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May 13th, 2012
01:07 PM ET

Across country, black pastors weigh in on Obama's same-sex marriage support

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) - Addressing his large, mostly black congregation on Sunday morning, the Rev. Wallace Charles Smith did not mince words about where he stood on President Barack Obama's newly announced support for same-sex marriage: The church is against it, he said, prompting shouts of "Amen!" from the pews.

And yet Smith hardly issued a full condemnation of the president.

"We may disagree with our president on this one issue," Smith said from the pulpit of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington. "But we will keep him lifted up in prayer. ... Pray for President Barack Obama."

And Smith said there were much bigger challenges facing the black community - "larger challenges that we have to struggle with" - bringing his full congregation to its feet, with many more amens.

Days after Obama announced his personal support for same-sex marriage, pastors across the country offered their Sunday-morning opinions on the development, with the words of black pastors - a key base of support for Obama in 2008, that is also largely opposed to gay marriage - carrying special weight in a presidential election year.But black pastors were hardly monolithic in addressing Obama's remarks.

In Baltimore, Emmett Burns, a politically well-connected black minister who said he supported Obama in 2008, held an event at Rising Sun Baptist Church to publicly withdraw support from the president over Obama's same-sex marriage support.

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

"I love the president, but I cannot support what he has done," Burns said at the church.

In an interview with CNN, Burns predicted that Obama's support for legalized same-sex marriage would lead to his defeat in November.

The Rev. Calvin Butts, an influential black pastor in New York City, did not endorse Obama's views but denounced those who are ready to "watch others be discriminated against, marginalized, and literally hated in the name of God."

"Our God is love," he said.

And like Smith in Washington, plenty of black ministers talked about distinguishing between opposition to same-sex marriage and views about Obama.

"I don't see how you cannot talk about it," the Rev. Tim McDonald, based in Atlanta, said earlier this week. "I have to. You can say I'm opposed to it (same-sex marriage), but that doesn't mean I'm against the president."

Though African-Americans provided Obama with record support in 2008, they are also significantly more likely to oppose same-sex marriage than are whites. That may be because black Americans are more likely to frequently attend church than white Americans.

A Pew Research Center poll conducted in April found that 49% of African-Americans oppose legalized same-sex marriage, compared with 39% who support it. Among whites, by contrast, Pew found that 47% supported gay marriage, while 43% opposed it.

African-American pastors have been prominent in the movement to ban same-sex marriage. In North Carolina, black leaders helped lead the successful campaign for a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage and domestic partnerships.

In California, 70% of African-Americans supported Prop 8, the 2008 state gay marriage ban, even though 94% of black voters in California backed Obama.

McDonald, who founded a group called the African-American Ministers Leadership Council, says he opposes same-sex marriage, but that he is more concerned about issues such as health care, education and jobs.

But he says more black pastors are talking about same-sex marriage than ever before. "Three years ago, there was not even a conversation about this issue," McDoland says. "There wasn't even an entertainment of a conversation about this."

In Atlanta, at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church - where Martin Luther King Jr. got his start - the Rev. Ralph Warnock addressed the president's remarks near the end of his sermon.

"The president is entitled to his opinion," Warnock said. "He is the president of the United States, not the pastor of the United States."

Warnock said that there is a place for gays in the church, and that "we don't have to solve this today."

Black churchgoers on Sunday appeared split on same-sex marriage, though many of those opposed to it said they still supported Obama.

"It's a human rights issue, not a gay issue. All people that pay taxes should get ... the same privileges and rights," said Terence Johnson, a congregant at Salem Bible Church in Atlanta.

At Shiloh Baptist in Washington, Shauna King said she does not support same-sex marriage, but that she respects the president's decision on it.

"I think he was very honest in what he was saying and personally he decided to do that," said the 38-year-old mother of two. "As individuals, we all have to make that decision for ourselves."

"I believe it speaks to what America is," she said. "That we all have different views and are respected for our views individually."

Black opposition to same-sex marriage has dropped dramatically in recent years. In 2008, Pew found that 63% of African-Americans opposed gay marriage, 14 percentage points higher than the proportion who expressed opposition this year.

On Friday, a handful of black leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton and former NAACP leader Julian Bond, released a letter supporting Obama's position on same-sex marriage but expressing respect for those who disagree.

"The president made clear that his support is for civil marriage for same-sex couples, and he is fully committed to protecting the ability of religious institutions to make their own decisions about their own sacraments," the letter said.

"There will be those who seek to use this issue to divide our community," it continued. "As a people, we cannot afford such division."

But the letter itself was an implicit acknowledgement of discord within the African-American church community on gay marriage.

Black pastors who preach in favor of same-sex marriage know they may pay a price if they take Obama's position, says Bishop Carlton Pearson.

The Chicago-based black minister says he lost his church building and about 6,000 members when he began preaching that gays and lesbians were accepted by God.

"That's the risk that people take," he told CNN. "A lot of preachers actually don't have a theological issue. It's a business decision. They can't afford to lose their parishioners and their parsonages and salaries."

Pearson navigates the tension between the Bible's calls for holiness and justice this way: "I take the Bible seriously, just not literally," he says. "It's more important what Jesus said about God than what the church says about Jesus."

In Obama's interview with ABC this week, in which he announced his personal support for same-sex marriage, the president talked about squaring his decision with his personal religious faith.

"We are both practicing Christians, and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others," Obama said, referring to his wife, Michelle.

"But, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it's also the Golden Rule," he said. "Treat others the way you would want to be treated."

