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Amid Bachmann controversy, many Christians cool to conversion therapy for gays
Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and her husband Marcus, who says his counseling business uses conversion therapy for clients who request it.
July 18th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Amid Bachmann controversy, many Christians cool to conversion therapy for gays

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - When presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, addressed accusations that his Christian counseling business encourages homosexual clients to try to change their sexual orientation, he appeared to play down the role of so-called conversion therapy at his clinics.

"Is it a remedy form that I typically would use?” Bachmann told Minnesota’s Star Tribune newspaper. “It is at the client's discretion.

"We don't have an agenda or a philosophy of trying to change someone," Bachmann said, noting that such therapy was not a focus of his two clinics.

Michele Bachmann officially quits her church

Bachmann’s seeming ambivalence about conversion therapy - sometimes called reparative therapy - after a week’s worth of news stories that raised questions about whether his clinics promote the practice may illustrate a broader trend in the conservative Christian subculture.

While many evangelicals once viewed conversion therapy as key way to deal with homosexuality, many of the religious movement's leaders and organizations have cooled to the practice in recent years, as more science suggests that homosexuality may be innate and as new therapeutic approaches have emerged.

“Evangelicals, in quiet ways, are shifting to this position to where there is just not a lot of support for the change paradigm,” said Warren Throckmorton, an influential voice in the world of Christian counseling, referring to so-called change therapy.

“In the late 1990s, the debate was clearly, ‘Could gays change from being gay?’ and the focus was on orientation, and it was a big part of politics,” said Throckmorton, an associate professor of psychology at Grove City College, an evangelical school in Pennsylvania.

One sign of that shift, Throckmorton says, is the influential evangelical group Focus on the Family’s 2009 decision to stop funding a program teaching that “transformation is possible for those unhappy with same-sex attractions." (Focus, which said the move was due partly to financial pressures, handed the program off to another Christian group.)

The head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, meanwhile, a leading conservative Christian, has recently chided some evangelicals for characterizing homosexuality as a choice that’s relatively easy to change.

“We have spoken carelessly and unknowledgeably in the past to just say, ‘Just change. Just decide right now your pattern of attraction is not homosexual but heterosexual,’ ” Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler said. "We have to know better.”

“We understand that sexual attraction and a profile of someone’s sexuality is a complex of factors, some of which are certainly not chosen,” he continued. “It’s not just a matter of choice. It’s not something that’s turned on or turned off.”

Exodus International, the national Christian organization that promotes "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ," has de-emphasized conversion therapy in recent years as more of the counselors in its network have abandoned the practice.

“In the 1980s and '90s, the counseling emphasis was heavier than it was today,” said Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus. “Transformation in Christ is possible, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we will never be tempted or completely move beyond a certain struggle that we might have.

“But we can live through the filter of our faith and abide by that most, and leave behind all sorts of things that have power of us,” said Chambers, who once identified as gay but who says he no longer does.

Most conservative Christians point to biblical passages that condemn homosexuality and believe the Bible teaches that sex is to be reserved for married men and women.

The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution condemning conversion therapy in 2009, saying that “mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.”

But the same resolution also encouraged therapists to consider the religious beliefs of clients who say such beliefs are important to their views of homosexuality.

Some Christian counselors have moved away from reparative therapy and have adopted a therapeutic approach that Throckmorton describes as a “congruence paradigm.” The model encourages counselors to appreciate a client’s wishes to harmonize their values, often shaped by religion, and their sexuality.

Under the congruence approach, a religious person who considers homosexuality sinful could attempt to square their beliefs and sexuality by trying to remain celibate. A bisexual client who perceives a similar conflict could try to focus on heterosexual relationships.

But under the congruence model, it’s up to the client - not the therapist - to decide how to view his or her sexual orientation. “If they say 'I think being gay is OK and it’s what I want to pursue,' we’ll work with them to do that, too,” said Throckmorton.

Evangelical re-examination of conversion therapy is part of a larger conversation under way among conservative Christians on how to respond to homosexuality at a time when more gay people are coming out, when there's a new awareness of the bullying that many young gay people face and when the gay rights movement is making some big strides, including, in some states, legalized gay marriage.

“We’re silly to think that there are not gays coming to church, part of our congregations,” said Marcus Yoars, the editor of Charisma, a popular Christian magazine. “It’s the elephant in the room. Its ridiculous that we can’t address it in a manner of love first, which doesn’t mean watering down biblical teaching.”

