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October 21st, 2010
07:00 AM ET

My Take: Christianity not to blame for anti-gay bullying

Editor's Note: Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and author of Stronger: Trading Brokenness for Unbreakable Strength (David C. Cook, 2010).

By Jim Daly, Special to CNN

Bullies are, and always have been, a sad reality of life. They are also, courtesy of a handful of tragic news stories in recent months, major headline-generators right now. In the wake of the highly publicized suicides of some young gays outed or taunted by bullies, those who pick on people they perceive as “weird” or “weak” have rightfully come under fire. But so has the Christian faith, and there’s nothing right about that.

It has been suggested by some that Christianity itself is to blame for these tragedies - and that is its own separate tragedy. The train of thought goes like this: Churches and organizations like the one I lead, which believe Scripture places homosexual activity outside of God’s design for human sexuality, are responsible for the bullying of gay students and, by extension, their deaths.

As provocative as that narrative may be, and it certainly has ginned up quite a lot of controversy of late, it is not accurate. Not only is Christianity not to blame for attacks against gays and lesbians, when properly interpreted and practiced, it is the cure for and solution to the mistreatment and abuse of anyone, for any reason.

If there is a single golden thread woven through the Bible and the faith it informs, it is this: when it comes to human rights and how we treat each other, no person is superior or inferior to the next. Yes, sin exists; and God does not condone it. But he does embrace the sinner - and that means every one of us. Scripture makes it clear we’ve all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), yet makes it just as clear (Romans 5:8) that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So, to violate the dignity of another person, in any form or fashion, is to contradict the very basis of Gospel-centered living. And to suggest that an orthodox understanding of Christianity encourages abuse against homosexuals is a sad misreading of the very tenets of the faith.

Unfortunately, professed non-believers are not the only ones prone to misunderstanding and misapplying those tenets. The truth is, some self-described Christians do not act in Christlike ways toward those who are different than they are. Some think God sets certain behaviors aside as “super sins”; homosexuality, they believe, is of a higher (or lower) order than adultery or covetousness or lying or gossip; put more generally, they save their harshest judgments for the sins they don’t struggle with themselves. That is not biblical Christianity in practice.

Those who earnestly seek to emulate Jesus understand it is a matter of applying both his word and his deeds to our lives; that's why Christianity is often described as a "walk" - it requires two legs, truth and grace, to make any forward progress. That means, since we've all fallen short of God's glory (his truth), we must regard each other as more than just the sum of our sinful behaviors (his grace).

In the end, it's the graceless behavior of bullies - against homosexuals or anyone else - that should serve to remind both Christians and non-Christians why Jesus came to earth at all: It is his way, exclusively, that provides the power to transform hearts, minds and actions.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jim Daly.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Homosexuality • Opinion

soundoff (504 Responses)
  1. AD

    Very well said, Jim. Regardless of how we percieve other's actions to be, we must always treat them with the same love and grace that Christ displayed for us. I wish the above commenters had read your article with true discernment. They don't seem to truly understand the message of peace that you are trying to convey.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:50 am |
    • DN

      Oh, we understand it. We're just not blind to the obvious hypocrisy and the reality of what your "word of god" states.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:56 am |
    • capnjammer

      I've been where you're at... I once blindly followed everything I was told and didn't bother looking at what was said with the eye of discernment. I then went on to be the person standing in the pulpit telling people things that they then went on to believe wholeheartedly no matter what. I hate myself every day for having destroyed so many lives by being a preacher. I hope some day you will open your eyes and stop taking things on faith, and rather look with discernment and logic at everything that crosses your plate.

      October 21, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  2. Steve Edgar

    "The truth is, some self-described Christians do not act in Christlike ways toward those who are different than they are." I can't think of a better description of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:50 am |
    • Tony

      Game, set, match

      October 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  3. TJ

    I agree and disagree. True, Christianity itself is not to blame for the rash of hate crimes and bullying that happens in homes and campuses across the country, but some of those who follow it are. It is the responsibility of any religious tradition to interpret that text according to their culture of the present. To put it "in context" to the demands of their time. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to wear certain clothes, eat leavened bread or treat daughters as anything but property. Each generation reinvents its interpretation of the Bible according to the politics and needs of their day. It just so happens that most Christians (and I want to stress NOT ALL. I know some truly excellent, open-minded and caring Christians!) choose to interpret the Bible very socially conservatively. I think that's a terrible thing, and it's deplorable the way political conservatives have hijacked the Bible to suit their own agendas. Jesus was a major political radical and I personally believe he'd scold each and every person who dared to use his name for hate. Up on Christ, down on conservatives!

    October 21, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  4. MK

    Until these hypocrits allow gay marriages in their churches, I will not ever believe that they accept a gay person as an equal.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:44 am |
    • cindy

      It's not normal and you will never make some of us believe it is. Just like we will never make you believe it is not normal. Never the 2 shall meet. It is all in what you believe in. Me, I believe what the Bible says.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
    • Focus on this, tard

      @ cindy: "Me, I believe what the Bible says"

      Then you are a fool. Good luck with that.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
    • Sand

      @MK
      I disagree completely. The Bible condemns adultery, and the Church (or most churches) condemn it but still accept the people who do it. They do condone adultery in front of the church because they believe it is wrong. The same with gay marriage. Why would they publicly do what they think is wrong? You can disagree with something and not judge or hate the people who do it. Example: politics. Do you hate people of opposing views simply because they have opposing views? I certainly hope not.