- CNN’s John Blake, Chris Boyette, Meridith Edwards, Dan Merica and Stephanie Siek contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Gay marriage • Politics

soundoff (3,700 Responses)
  1. jevans

    Fred, I'd like to know one thing, and I'm coming in to this convo late so forgive me. But what is YOUR stance on gay marriage? Don't tell me what the Bible wants you to think/feel unless YOU feel it. What external or internal forces have lead you to feel such a way? For example, I grew up in a pretty diverse (albeit poor) neighborhood in DC. Takes all kinds, thats for sure, but living where I did gave me an appreciate for people's differences to the point where I couldn't care less what your orientation, race, or religion may be. So unless some life-altering event or an ongoing issue has caused you to feel strongly against gays and how they choose to live, you will never come across as anything other than brainwashed by the church. Intelligent people use multiple sources, not just religion, to formulate their opinions in the world.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • fred

      My best friend from childhood was gay and as he was dying we searched the Bible for answers as neither of us were believers. As you may suspect we did a pick and choose where we found those verses that said heaven is for everyone. So it was all good and we relied on Jesus who said He has gone before to prepare a place. We also liked the verses about “I will wipe away every tear’ ”nothing can separate you from the love of God” etc.
      Later on I found there was much more to the Bible than the few verses we picked out. I suspect it is much the same as to gay marriage where I could pick and pull. Overall it is about our true heart att-itude towards Chrirst. Married or not where are we in our relationship with God is what counts. Do we love God or not. Are we looking for the hope and the promise or are we trashing the Bible, God and our neighbor wherever we go.
      Gay marriage for unbelievers is no different than any other marriage between unbelievers. We need to fix the laws to accommodate marriage that is not as it was 70 years ago which is Judeo Christian based (wife stays home while husband is the boss and bread winner).
      There are not too many marriages at our church that follow the examples given in the Bible. I think there is no difference between Christian gays that get married and do not follow the word of God and Christian straights that get married and do not follow the word of God. The history of the Church is that denominations split over much smaller issues than this. I recommend those who are gay attend gay churches that have modified their position on the Bible. Gays have been getting married in my town and it is not recognized by the law so they need to execute certain trust agreement etc to protect their rights.
      Those that wish to get married and spend their lives together seem to be very happy and that should not be denied.

      May 14, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  2. Tank

    Blacks are stopped by police the most, jailed the most, the poorest, least likely to have healthcare, most likely to be given death penalty, Haiti still starving and u want this to be my priority . Why was Sodom destroyed? I'm not going to hell after living through all this. Jump a broom and define your own relationship.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  3. IgnorantDolt

    These ignorant Chicken eating Preachers talking the insanity of sitting out this election will cost us dearly! Like I mentioned in on another forum on this topic, try and submit your federal tax return married, filing jointly and when you get audited tell the IRS you don't have a marriage license. You will be charged with tax fraud and submitting a false tax return. The bible has NOTHING to do with Federal law unlike so many apparently think. The United States is not a Theocracy and until then, review of Federal, State and Local laws is the order of the day.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • jevans

      you call the pastors ignorant and then call them "chicken eating"? Well I eat chicken and I think the church is ridiculous as well, but I'm not sure I see your point. Ohhhhhhhhhhh yea, you're trying to be witty and play off the old stereotype that black people eat (fried) chicken! Bravo. In reality, anyone who follows the word of their religious leader over what they know in their heart is fair versus unjust, is a sheep with whom I'll never really be able to respect other than on a superficial level.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  4. One one

    Wasn't there something in the bible about treating others the way you would like to be treated ?

    I suppose Christians feel that is less important than what consenting adults do in private.

    What about divorce? Isn't that a sin? Why aren't they freaking out about that?

    May 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Snow

      Don't you know the christian motto? "Rules are meant for others. Laws should only be passed as long as they do not effect us. If there is something written in the holy book that may effect us, we should totally ignore the said passages. But we should trumpet every other thing that does not concern us"

      May 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  5. garyk

    It seems to me the least tolerated people in America are Christians. You people who scream that everything should be tolerated are the biggest hypocrites of all. You only tolerate things that you agree with. If anyone differs from you, you start calling names and saying how ignorant everyone else is. You especially love to bash Christians because we dare to have a different view than you. You are the narrowest minded, pitiful people I know.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • momoya

      @garyk

      You seem to misunderstand the situation, here.. Sensible people want all consenting adults to have the same rights in marriage.. You can marry who you want to and who agrees to marry you.. One section of the population doesn't get to have marriage rights and then take away marriage rights from others..

      Oh, and everything you said about non-christians applies much more so to the christians.. You simply recognize what you do and are projecting it onto your opponents.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • One one

      LOL !!! What could be more intolerant than preaching anyone who doesn't believe as you do will be sent to hell by your all powerful god, master of the universe?

      May 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • metb

      You are right Garyk, if you don't agree then d-am you, you are called every name in the book. Well not everyone sees it there way.....

      May 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • yeahalright

      A truly hysterical and fascinating look into the wannabe persecuted type of christian growing like mold on our democracy. You're the majority of the country, you get your holy days off of work as a matter of course, no one could be president without professing belief in your diety. But yeah, other than that you guys are totally persecuted, you're right. Loon.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Snow

      persecution complex, much?

      May 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "It seems to me the least tolerated people in America are Christians."

      garyk,

      Awwww, are you feeling picked on? Boo hoo....

      An overwhelming majority of American are Christian and yet you still somehow figure out how to play the victim. You CHristians love to think you are persecuted....get a grip.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • metb

      Awwww, are you feeling picked on? Boo hoo....

      An overwhelming number of Americans are gay and yet you still somehow figure out how to play the victim. You gays love to think you are persecuted....get a grip.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "You especially love to bash Christians because we dare to have a different view than you."

      When I disagree with someone else I am not trying using my disagreement with them to discriminate. I will disagree with CHrsitians all day and will never endorse talking away the freedom to practice their religion. On the other hand Christians have a long history of taking away and wanting to take away the freedom of those they disagree with, and the gay marriage issue is a perfect example.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "An overwhelming number of Americans are gay"

      metb,

      No they are not.

