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. Secure

    Check out Romans 1 : 26, 27. And for those of you who say scriptures condemning "gays" should not be taken literally, then what was is the possible gist of this scripture? Pretty clear, there is no other way to explain it. If you look at the life accounts of followers of God throughout the Bible you will see that doing what God asked them to do what very often not easy at all, and was not what the individual wanted to do. If you want to be a true Christian, there will for sure be some guideline/ command in the Bible that will be difficult for you. Doesn't mean you get to ignore it. That is, if you profess to be a Christian.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Ted

      Are you suggesting that everyone gives the same weight to these fables? Were you there? Did you hear these words? You are looking for any excuse for bias. It is unthinkable that this kind of story could have been written just 5 years ago. It is long overdue.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Raven76

      try taking a look at the original greek writings and not the am mended newer versions of the bible and THEN make that statement. If you go inserting text into a book, and then point at it and say "Look! It says so right here!", you sort of lose your credibility.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Secure

      Ted, I know there is a rapidly growing number of ppl that have no belief in God whatsoever, and obviously even less regard/ respect for the Bible, and no, I am not addressing them. I think they are just as sad/lost/ misguided as they think that I am!

      May 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Secure

      The interlinear communicates the same thought as the KJV

      May 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  2. Mike in SA

    Funny, the same thing is happening now as happened this weekend. The moderator is holding my comment that directly related to the story and the passages it mentioned.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Mike in SA

      You said, "Funny, the same thing is happening now as happened this weekend. The moderator is holding my comment that directly related to the story and the passages it mentioned."

      CNN uses automated censoring that looks for words, or fragments of words, that are considered offensive. My guess is that your post had had a forbidden word in it.

      I haven't seen the moderation message much lately ("Your comment is awaiting moderation."). This used to happen when it contained one of the words below, or 5 users clicked on the "Report Abuse" link (but I don't think that works anymore).

      Repeat posts, even those that were previously censored and not displayed, will show a message stating that you posted it before.

      The following words or word fragments will get your post censored (list is incomplete):

      To circumvent the filters you can break up the words by putting an extra character in, like: consti.tution (breaking the oh so naughty "tit").

      May 14, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  3. b

    voting for discrimination? how Christ-like of you

    May 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • hellonews

      voting consistent with scripture, personal holiness, loving someone enough to tell them that they're wrong and going down a path to condemnation...

      May 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Pips

      Only God can tell anyone they are wrong. Not you, not your pastor.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Prove your god exists. Prove your god exists and that he/she really wrote the bible. Prove that your god actually exists and cares about this issue. Then maybe the christian position of discrimination and bigotry can be considered anything more than hateful ignorance.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  4. Alan Lynes

    hypocrisy rules when dogma blinds people, and they think the Bible is law – literally
    How sad for that kind of ignorance

    May 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Former Southern Baptist

      It only truly bothers me when it infringes upon my rights as a citizen. Like buying alcohol on Sunday. Who the hell are you to tell me I can't buy alcohol on Sunday?

      May 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • GE

      Former Southern Baptist hey you can move to New Orleans I guarauntee you won't have a problem getting liquor...LOL!!

      May 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  5. dc3219

    So I must not be allowed to express my views anymore. that's cool I won't be back.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Please refer to the post above yours on the page, from LinCA. There is an automated monitor that prevents certain letter combinations from posting, lest they offend a reader.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  6. Polgie

    Wow this guy is trying to compare the lack of gay marriage to slavery and racism?

    Firstly, the black churches opinions on gay marriage originated from the white churches opinion during slavery. Why is it that white churches are ok, and black churches have to change their opinion? Could you be more racist?

    Secondly, being against gay marriage is not the same as being against gay rights. Just as being against Micheal Jackson is not the same as being against pop music.

    Thirdly, you quoted “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?’”. Perhaps you'd garner more support if you weren't trying to equate some metaphorical lynching with ACTUAL lynchings. What next? You write an article telling the hispanic population they must support gay marriage if they feel that genocidal encomienda was bad?

    May 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I guess you've forgotten Matthew Shepard who was beaten and left to die in Wyoming, because he was gay. I guess you've forgotten Brandon Teena, who was ra.ped and murdered because she lived and identified as a male.