For the first time in years, Charisma put the issue of homosexuality on the cover of its magazine for the July issue, in a package that includes a story of a woman who says she was “rescued from lesbianism.”

But Yoars said that conversion therapy should be seen as only a small part of the Christian response to homosexuality.

“We have to realize that reparative therapy is a fraction of what’s out there, especially in Christian counseling,” he said. “When it’s reduced to sound bites, it gives (the therapy) a bad rap and falls into the stereotype of all Christians feeling that this kind of therapy is what all Christian counselors should use.”

Another factor behind the new evangelical conversation around homosexuality and conversion therapy is a generational shift on attitudes toward the issues. Recent polls show that young evangelicals are much more supportive of rights for gay partners than their parents are, even as they mirror their parents' opposition to abortion.

"Retaining young people is crucial, and a more accepting generation will not tolerate business as usual when it comes to the debate over homosexuality," wrote Jonathan Merritt, a young evangelical leader, in a recent opinion piece. "Pastors need not compromise their convictions, but they can expect congregants to call for a more accepting, forgiving message – a more Christian message.

"If Christian leaders can’t make that transition – and quickly – instead of an awakening," Merritt wrote in the Christian Science Monitor, "evangelicals may be facing an exodus."

–CNN’s Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Homosexuality • Michele Bachmann • Politics • Uncategorized

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soundoff (2,293 Responses)
  1. rico

    does anyone find it ironic that Marcus Bachmann tries to repair gays?

    July 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Greg

      I do, but some gays have changed through non-religious means

      July 18, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • blf83

      To Greg: really? John Bobbitt, perhaps?

      July 18, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • bobby

      Greg, there have been some who went to these kind of therapies on the request of their families, to change from gay to straight. Every single one of them, later after leaving therapy, went back to being gay, as saying, " it is who I am, I should not wish to change". Many have been interviewed on TV about the therapies, siting coercion.

      July 19, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  2. Disappointed

    "Pastors need not compromise their convictions, but they can expect congregants to call for a more accepting, forgiving message – a more Christian message."

    Um, why aren't they already doing that? Why isn't a church preaching acceptance and forgiveness in the first place? How are they so focused on interpreting a few small passages and ignoring the majority of its teachings? This is why a church can never get me to stick around. I love God, but the majority of the people preaching His message are doing it wrong. As a Christian I should never feel unwelcome in the Lord's house, yet I have felt this way most of my life. I pray my children grow up in a far more tolerant society than I have, for their sake. I don't want to raise them without God in their lives when He has done so much for me, but I refuse to raise them in that kind of environment. I honestly think it's so ridiculous in this day and age. I can't be the only person that feels this excluded!

    July 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Tim

      As soon as ANYONE goes to a church...it is not perfect. As soon as anyone joins a professional society it is not perfect. Because we are imperfect people. Get over yourself and be part of a fallen, but forgiven church.

      July 18, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  3. mrcomment

    Between CNN's liberal bias and pushing the 'Gay Agenda' I think I will quit looking at it. It is getting old. There is no balance in their reporting.

    July 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Patrick

      Sorry that CNN doesn't base their reporting on mythology. Have a nice day!

      July 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • petercha

      Good point, mrcomment.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • D

      Better point by Patrick. 🙂

      July 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • ReallyModComeON

      I would pay real money if CNN could post a story that did not favor the Gay left.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • lalo

      @ReallyModComeON
      For the time being keep giving your money to right wing fox who hates anyone not like them

      July 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Len

      Hate to break this too you but you aren't going to find that anywhere.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Barry

      Christians have been pushing THEIR agenda down the throats of people around the world for centuries. Remember the Inquisition and priests and missionaries that destroyed cultures around the world by torturing innocents until they heard the word of the Lord? Nothing close to a few articles at CNN that try to bring logic to out-dated (and dare I say, stupid) ideas.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • geekgirl42

      I think you're on the right track. If you don't like it, why are you reading it? Go read Fox News if you want your news to slant to the right.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  4. jay

    life styles are and have always been a matter of choice, no matter how wrong. those who wish to criticize the bible are only looking for a way to valildate their misguided opinion.

    July 18, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • D

      looks like bigotry is also a 'lifestyle' choice.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Serenade

      Indeed bigotry is truly the only choice here.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Patrick

      INTERPRETATION: "I saw a criticism of the bible and I can't argue against the point that was made."

