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At evangelical colleges, a shifting attitude toward gay students
A group of Wheaton College alumni formed OneWheaton to offer an alternative view on sexuality from the evangelical school.
March 30th, 2013
09:15 AM ET

At evangelical colleges, a shifting attitude toward gay students

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey, For CNN

Wheaton, Illinois (CNN)– Combing through prayer requests in a Wheaton College chapel in 2010, then-junior Benjamin Matthews decided to do something “absurdly unsafe.”

He posted a letter on a public forum bulletin board near students' post office boxes. In the letter, he came out as gay and encouraged fellow gay Christian students - some of whom had anonymously expressed suicidal plans in a pile of the prayer requests - to contact him if they needed help.

In a student body of 2,400 undergraduates in the suburbs of Chicago, at what is sometimes called the Harvard of evangelical schools, Matthews said that 15 male students came out to him. Other students seemed somewhat ambivalent about his coming out, he said.

No one told him he was wrong or needed to change, Matthews said some students were obviously uncomfortable with someone who would come out as gay and remain a Christian.

“I don’t think most Wheaton students knew what to do because they've been given ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ rhetoric, but they don't know how that plays out in real life,” said Matthews, who graduated in 2011. “They would mostly just listen, nod and say, ‘Yeah man, that’s hard.’”

As is the case at many evangelical colleges, Wheaton students sign an agreement to not have sex outside of marriage, including "the use of pornography ... premarital sex, adultery, homosexual behavior and all other sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage."

On campus, the college created an official group in February for students to explore questions of gender identity and sexual orientation. The group is intended as a “safe place for students who have questions about their sexual orientation or gender identity,” where students may self-identify as LGBTQ.

But cultural and political changes have created tensions for the academic and student life environment. As more mainline denominations ordain openly gay clergy and more states pass same-sex laws, some gay evangelicals – and their allies - are openly deviating from Wheaton’s official and long-held positions. Well-known Christian author Rob Bell, a graduate of Wheaton, came out in favor of gay marriage in mid-March.

OneWheaton, a group unaffiliated with the college, wants to offer an alternative view on homosexuality from that of the evangelical school. The group, which is not explicitly religious, wants GLBT students to feel affirmed in their sexuality, acting as a support network for students struggling with their sexual identity, whether they choose to be openly gay or whether they choose to remain celibate. But leaders of the group say that gay Christians do not need to be celibate to retain their religious identify.

“For those of you feeling alienated, it gets better,” says OneWheaton’s founding statement, signed by about 700 GLBT and straight, alumni, echoing Dan Savage’s national “It Gets Better” campaign for gay youth. “Your desire for companionship, intimacy and love is not shameful. It is to be affirmed and celebrated just as you are to be affirmed and celebrated.”

A widespread question

Wheaton is hardly the only evangelical college that’s seeing a growing spectrum of responses toward homosexuality among students, alumni and staff.

Last year, a group at Biola University in southern California came out with posters and a website called Biola Queer Underground. The group describes itself as “like-minded LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) students and allies who have formed a private underground community in which we share our life struggles, as well as our love and support for one another.” Biola then issued a “statement on human sexuality” saying, "God’s design for marriage and sexuality is the foundational reason for viewing acts of sexual intimacy between a man and a woman outside of marriage, and any act of sexual intimacy between two person of the same sex, as illegitimate moral options for the confessing Christian.”

Groups from at least two Christian schools, Eastern University in Pennsylvania and George Fox University in Oregon, have formed OneEastern and OneGeorgeFox, which launched public websites in 2012.

About 200 LGBT and straight alumni from California’s evangelical Westmont College co-signed a letter to the student newspaper suggesting they experienced "doubt, loneliness and fear due to the college's stance on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues."

Many Christian schools have different regional, historical and denominational ties that keep issues related to sexuality complex and keep these institutions from responding monolithically.

Wheaton’s well-known alumni include evangelist Billy Graham, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and former George W. Bush speechwriter Mike Gerson. To come out at the college, OneWheaton’s organizers say, is to risk losing a network of fellow-minded alumni.

“Part of OneWheaton is showing that while people are risking their networks, they'll have people they can turn to,” said OneWheaton spokeswoman Kristin Winn, who came out six months after graduating in 2007.

