you decide that it's good? I'm sorry. That makes no sense at all.

    Being gay is a normal state of being. It is a part of who a person is. It isn't good or bad. It just is. Just like being straight or bi or asexual.

    It becomes pointless to discuss the right and wrong of a behavior once a person has committed his or her self to a course.

    Is that similar to "I've already made up my mind, don't confuse me with the facts"? That seems to be the mindset you're in.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  12. steve

    the census cant collect accurate data? really?? its called SPOUSE kind of covers it either way.....ta-da!

    December 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • JFCanton

      This was a problem for the census in 2000: the marriage status was twinned to the gender of the head of household, and could only be husband with a wife or wife with a husband, so they didn't have a way to note same-gender partners on the form.

      This is really trivial, though. I believe last time they called it "spouse," and counts of the different combinations of genders could easily be extracted.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  13. Jack 3

    This is a perversion of the norm. These unions do nothing for mankind. All species objective is to multiply and this will surely not include that.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Many of my gay friends have kids. Try again.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      The bible says contraception, and abortion are a sin, so my obedient christian wife, (who was a virgin when I married her of course) and I practice birth control through sodomy, (ouch honey, be gentle") Is THAT a sin.????

      December 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Jack 3

      So all menopausal women should get divorced or not be allowed to marry by your logic.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Hawaii weighs in again with an almost intelligent argument. The covenant of marriage, as I believe the OP is describing is to be open to procreation. Whether the marriage actually produces offspring is not germane.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Tod

      Jack 3
      The "norm" in nature is also to start reproducing as soon as you reach se xual maturity, to have multiple mating partners and to abandon your young should resources become scarce. Surely we have learned to overcome our baser animal instincts, right?

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

      @Bill Deacon

      So now, to you, the purpose of marriage is to possibly procreate, or have the option to?

      December 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • sam stone

      if god is capable of creating the most minute detail, what makes you think that god did not make a percentage gay as a population control mechanism?

      December 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • James

      Even if gay couple's don't have kids, it doesn't mean they aren't contributing to the continuation of the species. Childless couples pay disproportionately high taxes to care for everyone else's kids, not to mention helping care for those of others. In plenty of species not all members reproduce.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Why must categories be perfect? Compared to "can't", "possibly" is still generally indicative of a logically valid reason to create a category.

      That doesn't argue against the recognition of gay unions for most functions that we assign to marriage. But it does argue for some kind of separate recognition of couples that might be having and raising children without the involvement of any other parties. Maybe we draw the line on age and gender somehow, instead of gender alone. But left to our own devices for some time, we probably will establish -some- recognized group that doesn't include same-gender couples simply because that distinction has a lot of utility.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • John not the Baptist

      Bill Deacon
      Hey Billy, the most useless and possibly dangerous condition (especially to young children) in the world?....is a sp*erm producing priest. Follow the bouncing ball/scandal. Your god and church hierarchy maybe able to forgive your lot, the rest of us, not so much. PS: Why not let same se*x priests, marry, and leave the kids alone?

      December 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • John not the Baptist

      To be clear, I do not equate being gay to pedophilia, they are much different problems. I would just like to see the RCC be more genuine in dealing with both problems/situations. Being gay is not a crime; the other is.

      December 3, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  14. lol??

    I heard of some middle school boys that made a pact to say they were girls on the inside. It gets em in the girls locker room. They think it's a hoot. Oh well, boys will be boys.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Jack 3

      gay men shower with thrier prefered gender in the armed services. What's the difference. I'd join the Army today if they said I had to shower with a group of women every day.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      I call bull. No middle school anywhere is going to let boys shower with girls, regardless of whether or not they are transgender.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      gay men shower with thrier prefered gender in the armed services. What's the difference. I'd join the Army today if they said I had to shower with a group of women every day.

      Proving that gay men are more mature than you are. They can shower with other men without making them feel like they're hunks of meat.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Yeah, that's a likely story.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • lol??

      (patsy, a previous poster brought up empathy.) I confronted the leader of this pack. He said, "Sit down pops. I'm gonna tell you the facts of life. These girls are showin' empathy and even allowin' photos to be taken. We're kinda tired and bored of it now but we're thinkin' of the future. We want to go to college and those people keep on raising prices and cash is king. So when we get out of HS, we're gonna sell the photos to the creepos on the internet. We'll black out the faces so no harm done." These guys are smarter than Bill Gates and ol' Joe Kennedy combined.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Tod

      Jack 3
      Since anyone could be gay, I guess you don't go to any kind of gym where you have to shower with other guys?