      July 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • News Flash

      Hate is more of a choice than ho'mos'exuality will ever be.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Bgrngod

      Did you make a "life style choice" to be straight?

      July 18, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Fuyuko

      Most people don't 'choose' to be gay. It is no more a choice, than being straight.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Jeff

      Some of us - straight or gay - don't need guidance, especially from Bronze Age theology.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • San

      Gay people do not have a lifestyle. They have a LIFE. Just like straight people. It's not a style. Don't demean people with that crap.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • ScifiChickie

      It is ridiculous for anyone to say being Gay is a choice.
      Did you choose to be straight? NO it's who you are,
      Why would anyone choose to be gay especially when they are compared to child molesters, & people who commit bestiality by the SO CALLED CHRISTIANS who feel they have the right to Judge others even though Christ taught Judge not Least ye be Judged

      July 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Alison

      Yeah, I don't know about you guys, but I vivdly remember the day in 4th grade when I made the decision to be straight. Ahh... what a joyous day that was!

      July 18, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • james

      I never chose to be straight, I was born this way. I'm glad that I'm "normal" in that respect and have not had to fight for equal treatment but to expect somebody to change their lifestyle to suit the norm is ridiculous. You partner with the gender you are biologically attracted to, it's just common sense.

      July 19, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  5. JC

    Pray the gay away!!!

    July 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • J.R.

      How about we pray that you "christians" quit using your faith and Bible as a weapon against those that have nothing to do with you or the success/failure of your own life. Back off.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • JC

      LMAO...you honestly thought that was a serious statement? That's impressive.

      July 18, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Jim

      Does it work on freckles too?

      July 18, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  6. Sy2502

    I think the Bachmanns need to be sent to a clinic for repairative therapy from their stupidity.

    July 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • blf83

      Amen!

      July 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  7. Brett

    if he think they can make gay people straight, then it should go the other way around shouldn't it. What i find utterly horrific, is these people accuse gay people of trying to convert their children to becoming gay, and then they have clinics like his that claim they can convert gay people to straight and thats ok.

    July 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Gayboy

      If I convert one more straight man to gay, I get a gold tiara.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Boy

      No, you will only get a toaster

      July 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  8. Rainer Braendlein

    According to Epistle to the Romans Chapter 1, the Creator can be realized through the creation. But we get born into this world (creation), and immediately everything is more important for us, than to think contemplatively about the maker of heaven and earth.

    Imagine, you would call on a physician, and at your arrival you would not even great him. Of course the physician would be offended. This is, what we do with God: We enter this world, see his great works, but ignore him completely. And exactly this is the "Fall of Man". It would be tiresome to discuss, why we behave like this, but it is a matter of fact.

    The purpose of man would be to adore God, but instead he creates idols. Assumed, your little finger could/would leave you, it would be a damage for you and for him. Your hand would be no more fully operative and the finger would die, because he would not be supported with blood.

    Because we don't exercise our purpose to adore God, we are cut off from the source of life and start to rot. Sins like gayness are the consequences of that process of rotting (of course there are a lot of other sins beside gayness).

    Actually God's creation should suffice to realize him. Regretably we have a defect and need more than this revelation. God in his mercy gave a second revelation: Jesus and his death on the cross. Jesus was the most lovable "man", who has ever lived on earth and has finally borne the sin of the whole mankind on the cross.

    By faith in the lovable Jesus the "Fall of Man" can be rolled back. By faith in Christ we become able and willing to adore God. Adoring the source of life the process of rotting will stop and we can live a life, which causes God's enjoyment.

    Other sins beside gayness, Romans Chapter 1:

    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

    29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

    30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

    31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

    32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    July 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • shawn

      and I don't believe in your silly book or religion...so now what off al your silly writing? Just a waste of your time and society's time...

      July 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Patrick

      So when people are born hermaphrodites or with any of the other 20 plus conditions that give them PHYSICAL characteristics of BOTH genders – that's a sin too?

      July 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • seriouslyomg

      Great! Now quote something from Dr. Seuss! I just love fiction!

      July 18, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Patrick

      I hope you're consistent with your beliefs. When your daughter gets r@ped don't call the police. Call a Preacher and have a wedding.

      Deuteronomy 22:28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and r@pes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Champ

      you're an idiot.. god is just a myth to keep people in line..