The married-sex-only agreement that Wheaton students and faculty sign is part of the college’s Community Covenant, which says that students agree the Bible condemns “sexual immorality, such as the use of pornography, premarital sex, adultery, homosexual behavior and all other sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage between a man and woman.” Few students self-identify as gay, and if they do, it has different implications based on their expressed beliefs and behavior. Students can self-identify as gay, but college officials consider each student on a case-by-case basis if it comes into question.

Members of OneWheaton attend an athletic event on campus.

“What matters is the moral understanding of the person and how that matches with our institutional identity and the moral behavior that flows from the understanding. There’s no formula to how this gets applied," said Wheaton's Provost Stan Jones, a psychologist who has written several books on sexuality.

Students who openly deviate from or openly advocate for deviation from the covenant may be dismissed from the school, Jones said.

Alumni say some gay students have been asked to leave or been counseled to leave Wheaton. No member of Wheaton would be asked or counseled to leave this institution on the basis of sexual orientation alone, Jones said, and he is not aware of any cases where people were dismissed only because of sexual orientation.

Jones said it would be difficult to say whether a student who signed OneWheaton’s statement would be in open disagreement with the covenant, though he is not aware of any student who has left or been dismissed over involvement with the group. “We’re not in a rush to show people the door,” Jones said. “We want Wheaton College to be a community where people can wrestle with these issues.”

The balance, college officials say, is between preserving the theological integrity of the school while leaving room for questions.

“Articulating orthodox Christian theological beliefs and moral convictions itself is and ought to be an expression of grace,” said Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton, explaining the college's stance on sexual behavior in response to OneWheaton's emergence. “Those theological principles and moral guidelines are an expression of God’s character and the best way to live.”

Homosexuality is not a focus at Wheaton more than any other college, said Ryken, but culture places a priority on sex. The college does not keep track of the number of students who leave over homosexuality, he said. “There are a variety of challenges that different Christian colleges and universities face from people advocating homosexuality,” Ryken said in an interview in his campus office. “OneWheaton has been clear in saying they’re not interested in changing the college, but it remains to be seen what kind of influence they desire and may seek to have.”

A growing trend

Evangelical colleges likely face generational differences in attitudes toward sexuality as younger evangelicals develop friendships with people who are gay, says David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, a Christian market research firm.

“There has been a shift from rightness to fairness,” Kinnaman said. “There’s a real sense in which their institutional loyalty and their loyalty to theoretical morals and ethical choices are trumped by their peer relationships.”

About 40% of evangelicals between the ages of 18 and 29 are likely to say homosexuality should be accepted by society, compared to 24% of evangelicals who are older than 30, according to the 2007 religious landscape survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. But there is still less acceptance of homosexuality by evangelicals than by other young people. The same Pew poll found that 63% of Americans age 18 to 29 say homosexuality should be accepted by society, as do about half of Americans ages 30 to 64.

As a younger demographic is less opposed to gay marriage, they are also are more likely than before to identify as pro-life. Forty-one percent consider themselves "pro-choice," a record low since Gallup began asking the question.

“During the last five to seven years, there has been a definite uptick in interest [in homosexuality],” says Michael Hamilton, a history professor at Seattle Pacific. “As evangelicals and the main currency of American culture converge, an increasing number of gay students are going to say, ‘Wait a minute. I don't see a problem.’”

Last year, students at Seattle Pacific University received student support and a faculty letter backing a group’s desire to discuss being gay. Its administration approved the request but declined to give it official status. In 2010, Abilene Christian University declined to grant official status to a gay-straight alliance.

Michael Lindsay, president of Gordon College in Massachusetts, said that homosexuality is just one of a basket of issues that evangelical schools are dealing with now for the first time.

“Any moral issue dealing with the body gets a visceral response,” said Lindsay, who said future important issues will include bioethics, disability and other questions dealing with life. “Because sex is tied in with the body, naturally it’s one of those issues folks will have highly charged responses.”

Facing alternative views

The Wheaton alumni group, OneWheaton, was initially a private Facebook network that went public partly in reaction to an April 2011 chapel service at Wheaton featuring Wesley Hill, a gay Wheaton alumnus who says he chooses to be celibate, a path that some gay students and alumni take. Hill wrote the 2010 book “Washed and Waiting,” about being gay, Christian, and celibate, and told students how he came to his position that sex is between man and a woman in marriage.

“I found myself convinced of the position the church has held with almost totally unanimity throughout the ages, that although many people find themselves, through no fault of their own, to have sexual desires for members of their own sex, this is not something to be affirmed and celebrated, but is a sign that we’re broken, in need of redemption and recreation,” Hill told students.

