Is the black church guilty of spiritual hypocrisy in same-sex marriage debate?
Delman Coates at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church is among a minority of black ministers in Maryland who have endorsed gay rights.
May 12th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Is the black church guilty of spiritual hypocrisy in same-sex marriage debate?

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Some people wonder if the black church will punish President Barack Obama for announcing support for same-sex marriage.

Here’s another question:

Why would the black church cite scripture to exclude gays when a similar approach to the Bible was used to enslave their ancestors?

“It’s so unfortunate,” says James Cone, one the nation’s most influential black theologians and author of “The Cross and the Lynching Tree.”

“The literal approach to scripture was used to enslave black people,” he says. “I’ve said many times in black churches that the black church is on the wrong side of history on this. It’s so sad because they were on the right side of history in their own struggle.”

Call it historical irony: Black church leaders arguing against same-sex marriage are making some of the same arguments that supporters of slavery made in the 18th and 19th centuries, some historians say. Both groups adopted a literal reading of the Bible to justify withholding basic rights from a particular group.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Opposition to gay rights is not the standard position of all black churches. Still, while several predominately white mainline denominations have officially accepted gays and lesbians in various forms, the vast majority of black churches still consider homosexuality a sin.

Black church leaders recently helped lead a successful drive to amend North Carolina’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage. The Rev. Fred Robinson, a black pastor in Charlotte, says most black churchgoers aren’t hypocrites. They take scripture, and sin, seriously.

“Black people are not confused,” Robinson says. “If you look at the scriptures that oppose homosexuality, Old and New Testament, they are clearer cut than the ones people used to justify slavery.”

Yet there are other factors beyond the Bible that shape the black church’s resistance to same-sex marriage.

“It’s more than scripture – it’s history, culture, how we were raised,” says the Rev. Tim McDonald, founder of the African American Ministers Leadership Council.

Some black church leaders are still fighting hard just to persuade straight black couples to marry. Accepting same-sex marriage when so many black households lack a husband and wife makes McDonald uneasy.

“I am not comfortable performing a wedding ceremony of the same sex,” says McDonald, an Obama supporter. “That’s just where I am.”

Some black pastors, however, embrace a literal approach to the Bible not just to exclude gays but to get rid of competition, says Edward Blum, a San Diego State University historian.

Some black pastors cite New Testament passages such as Paul’s demand that women keep silent in churches to argue against black women in the pulpit.

That argument is harder to make when black women’s energy and donations form the backbone of the black church, Blum says, but some still get away with it.

“The biblical literalist reading has kept male leadership in power in a church that is hugely female,” Blum says. “It keeps power in men’s hands.”

The one book that mattered

Black churches also embrace a literal reading of the scripture because of its unique history, says Blum, author of “W.E.B. DuBois, American Prophet.”

During slavery and segregation, many blacks saw the Bible as the one document they could trust. The Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, state and local laws – all found some way to ignore their humanity, Blum says.

The Bible, though, was one book that told them that they weren’t slaves or three-fifths of a person, Blum says.

It said they were children of God.

“Throughout the 18th and 19th century, what document could they trust?” Blum says. “When the Bible says it’s so, it’s something that black people believed they could trust.”

Their enemies, though, used that same veneration of the Bible against them. Slaveholders had a simple but powerful argument when critics challenged them: Trust the Bible.

They cited scriptures such as Ephesians 6:5. (“Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling. ...”) And they said Jesus preached against many sins, but never against slavery.

Since the Bible is infallible, and scripture sanctions slavery, it must be part of God’s order, slaveholders concluded.

“Slavery is everywhere in the Bible,” Blum says. “When Americans who were in favor of slavery defended it with the Bible, they had a treasure trove of clear biblical passages that accepted enslavement.”

Blum says abolitionists found it difficult to mount an effective counterargument. They couldn’t just say trust the Bible. They preached another approach to scriptures.

They said you couldn’t enslave people based on the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do to you. (Obama cited the Golden Rule and his Christian faith in supporting same-sex marriage).

“The abolitionist turned to the ethics and spirit of the Bible,” Blum says. “They were theological modernists before modernism.”

And what are black clergy and churchgoers today when they cite the Bible to oppose same-sex marriage?

Robinson, the North Carolina pastor, says they’re not homophobes.

“It says in the Bible that homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God,” he says. “How do you explain that one away? A lot of honest Christians are not trying to hate homosexuals. They’re saying that if I take the Bible seriously, I’m not sure I can say it’s right.”

Robinson says that some opposition to homosexuality is actually based in compassion:

“If I’m concerned about your soul, I have to tell you the truth in love.”