      July 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • richunix

      Do you really believe this? Maybe your meds aren't working as well.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • ProperVillain

      Did you even read the article? More importantly, do you know a single gay person? I don't mean "know" as in some sort of conversion project but "know" as in true friends with? I would guess not. If you did you would know that it most definitely is not a choice. I hate when Christians ignore the issues and just throw irrelevant scriptures at the debate. Learn to think for yourself. If your soul argument for or against anything is "because the bible says so" you have a severe lack of critical thinking skills.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Ang

      There was gayness before you or I existed. I believe in God and I believe that we are created the way he wants us to be. You are committing a sin by judging people, and I take it you do that daily.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • DJL

      And according to the bible, a woman speaking in public is a crime punishable by death. Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin, please step up to receive your punishment... /sarcasm

      These are all ancient mores, which are being used to get us to argue amongst ourselves, so that we don't realize the rich and big business are taking us to the cleaners. Don't be fooled folks, it's simply another case of "divide and conquer."

      July 18, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • lalo

      You are a sinner in the arrogance you display in believing you have the authority in passing judgement in God's voice.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • David

      Gasbag...

      July 18, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • blf83

      Really now! When you stop spouting pat religiousese, your opinions might, I repeat, might gain more consideration.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • ThroughTheLens

      Seriously??? You are actually serious about this....believing word by word on a book written by men to control other men????? What is wrong with you? If God would have ever thought you nuts would use His name to discriminate others with your stupidity and ignorance, he would have never sent you his son for your supposed salvation, but his mother-in-law instead!!!! Oh yes...this is the same book that predicted the rapture right??? That now is supposed to be on a different day? Please, please please....just rapture yourselves already!

      Please, all like you should buy yourselves and island or small country far far far away and move there. Close your borders, create a church in every corner and stay there for ever...you guys are afraid of so much stuff it is hard to keep up.

      July 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • nan

      Our job is to preach the gospel and leave it up to the people to either accept it or reject it. We are saddened when they reject the Word of God, but there is nothing that we can to about their rejection but pray that one day some will hear and turn. They don't understand that it is our love for them that drives us to share the Word of God with them in the hopes that someone in this perverse and dying world will hear and turn from sin and follow Christ. We will be persecuted and called names and rejected just like Christ was, but in all of that we still love and pray for them regardless of how they address us. So, in this you have shared what the word says and there is no more to be said so I will say to what you have written Amen and Amen

      July 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • LThomson

      Actually nan, they fully understand your beliefs, emotions and attempted social contributions. Almost every athiest or agnostic out there starts with some kind of belief. They stop believing because they apply rational, evidence-based perspective to beliefs, and the beliefs no longer make sense. So, it's not that they misunderstand you, or hate you, or revile you, or hold you in any form of contempt at all: they disagree with you because it seems logical to do so.

      As society evolves and our understanding of social evolution grows - particularly with respect to the interplay between bio-chemistry and the both beneficial and addictive qualities of group behavior - religion becomes less meaningful.

      July 18, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Frogist

      @nan: This is something that constantly confuses me. And I don't mean to single you out... but is it really out of love that you would quote the Bible to a gay person that they are an abomination and a sinner? That doesn't seem like a loving act. Especially for just being gay, being who you are and not harming anyone.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  9. Jace

    Yet again another reason why I believe religion is complete bull. Preach and preach about love, acceptance, blah, blah, blah, but all they really are is filled with hate and judgement. Being free of religious views allows you to accept people for what they are, not for what some dated book tells you to do.

    So what do they plan to do after converting all the gays – are the athiests next? Jews? Anyone who believes differently than they do? Hmmm.... seems quite like the Nazis to me.

    July 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • seriouslyomg

      Champ – clearly your masculinity is threatened by gay men. Your problem isn't gay men – it's that you've been conditioned by society to hate anything that isn't "masculine". Does it ever bother you that you're just the result of a society that shaped you and that you don't have any of your own ideas? You have a sad life.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Jerry

      I never saw anything in the article about what you are ranting about.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Interested party

      Is it really possible to be free of religious beliefs? It can be argued that you are also basing your life on a faith-based philosophy just as the 'religious' do. Your faith is simply in the hope/belief that nothing exists past this life. And based on your comment, you also think your beliefs are superior...showing judgment towards other beliefs. We all do this, that is why they are our beliefs.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Dennis

      So Champ, you're an atheist, the only minority more disliked than gays, and you aren't willing or able to offer them the respect you would presumably want?

