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January 6th, 2013
07:28 AM ET

College students raise funds to fight slavery

By Jordan Hultine, CNN

Atlanta (CNN)–More than 60,000 young Christians packed the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for worship and inspiration at the Passion 2013 conference that wrapped up on Friday. They came together from 56 countries and 2,300 universities, according to organizers, “to shine a light on modern-day slavery.”

“We believe when you fill a dome full of people who say they follow Jesus, there should be some tangible action,” said Bryson Vogeltanz, chief steward of Passion’s freedom initiative. That tangible action came in the form of tens of thousands of towels and socks donated by conference-goers to be handed out at local homeless shelters in the weeks following the conference.

Vogeltanz and his team also wanted a global initiative. They focused on four key goals, which they called awake, prevent, rescue and restore. They identified 19 nonprofit organizations working around the world to eradicate modern-day slavery and human trafficking. The organizations were showcased during the conference and students and volunteers had the opportunity to donate money to the cause.

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The United Nations estimates 27 million people are entrapped in modern-day slavery at any given time around the world in a market valued at $32 billion.

Last year, Hagar International was one of the recipients of those donations. Hagar helps women and children recovering from horrific abuse and human trafficking in Cambodia, Afghanistan and Vietnam.

“We have been able to serve children who have been released from egregious abuse of being trafficked for sex, both boys and girls, in Cambodia,” said Jane Tafel of Hagar. “Those children have a new life now because of Passion 2012.” Tafel returned to the conference this year for the organization and was anxiously waiting to hear final donation numbers.

Wellspring Living, an organization that provides restorative services for girls who have been trafficked or suffered sexual abuse, said it was able to open a new transition facility as a result of the gifts that conference-goers gave last year, according to president and CEO Mary Frances Bowley.

Read More: The new Christian abolition movement

“This generation has the potential not just to end slavery, they have the potential to do anything,” Vogeltanz said. “Jesus was the original abolitionist. We’re just following what he’s already done in our lives for us," he said, referring to the Christian belief that Jesus saved all mankind from slavery and sin.

Students spent each day of the four-day conference participating in “community group” learning sessions and praise and worship led by well-known Christian musicians like Chris Tomlin.

An Atlanta-based pastor, Louie Giglio, started Passion in 1997. The goal, he said, was to see college students around the world “awaken to the reality of an omnipotent and glorious Creator.” Since then, organizers said, millions of students have joined the movement at Passion events around the world.

Sarah Stone is a college student from Atlanta who came to Passion with her church group. She said she came looking for a way to live her faith more fully. “Christianity is not just about saying a prayer and going to church on Sunday, it’s about living for Christ with every single thing you do,” Stone said.

CNN's Belief Blog the faith angles behind the day's big stories

Belmont University student William Dodd said it’s inspiring to be surrounded by so many other college students who are gathered for the same purpose, and he is leaving with a desire to “get in the fight to end (slavery). God made us powerful creatures with a really big voice.”

“It’s inspiring to see a generation so engaged and looking out of themselves and looking at things like slavery and actually committing to making people aware of it and it’s only the beginning,” said Jolie, who declined to give her last name, a conference volunteer who traveled from Australia to be a part of the Passion.

Passion organizers said the students gave $3,170,639 in support of their freedom initiative. Beyond fund-raising, organizers said, the goal was to shine a light on a worldwide problem and to inspire action.

Ramses Prashad, a college student from Orlando, Florida, said he has no other choice but to make a change when he gets home. “I can’t say that I didn’t know and say I wasn’t aware, so I have no other choice but to raise awareness and to do as much as I can for the cause and for the people.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

soundoff (801 Responses)
  1. Ben

    About time they worked on a cause that isn't a thinly veiled means of enforcing their religion on others.

    January 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • lol??

      You've got usurping on your mind. Kommon kommie malady.

      January 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • bspurloc

      u mean the Sally Struthers way? handing people almost dead bowls of food served on top of a bible?

      January 7, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  2. Bootyfunk

    funny, since the bible promotes slavery throughout. even jesus himself tells slaves to obey their masters if they want any chance of getting into heaven. god commands his servants to take slaves of their enemies. there are rules for beating your slaves in the bible. there are even rules for how to sell your own daughter into slavery. pretty ironic 'christians' fighting for slavery when their rule book promotes it.

    January 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Andrewsi

      Absolutely correct, but I don't think they shared or discussed those passages at Passion 2013. They certainly don't want to say the Bible is wrong about something. You get kicked in the privates for bringing up that stuff up.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Paul

      Jesus said nothing of the sort...smoke screen.