      Another religious person more than happy to lie if it supports their religious argument..

      May 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  6. blogcomments

    I think the black community rightfully objects to siding with the LGBT community on this issue because they don't see "being black" the same kind of civil rights issue as "being gay". Both may be civil rights issues, but many disagree on (and most people I would argue likely don't understand) the nature of being gay, or how a person becomes gay. Most would agree that you can "become" gay, and most would agree that you cannot "become" black. To put the two in the same category doesn't sit right with many.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • DragonSlayer Lights Your Fire

      Tell that to the leader of the NAACP Chairman Julian Bond

      http://youtu.be/q-hgov6ukeo

      May 16, 2012 at 3:13 am |
  7. dme

    sad that it is more accepted in the black community to be a single unwed mother with a 1/2 dozen kids on welfare than to be gay..no matter what they say it's not a choice.you are born that way..as a black woman,why would i subject myself to even more discrimmination? black,female and gay...get over it ..it's no one elses business anyway LIVE AND LET LIVE..WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE

    May 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  8. metb

    Blah Blah Blah same ole crap just a new day , and a new week...... If ya can't something nice don't say nothing at all....

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

      Talking to yourself, again?

      May 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  9. fred

    myweightinwords
    It affects me personally because a portion of my health insurance premium goes to pay for AIDS as well as the 48 billion spend by the U.S. to cover AIDS drugs. I understand the argument that marriage will change the habits couples but, this has not been shown to date.
    I affects me personally because the Bible is not hate speech as the gay community claims. Hom-om$exuality as a perversion of lustfull desire is no different than the perversion in hetro$exual situations. Not hate speech just truth. This affects me because it is a false smear on the Christian community and the Bible.
    Politically, Soros has manipulated the thoughts of americans to say Christians hate gays. They do not. It affects me because parties are put into office under false premise and put systems that promote socialism which takes power away from Americans and transfers it to the power brokers that are godless.

    May 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      So now the godless are bad people?

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

      1. You realize straight people get AIDS too, right? You realize your health insurance covers all sorts of stuff you probably won't ever need, right? I don't support the skateboarding punks down the road from me, yet some fraction of my insurance benefits will have to pay for the broken bone of some skateboarder somewhere when he/she breaks a bone doing some stupid trick.

      2. If you're going to let people's opinions of a book count as affecting you, I don't know what to tell you. People aren't allowed to have opinions now? It bothers me that you're an ignorant bigot but it doesn't let me take away your rights.

      3. Soros is your clearly own personal boogeyman/demon. Grownups live in reality and don't believe in the boogeyman. I'm sure he has some affect on some peoples' opinions. To say he manipulated the thoughts of all Americans to say christians hate gays is just absurd and credits him way more power than any one person has to affect peoples' opinions.

      4. Grab a dictionary and a history book and learn what socialism is.

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

      FRED
      They also forget that ALL species of animals kill however no one claims mu.rd.er is genetic and therefore RIGHT so that mu.rd.er.ers have a right to freedom.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Nii

      From a naturalistic standpoint, murder is wrong, especially in a social animals species. This is because it weakens the group, and frays the social bonds between him and the rest of the community. Hom.ose.xuality from a naturalistic standpoint does not weaken the society, and in fact fosters a strong bond between two individuals.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Nii,

      Wow,... that is a LARGE straw man you built...

      May 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Talmonis

      I long for the day when christians are laughed out of establishments, clubs and resteraunts in cities of this country. I hope I live to see when "outed" Christians are the ones cornered, smeared, ridiculed, beaten, and legislated against. And then, once we stop that persecution, we might be able to have peace.

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

      Voice of Reason
      I don't if the godless are bad people as we have been under a Judeo Christian World View for a long long time. Stalin, Mao were not good people and certainly some christians were not good either. At least there is this standard of right and wrong that we can use as a guide. Without a standard is your assumption that we would gravitate towards good?

      May 14, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Hooligan

      So because you don't want a slight tax increase for medical reasons and because you believe in a book other people have to suffer?

      Great logic Turbo.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "Without a standard is your assumption that we would gravitate towards good?"

      You are making the assumption the basis for you standard (bible) is moral, it's not.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • ME II

      @Nii
      "They also forget that ALL species of animals kill however no one claims mu.rd.er is genetic and therefore RIGHT so that mu.rd.er.ers have a right to freedom."
      So, opposite-s.ex murder is currently legal? ...new to me.

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

      "It affects me personally because a portion of my health insurance premium goes to pay for AIDS as well as the 48 billion spend by the U.S. to cover AIDS drugs"

      The rise in Healthcare is due to:
      Part of this growth is attributed to Medicare, which will comprise about 20.7 percent, or $844 billion
      Hospital spending would make up the largest portion of federal healthcare spending.
      Medication costs are steadily rising, in part, because of the drop off of growth in the generic drug market and more aggressive therapy guidelines which often call for medication earlier in treatments.
      With the mass exodus of baby-boomers from private healthcare to Medicare, exaggerated drug prices and rising technology costs, healthcare spending will be taking a huge bite out of the federal spending pie.

      So fred you want something to blame for your raising health care, blame the baby boomers! Your prejudice is so unfounded which is why your are not a Christian with the lies you're telling.

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

      No Truth, Just Claims
      If the basis of the Hebrew Bible is not moral I assume you think it is amoral ?

      May 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  10. Voice of Reason

    I know it is off topic but after this gay thing is over and their rights are established we need to move on to the next hurdle and that is the right to die. To die with dignity, to have a choice. Another issue for another time but still another hurdle for rationale and reasoning.

