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Conservatives brace for `marriage revolution'
Conservative Christians say their churches have been unprepared for cultural shifts on same-sex marriage.
June 28th, 2013
06:19 PM ET

Conservatives brace for `marriage revolution'

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - With its ivy-covered entrance and Teddy Bear bouquets, Arlene’s Flowers seems an unlikely spot to trigger a culture-war skirmish.

Until recently, the Richland, Washington, shop was better known for its artistic arrangements than its stance on same-sex marriage.

But in March, Barronelle Stutzman, the shop’s 68-year-old proprietress, refused to provide wedding flowers for a longtime customer who was marrying his partner. Washington state legalized same-sex marriage in December.

An ardent evangelical, Stutzman said she agonized over the decision but couldn’t support a wedding that her faith forbids.

“I was not discriminating at all,” she said. “I never told him he couldn’t get married. I gave him recommendations for other flower shops.”

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson disagreed, and filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers. The ACLU also sued on behalf of the customer, Robert Ingersoll, who has said Stutzman’s refusal “really hurt, because it was someone I knew.”

Among conservative Christians, Stutzman has become a byword - part cautionary tale and part cause celebre.

Websites call her a freedom fighter. Tributes fill Arlene’s Facebook page. Donations to her legal defense fund pour in from as far away as Texas and Arkansas.

“For some reason, her case has made a lot of people of faith worry,” said Stutzman’s lawyer, Dale Schowengerdt of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group.

Those anxieties have only increased, conservative Christians say, since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and opened the door to gay marriage in California.

Taking a line from Justice Antonin Scalia's sharp dissent, Southern Baptist scholar Albert Mohler said it’s only a matter of time "before the other shoe drops" – and the high court legalizes same-sex marriage from coast to coast.

“Christians will have to think hard — and fast — about these issues and our proper response,” Mohler wrote on Wednesday.

“We will have to learn an entire new set of missional skills as we seek to remain faithful to Christ in this fast-changing culture.”

His fellow Southern Baptist Russell Moore put the matter more succinctly.

“Same-sex marriage is coming to your community.”

`The debate is over'

Well before the Supreme Court’s rulings, many conservative Christians said they saw the writing - or the poll numbers - on the wall.

Survey after survey shows increasing support for same-sex marriage, especially among young Americans. That includes many religious believers.

Most Catholics and mainline Protestants, not to mention many Jews, support same-sex relationships, according to surveys. The bells of Washington National Cathedral pealed in celebration on Thursday.

Even among those who oppose gay marriage, many think it’s a losing battle.

Seventy percent of white evangelicals believe that legal recognition for gay nuptials is inevitable, according to a June poll by the Pew Research Center, though just 22 percent favor it.

“The gay marriage debate is over,” said Jonathan Merritt, an evangelical writer on faith and culture. “Statistically, all the numbers move in one direction.”

Young Christians have grown up in a far more diverse culture than their forebears, Merritt noted, and many have befriended gays and lesbians.

Pew found that more than 90 percent of Americans overall personally know someone who is gay or lesbian, a 30 percent increase since 1993.

“It’s far easier to wage war against an agenda than it is to battle a friend,” Merritt said.

At the same time, many conservative young Christians say they’re weary of the culture wars, and of seeing their communities labeled “judgmental.”

When Christian researchers at the Barna Group asked Americans aged 16-29 what words best describe Christianity, the top response was “anti-homosexual.” That was true of more than 90 percent of non-Christians and 80 percent of churchgoers, according to Barna.

Tired of being told the country is slouching toward Gomorrah, many young Christians have simply tuned out the angry prophets of earlier generations, evangelical leaders say.

“The shrill angry voices of retrenchment are no longer getting a broad hearing either in the culture at large or in the evangelical community,” Merritt said.

But the battle over same-sex marriage is far from over, said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage.

“I don’t believe most Christians are going to give up the fight,” said Brown, who is Catholic. He said his movement includes many young evangelical and Orthodox Christians.

“And they are more energized than ever.”

Love thy gay neighbors

Energized or not, conservative Christians must prepare for the moral dilemmas posed by the country’s growing acceptance of same-sex marriage, said Moore, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“Is Your Church Ready for the Marriage Revolution?” Moore asked, while promoting a special session on homosexuality at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Houston in June.