      January 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      here's jesus telling slaves to be obedient to their masters:

      Luke
      Jesus:
      37 "Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.
      38 "Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.”

      47 And that servant, who knew his lord's will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes;
      48 but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more.

      hmmm guess you didn't read your bible very well? doesn't exactly seem all that loving and compassionate...

      January 7, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • John A

      Funny how people try to justify their lifestyle but not following Jesus. Always looking for an excuse/backdoor for their own morality.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
  3. llatpoh

    When did atheists because so militant regarding pushing their (non)belief system? I look forward to seeing them turn their sights equally towards I s l a m i s t s, and attack their faith vs always focusing on Christians... come on militant atheists, there are lots of other folks you can attack and belittle... or are you sharia compliant??? LOL

    January 7, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Andrewsi

      Hey, we are an religious equality group that will also nail Islam when needed. Have CNN write a Islamic article that goes against common sense and we'll pounce. I would hope you would do the same.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      lol, as opposed to the militant christians? haven't seen any atheists shoot doctors in the back. haven't seen any homegrown atheist terror organizations, like the christian KKK. yes, you wish this was a theocracy, where people could be made to pray to your god and no other, but sowwy, not gonna happen.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Jim Jones

      The best 60,000 people can do is highlight a list of organizations that actually make a difference? Go christians! Keep on...doing what again? Oh yeah, highlighting a list of other people who actually make a difference – way to go team!

      January 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Ben

      I am critical of all fundamentalist. I don't care which god, tree, or flying pasta they consider divine.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      funny part is, the two biggest givers to charity in all of human history are non-believers. there are many atheist charity organizations - use google and be amazed. also, atheists that start charity organizations often do NOT name their charity the "atheist feed the homeless group" - they just call it the "feed the homeless group". we don't feel the need to stamp our religious beliefs on everything, as the christians do. do some research. atheists don't give to charity? lol.

      January 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • John A

      Atheists push their own religion of me, myself and I; they are very committed to that.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Atheists in China faught predominantly against Buddhism, Taoism and other local beliefs. It depends what is predominant. It would be kind of silly for a group to focus on something that was a minor group in their country. I'm not, btw, promoting militancy on the side of any belief system, but just pointing out that expecting atheists to give equal time to all religions regardless of local population is kind of silly. It would be like US Christians gearing half their propaganda to winning over believers in the Australian Dreamtime...a waste of energy and funds.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • John A

      @ Saraswati – Interesting you use China as an example. I wonder if Amnesty International calls this nation a place to promote freedom and tolerance of opinions (regardless of the what you believe). If you want to use China, maybe you need to start packing.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @John A, I wasn't using China as a role model. Your question was why would people focus on a particular set of beliefs when trying to change something. Notice I also used US Christians. When you are trying to make your point, be it religious, political or scientific, you address the audience in front of you. If you have any belief system that you want to promote in the US you address is to a US audience (and audience which is predominantly Christian). To address your points to a group like Muslims that make up less than 1% of the populations would be a foolish waste of effort and money.

      I have btw lived and worked in China at a time when it was far less open than it is today, so you probably don’t want to lecture me on the country.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
  4. Paul

    Atheists like to troll the religion section of CNN and bother and ridicule the faithful. Instead of wasting your precious few years of life on these boards before you are extinguished into oblivion...why not start an "Atheists for ending Slavery" group of your own? Even though religion is the cause of a lot of violence in this world, the faithful are also responsible for most of the caring in this world.

    January 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Oh you mean the conditional caring where they make homeless people sit through a sermon attempting to convert them before they give them any food? Or bargaining aid in third world countries in exchange for land to build their churches?

      January 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Paul

      Yes, because man cannot live on bread alone.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Andrewsi

      Paul, yes we troll CNN trying to instill reason and critical thinking into the book you hold on to as fact from Sky Daddy. We're just calling BS where needed.
      Apparently you are trolling as well.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Paul

      So you advocate holding food and medicine hostage in order to further your prostelyzations. Good to know.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Paul

      A christian posting on an article about christian charity is hardly trolling. I just saw all the hatred smoke screening you and your rebellious pals are spouting, and thought I would show YOUR hypocrisy.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Paul

      hawaii, of course I do not condone evil in the name of religion and neither does our creator. People see past your smoke screens. You are simply in rebellion against our creator and hope to wiggle your way out using pseudo logic.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Paul

      Yet you just did condone it earlier. No matter how much you slither and deflect, that doesn't change the fact that christian groups do that, and you just condoned it. That is evil.