    May 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • momoya

      I agree.. In fact, I think it ought to be a universal right.. Every person should have on their body some sort of painless-suicide pill so that hundreds of children won't have to suffer so much in natural disasters like mudslides and the like.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • yeahalright

      As long as you get it right, nobody's going to bring charges against your lifeless corpse.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  11. Wow

    I really think this will ultimately cost President Obama his job. I dont know why he thought he could listen to his kids and change his opinion on the matter and think that it would be ok and nobody would care. That was a big mistake !

    May 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • momoya

      So the President isn't allowed to grow intellectually and emotionally?? And if a president does grow, he shouldn't share it with the public but lie for the sake of his political career??????? You anti-gay bigots sure have interesting logic.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      You just can't escape it wow! Anyway you spell your name, backwards or forwards it still means the same thing; idiot.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Wow

      momoya

      So the President isn't allowed to grow intellectually and emotionally?? And if a president does grow, he shouldn't share it with the public but lie for the sake of his political career??????? You anti-gay bigots sure have interesting logic.

      wow- I think he is lying by changing his mind so many times. I dont think he or Mr Biden really feel the way they do. I feel he is saying it for political gains and its backfiring on them both. This has nothing to do with being anti-gay !

      May 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • momoya

      Why would you think that?. Do you always just a.ssume what people "really think" and make judgments based on YOUR a.ssumptions?. How arrogant!

      May 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Wow

      @momoya

      Well if you go back and listen to what President Obama has said in the past (and there are tapes to prove it) you will see that he and Joe Biden were saying the opposite before and they both said it was agains their beliefs. Just stating the facts and giving a little of my own opinion ! If you cant handle the fire get out the kitchen !

      May 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • yeahalright

      So which is it wow, is he doing it for political gain or is this going to hurt him politically? You don't get to have it both ways. Or are you saying he did it for political gain but he's wrong it's actually going to hurt him? I think the president just might have a better set of pollsters than you. Just a hunch. And readily available polls say it's about 50/50 nationwide, and also that while it's hugely important for some people, the vast majority think just about every other issue is more important. So I don't see a great gain or loss either way. It's a statement of conscience. It's going to be the future. In a generation or two people are going to look back in embarassment that people like you actually stood opposed to something that was a civil right that affected them not in the least – other than not getting to dictate who people are allowed to love.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • J.W

      This is a common argument of the Republicans. If Obama does anything whatsoever it is for political reasons. The student load bill was for politics, and the pact with Afghanistan, now this. He basically has to sit there and stare or he gets accused of playing politics.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  12. Wayne

    I wonder if Christian mingle let's their users list themselves as gay? If they do then being gay is ok because they have God's ok to use his name to run a dating website.

    May 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • youth in asia

      Ha!

      May 14, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  13. codnmeduchess

    The amount ridiculous, fallacious and infantile "logical" arguments evoked in so many of these posts is astounding...No wonder our students are getting trounced in math.

    It's also quite amusing to hear god fearing christians cite evolutionary theory as grounds for their bigotry. To continue the absurd irony I'll end my post with a Christian adage...

    "wonders never cease, only daily increase"

    May 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  14. Voice of Reason

    I've been told that some churches have atm's in their foyer.

    May 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  15. Voice of Reason

    Gay people are wrong because my mommy and daddy say so!

    May 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  16. codnmeduchess

    How can you not see the diabolical genius of a doctrine that actively prescribes anti-intellectualism? Abrahamic religious texts urge us to fear the "knowledge of man" as heretical. This is insanity. It's goal is to insulate itself from scrutiny. The mere act of questioning the "word of god" as described through these texts is sin and anyone who tells you otherwise is attempting to lead you astray. Genius. Why do you think these religions have propogated in the way they have and lasted for so long? Please accept the fact that there are many like me who simply have no fear of reprisal from god. None. We don't want to be saved because we don't believe there is anything to be saved from. We don't live in fear. We aren't concerned with the consequences of our actions on a hypothetical immortal soul. Instead, I am concerned with the consequences of my actions right here, right now, in the real world. I'm not going to waste my time arguing with anyone over their belief in dieties. But I will ask this: keep your personal relationship with god personal. Let it be your blueprint to life but accept that it is not mine.

    May 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • mickey1313

      I agree 100%. I know there is no after life and i have nothing to fear. I live my life right, because it is the right thing to do, not to get into a theme park when i die

      May 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      I think the most comforting moment at death will be realizing I can get away from the religious idiots once and for all!

      May 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • MOONMAGIC

      Brillant and so true. I have often said I am less concerned with my soul in what amounts to an unproven, imaginary afterlife, as I am with my soul in the proven and real world I live in now. I too do not live in fear, nor do I require some external being to tell me right from wrong. I've managed for 35 years to do that just fine without a bible as my only sense of justice and altruism and amazingly enough I am a good person, who has hurt only a few and never intentionally or without remorse. In fact, if I were to get caught up in judging, i'd say I am a better human than most Christians I know...yet somehow, according to most, I am a total heathen who is evil and unethical simply due to my lack of belief in God. Absurd. As an intellectual though, I will say kudos to religion for having such a dramatic and immense hold over humans simply by the very nature of its existance.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  17. Voice of Reason

    At the end of the day, the people most hurt by this religious intolerance are the children. Can you imagine all the children listening to their parents about something the children cannot comprehend? If this isn't child abuse I don't know what is?

    May 14, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Voice, religion is always child abuse. Forced indoctrination and brain washing is disgusting. And we won't even go into the genital mutilation.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      It is blatant child abuse, no debate. But why do we allow it to continue? We know it is wrong but?

      May 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  18. metb

    Can i just ask one question, If the goverment passed a law saying the gays could have a civil union equal to marriage. So that both sides could be happy. Would that make it ok for them?

