October 25th, 2011
12:09 PM ET
My Take: Why Christians are embracing their LGBT neighbors
Editor’s note: Ross Murray is director of religion, faith and values at GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
By Ross Murray, Special to CNN
America is embracing its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. Don’t believe me? Just look at the progress being made in faith communities.
The Christian church was once considered the final holdout for those who oppose equality for LGBT people. Staunch believers could gather in worship with people who thought just like them to hear sermons affirming the anti-LGBT beliefs they held in common.
For those of us who identify as LGBT, church was a place of fear and secrets. We had to figure out how to hide ourselves or how to find a more welcoming community.
But that is changing.
Although there is still a variety of scriptural interpretations, an increasing number of Christians are reading scripture and understanding that God’s design for the world includes LGBT people. It follows, good Christians believe, that if God made them, then I am called to love and support them.
Whole Christian denominations have accepted and embraced the reality of LGBT believers within their ranks and in their leadership. Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, the United Church of Christ and Unitarians have formally accepted LGBT people within their denominations.
Even within denominations and faith groups whose policies don’t fully welcome LGBT people, there are growing numbers of people who have learned to love and accept their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters.
The Public Religion Research Institute found this year that as many as 71% of Catholics in America support lesbian and gay people, even up to the point of civil marriage, despite the Roman Catholic hierarchy telling them otherwise.
Of course, there still are Christian groups who work actively against equal protections for LGBT people and their families.
Indeed, as more Americans get to know and love their LGBT neighbors, the messages and vocal misinformation of anti-gay activists become even more shrill.
And yet more and more Christians are now living out the message of 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
How did this happen? More Christians now know someone who is LGBT. They probably even know someone from their church. There are countless faithful Christians who identify as LGBT.
These are folks who have found their faith in God to be stronger than the opposition of vocal anti-gay activists.
These LGBT Christians have shared their lives and their stories that build up love and break down fear, leading to tangible progress, especially with young people.
According to the Public Religion Research Institute, there is at least a 20-point gap between those ages 18 to 29 and those ages 65 and older on every public policy measure in the survey concerning equality for gay and lesbian people, with younger Americans gravitating toward equality.
Even Christian-identified young people increasingly support protections for lesbian and gay people, the same survey found.
Those who oppose equality can call it what they like, but the reality is that we are living in a society that has learned how to value LGBT people as they would others.
That attitude doesn’t rely on fear or lies, but on caring relationships and trust. It lives out the apostle Paul’s wish for the Corinthians that someday we will know fully, even as we are fully known. It is a biblically informed reality that is helping to make the world a better place.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ross Murray.
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.
I'm just not mean enough to be a Christian.
You certainly are judgmental though, Mr Generalization. Yay for you!
I agree with QS, and Jim Seeley
I'm not at all judgmental. I'm observant.
Christians arent mean just obediant. it would be mean to not tell you that you are commiting soulicide. remember its not just a sin it is an outright abomination ( VERY VERY VERY BAD ) I would suggest you repent but you wont listen, already to far gone. just like it says the end times will be.
"its not just a sin it is an outright abomination"
LOL! No it's not worshiping a pagan god is, not being a gay christian.
Philabias, the view that gays are unworthy human beings is merely time-honored bigotry and should be relegated to society’s fringes, just as we have done with once-widespread racist beliefs. If anything is an abomination it's bigotry.
Sadly, I see a lot of truth in what you say, Jim. As a Christian I'm horrified by the impression that our entireity gives off. I just wish we could all let each other be and strive for peace and love. <– How could this not make God happy? No matter what religion you are, how could this not make our Creator/God/the Universe happy???
"How could this not make God happy?"
Once again the stupid xtian mentality of assumptions. You 'Sara' do not know anything about the state of being of a god.
You are implying your own concept of feelings onto your imaginary friend. Get the facts straight stupid.
You think you know the passions, feelings or anything ABOUT GOD? Do you really? Go f-u-c-k God then! Let HIM really show you HIS feelings. Then you can talk down to people and REALLY say that is HOW GOD IS FEELING. Otherwise f-u-c-k off!
2 main things stand out from your writing. Seems that anything that supports you specifically is now being called "progress." What is the church progressing from? God's word on this is clear. If you've read His word than you know what He says. You're calling it "progress" when you find something or someone that supports your idea. 2nd, you say "good" Christians believe in LGBT. Perhaps the most important thing about accepting others – we are called to hate the sin but NOT the sinner. Thats me, my neighbor, you, your neighbor; practically everyone is a neighbor. Anyone that identifies himself as LGBT are not to be hated or looked at in any different way than we would ourselfs. We are all sinners. We need to acknowledge that we have a tendancy to sin and that we strive to be closer to God as he calls.