      January 7, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      odd, god seems to condone evil when he created evil:

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

      and for not condoning evil, how do you explain god drowning babies in his great flood? can't imagine anything more evil than drowning a 2 month old baby. but god did. in fact, he drowned every human but one family. so he drowned babies, elderly, infirm, physically disabled, mentally challenged, etc. how can you worship a monster than fills a baby's lungs with water and calls it divine justice?

      January 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • Paul

      If you call something evil, is that not judging? Where did you get your moral fabric? God has written it on our hearts. I wrote that man cannot live on bread alone. I did not say I agreed with your smoke screen. For the record, christians are not to extort others. Again, if we have a moral fabric to our person...then there most likely is a law giver and creator.

      January 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      paul, your reasoning is childlike. you really think we can't do good without god? really? because a lot of the world doesn't believe in god, but still do good. it's silly to think you need 'god' to be a good person.

      January 7, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Paul

      Are you really unable to answer anything without a slithering cop-out?

      January 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      I do not think you have ever sat down with a child of God based on your twisted media inspired view of Christ.

      Simply because some would use religion for their own gain does not taint Christ in anyway. Exactly how do your false assertions against Christians and the church have any more validity than someone who says ho-mo$exuals entice young boys into their community by offering love and acceptance for who they are?
      Instead of being such a hypocrite with your hate of Christ how about being as tolerant towards Christians as you pretend to be towards other scapegoats of society?

      January 7, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      And where in this thread did I mean the teachings itself? Where did I mention god or jesus or anything? THis conversation was about the people you moron, not the religion. If you want me to go on the religion, then say so, but don't try this dishonest bullshit again, because you're still not good at it.

      January 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      “Oh you mean the conditional caring where they make homeless people sit through a sermon attempting to convert them before they give them any food?”
      =>Example one translates into we only give food to convert. This is opposed to everything Christ stood for.
      In case you are not aware the reason we make them listen to a sermon is not to convert but give them the truth and give them hope and a way out if they want it. Jesus said teach a man to fish so he can care for himself but give fish to those in need who are incapable. Before we can get people out of homelessness we need to give them hope. That is what Jesus did and what God gave to Abraham and all the others in the Bible………hope a promise of something better.

      “ Or bargaining aid in third world countries in exchange for land to build their churches?”
      =>We build feeding centers throughout the world and must bribe the local powers. We build orphanages and must bribe local powers. These children have a different view of life because of the presence of Christians.

      January 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      “that doesn't change the fact that christian groups do that, and you just condoned it. That is evil”
      =>The word of God never returns empty. Simply because as humans we get tangled up in the same self serving traps as other humans does not negate Gods Word. The simple preaching of it even by corrupt priests will produce the result God intends. Now, those abused by priests or Christians (well intended or not) will find it more difficult to accept Christ and that is a tragedy.

      January 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Would you say it's the same if it were, say mormons, islamists, or scientologists? You don't care, and even think it's good because you agree with the religion. If it were another preaching that all the infidels are bad, then you would be up in arms, but if it's all those who don't believe in Jesus, you don't care. At least be honest about your bias instead of trying to pass it off as "oh it's good because we're telling them feel good nonsense that's predicated on a divisive doctrine".

      You also didn't address anything I said in my response to you, but then again, not answering points is your MO fred.

      January 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      It is truly incredible how willing you are to twist anything and everything into "god is good yaaaaayyyy".

      January 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      "It is truly incredible how willing you are to twist anything and everything into "god is good yaaaaayyyy".

      =>it's Yahwey not yaaaaayyy

      January 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      Your secular feeding stations (ent-itlements in the U.S) do the same thing you accuse the Church of doing. The great State has provided for you food, housing, Obama Care. The majority of America has been converted to socialist democrats. Same ploy.
      I will admit we went about it better than Stalin did but accomplished the same goals of bringing down the church and putting the State in Gods place as provider and protector.
      Where is your hope now as you march to your man made god and how is your god any better than Christ?

      January 7, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Where is your hope now as you march to your man made god and how is your god any better than Christ?"

      Religious people find it very annoying that people don't need God to be good, as science has now incontestably proved.

      For millennia, we've been brainwashed into believing that we needed the Almighty to redeem us from an essentially corrupt nature. Left to our own devices, people would quickly devolve into beasts, more violent, tactless, aggressive, and selfish, than we already are.