    May 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • metb

      well nobody answered my question, so i have to draw a conclusion myself that it wouldn't be ok by them. So it is all or nothing then..... hummmmmmmmmmmmmmm

      May 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • momoya

      Do you always a.ssume stupid sh!t when people decide not to share their opinions with you??

      I'd like to see marriages be done away with.. The bible talks about divorce being a no-no all over the place but makes no stance on gay marriage.. When christians outlaw divorce then maybe they can talk about other issues such as who should be allowed to marry who.. But until then, there's no need for people who have the freedom to marry to tell other people that they shouldn't have the freedom to marry.. That'd be like people who have a college degree already telling other people that they can't go get a college degree.. It's stupid.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • metb

      Do you always a.ssume stupid sh!t when people decide not to share their opinions with you?? Just ask a simple question, ding dong. So i would not be ok with you then, thats what you are saying . i thought the whole reason was to have the same rights , if it offers the same rights , does it matter what it is called?

      May 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • momoya

      @metb

      Being able to call it "marriage" is one of the rights.. What if people wanted to call you "dumbazz" but in your case it means "intelligent.". Would you have a problem with that?? Why?. You have the same rights, dumbazz?

      May 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • ME II

      Didn't we try "separate but equal" already?

      May 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Separate, but equal? Nope, we've seen that it isn't equal at all.

      Marriage is a legal contract. Always has been. If some religious folk don't want to use the same word to define their legal contract, fine. Pick a different word.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  19. n8263

    It is immoral to impose your religious superstition on others.

    You do not believe in religion because you honestly think it is true, you believe in it because you fear mortality or are seeking meaning in your life. It does not take a genius to figure out all religion is man made, so for humanity's sake, please stop lying to yourself.

    Deluding yourself in religion does not change reality. Lying to yourself is probably the worst possible way to try to find meaning.

    May 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      The fear of death or mortality is not present in those that are of Faith. Maybe you should speak to those that have Pascal screaming in their ears, especially later in life.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • momoya

      Plenty of the faithful are afraid of death.. Religion is based on the fear of death..

      Pascal's Wager isn't worrying at all because it's sooooo amazingly stupid.. Atheists worry about that about as much as christians worry that Pascal's Wager might be true for Islam or some other religion.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • n8263

      I can not believe people think Pascal's Wager is rational. The fact that religious people rationalize Pascal's Wager is proof that they are afraid of their mortality.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Polgie

      Without faith morality is a relative concept and a tiny bit irrelevant since it's just another one of those "man made inventions". So far, every country that's adopted the official atheist concept have figured that out. The soviets, N Koreans, and Chinese don't give a flying frack about morality, or human rights vs. the needs of the state. The only reason western atheist get to enjoy such a luxury is that the concept of morality(doing the "right" thing) was forged by religions. The just try to remove the deity from the concept. Unless you're an atheist that rules a nation in which case you just remove the concept and open gulags.

      As for the fear of death or whatever its a flimsy argument. There are faiths that exist that do not really focus on the afterlife much at all. The Jewish torah for example, hardly makes any mention to the afterlife. In Buddhism, you're actually trying to end existence. It's the common argument of Christan-Athiest who spent too much time listening to fire and brim stone speeches by their pastors before they rejected faith. It's a silly argument to make that text that encourage a people to live a certain way is actually all about dying.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Polgie

      Your ignorance and lack of understanding the evolution of psychology and the influence on society is quite apparent. Religion stole morality from society to appropriate their agenda of control.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Polgie

      @ VoR Your lack of understanding in philosophy, religion, and history suggest your name was poorly chosen. If you did study any of these topics you would realize that you can draw direct relationships between morality and religions in almost any culture and time period. But since you're enlightened, perhaps you could give us the historical background on when this "hijacking" occurred and why it seemed to happen again and again in virtually every ancient culture. Or clue us in to what Relgions secret agenda is. Is it like the Illuminatis agenda? That sounds more like a conspiracy theory than something based on "reason".

      May 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  20. TruthPrevails :-)

    I have one simple question for all those arguing against same-gender couples and I ask that when answering this you do not refer to your bible...How exactly do these people affect you on a personal level?

    May 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • fred

      Average cost of AIDS is $658,500 per patient per life time. This could have been prevented.
      The gay community is the being used by the godless to drive a wedge between God and those who follow Gods laws.
      The gay issue is being used to discredit the Bible based on hom-mo$exual references.
      Gay marriage by some denominations has splintered the faith community.
      The gay community is most active is attacking the Catholic Church
      The gay community calls the Bible hate speech when it is simply recording truths.
      The gay community is a pawn of George Soros who stirs the hate. Soros not Christians is the source of hate.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @fred

      You are a small minded bigot, with no sense of being. Why do bother to live?

      May 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • momoya

      @fred

      I hope you are the target of people as bigoted and stupid as you but according to differing values..

      May 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Church of Suicidal

      Alright, time for us to chip in for some new tinfoil headgear for fred. I'll pony up a nickel.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Average cost of AIDS is $658,500 per patient per life time. This could have been prevented. -LIE, plus straights have this disease and this disease started by a straight person eating a monkey.
      The gay community is the being used by the godless to drive a wedge between God and those who follow Gods laws. -LIE
      The gay issue is being used to discredit the Bible based on hom-mo$exual references. -LIE, the bible has been discredit on my issues, like a woman having to marry her rapist.
      Gay marriage by some denominations has splintered the faith community. -LIE, it was splintered long before this issue
      The gay community is most active is attacking the Catholic Church -LIE
      The gay community calls the Bible hate speech when it is simply recording truths. -LIE because Christians are recognizing the real truth that has been shown by the hundred of thousands of experts
      The gay community is a pawn of George Soros who stirs the hate. Soros not Christians is the source of hate -LIE

      It's quite amusing when a Christian can't even follow one of the basic ten commandments, lying is a sin. Duh!