“Gay people are not uniquely broken,” he said. “That’s a position we share with every other human who has ever lived or will live. But we are, nonetheless, broken. And following Jesus means turning our back on a life of sexual sin, just as it does for every other Christian.”

According to a survey conducted by the Wheaton student newspaper in 2008, about 5% of students (mostly male) reported having "had a homosexual experience." About 56% of students agree or strongly agree that homosexuals are not welcome at Wheaton, the survey reported.

OneWheaton is working to change that in some in-your-face ways. During one homecoming weekend, the group held a concert featuring Jennifer Knapp, a former contemporary Christian Music musician who came out as a lesbian in 2010. “Although I disagree with painting sexual orientation and gender identity as a biblical sin, Wheaton has a right to that interpretation,” Knapp said. “But I don’t know how you can be welcoming but not affirming.”

Knapp questions whether colleges such as Wheaton present alternative theological positions.

“Whether it’s alcohol or premarital sex, is Wheaton an academic institution willing to present both sides, or is it wanting to churn out soldiers that believe exactly the same things they do?” said Knapp, who used to identify as evangelical but now disassociates herself from the movement.

The college does not typically host speakers who espouse theology that affirms same-sex behavior, but it does not forbid such discussion from taking place. Administrators say they know that students might end up differing with the college theologically.

“This is not a place of indoctrination,” said Jones. “This is an educational community. We need to have a high level of patience and tolerance for students working through those issues.”

In many ways, Jones said, students need to be thoughtfully engaging the issues.

“Many students have only heard about homosexuality in the context of ‘Those bad people who we must oppose,’” he said. “There are many in our student body who want to engage these issues sympathetically, but there are others who are prone to thoughtless speech that can lean in the direction of incivility.”

At the same time, he said, Christian colleges are facing outside professional and political pressure on gay issues. Wheaton administrators spent several months preparing for a 2006 visit from Soulforce, a group aiming to change religious leaders' minds on gay issues that was co-founded by Mel White, who was a ghost writer for some evangelical leaders, including Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell.

Soulforce members had been arrested at other Christian campuses that ban same-sex behavior, but the group had a cordial gathering at Wheaton and visited again last year.

In 2009, the American Philosophical Association adopted a procedure to “flag” ads from employers that ban same-sex sexual conduct.

“I find that extraordinarily ironic for a discipline that prides itself on spirited debate about fundamental issues,” Jones said. “You are inviting the erosion of your distinctions if you don’t draw some boundaries.”

Administrators also are carefully watching court cases related to federal funding and hiring practices, where the government could pull funding if an institution is deemed discriminatory.

Faculty are expected to sign the same covenant as students, and those who advocate for something contrary to the stated beliefs would be called into question, Jones said.

“If a person disagreed with a clear assertion of the covenant, that has implications regardless of their status, even for those who have tenure,” Jones said. In faculty applications, he would consider where a professor stands on sexual intimacy as between a man and a woman in marriage, though questions about whether gay marriage should be legal at a state level would not necessarily come up. “We don’t ask about their civic views of gay marriage,” he said. “I would not be looking for their policies on a governmental policy voting.”

On the “Day of Silence” in April 2012, about 90 students wearing white T-shirts printed with "break the silence" attended a campus-hosted discussion about homosexuality, such as whether Wheaton can be considered a "safe place" for gay students. “You are telling LGBTQ students that no matter where they end up on their journey of identity, you care for them, respect them, and will remain their friend,” OneWheaton leaders wrote on a sign-up form for students who wanted to wear T-shirts. One alumnus came out to the rest of the group.

Matthews, the student who came out at Wheaton in 2010 – he now teaches middle school science in Connecticut - wrestles with whether the group OneWheaton will be an effective network since its views are far from the college’s stance on sexuality. He said he followed Wheaton’s agreement to refrain from premarital sex during school, but his personal views on the morality of homosexuality have shifted.

Matthews was attracted to men when he began college but hoped he would begin liking women.

He considered sexual orientation conversion therapy, which some evangelical Christians embrace but which the American Psychological Association has said is ineffective and could be damaging. After the Episcopal Church ordained its second openly gay bishop in 2010, Matthews began reading more and eventually embraced a theology that suggests gay Christians do not need to be celibate. At one point, he considered becoming an Episcopal priest.

