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Your Take: Praise, condemnation on ‘gay for a year’ story
Evangelical Christian Timothy Kurek, center, wrote about his experiences pretending to be gay in "The Cross in the Closet."
December 4th, 2012
02:59 PM ET

Your Take: Praise, condemnation on ‘gay for a year’ story

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – It came as no surprise that a story about an evangelical Christian pretending to be gay for a year provoked vocal responses from many different quarters.

Much of the feedback centered on the propriety of Timothy Kurek’s yearlong experiment. Some questioned why he would actively choose what they called a life of sin. Others questioned whether the author’s experiment was worthwhile or fair:

KGE
"On the surface, perhaps we are supposed to applaud someone who takes such drastic steps to make changes in hateful beliefs learned over a long, long immersion in evangelical religion. But here's what bothers me about it: Instead of approaching the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community with honesty, he built his entire 'conversion' on lies and deceit, pretending to be 'one of them' instead of who he is. It would have been more honorable and meaningful to learn, communicate, socialize and support a way of life that isn't his own."</blocquote


Brian Hartman
"Interesting article, but pretending to be gay isn't the same thing as being gay. I'm not gay, but I imagine that the feeling that you aren't accepted for who you genuinely are (rather than for some trait that you're putting on but can bail out of if it gets too uncomfortable) is a very different feeling from *acting* like you're gay. I applaud him for giving himself some small sense of what it's like, but he shouldn't be confused into thinking that it's genuinely like that for gay people."

In my interviews with him, Kurek repeatedly addressed this line of criticism, which he also confronted in the introduction to his book, "The Cross in the Closet." “I believe in total immersion,” Kurek said. “If you are going to walk in other people’s shoes, then you are going to need to walk in your shoes, too.”

Though fewer than the number of commenters challenging the book’s premise, some called Kurek’s experiment touching and brave:

Alaskan Guy
"As a gay man, I found it very touching that he would even try to change his evangelical Christian beliefs and open his heart to his fellow man. I'm not offended at all that he 'lied and deceived' our community for this little experiment. I personally think every self-proclaiming Christian should buy a copy and read it. It might actually open some minds!"

helensadornmentsblog
"I think Kurek is very brave to open up his mind to people who differ from him. Jesus championed those on the fringes of society. … I am so very lucky to belong to a church that is diverse, and this enriches my worship experience."

Kurek said he now believes that people of faith can square their beliefs with the objectives of the gay rights movement. In one interview, he questioned how someone could believe in the golden rule “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself” but still discriminate against the LGBT community.

Since completing his experiment, Kurek has shopped around for a new church. Though he goes to church less often than before, he recently visited a house of worship at which he was “the only straight person there.” Those experiences, he said, have helped show him that the faith and LGBT communities do not have to be at odds.

But many commenters disagreed, with some questioning whether Kurek was ever really a Christian.

GodsPeople
"(I)f he was trying to change his beliefs, then he is not really a Christian, and will never have God's grace until he repents his acceptance of sin."

Dave
"I don’t believe this man was or is a Christian. He has been enticed by the gay sinful lifestyle."

Brainiac
"The idea of lying to your family and going into LGBT community is certainly not evangelical or biblical to begin with. What happened to honor your father and mother? He is a sham to begin with."

The question of whether lying was appropriate came up from notable conservative Christian thinkers, too. Denny Burk, associate professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, criticized the premise of "The Cross in the Closet," even though he acknowledged that had "not read the book and do not plan to."

"This was not a Christian posing as a gay person. This was a liar posing as a gay person," Burk wrote on his blog. "No person who would so fundamentally deceive and manipulate friends, family members, and the gay community could credibly be considered Christian (John 8:44; 1 John 1:6). The lie he perpetrated traumatized his parents and other family members. I can’t believe he kept this up for a year."

According to Kurek, his family has gotten over the fact that he lied to them for a year. Family members were happy that they hadn’t been so wrong about his sexuality while he was growing up. As for whether relatives have changed their views of homosexuality because of the project, Kurek said it is a slow process.

“They have grown to understand,” Kurek said. “My mom got it.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Faith • Homosexuality • Sexuality

soundoff (290 Responses)
  1. Science

    Gravity is not up for debate ! ............E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas..........that do not lie or sin !!!..........

    Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/12/where-do-morals-come-from/#comments

    Gravity is not up for debate ! ............E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas..........that do not lie or sin !!!..........

    BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

    Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet

    Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142250.htm

    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

    The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

    The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

    Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

    April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

    May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418104324.htm

    And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

    Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

    Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305145821.htm

    No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

    Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

    No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

    Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

    Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423134037.htm

    Ca-nabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®) – National Cancer Insti-tute

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/.../page4

    Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...

    Good stuff !

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

    For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

    Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

    Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

    Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
    bears his name as the “God particle.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

    Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
    Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

    Science

    Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
    By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

    April 7th, 2012

    08:32 PM ET

    The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

    Make sure to read comments

    April 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |

    Breaking News

    NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/18/us/planet-discovery/index.html

    NASA: Mars could have supported life

    Star Dust we are

    Holy Hallucinations 35

    The ORIGIN story is bullsh-it...............so is the bible............... nasty !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    Scientists have unearthed the first direct signs of cheesemaking, at a site in Poland that dates back 7,500 years.

    Human Evolution

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2cHumanevo.shtml

    BBC. Planet of the Apemen. Battle for Earth 1. Ho-mo Erectus

    BACKFILL on E =mc2.....

    Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'

    By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

    Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.

    “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/category/culture-science/

    May 4, 2013 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |

    Cheech & Chong's History of 420

    http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/3b1508d1f0/cheech-chong-s-history-of-420?rel=player&playlist=341944

    All cults...........creationists, ID believers and devil cults.................

    The fact...............the earth is to old ...........time to EVOLVE !.

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

    Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

    Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.

    http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts.htm

    Education works for children

    Earth From Space

    Detailed satellite images reveal the web of connections that sustain life on Earth. Aired February 13, 2013 on PBS

    Program Description

    "Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/earth-from-space.html

    February 16, 2013 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |

    Peace

    May 5, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  2. psst's understudy

    I love gays

    December 8, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  3. Atheist Hunter

    This picture is a disgusting display of perversion and evil!

    December 6, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • mama k

      Oh AH, you're such a troll and bigot. By the way, I just heard on the evening news that same-sex marriages licenses began rolling out for the first time in Maryland today! Happy holidays!

      December 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • sam stone

      AH....looks like it is time for you to distance yourself from perversion and evil, and go up to heaven. Do you have a firearm?

      December 7, 2012 at 3:53 am |
  4. Atheist Hunter

    That pic is a sad excuse for men! Totally ridiculous!

    December 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Pluto Saturnson

      People used to say "America is a free country", meaning that if it doesn't hurt others, hey, go do it.

      You don't like freedom, do you?

      December 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Money is god

      It just shows....sometimes you can tell just by looking at them.

      December 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Actually

      You're a sad excuse of a human being and you're totally ridiculous!

      December 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • sam stone

      they are probably more man than you are, AH

      December 5, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  5. wendy

    Not all, but some Christians remind me of high school kids. No empathy for others. They just hang out in their little cliques and feel ent itled to put down anyone who is different. Time to grow up, people!

    December 5, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Atheist Hunter

      REAL Christians do have empathy for them, empathy that they are on the highway to hell and don't have a clue.

      December 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Yeah right

      That is fraud empathy, AtheistHater. That is just you wrapping your bigotry in a veneer of phoney compassion.

      December 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • James

      "empathy that they are on the highway to hell and don't have a clue."

      They won't be going to hell. 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 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      AH.....your god is a vindictive, petty, pr!ck. you take comfort in that because you are a vindictive, petty, pr!ck.

      Get back on your knees, boy, Jeebus is looking for a little mouth lovin'

      December 5, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      James....I could care less about the opinion of man. Where is your God breathed Bible verses to back up your claim. That is ALL I care about. The Bible backs me up not you!

      December 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @AH

      And there's no reason to think that your bible is worth paying attention to (unless you already believe it is because it says so in it).

      December 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      "The Bible backs me up not you!"

      Maybe you should eat it with more fiber

      December 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  6. What would Paul do

    2 Timothy chapter 2

    Some light reading for today.

    "Be strong in grace"

    December 5, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      If you were a woman he would tell you to 'shut it'

      "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." 2:11-12

      December 5, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Atheist Hunter

      What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

      December 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  7. Atheist Hunter

    And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

    December 5, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The fruitful works of darkness, now there's the ticket.

      December 5, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I get it – Christians shouldn't eat any dark fruit.
      Too bad. Blackberries are yummy.

      December 5, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • sam stone

      Wow, AH, a quote! Congrats!