      October 21, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  5. Jim

    So, Jim Daly. You are the final arbitrator of exactly what Christianity is, and exactly who is or is not a Christian? You are saying that even though someone who says he is a Christian, and who uses the Holy Bible to justify his actions, that I shouldn't blame Christianity and the Bible for his actions because YOU say he isn't really a Christian. Sorry, that argument just doesn't work.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:43 am |
    • capnjammer

      Amen. So, out of Jim Daly and Jim Dobson, there's a Jim around here who isn't lost up his own bottom.

      October 21, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  6. Oh Please

    So, your head was in the sand every time religious groups attack GLBT people for wanting marriage equality? If your assessment were true, they would realize other people have differing religious and non-religious views on marriage and allow them to proceed with their lives, instead of fighting them and showing their children it's OK to judge others based upon religious beliefs.

    It was eventually impossible for religious groups to defend slavery with their texts, because there were too many people standing up against their passages. It was impossible for religious groups to defend the subjugation of women with their texts, because there were too many people standing up against the behavior. But when it comes to GLBT people, religious groups feel free to adhere to their texts rather than come to know these people and thus find out their texts don't support their holier than thou stance. You did it for slaves, you did it for women, you ignore all the other "shall not" statements in Leviticus but the one against GLBT people, and you cherry pick as many passages to use against this group of people you can find because there are obviously more of you than them in society. That's bullying right there.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:39 am |
    • What?

      Oh Please,
      Why is it that EVERYONE is allowed their opinions except Christians??

      October 21, 2010 at 11:48 am |
    • Luke

      What? – I'd argue that those opinions are foundationless, based on dogmatic nonsense and therefore moot opinions on topics that are better argued by intellectuals and those dedicated to logic and reason.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:52 am |
    • Oh Please

      Since no one is forcing religious groups to perform weddings for GLBT people, but religious groups are the ones trying to force GLBT to be excluded from marriage, I would argue exactly the opposite of your statement. Why is it religious groups have to have their opinion recognized as law or morally superior but everyone else can't have their opinion and live by it?

      October 21, 2010 at 11:54 am |
    • What?

      Your response proves my point, only YOU have logic and reason. There you are judging me and I know many intelligent, intellectual, logical people who don't have a lick of common sense.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:57 am |
    • Focus on this, tard

      @ what?

      You are welcome to your opinion and I am within my rights to point out how idiotic that opinion is. Did you think freedom of speech meant you couldnt be criticized? You must be as stupid as your opinion.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • cindy

      AMEN what?

      October 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • capnjammer

      @What: Christians are a majority in the US. They get to state their opinion wherever they want to, even if it is in legislature where it has no place taking away the freedoms of people who equally deserve it. Maybe people don't want to hear your opinions because they are hateful and bigoted and ignorant, while clandestinely wrapped up in the blanket of lovey-dovey country-club Christianity. "It's okay for me to say you are living in sin and are going to burn in hell forever, I'm a Christian!"

      Every non-Christian needs to stand up and fight. This is the exact reason America was founded: people were mad about the religious right having their say in every aspect of life, being free to go around spreading their vile hatred under the guise of "peace." John Lennon knew what peace is. Christians think it means "We hate everyone while everyone has to love us." Why are you free from rebuke, but the rest of the world is yours to say what you want about?

      I'm all for free speech, but Christianity borders on the border of hate crimes.

      October 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • Frank

      "This is the exact reason America was founded: people were mad about the religious right having their say in every aspect of life, being free to go around spreading their vile hatred under the guise of "peace." "

      That's not why America was founded. So not only are you a hateful bitter little man, you are also ignorant about basic American history.

      October 21, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  7. J

    I blame religion.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  8. TheNewNorm

    Because men have reproductive organs in their posterior.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  9. NL

    "Some think God sets certain behaviors aside as “super sins”; ho–se–ality, they believe, is of a higher (or lower) order than adultery or covetousness or lying or gossip; put more generally, they save their harshest judgments for the sins they don’t struggle with themselves. That is not biblical Christianity in practice."

    I actually agree with this completely and am awaiting the special anti-gossip 'cure' ministries to round everybody up for reeducation. That'll sure empty the pews quickly, eh? Better add the lobster and oyster eaters too. After all, Jesus did day that people are still under the Law.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:36 am |
    • M

      NL, could you please provide the Scripture verse that shows Jesus said people are still under the law? Thanks!

      October 21, 2010 at 11:42 am |
    • DN

      M,

      Here is one example:

      "But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets; Acts 24:14

      October 21, 2010 at 11:54 am |
    • M

      DN, this was not Jesus speaking, this was Paul at his trial. And if searching the scriptures more thoroughly, it will show that in the Old Testament (before Christ came) these were the Laws, but the Laws were not working and people were still sinning and there had to be a way to make humans right with God. That way was the death of Jesus on a cross who was sinless and took on our sins, was buried and rose again having victory over the grave and death. When Jesus rose again, we were no longer under the Law but under Grace. I've included more of the text before and after that verse:

      10When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: "I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
    • NL

      Matt 5:18
      "For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished."

      That's what it says, yet Christians choose to interpret that this doesn't actually apply to them, that they're under a "New Covenant" except, of course, for the parts of the law that they still really like.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • NL

      M-
      But if Christians are no longer under the Law, but under Grace, then they should ignore every Old Testament Law, including the Ten Commandments, right?