Many evangelical pastors have seen homosexuality as a distant culture-war battle that’s fought far from the doors of the churches, Moore said.

Now, it’s as close as their front pews.

“I think it’s not so much that churches haven’t wanted to talk about it,” he said, “but they haven’t recognized how much the culture has changed around them.”

The first step, said Moore, is learning to defend traditional marriage without demonizing gays and lesbians.

Walking through Washington’s Union Station last Thursday, Moore said he saw several lesbian couples kissing in celebration of the Supreme Court rulings.

“If we can’t empathize with what’s going on in their hearts and minds, we’re not going to be able to love and respect them.”

Then come a host of secondary questions: How should conservative pastors minister to same-sex couples? Should Christians attend same-sex weddings? Should florists like Barronelle Stutzman's agree to work with gay couples?

`Don't give in' 

Florist Barronelle Stutzman.

In the 17 years she’s owned Arlene’s Flowers, Stutzman said, she’s worked with a number of gay colleagues.

“It really didn’t matter if they were gay, or blue or green, if they were creative and could do the job,” she said.

Stutzman suspects that some of her eight children privately don’t agree with her on homosexuality, even as they publicly support her decision.

Online, Stutzman has been called a bigot, and worse.

She said she’s lost at least two weddings because of her refusal to provide services for the same-sex marriage.

Conservative activists say her case is the first of what will surely be many more, as gay marriage spreads across the country.

As she gets ready to face a judge, the silver-haired florist offered some advice for fellow evangelicals.

“Don’t give in. If you have to go down for Christ, what better person to go down for?”

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Discrimination • Faith • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics • Religious liberty • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (5,210 Responses)
  1. Bob In AVL

    Is is just me or does anyone else find the phrase "Southern Baptist Scholar" oxymoronic? I'm always amazed at the number of ways to dress up bigotry and allow it to pass. You might as well be putting lipstick on a pig.

    June 29, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      I find the "theology scholar" term oxymoronic!

      June 29, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • factchecker.org

      True, Bob. It's bigotry all dressed up and fewer and fewer places to go!

      June 29, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Skeptic Al

      We are sooo much better than them.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Bob In AVL

      and oh yeah, I love Stutzman's closing quote:

      “...If you have to go down for Christ, what better person to go down for?”

      June 29, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Blablero123

      Southern Baptist Scholar???

      That's like delusion in full bloom!

      June 29, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 29, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Oooh yeah! Evolution changes things.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • factchecker.org

      Once again, no facts on both counts! (Moniker and message.)

      June 29, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • factchecker.com

      Once again two wonderful life Truths (moniker and message)

      June 29, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • JayneQP

      If prayer worked for everyone, people would never abandon the philosophy. That's a narrow view of a broad population.

      June 29, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Science

      Hey Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      funny part god(s) did not create the air we suck in .............fact and truth !

      A Stepping-Stone for Oxygen On Earth

      June 26, 2013 —

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130626153924.htm

      June 29, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
  3. JayneQP

    I am 100% in favor of marriage between consenting adults. I am, in fact, attending the official, legal wedding of our very dear lesbian friends this week. What I am not in favor of is ANYONE forcing ANYONE to abide by or accept a philosophy. Whether it's religious zealots forcing gay people to stay in a closet or gay people forcing religious zealots to sell them flowers. If the client had really had ANY respect for this woman, he would have said, "Though your decision makes me sad and I will not be patronizing your shop anymore, I respect your right to your opinion and the decision you have made." He would then have been free to tell his friends and coworkers about his experience and let them decide how they feel about it. This is not fair. This is what inspires animosity. Way to send your movement backward.

