My Take: Remembering the Rev. Peter Gomes
The Rev. Peter Gomes, Harvard University's chaplain for more than 30 years, died Monday at age 68.
March 1st, 2011
04:43 PM ET

My Take: Remembering the Rev. Peter Gomes

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

The Rev. Peter Gomes, who died Monday from complications arising from a stroke at age 68, may not have been “America’s chaplain” — that title belongs to Billy Graham — but he was Harvard’s for three and a half decades.

He was also sui generis — of his own kind. Officially, Gomes was the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard University. But he was also gay, black, Baptist and, for much of his adult life, Republican. Fascinated by the pilgrims, he made his home in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Gomes' accent was part old Harvard, part colonial New England. He spoke as if his every word would be recorded for posterity.  Many were.

He prayed at President Ronald Reagan’s second inaugural. He preached at the inaugurations of President George H.W. Bush and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

He also wrote many books of sermons, in addition to popular books such as, "The Good Life: Truths That Last in Times of Need," and "The Good Book: Reading the Bible With Mind and Heart." And he was the only guest on "The Colbert Report" I have ever seen who got more laughs than Stephen Colbert.

Sermons came out of him as if channeled, typically without the benefit of notes, and always in elegant paragraphs. Like any great preacher — and he was one of America’s best — he knew not only how to speak but how to speak the truth.

He came out in 1991 while speaking out against homophobic remarks published in a campus magazine, calling himself, simply, "a Christian who happens to be gay. His sermon after 9/11 is one of the finest reflections on that tragedy in the idiom of faith.

The last time I heard him preach was at the memorial service for my graduate school mentor William Hutchison, a specialist in American religious history. Gomes remembered Hutchison as a Quaker and a man of character who brought a tone of civility to a faculty not known for making peace.

“The Harvard Divinity School faculty is a den of vipers," Gomes told us, because at the time, at least, it was.

The last time I saw Gomes was at a dinner he hosted in my honor in 2008. He had invited me to deliver the William Belden Noble Lectures, given each year at Harvard in memory of a divinity student who died while preparing for the ministry.

A dozen or so people attended the dinner, and Gomes lorded over the proceedings, offering, in addition to his old world hospitality, an eloquent prayer and, later, an even more eloquent toast. He made me grateful that night that our lives had crossed, however briefly.

“They will never make another Peter Gomes," I told a friend as I was driving away that night. And they never will.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Baptist • Christianity • Education • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics

soundoff (272 Responses)

    I just farted. Shooooo : )

    March 2, 2011 at 4:19 am |
  2. Stephen

    I won't speak ill of the dead, but my hope is that Harvard uses this opportunity to find a new chaplin more in line with traditional religious behavior and thinking, consistent with the wishes of religious students on campus.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Without commenting at all on this person, I hope they take the opportunity to eliminate the position, or better yet, the whole school.

      March 2, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • bro

      I was a religious student on campus – grew up Southern Baptist – and ushered at Memorial Church all 4 years I was an undergrad. Rev. Gomes was a very good man, and a very good role model for many of us religious students on campus

      March 2, 2011 at 1:40 am |
  3. Jen

    Alec I must say, after reading all of your posts, I have grown to like you 🙂

    March 2, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  4. Kirb

    I choose to repeat the comment by Peter:
    "Rev Gomes was a true Christian- condemnation for injustice and falsehood and love for all. He also loved and accepted himself as a true child of God. A true Christian knows that God makes no mistakes and makes us all as God wants us to be. We destroy each other with hate and terrible lies."
    Our country and world needs more of the likes of Rev. Peter Gomes.

    March 2, 2011 at 12:38 am |
  5. AJ

    I've never heard a preacher as wonderful as Rev Gomes. His sermons were funny, inspiring and relevant. He will be sorely missed here at Harvard, and around the world, I'm sure. God bless you, Rev. Gomes.

    March 2, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • bro

      I was a religious student on campus – grew up Southern Baptist – and ushered at Memorial Church all 4 years I was an undergrad. Rev. Gomes was a very good man, and a very good role model for many of us religious students on campus

      March 2, 2011 at 1:38 am |
  6. Edagr

    Why the creepy picture of the writer of this article? Are we to celebrate and or remember the man who died...or piggyback on the visage of the man who wrote about his death? Prothero is bush league because of this image.

