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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

soundoff (1,024 Responses)
  1. tayllor1234

    Our Lord and Creator's word does not change with the folly of the winds of public opinion.

    March 30, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Dan

      No, it just changes over centuries of translations and deliberate and accidental distortions

      March 30, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Edweird69

      You were not "created", you "evolved". Unfortunately, not as much as the rest of us.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • Joe

      CNN YOUR DAILY PROMOTION OF PERVERTION DOES NOT GO UN-NOTICED!

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

      Hence the problem with following a several-thousand-year-old book for guidance. Times change, and in order for morality to advance, it must also change.

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

      Ed I believe we did evolve with a guiding and loving God in command. So we agree mostly.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @Mark – no, we don't agree at all. There is no reason to believe a magic, invisible being "lead" the way. That is an invented explanation. Evolution has physical, undisputable evidence. The case of gods, has zero evidence.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • mark

      Ed you speak in absolutes just like us Christians. You are more like us than you realize. You will be saved someday, because eventually you will leave the bitterness behind.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @Mark – Please don't label me as bitter. I've been with the same guy for 17 years. We have a wonderful life together. We give happily to our community. We work as hard as everyone else. We deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect. Being denied my rights, by the country my partner, my family, fought for... has me at war. Like I said, debate is a blood sport. You sound like a really nice person. I would probably like you, and vice verse if we met... but, you believe in a religion, and agree, that I deserve eternal torture.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • mark

      Ed I don't believe you deserve that. I believe Christ loves you and your partner, and would welcome you into his kingdom, if you just love him back. I am going to pray for both of you. He absolutely loves you!

      March 30, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • Science

      Education

      Origin of Life: Natural Cause no god(s) required.

      Hypothesis Traces First Protocells Back to Emergence of Cell Membrane Bioenergetics

      December 20, 2012 — A coherent pathway – which starts from no more than rocks, water and carbon dioxide and leads to the emergence of the strange bio-energetic properties of living cells – has been traced for the ...

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/fossils_ruins/origin_of_life/

      It would be NICE......... but

      Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!
      The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda who

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

      Peace

      Please watch

      The African Rift

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okWkmgkS00w&w=640&h=390]

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

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

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

      March 30, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  2. mark

    gays live a filthy lifestyle, are abhorant to God and to the rest of us. Butt buddies can't procreate thank goodness!

    March 30, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Unfortunately, your parents could procreate. You act like procreation is some rite of passage. You do realize our planet is dying, due to your over-procreation right? Innocent babies starve to death because of your procreation, right? You obviously have no thoughts of your own, you just spew the nonsense you picked up from your derelict friends.

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

      Ed the "mark" who made this comment is a fraud mark. I the real mark, had a gay cousin who died of aids and I loved him. I love gays as a Christian.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • TruthSeeker

      If your god is anything like you then I don't want anything to do with him.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • fnordz

      OF COURSE they can procreate. They just choose to sleep with the wrong sets of gonads to do so.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • mark

      Truth i totally agree, that is not love like Christ demands.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Jeff

      Filthy lifestyle? How many straight people are living filthy lifestyles? Since when are you God to judge other's sins?

      March 30, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • mark

      jeff you're right. the mark above which is not me needs love therapy.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Dont Lose Sight of the Fact

      You seem to lose sight of the fact, mark, that the "filthy lifestyle" is actually being lived by straight people whom some women love to just open their legs and then run to the abortion clinic in lieu of having the kid just so they can repeat their filthy act again. Are they procreating? Of course not! So, before you go after gay people look in your own backyard as there are plenty of skeletons to find there first!

      March 30, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • Apalled

      What respectable gay people do pales in comparison to recreational abortion practiced by young Christian girls at evangelical colleges.

      March 30, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
  3. Mike

    Its not so much as religion. It's mental health too. If you have a family you have kids and you are happier. If you are gay you spend your life going about sleeping with random guys, thinking that you will meet a guy to marry and then adopt some a baby. Then you find out that most babies offered for adoption are babies of parents that abused drugs or something similar, so you fear to adopt those babies. So end up not adopting and continue to sleep around with random men or break up and start a new relationship every 3 years. Religion makes it holy. The bond is holy. You get married to a woman and raise kids and life i good.

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

      Even supposing that everything you say here isn't bull*** (which it certainly is), it's not the government's job to make people happy.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Yeah, 'cause women love being married to a man who'd rather be with the guy next door. Those are the super special Christian marriages.

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

      I met a lot of gay people in their 50s, all of them wish they had kids. They had to give that up to live a gay life. Now in their old age they will be alone no grandkids or anything. and yes they didn't adopt because they feared having crazy kids.

