My Take: Bible condemns a lot, so why focus on homosexuality?
June 21st, 2011
10:10 AM ET

My Take: Bible condemns a lot, so why focus on homosexuality?

Editor's Note: Jonathan Dudley is the author of Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics.

By Jonathan Dudley, Special to CNN

Growing up in the evangelical community, I learned the Bible’s stance on homosexuality is clear-cut. God condemns it, I was taught, and those who disagree just haven’t read their Bibles closely enough.

Having recently graduated from Yale Divinity School, I can say that my childhood community’s approach to gay rights—though well intentioned—is riddled with self-serving double standards.

I don’t doubt that the one New Testament author who wrote on the subject of male-male intercourse thought it a sin. In Romans 1, the only passage in the Bible where a reason is explicitly given for opposing same-sex relations, the Apostle Paul calls them “unnatural.”

Problem is, Paul’s only other moral argument from nature is the following: “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?” (1 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Few Christians would answer that question with a “yes.”

In short, Paul objects to two things as unnatural: one is male-male sex and the other is long hair on men and short hair on women. The community opposed to gay marriage takes one condemnation as timeless and universal and the other as culturally relative.

I also don’t doubt that those who advocate gay marriage are advocating a revision of the Christian tradition.

But the community opposed to gay marriage has itself revised the Christian tradition in a host of ways. For the first 1500 years of Christianity, for example, marriage was deemed morally inferior to celibacy. When a theologian named Jovinian challenged that hierarchy in 390 A.D. — merely by suggesting that marriage and celibacy might be equally worthwhile endeavors — he was deemed a heretic and excommunicated from the church.

How does that sit with “family values” activism today?

Yale New Testament professor Dale B. Martin has noted that today’s "pro-family" activism, despite its pretense to be representing traditional Christian values, would have been considered “heresy” for most of the church’s history.

The community opposed to gay marriage has also departed from the Christian tradition on another issue at the heart of its social agenda: abortion.

Unbeknownst to most lay Christians, the vast majority of Christian theologians and saints throughout history have not believed life begins at conception.

Although he admitted some uncertainty on the matter, the hugely influential 4th and 5th century Christian thinker Saint Augustine wrote, “it could not be said that there was a living soul in [a] body” if it is “not yet endowed with senses.”

Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic saint and a giant of mediaeval theology, argued: “before the body has organs in any way whatever, it cannot be receptive of the soul.”

American evangelicals, meanwhile, widely opposed the idea that life begins at conception until the 1970s, with some even advocating looser abortion laws based on their reading of the Bible before then.

It won’t do to oppose gay marriage because it’s not traditional while advocating other positions that are not traditional.

And then there’s the topic of divorce. Although there is only one uncontested reference to same-sex relations in the New Testament, divorce is condemned throughout, both by Jesus and Paul. To quote Jesus from the Gospel of Mark: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.”

A possible exception is made only for unfaithfulness.

The community most opposed to gay marriage usually reads these condemnations very leniently. A 2007 issue of Christianity Today, for example, featured a story on its cover about divorce that concluded that Christians should permit divorce for “adultery,” “emotional and physical neglect” and “abandonment and abuse.”

The author emphasizes how impractical it would be to apply a strict interpretation of Jesus on this matter: “It is difficult to believe the Bible can be as impractical as this interpretation implies.”

Indeed it is.

On the other hand, it’s not at all difficult for a community of Christian leaders, who are almost exclusively white, heterosexual men, to advocate interpretations that can be very impractical for a historically oppressed minority to which they do not belong – homosexuals.

Whether the topic is hair length, celibacy, when life begins, or divorce, time and again, the leaders most opposed to gay marriage have demonstrated an incredible willingness to consider nuances and complicating considerations when their own interests are at stake.

Since graduating from seminary, I no longer identify with the evangelical community of my youth. The community gave me many fond memories and sound values but it also taught me to take the very human perspectives of its leaders and attribute them to God.

So let’s stop the charade and be honest.

Opponents of gay marriage aren’t defending the Bible’s values. They’re using the Bible to defend their own.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jonathan Dudley.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Homosexuality • Opinion

soundoff (6,474 Responses)
  1. bachmanforprez

    the libs are tryeng to take over and destroy this country I think the devil is very affluent today. They even are getting glen beck off the air. Listen people to Beck h eis right the libs are taking over and bringeng down usa.

    June 29, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      Looks like someone's tin foil hat is screwed on a bit too tight.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Dan

      Looks like you're trolling.

      June 29, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Charlie Richards

      Yes, the devil is quite affluent – just look at the bank accounts of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh!

      June 29, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  2. bachmanforprez

    There is a evil conspiacy out to ruin this country and lead us to armegdon by the libs. We need to band together before the marter us all. We are undr atteck. Listen to Glen Beck, they are evn gttng him now too.

    June 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • amused

      Too funny. Either this is satire or I have a piece of ocean front property in Kansas to sell you

      June 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • what

      sad thing about this is that there are people who talk this way and really believe that there is a big purple conspiracy out to get them

      June 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  3. Tim Campbell

    "Since graduating from (Yale) seminary, I no longer identify with the evangelical community of my youth."