    March 1, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  7. Pastor Gary

    The Rev. Gomes was a great man, a servant of Christ who tried to the best of his abilities to share the Good News. And those abilities were great indeed. He helped shape generations of preachers, touched the lives of countless undergrads who have gone on to be leaders in their fields.

    Those who want to turn this into a debate, shoving their own narrow views into an inappropriate forum, are sinners of the worst kind, knowing neither compassion or humility. I believe Paul would refer to this is placing a stumbling block before others.

    March 1, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Lester Bangs

      Thanks, Pastor Gary, for shoving your own narrow views into an inappropriate forum about people shoving their narrow views into an inappropriate forum. What was it you said, "sinners of the worst kind, knowing neither compassion or humility"?

      It figures that you would quote Paul, the first corruptor of Christianity, rather than Jesus. Paul perverted Jesus' message of tolerance and understanding into one of guilt and sin and fear. So many of you "Christians" are really Paulians.

      March 2, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • Pastor Gary

      @Lester: I am amazed at the assumptions you have made about my theology, completely incorrect, based on my rather short post. As it happens, I favor Jesus over Paul where we can find him and believe much harm has been done using Pauline, pseudo-Pauline, and even worse, the Pastoral epistles. Though I cannot understand how you have found authentic Jesus free of Pauline influence since the entire process through which the Christian canon and creeds were developed was "Pauline," that is to say influenced by Paul, Hellenization, and empire. But none of that has to do with the Rev. Gomes, nor do the ad hominem attacks of the radicalized Christian right in this blog that I condemned in my first post.

      Jesus violated the rules of his own sect, associated with sinners and the unclean, was compassionate and healing to all. His denounced the greedy, self-righteous and hypocritical. I pray that you will abandon your own rage and self-righteousness in favor of compassion and love, spending less time attacking fellow Christians with whom you disagree and more time building the just and caring Kingdom of God.

      I stand by my initial statement: the Rev. Peter Gomes was a great man, a good and faithful servant, and he touched lives that have, for decades, gone on to serve others.

      March 2, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  8. Mary Ann in VA

    I saw Rev Gomes on a show once and was struck by his gentle spirit. RIP.

    March 1, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
  9. TheRationale

    I still can't understand how you can be smart enough to be at Harvard yet still buy into theology. Clearly the fellows don't hang out on the engineering quad...

    March 1, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • T-party

      Good point!

      March 1, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • Anglican

      Wow, maybe someone who is "smart" can have faith. Consider your own admitted lack of understanding of Rev Gomes. Do not forget, you posted God should be hated. Peace.

      March 1, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I guess TheRationale, you won't stop being smug and looking down your nose at folks until you are bed ridden and some kind nurse is wiping your drool from your chin.


      March 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • TheRationale

      @Anglican well if you either a) read your own Bible or b) read my reasoning behind such feelings, you would see why.

      @HeavenSent You're right. I'll then convert to Hinduism.

      March 1, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • Pastor Gary

      TheRationale: You know perfectly well that the failure to prove a positive does not prove a negative. You seem to choose a rather fundamentalist and unproven position against a belief. There are many great scientists at Harvard and at MIT who choose to believe in a metaphysical concept that we might call "God." If you spent any significant time on either campus you would know that. Harvard was founded to provide a "learned clergy" in the colonies, and MIT chose to place an interfaith chapel and a religious activities building in prominent places on their campus.

      I do not presume you are an unintelligent simply because you look at the evidence and conclude there is no God. Please offer the same courtesy to those who reach the opposite conclusion. Not all Christians are self-righteous bigots, nor are all atheists obnoxious know-it-alls.

      March 2, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  10. brian from den

    If ho-mo-se-x-uality is between two consenting adults, how can that be campared to Best.iality, necro.philia?

    March 1, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Alec N. Yakka

      So consent determines the morality of it? Well, corpses, dolls, cars, socks, or whatever turns you on can't not consent – no one forcing their will on someone(/thing) else – so there's nothing wrong there. And I suppose animals can consent – seems the basis for donkey-shows and such – so there's nothing wrong there either. So it's all good.