      Today, we know that this isn't true. With the discovery of mirror neurons by Italian neuroscientist Giaccomo Rizzolatti in the 1990s, we now have physiological proof of why - and how - our species became hard-wired for goodness. Mirror neurons are miraculous cells in the brain whose sole purpose is to harmonize us with our environments. By reflecting the outside world inward, we actually become each other - a little bit; neurologically changed by what is happening around us. Mirror neurons are the reason that we have empathy and can feel each other's pain. It is because of mirror neurons that you blush when you see someone else humiliated, flinch when someone else is struck, and can't resist the urge to laugh when seeing a group struck with the giggles. (Indeed, people who test for "contagious yawning" tend to be more empathic.) These tiny mirrors are the key to most things noble and good inside us.

      It is through mirror neurons - not God - that we redeem ourselves, achieve salvation, and are "reborn" in virtuous ways once co-opted by religions. Evolution knew what she was doing. A group of successful cooperators has a much higher chance of thriving than a population of selfish liars. In spite of what we read in the headlines, the ratio of bad to good deeds done on any given day across our planet holds at close to zero any day of the year. Although we are ethical works-in-progress, the vast majority of us are naturally positive creatures - meaning not harmful to our environments - most of the time in most of the ways that matter. And God has nothing to do with it.

      Spirituality does but God doesn't. Evolutionary psychologists tell us that our brains are hard-wired with a five-toned moral organ that focuses on a quintet of ethical values - one of which is purity, or sacredness. In a world that can sometimes be disgusting, we evolved an upper tier of emotional longing - the aspiration for purity - to keep us balanced in this satyricon of carnal delights (where animality beckons and frequently wins). Our need for sacredness is part of our ancient survival apparatus, and manifests in what we call faith, the need to connect with that sacred dimension. This has been the primary purpose of religion, of course - to congregate people for the Greater Good - but God has been, in fact, the divine carrot. The important part was communion, a context in which to transcend ourselves, if only for an hour on Sundays. Without this ability "to turn off the Me and turn on the We," moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt tells us, our species would still be wandering around as groups of nomads, unable to create a civilization.

      Aside from mirror neurons, there's oxytocin, the molecule of connection (also known as the molecule of love). It's fascinating to learn that the vagus nerve produces more oxytocin when we witness virtuous behavior in others that makes us want to be better people ourselves. We are wired by nature to be elevated at the sight of other people's goodness, mirror neurons and oxytocin conspiring to improve the species. Miraculous though it is, this natural human phenomenon has nothing to do with theology.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      What the fuck are you babbling about? I don't get any social help because I don't need it. Are you so pathetic that you need to fly off on a political vein to avoid a topic you are losing completely?

      January 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • fred

      Huh?
      “Religious people find it very annoying that people don't need God to be good, as science has now incontestably proved.”
      =>Not annoying at all, I wish we were all better people.
      The problem with your argument is that we have only known a world where there is God and even today the majority of people believe in God. You cannot say we don’t need God to be good if we represents mankind.
      Science has not incontestably proven this and cannot prove such a statement unless you limit your assumptions.

      “Left to our own devices, people would quickly devolve into beasts, more violent, tactless, aggressive, and selfish, than we already are.”
      =>suggest you rethink that. If the food supply was removed from Los Angeles there would be violent beasts within 10 days. Nothing short of food could reverse the carnage. All the mirror neurons in the world could not stop the carnage.

      “we now have physiological proof of why – and how – our species became hard-wired for goodness.”
      =>it is speculation not proof.

      “ Mirror neurons are miraculous cells in the brain”
      =>perhaps they are there just as the Bible said in order that we can love God?
      We simply know they are there and provide a beneficial function.

      “It is through mirror neurons – not God – that we redeem ourselves, achieve salvation, and are "reborn" in virtuous ways once co-opted by religions.”
      =>It is by legs we walk to a bar or walk to church yet the legs are not the source of salvation. Salvation is something brought about by the grace of God and by God. If there is no God there is no need for salvation yet your neurons will continue to bring about emotional response. This is why false religions (man made) appear to produce the same response in the lives of the faithful. God is another issue altogether.

      “ Evolution knew what she was doing.”
      =>Biological evolution is very well understood from a scientific standpoint but, you cannot extrapolate a world view based on it. That is not scientific. Now you have attempted to combine that which is not scientific method with known facts that are well established.

      “ A group of successful cooperators has a much higher chance of thriving than a population of selfish liars.”
      =>nonsense, you would need a page full of assumptions to make such statement ring true.

      “ In spite of what we read in the headlines, the ratio of bad to good deeds done on any given day across our planet holds at close to zero any day of the year. “
      =>what would that ratio be if Neanderthal never looked up and worshiped God? I would love to see the control group on that study.

      “God has nothing to do with it.”
      =>sorry, you cannot make that connection it is simply opinion

      “Our need for sacredness is part of our ancient survival apparatus”
      =>tell me again why did Neanderthal bury survival artifacts with their dead? Hod did you know that?