Matthews said Wheaton was a safe place to come out because he could work through both being gay and being a Christian. If he had gone to another college, he said he might have stayed closeted because people might suggest abandoning his faith, something he wasn't willing to relinquish.

“Quite ironically, had I not gone to Wheaton, I might not have come out,” Matthews said. “They weren’t going to say what I presumed people at other colleges would tell me, which is, ‘If you have conflict between your faith and sexuality, drop the faith.’ No one at Wheaton was going to tell me that.”

Editor's Note: Sarah Pulliam Bailey is managing editor for Odyssey Networks.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Evangelical • Faith Now

soundoff (1,024 Responses)
  1. Cambridge Ray

    I am a newcomer to America, but the one thing I learned years ago, is about those who call themselves "Conservatives".

    Conservatism (the Extreme Kind) is based on 5 principles:

    (1) Hate and Fear
    (2) Hate and Fear
    (3) Hate and Fear
    (4) Hate and Fear
    (5) Hate and Fear

    Then there is a distant 6th. and 7th.

    (6) The implicit belief that Time Travel will address their needs
    (7) Lack of Compassion

    March 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Welcome to America! But there are a lot of us who are trying to pull America out of the dark ages. Hang in there. Join our battle.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Dan Jones

      That is what is called misinterpretation. You can't deal with truth so you by necessity demonize and apply your shallow and misguided interpretation of reality. Try growing up and you will realize that it is not fear or hate. It is "responsibility and morality", both of which is hard for liberals to cope with.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
  2. Cambridge Ray

    "The Left hates ideas (which is fine!!!)...
    ... the Right, people"

    -Moi

    March 30, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  3. It Existed

    What many lose sight of in this argument is that there were such Christian marriages between two people of the same gender in yesteryear. https://anthropologist.livejournal.com/1314574.html A professor of Yale University and Chairman of the History Department has brought this out that all should familiarize themselves with. It was there and accepted until around the 11th century or so when things began to change by those with a different and overreaching agenda.

    March 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Nicholas Cage

      Polygomy was also there and accepted, so why is it outlawed today?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Dan Jones

      What you have lost sight of is the Bible. God forbids it.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Dan Jones

      You should also remember that the people you are referring to also accepted slavery and pedophilia. Should we embrace those too to satisfy your version of history and what it means?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • It Existed

      "My" version, Danny boy? Like it or not it is Fact as it happened that is being presented by a well-educated Scholar!

      March 30, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Citing A Fact

      What you need to not lose sight of, Dan, is that this was a CHRISTIAN rite held in the Christian churches whether you or anyone else likes it or not.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
  4. Nicholas Cage

    First they hijack the word Gay and now Marriage, can't you all see that????

    March 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Marriage needed hijacking. Since straight people turned it into a complete fiasco!

      March 30, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Akira

      Some person labeled them that, and it caught on. I think it's much nicer than what bigots used to call them: "Fucking Homos."

      March 30, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  5. mark

    I feed the poor as a Christian without their knowledge.

    March 30, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Edweird69

      And your intentions are good. However, it still is used as an intent to indoctrinate. There are secular charities who could use the contribution, and the $ doesn't go to the cause of promoting a certain type of religion.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • mark

      Ed your assumption is incorrect. I do it because I know that's what Christ wants me to do. I ask for nothing in return.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Mark: We do good because we know it's right. We do not require a god to tell us that.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @Mark – sure you ask something in return. Humans don't do things without some sort of payoff. That makes no sense. You do it, because you are a sweet giving person. But, you are promised eternal bliss in return. You feel good giving (and so do I...I give to 2 charities out of my paycheck). I expect no eternal bliss from it.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • mark

      Neither do I. I do it because that's who Jesus was. As he said what you do to the least of these you do to me. I just want to do what Jesus would do, because I love him.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • mark

      Truth how do you know it's right?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      If you're getting at is the fact that you don't feel morals exist without belief, I would have to argue that. Morals do not come from belief and in fact we can find a great many immoral issues with belief-the bible is a proponent of such immoral issues-rape; human sacrifice; animal sacrifice; child abuse; mass murder; idolatry (the 1st 4 commandments are exactly that); bigotry (the non-stop judging of gays based solely on what the bible says); oppression of women; incest. For christians to claim morality is strictly from their belief is completely wrong. I don't need a book to tell me not to kill...this is rather obvious...killing leads to the loss of my freedom; I don't need a book to tell me to be polite-I'm an adult and know the difference in how people react if you're not. It's positive versus negative.
      If you need a book to keep you from being a horrible person, have at it. I'm not so weak.
      I'm quite good without god.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • captain america