      December 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • lol??

      myweightinwords
      I call bull. No middle school anywhere.........."You never heard of lawsuits? What planet do you live on? Athena quakes at even the wiff of one.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • midwest rail

      @ lol?? then surely you have a link to a story describing this middle school, right ? Or, as is more likely, this is just a figment of a (disturbed) imagination.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • lol??

      rail, I'm not gonna turn anyone in and ruin futures. That's a bully educratist thing. They are charging K kids now with felony kickin' cops. Ain't that loving.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • midwest rail

      That's a bullsh!t answer as you well know. If a story existed, no names would be mentioned because they are minors. You would be turning no one in. Thus, the logical conclusion is that you made the entire scenario up. I knew that anyway, just wanted to let you hang yourself.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • lol??

      The filter on this blog is getting tedious. I could see the girls wising up and wanting a cut.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Skip it, lol??. You've already identified yourself as a liar and a coward. No more be said.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • lol??

      Yeah right, rail. When are you off the gubmint trolling s e x crimes clock? I saw no crime, just a foolish culture.

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

      lol, you clearly have absolutely no idea what it is to truly be transgendered or the process of a school age child making that transition.

      It is not simply a matter of saying one day "Hey, I'm a girl inside" and everyone around you just lets you into the girls' locker room. A more likely scenario is that once they start dressing like a girl to come to school, they are given a separate bathroom to use for all things involving the removal of clothing.

      Besides, I don't know any middle schools, at least here in CA, that have showers after PE class. Even some high schools no longer use them unless you're in sports.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • lol??

      Tell us WHY they no longer use the showers and prefer stinky. I know.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  15. Reality

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

    And some added nitty gritty:

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

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

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

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

      Do you really think the census can't collect it's data withouthaving a different word for each kind of union? If they want to count interracial unions do they need a different word for that?

      December 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • QS

      Actually government benefits are not the same in both, which is a large part of the issue of marriage equality.

      As for trying to justify a 'separate but equal' status for gay people by citing census-taking issues....that's a new one!

      December 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Oh, I know, let's eliminate all the racial categories on the census and instead have a new word representing every possible combination of races. If you're White, Chinese and Samoan you could be Cinewhisoan That would REALLY help out the poor confused census bureau.

      Oh, and even better, eliminate that pesky question about your se'x. We could just mix it with the age question and use a different number system depending on your se'x.

      If you thinkabout it, we could add a few million more words to English and all surverys could be just one question!

      December 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • JFCanton

      The divorce aspect is pretty significant, though... without gender differences in these relationships, courts are not going to have a narrative to work from when it comes to alimony, custody, etc.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      The divorce aspect is pretty significant, though... without gender differences in these relationships, courts are not going to have a narrative to work from when it comes to alimony, custody, etc.

      The only narrative should be about the welfare of the children, not the gender of the parent.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @JFCanton, gender isn't taken into condideration in alimony, which is only very rarely awarded these days. Occassionally gender is co nsidered in custody (especially with very small children, particularly if b'reast feeding, but it is overshadowed by other welfare concerns. If anything, same se x union custody cases ( which already take place all the time, with or without marriage) are more objective, because the court's biases about gender can't sway the decision.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Lots of whiny male payers of alimony and of child support probably beg to differ?

      You say it invites judges to be objective, I say it invites them to be arbitrary because they're going to be dealing with straight couples with more defined gender roles almost all of the time. If the law must consider all divorce on the same grounds just as it may have to consider all marriage on the same grounds, the minority is going to tend to be judged according to the conventions of the majority.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  16. lol??

    I thought Bush tried to explain this SCIENCE GOD experiment already when he declared, "Were all Keynesians now!" The Big O's version, "Were all Kenyans now!"

    December 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  17. myweightinwords

    Anyone claiming this guy did this to get rich, clearly don't know much about the book world or publishing industry. Unless this book breaks out of its niche market and becomes a huge best seller, he's not making a lot of money. Even then, it isn't nearly as much as you might think.

    If he sells the movie rights, AND the movie is a hit, maybe...just maybe...but I'm betting this won't go that far. He might make enough to live off of for a while, but he is not getting rich.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Tod

      They must think that all authors are as rich as Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Tim LaHaye and Bill O'Reilly.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  18. larry5

    Methinks the lady doth protest too much.........

    December 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  19. james

    I am very disappointed.. I feel like Kurek could justify any lifestyle by lying and being a part of it. Its like the end justifies the means. He lied, cheated, mislead, and even lost himself in the process. If he were a true Christian ,he would not have been able to do such a deceitful experiment.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      I find it interesting that someone finding his way to empathizing with others makes you think he's lost himself, become less Christian.

      Perhaps, maybe, you should go back and read the words attributed to the man you consider your savior. Wasn't he the guy who instructed you to love your neighbor as yourself, to not judge your brother, and to love and pray even for your enemies?

      December 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      why don't you go lie in a christian nation were gays don't have rights like Uganda.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/uganda-kill-the-gays-bill

      but you live in a neo-pagan nation we every one is equal regardless of race sexual preference religion, ect

      if you don't like equality and tolerance then leave

      December 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Tod

      So, a Christian wouldn't go undercover to expose fraud, or crime as a cop, or reporter then?