Cone, who teaches at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, says black churchgoers opposed to same-sex marriage are instead mimicking their ancestors’ oppressors.

“I tell some people, ‘These people were against you.’ They would have lynched you. How are you going to now join them and help them lynch somebody else?’”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Culture wars • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics

soundoff (4,348 Responses)
  1. sychar


    May 12, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Wisconsin

      Religion or not, the way we evolved or where made means a male & female organs are needed to propagate the species. Spare me the sci-fi of how to get around it. Facts are facts and with every species there are deformities and irregularities. These should not be taken as the norm. Also because of the psychological differences, the best way to raise kids is with a male and female that love each other.

      May 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Kubush


      Being gay isn't a "deformity" nor is propagation a state prerogative. And your claim that kids need both a father and a mother has not merit. So what other non-religious excuses do you have to hide your bigotry behind?

      May 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Wisconsin

      Kabush – So where are criminal’s rights to do whatever they want? Are we not talking personal freedoms with the gay marriage? To be however you want to be. What is next – incest will be okay. There are differences between a man & a woman & because of those differences the sum of those differences is greater then the individualities. The human species is only here today because the proper propagation methods where adhered too. Humans will not exist with only males or females. Those are facts & will remain so until some sort of dna alteration takes place. Study genetics someday and maybe you will understand.

      May 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • RdWhtNBlu

      Kubush appears to be gay. A man and a woman are clearly the best parent structure. It doesn't mean that a couple of ho–mos can't raise a child, but to act as if it's just a good points to your bias and indication that you are gay. Have a good day!

      May 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • FoxFox

      Deuteronomy 25:11-12

      11 If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, 12 you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

      For all the women who support the hate of gay people, raise your hands...

      May 16, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  2. schaz

    Rev. Tim McDonald is quoted as saying “It’s more than scripture – it’s history, culture, how we were raised,”

    I am sure that the American slave owners in the in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries would have said the same thing.

    May 12, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      Nah, that's a distraction. This is about the media forcing a social war between groups of people.

      May 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  3. Spangler

    It is necessary to pick and choose from the Bible for to enbrace the entire thing (stoning for working on the Sabbath) the entire house of cards would come down.

    May 12, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Ryan

      Learn about the New Covenant, that's how the whole deck of cards doesn't come down

      May 12, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Budaweep

      New Covenant. Is that like, an amendment to what was written a long time ago, putting things more in line with logic of these times?

      We have those, too. They're called Amendments. Maybe the Black church has heard of the 14th one?

      May 12, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Ryan

      I'm not going to judge you Budaweep, God has obviously hardened your heart. I'll be praying for you. The New Covenant was going to happen from the beginning. Jesus came to save those who trust him and repent of their sins.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • ralph

      The answer to the question in the subject heading is really quite simple: God didn't not sanction slavery in the beginning like He did the proper form of marriage. It's as simple as that. What we're comparing here are apples and oranges.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • GodPot

      Is that all the Germans needed to do after slaughtering almost 6 million Jews? Just claim they have a new covenant which says they should treat everyone that's left better so they should not have to accept their horrid past along with the ideology of being a superior race? If you are claiming certain rights while denying those same rights from others you are making a claim of superiority just like the Nazi's did, and those who do should stand trial in a court of humanity or abandon their ideology.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      @GodPot: What are you babbling about? So you're saying Jesus, who brought the New Covenant, is no different than Hitler? Foolish logic.

      May 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • danielwalldammit

      Lol, Ryan isn't going to judge Budweeep. He is judging him, but he isn't going to. Yipee!

      May 12, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Mike1

      It is very important to be arrogant and over simply things so you can continue to sin without guilt. You do not understand as well as you think you do. The law was given for the purpose of showing man's sin so he would know that he needed redemption. The law was given to man knowing would fail to keep it. Jesus Christ was the only human not to violate the law. Accept his free gift of redemption and then you will not be stoned for violating the Sabbath. The punishments given do not point to how horrible God is; it shows how horrible our sin is. The consequences of our sin is much greater than we think. Even if you do not believe in God you will be judged.

      May 12, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  4. Faith

    I see CNN is trying to cover all their bases. Has to make sure THEIR candidate doesn't lose votes. True journalism is DEAD.