It was progress when more intelligent people ignored the Bible's support of slavery, discrimination against the handicapped, discrimination against women, etc.
The development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial than and superior to the previous level.
By the very definition of the word, we can state with complete certainty that we have moved away from the religious vision for the world to one that is more tolerant, accepting and understanding. This move away from those things is, once again by definition, more beneficial than and superior to the previous level of our society.
To argue that progress has not been made in that regard is at best naive, and at worst willfully ignorant.
God doesn't call on us to love our neighbor and hate his sin. He calls on us to love our neighbor as he loved each of us. Ghandi is actually responsible for the adage of "Love the sinner hate the sin." And despite his good intentions I'm sure, people apply it as direct from the mouth of God, and turn it on everyone except themselves. Nevermind the fact that we're all judgmental and think we personally understand the magnamity of God enough to tell each other how to better please him.
God forgive us all for being pompous and holy.
"is at best naive, and at worst willfully ignorant."
Naive and willfully ignorant.
I find that to be the modus operandi of most of the religions of the world.
"The Christian church was once considered the final holdout for those who oppose equality for LGBT people."
The writer Failed in the 2nd paragraph. In Muslim countries these people are executed with no trial, and there are no signs that Islam is changing!!!
Wow....someone must have switched Observer's KY with BenGay.....he's attacking everyone...
"You can't handle the truth".
It is ridiculous to see so much faith in humanity. I see comments who left church because of something a human did. People speaking out against Christianity because of something humans did. The faith of the bible isn't in humanity. God sent his divine son to earth as a human to shake things up, to put himself in our place so that humans couldn't punish us for our sins. I am terribly sorry if a human offended or condemned you. The bible says there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ but don't put that on God. Both sides of this argument are being bigots those that hate LGBT and those that hate Christians. All the while making that separation themselves. Separating LGBT from the church by saying that Christians are the source of hatred. People are commenting that Christians believe a myth and saying that it's wrong to believe people aren't created LGBT. To believe that would be to believe that natural LGBT tendencies are a myth. So, people are defending a "myth" by claiming that someone else is following a "myth." That would be human error I believe..
Personally, my "leaving the church" had only something to do with the hypocritical behavior of its adherents. We are all hypocritical on some level, and no person always lives by his or her own principles. The difference seem to be that most honest people don't place themselves above others, pontificate and use their positions to manipulate others. This is why I refer to religion to graft. Because it is. The primary reason that I "left the church" is because of the absurd teachings (including that these dogmas are made by god). Rubbish! They are made by ambitious men who want to control others and it pays them very well. "Something that the church did wrong" is only an incidental reason in my case and refers tonly to the occasion and not the cause of my leaving. +
If you are not gay yourself, how can you know whether it's innate or not? I know from my own life that being gay is not something I decided. In fact, many of us are so fearful of condemnation from our families and the rest of society that we try to deny who we are, sometimes for many years, and so much so that we become depressed and suicidal. Some of us are lucky and figure out how stop internalizing all the opinions out there about who and what others think we are, and we realize our full potential as loving, giving human beings capable of forming a life-long bond with a partner. Others never truly learn to overcome the self-destructiveness that comes with hearing how people who don't even know you say how sick, wrong, perverted, etc. they think you are. Those are often the ones who fall into the trap of self-destructive behavior like promiscuity, drugs, drinking.
@daniel exactly, you left because of people. Have you ever looked up and looked into the dead sea scrolls?
@geekgirl42 many Christians in other countries are scared to tell their families they are Christians.
Ok reterataion of schriptures hmmmm i can take a schripture and make it mean what ever i want. Does that make it right no it doesnt the so caled christians this mans refering too arent following what they say they belive there following what the world wants them to belive. Is it right to hate no it isnt but to change what u belive just to fit in with the world make u a hypicrit.
So, do you believe that eating fish is an abomination and that slavery is a Christian right? There are many things in the Bible that have been shown to be mroe likely the writings of a fallible man than divine, and therefore rightfully discarded. Unless you follow each and every iteration in Leviticus, then you should sit down and quit freaking out. God created this, I'm quite sure God can handle it. Spend more time minding your own eye, and less time looking at the log in your neighbor's eye....
I have respect for gays, however I do not condon or accept their lifestyle. They most of all do not belong in any leadership postions in a church and no to the whole gay marriage. While we may not be perfect, we need to do our best in being moral followers. People also need to keep in mind what paul said in Romans chapter 1:26-27; and avoid such behaviours.