      March 1, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Anglican

      Alec, For a "Christian", you seem to have a sick mind regarding s-e-x.

      March 1, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      First, Jesus sent us down here (earth) and told us NOT to pay attention to the ways of the world. We are visiting this world, but we are NOT of the world.

      Therefore, Christians focus on Jesus and His spiritual teachings. Period.

      Shelve your egos folks that Erase God Out of your thinking or not thinking.


      March 1, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • Alec N. Yakka

      I don't believe I said I was a "Christian" or not. Nor did I say anything about my thoughts on s.ex. All I'm doing is re-iterated your views back to you – if you think it's sick, then rethink your views. Your arguments are that if Jesus didn't explicitly condemn it, or as long as all parties consent, then there's nothing wrong. Your logic, your conclusions. If you don't like the conclusions, rethink your logic.

      March 1, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Oh, I get it Alec. You're just a troll. Okay.

      March 2, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • Q

      @Alec – I believe you are conflating "consent" and/or the inability to provide it with an actual affirmative consent. If you really did conflate h-mos-xuality with beast-ility then I guess I'm not surprised...

      March 2, 2011 at 1:26 am |
  11. Ryan from SF

    Hello again, I've never participated in CNN blog discussions so this should be interesting. I'll try to answer each of your questions. To JohnQuest although you might be trying to be a bit sarcastic I got my answer from both. When Jesus filled me with His Spirit I developed a keen sense of right and wrong, like a super-conscience; of course that might seem far-fetched so the direct answer is yes my statement is based on the Bible. Which leads me to Joe Schmoe's question. Although it's mentioned as a sin in the Moral Law of the Old Testament I will refrain from citing those sources since we inevitably will be weighted down with discussion of Ceremonial Law vs. Moral Law. However, in the New Testament it is listed as a sin in Romans, Corinthians, and Timothy (along with a host of other practices). To Anglican I write, you are correct Jesus said nothing about "thou shalt not be ho-mo-$exual" but He didn't speak about many topics. That was the purpose of the apostles through the Spirit. The decision is then do you accept the whole Bible or only part? I also agree with your statement that some "pick" on one sin versus others when in reality they are all the same. A majority of your church continuing that lifestyle won't change Scripture. I think "picking" on sin isn't terribly useful, I'm remarking on the fact that a g-ay Christian is a contradiction of terms. Thank you for reading.

    March 1, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • cmxsmitty

      Do you believe that snakes talked?

      March 1, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      The two legged ones walking through the world today do! As, everything that comes out of their mouth(s) is a lie from Hello to Goodbye.

      March 1, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Ryan, Jesus does teach us His spiritual wisdom. He specifically told us not to pay attention to the world. That we are just visitors. Be humble. Meaning, shelf your ego so it won't get out of control about the world and the things in the world.

      He then, explains all the different sins of the world, PRIDE (aka EGO) being a major one. He explains the alternative virtues of the world that we should try to obtain to get over the sinfulness of the FLESH. The more of His spiritual truth we learn and apply to our lives, the more the sins of the FLESH fall to the wayside.

      Righteous thinking, believing, actions = Jesus' truth.


      Unrighteous thinking, believing, actions = satan's lies.


      March 1, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  12. joe schmoe

    Im not sure im following you. Are you trying to compare beast.iality with ho-mo-se-x-uality? If so your an idiot.

    March 1, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Alec N. Yakka

      Wow, you're right – the ad hominem fallacy rather than reason to establish any type of logical difference has pointed out the errors in my ways. Mea culpa ...

      March 1, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • TheRationale


      Clearly you don't follow his logic. Only an idiot would make such a comment. He pointed out the problem.

      March 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Due to the sin of PRIDE blinding the sinner.

      To break the sin, figure out it's not all about you, humble (meaning, shelf your ego of what you know of the world) yourself and focus on the Lord, Christ Jesus.

      Jesus told us not to pay attention to the ways of the world. To focus on His spiritual teachings.


      March 1, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • Alec N. Yakka

      I guess that would make sense, how you follow his logic since you follow in his ad hominem fallacy way of dialogue. If you'd read a reply to a comment a couple down written 45 minutes before your response you'd see I addressed how it can compare to someone who desired dialogue to understand other opinions rather than closed-minded namecalling. You might want to consider changing your nom de plume.