    June 29, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Candiano

      This woman is a retailer who is discriminating against a person based on gender preference and forcing her religious views him. Would you be so accepting and respectful if she refused to sell someone flowers because they were black? Discrimination is wrong, and she deserved to get called out on it. Respect is a two-way street, and she is bound by law not to discriminate who she sells her services to. For total equality, she should not sell to hetero weddings, either. This is where she errs.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • JayneQP

      @candiano, while I understand your point, we are not talking about the same thing. She didn't say she wouldn't sell him flowers, just not flowers for the wedding. It's not about what's legal... it's about mutual respect. She "agonized" over her decision. She was clearly fond of this person, but her faith (as it should be for people of any faith) is more important to her than being politically correct. I find it abhorrent to impose on people who just aren't prepared for you. I don't walk into a men's public restroom and plop my tushie on the sink to chit chat with my husband and then get outraged when the other men are up in arms. It's impolite. Tearing this woman apart justifies the fears of the religious right and makes it harder for those of us who support you to do so with any credibility. Be an example of humility and grace, anything else is bad form.

      June 29, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Joey

      Who cares if the religious right is scared, the lady refused to do business with a gay person, and is rightly being called out for it. The religious right will be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century whether they like it or not.

      July 1, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
  4. Doer

    I am gay and yet I support Stutzman's right to practice her beliefs by not serving gay couples. Religious freedom is important to our culture and our country. I don't agree with her belief, but I can certainly support her right to follow her beliefs.
    , especially since she directed them to others who could serve the gay couple.

    June 29, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Liar

      June 29, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Dippy

      It's still discrimination, plain and simple. That was supposed to be done away with long ago. Laws have been passed to prevent it. These laws supersede fairy tale beliefs.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • JayneQP

      Outstanding. It is never nice to impose on other people.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Lucky Lizzie

      Nicely stated.

      June 29, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Your opinion is beside the point. This is literally a legal matter. This woman blatantly broke a very real law. This is why she is facing prosecution.

      June 29, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
  5. Gustavo Puyord

    And not to mention the pedophile Catholic priests and pastors from other churches. So much for Christianity....

    June 29, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
  6. PR

    If your religion teaches hate, it is wrong. To follow a religious dogma unquestioningly is the death of freedom and independent thought. Faith cannot equal a cessation of brain function. End of story.

    Why is this such a hard issue to synthesize, Humanity???

    June 29, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  7. palmer1619

    Once the evangelicals realize how much of their tax money is being taken by the congress solely for their own benefit and that of their donors, they will realize that this is a red herring thrown out there by the so-called conservatives in order to distract the evangelicals from seeing the theft.

    June 29, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  8. Joe Plumber

    She is not a bigot (she obviously doesn't care you people are gay or blue or green!) – she is just wrong and her actions are discriminatory. It's quite simple really – if you sell goods and services to the public, you cannot pick and choose which customers are acceptable to you based on their "lifestyle". It would be no different if she refused to sell flowers to an inter-racial customer.

    June 29, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • highplainsparson

      Whatever happened to, "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone"?

      June 29, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Dippy

      That still works, as long as it isn't discrimination.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • tallulah13

      When you choose to operate a business you are obligated to operate that business in compliance with the laws that regulate businesses. There are laws against refusing service to a customer because of their sexual orientation. That is why this woman is facing prosecution. Why is it so difficult for christians to understand that the law applies to them too?

      June 29, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  9. Over 40,000 sects of insanity

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one (over four million members) in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage. One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags". Many of these sects are equally divergent on the roles of women in society.

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri. Some believe the Pope is the Antichrist. Some believe Obama is the Antichrist.

    Some believe that celibacy is the only option for certain people, or for people in certain positions. Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but pretend not to understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease.

    Recently we learned from CNN of a child dying when their parents, members of a Christian sect in Philadelphia, as part of their faith, refused medical care. When incidents like the subject of this article come to light, many Christians are only too ready to try explain how another Christian's interpretation of ancient "scripture" is not quite right. Thirty one states have child abuse religious exemption laws. Faith healing churches have been linked to 2 dozen child deaths.

    Conflicted right from the start, Christianity has resulted in extreme divisions, with each division trying to assert itself as some true messenger of the word of the Christian God.

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    (Thomas Jefferson, from Notes on the State of Virginia, 1785)

    June 29, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • PR

      Bravo!!! It is LONG past time Xtianity began to POLICE ITS OWN!!!!!