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
Sweet... so basically they shouldn't live a lie and go against how nature made them.
Romans (12:20) also says “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.”
Do you believe and practice EVERYTHING that Romans says?
It's time for Christians to start living the tenets of their namesake. You quoted the Old Testament which doesn't have that much in common with the New Testament. Try living the latter. We'll all be better for it.
Wow what an idiot. What does it say before that they were...."and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. " Oh that's right worshiping a pagan god. It has nothing to do with a christian gay person moron.
I am sure that Gays and Lesbians are staying awake at not thinking, "Oh my, Josh doesn't condon or accept my lifesytle, whatever shall I do?"
Dork. Line up for your enema, you are really full of sh-it.
You forgot these:
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Mk. 4.24
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
6 ¶ Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
In other words, you need to keep your relationship with Jesus personal and let God do the judging and don't worry about what other people do in their private lives. Capiche?
Observer, you wrote "Josh, Romans (12:20) also says “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.”
Do you believe and practice EVERYTHING that Romans says? Answer please.”
Answer: As a Christian we know that Jesus said,
Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Therefore, we are spreading (feeding and watering the masses throughout the world) the word of God.
JOJO... God has ALREADY JUDGED sin and told us not to sin. We don't "judge" we tell what God has already told us what NOT to do.
I have been with my girlfriend for about 9 years. Here is our gay "lifestyle":
On weekdays, I go to work, come home, we make dinner, watch a little TV and go to sleep.
On weekends we do errands, clean the house, get the dogs out for a walk, and sometimes we do our grocery shopping.
Now, tell me what part of my gay lifestyle is so different from yours that you have a problem with it?
I wouldn't agree that "whole denominations" are as accepting as the author states. Many individual Presbyterian churches are enraged about this and leaving the denomination. It is very disheartening. It isn't nearly as smooth and positive as the author would like us to believe. It is a major victory for the LGBT community but the conflict still continues.
This story is A COMPLETE LIE.In recent years the gay groups have pushed an agenda to threaten churches for discrimination if that church preached against it.
Nonsense. Name a big lawsuit that has been filed.
Discrimination is bad, mmmmkay.
I have had discussions with friends of mine at work who are evangelical Baptists and they are supporting the rights of Gays to marry. It is NOT because they agree with the lifestyle. It is because, believe it or not (I was pleasantly shocked), there are Christians who recognize the difference between Civil law and Church.
Enemas are gooooood. You should get yourself and enema mkay?
And also force schools to give them contact information on all students so they can recruit? What an idiotic statement. I think the only "church" that has been the subject of lawsuits is Westboro Baptist church, but then, everyone wants to see them go away forever.
your ignorance of the Christian postion related to this issue is astounding.
Sodom was destoryed according to the bible not for men spliting the check of there fellow man but for worshipping false idols, gambling, and prositu ition....but who am i to say, i just have studied the book you losers base your pointless lives on!!! ahhh you fuking people disgust me!
That sounds more like Vegas!
yup... and yet for a god to exist and to strike one city down but not another that is even worse is odd, don't ya think?
The atheist's two main tenets are 1. There is no God and 2. I hate him.
you are wrong, we have no tenets... we try to know as much as we can about the things we choose to not believe in... unlike you folks who are for some retarded reason completely accecpting of either what your parents told you or what you heard in church – which wasn't even close to half of just the new tesitment!!!!!!!! you losers don't follow joshua's teaching at all, he said know the – what today is called the old tesitment – he knew it, and said that all should to properly understand him and where he was coming from!
There is no god, and I hate christians that try to force their beliefs on me through government regulations and secular law.
I'd like to know what the definition of a "Christian" is. It's my opinion that a Christian would not hate anyone. Who would Jesus hate?
noteabags – more like nobrains.
Christian means Christ like. New Living Translation (©2007)
For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44
The definition of being a Christian is following Jesus as best you can. You are absolutely correct in stating Jesus would not hate anyone. Even when he hated a sin someone committed, he was still loving. If you see someone spouting hateful speech and condemning other people, go with your initial thought.
In the Torah it says God destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah. I wonder why.......God created Man to be with a Woman.....not Man-Man or Woman-Woman....and I love how Scientists cant prove theres a 'gay' genetic gene and how some gay people say 'im born this way cant help it'........I wonder if I commit a crime and say to the Dean: 'im born this way cant help it' will stand up in court in case I get caught cheating on my next test 🙁
Sodom, hey? Wasn't that where Lott offered his duaghters up to be gang rap.ed? You know, his daughters. The ones he committed drunken father-daughter inc.est with. I loveit when bible-cuddlers quote scripture in support of their views on $exual norms.