    Oh really? Are we supposed to be surprised by this? That he became more liberal at Yale...

    June 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  4. Mike

    Since there seems to be so many wise christians on this blog, I have a question that I would like you to answer for me. As I understand the "story", Jesus died on the cross to atone for the sins of man. The Bible makes it clear that "sin is transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4) and that "all unrighteousness is sin" (1 John 5:17). thus we are all sinners. As the "story" goes, if we accept the Lord into our hearts we can then be saved and forgiven for our sins. From a prayer accepting Jesus, “God, I know that I have sinned against You and deserve punishment. But I believe Jesus Christ took the punishment I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I receive Your offer of forgiveness and place my trust in You for salvation. I accept Jesus as my personal Savior! Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness—the gift of eternal life! Amen!”. So here is the question, If I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior and I confess the sin of laying with another man, am I too not forgiven? Where in the bible does it suggest that, that sin is so abhorrent that it cannot be forgiven yet taking the Lords name in vain ( breaking one of the Ten Commandments ) can be whipped away with a few hail marries? Where in the Bible, not its interpretation, does it ever suggest that one group of sinners ( gays, or any other ) are in a category so perverse that they are excluded from the love of Jesus? I look forward to your well thought out answers.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Esther

      Mike, You have a better understanding and are more logical than many christians out there. if the Bible is read properly in the correct context, it says that Jesus dies for the sins of His Church (unlike the contemporary expression, the word Church according to the Bible is small group of people not a builing or an organization). Christ completely finished the work of salvation for His Church. The (Church) are those people that love and will follow Him. This might rise up lot of questions as the Bible is not read or interpreted as it should be in the current world of Chritendom.Hope this helps.

      June 29, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Allison Andrews

      You're correct, Mike, that those who belong to Jesus Christ are forgiven their sins, but it's not the same as a "Get Out of Jail Free" card. Christians should understand, first, that all humans are sinners, second, that only Christ's atoning sacrifice can free us from the wages of sin (eternal death), and, finally, that the correct response to the gift of salvation is joyous thanksgiving. When people do truly grasp the sacrifice that has been made for them, they gradually become more and more desirous of avoiding those behaviors that grieve God (sin). We call it sanctification. People who continue to sin, throw out a few insincere "please forgive me's" and think they're following Christ's desires are sadly mistaken. It's also an indication that they are not sincere in their love for Christ.

      Most important, if Christians have been correctly taught about sin and their own sin nature, they should never be ugly or unkind toward other sinners. They need to remove the timber from their own eye before they point out the splinter in another's eye. Christians should be loving, generous, and selfless, because that's what Christ calls for. That does not mean we allow sin to be ignored. For instance, my besetting sin is gluttony. As a result, I am overweight. It hurts me deeply when people use slurs about my appearance or that of other heavy people. It's unkind and un-Christian to call me a fatty or porker. The people who do are not behaving in a Christ-like way. But I would be disappointed in my pastor if he chose to define gluttony as an 'unimportant' sin, or a behavior that needs modification, but not a sin. It is a sin; I haven't trusted God to help me reject it, and the consequence is my weight. My pastor is correct in telling people that God wants us to treat our bodies as holy temples and should, therefore, engage in healthy eating habits. That's his job. It convicts me, but I wouldn't want a pastor who only tells me the things that tickle my ears. If I am not convicted, I cannot recognize my sin. And if I do not recognize my sin, I cannot ask for the forgiveness of God.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • amused

      Imagine all this brain space wasted on fairy tales that people need to believe in order to soothe thier own fears.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      The answer to your question is not really complicated, since you seem to understand what does it take to come to God for the gift of salvation. It is in Christ's righteousness that a repentant soul puts his/her trust.....t is not our earning forgiveness, and salvation, but it is God's gift.
      But it is CONDITIONAL!
      That's where the sticky thing is. God knows human heart, God sees the condition of it. " For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart ". God knows the intents of human heart. The insincere, unrepentant person will receive NOTHING from the Lord.
      There is no sin that anyone has committed that it will not be forgiven, except one: It is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Jesus IS The Word of God, who became flesh. The Holy Spirit is the One who testifies of who Christ is. He is the Spirit of Truth. If anyone claims to know God, and even says he believes in Christ, but rejects the Spirit of Truth, he has rejected the real Christ. Thee ar many false Christs, made up by man's willful denial of the TRUE ONE. But no one can be saved with believing in false Christ.

      The bottom lie is, if one truly comes to Christ Jesus, trusting in His finished work of the cross, and with a humble and repentant heart, asking Christ into His heart, he will become a NEW CREATION. God will give him/her a new heart. This person will never be the same!!!

      So, when a gay person comes to the Lord, He will forgive him his sins. But just like He said to the woman who was about to be stoned, He says to the sinner who comes to Him : Neither do I condemn you ..GO AND SIN NO MORE!