      December 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Maybe this is a weakness of the kind of mindset in which this guy was raised? If you have no means of checking your preconceptions other than immersing yourself in a test of them, that is a recipe for a host of problems. Faith is not a political statement, but many people make it so. And so we get a lot of condemnation of gays in general when the truly pressing religious concerns are much more specific details as to how people live their lives. Letting s-xuality take over your life, for example.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      so another words the bible condemns trying to understand people, JF. if you cant test your faith then whats the point in having it, is your faith so weak that you would rather protect it.

      i actually applaud this man for trying to understand how some one fells other then just passing judgment of on them

      December 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • JFCanton

      No-the Bible says nothing about that-but evangelical churches often (nothing is exclusive) do discourage attempts to understand anyone very far outside their pale. In a lot of other groups, even if being gay is regarded as a problem of some sort, gays aren't going to be comprehensively ostracized merely for their orientation... and a kid who wanted to "understand" gays would have no sane reason to go undercover like this.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  20. yeano

    Everyone goes to heaven. The creator loves all his children. Never judge anyone but yourself with your standards. No one else will ever meet them.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "Never judge anyone but yourself with your standards. No one else will ever meet them."

      A great thing to keep in mind. I like, too, to remind myself, that everyone makes selse to themselves.

      December 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Tod

      Maybe we can both agree that everyone ends up in the same place after we die?

      December 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • QS

      Do even the seemingly nice religious people not understand the inherent contradiction and hypocrisy in this kind of statement?

      December 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • JFCanton

      OK, but we have to use -some- standards to judge people. We have to question people who hurt themselves, for example.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @JFCanton, I took the statement to be a caution about making wholistic judgemnts of human valuation rather than smaller judgement of some individual iissues. Of course in many circu'mstances we will need to make those, and will not always agre on them. But as far as judging humans as whole beings, we should exhibit restraint and awareness of our own subjectivity.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • 1stPrime

      What Bible are you reading when you say..."everyone goes to heaven?" I have not found this in the Bible period. Look the issue here is "lust" and "sin." Its the inability of people being able to restrain one's self from perverted desires.

      Look, go and study and read about "Sodom and Gomorrah." You, I and everyone else are constantly faced with choices in our lives. The life style is a choice. One can have desires, but to act on them is when one has committed him or her self to doing what one should not do.

      The gay life is an offense against one's self in every way, but becomes acceptable once one chooses to justify the behavior as being acceptable.

      It becomes pointless to discuss the right and wrong of a behavior once a person has committed his or her self to a course.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @1st Prime, that was the whole point behind Christianuniveralism since the 1820s. This is the reading by many current theologians.

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

      1stPrime,

      Take your own advice and read about Sodom. God destroyed it because the people were greedy and didn't share.

      Read the Bible sometime.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Tod

      1st Prime
      Ezekiel 16:49
      "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

      Like somebody else said earlier, this sounds more like the Republican Party than anyone else.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Elaine

      "Look, go and study and read about "Sodom and Gomorrah.""

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

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

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

      December 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Jones

      Elaine
      And then you have Lot, supposedly the most righteous man in the whole place, still willing to offer up his daughters to the ra pe gang. Can you see where people have trouble seeing the Bible as a moral authority?

      December 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Rick

      "And then you have Lot, supposedly the most righteous man in the whole place, still willing to offer up his daughters to the ra pe gang. "

      Don't forget that later he has sex with those daughters.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Rick

      In all fairness, Lots daughters got him drunk and raped him, which I find hilariously ironic.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • JWT

      I am suely not goto going to youheaven.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • craig

      Yes God loves us enough to send his son to be our Saviour, if we choose him, and follow him. We won't all go to heaven, which is unforunate, and totally avoidable. Jesus did not come to condemn the world, because the world is already condemned, He came to save us. It is our choice. Jesus died on the cross with full knowledge of what that entailed. But he did it anyway. That is love.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @craig

      LOL that's hilarious. Jesus knew what would happen, which means he knew he would suffer for a few days, die for a few, then come back as a supposed coruler of the universe. Sign me up for that shit. That's no sacrifice, it's a minor inconvenience at best.
      By the way, "worship me or suffer for eternity" is not love, is a dictatorship, and usually we tend to look down on immoral systems like that.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • lol??

      Pure arrogance on the part of some here. If you met someone from another world how would you react? A little whippy? If they told you to cut off your arm, you'd be sayin', "WWWWwhhhich one?"

      December 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @lol??

      I'm having trouble seeing what your point is.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      God is a fvckwad azzhole for ALLOWING a hell to exist as an option. What kind of parent allows one of the options available to their children be unending torture? Bad god, bad!

      December 3, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • lol??

      A case for the offering of lot's daughters to the rapists is definitely what the pols give us here in americult, ye olde lesser of two evils. 'Sides, Lot knew who his daughters were hangin' with and what they considered fun. S E X and violence mingled with high style living. Even his wife wanted to WATCH!

      December 3, 2012 at 7:24 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.