      December 5, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • sam stone

      Not to mention blueberries

      December 5, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Ben

      I thought you guys didn't want your works to be fruity?

      December 5, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Twisty Turny

      So if you are supposed to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, then you are supposed to have fellowship with the fruity works of flamboyant colors.

      So God approves of gay. I thought so.

      December 5, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  8. Topher

    Apple

    Give any more thought to our conversation this afternoon?

    December 5, 2012 at 2:06 am |
    • Orange

      You are the one who desperately needs to do some thinking, Topher. But you have proven incapable of doing any more than parroting your indoctrination.

      You are the worst kind of fool: a fool who mistakes himself a wise man. You are a fool who claims humility when he actually thinks he has a supernaturally special status.

      You should think abut what he said, instead of foolishly believing that you changed anything.

      Fool.

      December 5, 2012 at 3:30 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Topher, no I haven't. Why do you ask?

      December 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  9. Apple Bush

    Wise one, why me? I am so happy and free, that is me.

    Wise one, what can this be? I am so thoughtless and fancy free.

    Pain comes, and it IS me. I am so sorry, what did I do to you God, what did I do to you?

    Let me rest and let me feel my family and my lovers…

    Let me see why you hate me so….

    I just want to be a person and a dad and lover…

    Everything I did for you…

    Through you I have found the suffering you promised.

    Crystal snow in a sea of pain. Your plan and I know….

    the black heart I have known will be the end of me.

    December 5, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Akira

      Um....Apple?
      Explain.

      December 5, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Hey Akira, just stream of consciousness. I am watching a movie called, "Powder Blue."

      The soundtrack is a bit hypnotic.

      December 5, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Apple Bush

      I am full of drama lol

      December 5, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Apple Bush

      BUT okay Akira, this is personal....

      IF you want to get in my head, I will let you. Just ask.

      December 5, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Apple Bush

      R u in PA Akira?

      December 5, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Akira

      PA? Why would you think that?

      December 5, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • Akira

      To answer you question, Apple, no, I'm not from PA.
      Da Bears should have given you the clue as the my area, lol.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Oh duh, I meant IL. For some reason I had the Steelers in my head.

      December 5, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Akira

      Apple, I live in the Chicago suburbs.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  10. Apple

    Wise one, why me? I am so happy and free, that is me.
    Wise one, what can this be? I am so thoughtless and fancy free.
    Pain comes, and it IS me. I am so sorry, what did I do to you God, what did I do to you?
    Let me rest and let me feel my family and my lovers…
    Let me see why you hate me so….
    I just want to be a person and a dad and lover…
    Everything I did for you…
    Through you I have found the suffering you promised.
    Crystal snow in a sea of pain. Your plan and I know….
    the black heart I have known will be the end of me.

    December 5, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  11. Chard

    I contend we've both bitten off more than we can chew, I just believe that one societal behavior is proper. When you understand why I swallow, you will understand why you should dismiss all the other possible societal behaviors as being legitimate.

    December 4, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Gross.

      December 4, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Akira

      WHAT?

      December 4, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Chad

      "I contend we are both conservatives, I just believe that one fewer societal behavior is proper than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible societal behaviors as being legitimate , you will understand why I dismiss your pet one(same sex marriage)." – Rephen Soberts

      December 4, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      c hard, you swallow watermelon is your problem, goon.

      December 4, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Observer

      Chad,

      You don't do well at answering questions, but you copy and paste well.

      December 4, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheese makers

      Chad,

      When you understand why I would fight for your religious freedom, you will understand why you should fight for their right of marriage.

      December 4, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Akira

      BATC:
      Well said.
      If bigotry were outlawed, the prisons would be overflowing...

      December 5, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Guy

      Chad more misquotes...
      For god so loved the world, that he gave his only son, so that the disciples could create a scam and get rich by fleecing the sheepies with the promise of everlastng life. Yohnnie 3:16 Revised BS version.

      December 5, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • sam stone

      Guy: What are sheep for, but fleecing, then slaughter?

      December 5, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • Guy

      Sam
      Yes, but by paying their dues, the fleecing, they hope to be able to avoid the big bad wolfie satan and go to sheepie heaven and have their shepherd, baby jesus look over them forever and ever. Reigious delusion of the Chad at its finest.

      December 5, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • sam stone

      Guy: It does give comfort to the downtrodden and the delusional alike

      December 5, 2012 at 9:11 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.