      October 21, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • Flo

      The law was established to provide order for right and wrong and when wrong was done a sacrfice was made. When Jesus came to earth he came to fulfill the law by dying on the cross and becoming the ulitmate sacrifice and the final one. So all believers after Jesus now live under Grace because we are left with the Holy Spirit to guide us that offers us direction for what is right and wrong. Whereas those without Christ the law still exists in part because there needs to be some method by which society is to determine wrong and right. When Jesus paid the ulitmate price he also made all things new and so much of the law such as eating certain things no longer hold the same curse as in the old testament.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
    • Tacoma

      @NL

      You're taking these verses way out of contexts. And I have to tell you that's exactly what those who bash gays in the name of Christ do, take verse out of context to support their end means. All I'm saying is you're walking a dangerous road.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
    • Tacoma

      @NL

      After reading my comment over I think some of the language might have sounded a bit pompous so I apologize for that. But I do believe the point still stands, a person walks a dangerous road when they start taking biblical verses out of context.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
    • NL

      Flo-
      If "all believers after Jesus now live under Grace because we are left with the Holy Spirit to guide us that offers us direction for what is right and wrong" then believers, Christians, no longer need to follow any Old Testament Law, including the 10 Commandments, right? They needed them before they became 'saved', but afterwards the Spirit now serves as guide, not scriptural Laws, right? Once you are 'saved' you end up doing whatever 'feels' right, sorry... whatever the Spirit moves you to do, because only good works will ever flow from a saved person, or am I wrong in this?

      Also, "the law such as eating certain things no longer hold the same curse as in the old testament."
      So, not the same curse, but some curse? Is that what you're saying?

      October 21, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
    • NL

      Tacoma-
      Why do you assume that the context I take scripture is the inappropriate one? Because it conflicts with the context you take?

      October 21, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
    • Tacoma

      @NL

      It's not my context it's that of the book. If you state and use only of portion of any book without seeking to read the entire section, chapter, or book that that portion comes out of how can you ever hope to have knowledgeable interpretation of it. Tell me that you have read the entire book of Matthew without preconcieved notions and then we will talk.

      October 21, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
    • NL

      Tacoma-
      Again, why do you assume I have not read the whole passage, and have still come up with the context I gave above? We have a difference of opinion, that's all. You're insistence that your reading is the definitive one flies in the face of protestant belief that each can read the Bible for themselves. I've read Matthew several times so, after the first time, I must have preconceived notions before I began reading it again, right? Tell me you don't read Matthew with your own preconceived notions.

      October 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Tacoma

      I am in agreement with @NL here on this...

      How do YOU know when exactly someone is taking the bible out of 'context'...? Sounds to me like it is due to 'your' pre-existing, and unquestioned assumptions about what *is* the right way to interpret said scriptural passages in the bible.

      Am I wrong in how I am reading your posts with NL...?

      I am curious and open to hearing your response...

      October 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
    • NL

      Peace2All-
      You are indeed reading my posts correctly.

      Tacoma assumes that her(?) interpretation is the correct one for everyone, and that she is as infallible as a Pope in rendering the meaning of the Bible to others. I'm curious to see her defend that position as well.

      Alas, work calls. Gotta jet, TTFN

      October 21, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
    • Tacoma

      @NL

      Have you read all of the passages and/or books to which you were referening in each of your references?

      October 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
    • NL

      Tacoma-
      Yes, I've read them time and again. Remember, I'm one of those 'knowledgeable' atheists, so you just have to assume that I have studied these things and know more than the average Christian. 😉

      I'm willing to concede that we simply have a difference of opinion, but are you willing to give up the assertion that your's must be the 'correct' interpretation of scripture?

      October 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @NL

      I guess... I/we must have cornered @Tacoma with no way out of her own presuppositions, as she did not address the questions both you and I posed, as I she did not respond to me, nor did she respond to you either on that particular question, unless... I missed her postings somewhere...?

      October 22, 2010 at 6:36 am |
  10. Dennis

    I agree with Luke. Why does CNN give voice to people who spew nonsense.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:36 am |
    • Kate

      @Dennis

      Because silencing them just leaves them hiding and skulking in the darkness, where they can't be countered and neutralized by rational debate, or at least expose them for what they are.

      Not to mention there's probably some law about giving the ones who end up running for Congress a place to spew forth – after all, not everyone can get Comedy Channel for their daily dose of disbelief and hysterical laughter and head shaking.

      Just sayin'

      October 21, 2010 at 11:48 am |
    • Fuyuko

      sometimes minds can be changed via debate. I know. It has happened to me. It is better to talk about things in open than to not do so.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:49 am |
    • M

      So Christians don't have a right to an opinion, but everyone else does??

      October 21, 2010 at 11:53 am |
    • Kate

      @M

      Christians have the same right to an opinion. Everyone else has the same right to challenge those opinions. That's the whole point behind "debate".

      The problem is Christians want the right to opinions but want to skip anyone else getting to challenge it.

      However ...

      If a member of any religion can't articulately debate the basis behind their religion, and rationally explain the reasons behind their opinions, then it's not belief, it's dogma. and no-one wants to be exposed as being dogmatic.

      Just sayin'

      October 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
    • Tacoma

      @kate
      you said, "The problem is Christians want the right to opinions but want to skip anyone else getting to challenge it."

      I would say by posting on this blog that the author and other Christians who have written in have opened themselves up to challenges from others. I mean all really have to do is read the comment sections to see that. Imagine what they must get in their email boxes.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
    • Kate

      @Tacoma

      Which is why it's a good thing CNN gives them a chance to start topics like this. But – have you noticed how few Christians avail themselves of being able to?