    May 12, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Peter

      CNN – YOU LIE!!! Stop covering liberal views and be NEWS, which is suppose to be excluded of all opinions, just facts. Bible has no racism. Slavery in Israel was not like American slaves or today. They were more like servants or welfare. Free to go and treated very well. Let a worker today...we are slaves to the illegal FED bank! Unite people, media tries to divide the people so we do not attack the elites.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Joe

      The Bible has no racism? Besides one race being 'god's' chosen race and 'god' ordering the destruction of other races. The article above said nothing about racism, they are talking about slavery. It just so happens that one race in particular was subject to slavery for that period of American history.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      @Joe: The Bible is not racist at all. You misunderstand why the Lord chose a people in the first place. It was not to elevate them above other races as if they deserved it (He explains this in the OT). It was for them to be an example to other races on how to serve the Lord in a spirit of humility and faith. But they failed, which is why the Lord "divorced" her (Israel and Judah) and sent them packing to Assyria and Babylon. If God were racist, He would have just left them to be arrogant like they were.

      May 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Kubush

      This is a CNN BLOG! It's going to have an opinion based on it's author, not a CNN's official position; unlike FOX "News."

      May 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • yungCAUCASOID

      Only base CNN is covering, is it's Racism. It's trying to cover for White America, by playing Black Christians against Obama-–although Obama has shown no concern/paid no attention to Black liberation Theology, since mid-'08

      ...CNN is looking more like FOX-News, of late, with it's hatred for Black people.

      May 13, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Rob

      True journalism is DEAD and has been for about 30 years.

      May 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • MattC

      Where have you been? True journalism died long ago. Strangely enough coinciding with the birth of Fox News...?

      Who'd a thunk it?

      May 15, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  5. Glazed Look

    Bible Bible Bible !!! geeze I am sick of it. Nobody ever seems to mention the fact that there a lot of us that accept nothing from this book. So, it really (when people mention the bible) doesn't matter when one preacher or another says "the Bible says this and that"..... Well, guess what? I don't believe in the Bible... Who cares.... Its a book, simply put.

    May 12, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Callie K.

      Agreed. I'm happy to respect Christians as long as they respect me. Their beliefs should not be used to bar me from access to government contracts (like marriage licences) and government services!

      Hey. If churches have such a vested interest in worldly, secular law that they feel they should use pulpit time to tell people how to vote then churches need to pay taxes.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • biff

      The article is not addressing people who do not believe in the Bible is it? The subject matter is targeted at blacks that DO.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • crazyvermont

      interesting thing about the Bible is that after all these years.....it's still the world's number one read book:)

      May 12, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • noly972

      @Glazed Look & Callie: right on. If the churches want to get involved in mandating national discrimination against any group of American citizens, then those churches need to start paying their taxes. The reason churches were made tax-exempt is the requirement that they keep their official noses out of politics.

      May 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Rob Rubin

      If anyone uses The Bible as justification for banning gay marriage, then they should also be supportive of universal health care. Sorry, but unless you are going to follow EVERYTHING in the Bible, your argument isn't worth crap to me.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Rob

      Marriage should have been left up to the church, not goverement. Thank you 1800's. Seemed good that the time, huh. Let the goverement control marriage because churches were allowing inter-racial marriage. What a winner. Everytime you give the goverment power, someone gets screwed.

      May 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  6. MalcomR

    Ban religion from all government discourse.

    May 12, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Good Idea

      While you're banning religion, ban atheism too. It's immoral.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • MalcomR

      How do you ban a non-belief?

      May 12, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Good Idea

      If it was a "non-belief", there wouldn't be so many atheist organizations now would there? Ban, baby, ban!

      May 12, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • MalcomR

      Look it up, moron.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Hadenuffyet

      How do you ban a non-belief?....
      It is a belief , a belief in non- belief..

      May 12, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Good Idea

      Oh, Malcom, you lose when you must resort to name calling. The fact is that atheists espouse their beliefs and attempt to force them on others, and they have organizations. Many go so far as to imitate church organizations to provide for social interaction lacking in their lives. The fact is, it ain't just "unbelief".

      May 12, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • biff

      If you ban religion from public discourse than you must advocate the banning of the 1st Amendment not only in the free exercise of religion but also free speech as well.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Sockifyable

      Atheism is immoral...?

      "[A]theists, being a moderate proportion of the USA population (about 8-16%) are disproportionately less in the prison populations (0.21%)."

      I'm not going to sell you some line about atheists all being more moral than the religious, because North Korea. However, American atheists tend to be secular humanists or something like it, which entails a belief in the common dignity of all humans and a strong respect for individual liberty. (In the tradition of humanist founding father Thomas Paine.)

      May 12, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Jeff Williams

      """If it was a "non-belief", there wouldn't be so many atheist organizations now would there?"""