      June 29, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Ron

      Insanity, thats why we don't follow men. We follow God, through His Word. It is clear, but men have corrupted it. People like you who don't know the Lord actually talking about Him. You are clueless and have nothing to offer mankind.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • mama k

      Ron: " It is clear, but men have corrupted it. "

      Men wrote it and modified it to suit their needs, you fool.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Ron obviously has reading comprehension issues. 40,000 "interpretations" how to choose, how to choose?

      June 29, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Dippy

      Maybe you have to follow god, Ron, but I sure as hell don't. If you can't think for yourself, then following god is probably all you can do.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • mama k

      At least I can think for myself, Ron. All you have is that you've aligned yourself in some ways with the views of one or more of the 40,000 sects that often completely disagree on what ancient babble means.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • Ron

      Mamacita, it seems you have a lot to learn about God and His Son and His Spirit. The men chosen by God to write His revelation were moved by The Spirit of God to do so. Those who are of God hear God's Words. If you don't hear them, what does that say about you?

      June 29, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • mama k

      Ron, it says I've moved past the mythology. Do you have any facts today, Ron?

      June 29, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      mama k, you must be hitting a nerve in Ron.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Ron

      Ah Dippy, do you think that the godless actually care about you? Think again. It is the Christian, while taking constanst flack from the world, who puts the truth out there, out of love. We could tell you that you can live any way you choose, and not to worry for there is no God, and no judgment day, sure we could lie to you, but what good would that do? Your godless "friends" will not be standing along side you on that day. We speak the truth, and those who have ears to hear will hear.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • mama k

      Ron: "who puts the truth out there, out of love."

      More like – who speaks with a forked tongue. (Of course 40,000 sects of insanity do!)

      June 29, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Dippy

      Ron, all we ask is that you "prove" your truth. And don't quote the damn bible as your proof. It's way too old to have any clout.

      June 29, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Humanity has existed for at least 100,000 thousand years, being fearful, dying by 20-25 years, and 3000 years ago the gods said "oh dear, this will not do!" and decided to intervene!

      June 29, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
  10. Ron

    "He (Jesus) is the radiance of His (The Father) glory and the exact representation of His nature" ....Hebrews 1:3

    June 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • I prefer this

      Bill & Ted 16:32: "Be excellent to each other."

      June 29, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

      Yeah? So? I love the way you use the bible to "prove" your point. Please note: the bible is no referee, guidebook, or authority on human matters in the 21st Century. At best, it's a superfluous compilation of myths meant solely for entertainment at the fictional level. Sorry to pop your bubble but, well...

      June 29, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
  11. Stargazer1066

    If the couple were biracial, or Murslim, or Mexican, would she still be within her right to refuse service?

    June 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Dippy

      She would have to do what her religion tells her to do. She obviously can't think for herself. Or she's so afraid of the imaginary boogie man in the sky that she can't possibly offend him.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      And what about atheists?

      June 29, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

      Bingo! She's just showing her true, discriminatory, bigoted colors on this issue. Disgusting!

      June 29, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
  12. Ron

    "God, in these last days, has spoken to us through His Son, Whom He appointed heir of all things, through Whom also He made the world." ...Hebrews1:2

    June 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

      How does it feel to have your thinking controlled by guilt, fear, and shame over cr@p that has nothing to do with you?

      June 29, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  13. sqeptiq

    I wonder if the flower lady inquires whether her other customers are living together in sin before selling them flowers, or is it just gay "sins" she's worried about.

    June 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
  14. Ron

    Since some of the godless in here are a little confused....let me help out. The Word of God was NOT written 5000 years ago. The law was written about 3500 years ago and the new covenant or NT about 2000. The Word of God does NOT have an expiration date. He does modify some of His laws as we have seen in the New Covenant through Jesus and later Paul. But concerning the subject at hand, the scriptures are clear and consistent throughout. "It is an abomination for a man to lie with another man as a man lies with a woman" Leviticus "Those who practice such things will NOT inherit the kingdom of God" I Corinthians 6:9 etc...

    June 29, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • mama k

      "He does modify some of His laws as we have seen in the New Covenant through Jesus and later Paul."