      Just sayin'

      October 21, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • Tacoma

      @kate

      Actually, Kate, I think there has been quite a few that have taken advantage of this blog in probotion to other posts. But to each his/her own.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • capnjammer

      @M: Oh, stop with the poor-little-me syndrome. When I was a preacher I used to spew that idiocy: "The world hates you and Jesus and the entire world is organized against us!" Enough of that. Christians have their say, and although you like to say "This country needs to get back to God!" virtually every person in any place of power is a white Republican middle-to-upper class christian. Christians get their say more than anyone else, which is why their victims need to stand up and fight against it.

      And, by the way, Christians have just as much right to say what they want as anyone else, but it makes perfect sense that people are getting tired of hearing their devisive, bigoted, hatred-fueled opinions, and are probably even more tired of the fact that it's wrapped up in the blanket of "but it's okay that I hate you, because I say publicly that I love you and society accepts that."

      October 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @capnjammer

      Well said...

      October 21, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Dennis

      Because.... Something called "Free speech." Letting them 'spew' their non-sense exposes them for their baseless idiotic claims– that have actual real-world effects on hurting people.

      Better to everybody talk, and then if their religious dogma can't hold up under rational and logical debate, then, again... shows their foolish beliefs.

      October 21, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
    • Frank

      Peace2All:
      Do you really want to support what capnjammer has been saying here? All he's been doing is spewing hatred all over this posting section. How is that spreading peace, love and understand?

      October 21, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
    • Frank

      *understanding

      October 21, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Frank

      O.K... I am open to hearing your thoughts. And... I went back and re-read @capnjammer's post on 'this' particular thread above.

      What are your thoughts about this, besides you think he is spewing hate, etc...

      Please... as you know, I am open....maybe I have missed something here.

      October 21, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
    • Frank

      My thoughts about what? About what capnjammer is saying? I think he's just generalizing wildly and not really thinking about what he is saying. He says he's a former preacher but is now a strident atheist. I am guessing something must've happened that caused a lot of unpleasent feelings, but I don't think what he's saying is really helping matters much. He seems bitter and feel of negativity.
      That's just my opinion.

      October 21, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
    • Frank

      *full

      October 21, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
    • capnjammer

      @Frank: I reread my own posts too, and don't see myself spewing hate. What I'm "spewing" is the message that religion is really a great source for hatred and intolerance. I am really starting to get a bit annoyed that any amount of criticism of religion is considered hateful and intolerant while religionists get away with hate crimes and hate speech on a daily basis under the banner of religion. I disagree with and criticize religion with logic, fact, and historical evidence and the only way you can debate it is to say I'm full of hate. Open your eyes. I want this to be a peaceful, happy world with equality and freedom for all, but as long as religion exists that won't be possible. If you tell people they are going to H-ell for any reason, you are e-vil. If you tell people they need to believe the way you do because their beliefs aren't as good as yours, you are hateful. If you help send mis-sionaries to change a culture that has existed just fine and peacefully on their own without your interference, you are promoting bigotry. If you feel the need to walk on the other side of the street from a teenager because he's dressed in black and has a mo-hawk and facial piercings, you have been indoc-trinated by intolerance. If you vote against g-ay marriage, abor-tion, or stem cell research, you are hurting people you don't have the right to be hindering the freedoms of. If you vote for someone because he is a Christian and not because you think he actually has the skill to perform the job, you are contributing to the fall of your country.

      Do you understand now which of us is spewing hatred?

      October 24, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
    • capnjammer

      Oh, and you are wrong about me. You can always check the "About Me" section of my blog ( http://capnjammer.wordpress.com/about/ ) and its comments for more about me, but what "happened" was I loved God so much that I wanted to find out everything I could about him... so I studied the Bible, the Quran, ancient history, and every mainstream religion (and many lesser-known ones) and found out that it's all wrong and evil. I did have some tough times in religion, but unlike most Christians I continued following God, not blaming him for the folly of his followers. I love how most people either try to say I had bad experiences in religion and so I'm just "bitter," or accuse me of hatred. One of these days you're going to realize that you can't explain your way through everything that disproves your religion. You can say "You never really were a true Christian, you had Jesus in your mind but not in your heart" or whatever tired arguments you want to try, but you don't know me, and you didn't know me back then. My teachers and friends were all convinced that the Holy Spirit was upon me. I've wept for souls, but now I weep for every soul that I turned to a life of intolerance and supersti-tion.

      October 24, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
  11. DallasTex

    God who? As a former Christian, and now "non-believer", I just can't get over the fact, that Christianity, in particular, along with most other organized religions, have caused more misery, war, and suffering on this planet than any other difference amongst us. OK, I am gay. Double whammy. Just another reason to hate me. Christianity is just a front to hide hate, REAL opinions, and oppression of those that are "not like you". But ya know what? I have been out for about 32 years. And, I gotta tell ya Jim, NOTHING has changed with people of your ilk since 1977. Remember Anita Bryant? I put her up there with the likes of Rick Santorum, Phyllis Schalfly, Tony Perkins, and the list goes on, and on, and on...

    Jim, I know who I am, what my life is about, and I am honest about it. Can you say the same when it comes to your REAL opinions and thoughts about gays? Or anyone else "not like you" for that matter?

    October 21, 2010 at 11:28 am |
    • CW

      @ DallasTex,

      Sorry you turned away from God. Yes...your lifestyle is wrong...SEE THE BIBLE. Its not what I say....but what God said. I will pray for you....to repent....change....you can be forgiven...remember being gay is a choice like following God is a choice. Following the one and only one....GOD...is the only way to be saved. See my other post.....Yes....we are to "die to self"....that means putting to death our own choices to choose to follow God's way and direction for our lives.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:44 am |
    • Jonas

      @CW

      You're losing this fight.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:50 am |
    • Focus on this, tard

      @CW:

      Go actually READ leviticus and then get rid of all your clothes of mixed fibers, stone your unruly child, stop eating lobster, and force your wife to sleep in the shed while she is on her period.