      March 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • TheRationale


      I am simply amazed at the sheer lack of a sense of irony people have. Maybe we can blame it on text being trickier to decipher than real conversation.

      March 1, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Then what in the world are you doing here, HS? There are few things more worldly than the internet. Perhaps you should refocus your attention on Jesus.

      March 2, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • HeavenSent

      tallulah13, I hadn't a clue the world made you it's queen? I know Jesus, and, by your writings, you don't except you want to change His teachings to fit your myopic world view.

      March 2, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • tallulah13

      You wrote this:

      "Jesus told us not to pay attention to the ways of the world. To focus on His spiritual teachings."

      So again, I ask, why are you here? There are few things more worldly than the internet. Didn't you just say that Jesus didn't want you to pay attention to the ways of the world?

      Okay, since the bible is the only book you ever read: how about this

      "Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way as you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others." Matthew 7: 1-2

      March 2, 2011 at 2:18 am |
    • JSKC

      "Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way as you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others"

      I think this is where HS will come back with some statement on how he isn't judging buth spreading "the Truth"

      March 2, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  13. Anglican

    Christ had nothing to say about ho-mo-se-x-uality. Paul stated that pagan s-ex acts were sinful, but never had anything to say regarding monogomous (sp) relationships between gay and le-sb-ian couples. God made us all, with all our warts and faults. Once again, "some" Christians pick on g-a-y and lesbians, but never have anything to say about other sinners. Half the choir in my church is g-ay and les-bian. My church is almost 200 years old. You put a road block between man and Christ. I think it is a huge mistake.

    March 1, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Anglican

      This was directed to Ryan for SF

      March 1, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Alec N. Yakka

      So that settles it – what Jesus didn't expressly forbid, then it's ok. Best.iality, necro.philia, prost.itution, and every other -philia we can find in a psychology book, they're all good because Jesus didn't call 'em out. I could be wrong, but Jesus didn't say beating your wife, ar.son, black.mail, bri.bery, etc were sins either! Shweet – let the anarchy in the name of Jesus begin!

      March 1, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Anglican

      Alec. No. It is a fact that "white collar" sin is not called out like "blue collar" sin. Are you going to openly call out lawyer in your church who lies in court to win case, or doctors who will not take care of the poor? This was a Holy man who spent his life in service to God and man. At the same time, he was a sinner like me. Pick on EVERY sinner, and get the oak out of your eye. We are all in the same boat. Sinners, one and all.

      March 1, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • Alec N. Yakka

      I'm not picking on any sinner, let alone "calling out" Mr Gomes. I'm just celebrating your declaration that what Jesus didn't expressly forbid, which wasn't very much, is actually Jesus giving us license to do. Thank you!

      March 1, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      1st read what is required of us in Luke 9:23-26

      Then read who we are to please John 14:6

      Leviticus 20:13

      Isaiah 44:8
      Leviticus 18:22-25
      Deuteronomy 23:17
      Romans 1:21-28

      Then, read the Lord’s prayer (see Matthew 6 below)to learn how to forgive those who trespassed against you, so they lead you not into temptation (anger, frustration, insecurity, depression, post traumatic stress, sleeplessness, hopelessness, manic, nervousness, etc.). Forgiving one’s debt means forgiving others for their sins against you.

      Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

      Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven.

      Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.

      Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

      Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

      Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

      Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

      Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

      Matthew 6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;

      Matthew 6:18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

      Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

      Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

      Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

      Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

      Matthew 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!

      Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

      Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

      Matthew 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

      Matthew 6:27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

      Matthew 6:28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

      Matthew 6:29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

      Matthew 6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith?

      Matthew 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

      Matthew 6:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

      Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

      Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.


      March 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So Alec, you must think all s_ex is wrong. I can see no other reason for you to connect acts between consenting adults with acts where one party has no choice. If you can't figure out the difference, then perhaps you should avoid s_ex.

      March 2, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Anglican, do any of these sins ring a bell?


      Jesus speaks on all of the above.

      March 2, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Anglican, just because you accept your lifestyle today, doesn't mean Jesus' teachings of abstaining, needs to be revoked because you want them to! Jesus' truth stands for eternity. What humans do to change, they own. Not Jesus.