      “if only for an hour on Sundays. Without this ability "to turn off the Me and turn on the We," moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt tells us, our species would still be wandering around as groups of nomads, unable to create a civilization.”
      =>so no God needed just a moral Sabbath?

      “oxytocin conspiring to improve the species. Miraculous though it is, this natural human phenomenon has nothing to do with theology.”
      =>I could not agree with you more!

      January 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Huh?

      "suggest you rethink that. If the food supply was removed from Los Angeles there would be violent beasts within 10 days. Nothing short of food could reverse the carnage. All the mirror neurons in the world could not stop the carnage."

      There are already examples around the world that have proven this statement false. LMAO! Get an education.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Huh?

      "“ Mirror neurons are miraculous cells in the brain”
      =>perhaps they are there just as the Bible said in order that we can love God?
      We simply know they are there and provide a beneficial function."

      LMAO! Wow talk about making crap up.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Salvation is something brought about by the grace of God and by God"

      Wow, more made up crap. LMAO!

      January 7, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Huh?

      Making crap up is one of the requirements for apologists, even amateur ones that just get their arguments from other apologists.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • fred

      Huh?
      If there is a God (i.e. Christ/Yahweh) the purpose and need for salvation is expressly stated in the writings accepted by those believers. It is not a function of your acceptance or mirror neurons.
      Based on your posts I assume you are held firmly in the clutches of moral relativism. In this case you have no absolute truth as a foundation and simply are at the mercy of your mirror neurons. So, what you see or believe to be true today is not really true because it can be anything down the line. When something is false and true at the same time, that great brain of yours goes into default. The default position is not in your control which is why you’re blinded by your denial.
      Check with your psychologist on that and perhaps he can help you cope in godless hopeless state where everything is now a lie or soon will be.
      You see, as long as there is a remnant of believers you have a secure reference point. Should you succeed in eliminating all believers you will no longer understand truth or how far you have ventured from it.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • Paul

      Funny, fred referring someone else to a psychologist...

      January 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      “I don't get any social help because I don't need it”
      =>See this is exactly what I am talking about. You are in denial. It is a beautiful day out, surfs up and you are on a computer screen chatting with someone you believe to be a complete moron and dishonest person, yet you “Don’t need social help”.
      Now, if it is not denial then it is most likely a personality disorder and Huh may save you some room on the sofa. Perhaps you could split the bill.
      Let me save you some money. There are only two choices and one is to reject God. Now, if it were not for the remnant of believers you no longer have a choice. You cannot imagine such a world or state of existence. Since there is no such world or state of existence it is logical, reasonable and sanity dictates it does not exist. Recognizing that you have been living in a delusion or in denial is the first step to regain sanity.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Bob

      "Now, if it is not denial then it is most likely a personality disorder and Huh may save you some room on the sofa. Perhaps you could split the bill."

      Fred lost the argument so now comes out the real side of this person. Sorry dude you lost awhile ago but you're to dumb to realize it.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • fred

      Bob
      That was somewhat of a loose attempt to say atheists need Christ or at a minimum atheist would be lost without believers to kick around. I doubt Hawaii or Huh actually think they need therapy.
      As to denial or personality disorder, that relates to atheists that reject absolute truth. The brain will not allow conflicted alternatives and will go into denial on one or present personality disorder. This is why there must be a standard (truth) which is fixed and measurable rather than the evolving morality proposed by huh via mirror neurons.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • Brent

      "This is why there must be a standard (truth) which is fixed and measurable rather than the evolving morality"

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

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

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

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

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

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

      January 7, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • fred

      Brent
      It was Christ that broke down the evil of discrimination and Christians that paved the way for freedom and equality. It was Christ that blasted religion and all their haughty ways lead by evil religious types. Christ used his most harsh words against the religions of the day.
      History does not make moral judgments it is a static account of what transpired. Society looks at history and renders a judgment based upon current standards. The pederasty of the Greeks was embraced in its time and culture but immoral by past and present culture. There is a fixed standard of morality and the Greeks violated that standard from the days of Abraham to days we now live.
      Moral relativism would suggest pederasty could be embraced it is just a matter of time and evolution of thought. This is not the case as observed in anytime past or present. Thus there are absolute truths, there is God and then there is man who is lead astray by religion or atheism.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Gee what a surprise. You take merely a single line, misuse a word, and go off on a completely irrelevant tangent. You really are just a pathetic person aren't you? What do you think all those programs you listed are called? Social Programs you fucking retard.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      Let me guess at what you are trying to say; I(hawaiiguest) must be in denial because I cannot answer a simple question. Now I am angry so I will use insults to cover my nakedness (biblical term for the condition of man without God).