      Try actually READING the book of fables instead of rebarfing the idiotic lies someone told you.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:57 am |
    • savebygrace

      @Focus on this, tard
      Go and actually read the New Testament and see how we no longer have to live by the "works" and "laws" that were required in Leviticus. Jesus came to fulfill the law so that we are no longer under the law, but we are now saved by grace and grace alone. The old is gone and the new has come!

      October 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
    • HappyAtheist

      @CW

      Your comments DallasTex are the reason I react so negatively to Christians. I have no problem with you believing what you just said. You have the right, and frankly, your beliefs don't affect me in any way.

      I do have a problem with your arrogance in telling DallasTex that their lifestyle is wrong. Basically, you're just incorrect. I'm sure DallasTex is perfectly happy with his/her lifestyle; therefore, it is right for her/him. Just as your Christian (I'm gonna assume straight) lifestyle is right for you. What is wrong is your belief that you should be commenting on anyone's beliefs or lifestyle.

      I'm an Atheist, but was brought up Catholic. I don't believe in god, the devil, heaven, hell, or the easter bunny. However, I would never tell you NOT to believe in these things. The world, and life, is filled with all sorts of crazy and wonderful things. You have the right to believe in whatever makes you happy. You have the right to live your life in a way that suits you best. I will not take that right away from you. Nor will I comment on it or disrespect that right.

      Do I agree with your beliefs? Do you agree with mine? Probably not. But it doesn't matter. I don't require you to agree with me to justify my own existence.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
    • defdan

      @savebygrace – then why do christians keep pounding Leviticus as the primary reason against gays?

      October 21, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
    • Al

      Christianity (like many religions) sets up bully in its Dogma! The very concept that there are "righteous" and "sinners" creates two class of people; one god the other bad! What has always amazed me is that the only difference (it seems) between "righteous" and "sinners" is honesty or (more likely) who got caught. Ted Haggard was righteous until he got caught. Larry Craig was righteous until he got caught. Etc. Etc. Stop the gay bashing and the gay bullying will stop!!! IT IS THE SUPPOSED "RIGHTEOUS" IN THE CHRISTIAN FAITH (PEOPLE EXACTLY LIKE YOU) WHO PERPETUATE THE PREJUDICE AGAINST GAYS. I PLACE THE BLAME FOR THE BULLYING AND DEATH OF EVER GAY PERSON WHO WAS BULLIED AT YOUR CHURCH DOOR STEP. Lets see how humble and Christian you are about accepting responsibility!

      October 21, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
    • Morticia

      @CW
      Being gay isn't a choice. It's no more of a choice for us than for you to be, what I assume, straight. I didn't enjoy having to lie to my family and friends for years until I finally figured out they would love me anyway. And, you know what? They do love me. So does God. After all, if everything Christians say is true, this was His plan for me.

      October 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
    • Daisy

      I get persecuted everyday for being a Christian young adult so I know there is no difference between me and my gay friends, relatives and anyone else. Each of us has had a finger pointed at us at one point or another. The real difference may be that at the end of the day I could not care less who calls me stupid or naive or crazy, because I know God's is the only opinion that matters, and he loves us, no matter what. Perhaps I am crazy. I guess we'll see.

      October 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
    • Robert

      " Christianity, in particular, along with most other organized religions, have caused more misery, war, and suffering on this planet than any other difference"
      Sorry, not true, do your research, check Wikipedia
      List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll
      most deaths, misery, come from GREED, POWER, have nothing to do with religion.
      True, many deaths can be attributed to "religion" and in most cases it is not acceptable but all humans, like it or not, are religious by nature. Even so called atheists. Religion is one of the things that separates us from animals.

      October 22, 2010 at 1:04 am |
    • savebygrace

      @defdan
      Those ritual laws in Leviticus that @Focus on this, tard is referring to were necessary then (before Christ) for people to be cleansed of sin. There has been and always will be a moral law that Christians must live by. But now we are cleansed and forgiven of sin through our salvation in Christ. We no longer have to do all those rituals and sacrifices in the Old Testament. But the sins in the Old Testament, that the Israelites had to make sacrifices to atone for, still apply today to us. Those sins are still sins, but the forgiveness and reconciliation of that sin is now through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

      So, the morality issues dealt with in Leviticus still apply today but the way to be cleansed of those immoral acts is now through salvation in Christ and not rituals or sacrifices.

      October 22, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
    • CW

      @ AL

      I truly feel sorry for you...as well. You can point out Ted Haggard...and any other man, women, or child. The simple fact is that we are all Sinners....period. All men and women are sinners.....so that means that those men you pointed out....will never be perfect. So your laying all the blame for bullying gay people on the church door step....GOOD....we are called to pray for all people even for SINNERS. It never said in THE BIBLE that we are to love the SIN that people have in their lives. It says that we as christians are to love people. I do care and love everyone regardless of their choices....good or bad.....but with the bad choices that are SIN...we as CHRISTIANS ARE TO POINT THIS OUT TO OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN ORDER TO HELP CHANGE THEM. You can call it bullying but no true christian would ever harm another brother or sister but we are to preach the TRUTH.....AND HOPE THAT ALL PEOPLE MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE..."TO FOLLOW GOD" AND HIS WAYS.