      Your IF has nothing at all to do with your THEN.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  7. Good Golly Miss Molly

    This it the most harebrained and racist articles I've ever read. There is not one verse about the color of one's skin being a sin. There are multiple verses about gay behavior being a sin.

    May 12, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Ryan

      Very True....not one verse even mentioned in the article

      May 12, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Budaweep

      There are also multiple verses detailing how eating shellfish is a sin. Can't exlude the shellfish without being selfish!

      May 12, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • MalcomR

      And killing your disobedient children. And killing those who work on the sabbath. blah,blah, blah.

      May 12, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • satan

      Multiple? Prove it. Which verses from the evil baable other than the one from Leviticus talk about being gay is a sin?

      May 12, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Budaweep

      Also, if you read Leviticus and take it at face value...it only mentions men lying with a man as a woman as sinful. It doesn't say anything about women lying with a woman as a man. If we're going for 'literal, it's outta da bible' then there is nothing sinful about Lesbians. Bam!!!!

      May 12, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Ryan

      Romans 1:26-31
      1st Cor 6:9-10

      May 12, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Good Golly Miss Molly

      Buddaweep, some of you guys need a class in theology and the Bible. Romans calls out both male/male and female/female relations. Since food was proclaimed clean to Peter in the New Testament, the shellfish references fall on deaf ears. If you're going to pick on religion, you should learn more about it.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Joe

      The article never said being black is a sin. It said that according to the Bible slavery isn't a sin, which is true.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Peter

      Wow Budaweep – anytime you actually want to study anything about the Bible instead of bringing up really stupid talking points, feel free.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • terry

      Heck yeah !!! And don't forget those parts about wives obey your husbands, slaves obey your masters, women go into the woods during monthly periods, etc.. Goodness, back then a woman would have been put to death for wearing a dress that revealed her knees.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Budaweep

      That's kind of like saying 'anytime you want to bring up valid points about the magical sky fairy who lives in the world of polka-dots and unicorns, get back to me.'


      See, I chose to only pick one section. i cherry-picked.

      Sound familiar?

      May 12, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Ryan

      Budaweep you still don't get it. The New Covenant wiped out the old laws therefore eliminating every point you are making.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Budaweep

      How convenient, Ryan! So God was wrong at first? Maybe he's wrong about this. Oh wait, he didn't write the Bible.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      "The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself." Ezekiel 18:20

      the exact opposite of Pauline Christianity!

      May 12, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • crazyvermont

      @satin try first couple chapters of Romans and I don't even attend church:)

      May 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Kubush

      Jesus said to keep all of the OT laws, so your "new covenant" excuse is not biblical at all. Please read your bible.

      May 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Ryan

      Jesus is the ONLY person that could keep all the laws that is why we are justified by him, we do not have to keep Old Testament laws,

      May 12, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  8. JR

    If everyone lived according to the BIble, there'd be very few people left on Earth.

    May 12, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • AJ

      A closer examination of the Bible would actually result in a more peaceful world. Followers of the Bible should understand that everything hinges on two commands: Love God, and love neighbor. If we followed that, there would be plenty of people and there actually wouldn't be a need for any other laws.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • GodPot

      That's kind of what Christians are hoping for, they really dislike sharing. Their elementary school report card would say something like "Does not play well with other" and "Has difficulty learning new things"...

      May 12, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • GodPot

      What part of those two laws includes denying equal rights to your fellow man?

      May 12, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Ryan

      Marriage is a completely religious inst-itution created by God and therefore get something called a union and not marriage,

      May 12, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • GodPot

      @Ryan – And what effect will someone else calling their relationship "marriage" have on your own? Are you injured in some way by it? Is it that you don't want to be in the same "marriage" club along with gays? Are you that insecure?

      May 12, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      If everyone lived according to Atheism, there'd be no people left on Earth.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • GodPot

      If nobody lived by the tenets of religion there would be hundreds of millions of people throughout history who would not have had their lives cut short and their family's torn apart.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Jeff Williams

      """A closer examination of the Bible would actually result in a more peaceful world."""

      Well, then, that makes it all okay. Problem is, the Christians have had 2000 years to follow these basic precepts yet they have failed miserably.. What the hell are you waiting for?

      May 12, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Joshua

      You cannot be serious?
      I'll spell it out for you. more people have been killed in the past century using scientific idealism to justify war and genocide than were alive on the earth since the dawn of civilization...period...

      May 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      """more people have been killed in the past century using scientific idealism to justify war and genocide than were alive on the earth since the dawn of civilization"""

      You certainly have a confused way of looking at history, Joshua. Mankind has been advancing technologically over the centuries as he learns about the world.