      Liar prefails you are not "good" you are an interfering lying pos. There's your sign

      March 30, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Get a fvckin' job, cap'n. You're a drain on the economy. And no one likes you.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • captain america

      Your opinion and a buck might get you something off the dollar menu at McDonalds. When you think you have something to say do the world a favor and stay silent.There's your sign

      March 30, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Fvck you, cap'n azzhole. You're a moron.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Heathan Mike

      The Captain A****** here is, of course, showing us all the overflowing love of Jesus that fills his heart! nice.

      April 15, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
  6. Yon

    Love != lust.

    March 30, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Every comment you've spewed so far is absolutely ignorant. That one really exposes you as the true nutjob you truly are!

      March 30, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • mark

      Ed why are you so mean, you follow your atheists brothers and sisters who don't say mean things to Christians.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @Mark- debate is a blood sport. I'm fed up with religion, and the horrors it has inflicted on humanity. Totally fed up. Now I'm fighting back. It doesn't make me a mean person. I am not an atheist. I have a null stance. I never said "there was no gods". I say prove it there are gods, otherwise, don't invent any.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • mark

      Ed do you deny Christ was a person?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @Mark – I have no idea if Christ existed. If he did, he was not a god. He said lots of things that never happened. If he came here to die for my sins, so I could spend eternity with his blood-thirsty father, he died for no reason.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • mark

      Read "evidence that demands a verdict." He died for yiour sins and mine, and he still loves you, and will until your last breath. I hope you give him a chance.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @Mark – "he loves me"? really? If I don't "believe" something (hardly a horrible crime, not believing something), I will be punished forever and ever, with ethernal torment... but he loves me? Obsurd !!

      March 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • mark

      I don't know your fate, and quite frankly either do you. He loves you right now, and is waiting for you.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  7. Love Without Barriers

    Love Without Barriers Is the KEY. How can people possibly love one another with only one side of their heart but still carrying hate, spite and malice on the other!

    March 30, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Christians have a twisted view on what love is. Their love is conditional, I assure you. I grew up on a church pew. I've experienced their "love". You betchya!

      March 30, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Dan Jones

      So what do you to say to Jesus? He loves people unconditionally and yet says that he hates sin and will cast all unrepentant sinners into hell.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • mark

      Ed that is such an overreaching comment and very judgemental. You should think before you comment.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Gave Them Up

      I noticed Beastie barriers are made out of latex that give false hope.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Love Without Barriers

      As much as I hate to agree with you on this, Edweird69, I have to because I grew up in a Christian neighborly atmosphere and school and saw nothing but the farthest thing of what Jesus taught us to do being practiced in those places by those folks. It sure reminds me of a very poignant saying that explains it so well! "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." - Mahatma Ghandi

      March 30, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • mark

      There are millions who act like hrist wants us too, and millions that don't. That does not make it all bad.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
  8. Saying Is A Dichotomy

    One thing to be brought out about loving the sinner but not the sin is here. http://whosoever.org/v6i6/cindy.html As in so doing, as that saying says, it certainly appears to be a dichotomy! People need to just learn to love unconditionally as Jesus did!

    March 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Christians rant that they don't hate the sinner, just the sin. Well, I don't hate religionists, just religion. It works both ways.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • I dont hate most christians, just their behavior

      I hate what most christians do. Like trying to get their archaic, oppressive and dysfunctional rules to force everyone to live by their standards. I hate the way true christians will knife their best friend in the back if they imagine their god wants them to. I hate the way they twist and distort science, logic and reality, lying and misrepresenting anything they can lay their hands on in an attempt to swindle people into believing their religion is true. "hate the sinner but love the sin" cuts both ways

      March 30, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Loving a family member but hating the fact of who they have chosen to spend their life with just doesn't cut it. You have essentially rejected the most important part of who that person is – that's why none of us buy that crock of a line.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  9. Jonline

    I thought Jesus said the most important commandment was 'Love thy neighbor as thyself.' If you are a Christian, you have to believe that. Right? Is your neighbor not white, black, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, LGTB, et al? Why do certain Christians feel they have the right to ignore what Christ himself said was THE most important commandment? Why?