      October 25, 2010 at 10:22 am |
  12. Focus on this, tard

    The bible is full of idiotic things that even children dont believe and the pathetic people who believe that it is anything other than the moronic ramblings of 4000 year old goat herders are the most gulible feebs on the planet.

    Deuteronomy 21:18-21
    Ezekiel 23:20
    Leviticus 20:18
    Leviticus 25:44-45

    Moronic stuff but 'god' said so. right?

    October 21, 2010 at 11:23 am |
    • Fall10

      If you call someone a moron and an idiot, you are no better than the bullies that you supposedly against.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:33 am |
    • Focus on this, tard

      I agree but at some point you quit trying to convert the morons into intelligent people and just call them out on their moronitude.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:38 am |
    • capnjammer

      I disagree. If you were coming at me with a gun, I may say "don't do anything stupid!" Because it would, in fact, be stupid to kill me (considering you would most likely be caught and go to jail, etc.). It is not wrong to say someone is stupid for believing in a book which promotes hatred and bigotry, because in the end, it is stupid to hate and be a bigot. These are the things which cause the downfall of society, which will eventually lead to the extermination of our species. So yes, it is stupid to believe in them, just as it is equally stupid for an adult to believe in an imaginary friend, whether or not some ancient book of fables mentions him.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • Mikey

      Same verses. see my comment above.

      October 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
    • The Anti-Hoff

      Sorry but I dont read things involving 2 imaginary people with no belly-buttons who listened to a talking snake in a fantasy garden unless its happening in Middle-Earth

      October 21, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  13. G

    John quest. Do you cut your hair on the sides? Prohibited by Leviticus. Do you cook or do any work on Saturday? Prohibited by Leviticus and Exodus. Do you not pray before God for at least 3 days after you have an emission? Most people who quote these rules have little to understanding about Jesus' proclomation on the Sabbath and what it really implies. Man was not made for rules; rules were made for man. The rules are meant to help people, but Jesus broke the rules and "sinned" when it was the right thing to show love. Do you think Jesus was too much a liberal for that?

    October 21, 2010 at 11:11 am |
    • JohnQuest

      G, I am probably the most non religious person you will ever blog with, I do not believe there is a God, if Jesus existed at all he was just a man. I was only pointing out some Bible verses that some groups use to demonize other groups. I think it is silly, wrong and dangerous to believe in a God. Christians pick and choose which parts of their holy books to believe, they decide what their moral are not a non existent God. It would be foolish to blame a God, Christ or a 2000 year old book written by people that thought owning other people was moral. It is the modern Christians fault for not standing up to bigots using their religion for personal and political gains.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:25 am |
    • M

      JohnQuest,
      How do you know that God doesn't exist?? What is your proof? Just curious.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • JohnQuest

      G, very interesting question, I know it the same way you know, the Tooth Fairy and Santa and Zeus doesn't exist. If you want proof of a negative, prove that Thor is not the God of Thunder, you see the proof is not on the non believer to disprove its on the believer to prove, can you prove God exist? If someone told you that you wife or husband was cheating but they had no proof would you believe them or would you think they had an ulterior motive to telling you, or they could just be wrong, either way you probably won't be divorcing her/him on someones word alone.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:41 am |
    • DN

      M,

      You are asking to prove a negative. This is a logical fallacy.

      The proof lies in those making a claim, namely: god does exist.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:50 am |
    • M

      I know God exists from experience of a personal relationship with Him and how He has changed my life and given me hope when I had none. He has given me purpose and meaning in my life that I could not find in anyone else or anything else. He has provided for all of my needs and answered prayers that could only be considered as miracles. I could not have done anything in my life on my own power and for someone to think that they can control these things of their own accord and determine their success is only deceiving themselves. I take a humble stance and give God all the glory. He has blessed me tremendously and for someone to tell me otherwise when they have not had the experience of a personal relationship with Him is very frustrating, BUT, that said my testimony cannot change and renew hearts and minds, only God can.

      I have a daughter who is a lesbian and I love her with all my heart and I don't condone her sin, just like I don't condone my own sin, but we are human and are sinners and there is no one sin greater than any other. That is why Jesus did what He did on the cross out of love for all – there was no other way.

      That is how I know God exists. And I find it offensive that there are people who say all Christians are haters. It's not about a religion, it is about a relationship.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • capnjammer

      @M: clearly, based on your own arguments, God does not exist. Muslims, Hindus, and Jews will say the exact same thing, but you deny that their religions are true. A Muslim will say that he has had such an intense personal experience with his God that he would willingly fly a plane into a building for him. As an ex-pastor, I have had the exact same experiences as you, but it is obvious now to me that it means nothing. Everyone of every religion and denomination says the exact same thing as you as proof. If I were to see God descending from the clouds tomorrow telling me that I am wrong and he is real, I would immediately go to a neurologist and tell him I am afraid I suffered a severe brain injury. God simply does not exist.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @M

      You said...." I 'know' God exists because of my personal experience and relationship with him."

      Please, do tell... How do you 'know' that God exists, due to your 'personal experience.'...?

      What specifically is 'this' personal experience that somehow allows you to *absolutely know it as FACT*...?

      Very curious....

      October 21, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
    • AK

      @M – From what viewpoint should we argue that God exists? Just to keep it minimal, there is four arguments for God that I would like to present to you. There is teleologically, cosmologically, ontologically, or from the standpoint of Moral Law. Which one should I present to you?

      October 21, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  14. Matt

    Bigot. Gay children die because of this dreck.

    When you spread a message that tells children that simply being who they are makes them 'sinners', you are implying that either they somehow magically change their genetic, natural predisposition (impossible), or never have a satisfying loving relationship that allows them to build a 'family' which you seem to focus on.