      It takes the grace of God not to sin, but here is the verse that gives hope to those who wonder....:
      "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new"2Corinthians 5:17.
      This is what the world can not comprehend, but we are told that a natural mind can not comprehend the things of the Spirit ....nor can a natural man fathom the POWER OF GOD!

      June 29, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Dan

      Of course they can be fogiven, but is must be preceded by repentence. "Without repentance there is no remission of sins" (Luke 13:3).

      June 29, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Elijah's Rain

      Galatians 5:19-21 and 1 Corinthians 6:9 is mentioning those that have rejected God and his means of salvation which is Jesus. It's not just singling out one group but rather explaining the condition of the heart of anyone that practices any of this whole heartedly. Sin comes in all shapes and sizes but to God it's all sin which simply means it falls short of what God had originally intended for us to live. I have friends that are gay and are Christian and struggle with this paradox but then on the other hand, I'm a Christian and I struggle with other things that are just as bad so you see it's all the same in God's eyes.

      June 29, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Floyd Mayweather is a duck and he likes to quack quack he is now pretending to fight Manny Pacquiao to market his upcoming fight against Victor Ortiz.

      @amused...Apparently you don't have something to waste.

      June 30, 2011 at 1:22 am |
  5. David

    While the time of ensoulment was discussed, abortion existed at the beginnings of the Church and was repudiated. Gay marriage doesn't make any sense, its based on pure emotionism. Somewhere along the line the author has come to believe that rejecting any connotations about the generation of children is applicable to the ancient Church.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  6. Logical

    Man and woman were created to 'procreate'. How can a 'man and man' or 'woman and woman' procreate?

    June 29, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Mike

      So, if a man or a woman is infertile, they shouldn't be able to marry because they cannot procreate?

      June 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Chris

      The infertile couple still give themselves fully to the process of children. They "just might get lucky this time". The act of union for the Gay couple is never open to children. This is the consistent historical position of the Catholic Church. It will not change because it can't. Union without the intent of children can never be marriage no matter what law is passed. 99.9% of human history gives witness. And yes the Church has been consistently against using birth control, especially to "decide to not have any kids". But even with these couples there is the chance that they may have a change of heart. This is not possible for the gay couple.

      June 29, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Pixx

      @Chris: Um, you can't "just get lucky this time" if you're infertile. Infertility is pretty damn permanent. Also, by your logic, then elderly women past menopause should not be allowed to get married. She can't reproduce, so she's worthless and useless? And what about couples who deliberately have their tubes tied or get vasectomies to prevent pregnancy? Should they not be allowed to get married? If they do get married, should it immediately become annulled after they take steps toward permanent birth control? Marriage is NOT all about having children; there are many reasons people marry without any intention of having kids. It's fine if YOUR marriage is about having kids, but you don't get to dictate what MY marriage should be about. Good lord.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • amused

      There are people out there who are unable to have childern. Also i find it great that you have answered the question to why are we here. Because according to you we are here for the sole purpose of reproduction. So I guess everyone past their reproducing age and everyone unable to reproduce are useless.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Hope

      On the issue of infertility, simply look to the Bible for examples. Abraham and Sara were well beyond child bearing years, yet they eventually had Isaac. Rebekah, Hannah and numerous other women in the Bible perhaps believed they were infertile, but God allowed a miracle to occur and they had children. Miracles happen today, too.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • amused

      ok hope, and if i see a great fish that wants to eat me I know I'll be ok because Jonah was. Really, I can't believe that someone would use an ancient story/myth to justify an arguement from a person whose ultimate goal is to keep others from having equal rights and opportunities. (sarcasm)

      June 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Mike

      Hope – Then by your own logic, God could intervene and make a gay couple have a baby. I will pray for that miracle! Please do't come at me with logic about all the right pieces needed, we are talking about miracles now, and with miracles anything is possible!

      June 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      God made some things not to be altered, and when men do, it carries/produces deadly co-nseq-uences..... Hom-ose-xua-lity is contrary to nature , it's a perversion of intent of God, His order, His design, and that's why he calls it abomination in His sight.
      It is the spirit of rebellion of this age that's pressing it to humanity, because satan knows his time is short, so he is fully determinate to spread his evil like a plague, and it affects every human being who is not under the protection of Almighty God .That's why we are seeing such explosion of ungodliness upon the earth, unlike in any other age, other then right before the flood, when God destroyed the human race, saving only few. Jesus said it would be this way....

      But, be sure of that, sin of ho-mo-se-xu-ality goes much deeper then just not to being designed to procreate!

      June 29, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  7. Muneef

    Some men? They even cannot be trusted with their butts? So can they be trusted with any thing else....!

    June 29, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • Zelda

      Muneef you still doing Satan's work with Islam or have you accepted Jesus as you savior?

      June 29, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Muneef


      What a comment that was...accusing me of Satan works...how are you so sure that it is not you who is doing that?

      July 2, 2011 at 7:08 am |
  8. Newsline

    This is the anti-Cristian, anti-faith section of CNN. Everything they publish here is deliberately biased in this direction. Not to wonder. Obviously the editor of this section is biased to the brim.