      We've seen countless examples of religious condemnation of gays, but where in a secular worldview is there justification for your harsh words?

      July 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Dennis

      Interested Party:

      "Is it really possible to be free of religious beliefs?"

      YES. Millions of us are.

      "It can be argued that you are also basing your life on a faith-based philosophy just as the 'religious' do."

      It is regularly argued that non-faith is faith, as you are doing here. But of course it is utterly nonsensical.

      "Your faith is simply in the hope/belief that nothing exists past this life."

      Belief and faith aren't necessarily the same. One can believe based upon the best evidence & reasoning, and revise the belief when new information is available. Faith is belief without evidence or reason, and in spite of contradictory evidence & reason. It is important for you to ignore the differences in types of belief, in order to maintain the illusion that we are just as irrational as you.

      " And based on your comment, you also think your beliefs are superior...showing judgment towards other beliefs. "

      Do you hold all beliefs to be equally valid? Do you make no judgments of any beliefs? I am sure you do, and you should!

      Of course atheists believe their understanding is superior! No idea is worth holding if it can't withstand the scrutiny of all, and based upon your comments, along with those of all who attempt to defend faith, atheism passes the test rather easily.

      I welcome the judgment of all, and am happy to return the favor. May the best ideas win!

      July 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • mudfoot

      No one said force gays to change, if they want to change, there is a way. How do nazis fit in?

      July 19, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  10. atypical

    I wish Bachman well, really i do. But the last thing we need is another narrow-minded, traditional-thinking, capitalistic-oriented, religious-pushing, wannabe leader.

    No, no no, no, no. Enough of this mindset already! We must find a way to push beyond these archaic barriers. It is time to start focusing on social and economic equality.

    Time for transparency and for ethics to remove power from center stage. We've sat with this old paradigm quite long enough.

    Nunti Sunya-
    Let's keep moving

    July 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • wgage

      Freedom is capitalism. Take away capitalism and there is no freedom.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • D

      Capitalism is Anarchy.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • DJL

      Capitalism is an economic system; it is in NO WAY tied to the system of government. For instance, China has a capitalist economy, but a totalitarian government - no freedom there.

      Oh, and BTW, capitalism (when left unchecked) becomes little more than a pyramid scheme, all due to the greed of the capitalist (the ones who actually OWN the capital).

      July 18, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Jon

      Very well said!

      July 18, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @DJL,
      You are correct that, "Capitalism is an economic system," but it is, or can be tied to the government depending on how much control the government exerts. China does not have a capitalist economy.

      "Economic systems can be divided by the way they allocate economic inputs (the means of production) and how they make decisions regarding the use of inputs. The two major systems are Capitalism and Socialism." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_system, not that Wiki is a primary source, but is a good start.)

      Capitalism is sometimes defined as private control of production, i.e. private ownership, and free markets, i.e. little or no governement control.

      Socialism is sometimes defined as governmental control of prodution, i.e. state-owned or nationalized, and markets and prices controlled by the government or heavily regulated.

      First no country is completely one or the other, but China controls many corporations, markets, and things like exchange rates, which causes much international debate. The US on the other hand, generally works under a private ownership and free market scenario, but obviously the government does step in quite often, e.g. the FED, banking regulation, utilities, railroads, retirement, etc.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @atypical,
      "It is time to start focusing on social and economic equality."
      It is impossible to achieve total social and economic equality. Additionally, one could argue that even the pursuit of total equality is detrimental to individuals and society. For example, without the possibility or incentive to improve ones own situation stagnation may prove the downfall of any society.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Nyarlathotep

      Capitalism is freedom; religion is slavery.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • LThomson

      DJL – the idea that capitalism and government aren't tied is a dangerous delusion. Six of the president's current top advisers are former investment bankers from Goldman Sachs. Their influence defines how government operates, because government operates at the behest of politics, and politician require both money and influence to maintain power.

      Trying to separate capitalism from government is as illogical as trying to separate communism from government; both are unchecked orthodoxies bound to eventually fail due to a lack of public responsiveness, as has been the case in individual/communal social power cycles since before the magna carta.

      July 18, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @LThomson,
      Wow, I agree that trying to separate money, business, power, and government can be dangerous because there are so many common/conflicting interests, but to say, "both are unchecked orthodoxies bound to eventually fail due to a lack of public responsiveness" is quite a leap. I'm assuming "both" indicates capitalism and communism (economically socialist?). Since those two seem to be the ends of a spectrum, what is your answer to this conundrum? Something in between?