      Violence against gays and lesbians is very real. A simple google search would tell you that. But you'd actually have to care enough to do the search, and I doubt that you do. You seem the type that simply wishes that gays and lesbians would accept that fact that they are second class citizens, despite the fact that they live and work in our communities, pay taxes and even serve our country in the military.

      There are a lot of us who find your casual bigotry to be immoral and frankly unAmerican. Atti/tudes are changing with every generation that is born. Gay marriage will happen, is happening, whether you like it or not.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • GE

      LOL!!...what the heck Michael Jackson gotta do with this...LOL!!

      May 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  7. V.P.

    I'm no Bible thumper so to speak that being said. Yes there are slaves/slavery mentioned throughout the bible. I just wonder why the white man must be the slave holder? I wonder who in the world said he is better than me and mine?

    May 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Mike in SA

      I'm pretty sure the slaveholders in the Bible weren't lily white. Also who do you think owns slaves now? Slavery is rampant in Africa and the East.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Scott

      Africans sold fellow Africans to whites as slaves. Then the whites brought them to the US. Everyone was guilty, not just white slave owners.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • GodPot

      Most of the laws governing slaves in the bible were for two main types of slaves, Jewish slaves who were likely paying off a debt and could not be slaves more than 7 years and were treated more humanely, and the foreign slaves which they could keep as long as they wanted and also got to consider any children born of the slaves as property. Most of the foreign slaves were from the surrounding areas that came from the conquered cities and nations in and around the "promised land". The "who in the world said he is better than me and mine?" was their leader and author of the law, Moses, who claimed he was given the laws by God, which is also what many southern Christians used to claim they were given special rights by God so they could own "foreign" slaves.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • GE

      Why use the Bible as a reference to your ignorance if you don't believe in it? I don't believe anything the Quaran says or the muslim religion therefore I make no mention or reference of it in anyway so do us "Bible Thumpers" a favor and keep your ignorance to yourself

      May 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  8. AJ

    It also says in the Bible that rich people won't inherit the kingdom. I don't see anyone in these churches refusing to let rich people get richer or condemning how private citizens spend their money. SO hypocritical of these people...and I'm a Christian. The point is no matter where you stand on this in terms of religion, this is a STATE issue. Why should one individual interpretation of one religion rule our laws in this country? How would you feel if the Islamic rules of marriage ruled our laws? It is the same exact concept. The bottom line, though is that right now as a woman, I could walk down the street find any many I see and we could go get married in a court house. Right now. No questions asked. How is right that we can do that but a man who has loved another man for 20 years cannot? It's not equal. It's not right. Case closed. It's not like you can force a pastor to marry gays...nobody's talking about that here. This is such a stupid argument to be having in 2012.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • hellonews

      if you're a Christian, you may want to consult your supposed source of truth (the Bible) and figure out what God has to say about the issue (ie Sodom and Gomorrah, Romans 1)...if someone doesn't believe the BIble is your ultimate source of truth then how and why would they consider themselves a Christian?

      May 14, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • RdWhtNBlu

      The main character in your book was born in the year 0. 1492 years later many thought Columbus would sail off of the flat Earth. In 1616 the Catholic church found Galileo guilty of heresy and spent the rest of his life under house arrest for proving that the Earth was not the center of the Universe, but it was the Sun. Please quit wasting your life on such ideas written at a time when mankind was nothing but primitive, had a life expectency of 35 and thought thunder was God's anger. We've figured it out! Now you can catch up on your rest on Sunday mornings and have a nice breakfast when you get up! Have a nice day!

      May 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Scott

      I'll tell my rich Christian friends that run a medical clinic in Haiti that they can't be rich anymore.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  9. BBoy705

    Yep, if you want to exclude someone from the sames rights and freedoms you, have nothing works better than making references to passages in a book that was written about 2000 years ago with countless revisions by bronze age men who claim they heard G0d talking to them and telling them what to write! There is nothing more credible than that!

    May 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  10. Sargint Rock

    All this Gay bashing of the Bible to justify their wants and needs is a tempest in a teapot! You use the Bible on one hand to justify your rebellion and on the other hand you deny its authenticity to alleviate your inner shame and guilt."The Devils believe in God and at least they TREMBLE!" If you want that lifestyle, you're free to engage in it just leave God out of it!