    June 29, 2011 at 4:56 am |
    • Mary

      This went under the wrong user the first time. Yes I know. My last three comments in the past two days have all been awaiting moderation...hmm. I guess next time I should say I love sodomy and then maybe they will post my comment. Although apparently if you are liberal you can post the same you tube video 99 times.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • yo

      The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".
      • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.
      Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".
      And said moderators still have not solved the chronological placement of comments once the number of comments gets above about 100. They recently have taken to dividing the comments in batches of 50 or so, for some strange reason. Maybe they did this to solve the chronology problem only to make comment reviews beyond the tedious.
      “Raison's Filter Fiber© (joking about the copyright)
      1. Here's my latest list – this seems like a good spot to set this down, as nobody's posting much on this thread.....
      bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to post that wonderful argument:
      Many, if not most are buried within other words, but I am not shooting for the perfect list, so use your imagination and add any words I have missed as a comment (no one has done this yet)
      – I found some but forgot to write them down. (shrugs).
      c-um.........as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, etc.
      sp-ic........as in disp-icable (look out Sylvester the cat!)
      ho-mo...whether ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, etc.
      t-it.........const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, (an unexpected one)
      va-g....as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant
      ar-se....yet "ass" is not filtered!
      jacka-ss...but ass is fine lol
      p-is.....as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, etc.
      o ficti-tious, repeti-tion, competi-tion.
      There are more, so do not assume that this is complete.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Kevin

      Or you could read the blog and realize that the have posted positions on both sides of this issue.
      Claiming that the media source is biased is silly because every source of media has a bias since its written by people.
      Furthermore, an article written by a Christian primarily to the Christian community in a manner that is not combative and is meant to be edifying is not Anti-Christian. If you think it is you should provide some justification as to why you think that is. Otherwise your comment is merely Ad Hominem.

      June 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  9. John

    You are a product of a liberal divinity school.

    June 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • Newsline

      His lost all his time there for the worst

      June 29, 2011 at 4:57 am |
    • Mary

      Yes I know. My last three comments in the past two days have all been awaiting moderation...hmm. I guess next time I should say I love sodomy and then maybe they will post my comment. Although apparently if you are liberal you can post the same you tube video 99 times.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  10. kme

    My take: it's totally in the Bible, but what does that have to do with American law? Equal rights are pretty simple and don't require the Bible to say Yea or Nay.

    June 28, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Pixx

      Right? RIGHT? Uh, separation of church and state, anybody?

      June 29, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  11. Chris

    "Unbeknownst to most lay Christians, the vast majority of Christian theologians and saints throughout history have not believed life begins at conception."
    To use this as a defence of abortion is a complete distortion used many times by those with an agenda. Do you somehow think that the Catholic Church is not aware of its own theologians? NEVER has the church EVER thought that abortion was acceptable. Abortion was not an issue for these theologians, they were speculating as to when the soul enters the body, it has nothing to do with when life begins. Please stop using this "evidence".

    June 28, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Tom Jacobs

      The question of when the soul enters the body is, from a historical theological perspective, exactly the same as the question of when moral life begins. Sure, past theologians still opposed abortion before then, but only because it was a form of contraception, not because they thought it involved killing a person

      June 28, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Chris

      "In the course of history, the Fathers of the Church, her Pastors and her Doctors have taught the same doctrine [that human life must be protected and favored from the beginning, just as at the various stages of its development] – the various opinions on the infusion of the spiritual soul did not introduce any doubt about the illicitness of abortion. It is true that in the Middle Ages, when the opinion was generally held that the spiritual soul was not present until after the first few weeks, a distinction was made in the evaluation of the sin and the gravity of penal sanctions. Excellent authors allowed for this first period more lenient case solutions which they rejected for following periods. But it was never denied at that time that procured abortion, even during the first days, was objectively grave fault. This condemnation was in fact unanimous." – 1974 ‘Declaration on Procured Abortion’, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

      June 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Tom Jacobs

      "the various opinions on the infusion of the spiritual soul did not introduce any doubt about the illicitness of abortion"

      True, but as I said before, they opposed it because they opposed all contraception (and, indeed, viewed all contraception a gravely evil), not because they thought it was taking the life of a person before ensoulment.

      June 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • Chris

      "not because they thought it was taking the life of a person before ensoulment."

      Only because of their lack of biological knowledge (he thought that an "animal spirit" dwelled in semen) . To some how speculate that Aquinas would endorse modern abortion because of this is absurd.

      June 28, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • Rev Dr Gregory D. Davidson

      Chris, you are very mistaken. The church has always stood on the stance that life begins at conception. The Apostle Paul. King David, and the law of Moses all affirm this. If there are Christians who do not believe that life begins at conception, they are reading the wrong Bible.

      June 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • Chris

      I think you mean Tom?

      June 29, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  12. tessa

    yo...sorry you hate christians..but we have to say the truth no matter if you want to harm us or throw stones at us..remember we are come from a long history of maryters and i would and ill willingly die for the cause. like the early christians to spread truth even in the face of adverisity and dispair would be ok.