      March 2, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Anglican, I can agree with the lawyer part of your statement (most lawyers, a few not in this category), but doctors and the medical community denying pour folks medical attention. I know many folks in this field that go out of their way ensuring folks get medical attention regardless.

      March 2, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  14. Reality

    o All "Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

    To wit:

    o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

    "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

    Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Alec N. Yakka

      Interesting – so if we were born that way, then we will not be judged for it. There are aggressive traits linked to genetics, so if we beat our wives, kids, and neighbors, then we can pull the gene card and say it's ok, we were born that way. There are addictive traits linked to genetics, so alco.holics and dr.ug users need not be ashamed of their detrimental behaviors destroying their families and lives, but because it's in the genes, we should all back off trying to change them, but rather help and encourage them to embrace alco.holism and dr.ug use. And there are other genetically linked behaviors that society deems "bad", but as this line of reasoning goes, we shouldn't judge any of them. I think what I like best about this line of argument is that it will also have the added benefit of clearing the overcrowded prison system and saving taxpayers billions! Amen!

      March 1, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Alec.. We could say that you were born with a mental condition that predisposed you to belief in the supernatural. There is nothing to indicate that gay people have a choice, and more than my earlier statement is correct..However belief in the supernatural is a choice.

      March 1, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Alec N. Yakka

      I'm in total agreement with you. All these things – se.xuality, aggre.ssion, addi.ction, etc. – have genetic linkages and therefore should not be condemned, but rather celebrated and encouraged. And the side-effect of embracing that idea will help save our faltering economy! (Oh, and maybe there is such thing as a "Go.d gene" – there could be a relig.ious inclination to theism and atheism.)

      March 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      LOL Reality, aren't you bored yet?

      March 1, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Alec N. Yakka, Oh, jump on the bandwagon to categorize new excuses by humans for those that don't want to shelf their egos, go humble, and know they and they alone are responsible for their thoughts, words, actions.

      Give it a rest already on this baby sitting condition.

      March 1, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Alec N. Yakka

      Lol, yeah you caught me. But it's fun!

      March 1, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • evolvedDNA

      Alec.. So you want Ho-mo s-e-=x to be a choice so you can condem it.. is that it. The fact you have a supernatural perversion is fine with you. I am sure that people that murder, have anger issues etc have some genetic disposition toward that.. but no one is saying that those issues are ignored.. if they endanger society then we must act...putting people away or condeming them for having S_E_X differently than you is not opne of those issues as far as I can see..

      March 1, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Alec N. Yakka

      Nah, my direction was that writing something off just because there are genetic dispositions is pretty odd, especially when we have hard evidence that violent people, addicts, etc. have genetic dispositions but we don't think that they're locked in but have a choice to escape. I think you did hit the nail on the head – it's when these genetic dispositions are harmful that we think they need to fight the inclinations. In particular as you pointed out, is this teleological disorder in the area of se.x a danger to society? The latest large-scale studies at the CDC found that 1 in 5 g.ay men has HIV, and over 50% of all new infections in the US occur to just this 2% of the population:
      With the mortality rate of AIDS, the 20% infection of the population means that the rate of infection is much higher – it's like watching someone play Russian roulette, but with an extra bullet or two. That knowledge makes it kind of hard to love someone yet idly watch them bring the barrel to their head. =( Condemn? No, just wanting them to have a good, long, loving life.

      March 1, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Of course, ho-m-o-se-xuality isn't harmful to anyone, as long as the participants are consenting adults. It's like any physical relationship. Destructive behavior may be nature or nurture, but it is detrimental to a healthy society, therefore, criminals should be separate from society. There is absolutely no indication that ho-mo-se-xuality is any more destructive than heterose-xual behavior. Your bible has no more legal authority than Harry Potter.

      March 2, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Reality. Learned behavior, now being called genetic to make excuses again for not taking responsibility for one's thoughts, beliefs, actions!

      You never told me what your degree is? Is it a Ph.D. in mental health?

      March 2, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • Q

      @Alec – So what's the HIV incidence among gay women? Are you suggesting female h-mos-xuality should be a preferred "choice" for women given downstream HIV exposure risk?