    Close to 90% of atheists support full marriage equality for gays; less than 25% of evangelical christians do.

    You're right, though, it's not the evangelicals who spread the bigotry in our culture.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:10 am |
    • Will

      AMEN

      October 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Matt

      Well said brother...

      October 21, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  15. Phil

    I don't think the indignation against the modern western Christian church stems from any perceived support of anti-gay bullying inasmuch as its perceived indifference; where is the outcry against the bullies? All that is seen are gay (or perceived gay, or in some cases, just "different") teens and others committing suicide alongside a collective silence from the western Christian society; this is not much different than the eerie silence of the Roman Catholic Church during the Holocaust, and revelations in later times that those within its ranks, while repulsed by the violence, were actually believing it was "God's wrath", not unlike the possible undertone within the church rank towards the violence directed at such targeted youth.

    Your message, unfortunately, will appear as couched and carefully crafted to recuse yourself from the observation of bullying and not offer even an ounce of comfort toward those who have suffered loss or damage from bullying; instead, just a very well-worded Christianese version of "Not my fault, oh, and BTW, repent". I will have more respect for your views, irregardless of my own personal opinion on the Scriptural interpretation of the matter, were you to extend Christ's love to those families who lost their loved ones to bullying, as well as to the victims still among us who want to live a life with which you implicitly do not agree.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:08 am |
    • Rebel

      And who do you see an outcry, or action coming from?

      October 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • Daisy

      Just because I don not agree with someone does not mean that I will not show them all of the love that God has bestowed upon me.

      Anyone who gets a hateful vibe from a Christian is looking at an imposter.

      I go to a school where everyday a man stands outside and yells to the intrigued students that we are all going to hell because we are a bunch of fornicating, drug taking, evil teens. And at the end of the day, he has fulfilled his purpose to Satan because somewhere in that crowd of teens was one person who went home feeling that all Christians are bad news because this man on the street proved it to him/her. This false prophet did his job because someones mind was made up that day.

      October 21, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  16. w247

    SO MJ, you refer to Westboro – who is a fanatical violent hate filled fundamentalist group – as an example for all Christianity? That's a little broad don't you think? That's like saying the Taliban/Al Quada is the example for all of Islam. Christ is about love, it is not about the religion, but about the relationship you have with the Lord. Not you, nor I, nor the preacher/minister can do anything about your personal responsibility about understanding His love for all of His children. A sin is a sin is a sin, one is not "worse" then any other in the Lord's eye. Anyone who points out someone else's sin without acknowledging their own, are what we call hypocrites.

    I don't find what was written in this article hypocritical at all.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:06 am |
    • Jonas

      W,

      MJ was talking about the hypocrisy of the church in how we will tell Muslims to control their radical side, but most Christians don't control our radical side. It's not that we're uncomfortable or offended or angry by what Westboro does, but rather the majority of churches do nothing about it.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  17. G

    I do not blame the religion. I blame groups like yours which say having anit-gay bullying training in high school will support the "gay agenda." I'm cool with Jesus and God.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:05 am |
  18. Freethought4all

    I agree with you its is not just Christianity it is religion in general who are poisoning the world with their hate! All of them!

    October 21, 2010 at 11:01 am |
    • Rebel

      You must not have ever read the Bible to make such a statement. Religions do not promote hate, people promote hate. Religions do not start wars, people use religion as a way to get what they want, wars being a result. I pity the walking dead as the Truth is Life, and they have neither Truth or Life in them. Don't bother wasting your energy typing a message to rebuke me, I am rebuked by the Father only, He teaches me. I don't need some mortal, finite collection of electro-chemical impulses in the form of a lump of flesh to share it's worldview with me. I've spent far too much of my life seeking answers from people, the only answer I found from mankind was that human understanding leads down a dead end.

      If you want answers, go humbly before the One who has them.

      October 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
    • Kerri

      Rebel, you must have skipped the Old Testament if you don't think there's hate in the Bible. Geesh. It's absolutely full of it – both from God and from his people.

      October 21, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
    • NickO

      Kerri, do you understand the old Testament? Many of the areas that no believers have with the Bible deal specifically with God's chosen people, the Israelites. God wanted them to live Holy, pure lives. And to this he gave them the Law through his prophet Moses. Let's see, was anyone perfect...no. None. The law does not save. That is what the old Testament is all about, that we all fall short of the Glory of God. That we can not perfect ourselves, that the flesh wars with the spirit and that we ARE ALL IN NEED OF A SAVIOR. The law condemns us all, but thank you God that you sent your perfect and Holy Son Jesus Christ into the world to take on my sin and yours. Christ was spotless and blameless and he took the punishment for us all, you included. You can reject this or you can accept this, this is the free will that God has given us. The promise from our King Christ is the Good News of the Gospel! This is TRUTH! Peace!

      October 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
    • Daisy

      Isn't calling all Christians and religious individuals haters kind of a "the pot calling the kettle black" situation? Let's face it. We are all haters to someone no matter what we do or do not believe in. Maybe it is to an entire class of people or maybe it is to a single person who is grinding your nerves on a bad day. Isn't it great that God loves all of us despite that. He loves you whether you like it or not.

      October 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
    • Mike C

      To begin, I have a strong dislike for self-professed fundamentalists who judge others and condemn them to eternal suffering. However, I do like the article in question, if people would follow it as enthusiastically as they do their favorite politician. People confuse spirituality (between a person and their chosen god) and religion (primarily man-made). Jesus spoke out against the religion of the day because it focused on the words (law) not the spirit.