    June 28, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Yo

      And people like you have been proven wrong time and time again yet you still don't learn. You have to tell yourself that in order to justify the hatred and bigotry in your heart which means their is no place for Chirst's true love. God created gay people to show you that your heart is corrupt.

      June 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Pixx

      Right. Because Christians in this country are SUCH minorities and are SO oppressed by general laws and society. You NEVER get your way in ANYTHING and EVERYONE is just so MEAN to you. There are so FEW of you in America and all the mean old liberal atheists just push you around. *snort* Give me a break.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  13. URJustWRong

    I started to read this and then couldn't concentrate because Jonathan Dudley is HOTTTT!

    June 28, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • roninatl

      amen to that!!

      June 28, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  14. tessa

    those two men on the cake really say it all.. people are going crazy....evil is flipping everything backwards false and many are reeling it in...An the thing is many are suckered in to believeing God OKs it...Wow..the satanist are sure powerful in todays works. It makes a mockery of marriage and family...woe,,woe..unto us and God help us all. I rally wouldn't call us a cilvilized nation..i would call us a nation going to the dogs.

    June 28, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Yo

      YOU "tessa" are the reason it's going to the dogs your prejudice and bigotry has no place in this country. It's been shown gays are born this way, it's NOT a choice and it can't be voluntarily changed.

      God created gays which is why it's not a sin as long as they are saved and married before God. What is a sin is using s-ex to worship a pagan god, male prost-itution and idolatry. There are many churches, priests, pastors and rabbi's that have gone on record stating that what we now know and understand about gays it's not a sin.

      June 28, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Rich

      Truly, woe unto us. We use the Bible to spread hate and ignorance. Tessa, back in the day, Christians used the Bible to justify slavery. Christians traditionally believed that Canaan had settled in Africa. The dark skin of Africans became associated with this "curse of Ham." Thus slavery of Africans became religiously justifiable. (look it up) Hate to say it, but while God is always right, man isn't always right. The boy who wrote this article is correct – you are not defending the Bible's values, you're hiding behind the Bible to defend your own values.

      June 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • faret

      Good comment.
      I'm not surprise about where the world is heading. Next someone will come up with the right to marry his biological children. Wait and see. Satan will be destroyed very soon.

      June 28, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Yo

      "Next someone will come up with the right to marry his biological children. Wait and see. "

      The fact you actually wrote this shows you are clueless on the subject regarding gayst. Now, if it's related to the bible then yes incest is how it all started based on the Adam and Eve theory. 😉

      June 28, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Jimbo

      @YO. Yes incest did start with Adam and Eve and God allowed it. Once the earth was populated enough, He forbade it. Read up on something before you make dumb comments.

      June 28, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • ReeMM

      Rich is quite correct on this point . . . for further information, please see the book "The Aryan Myth" by Leon Poliakov.

      June 29, 2011 at 6:46 am |
    • Yo

      "@YO. Yes incest did start with Adam and Eve and God allowed it. Once the earth was populated enough, He forbade it. Read up on something before you make dumb comments."

      You just proved that God isn't perfect and made a mistake. LOL!

      June 29, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Pixx

      One thing that seriously irks me about "Christians" like you is that if people don't agree with your specific narrow viewpoint, they must be a "satanist". You do realize that there are a lot of other religions out there besides yours, right? People aren't "satanists" because they don't agree with you; they don't worship Satan because they don't follow your religion. Satan is a part of YOUR religion, not theirs. Of course they don't worship him. Also, I know many, MANY conservatives and Christians who are personally offended by "Christians" like you. They preach love, not your endless cycle of vicious hate and judgment.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Jimbo

      @Pixx........ If your conservative and Christian friends are going to preach the love of God, then they also ought to be preaching the judgement of God. He is a loving God, but a rightous one that WILL not tolerate sin in Heaven. You can read of Gods love in the Bible just like you can read about His judgement. You can't have one without the other.

      June 29, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Tessa is right, YOU are wrong!

      God created male and female, and even the barbarians know that practicing h-uality is an abomination. Those who defend it, endorse it and promote it, are partakers with those who practice it. But those who say that God made hom-o-se-xuals the way they are, are MAKING GOD TO BE A LIAR! And that's what you're doing!

      You can make up God to yourself to be what you want him to be, but you're only deceiving yourself! God NEVER changes, His Word declares His truth, and the Spirit of God testifies to it! You can gain votes and cheers of the crowd, and that's the size of your reward! But you will face your Maker, and will answer to Him for belittling His people who are speaking the truth! And no consti-tution will protect you there!

      June 29, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • Yo

      "But those who say that God made hom-o-se-xuals the way they are, are MAKING GOD TO BE A LIAR! And that's what you're doing!"

      You are the one that is WRONG! God created gays; it's been proven with science they are born this way. It's men who wrote the bible with their bias and prejudice viewpoints and men today who continue interpreting with bias and prejudice hearts. The scriptures that are used to condemn gays has nothing to do with what we now know about them. When you put the scriptures into historical context which is fundamental to real reading comprehension then it's not about true ho-mos-exuality, it's about using se-x to worship a pagan god, male prosti-tution and idolatry. Gays that are saved and get married before God will be going to heaven, bias and prejudice people like you will not. Oh how I love being inspired by the Holy Spirit.