      But he has never managed to shake off a bloodlust borne of tribalism, religion, and greed. Technology and science has enabled him to kill more efficiently, but the basic motivations (which include religious differences) driving the killing are the same as they've ever been.

      May 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  9. Paul Willson

    How would people react if all of a sudden the amendments that ended slavery was repealed , or Brown v Board of education or any of the landmark civil rights bills passed since 1960. This is also a civil rights issue and it may make yu uncomfortable but it has to be faced. And yes it makes this white retired male very uncomfortable , BUT can we get passed it ?

    May 12, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Peter

      CNN – YOU LIE!!! Stop covering liberal views and be NEWS, which is suppose to be excluded of all opinions, just facts. Bible has no racism. Slavery in Israel was not like American slaves or today. They were more like servants or welfare. Free to go and treated very well. Let a worker today...we are slaves to the illegal FED bank! Unite people, media tries to divide the people so we do not attack the elites.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • GodPot

      I think Peter blew his logic circuitry and is now randomly spouting moronic falsehoods about how fun ancient slavery was.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims


      Beating slaves was justified in the bible as long as they did not die in a day or two, so yeah it is just like having a job today....heck 3 of my co-workers were beaten by my boss but they did not oie until the 4th day so my boss will not be prosecuted....

      May 12, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  10. HeyHey

    Because Gay rights and the Civil Right movement are not the same that's why. Gay people are not an independent race enslaved. The arrogance of the Gay community on this point is astounding.

    May 12, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Budaweep

      Comments like this are hurtful. Are you participating in some sort of Oppression Olympics? There is no 'my suffering counts more than yours'. Think about the pain of gay blacks, who are doubly ostracized.

      May 12, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • edwardo

      Last time I checked my algebra civil rights = civil rights

      May 12, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • jerry148

      @budaweep I know a couple of gay blacks, and they're *very* accepted. Mind you, we *are* at a Catholic high school, so we're a little more tolerant than Evangelicals.

      May 12, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Budaweep

      Glad to hear it.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Mario Rossi

      The Bible was written by a bunch of sinners, and is therefore, completely FALLIBLE.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Rick

      Dude, seriously, take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself if you want to be one of those people that history looks back on in shame.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • GayAL

      I can only imagine the pain the gay blacks are feeling. Arnt they large is size yet have the same balloon knot diameter as other races?

      May 14, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  11. Frank

    People only like to cite the bible when it supports their beliefs. That's the horrid thing. Christians only cherry pick what makes them feel good. I'm sorry, but the whole bible was written by bronze age sheep herders, and not holy men. If you want to preach against gay marriage, then I want you to also preach against eating shellfish or working on the sabbath. Heck, if you are against gays by using the bible, then also rally for the stoning they deserve, and reinstate slavery while your at it. Either accept it all, or know it is flawed and do not use it to initiate controversy. Your interpretation is your interpretation and that does not apply to anyone else. Learn to live with that fact.

    May 12, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • AJ

      Then, may I ask what are people to use as a basis for living? Themselves? We are already seeing the results of a country obsessed with self and pleasing self. If there is no God, then you are correct. If there is a God, then the Bible is absolutely authoritative. The biggest difference, it seems (since we do not know each other), is we accept different things as authoritative and we have faith in different things.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • GodPot

      "Then, may I ask what are people to use as a basis for living?"

      Try empathy for your fellowman for a starter. That is in fact where morality started since the concept of morality and the setting up laws to protect the populace predate the bible by several thousand years. Also, how do you explain all the non-Christian nations in the world who have laws and a moral code apart from your bible and your God.

      Morality is not a top down phenomenon, it has grown and evolved from the bottom up as evidenced by our earliest examples of ancient cultures.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      "but the whole bible was written by bronze age sheep herders"

      and you are claiming to be wiser than them, I assume!

      May 12, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • GodPot

      "and you are claiming to be wiser than them, I assume!"

      Yes, I can say that with the mountains of new information we now have about ourselves, our planet and our universe we are in a far better position to make rational, reasoned decisions based on experience, not some hallucination of spirit beings telling us to worship them.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "and you are claiming to be wiser than them, I assume!"

      Yes, and unlike the claims of christians regarding their "faith" I can prove it.

      Jesus said love your enemies as yourself, which apparenlty only applies until you die at which point god will set his enemies on fire.

      "Do as I say, not as I do."