      July 18, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • LThomson

      Absolutely. Something in between is the usual consequence of systems moderating as we develop solutions to their flaws. Capitalism is still far too closet to the unregulated rampant variety than it should be.

      July 19, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  11. Geoz

    This and all the other biases will change eventually. Once the chuch said the world was flat too, but they got over it. And all Christians will have some new babble to toss our way saying it is in the bible or whatever. One battle at a time, we, the non-Christians, accidently reform the church.

    July 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • badchecker

      Ain't that the truth.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  12. Marty

    I love republicans who believe that being fat is genetic but being gay is a choice.......

    July 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Geoz

      That is a big donut of awesomeness which I feel compelled to eat.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • dcdc

      I wish I was half as smart as you think yo are

      July 18, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • blf83

      Going back to the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet definitely isn'y gay!

      July 18, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • .

      Yeah, that's right up there with Democrats who think they can eat their cake and have it too. redistribution of wealth and the wealthy needed support it through taxes.

      July 18, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  13. Get a Grip

    I'm a Christian and I can tell you that that Bible says a lot of things that are no prescription for living a Christian life... like stoning to death adulterers... Ensign, Sanford, Vitter, Dan Burton(need I go on?) would all be dead by now.... just because the Bible says being gay is a sin and abomination, doesn't make it so... remember.. as the Bible says: "be good to your slaves, they're valuable property"!

    July 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      You missed the parts that we are no under law but under grace, and the law was not given to us to follow but to show us we can not follow it, thus the need for a Christ. When you get pass page 100 hopefully you will grasp this.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • seriouslyomg

      Sooo .. then you do think we should stone the adulterers, Mike? G_d r_ped Mary to conceive J_sus and condoned Lot sending his daughters out to be r_ped and this is the book you want us to read? You think we ought to follow a r_pist G-d? Somebody needs to read ... but it's you.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      God did not condon Lot's daughters action, it is a descriptive event not a prescriptive event. As for Mary getting r_ape

      If you consider r_pe as the act of unwilful s_x then you are wrong, no s_x act occured

      If you consider r_pe as the act of unwilful childbearing then when you make it to the book of Luke you will understand differently
      34And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?"

      ... 46And Mary said,

      "My soul magnifies the Lord,
      47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
      48for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
      For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
      49for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
      and holy is his name.
      50And his mercy is for those who fear him
      from generation to generation.
      51 He has shown strength with his arm;
      he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
      52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
      and exalted those of humble estate;
      53he has filled the hungry with good things,
      and the rich he has sent away empty.
      54He has helped his servant Israel,
      in remembrance of his mercy,
      55 as he spoke to our fathers,
      to Abraham and to his offspring forever."

      Doesn't sound unwilling to me?

      July 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Mike from CT
      Those words were placed originally in the mouth of Elizabeth, and later CHANGED to Mary.

      http://www.jstor.org/pss/3263007

      July 18, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Get a Grip

      @Mike from CT: Thanks for your advice, but I've been through the whole Bible. Know this: if the holier than thou self-righteous fundamentalists want to claim that the Bible is "the word of God", then they need own it, ALL OF IT! not just the parts they want to cite to justify their ignorance and hatred, or the parts you like to cite to justify your point of view.. Frankly, I'm not much interested in too many other parts of the Bible other than those about the life and words of Jesus.. that's where spiritual truth resides. And, fyi, I happen to know many people who don't believe in God who I count among the most loving, compassionate, and non-judgemental people I have ever known. And I count many so-called "Christians" among those that I see and hear that are the exact opposite... I'll leave you with this: Matthew 12:33 "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. Peace

      July 18, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • David

      @ Mike from CT...

      Mary was artificially inseminated... or the story of the immaculate conception is just that.... a story.

      For the Immaculate Reception... see the book of Steelers...

      July 18, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      David
      The "Immaculate Conception" is the belief that MARY, NOT JESUS, was conceived without sin. You should pay attention in religion class so you don't embarrass yourself. It's all BS, but you are inaccurate.

      July 18, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Bucky Ball, even if you believe that, you still don't have an instance of Mary protesting when Gaberial or Elizabeth visit,
      BTW why do you not believe Luke who took eyewitness testimony but take without question a researcher in 1967?