      October 22, 2010 at 5:40 am |
  19. JohnQuest

    Let's look at what the Bible has to say about that.
    I tried to post the text but was blocked

    Leviticus 18:22
    Leviticus 20:13
    Romans 1:26-27
    1 Corinthians 6:9-10

    October 21, 2010 at 10:59 am |
    • Mikey

      I am not sure if you have actually read the Bible to come up with these passages or just cut and pasted from a group who likes to make the bullying-Christianity connection. I doubt it, because if you read any part of the New Testament in detail, you would see that many things are called sins and we all have sins we are prone too (lying, stealing, cheating, pride, adultry, etc.). Most people don't like their activities being called sins, but that does not change what it is called. However, true Christianity would say that the gay person is in the same position as anybody else born on this earth – we are all sinners one way or another and those who want forgiveness for these various sins can have someone else pay the judgment for those sins. So, the person who does not want to stop lying or cheating because they like it, must just make peace that their future (after-life) is not settled, but they should be able to live however they want because that is what they have decided. This all comes down to the fundamental difference as to what objective standard you apply. If you make your own rules, then obviously you would feel offended that someone believes you are doing something wrong. That will always be the rub between believers and non-believers.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
    • Joey

      So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
      John 8:7

      Since we wanted to use the Bible in this matter, it seems only fitting that we recall the words of Christ exactly on using scripture as a means of accusing others.

      October 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
    • @Joey

      Yet you just did the same of the one you accused.

      October 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
    • Just a man

      I read the four passages listed in this post. They were written by a man, just a man, a couple of centurys ago. If being gay is a sin well it is not any worse than the folks who preach the Bible daily yet break their marriage vows three and four times in their life. The Bible belt has more divorce than the secular northest yet they promised before God and man to love, honor and cherish this woman or man till death due they part. Yet when they tire of thier spouse it is off to divorce court. Just seems to me that their is a lot of picking and choosing amoung the Bible believers. Live and let live, mind your own business and you will be a better person in the eyes of God and the rest of the population.

      October 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
    • Debbie

      John Quest, You really need to search the Bible scriptures, including the New Testiment and let God show you. Just ask Him too. He loves YOU and He'll listen. Just have the same faith as when you sit on your chair and believe that it will hold you.

      October 22, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  20. MJ

    Two words for ya Jim "Westboro Baptist"

    As much as I have heard the Christian community denounce Muslims for not 'dealing with' the radical element, I have not seen many churches take a specific and active stand against Westboro – or the other many churches I have personally attended that DO actively preach that gays are less than human and not worthy of our respect.

    October 21, 2010 at 10:54 am |
    • Lindy

      I think that's what Jim's saying, though...Westboro Baptist and others like them muddy the waters because they call themselves Christians, but they don't actually live by biblical or Christian principals. So, yes, we should hate what they're doing, but we shouldn't hate Christianity because of them, because they are not actually following Christ.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:34 am |
    • Jonas

      It's depressing, MJ. Truly it is.

      October 21, 2010 at 11:37 am |
    • Matt

      Exactly right, MJ. Westboro Baptist make convenient henchmen for FOTF.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
    • Elle

      Uh...as a Christian I wasn't aware we had a "community" vote on whether to denounce Muslims or not. Perhaps I should sign up for the Christian community newsletter! Note the sarcasm. No church I've gone to has preached that anyone else on this earth is less worthy of respect. What I have heard is to hate sins but never the sinner. In fact..1 John 4:20-21: "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen."

      October 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
    • Kerri

      @Lindy – there's a big difference between an op-ed article on CNN and actually getting out there and actively speaking out, forcefully and harshly – not only against Westboro but against bullying gays and lesbians. It hasn't happened. It's a half-hearted "well, that's not how Christians are supposed to act, but we still believe it's wrong to be gay" usually from individual pulpits – not in a public forum. Mr. Daly and his ilk don't actively get out there and speak out against war, poverty, lack of healthcare or ANYTHING that falls right in line with the teachings of Christ – no, he's doing a commentary on how the rest of us are wrong to blame Christians; in other words, pointing out what he sees is wrong in the behavior of OTHERS.

      October 21, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
    • NickO

      Christ taught that there would be many false teachers that would come in his name. There is no exception here with this "Westboro Baptist Church" They are taking up a role that they are not to take, that of the Judge. There is but one Judge and the is Christ, we will all will be judged by him when we stand before him when this life is done. Make no mistake the members of this church that are judging others will be judged themselves. They do not speak for Christ because the do not follow what he has taught us. We are to speak the truth, but we are to do this in love. Ephesians 4:15 NASB 15but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Chris. Learn the teachings of Christ, if one comes claiming the truth in his name but does not follow his teachings, then they are not of him. Peace!

      October 21, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
    • David

      I protested the WBC when they came to Ohio State's Campus.

      I am Christian and stood shoulder to shoulder with the Pastafarians, and everyone else in protesting those people.

      October 21, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • aaron burns

      sadly westboro is the way that christians should be. They should stand by what their god and book say. Most christians are wishy washy and so you have a coin with 2 negative sides. Do you want a person that stands by their beliefs even if they are hatefull or do you want a person who will change their beliefs to fit the demagogue of the day.

      October 21, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • Daisy

      Jeremiah 14:14
      Then the LORD said to me, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.

      Just because someone speaks to a crowd in a building with a steeple does not make them true Christians. God loves all equally despite our varying sins, and anyone who says otherwise just broke commandment number 9 (shall not bear false witness), but I guess that would not be the worst thing they have done if they are going around hating on people.

      October 21, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.