    May 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • GE

      Well said

      May 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  11. Wondering

    Why does the news media have to turn everything into a racial issue?

    May 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  12. Catherine

    You would be surprise how conservative black church is. They stick with the bible, they go to church every Sunday, they dress with their best clothes, the boys wear their best suit, the girls and mothers wear hast, it is wonderful to see. I had in Miami Shores some next door from Haiti, they are very conservative and faithful to the scriptures. I bet any money they are totally surprised.

    Binden, why you have to put your foot on your mouth everytime you open you mouth? You are an embarssment to this administration.

    May 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  13. Confused

    Really confused, As a kid I was brought up as a Catholic but my family was not real devoted Catholics and then in my Mid 20's my sister discovered God (Born again Christian) and boy did she pound my head with the bible wheneever she could, especially whenever I felt my worst and was very depressed she was right there hitting me with the bible and blamming me for my sins.....But then I statrted seeing ALL she did and the Hypocrisy of her beliefs and faults.

    My Question...just like the article here...If god knows everything and no one is smarter than God, why through the whole Bible he accepts slavery??

    May 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Mike

      I won't discuss the subject because of a million Pro and Contral opinions, but if you are interested in a good book on the subject check out, "is God a Moral Monster?" by PaulCopan

      May 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Scott

      Define slavery first, since biblical slavery and southern cotton-pickin slavery are two different things.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • mema

      Confused-Its the idea of what slavery represents that has you confused. You see a biblical slave had no resemblence to most peoples idea of a slave. We have those ideas because that is whats been burned into our brains through education books, media, and television. At times a slave in biblical times could offer up themselves this way for repayment or some other debt. Slaves could at times by their freedom and were to be treated in a kind manner. Some slaves were actually prisoners of Holy Wars and rather than kill them they became slaves. However the method in which a slave was obtaibed did not change the laws established to protect them. Should a female slave be taken as a concubine, her children could recieve inheritance and if she bore her master a male firstborn then the child would recieve benefits befitting a male firstborn. She was also protected and to be treated as a wife is to be treated. Lastly as I have but touched the surface on Gods laws on protecting slaves the term slaved in the bible can also mean puttung to much importance on something or and idea or desire. Im modern times we could be slaves to our employer, family, friends, wealth etc..I hope this clears up the question if even just a bit.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  14. Rich

    CNN needs to stop trying to cloudy the issue. God says marriage is one man one woman. Period!! We (Christians) look at this issue as a direct assault on the family and therefore it's an assault on the church. Gays can have their civil unions but don't call it marriage because it’s not marriage. God defined marriage. Mankind did not define marriage. Christian are on the right side of history.

    May 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Former Southern Baptist

      Oh yeah, for sure. Christians have routinely been on the right side of history. The Crusades, the Inquisition...

      May 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      I'm sorry...where EXACTLY does God say this? And how are we certain WHICH god said it?

      Biblically, the most common form of marriage was polygamy.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Sargint Rock

      You nailed it. It still amazes me how people bring up all the terrible things in the past that religious people did in the name of God to justify their present REBELLION against him. They are in the same boat. If you want to know true Christianity, you must study the Marytyrs. Just because you call yourself a Christian and have a powerful political machine behind you doesn't mean you are recognized by God and have your Name written in the Lambs Book of Life. Religion is man reaching up to God and Christianity is God reaching down to man. If you are not filled with the Spirit, it will always seem foolish and hypocritical.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Shaggy

      Your church can continue to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Or a one man and several goats, or whatever else it arbitrarily decides. These laws will just change the legal combinations or combined property rights recognized by the state. You can continue to be as discriminatory as you want in a religious context!

      May 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • RdWhtNBlu

      The main character in your book was born in the year 0. 1492 years later many thought Columbus would sail off of the flat Earth. In 1616 the Catholic church found Galileo guilty of heresy and spent the rest of his life under house arrest for proving that the Earth was not the center of the Universe, but it was the Sun. Please quit wasting your life on such ideas written at a time when mankind was nothing but primitive, had a life expectency of 35 and thought thunder was God's anger. We've figured it out! Now you can catch up on your rest on Sunday mornings and have a nice breakfast when you get up!