      March 2, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • JohnR

      @Alec The genetic angle has been brought into the discussion in relatively recent years to counter the constant refrain that that g-ays "choose" to be g-ay. They don't. End of discussion #1. Score stands Christians Chest Beaters 0 – Decent People 1. Discussion question #2: Are there any significant moral differences between loving someone of the same gender versus beating someone up. Um, duh?

      March 2, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • JSKC

      @HeavenSent "Reality. Learned behavior, now being called genetic to make excuses again for not taking responsibility for one's thoughts, beliefs, actions!

      You never told me what your degree is? Is it a Ph.D. in mental health?"

      Actually, I don't believe the original poster claimed to have a degree. Instead, he cited scientific studies to back his arguement. You know, those things where people use crazy stuff like facts and data to reach logical theories. Then those theories are reviewed and continually tested in search of the truth.

      March 2, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Church of Suicidal

      @ JSKC: Didn't you know that facts and data are always trumped by the phrase "The Bible says so"? Also, try to randomly capitalize words and phrases in your argument. It makes you more authoritative. Trust me.

      March 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  15. joe schmoe

    Just a question, why is it exactly that a christian cant be gay?

    March 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Because the person(s) are denying His spiritual teachings from the beginning. In order to comprehend what Jesus teaches, one must shelf their egos, go humble (meaning, open your mind) to comprehend what Jesus is spiritually teaching.

      I don't know why Gays' are blamed for being the only Children of God living in their egos? There are millions of Christians who haven't gotten hold of their egos (sin of Pride) either.

      But, it's the sin of PRIDE being the issue. Once, anyone shelves their ego (sin of Pride) then Jesus' teachings begin to flow.


      March 1, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Alec N. Yakka

      You make a good point – it has a lot to do with pride. I'm in agreement with you that they get more than their fair share of spotlight on the sin angle, but maybe that also is to some degree self-inflicted. By going out into the public square to fight for g.ay rights is to make one's self a target. A large portion of society holds negative pre-existing views on the lifestyle – 31 states have had statewide g.ay marriage referendums, and all 31 have voted against g.ay marriage. And with court systems and legislatures in 7(?) states forcing it on the public, well, it makes the bull's eye bigger. Is that sin any worse than any other sin? Probably not, but it's more in people's faces these days.

      March 1, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • XchX

      Because Christianity is about exclusion and hate.

      March 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • Alec N. Yakka

      Ach! Doesn't anyone have anything logical to say other than something lifted off a bumpersticker?!?

      March 1, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Because the christian god was created by people who didn't like the g@y lifestyle, and "true" christians depend on a book written and edited by those same people to tell them what to think.

      March 1, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      CNN phony mod squadders.

      March 2, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • HeavenSent

      tallulah13, give it a rest. You have no clue what Jesus' spiritual teachings are. Just because human's that don't abide in His teachings bug you, has absolutely nothing to do with His teachings. Free will. Remember? Everyone has the right to accept or deny what He teachings and some folks just don't pay attention.

      March 2, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • Q

      @HeavenSent – Not that I'm likely to agree with whatever you were trying to post, but look closely for any of Reality's posted flag words. You're not selectively receiving the "waiting for moderation" because of content, but because you have a "t-it" or a "c-um" or some other no-no word in your post somewhere...

      March 2, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • HotAirAce

      HeavenScent has been told many times about naughty word fragments but insists on believing s/he is being persecuted.

      Seems to me that when s/he wants to post scripture or chastise folks for not following the correct variety of christianity s/he manages to get his/her message posted. When it comes to providing supporting material though, the blog gods conspire to thwart her/his posts. Of course, there are no gods of any sort, so I suspect stupidity or deception is really at play.

      March 2, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • tallulah13

      HS, you like to quote the bible, but you might as well be quoting the phone book. Humans throughout history have worshiped thousands of gods, yet there has not been a single ounce of proof that any of those gods (even yours) has ever existed.