    March 30, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Yon

      His name was Yeshua, not Jesus and he said the first one was to love God with all your heart soul and mind. He also said Moses spoke with God face to face. He taught others to teach and do the laws of Moses, but not the punishment of death part. See EZE 20.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Topher

      Jonline

      He said the most important commandment was to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And that "love your neighbor" was like it.

      But what do you mean Christians are ignoring it?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Because they like to cherry pick the things they like to adhere to the most. They say nothing about divorce, but blame all of their disgusting ways of life on the gay community. Christians play the game, gays get the name.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Yon

      Yes, xtians and gays are both sick in the head.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @Yon – remember... you're talking about the men and women who are fighting over seas, just so you have the freedom to express your irrational hatred.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Yon

      Just because I think gays are gross does not make me hater and by the way. I was also overseas so you could speak your trash.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • rick

      "But what do you mean Christians are ignoring it?"

      Denying gays the same civil rights is one that comes to mind in the context of this article

      March 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Topher

      rick

      "Denying gays the same civil rights is one that comes to mind in the context of this article"

      Yes, but does God not only call those acts a sin, but an abomination and also say that ho.mose.xuals will not inherit the kingdom of God?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • rick

      Topher: What god says does not mean a thing to our secular laws

      March 30, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Topher

      rick

      "What god says does not mean a thing to our secular laws"

      Sure it does. You'd like me to endorse the activity ... to say it's OK. But God clearly says it's not. The good news is that if they repent and trust in Him, even the hom.ose.xual will be forgiven his sins and can go to Heaven ... just like my wretched sins were forgiven.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • rick

      Topher: Which other sinners do you want to deny their civil rights? Are there drunkards at your church? How about adulterers? Which of them should not have a right tro marry?

      We are not asking that you endorse it. We are asking that you all citizens are due equal rights

      March 30, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • rick

      "Sure it does"

      No it doesn't

      Does it make you feel godly denying people their rights?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • rick

      We are asking that you acknowledge all citizens have equal rights. To do otherwise is bigotry. To hide behind a bible to do so is pious bigotry

      March 30, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • rick

      why not just acknowledge equal rights and let god deal with the sin aspect?

      March 30, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Topher

      rick

      " Which other sinners do you want to deny their civil rights? Are there drunkards at your church? How about adulterers? Which of them should not have a right tro marry? "

      So what if there are drunkards or adulterers at my church? Or even gays. I bet there are. But the question is kind of a rabbit trail. Being a drunk has nothing to do with marriage.

      "Does it make you feel godly denying people their rights?"

      Technically it's not a right as in most states it's illegal. And no, I'm as far from godly as you can get.

      "To hide behind a bible to do so is pious bigotry"

      If siding with God over man is bigotry, you can call me a bigot all day long.

      "why not just acknowledge equal rights and let god deal with the sin aspect?"

      Good question. But I'd contend that that isn't very loving. In fact, I'd say it's pretty hateful to know a person is doing something that will result in them going to Hell .. and knowing myself the way to eternal life and not telling them.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "What god says does not mean a thing to our secular laws"

      The Gopher burps: Sure it does.

      No, Gopher. Our laws are not based on religion. And your god is irrelevant to our laws.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Topher and other delusional believers of his ilk just can't keep their noses out of others personal business and bedrooms.

      March 30, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • The real Tom

      No kidding. And the bozo is always pretending it's out of sincere love for others. Gopher just wants to keep people from "going to hell."

      What an azz.

      March 30, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • rick

      topher: the supreme court said it was a civil right. the question still stands on who you want to deny their civil rights

      March 30, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Topher

      rick

      True, for heterose.xual marriage. If it were that cut and dried, there would have been no need for the proceedings last week. That said, I'd bet they will find in favor of gay marriage.

      March 30, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • Topher

      The real Tom

      "(He) just wants to keep people from "going to hell."

      Very true. I don't want that to happen to you.

      March 30, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
  10. Farooq The Great

    Protestants change views on a daily basis. That's why I will stick with the real Church.

    March 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Edweird69

      There is no "real church".

      March 30, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  11. whoblackmailspeople

    while CNN distracts you with rubbish, the world reads:

    what the world outside the CNN land reads today:

    Will the US Congress Act to Stop US Support for Honduras' Death Squad Regime?