      ItI would have been much easier to answer the question rather than expose yourself.

      Let me say it again. There either is or is not God. Can you imagine or do you know of a world with intelligent life where there was never a thought of God or faith in God?

      January 7, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What the blankety blank are you talking about, fred? Do you know of ANY other world with intelligent life, period, fred? What special kind of stupid stew did you eat for lunch?

      January 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @fren
      "Can you imagine or do you know of a world with intelligent life where there was never a thought of God or faith in God?"

      Even if all cultures at some time came up with the idea of a god, the same can be said for witchcraft and the idea that the world is flat. In the process of cultural evolution there are some basic stop gaps that fill the holes which people don't yet understand. All of these serve a purpose in their time; the question is whether they still serve a purpose.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • frank

      Well, fred a tree probably never has all apples completely free of blemishes. But the tree can survive and continuously produce fruit, even though there are always blemishes. Such it the case with the minds of mankind, where there is always a weakness that tries to steer the mind toward superstition – religion.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      So now you try to project what you did onto me? Wow you're really desperate.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      I was attempting to make a case that we have never known existence without the presence of God. Atheists may reject God but could not have known or imagine existence without God. Some like Einstein may only ponder the miraculous yet a thought still existed about God in his mind. I assume you have also had at minimum thought about God. That is the basis for stating we have never known existence without the presence of God.
      Now, if that is the case it is proof that there is no known existence without God.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You never cease to exceed my expectations for your level of stupidity, fred. WE DON"T KNOW OF ANY OTHER WORLDS WITH INTELLIGENT LIFE, you idiot. Your argument fails. Period.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Honestly, fred, why don't you just stop? You haven't ever made a single post with a cogent argument. Ever.

      Pretending that because many would like to "believe" there's a god must mean there is one is beyond idiotic.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Fred, no, even if that were the case it would mean there was no known existence without the idea of god. Much as if everyone were raised reading books with goblins in them it would mean there was no known existence without the idea of goblins. Plenty of cultures though have godless religions and you'd have to do a lot of work to find that folks isolated in those cultures all independently come up with the idea of gods or, even less likely, a single god.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • frank

      fred – "I was attempting to make a case that we have never known existence without the presence of God. Atheists may reject God but could not have known or imagine existence without God."

      why should this mean anything, fred? Go back and look at my example of the apple tree. what's important about blemishes just because we never experience apples that are blemish-free?

      you're forgetting the fruit, fred. superstition is the blemish

      January 7, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • fred

      Frank
      I doubt Christ could be called a superst-ition. I cannot think of a single historic person that has had the impact to this day that Christ had. Your example is a good one as Christ is the tree of life and the entire Bible story falls apart if Eve did not go for that forbidden fruit. The blemish you see is sin and is covered by the love of Christ. Accept that love and you are good apple before God.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • Pam

      fred has almost as much intelligence as a fruit.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @fred, how does the magnitude of impact prove something isn't a supersti'tion?

      January 7, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • Pam

      fred, Christ is a superstition.

      There. If you read and understand that, you will realize that I just disproved your claim.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by fred presents a form of the ad populum fallacy.

      http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      January 7, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • Paul

      I have to agree with 101 on that one.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • frank

      Well thank you everyone else for pointing out in various ways that fred unsuccessfully attempted to pull a "Chad" on my earlier words.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • frank

      I do see a "Frank" posting elsewhere tonight. Notice the case, fred.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      fred is merely incapable of using any kind of sound or valid logic. He has become more desperate in his attempt to validate his belief through conversion.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • fred

      Saraswati
      If even those cultures you mention come up with God or gods then the statement is true. We have never known an existence without the presence of God.
      That is very different than the goblins example which today few adults would buy into. I cannot think of an example that would come close to the presence of God in scope or time. No one knows why Neanderthal put artifacts into children’s graves but there is that sense that there is more to existence than the physical. I contend it is the presence of God we have yet to escape. This is what the founding fathers found to be self evident even though their levels of faith were different.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @fred, you're still conflating the "idea of God" with "God". Unless you can recognize that these are two different things you're not going to be able to converse meaningfully with ... pretty much anyone.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • fred

      Paul
      How does ad populum apply? I was not saying it is because 99% of mankind believes.
      I said we do not and have not know of any other existence. The statement can be falsefied and I am waiting for someone to prove different.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      fred, you are such a dishonest little creep. You are on a par with Chard. So many (hardly all, unless you're prepared to cite your source for such a claim) cultures dream up gods. What of it? That makes a god no more a fact than the proverbial Tooth Fairy.