      LOL. How convenient. The Mormons did the same kind of thing to breathe new life into their mythology.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Dippy

      Who'd want to "inherit the kingdom of god"? Living with all those religious nutcakes is my concept of hell.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Oh now I see, 247.000 years after the emergence of ho.mo sapiens.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • dina

      I'm sorry Ron, but some of us just don't believe in it. And we should have no fewer rights just because we don't believe it. I respect your beliefs, can you respect mine?

      June 29, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • PR

      People actually still quote the Xtian Bible as if it were fact. It will never cease to amaze me.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Ron

      Mamacita, lol If you read the Bible (Have you?) you will see that His Word is consistent. The external law was made internal, by the Spirit of God. "The Kingdom of God is within you" ....Jesus

      June 29, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      and bastartds will not inhent the kingdom (Deuteronomy 23:2,)...sorry Juses your out

      June 29, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Ron

      Dina, do you have a right to sin? You tell me? God gives us a lot of freedom, but remember, we will give an account to Him when this life has passed. Are you ready for that?

      June 29, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Dippy

      Ron, your whole argument is based on your belief that there is a god. We atheist believe that a god is preposterous and absurd and therefore not likely true. Since you have no proof of any kind, the default position is: NO DAMN GOD!

      June 29, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Ron

      Sorry dip, you speak as a fool. "The fool has said in his heart there is no God". ...Psalm 53:1

      June 29, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Candiano

      Since Ron is a little confused...let me help him out.
      It doesn't matter when this book, (which you admit can be modified, at whim) was written, or what it says about the biases of the people who wrote it (for there were many, MANY MEN who contributed, get real), it is moot when it comes to the secular civil laws of the United States of America.
      Don't like it? Tough. You may blather on and on and on about what you think sin is, but if you try and legislate your bigotry into law, you WILL be called out on it.
      Get it?

      Go live in a theocracy, where you can get your hate on by stoning gays, or stoning women, or whatever your Big Book Of Bigotry tell you. It's not here in the US. Understand now?

      June 29, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Dippy

      But there is no god, Ron. So I can't be a fool. Don't you get it?

      June 29, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Ron
      More self affirming religious nonsense. It is far more foolish to believe in something that is so clearly wrong, such as the bible. Calling people fools because they don't believe in the supernatural is just one way of shaming people into belief, and there are many of us who are not fools that feel the foolish are the ones who believe something that there is no evidence of...next you'll be calling people swine, because they can't see the "pearls "of wisom, when in fact you pearls are man made and ridiculous in most cases
      Just because someone wrote that silliness into a book does not make it true.

      June 29, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Ron,

      The kingdom domains of God are our bodies, yes. Our bodies are also the Gods' buildings wherein the Gods inhabit and live out their lives with little want until the body dies. The atomic cosmos is where all of the Gods originated from while the celestial cosmos is for Life forms created out of the atomic voids with their being of cellular cosmos. Go Figure!

      June 29, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Dippy

      Wow. Ron is really biblewashed, isn't he.

      June 29, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

      Christian venom! Yeah, we love it! How, ahem, "Christian" of you, Ron! Keep hating in the name of your god. He'll love you for it.

      June 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Hey Ron? Until such time as you provide proof of your god - real proof, not just your special feelings - then there is not a single reason to believe that your god or any god exists. The evidence is simply not there. You can quote bible verses all day long, but you might as well be quoting Harry Potter.

      June 29, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
  15. Sam Yaza

    religious freedoms does not mean you have a right to make laws that dictate how people live their life's out side of your religion

    a druid get to gather in my community is a "gathering" to talk about a woman's and member of a community book she wrote about her transgender journey.

    would Christians have that,.. no,.. do they have a say so, in our Druid community,,, no should they,... hell no

    June 29, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      its my religious right to want to may any one my religion deems OK, all gov can do is hand out the certificate and tax breaks,.. how ever i would like to see our gov out of the social engineering game.

      some christian out they tell my that its ok for their religion to violate my religious freedoms?

      June 29, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  16. IvotedforObama

    Why don't they just worry about their own lives and show the love of Christ?

    June 29, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • mama k

      Which of the over 40,000 versions of "Christ"?

      Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

      (Thomas Jefferson, from Notes on the State of Virginia, 1785)

      June 29, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Agree mama

      June 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • dina

      Agree mama

      June 29, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Dippy

      Agree mama

      June 29, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  17. James Martin

    Does the florist stone menstruating women, too, as the Bible commands?

    June 29, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • PR

      Awww, c'mon now... We cannot expect the Xtians to NOT cherry-pick their own Bible, can we? lol

      June 29, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      I find it quite puzzling how, when pointed to portions of Leviticus that they do NOT like, they go directly to "Well if you read the bible you'd see that the New Testament supersedes the Old and you're stupid for not knowing that." And YET....they will point TO Leviticus to defend their bigotry against gays. I had one of them basically call me an idiot for not knowing that Jesus somehow did away with the dietary restrictions found in Leviticus. Jesus (supposedly) said something about it not being what goes into a man that defiles him but what comes out. I assume that's what he meant. AND YET Jesus ALSO (supposedly) said that he came to fulfill the Law, not (replace) it. So on the one hand he says the law still stands; on the other he says "Oh yeah, except for that Levite stuff about diet and clothes and all that"? Ok, so the puzzling part is that they see absolutely nothing wrong here....no contradictions in their contradictions! It's truly jaw-dropping. They seem to have a non-answer for everything. Coherence means nothing to them.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  18. jules

    Religion is dead...so just move on

    June 29, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Dead? Religion is? Since when?

      June 29, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
  19. Samuel

    The truth of the matter is that God loves all of his creation equally, in line with that it will great show love and compassion to everyone whether they are straight or gay.
    Having said that , one can see why the florist has a problem with this and sees this as a conflict to her religious conviction. The exception she has taken is not to the couple in question but the ceremony that glorifies something that is direct contrast to her religious belief.
    Good to hear that she had the courage to stand by her convictions.

    There are plenty of florists who would have been happy and willing to do business with the couple, no big deal. In fact, many florists would have taken them up on their offer to do business. The florist has the right to her religious conviction as the gay couple have the right to their unions.

    June 29, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      AKA Rosa, get to the back of the bus.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Jim

      One word to the florist-

      Bravo!

      June 29, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Dippy

      So it is perfectly good and honorable if your religious convictions force you to deny someone their rights? Like a little sheep with no mind of its own.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Dippy

      Jim, it's brava. The florist was a female.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Jim

      There is clearly a conflict here with her religious convictions and she has the right to stand by her convictions. That is her God given right.

      One word to the florist-
      Bravo!

      June 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • mama k

      Ah – in your version. OK. Sorry, to many other versions with different takes.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Dippy

      You just don't get it, do you, Jim?

      June 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      unfortunately i agree with Jim, she does have a right no to do business, just as i have a right to boycott her business.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Jim

      She has every right to stand by her religious conviction, to have accepted this offer would have been an endorsement to something that is against her religious conviction.

      One word to the florist-
      Bravo!

      June 29, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Dippy

      She doesn't have the right to discriminate, does she?

      June 29, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Sorry Rosa, I guess you'll have to get to the back of the bus.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • castrawberrygirl

      Agree that it's not the people she has a problem with, it's the ceremony. Would there be such a fuss if she decided not to support a wiccan wedding?

      June 29, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Jim

      This is about her God given right to stand by her convictions.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • HWB

      Dippy????

      'So it is perfectly good and honorable if your religious convictions force you to deny someone their rights? Like a little sheep with no mind of its own.'

      Now it is the customer's right to buy flowers from her shop? Wow now everything is a right. No end in sight with butt-phuckers.

      June 29, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It's against the law for a business to refuse to serve someone because of their sexual orientation, therefore this woman broke a law. You don't get to skate because of your religion. Sorry christians. Laws apply to you too.

      June 29, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • tallulah13

      One word to Jim - stop encouraging criminal activity.

      June 29, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

      Too bad her refusing to sell flowers to her long-time customer because of her bigotry is a gross display of bad judgment. The idiocy of some people amazes me.

      June 30, 2013 at 12:07 am |
  20. moby49

    Quoting language from 5000 years ago and out of context is hardly a rationale to discriminate or condemn others.

    June 29, 2013 at 5:11 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.