      June 30, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      @ yo
      You do NOT know the Holy Spirit, or else you would recognize His testimony. You do not know real Christ, nor the nature and character of God. If you did, you would recognize the truth. God's sheep hears His voice and they follow Him. You obviously do not recognize the voice of REAL Shepherd, nor discern the truth from a lie! But it is fro the reason given in the scriptures:

      "......God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
      He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

      You see, dear, your, and your practicing ho-mo-se-xual friends' problem is NOT with ME but with GOD!

      June 30, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Yo

      Prism you're clueless dear.

      "ou see, dear, your, and your practicing ho-mo-se-xual friends' problem is NOT with ME but with GOD!"

      God knows the hearts of ho-m0-s-exuals just fine and because they are created by God, love God, are saved through Christ and married before God they WILL be going to heaven. You dear will be the one in he-ll scratching what's left of your head because you are too blind and deaf to see how corrupt your prejudice heart is and THAT Is YOUR problem.

      June 30, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      I should say you are laughable, silly goose.... but, no ! You're just pathetic!

      But go ahead, have yourself the "last word" if it maes you feel better! I should not care! Your mouth will be silent soon enough!

      I'm done w/u

      June 30, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Yo!

      "You're just pathetic!"

      No, you are since you can't see how deep the corruption in your heat is leading you to he-ll.

      July 5, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  15. suemoagain

    I am a Christ follower and I really like this article. SO happy to see it written. It can be applied to several other areas where folks have grown accustomed to using the Bible to support their own values. The Bible is not the word of God. It's inspired by God through people. Jesus Himself is the Word of God. The Bible points us to Jesus. God is Love. God alone is judge. We are called to love one another and to judge only ourselves, our own behavior.

    June 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Jewel

      I agree with you totally

      June 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Buddy R

      Sir, you say you are a follower of Christ. Christ taught that God made male and female and that from the beginning God intended the man to leave his parents and cleave to his wife. G_ay se_x is called sin before, during, and after the Mosaic Law. Jesus said we must all repent of our sins or burn in hell. When a Christian says what the Bible says is sin is sin, he is not judging, sir.

      Isa 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

      June 28, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Coram Deo

      As a Christ follower you should understand the importance of judgment within the context of community. When you become a part of the community of Christ-followers (the church) you are subjugating yourself to the body of Christ (fellow Christ-followers). This voluntary act then permits, and in many cases REQUIRES that other Christ followers judge your life and actions with the objective commands of God found in scripture. It is for our BENEFIT that we allow ourselves to be judged by other believers in order that we may grow and it is for the benefit of others that we judge them in order that they may too have opportunity for growth. Please read 1 Corinthians 5:12.

      June 28, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  16. Bill

    Are we forgetting the Old Testament? Repent and turn away from this sin, or pay the consequences later. Is it loving to watch someone throw themselves into a lake of fire? We are all guilty of sin, but living in open rebellion to God, and not being repentant of your sin will lead to Judgement. It is comming to God in true repentance of your sin and taking Christ as your savior that you have absolution. Jesus does not equal a sin pass. If you love God you will follow his Law.

    June 28, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Self-forgiven

      Really? You really want to go into the Old Testament here? With a million laws that nobody could ever obey? Wasn't that why you purport that Jesus died, to fulfill the Law? And are you obeying the Greatest Commandment, "Love your neighbor as yourself," with your gay neighbors? Would they agree, or would they say that you are best when silent?

      June 28, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Yo

      That's why being gay is not a sin, they are born this way, they are God's creation. There are churches, pastors, priests and rabbi's that have gone on record stating that being gay is not a sin. It's time to come into this century and put the scriptures into historical perspective that part of reading comprehension 101!

      June 28, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  17. Hugh Donagher

    Excellent analysis. Reminds me of a truism I recently heard elsewhere: "People tend to make rules for others and exceptions for themselves."

    June 28, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • unbeliever

      a sentence really worth remembering. along the line of the straw in your eye, vs the beam in my own...

      June 28, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Umm

      I am sure that most people forget that both the old and new testament makes a complete bible. Jesus said he came to fulfil the laws but not to change them. I have seen a lot of writers that want to be popular to get Earthly glory have twisted and over twisted simple truths as enshrined the bible. You can take a look at Lev 18: 22 "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination" This is detestable and abominable, simple!

      June 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  18. TheTRUTH

    What was Sodom and gomorrah about?.... ANYONE!!!

    June 28, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Self-forgiven

      Sodom and Gomorrah was a Middle Eastern myth adapted to encounter the prejudices of the day. Have any shrimp lately? How about wearing clothing of two different fabrics? Shall we stone you now or at a time more convenient for you?

      June 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • unbeliever

      well said. all these prejudices listed in your books are doomed anyway. you can discuss as much as you want but gay marriage is here, better deal with it or you will be as obsolete as your prejudices.