      So we dream up explanations for things we don't understand. Until we DO understand them. Then, why the need for gods?

      January 7, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • frank

      and during Jesus' time, evidently – *up until that time*, they had never known any existence other than using the left hand to wipe your ass.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      fred, up until the dinosaurs were wiped out, they were the dominant life forms. Just because something existed for a time does not mean it is all that will ever be, dear. WE weren't always here, you know.

      No, you probably don't.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • fred

      Saraswati
      I am not aware of anyone that has seen God. The presence of God in ones life is more of an awareness that transforms. Christ transformed the world through the word and in the beginning God spoke the world into existence. It would be in the nature of spirit/idea/thought/inspiration.
      God being self evident in creation is that we come up blank as to purpose of existence yet here we are thinking we have purpose.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @fred, OK, if you prefer, you're conflating the "presense of god in one's life" with the "idea of god". Just because one has the idea of god (say, because we hear Christians yammering about it all the time) doesn't mean that we have, or ever had a "presense of god in our life".

      January 7, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "WE" don't do anything of the sort, fred, you lying sack. I can find purpose without the need for some fairytale being telling me what to do. As to why any of us are here, nothing other than chance and luck.

      If you believe otherwise, you'd better have a really good explanation for Newtown, you idjit.

      January 7, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      LOL

      After being calledon his dishonesty, fred now ignores those certain people. Soon he will disappear without warning, and come back tomorrrow or the next day with the same rehashed, idiotic, illogical, useless pile of shit he always spouts.

      January 7, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • frank

      And so it went – the ACME toy company came up with a puppet that could key responses on the internet, and they programmed the puppet to say that it's name is "fred" and that it should call the toy company "God".

      January 7, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      We consistently dream up gods we have not consistently dreamt up no gods. The later is proof of the former and requires man made gyrations such as applying science to an area science cannot be useful. Atheists prepare case after case against what is self evident. Dawkins attempts to establish non belief by attacking what cannot be seen or proved. All the while God remains present.

      January 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Yea fred, just be as convoluted as possible, I'm sure no one will notice that it still doesn't prove anything.

      January 7, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • frank

      fred: "The later is proof of the former "

      evidence that we dream up stuff is proof of – – – – – what? are you kidding us?

      (maybe someone poe'd this guy – it sounds too ridiculous)

      January 7, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
  5. Chris

    This goes against the Bible. Jesus never wanted to end slavery.

    January 7, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • John A

      Jesus ends spiritual slavery on the cross.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • LinCA

      @John A

      You said, "Jesus ends spiritual slavery on the cross."
      From where I'm sitting, it looks more like he spiritually enslaved billions by getting nailed.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
  6. Renegatus

    How ironic that the religiously indoctrinated want to end slavery!

    January 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  7. Viola

    I was at this event, Passion 2013 down in the dome in Atlanta. It was absolutely amazing seeing so many Christians other than myself in the same area praising the Lord, fighting to end Slavery and so on. It was an experience I'll never forget and definitely the highlight of my life.

    January 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Andrewsi

      Viola, apparently no one has told you that God condones slavery. If you are serious about your faith read the verses listed below. Passion 2013 goes against Gods teachings. Go figure that one out.

      Exodus 21:2-6 NLT, Exodus 21:7-11 NLT, Ephesians 6:5 NLT

      January 7, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Paul

      No, God does not condone slavery, but the Bible deals with it because it has alway's been practiced by humanity. Humans came up with slavery, not God.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Jake

      Humans created the story of god. Many of them. Slavery was the norm, as was religion at the time, so there was nothing ground breaking in the bible. It really is amazing how people that believe the bible, know so little about it. I am sure that is done purposely, as no sane person would believe such a collection of stories.

      January 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yep, goes to show the bible wasn't divinely inspired - just a book written by men that were products of their time. an all-knowing, all-loving god wouldn't have forgotten to tell people that slavery is wrong....

      January 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  8. sas

    They forgot to wipe out the slavery of religion.

    January 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • John A

      Do you want to go to China, North Korea, Cuba? Enjoy your life.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
  9. LeeCMH

    Interesting. I thought Christians existed primarily to hate and stomp gays.

    January 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Uniquitous

      Glad to see your eyes have been opened.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  10. dan

    I think this is great. The article did not say if this is a non-denominational Christian drive, or from a single sect. I would hope that they would not push the Bible on the people they save, and respect the religion of said victims. I wonder if the Wellspring for females saved from abuse pushes the Bible or a certain religion as part of healing, or if it allows for yoga, meditation, gaia or other spiritual paths. Part of true giving is no strings attached, honouring all God's creation the way they come, and not missionizing the very vulnerable and helpless.