      May 12, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • crazyvermont

      @godpot....interesting how the morals of society have went down in direct correlation to time we as a society began taking God out of schools, accepting abortion etc. Pretty hard to contradict, yet fools want to deny.............

      May 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      "and you are claiming to be wiser than them, I assume!"
      "Yes, I can say that with the mountains of new information we now have about ourselves, our planet and our universe"

      brave words from people who just gassed to death 6,000,000 of their fellow citizens in custom built ovens.

      May 12, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  12. Rainer Braendlein


    • 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".

    • Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.

    Sum Dude routinely updates the list of forbidden words/fragments.

    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.
    Zeb’s alphabetical listing

    o “bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN "awaiting moderation" filter:
    Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
    You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
    ar-se.....as in Car-se, etc.
    co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
    co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
    cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
    cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
    ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
    ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
    ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
    ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
    jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
    ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
    koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
    pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
    pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
    ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
    se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
    sh-@t.....but shat is okay – don't use the @ symbol there.
    sp-ic.....as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
    ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
    tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
    va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
    who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!

    There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.
    Allowed words / not blocked at all:
    raping (ra-pe is not ok)
    shat (sh-@t is not ok)

    The CNN / WordPress filter also filters your EMAIL address and NAME as well – so you might want to check those

    May 12, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • MalcomR

      All true. I just tried g-r-a-p-e and h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-i-t-y on the gay marriage thread. How utterly stupid can this ignorant country get?

      May 12, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • joe


      May 12, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  13. a person of the Name

    Slavery in the Bible is not the slavery of today.

    May 12, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • momoya

      "Slavery of today"?. Slavery of today takes many forms-as did slavery of yesteryear-as did slavery of ancient eras.. Slavery is like murder; sometimes it's horrific and sometimes it's almost a mercy, but it's still murder..

      May 12, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • a person of the Name

      A lot of what is in the Bible was by choice, to pay a dept but others was like taking p.o.w. We have jail systems now that they didn't have back then. A few was "man sellers" which was viewed as being wrong.

      May 12, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • a person of the Name

      So under that logic would you say that all marriages are right as long as it was love?

      May 12, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Joe

      Marriage in the Bible is not the marriage of today. So we can all be pro-gay marriage now, right?

      May 12, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      So the part where the Biblical law said you could beat your slaves as long as they did not die immediately, that type of slavery was a choice.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  14. Rainer Braendlein

    The verses of the Bible against ho-mos-exuality are meant verbatim. Yet today in the concrete handling of certain cases patience must be applied.

    We can imply that yet at Moses' time a gay man was not stoned immediately, but exhorted several times, before he was punished. If someone repented, he was forgiven and admitted again into the community of God's Chosen People.

    The equivalent of stoning at Moses' time is the exclusion from the Church (the Church is the successor of God's Chosen People) today, if a church member is not ready to repent from a heavy sin. The exclusion takes place first after at least three attempts of rebuke (by a singel church member, by several church members and by the whole congregation). Like stoning the exclusion from the Church can lead to the total destruction of the body of the church member in the worst case. A church member outside the Church has got no protection against evil powers.

    Basically a ho-mose-xual person can not remain in the Church. If he or she wants to remain in the Church, he or she has to repent. The Church is a place, where sinners can be cured from their maladies or where are people, which are already cured.

    Every true Christian is always aware of his own sinfulness and knows that he overcomes his sinful body only by God's Grace in Jesus. Hence, a Christian will not judge sinners, but offer the gospel of restoration towards them. In the Church there are people (sinners), which have accepted God's salutary Grace. If someone rejects God's offer of healing, he should stay outside the Church.

    If my workmate, classmate, neighbour, etc. outside the Church is a gay, I don't have to judge him, but treat him friendly offering the gospel by word and practical love.

    The only problem is, when gays want to be church members, without abandoning their sin by the releasing Grace of Jesus. This cannot be accepted, because the Church is the proper place, where are people, which are reconciled with God. Someone, who keeps on sinning, is not reconciled with God and doesn't belong to the Church.

    May 12, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Well the Bible says to stone your gay neighbor if they don't repent, (you said the verses against it are meant verbatim) so go give them a chance to repent and then go pick out some good stones and be a good christian. What is 30years to life for the glory of god? God doesn't like wishy washy followers.

      May 12, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @No Truth, Just Claims

      Sorry, you did not get me.

      It works as follows:

      Today neither the Church nor a Christian stones anybody or any gay. The stoning has been replaced by the exclusion from the Church. The exclusion from the Church, however, can also be a terrible penalty for the person concerned.