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

      Well, since some mor0n on the internet said it I guess it must be true

      March 30, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @Mike – that's a lie !! I know many many gay people in their 50's, and none of them feel that way. If a gay man wants a baby, they are perfectly capable of making one. DUH... we're gay, not sterile !!!

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

      Please cite your data where you found these ridiculous claims.
      If you'd care to look at actual studies, look up the American Pediatrics study. They endorse gay adoption.
      And do please give me the citation that every gay PERSON (because women are also gay) sleeps around, and has new relationships every 3 years.
      Oh, and finally, please give me the citation where every baby up for adoption was born of a drug addict mother.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Mike

      I'm not a moron on the internet. I'm a real person and since you can not address my opinion in an adult fashion then it means that you are one without a logical mindset not me.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Mike,

      "I'm not a moron on the internet. I'm a real person and since you can not address my opinion in an adult fashion then it means that you are one without a logical mindset not me."

      Try presenting an adult opinion and people might respond to it as one. If you don't actually know any gay people (no, you don't, don't even try) and have never read research on lives of gays and lesbians (yes, lesbians exist too) you have no business talking about this stuff. My 86 year old great uncle who has been with the same man happily for 40 years, a good deal of the time as mayor of a decent sized city (no, not in the backwater US) has had one of the greatest, happiest lives I know. Get over yourself and your tiny little ignorant world.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Nope, sorry. Mike, you're an idiot. Either that or you're a stupid kid trolling here. Gays are not "all" anything, anymore than straights are. Some gays are promiscuous and some aren't. Just like straights. Some gays long for a family and some don't. Just like straights. Gays don't have to "give up" on having kids, you nincompoop, and people don't "decide" to "be straight" in order to have families, either. It apparently has escaped your attention that lesbians aren't sterile and they have kids all the time. Gay men adopt. They may opt to have a surrogate bear a child for them.

      Why are people like you so fvcking ignorant?

      March 30, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, and your statement about having "crazy kids"? You're nothing but a liar.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  4. scott

    It will be interesting to see on judgment day if Gods views on sin have changed.

    March 30, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Colin

      Gods views change along with the society that created them.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Edweird69

      "Judgment day"? The same god who drowned innocent babies in a great flood, is going to judge me, for showing love to a fellow human being? Bring it !!!

      March 30, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Dan

      Yeah, it sure will be. I wonder if he'll still be in favor of genocide like he so clearly was in the old testament

      March 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • mark

      Ed how do know those babies aren't in the holy of holies..Heaven....enjoying eternity.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  5. Edweird69

    The use of supernaturalism to manipulate and control people is the world's oldest confidence scheme,
    it relies on the ritual abuse of children at their most impressionable stage by adults who have themselves
    been made childish for life by artifacts of the primitive mind.

    March 30, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  6. Balanced Brain

    The sooner the LGBT community is granted equal rights, the sooner all of this will die down and we can all go about our business.

    March 30, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Topher

      Ah. So we should just shut up and let them have their way because it's annoying?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • The real Tom

      No, Gopher. We should allow them the same rights we have.

      You're annoying, too, but there's not much anyone can do about that.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
  7. Colin

    A College Entrance Level Test for All Evangelicals.

    Q.1 The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings on the planet are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the religion of:

    (a) The ancient Celts;

    (b) Bronze Age Egyptians;

    (c) Pre-Colombian Aztecs; or

    (d) Modern Evangelical Christians

    Q. 2 You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are:

    (a) a reptile handler who has severe mental issues;

    (b) a five year old boy who just read a fairytale;

    (c) a scientific fraud; or

    (d) an Evangelical Christian

    Q. 3 I believe that an all-knowing being, powerful enough to create the entire cosmos and its billions of galaxies, watches me have $ex to make sure I don't do anything "naughty" like protect myself from disease with a condom. I am

    (a) A victim of child molestation

    (b) A r.ape victim trying to recover

    (c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions; or

    (d) An Evangelical Christian

    Q.4 I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am

    (a) A gifted psychologist

    (b) A well respected geneticist

    (c) A highly educated sociologist; or

    (d) A nnn with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.

    Q5. I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am

    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;

    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly

    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or

    (d) your average Evangelical Christian

    Q6. Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:

    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;

    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;

    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or

    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.

    Q.7 The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:

    (a) Architecture;

    (b) Philosophy;

    (c) Archeology; or

    (d) Religion

    Q.8 What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from Christianity:

    (a) Christianity tells people not only what they should believe, but what they MUST believe under threat of “burning in hell” or other of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;

    (b) Christianity can make a statement, such as “God is comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;

    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas Christianity is regional and a person’s Christianity, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than geographical upbringing; or

    (d) All of the above.