      June 28, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Yo

      OH...lets see.... since sodomy is about an-al or or-al copu-lation with a member of the opposite se-x. It was actually about ra-pe!

      June 28, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Muneef

      For the sake of frank in the truth thread I repost ;
      Lut (Lot)
      Description of the People of Sodom

      In Christian and Islamic traditions, Sodom and Gomorrah have become synonymous with impenitent sin, and their fall with a proverbial manifestation of God's wrath.[Jude 1:7][1] Sodom and Gomorrah have also been used as metaphors for vice and h-omo$exuality viewed as a deviation. The story has therefore given rise to words in several languages, including the English word "so-do-my", used in so-called so-do-my laws to describe $exual acts deemed unnatural.[2]

      June 28, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Tim Campbell


      Ezekiel 16:49

      49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  19. c

    Jonathan, while I appreciate your article and your 'take' and liberty on Scripture. Christians are merely trying to live Gods word. Now, that being said, it wouldnt be such an issue if the gay community would stop insisting we accept that lifestyle. I am very tolerent and loving. What I dont do is accept all lifestyles. Doesnt make me a hater, just a believer. I do not want to see a gay couple standing up on my alter getting married in church. Period. I believe in gay rights. I beleive a loving gay couple should have a legal union and receive the same benefits that I receive in my marriage. But why why why do gays insist on the word 'marriage'? Why not call it something else? What is the big deal? Because like a spoiled rotten little child, they want what they want no matter what. It has nothing to do with equality, it has everything to do with being a bully and not being tolerent of my beliefs or feelings.

    June 28, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Yo

      So "C" what if whites had said that to the African Americans like that. Oh, you can have the same rights but just don't call them civil rights. Or...what if men had said that to women, oh...you can have the same rights but you have to call it Fem Rights, not civil rights.

      Oh and guess what all the people who are ra-cist probably felt the same way you do, don't tread on my beliefs and feelings, but they don't deserve the same rights as me! What a hypocrite. Well guess what in the eyes of the law your feelings don't matter – Thank God!!!!!!!

      June 28, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • unbeliever

      fantastic, let's let them have it but call it malliage or parriage or rammiage...

      June 28, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • No need for Christ when we have the judge and jury right here!!!!!

      Interesting that you refer to the "gays" that you will tolerate if they stay away and hidden as spoiled rotten children. Also very telling that you believe that you should be automatically given your own freedom of your chosen religion and that everyone else should be bound to your belief system....You make a choice to believe in your religion and everyone should live according to your beliefs...Hmmmm....... Most of the time nobody lives up to those religious rules but because you happen to be straight ask for forgiveness and wham.....Good bye sins.....But the one thing that gays cant change or have chosen for themselves are told to be quite, be invisible and stay celibate.... Considering that most married couples cant even stay monogamous that is most amusing and shows most of you for hypocrites, liars and so judgmental that Jesus must be weeping constantly for still "you know not what you do ...."

      June 28, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Self-forgiven

      There is simply no way to justify the two views. Either the entire Bible is infallible, inerrant, and literally accurate as written, or it is not. Ken, your words are appreciated but they are a great example of the hypocrisy of the evangelical church: I can interpret the Bible to suit my own prejudices and life situation, and my interpretation is correct. Your rationale simply and purely is used, as it is in the evangelical churches in which I was a member, to buttress your own world view. Many churches would not allow you to be a member, much less a pastor. You know that continually practiced sin is rebellion against the angry God of conservative theology. You are living in rebellion and adultery according to your own theology– unless you've adapted it to your own purposes. Which way will it be, sir? There is no middle ground. There is only black and white. Literalism or liberalism?

      June 28, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Self-forgiven

      If Christians were attempting to live God's word through hate actions and prejudice toward gays, they would also be zealous about obeying other laws. Does your wife go to church? Does she speak there? Does she wear jewelry? Is she submissive to you? Are your children submissive to you? Do you have friendships with non-believers? How about people who "say"" they are Christians, but don't live it according to your interpretation? OK, let's go simpler. Do you love your neighbor as yourself? If your neighbor were gay, would he or she think you loved them or judged them? Have you done anything loving for a gay person in your life? (And no, preaching your version of the "truth" doesn't count here.) Have you served them? Brought them food? Offered them comfort in any way? If not...well, you're a hater and a hypocrite, in that you disobey your own greatest commandment, yet offer judgment on the civil rights of others. Feh.

      June 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • After39years

      Yes... I don't know why they need the same thing to feel equal when they could have something else that connotes something different. I also don't know why Black people ever needed to drink out of the same water fountains as us white folks. After all, their fountains had the same water.

      June 29, 2011 at 2:44 am |
  20. Ken B

    I am taken back by your new found wisdom, that does not hold water to what the whole Bible teaches. The exciting thing is as much as I disagree with your new wisdom, I can still love you in this disagreement. Even though I am divorced...re married and an evangelical Pastor whos sin(s), including divorce have been forgiven. It is saddening that the teachings of this world are swallowing up inteligent Bible believers such as you, I will pray that God will stear your heart back to His truth and His wisdom.