      May 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Wade

      CNN isn't clouding the issue, it was always cloudy. What God says is irrelevant to the legal rights and privileges the state, which is not supposed to be particular to any religion or its values, is to convey to its citizens. If marriage is a purely religious thing, than ALL marriage benefits to all citizens should be lost as the state not to push religion and that would be blatantly pushing it.

      BTW, ANY religion laying soul claim to 'marriage' is full of it. Marriages existed long before any of these current religions even were thought up. Beyond that, their definition of marriage is thankful quite far from what it is in the bible and other sources which had woman being considered property, not to mention pretty rampant polygamy going on which is now widely condemned (although that to we could make issue with too, but it has a whole host of other matters that must be considered) and a number of other things that a definitely out of line with what is consider okay today.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  15. fr bob rickard

    As a priest in the episcopal church i have been yelled at cursed, slapped, slugged, shut at, bomb scares, had my former wife
    fall though the back porch of the vickerage intentionally sawn through by rednecks who opposed my support of civil rights.

    now i have many of those very same people and their off spring i championed acting just like the rednecks and speaking the same formula that the rednecks used in the original civil rights movements.

    when does this crazyiness stop.

    fr bob rickard+

    May 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Rob

      So if its the same, you know of GBLT people that have been owned as personal property?

      May 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • DC603

      Rob, he's looking at this from the perspective of equal rights. Which I'm sure you knew, but you had to try to change the point anyway.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  16. ACC

    "The right to the pursuit of happiness is also an injustice." This quote is BS, the divorce rate in this country is well over 75%, obvioulsy, marriage doesn't make you happy. Try something else. Simply admit, you wanted to be consisder as a different human race. Being white, black, brown, yellow or red, isn't good enough. I don't want to be one of them. I want to be known as gay. Selfish, Selfish, Selfish!!!

    May 14, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • GodPot

      I'm almost surprised you didn't use the word "Uppity" you racist moron.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Nat Q

      can you cite the source for that 75% number you are making up?

      May 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  17. clubschadenfreude

    Of course blacks would be hypocrites if they stood against gay marriage. The only argument against it is some primitive compliation of books from ignorance xenophobes from the ancient near east. This "bible" has many hateful things in it: the unapologetic support of slavery (not just indentured servitude as some Christians would lie about, and indeed in both the NT and OT, with Peter saying that even cruel masters should be obeyed. Sorry, Harriet Tubman and those who risked your lives to leave such), considering women property or at best second class citizens to obey men, a god that commands genocide of those who do not obey it (in both the NT and OT, so I suggest you read the thing), and other horrific nonsense that was perfectly fine to a god made up by men in the Bronze/Iron Ages. This silly religion of Christianity has only been a laggard in catching up to human rights, always outstripped by the secular world and only coming around when the arguments have become too strong against its pathetic nonsense.

    May 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Banksy

      well said, religion mixed with blacks is as dangerous as the nazis

      May 14, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • hellonews

      you've missed the entire purpose of the Bible...man sins–>man separated from God–>God begins his redemptive work which includes God making a people for Himself (Israel) to serve as a representation of God and God using His people Israel one mean to judge sin (ie the "genocide" you speak of)–>God restores his relationship with his people through Jesus Christ–>2nd coming of Christ to fully establish an eternal kingdom...I think that if you honestly ask yourself where you came from, why you're here, and where you're going you'll come to a conclusion that there has to be a God...otherwise if there isn't a God, you're a worthless individual who has no purpose on earth, and should simply lie, cheat, steal, and murder to fulfill your own carnal desires. The Bible has more original manuscripts, more historical and archeological evidence than any other book in history. A significant number of it's authors were eyewitnesses to the events they spoke of and then were subsequently willing to die for what they saw, spoke, and wrote. There are many muslims who are willing to die for what they believe but NONE of them were ever eyewitnesses.

      also, I agree with human rights, but the human rights you speak of simply is translated as..."I think people should be able to do whatever they want whenever they want to whomever they want without regard for anyone but themselves."