    In Honduras, Reagan-era atrocities are back as the Obama the nobel-peace-prize-winner funds the Honduran Death Squad

    – Mark Weisbrot, Guardian, March 30, 2013
    :

    March 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Jonline

      Fantastic. Glad you read another article instead of the article in question. It kind of shows your inability to focus on the question at hand.

      March 30, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Steven CaboWabo

      It looks like a good publication. People should take a look at it for the reported stories.
      But to also be fair, one of it's articles is: The top 10 lesbian movie cliches.
      Just not as many of that type of story as some other so called news sites.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  12. Topher

    I notice that LGBT now has a 'Q' ... can someone please explain how "que.er" is different from the other designations?

    March 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Keith

      The "Q" in LGBTQ stands for "Questioning". There are many young people who are still exploring who they actually are as a person. That segment of our population is called questioning.

      March 30, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Topher

      It's "questioning"? The story got it wrong then.

      March 30, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Geesh

      Wait a minute, if the premise is they are born that way – what are they questioning?
      I was told it was not a question of choose. So what is it then?

      March 30, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Bob1god

      U are too stupid to explain anything to!

      March 30, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • Geesh

      Chuckle...an insult instead of a response is evidence of a fallacy so you don't have an answer , that is what I thought

      March 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Southernsuga

      I'm sorry, but I couldn't help but laugh and laugh at the "Q". Lord help us all!

      March 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Akira

      I should think that the question portion relates to younger people who haven't actually had sex yet, and are questioning the way they feel....
      As Keith pointed out.
      Geesh, did you pop out of your mama's womb knowing which way you'd go, or did it take you a few years to figure it out?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Bethany

      The Q stands for "Questioning"

      March 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Geesh

      So despite the anatomy it is a matter of choice as I grow up and figure it out? Like Al Gore said I am the founder of my own evolution? Respectfully asking the question for clarity on the subject

      March 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Geesh

      Biology / science will help you out here. Kinsey scale/test. Look it up..

      March 30, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  13. Rodboy

    This is only the begnning – someday all the goats will be separated from the sheep.

    March 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Edweird69

      I'm neither a goat nor a sheep? Are you?

      March 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Topher

      I'm proudly a sheep.

      March 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Jonline

      huh?

      March 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • rick

      Good for you, Topher...no brains, follow the lead. Pretty accurate

      March 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • rick

      Sheep get sheared and then slaughtered. Baaa, baaaa, Topher

      March 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  14. Mike

    Everytime I read an article like this I always remember the famous quote by Mahatma Ghandi. ""I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." So true, so true...

    March 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Edweird69

      So many Christians...so few lions.

      March 30, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • mark

      Wow ed that's a really mean thing to say. Do yo want people to be killed by lions. I hope all atheists don't feel this way.

      March 30, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @Mark – Christians have a history of being merciless killers. Need I say more?

      March 30, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • mark

      They also have a history of feeding the poor. Why focus on the negative, are you just a negative person?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      No Mark not all Atheists feel that way but most of us do feel that religion in the public square can be quite damaging especially when it comes to denying other their equal rights or when it tries to oppress people.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @Mark – they only feed the poor for 2 reason. #1, they think it'll get themselves into heave, #2, to recruit people into their cult. It's not because they're just "sweet" people. They have a motive.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Mark: Secular charities feed the poor also without trying to indoctrinate them.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • mark

      I just hope you are willing to admit that the human condition is a flawed one, which means all groups are not going to do everything right, but many will do good things. I wouldn't classify all atheist as Marxist, why classify all Christians as evil.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • mark

      Not all secular charities some of them rise money and don't spend more than %31 on actual food.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Who said all christians were evil?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Jo

      It is a scientific fact there are too few lions I the world.
      It's a fair assumption there are too many Christians.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  15. Sparknut

    Meanwhile, at the Roman Catholic Boston College, students who are giving away condoms are being threatened with punitive action by the administration.

    There's not enough WD-40 in the world to open the rusted shut minds....

    March 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
  16. Kanageloa

    Gays deserve respect as anyone else. No more no less. Religions deserve respect as almost any other religion, no more no less. Islam deserves no respect or tolerance. They hate gays and have no tolerance for them. Say NO to Islam now before it's too late.

    March 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • rick

      Why should any religion deserve respect?

      March 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Say NO to religion now before it's too late.

      March 30, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Edweird69

      All religions deserve ridicule. It's nutjobby to believe in invisible magic sky fairies.