      I have many friends who are ho-mo-se-xual. The majority of them are kinder and less judgmental than 90% of the people on these boards, be they christian or atheist (and yes, I include myself in that 90%). Still, christians go out of their way to try to create hatred and even violence towards them. Why in the world would I respect your bible when a) it was written and edited by many humans with many agendas and b) it spreads hatred toward good people, condemning them for being born different than the majority. That sort of irrational hatred and ignorance is yet another reason to reject religion.

      You also like to bleat about ego, which is terribly ironic as you ego is one of the largest on these boards.

      March 2, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • Greg

      @tallulah13 – BEST... POST... EVER.

      March 2, 2011 at 5:00 am |
    • Haemisch

      tallulah13: Oftentimes people become the target of someone's anger because the person against whom they speak has issues of their own, like guilt over their sin. Their anger and self defensiveness is not necessarily an indictment against the person who rebuked them. How many people do you suppose have been murdered throughout history for saying something that was unpopular, but correct?

      March 2, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • Haemisch

      PS: tallulah13: I love how people like you state that Christians "rely" on others to do their thinking for them and then turn around and complain about how divided Christians are. Divisions exist because people do read the Bible and draw conclusions from it that do not line up with the conclusions drawn by others. This only happens when people think for themselves.

      March 2, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • JohnR

      @alec yakka I myself have been patiently waiting two days for you to say something intelligent or constructive.

      March 2, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • iminim

      I think Christ is a lot more interested in what goes on between our ears than between our waist & knees. Of course it is much easier to get all hung up on the latter than it is to use one's mind to critically evaluate biblical texts and commentaries in the context of your own Christian experience. My deep respect goes to Dr Gomes, who tackled the hard topics He will be missed among the thinking Christian community.

      March 2, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  16. JohnQuest

    Ryan from SF, you know this because Jesus told you or are you just inferring from what you read in the Bible?

    March 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Jesus

      I never told him

      March 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Thanks for clearing that up, Jesus.

      March 1, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • I Am That I Am

      Ryan from SF: You're gonna smoke a tuuurd in Hell for that one. - God

      March 2, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • Brandon

      thanks Jesus and say hello to the spahgetti monster upstairs at your cloud party 😀

      March 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  17. Ryan from SF

    While I'm grateful for anything positive this man brought to society, It's impossible to be a ho-mo-$exual and a Christian both at the same time. Now there are people I know who were delivered from ho-mo-$exuality, or adultry, or lying, or stealing, or fornication that are marvelous Christians today. I completely understand why non-Christians or people from other religions see most Christians as hypocrites or divided even among themselves. If a man or woman uses buffet-style belief (i.e. picking and choosing what to believe) they merely create a whole new denomination. In summary, I would to God people professing to be 'Christian' would go back to the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles as found in the Bible.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • ryan

      ryan, you're a fa990t!
      and that's not why you're going to hell.

      March 1, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Peter

      Ryan- Rev Gomes was a true Christian- condemnation for injustice and falsehood and love for all. He also loved and accepted himself as a true child of God. A true Christian knows that God makes no mistakes and makes us all as God wants us to be. We destroy each other with hate and terrible lies.

      March 1, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I bet the people who you say were "delivered" from hom-o-se-xuality are either lying to you or to themselves.

      March 1, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • mom2boys

      Delivered from being g@y?? Buahahahahahaha. That would be funny if I knew you weren't being serious. G@y isn't a choice. You are born that way, plain and simple.

      March 2, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Church of Suicidal

      Next time you are in the buffet line, try an extra serving of that "not casting the first stone" lesson.

      March 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  18. RedPencilPR

    A lovely tribute. R.I.P. Rev. Gomes.

    March 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  19. Anglican

    May he rest in peace in the halls of the Holy Father.

    March 1, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  20. first one to comment


    March 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Jesus

      Why does Harvard need a Chaplain?

      March 1, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • I Am That I Am

      In spite of being a professor of a mythology I don't subscribe to, he seemed like an affable chap.

      March 2, 2011 at 2:08 am |
    • Benny

      Because people who are part of mythologies you don't subscribe to are not "affable chaps"? Quit trollin, you're scaring off those with constructive comments.

      March 2, 2011 at 4:07 am |
    • Pat

      Benny, bro, I agree!

      March 2, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Naperville Pat

      Benny, bro, they have tried but failed et all.

      March 2, 2011 at 10:05 am |
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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.