      May 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      @fred, none of those actually answered the question, did they?

      How does it affect you and your life specifically?

      May 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • fred

      Truth is the gay community is the pawn of Soros and the media
      Turth is the gay community twists the Bible and calls it hate speech when it is not
      Truth is the gay community refused safe $ex practices and the cost is on those who practice safe $ex
      Truth is the gay community targets Christians and the Chruch
      Truth is the gay community is being used as a wedge to discredit the Bible.
      If there is a something wrong with these statements I would lke to know. Otherwise I will assume it is the truth.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @fred

      You have the burden of proof, you made the claim so prove it.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      Seems like you tend to just assume things are the truth.
      First off, point to the irrefutable link between George Soros and the LGBT community that shows they are pawns.
      The bible is hate speech, and I've tried to show this to you but you dance around the issue all the time.
      How is their se.xual practices affecting your se.xual practices negatively?
      Since 80% of people in this country identify as some type of christian, and the laws against the LGBT community are coming from religious sources, why wouldn't they target you? Persecution complex much?
      The bible discredits itself, and science backs my assertion up.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • fred

      myweightinwords
      It affects me personally because a portion of my health insurance premium goes to pay for AIDS as well as the 48 billion spend by the U.S. to cover AIDS drugs. I understand the argument that marriage will change the habits couples but, this has not been shown to date.
      I affects me personally because the Bible is not hate speech as the gay community claims. Hom-om$exuality as a perversion of lustful desire is no different than the perversion in hetro$exual situations. Not hate speech just truth. This affects me because it is a false smear on the Christian community and the Bible.
      Politically, Soros has manipulated the thoughts of Americans to say Christians hate gays. They do not. It affects me because parties are put into office under false premise and put systems that promote socialism which takes power away from Americans and transfers it to the power brokers that are godless.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • momoya

      @fred

      So you just a.ssume whatever you feel like so that you can decide for yourself what's true and what isn't?? Sounds like pure egotistic solipsism to me..

      May 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "“Truth is the gay community is the pawn of Soros and the media” –
      -LIE, gays are on the news because they are fighting for their civil rights.

      “Turth is the gay community twists the Bible and calls it hate speech when it is not” –
      -LIE, it’s Christians and theologians that are showing the people within their own congregations that they are interpreting the bible wrong and are fueling unfounded hatred on this minority. The people who are prejudice of gays are ignoring all the research done about this group

      “Truth is the gay community refused safe $ex practices and the cost is on those who practice safe $ex”
      -LIE, there are many gay couples that are not infected by STD’s and are practicing safe sex. There are many STD’s in the straight community that you could apply your lame argument too. .

      “Truth is the gay community targets Christians and the Chruch”

      -LIE, it’s the Christians that are coming out condemning the gay community fueling the hatred towards this group. Even the experts warn this condemnation is not healthy for our society.

      “Truth is the gay community is being used as a wedge to discredit the Bible.”

      -LIE, the bible has been discredited when it came to African American’s and women rights long before the gay issue. .

      Typical Christians lying is a sin and you can't even follow your own rule book.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      @fred,

      It affects me personally because a portion of my health insurance premium goes to pay for AIDS as well as the 48 billion spend by the U.S. to cover AIDS drugs. I understand the argument that marriage will change the habits couples but, this has not been shown to date.

      AIDS and the cost thereof, is hardly able to be blamed solely on the LGBT community. A great deal of the guilt for the spread of AIDS lies squarely on the shoulders of a medical establishment that would not take a stand, educate the public and address the cause of the spread. It is also largely the fault of a society that will not educate itself on the spread of the disease or use protection. It is hardly a gay phenomenon. Consider yourself lucky that you never got contaminated blood, or had a partner who slept around.

      I affects me personally because the Bible is not hate speech as the gay community claims. Hom-om$exuality as a perversion of lustful desire is no different than the perversion in hetro$exual situations. Not hate speech just truth. This affects me because it is a false smear on the Christian community and the Bible.

      The bible, in and of itself isn't hate speech, it's a piece of literature. However, when it is used to deny rights to others, particularly in a country where religion does not dictate the laws of the land, it can be made into hate speech. It isn't in the words themselves, but it the way that it is used.

      Also, this is not something that personally affects your life. You are still free to believe and speak to those beliefs all that you want. We're not stopping you.

      Politically, Soros has manipulated the thoughts of Americans to say Christians hate gays. They do not. It affects me because parties are put into office under false premise and put systems that promote socialism which takes power away from Americans and transfers it to the power brokers that are godless.

      I'll make a confession right here, I haven't got a clue who this Soros is, and as such, he holds no sway over my opinions. I believe SOME Christians do hate gays, but I base that belief on their actions and their words, not on what someone else told me to think.

      I won't even go into the socialism comment.

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

      @fred

      You said, "Truth is the gay community is the pawn of Soros and the media"
      Complete and utter bullshit. You may want to get your head out of your ass and stop listening to the right wing rhetoric.

      You said, "Turth is the gay community twists the Bible and calls it hate speech when it is not"
      It's the bible that is used to discriminate gays. Fighting back and showing how completely moronic it is to believe anything in the bible isn't "twisting it". It's showing what garbage it really is. I suggest you take of your blinders and read it for comprehension.

      You said, "Truth is the gay community refused safe $ex practices and the cost is on those who practice safe $ex"
      Safe sex is no more common in the heterosexual community.

      You said, "Truth is the gay community targets Christians and the Chruch"
      Fighting back against the bullies isn't "targeting" them. If the christians would stop the hate, bigotry and discrimination they would not be "targeted".

      You said, "Truth is the gay community is being used as a wedge to discredit the Bible."
      No "wedge" is needed. the bible is so obviously complete and utter garbage that it is baffling that anyone still takes it seriously.