    Q.9 If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:

    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;

    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;

    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or

    (d) my religious belief.

    Q.10 Who am I? I don’t pay any taxes. I never have. Any money my organization earns is tax free at the federal, state and local level. Despite contributing nothing to society, but still enjoying all its benefits, I feel I have the right to tell others what to do. I am

    (a) A sleazy Wall Street banker

    (b) the mafia

    (c) A drug pusher; or

    (d) any given Christian church

    Q.11 What do the following authors all have in common – Jean Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Locke, and Blaise Pascal:

    (a) They are among the most gifted writers the World has known;

    (b) They concentrated on opposing dogma and opening the human mind and spirit to the wonders of free thought and intellectual freedom;

    (c) They were intimidated by the Catholic Church and put on the Church’s list of prohibited authors; or

    (d) All of the above.

    Q.12 The AIDS epidemic will kill tens of millions in poor African and South American countries before we defeat it. Condoms are an effective way to curtail its spread. As the Pope still has significant influence over the less educated masses in these parts of the World, he has exercised this power by:

    (a) Using some of the Vatican’s incomprehensible wealth to educate these vulnerable people on health family planning and condom use;

    (b) Supporting government programs that distribute condoms to high risk groups;

    (c) Using its myriad of churches in these regions as “boots on the ground” to distribute condoms; or

    (d) Scaring people into NOT using condoms, based upon his disdainful and aloof view that it is better that a person die than go against the Vatican’s position on contraceptive use.

    Q.13 The statement “I believe in God because the Bible tells me to and the reason I follow the Bible is because it is the word of God” is:

    (a) Circular reasoning at its most obvious;

    (b) The reason 99% of Evangelical Christians believe what they do;

    (c) Specific to the Judeo-Christian parts of the World and totally rejected by all other parts of the World; or

    (d) All of the above.

    Q.14 Probably the most fundamental tenet of Christian faith is that God sent his son Jesus to Earth to die and save us from the original sin of Adam and Eve. We now know that Adam and Eve was a myth. As such, any thinking Christian should:

    (a) Honestly and courageously question this and any other aspects of their faith that don’t make sense.

    (b) Make up some euphemistic nonsense like “well, we didn’t mean that literally” after having done exactly that for the last 1900 years until science comprehensively disproved it.

    (c) Just ignore the blatant contradiction and sweep it under the mat; or

    (d) Hold on to the myth because it makes them feel good.

    Q.15 Please choose your favorite Catholic superst.ition from those below. For the one you choose, please say why it is any more ridiculous than the rest of the garbage Catholics swallow and give an example of a non-Catholic belief which is just as stupid.

    (a) Grocery store bread and wine becomes the flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because a priest does some hocus pocus over it in church of a Sunday morning.

    (b) When I pray for something like “please god help me pass my exam tomorrow,” an invisible being reads my mind and intervenes to alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to meet my request.

    (c) You can pray to a dead person for something. This dead person will then ask God to fulfill your wish. If this happens twice, this dead person becomes a saint.

    (d) A god impregnated a virgin with himself, so he could give birth to himself and then sacrifice himself to himself to negate an “original sin” of a couple we now know never existed.

    Q16. If you are worried that your children, who you love very much, will not believe something you tell them, such as "smoking is bad for you," would you:

    (a) have your family doctor explain to them the various ill effects of smoking;

    (b) show them a film produced by the National Insti.tute for Health on the topic;

    (c) set a good example for them by not smoking; or

    (d) refuse to give them any evidence of the ill effects of smoking, insist that they rely entirely on faith and then take them out into the backyard and burn them to death if you ever catch them smoking?

    And, as a bonus question, what would you think of an "all loving Father" who chose option (d)?

    March 30, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Eric

      ??? Do you have a point, other than showing us you have way, way, way too much free-time?

      March 30, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  8. sdf

    We need to find a cure for the gay illness!

    March 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Edweird69

      So I can be like you? You sure think highly of yourself. I'll pass...but thanks.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • sdf

      These poor gay people need help and love, with time and funding science can help them with a cure

      March 30, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Only illnesses require a cure. 2 adults loving each other is not an illness, it is a healthy human trait. If you have an irrational fear of it, it is you who requires treatment.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • tiger

      Why stop at 2? Polygamy exists in the world. I personally would support Polygamy as a straight man I'd love to have lots of chicks :)

      March 30, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "I personally would support Polygamy as a straight man I'd love to have lots of chicks"

      Men who can't do basic math always say this. What...you think there'll suddenly be 4 times as many women as men in the world and they'll all want you?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • tiger

      Also love is a fairytale word. It's really scientific pair bonding. There's nothing wrong with actually loving more than one person. I hope we can get people to be more open to polyamorous people like myself, and give us civil rights. It was the church that took away these rights. Polygamy was quite accepted in most parts of the world until recent. Start the revolution!