      July 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Nyarlathotep

      Mike: An atheist is just another name for somebody who's actually read the Bible.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  14. leslie

    most straight women would pick out Mr Bachman as gay and in the closet...maybe he keeps himself from those relations, maybe not...I would not be surprised at an enormous scandal "coming out"

    July 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  15. really

    So when a being is born it knows it is gay? SCIENCE-which gene is this???? or is this a choice a person makes?

    July 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I don't think genes work that way. Genes produce proteins which control other areas of the body. There isn't one single protein that determines se.xual orientation. The science of it suggests that it is a combination of hormones during fetal development and multiple genetic factor, not a single gene.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • OMG

      So when a being is born it knows it is straight ?

      July 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Alex

      Spoken like someone who is clearly not a scientist. No one gene is responsible for a person's behavior or orientation.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Patrick

      $exuality doesn't emerge until puberty. Neither does pubic hair. Pubic hair isn't a choice either.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • someguy

      That's a good question. When did you know you were an asshat? It's probably around the same time.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • seriouslyomg

      it's the same gene that makes you more likely to be attracted to a blonde than a brunette or a tall person to a short person. You don't get to decide who I want to be with and I bet that really makes you mad.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Alex

      Ask any gay person. 99% of them will tell you they have always been gay. It doesn't take rocket science.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "Pubic hair isn't a choice either."
      Great one... not logical, but a great response. 🙂

      July 18, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  16. D

    Hmm, I wonder if the people who characterize "h0m0s3xuality as a choice that’s relatively easy to change" also believe that their own h3t3ros3xuality is a choice that's easy to change. Might explain some things ...

    July 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • OMG

      They are all bi, and they thought about it and tried it, then chose to be straight. Oh wait ....

      July 18, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • ProperVillain

      Exactly! I'm straight but work in the arts and know a lot of gay men. It is most definitely not a choice. I can't imagine feeling the same way about women the way I do about men. Most evangelicals are too afraid to make this comparison as they want to keep alive the myth that it is somehow a choice. It's not. So disheartening to see that that way of thinking still exists in the church. Just sad, sad, sad...

      July 18, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  17. bob

    Ever heard of a trophy wife? Or a beard? Meet Michele Bachmann.

    July 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  18. Chas in Iowa

    I don't have any problem with the Bachman family running a Christian based business to pray away the gay. But I do have issues with them getting any tax payer money to support it.
    Where is the "Tea Party" hostility over this one.
    Oh,....not convenient again.

    July 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • blf83

      While I disagree that their practice is legit, your reference to Tea Party non-concern abt taxpayer $$ is a good one.

      July 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Nyarlathotep

      Good point. Though there was an early libertarian (read: fiscal conservative, social liberal) presence in the Tea Party, the Bachman types have mostly driven it out.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  19. GuestColin

    Can't wait for Marcus to get dragged, kicking and screaming, out of the closet.

    July 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • seriouslyomg

      I feel sorry for him! Can you imagine going your whole life NOT being with a person that you have a loving and intimate connection with?! No wonder he's frustrated! These people waste their whole lives in such a faith-soaked, fear-laden haze that they don't know what they really want until they're on death's door and it's too late to even fantasize about what it would have been like to be happy because then you have to admit that you were wrong, then you have to admit that there are people who weren't afraid of the monsters under the bed and lived their lives to simply be happy. I bet he's really bitter.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  20. Rob

    Don't you hate when they dn't post your comments? Even though there is nothing contriversial or any hatred. Sad..

    July 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Agnostic Theism

      cnnazism

      July 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • OMG

      Rob, you're new, and you're paranoid. But I'm sick of explaining it. Someone else can try.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      OMG, I hate it when people use ridiculous acronyms like "OMG".

      July 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Rob and Agnostic Theism: CNN doesn't actually have a person monitoring your every move like you obviously want them to. I gotta admit I wouldn't mind if Anderson Cooper had his baby blues focused on me. But I digress... Instead they have an automatic filter that seeks out naughty words and pulls your post into moderation limbo. The problem is it also mods words within words: eg Const!tution has the word t!t in it. circ-umstance has the word c-um. It's ridiculous and pervasive, but not particularly smart or willfully nixing anyone's post based on content. Reality usually has a brilliant post listing all the word fragments to look out for.
      Sadly this topic is especially hard to discuss considering it is about hom-ose-xuality which contains the slur hom-o and the word se-x...

      July 19, 2011 at 11:19 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.