      You said, "If there is a something wrong with these statements I would lke to know. Otherwise I will assume it is the truth."
      You are making claims for which you provide no evidence. I know that that is perfectly acceptable in religious circles, but in the real and rational word, it doesn't hold water.

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

      Well fred you have had multiple people show you what is wrong with your little list. Now it's your move.

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

      HawaiiGuest

      “First off, point to the irrefutable link between George Soros and the LGBT community that shows they are pawns.”
      => Soros-funded and gay-run Media Matters organization
      Soros’s Open Society Inst-itute

      “The bible is hate speech”
      =>I don’t dance around it but, if you say it is hate speech against gays it is not. Yes, I seem to miss your point as I cannot find the hate in pointing out that lustful desires are wrong.

      “How is their se.xual practices affecting your se.xual practices negatively?”
      =>no negative effect.

      “laws against the LGBT community are coming from religious sources”
      We still have a Western World View in play and that view is based upon Judeo Christian values. I understand some desire to have a godless value system put in place. The commuinists wanted this also yet I question a broad experiment using real people simply to satisfy $exual desires.

      “The bible discredits itself, and science backs my assertion up.”
      =>what is your single biggest example?

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

      @fred

      The bible isn't hateful? Stoning, genocide, worldwide annihilation, the very idea of a hell (no matter what kind of hell you believe in) is all directed to those who do not conform to a specific standard. These people are told that they deserve to be shunned, marginalized, and eventually have some kind of eternal punishment just for being as they are.

      I don't know how many times I can show you that america is not founded on christian principles. If you refuse to see that then there's nothing I can do for you. Having the same conversations with you over and over is getting tiresome, and if I seem snippy that's because I am. Since you refuse to look at everything that has been brought up in the past without your little self-righteous veil of religious intolerance.

      Bats are mammals not birds (like the bible says). Geology has shown no signs of a global flood. We and other animals are not finely tuned creatures, and evolution is shown daily, and can even be observed in our own species.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      @fred: I'll ask the question once again since you failed to answer it without using the bible as a partial excuse...how directly is your life affected? They pay taxes, so lets get that one straight right off and they pay in to the health care system, it is not only straight people that do. Are they coming in to your home and harassing you? Are they committing a crime against you in any way? Are they tying you to a chair and forcing you to watch them have wild se.x? Are they making out in front of you on the bus? Are they have se.x in public? Seriously, you need to stop letting the bible think for you and put the shoe on the other foot. These people are not doing anything wrong. They are not the only ones who get AIDS and even using that term is slightly out of line considering most people will get HIV before it ever turns to AIDS, if it ever does. Hetero's get HIV and AIDS also...there are numerous reasons this happens-unprotected se.x with a person regardless of gender; blood transfusions-although not so common now; sadly, shared needles. The point of what I was asking is that if it does not impact your life in a direct way, then what business is it of yours? They're not telling you who to love or be with, so what gives you the right to tell them?

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

      myweightinwords
      Here is a recent stat for you “rates of new HIV infections are rising among gay and bi$exual men nationwide, the only risk group for which this is the case”.
      Yes, you are correct we have not found a way to educate the gay community. I do not blame a gay person for contracting AIDS any more than anyone else that contracts and spreads disease. I blame our liberal government that promotes “safe $ex” and has had a “safe $ex” campaign in place for 30 years. Although not perfect the fire and brimstone worked much better. Back it up a few thousand years and stoning was very effective in the tribe of Judah.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "I cannot find the hate in pointing out that lustful desires are wrong."

      First you have to prove lustful desires are actually wrong, you cannot use the bible. Without lustful desires none of us would be here.

      Just because an action MAY have a negative consequence does not make the action itself wrong.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Fred, you can lay some of the blame for the AIDS issue directly on your beloved pope who preaches against the use of contraception in areas of the world where AIDS in most prevalent. You can't change how people act, so why not do the right thing and try to prevent via the use of safe se.x practises? You sitting here spouting the bible does not help the issue, obviously not one of us cares about your bigotry via that book. My initial question asked you to think for yourself and not use that book but you have proven yourself incapable of doing so.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • fred

      HawiiGuest
      “The bible isn't hateful? Stoning, genocide…people… shunned, marginalized”
      =>As with Hitler were these not views people had towards others and said God made me do it or God said it was wrong? If as I claim the Bible is the truth of God could these not be instances of God showing us how mankind will twist the truth of God and blame God for what they do? If you do not have the Holy Spirit to direct your understanding of events why assume the godless interpretation is the correct one?

      “I don't know how many times I can show you that america is not founded on christian principles.”
      =>you are correct something does not sink in. The mindset of the pilgrims was based upon the view that there is a God, a heaven and a hell. What they did went through that filter and was incorporated in the heart of this nation. As a republic 46 of our states still have God (the Christian God) written into their state const-itutions. Little by little various states are moving beyond that but, it remains at the core.