      May 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Polgie

      Huh, thats interesting since from another perspective one good say the secular western world, led by the sin greed has resulted in the genocide of between 250 million-500 milllion native Americans, seen the largest wars in mankind. The arrival of 3 of the most brutal aethiest regimes, the Soviet Union, China, N Korea. And has forged a western society that requires the subjugation of lesser impoversihed nations to maintain it's quality of life. I'm not seeing the huge difference. Had you ever considered the radical notion that it's people that are the problem and not a book?

      May 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  18. joe

    Here's the problem. You're using an ancient collection of simpleton short stories written by primitive, ignorant men as your standard. As long as you do that, you're bound to their ignorance and primitiveness.

    Once you drop the absurdity called the bible, the clarity will shine through.

    May 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Former Southern Baptist

      Head of the nail, meet your good friend the hammer.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Rob

      Since you are such an autority on ancient man Joe, please tell us how they created the pyramids, what they are all used for, and maybe you can add the stones at Machu Picchu. Then maybe you can tell us again how ingorate ancient man was, or maybe look in the mirror.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Scott

      Read someone smarter than you, like Marx. Then you'll see that gulags DO make sense. No, really...

      May 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  19. Mark

    WHAT? Just what we need: atheists giving tips on how to read the bible. This is so stupid I almost lost my lunch!

    May 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Former Southern Baptist

      As an atheist and absurdist to a believer, I assure you, most atheists have not wandered down this path haphazardly. I actually used to study the Bible in a group of individuals who were, like me, struggling to understand the concept of a Christian God. After years of internal struggle I came to my conclusion, but I assure you I have studied the Bible, and a fair number of other books. The biggest problem I see is the absolute reliance of Christians upon the Bible as a supreme authority over any other source. Most Christians I know and remember were almost afraid of seeking answers from a source other than a book that was written 1800 or so years ago.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • GodPot

      Well, we likely have read it more often than the Christians coming to it's defense...

      May 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • VLM

      Seriously?? Most atheists HAVE read the bible, and know more about what's in it than most christians. In fact, many atheists have left christianity after they read the bible cover to cover.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • craigberger

      It's established in multiple studies that atheists have greater knowledge of the Bible than believers.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • James PDX

      I am an agnostic, and I can read words just as well as a Christian. In fact, I find it interesting that there are dozens of versions of your Bible, and that passages between them are often interpreted starkly different. Is there some secret Christian decoder ring that we need to understand your Bible? Are its words intentionally obscure and ambiguous? I do know that Jesus said to not judge others, to turn the other cheek, and to follow the secular laws of the place you are in, provided they do not impair your relationship with God. Gays marrying do not impair your relationship with God, so turn the other cheek and stop judging others.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  20. William

    To compare the LGBT movement to the those who stood strong in the civil rights movement era is to diminish and disrespect those courageous men, women and children who endured overwhelming tribulation and even death so that a race of people could live with the same inalienable rights. The LGBT community is fighting for the right to be able to be married. Their struggles should never be compared to the persecution that was inflicted upon the black men, women and children. I would suggest that Mr. Blake take a better history lesson before he begins to choose his words so carelessly.

    May 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • joe

      Obviously marriage is the culmination of a long hard fight by gays for equal rights in the same way that integration was the culmination for blacks.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Nat Q

      This step in the battle is about marriage, just like there was a step in the battle over race to allow interracial marriage.

      It is equally disrespectful to act like the struggle for gay rights has not also been a long, slow, painful uphill battle with many oppressive, dangerous, even murderous events along the way.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • craigberger

      You're the one who needs a history lesson. The LGBT community has been lynched, beaten, humiliated and discriminated against for years, just like the African American community, and African Americans are all too happy to hypocritically join in in the inhumanity. Just because it doesn't affect you directly doesn't mean it isn't happening.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • perennial2

      Blacks didn't gain rights from a bunch of ragtag mail order reverends and sharecroppers, it was whites – many of them female, and Jewish and gay or lesbian ... the same people blacks love to now hate.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • tallulah13

      No, William. You are seeking to diminish the lives of people who are still fighting for equality - people who have faced discrimination, imprisonment and death because people like you denied and still deny them basic human rights. Perhaps you don't care about equal rights for gays and lesbians, but those of us who believe in truth and fairness DO care, and we will continue the fight until it is won.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
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About this blog

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