      Ordinary people, which are gay and don't call themselves Chrisitans, I have to treat friendly. because by my kindness I offer God's Grace to them. If they accept God's healing Grace, they can become church members and are welcome.

      The Church is The Community of God's Delivered People. This is the consti-tution of the Church. It would not be appropriate, if non-delivered people would like to join the Church.

      Somebody, who wants to join a soccer club, should have the will to plaly soccer, or not? Otherwise he should stay outside.

      May 12, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Wait a minute,

      You said the Bible verses against ho.m.o.s.ex.u.al.s are meant verbatim but now you say stoning has been replaced by exclusion from the church. What bible verse changed the action to exclusion?

      May 12, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Joe

      Rainer just got PWNED.

      May 12, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • a person of the Name

      Once again a lack of understanding between the old law and the new.

      May 12, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @No Truth, Just Claims

      At several passages of the Bible ho-mose-xuality gets condemned like many other sins. This condemnation of gayness is still valid. However, yet in Old Testament times God wanted to save the sinners (gays and others), but not destroy them. The punishment of stoning was destined only for sinners, which wanted to continue to sin.

      Yet in Old Testament times it was possible to get delivered, whereby the gospel is more hidden in the Old Testament.

      In the New Testament you can read that a church member, which starts to commit a heavy sin persistently, shall be excluded from the Church after falled exhortation. The consequence of such an exclusion can even be the destruction of the body by demonic powers.

      May 12, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Yeah I love how the bible verses are to be taken verbatim, but then the old law supercedes the new law. No where in the New Testament does it say that. Cognitive dissonance is a bi.tch.

      May 12, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • a person of the Name

      The old doesn't override the new and the new doesn't over ride the old. The old path is still there but after Jesus there was a new way. Both new and old said being gay is wrong.

      May 12, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      So basically when you say the verses are meant verbatim, you mean kinda sorta verbatim, the word verbatim is conditional...yeah that makes sense.

      I also like how you say god had a difficult time getting his real point and meaning across in the Old Testament but got a lot better with the editing of the New Testament, I guess "all powerful, all knowing creator of the universe" is also conditional like the word verbatim.

      May 12, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "The old path is still there but after Jesus there was a new way"

      @a person of the name

      Jesus said he was not here to change to law so the old law applies. Start stoning unruley kids and gays. 30 years to life is nothing when you have all of eternity to spend with god.

      May 12, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @No Truth, Just Claims

      You, my friend, need to understand that God hates the sin, but loves the sinner. God condemns gayness, but wants to deliver gays from their gayness by the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus has borne our sins, when he died for us on the cross. He was raised from the dead for our justification.

      We live in a time of Grace. It is still possible to accept God's gospel of his Son Jesus Christ. Only the people, which don't accept God's Grace in Jesus up to the end of their life, will finally get a death senctence at Judgement Day for their concrete sins, which they have committed during their life.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Flatscreen

      Well said.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Well Rainer,

      If I had a child and who was living a gay lifestyle he would still be my child. I would love that child unconditionally and there is no way I would ever punish that child for eternity. Your god would, and that makes the message of god's love being unconditional wrong. So if you are going to follow god's book I think you should stone those you don't agree with, you would be doing god's work. The verses are meant to be taken verbatim, you said so yourself.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "Only the people, which don't accept God's Grace in Jesus up to the end of their life, will finally get a death senctence at Judgement Day for their concrete sins, which they have committed during their life."


      So Jeffrey Dahmer gets paradise in heaven but because the I will not accept the dogma of Jesus Christ because it is ridiculous will be punished. That is a real just, loving god you have there, you should be proud (sarcasm).

      May 12, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Jeff Williams

      """The verses of the Bible against ho-mos-exuality are meant verbatim."""

      Really? How do you discriminate when the bible is speaking figuratively from when it's speaking literally? You can't, but you try anyway.

      This is how you know the bible was written by men – too much ambiguity. A god would have the intelligence to make sure its "word" would be effectively understood by anyone at anytime.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Laila

      The hm-s-u-al community does not want God. They want what He has to offer, but they do not want Him.

      May 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
      • Rainer Braendlein

        This was yet the problem of Adam that he did not appreciate God's friendship, altough he had the privilege to live in the presence of Him, who is the source of life and community.

        The maximum revelation of God's love is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God's beloved Son.

        I we believe the gospel, we return into the confident community with the Lord, the Eternal God, which has made haven an earth.

        May 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  15. Shadowcandy

    The bible has it's place, but this isn't it. Seperation of Church and State!