      March 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Yon

      People earn respect and they dont do it by being discusting

      March 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @Yon – it's spelled "disgusting". I assume you are inferring that Christians are disgusting, right?

      March 30, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • mark

      Ed are you an evil person? Because you sound like you are satanic. Or just plain really mean. Which leads me to believe you are very insecure, and can't help yourself. BTW don't celebrate Christmas, don't take work off for Good Friday, don't drink on St Patricks day, and don't give your girl or boy friend a Valentine card because then you will be a hypocrite.

      March 30, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Jo

      You are a silly mark.
      None of those holidays have much to do with Christianity.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • mark

      Really Jo what do we celebrate hen. Name one that's origins are in the Christian faith, don't just say things.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Mark: Christmas and Easter are holidays taken over by christians as they moved in and attempted to control/convert pagans. There is no definitive date of the apparent birth of jesus. Christmas originally was a celebration by the pagans of the Winter Solstice. Easter is originally pronounced "Ishtar", it was a day that commemorated the resurrection of one of their gods that they called "Tammuz", who was believed to be the only begotten son of the moon-goddess and the sun-god.

      Valentines Day and St Patricks Day are recognized but are not holidays...no time can be allotted off work for these.

      Most of us celebrate the holidays as a time of being with family and friends. I don't have to accept your belief system to celebrate these holidays, nor does any christian get to tell me not to celebrate.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • mark

      You can celebrate as you please, just know it is hypocritical to celebrate Christmas. Give gifts in July to all your friends. Easter is only about the Risen Christ, don't celebrate it or yio will be a hypocrite.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Mark: Wow, christmas is not christian and why the hell shouldn't I celebrate when you do??? I have to take the day off of work, so you're damn right I'm going to celebrate on the day it is. Both those supposed christian holidays you mentioned are not christian holidays originally, once again (since reading comprehension is not your best skill), they both originate with the pagans...they were used by the christians to convert pagans to christianity....what is so hard to understand about that or is reality that frightening? I've been polite to you up to now but to tell me what I should or shouldn't do is simply hypocritical on your behalf...I'm not telling you not to celebrate your holiday, I was only trying to get it across to you why we celebrate. Doesn't matter though...I will be celebrating Easter Sunday tomorrow and I will be celebrating Christmas on the 25th of December b/c your opinion really has no affect on my life and for that I'm thankful.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Hilarious. Mark, bite me. I'll celebrate whatever holiday I want however I choose to celebrate it. Christmas and Easter are legal holidays and no one is required to believe in anything to celebrate them.

      You're really an azzhole.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • captain america

      liar prefails says it all. There's your sign

      March 30, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Cram it up your backside, cap.

      March 30, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
  17. OldMo

    I forget the exact verse right now but I'm pretty sure Jesus said that we're supposed to tell people what they want to hear, even if it helps separate them from God for eternity. Also, I think he said that if a lot of people think you're "pretty nice" you're going to end up in heaven. Onward make-believe Christians, more compromise awaits!

    March 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Sparknut

      I know the New Testament pretty well, and cannot think of anything Jesus said that matches what you describe. You might want to try reading the Gospels some time to see what is really written there.

      March 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Look for the actual verse.

      March 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Sparknut,

      sometimes satire and sarcasm can be difficult to observe.

      March 30, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Yon

      No, xtians are just full of it. Gays are gross!

      March 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • independant jim

      Christian churches and colleges care about your morality if it doesnt make a difference to their bottom line ..if they are not making enough money they will accept anyone no matter what their moral convictions

      March 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  18. JJ

    CNN's daily pro-sodomy posting...

    March 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • rick

      and another bigoted response. congratulations, JJ

      March 30, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • grafixer

      Total ignorance. That's what your post is. Educate yourself.... and try to think beyond your own fears of your own tendencies and self questioning. Get a grip. Gays have. Why can't you?

      March 30, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Yon

      No thanks about that Sodomy education sicko.

      March 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  19. John P. Tarver, MS/PE

    Papist editor today. Gonna bounce

    March 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
  20. Writerscramp

    Christian-based higher education, what a contradiction in terms

    March 30, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • crazyvermont

      As opposed to a secular college such as prestigious Brown who now has a course incrusting gays on how not to be racist and accept gays of color? LOL and people wonder why American education is lagging behind even third world countries

      March 30, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Southernsuga

      CrazyVermont............Seriously? LOL LOL

      March 30, 2013 at 5:09 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.