      March 30, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • But Then Again

      That's what funding science is thinking about doing with straight people who have deep-seated bigotry and hate on their mind, sdf. Good project to change them into loving HUMAN beings.

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

      tiger,

      I knew a number of people who considered themselves polyamorous 25 years ago – none of them are today. It's very tricky to maintain complex relationships for an extended time. In those cultures where polygamy was common it was not always the consensual agreement many would like to believe and if you know people who grew up in those households you can here some serious stories of strife. I'm not saying it can't work, but I have rarely seen it work well and happily for any period of time. Again, I'm not saying no, just that a lot more thought needs to go into it before it's insti.tutionalized.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
  9. viktar

    Gays aren't real cristians. Sodomy is the biblical sin.

    March 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Edweird69

      The buybull says more about divorce than sodomy. Also, heteros practice sodomy.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • clearsight

      It's a "biblical sin" in the same way eating pork is.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  10. Jeebusss

    So the religious loons are starting to figure out what the rest of the academic world figured out a long time ago, and we are.....supposed to be proud of them? How about next time try not to be so stupid in the first place.

    March 30, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Antony

      Yeah, especially in the DIRTY SOUTH where the KKK hated EVERYBODY that wasn't a White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Gays, Catholics, Jews–WHATEVER. The PROTESTANTS were the ones *STRINGING UP BLACKS* ON TREES down there. NOT the Catholics.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Saraswati

      The way I look at it, ignorance just is. I get upset and emotional like anyone else, but when I have time to sit back and look at the world objectively I see these people as products of their sheltered little environments and I feel for their successes the same way I cheer on someone competing in the special Olympics. People all have to work against their personal challenges, and ignorance is just a mountain to climb. When someone escapes ignorance I think it deserves some praise.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
  11. jonat

    Nothing more than an effort by the gay loving media to sway public opinion and misreport public opinion.

    March 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  12. JPFord

    Enter the luke warm church.

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

      "And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.

      “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth."

      March 30, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
  13. Moby Schtick

    @Geesh

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

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

      Kinsey was a known pedi phill find a better source

      March 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Dipsh!t fail. You could just tell everyone how stupid you are. Oh, I guess that's what you're doing, now. Go ahead.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Geesh

      Prove me wrong money instead of your boorish insults.....

      March 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Geesh

      I mean MOBY damned spell ck

      March 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Geesh

      So sad MOBY when asked to find a secondary source you can't who's the ignorant fool now?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • pimpernickel

      Silly Christian. Arguing you're right because they haven't been proven wrong. If you claim Kinsey to be a pedo it is up to you to prove that. Additionally whether Kinsey was a pedo or not has no bearing on whether his research is correct or not.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Geesh

      All I asked was a second source, if it is truth based on science then it should be there, that is all I asked give me a second source

      March 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Geesh

      Clearly you have never done graduate research by your inane response

      March 30, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, stuff it up your tw@t, lolly.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  14. tony

    According to the fairy tale, Jesus had no children but was attended by Mary Magdalene so much, that she made it into the biography.

    That opens several possibilities:- He was straight, but used birth control.
    He was gay
    He was the role model for the Catholic priest

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

      or the most likely possibility... that he only existed in folk legends and mystery plays.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Truman Capote

      Ain't got time for dat!

      March 30, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • NM

      He could have been an Essene – his teachings match up, and many of their rabbis were celibate.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • KatieTaylor

      There were tons of women that were mentioned in the gospels, you misogynist.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  15. Billr

    Hey, God loves all people. I just have something against the lifestyle of a man's private part going into a place where manure comes out.

    March 30, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Are you equally incensed by male-female an@l relations?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Soopid Evangelicals

      This world would be so much better without religion...special the christian one.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      It's not a lifestyle! Lifestyle indicates choice and we know based on the scientific data that being gay is not a choice.

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

      Doesn't sound like you're having much fun with your wife then. But you're not going to punish everyone else because you both won't get out of missionary.

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

      How do you feel about it going in where food goes?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • The real Tom

      What's your excuse, lolly?

      March 30, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "I just have something against the lifestyle of a man's private part going into a place where manure comes out."

      Then don't engage in an@l s3x, dumb azz. Why do you spend so much time thinking about it? Hmmmm??

      March 30, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
  16. Nicholas Cage

    Would they be classified as terrorist since they hijack the word "gay "and now "marriage"???