How is it you know the bible Colin? I guess along the way the trial and tribulations were too great for you and you went back to the world 🙁
"Sodom & Gomorrah."
Hey moron Sodom's sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside.
Trials and tribulations? No. I just don't believe that Bronze Age – IIron Age nonsense.
– Ezekiel 16:49 “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.”
If you're going to use parts of the Bible to ignor the Golden Rule, at least read it.
Why are you even in college jac kass? I thought all the answers could be found in your quaint cobbled together collection of storybook fables.
Colin, you wrote "Trials and tribulations? No. I just don't believe that Bronze Age – IIron Age nonsense."
Answer: LOL, but you do believe you evolved from apes or a big batman and robin big bang produced you. Too funny. Oh, yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas for you. I'll say Hi to some of your relatives at the zoo that didn't evolve as well (cough) as you.
KA-POW&%@!!! BANG @!!! BOOM*&@!!!
Colin, I forgot ZOWIE!@!!
Christians have long been too focused on issues that seem very important to them personally, instead of what truly matters. Jesus said that if you break any one part of the law, say being hateful on a message board or thread, then you are guilty of breaking the whole thing. No sin is worse than any other, and everyone is a sinner. Keep your eyes on Jesus and demonstrate his love, or you fail. Unconditional love, that is.
The greatest case against Jesus is the life of a Christian, and so is the greatest case for.
Romans 1:26-27: For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Hey moron read the scriptures before that...."Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles."
So it doesn't apply to a christian gay person. It's only applying to the pagan rituals used in Roman culture to worship their god. What an idiot.
Duh YOU can change God's word it PLAINLY said Romans 1:26-27: For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. The VERY definition of "gay"
I love how the gay bashers on here pick and choose which parts of scripture they hold onto.....
the next line says something about sleeping with a woman when she's menstating doesn't it?
I for one live the life Christ wanted for me and the world. No one may be perfect, but that's not what counts. What counts is do we truly know Chrisy?
The "parts" you speak of are Word's OF THE ALMIGHTY GOD.
You do realize that Austin's bogus pontifications about Mt. St Helens have been soundly debunked by countless actual "scientists".
Nice try though.
You still believe in talking snakes?
of course, derp. Lord Voldemort and Harry P can talk to snakes... Must be true then grins
Even if the whole world would except them it would not change God's word.
If YOU are a Christian it is YOUR responsibility to tell them the truth
Stop listening to the voices if you think you are hearing gods word.
or when YOU stand before God YOU will hear "depart from Me " the same as them
i just did.... it's not gods word. It written by a scared man a couple thousand years ago.
A gay christian will go to heaven, you won't because of your prejudice and bigotry.
The only persons Christ condemned were those who condemned others. Read the Gospels. Outcast in, Pious out.
God's word will NEVER CHANGE. No sinner will go to a holy heaven. Sinner's MUST repent and TURN AWAY from sin.
If a Christian loves them they will tell them and all sinners the truth or their blood will be on their hands.
"No sinner will go to a holy heaven"
A gay christian is not a sin moron.
Duh, there is no such thing as a gay Christian. The only way a "gay" or any other sinner will go to heaven is if he repent and forsakes sin and becomes a "former" gay.
@CountryCook – is that like saying there is no such thing as a Christian who wears poly-cotton blends, but only christians who formerly wore poly-cotton blends and now have repented and only wear 100% cotton?
@ ThinkForYourself.."poly-cotton blends" are not mentioned in God's word as sin, "gays" are you can't change God's word it PLAINLY said Romans 1:26-27: For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. The VERY definition of "gay"
Unless you can read ancient Greek and have the original Greek texts, you are reading something that has been translated many times over. There are also many ways to interpret these passages, but none are valid without the historical context or the context of the rest of the passage in which you find your little verse to justify your position. That being said, I'm pretty sure that will be lost on you because you think Jesus looked like a white guy with a beard and spoke perfect English.
A friend of mine recently was almost losing her bowels in a fit over a cross being taken down a memorial for veterans. "People like to gripe about tolerance, but where is the tolerance for my beliefs". Simple: tolerance is a two way street. If you want it, you give it. "They are probably showing you the same amount of tolerance you show others who are non christian, or alternative lifestyle, that being none"
There is a difference between being polite to you and shaking your hand and then voting against you in the polls, and being genuinely interested in you, and hoping nothing but happiness for you. I think Christians are finally starting to be nice (and I do mean that in general), but I certainly am not willing to say they have come very far on the tolerance front.
I can help your friend with that bowel situation.
I'm a pro BLT Christian.
Me too, I especially like them on wheat toast.