    June 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • unbeliever

      you have been forgiven?

      June 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Yo

      So Ken you don't even follow the bible and yet you are passing judgment on someone else who doesn't agree with your obvious bias interpretation.

      June 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Self-forgiven

      There is simply no way to justify the two views. Either the entire Bible is infallible, inerrant, and literally accurate as written, or it is not. Ken, your words are appreciated but they are a great example of the hypocrisy of the evangelical church: I can interpret the Bible to suit my own prejudices and life situation, and my interpretation is correct. Your rationale simply and purely is used, as it is in the evangelical churches in which I was a member, to buttress your own world view. Many churches would not allow you to be a member, much less a pastor. You know that continually practiced sin is rebellion against the angry God of conservative theology. You are living in rebellion and adultery according to your own theology– unless you've adapted it to your own purposes. Which way will it be, sir? There is no middle ground. There is only black and white. Literalism or liberalism? (Copied from above after responding to a different post)

      June 28, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Your Ex-wife

      I never forgave you.

      June 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Jimbo

      @Ken B. If you have been divorced, then you know after reading the Bible that you are no longer qualified to lead God's children. As stated in 1Tim3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; A husband of 1 wife. It doesn't matter why you got divorced or even if you got saved after that divorce. You must be a husband of ONE wife in order to lead God's children. Don't get mad at me, I didn't say it. God had it written down for us so we would know how He wants His church ran. You are more than likely leading "your" congregation to a devils hell if you just pick and choose what parts of the Bible you want to follow. Do the right thing, Step down as "pastor" and ask for forgivness.

      June 28, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      "You are more than likely leading "your" congregation to a devils hell if you just pick and choose what parts of the Bible you want to follow"
      LOL! It looks that this is exactly what you're doing.....picking and choosing what your simple legalistic mind thinks that it understands! satan loves to trap God's people and use verses taken out of context as a whip on them. You are one of those who fell for his lies. But God sets His people free! And they know the voice of their Shepherd!

      June 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Jimbo

      @Prism 1234...... So what verses of the Bible am I just picking and choosing to comment on? Where in the Bible does God say He allows a divorced man that has gotten remarried to lead His children? Go ahead look.............. still waiting............. that's right. NOWHERE. God is very specific about who He wants to lead His church. 1Tim3:2 was NOT taken out of context.

      July 1, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      A young woman was raised as a nominal Christan, but was not born again. She met a man, got married, they had a daughter. Her husband begun to display his real nature, showing who he really is: a lewd, perverse man, so perverse taht he molested their own daughter, while she was a little child. In her desperation and heart filled with sorrow, the young woman turned to the God of her youth, and truly gave her heart and life to Him. He forgave her sins, cleansed her, and made her a new creation in Him.

      The man did not follow the same example, but continued in his lewdness. She could not live with a man of such character, and demanded him out of home. They divorced. She stayed for years alone, living a pure life, presenting to the Lord the longing of her heart, praying for a husband and father for her daughter. This is a prayer she prayed: that God would give her a man after HIS OWN HEART, who would love HIM more then anything on this world, because she knew that if he would love GOD, he would love her and her child. She prayed that they would serve God together, as one, all the days of their lives.

      God answered her prayer, and sent hear a man who is exactly what she asked. He was called into the ministry, to be an in depth teacher of the Word of God. They served God together, and were, and still are, a blessing and help to many who are led astray by false doctrines.

      Early in their marriage, in a church where they attended, the pastor told her that she was out of the will of God for divorcing and re-marrying again. That pastor was very proud on his stand on the Bible, but right there he has shown that he didn't hear God!

      Here is the question to you, friend: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THIS WOMAN?

      But here are THREE seperate parts of Scriptures that you need to consider, and therewith BALANCE OUT the one that you quoted from 1Timothy ch. 3

      ~~~Matthew 18:15-17~~~~~1Corrinthians 7:11-15~~~~~~~2 Corinthians 5:7

      I won't tell you how to do that! You need to ALLOW GOD to do it in you BY HIS SPIRIT!
      If you don't, then you have no business to take isolated verses and use them as whips on God's precious lambs!

      July 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Jimbo

      @PRISM 1234....... Those are very good verses, but none of them say it is fine by God if a divorced and remarried man leads the church. They can serve the church, but not as a preacher or deacon. And why did you leave out 1Cor 7:10 which states; unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband. Jesus even says it isn't a command from Him, but God himself. I can totally understand why this woman you speak of left her husband. I am also thankful the Lord sent her the man He did. But as unfortunate as it sounds, that man still has married a divorced woman and according to Gods word, is not fit to lead the church. I'm not saying he can't be a Sunday school teacher, but God says he cannot be the leader of His church. Their pastor is wrong with what he said. She could not stay with him due to the safety of her child. She divorced him, and iI know this may sound bad, due to fornication. I believe she was right for what she did. But regardless of the circ-umstances, it still is not right for her new husband to lead the church.

      July 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |

      July 4, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
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About this blog

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