    March 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  17. mark

    Why do non-believers generalize so much?

    March 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • rick

      arrrr.....humor

      March 30, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • tony

      ROTFL!

      March 30, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Very funny, mark.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
  18. Anne Stewart

    Oh look, CNN did another story on gays...welcome to the new normal...

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

      You did not have to read it, Anne

      March 30, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Nicholas Cage

      Love the comment. This is insane how this is being pushed hard in our face daily. You will be removed from school if you discuss religion or prayers, but you will be assigned to a BLT support group if you are gay. Everyone has to be sensitive and understanding... my foot??

      March 30, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      @Nicolas Cage
      because religion isn't real, but gay students are. Big difference between the two.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      No one has been removed for discussing religion or prayers. Why do christians lie so much? Don't they know it makes baby jesus cry?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • ernieb28

      Their strategy is to bombard us we as much rhetoric as possible until we submit and part from the Biblical truth and the definition of marriage.1 man + 1 woman in covenant with God = equal Holy Matrimony or commonly put marriage. They can't legislate righteousness or Holiness and they can't change the order of God or the mind of any Christian that understands the truth of God's Word! I WILL STAND MY GROUND!

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

      It's not really a story about gays. It's a story about bigoted believers and the next generation of less delusional believers who don't get their panties in a knot about gays, and don't want to continue to deny them their rights, regardless of what religious shamans and charlatans and The Babble says.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Go back to the meth lab, GTU.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
  19. Matt

    Let's just all be gay. Men, you're not a real man unless you take it up the rear. You want a child? Maybe we should just open stores where kids are on display and you can go pick one out you like. How do lesbian women make love? someone has asked me. I don't know, I assume with male-like toys. If that's the case, why don't they just be with a man? Being gay right now is in style, it's cool, it's a fad. I know I'm being insensitive but I'm just sick of all this.

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

      Why does it bother you so much?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Akira

      Lol. Lol. Lol.
      Do you think legislation is being written to force you to be gay? No?
      A person doesn't CHOOSE to be gay. My goodness.

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

      Yes, being gay is such a fad that it's been going on for over 80,000 years in every single nation and culture in the world. It's more popular than bell bottoms or pet rocks, that's for sure..

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

      So why the Q category ,if u are born that way no questioning needed you just are

      March 30, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Geesh, biology, kinsey scale/test. Research

      March 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Jon Durham

      Just be who you are and don't worry too much about these things. Gay people don't pose any threat to us, I have several dear friends who are gay, male and female. It has never been an obstacle for them to be good to me so I have never found a reason not to reciprocate... do unto others and all, you know. And they have always been nothing but wonderful people in my life. I am a Christian man, I don't judge, I don't pretend to know what God thinks about it. I simply love my neighbor, my enemy, my friend. Jesus Christ made this very simple folks. All the rest is distractions and games that people play.

      Jesus said "do unto others" as you'd have them to to you.
      You don't have to believe he was a King among us, to know that he told the truth.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Mark – when you click on a story, you "voted" for the story. If you're sick of it, quit participating. I enjoy it. If you don't, there's always checkers.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Saraswati

      It would take thousands of pages to get you out of the depths of your ignorance so no one here is going to take the time to explain life and modern research to you. If you really want to stop making a total and complete ass out of yourself why don't you start by reading a few research studies on the biological differences between gay and straight people. Read a couple of books or maybe watch a few movies that portray the lives of gay people.

      No? Hmm...ask yourself why not. Are you just lazy or afraid to find out how hugely embarrassingly wrong you are?

      March 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "Being gay right now is in style, it's cool, it's a fad."

      Yeah, kind of like how being black was in style in the early 1960s...just look at how all the kids were doing it.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  20. Cambridge Ray

    Which is the party where hatred is most concentrated and distilled?

    The only ones qualified to make a statement are the victims of prejudice, persecution and racism themselves. Let's ask them, shall we?

    Here's their response (2008):

    – Black folks voted for Obama, by a 96% margin.
    – Jewish folks voted for Obama, by a 75% margin.
    – Hispanic folks voted for Obama, by a 66% margin.
    – Asian folks voted for Obama, by a 63% margin.
    – Gay folks voted for Obama, by an unknown margin.

    ps: Oh, I almost forgot the largest minority of all:

    http://www.usatoday.Com/news/politics/story/2012-04-01/swing-states-poll/53930684/1

    ps: The 2012 electoral percentages are even better.

    March 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Akira

      The marginalized will vote for the candidate who is striving to change conditions for those being marginalized.
      It is quite clear that those voters have spoken.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:26 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.