    January 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Paul

      Yes, Christians cannot help "pushing their religion on others". Christ said to love God and love your neighbor. Most christian groups are there to show love to their neighbor AND tell them why they bother to get up in the morning.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      jesus was only talking to other jews when he said love thy neighbor - he didn't mean it universally. look it up. common error.

      January 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
  11. Mike

    There's a long and sad history of Christian missionaries going to 3rd world countries and trying to convert the natives by destroying their culture and religion, and then justifying it by saying that they're just trying to civilize a barbaric people.
    I think slavery, in all its guises, richly deserves to be removed from the surface of the earth, just not at the cost of loss of culture, and I'm dubious about these people's real motives.

    January 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Mike

      One more thing – going after companies like Apple that indirectly run 3rd world sweat shops would do much more to end slavery then would attacking tribal peoples.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  12. ATL

    Why all the hate? I'm surprised that so many people are belittling the contribution or questioning the motives of these young people who are working to end this horrible oppression. It is very encouraging to see these young people spending their time and resources on something so selfless and so important.

    I think we can all agree that what happened here is a good thing.

    January 7, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Alan

      No hate at all. I think it's great that these young people can do this, despite the teachings of their book...

      January 7, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • saganhill

      Because condoning one type of slavery and being against another type of slavery is an oxymoron and not right.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • ATL

      Saganhill,
      So what they are doing is not right? They should have kept their money instead of trying to help those in need. Is that what you're saying?

      January 7, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  13. saganhill

    So, let me get this straight. A group of enslaved Christians are fighting for the end of slavery? The irony. As soon as their religion is gone along with all other religion only then will all slavery be eradicated.

    January 7, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  14. Alan

    This doesn't sound like reflecting on history to me. Cherry picking? That's exactly what Christians do with the Bible all the time. If you cite parts of the Bible as the word of god, then you can't dismiss other parts of the Bible, which are also "the word of god"
    Luke 12:47-48
    47 And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

    January 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
  15. Joe Riddick

    The Bible does promote slavery in several instances by giving instruction directly to slaves to obey their masters, as this is pleasing to God. It basically tells them to serve and be happy doing it. Also I don't understand how giving homeless people towels and socks will help end homelessness.

    January 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Joe Riddick

      Some examples from The Good Word.

      Ephesians 6:5; Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ...... .1 Timothy 6:1; All slaves should show full respect for their masters so they will not bring shame on the name of God and his teaching.........even Jesus said this, Luke 12:47 ......“And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished.......a servant isn this case is a slave. There are many more examples.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • JimmyB

      Slavery was a fact of life in bibllical times & socially accepted. The Bible was instructing slaves on how to make it more bearable but that is a far cry from an endorsement. Towels & socks will not end homelessness, just make it more bearable. For example "If this is your plot in life, maybe I can't change it but this will help you out for now" . Makes it more bearable. See a connection? Maybe you can't change the world, but do what you can, when you can.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • lol??

      The diverse Beast sure does know how to promote slavery, courtesy of the A&A's.

      January 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
  16. JimmyB

    The Bible refers to slavery as it has existed throughout world history but by no means endorses it. Lincoln may have ended legal slavery in the US but the US State Dept estimates there are 27 million+ in slavery throughout the world today. Go to enditmovement.com for more info. While you are there, sign the pledge & post on your social website. Johnny 5 is the perfect example of needing to raise awareness.

    January 7, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Joe Riddick

      Some examples from The Good Word.

      Ephesians 6:5; Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ...... .1 Timothy 6:1; All slaves should show full respect for their masters so they will not bring shame on the name of God and his teaching.........even Jesus said this, Luke 12:47 ......“And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished.......a servant isn this case is a slave. There are many moe examples.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  17. Josh Troup

    The bible clearly supports slavery. These people are heretics.

    January 7, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  18. Jon

    hmmmm.....we're not that long removed from a time in which the religious youth of GA would have been holding rallies in support of slavery and segregation. interesting.

    January 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • JimmyB

      Realize these were not only youth of GA. This gathering included 18-25 year olds from ALL 50 states and 55 countries.

      January 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  19. darth vader

    jesus was NOT a god .

    January 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • saganhill

      He wasn't even a person. Just a conglomerate of different people who lived at that time.

      January 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • K from AZ

      You absolutely sure?

      January 7, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • John A

      "Yes, I AM" – Jesus

      January 7, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  20. Church Lady

    Isn't that special ?

    January 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
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About this blog

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