    May 12, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • just sayin

      If the Bible has its place to you, would not the Church be that place? God bless

      May 12, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  16. AGuest9

    A church, guilty of hypocrisy? Who'd have thought!

    May 12, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • just sayin

      oxymoron : AGuest9 / thought

      May 12, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • AGuest9

      I am well aware of the difference between thought and belief. You, OTOH.

      May 12, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      just sayin

      you don't think, you regurgitate....

      May 12, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • just sayin

      So acknowledging AGuest9 as a thoughtless moron is a regurgitated or repeated sentiment?Kind of confirms the statement then doesn't it? God bless

      May 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  17. tony

    The God I worship loves all...

    May 12, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Shadowcandy


      May 12, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Faithful

      The God I worship, the true and living God, loves all but still hates sin.

      May 12, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • uriah

      Correct faithful but he is praying to give us all an expected end.

      May 12, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • satan

      All four of you are retarded.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • jerry148

      The only sensible post I've seen on this blog for months. Thank you, tony. As Christians (I'm assuming you are) we have to promulgate the ideas that Jesus taught, and live them all the time. It's fine to hate the sin, but you must never, ever, hate the sinner. You *must* respect and accept them.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • biff

      If God loves all than that would include Satan? God loved the women who was guilty of adultery but when her accusers left Jesus did not say to her "Good Job, you keep on doing what you are doing. You were born that way" but he said "Go and sin no more" Meaning Jesus was not going to condemn her at that time but if she kept on sinning there was a going to be a time that he would have to condemn her. Jesus loves sinners but he also commands them to stop their sinning now. Gay marriage does not go on the principle of "Go and sin no more" but "Go and enjoy your sin and seek to develop your sin as far as you can".

      May 12, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  18. Question?

    With all the different permuations and combinations we have in life these days, when the TSA agent pulls aside a male or female traveller for additional screening for a pat down why do they assign a Male TSA agent to pat down a Male traveller what if the male traveller was GAY?????? would'nt that make them uncomfortable?

    For that very same reason we also need separate restrooms now coming to think of it....

    May 12, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • dats ridiculous

      Why can't Men wear blouses and women wear shirts?

      May 12, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • I

      The biggest sin in life in not helping a fellow human being in need.

      May 12, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  19. just sayin

    Is the church guilty of hypocrisy? Bypass evidence and due process, go straight to verdict? Rush to judgement?The church is not guilty then. God bless

    May 12, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Joe

      I don't think you actually want to try your religion in court. Incitement to murder is pretty obvious in your big doc.

      May 12, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    prayer changes things

    May 12, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • a

      What's your evidence that atheism is not healthy? I was raised atheist and I'm a healthy 27 male with a good paying job. I have never committed any crimes and I have a good moral compass. All this without the church.

      May 12, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Jeff Williams

      """prayer changes things"""

      Despite all evidence to the contrary. But again, this simple disconnect is not surprising given that faith is required to believe in something that has no merit.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Rob

      That act of prayer is just talking to one's self. Why not just call it that. Then make an effort to fix what ever you are talking to your self about.

      May 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Poegoeh

      These sisters clealry went out to promote a monthly publication from the witness organization and being prepared for that, struggled to answer a question taking them into a different direction of conversation not being prepared for.I think you're missing the point. Having a good reason to believe the Bible is true shouldn't be something you figure out before going out to convert people it should be something you figure out before you choose to believe the religion in the first place. It's the fact that they were Jehova's Witnesses and didn't have an answer that's outrageous the fact that they were going door to door just provided a convenient opportunity to ask them.Most of the reasons you give, though, are complete nonsense. There is no archeological evidence to say that Moses existed. Some of the authors of the Bible did exist, but so did Mark Twain, and yet I'm pretty sure what he wrote is mostly fiction.I for one have found almost no prophecies in the Bible that came true, so I'd love to know what you think those are.The Bible isn't the oldest book known to man. It is old, but neither that nor the fact that it's widely circulated makes it true. I don't know of any religious leaders in the dark ages who tried to destroy the Bible, though if you know of some I'd love to hear it. The Nazis never tried to destroy the Bible either. The Bible has been officially endorsed by many of the most powerful rulers/countries on earth since the year 313. It hardly takes the invocation of supernatural powers to explain why it still exists.Really, though, all of this is beside the point. You freely explain that you choose your religious beliefs based on what sits well with you and feels comfortable and provides good guidance. That's nice, but a lot of us choose to believe or not believe things based on whether we think they're actually true. I know, crazy. I bet, though, that if you try to define the word believe you'll come to find that that stance is sort of unavoidable

      October 9, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62
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.