      =>you got me on the bats I had not noticed so next time I get a chance I will look at it. The flood story is about salvation and how much God cares for those who have a heart disposition towards God. The wicked in the flood story are already dead (i.e. dead in their relationship with God as were the animals). God stands ready to take anyone through the sea of death and storms of life but, Noah followed the exact instructions as to how keep his life while all others drowned in their own knowledge and lusts of life. The problem is a global one. Now, once you accept the Holy Spirit you will also see the geology of it since your life will be built on rock not shifting sand.
      =>evolution is not in conflict with God or the Bible.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      All the stoning and what not I pointed out isn't some interpretation used solely by Hitler. Those are direct instructions in Leviticus, so don't attempt to dance around those facts once again.
      As for the pilgrims, they put quite clearly in the consti-tution that there is to be a seperation of church and state. How is America founded on christian principles? If the states have god directly referenced in their state consti.tutions, then it is federally unconsti.tutional and should be removed.
      So god only cares about those that kowtow to him? That's not loving, that's favoritism. And I'm not even going to point out the horrible reasoning on how to see evidence of a global flood when there is absolutely none.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • fred

      TruthPrevails
      We have no idea what this world would look like without the Bible. We could talk about what life on earth would be like if there was no oxygen. The reason $exual sin and its various desires come up in the first place is because of all the problems associated with it. It is a key part of human relationships and key part in the rejection of God. Had we followed the commands there would not be an AIDS issue, abortion issue etc.
      Now, assuming we live in a godless world and man makes the decision that $ex anyway anyhow between consenting humans is applauded and encouraged some rules are going to be necessary. In a godless world man makes his own rule (which is why God is rejected in the first place) so go for it. Our past “safe $ex” promotions did not work as we found out there is nothing safe about it and it sent the wrong signal. The decision process for a godless society to encourage $ex is an interesting one. Why not discourage it and view chast-ity, purity and making vir-ginity something special rather than a simply fun?

      May 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • fred

      HawiiGuest
      Given that God is in charge and allows humans to do all sorts of terrible things I agree God is responsible for all the good and the bad you see. (only because God allows it).
      “How is America founded on christian principles?”
      =>You can separate church and state on paper but you cannot separate God from a mans heart. The speed limit is 55 on the freeway but, most people drive 60+ are we a lawless country?
      “ If the states have god directly referenced in their state consti.tutions, then it is federally unconsti.tutional and should be removed.”
      =>No, because they reference God not the God of Abraham or Christ etc.

      “So god only cares about those that kowtow to him?”
      =>no God offers everyone the free gift

      May 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      "We have no idea what this world would look like without the Bible."

      What? Of course we would.

      There is no sin in se.xual anything. No-one's personal actions are hurting you, so you need to mind your own business. The day other people start to tell you who you can and can't love, is the day you can something, until then you don't get a say.

      How do you live with yourself being as bigoted as you are? Does this feeling of loathing something make you feel good?
      What a sad existence.

      I did ask you not to use the bible but you continuously do so. All that does is prove that you are not capable of forming a rational thought for yourself and if the bible is all you have to back you, then you fail miserably in this world. Your opinion will not change the progression of people being open.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • fred

      No Truth, Just Claims
      So if the Bible never was then what would be the basis for determining lustful desire good or bad? The Greeks found pederasty to be very good. Without God or the Bible would we not eventually go to war anyway as one group had different desires than another?

      May 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      What does the speed limit have to do with what we're talking about? Stop making assertions that you know god is this or that because you have not demonstrated any evidence to even support the existence of A god, let alone YOUR god. If god offers this "gift" freely (strange how the choice of worship me or suffer eternal punishment is seen as a gift, but I'll ignore that for the sake of the discussion) then a more reliable way then "It's in the bible" would have shown more compassion than anything else. If god allows all despite what he "wants", then god is directly responsible for people going to hell.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Without God or the Bible would we not eventually go to war anyway as one group had different desires than another?"

      That's a lie most of us are born good and we don't need a god for that. Religious people find it very annoying that people don't need God to be good, as science has now incontestably proved.

      For millennia, we've been brainwashed into believing that we needed the Almighty to redeem us from an essentially corrupt nature. Left to our own devices, people would quickly devolve into beasts, more violent, tactless, aggressive, and selfish, than we already are.

      Today, we know that this isn't true. With the discovery of mirror neurons by Italian neuroscientist Giaccomo Rizzolatti in the 1990s, we now have physiological proof of why - and how - our species became hard-wired for goodness. Mirror neurons are miraculous cells in the brain whose sole purpose is to harmonize us with our environments. By reflecting the outside world inward, we actually become each other - a little bit; neurologically changed by what is happening around us. Mirror neurons are the reason that we have empathy and can feel each other's pain. It is because of mirror neurons that you blush when you see someone else humiliated, flinch when someone else is struck, and can't resist the urge to laugh when seeing a group struck with the giggles. (Indeed, people who test for "contagious yawning" tend to be more empathic.) These tiny mirrors are the key to most things noble and good inside us.

      It is through mirror neurons - not God - that we redeem ourselves, achieve salvation, and are "reborn" in virtuous ways once co-opted by religions. Evolution knew what she was doing. A group of successful cooperators has a much higher chance of thriving than a population of selfish liars. In spite of what we read in the headlines, the ratio of bad to good deeds done on any given day across our planet holds at close to zero any day of the year. Although we are ethical works-in-progress, the vast majority of us are naturally positive creatures - meaning not harmful to our environments - most of the time in most of the ways that matter. And God has nothing to do with it.

      Evolutionary psychologists tell us that our brains are hard-wired with a five-toned moral organ that focuses on a quintet of ethical values - one of which is purity, or sacredness. In a world that can sometimes be disgusting, we evolved an upper tier of emotional longing - the aspiration for purity - to keep us balanced in this satyricon of carnal delights (where animality beckons and frequently wins). Our need for sacredness is part of our ancient survival apparatus, and manifests in what we call faith, the need to connect with that sacred dimension. This has been the primary purpose of religion, of course - to congregate people for the Greater Good - but God has been, in fact, the divine carrot. The important part was communion, a context in which to transcend ourselves, if only for an hour on Sundays. Without this ability "to turn off the Me and turn on the We," moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt tells us, our species would still be wandering around as groups of nomads, unable to create a civilization.

      Aside from mirror neurons, there's oxytocin, the molecule of connection (also known as the molecule of love). It's fascinating to learn that the vagus nerve produces more oxytocin when we witness virtuous behavior in others that makes us want to be better people ourselves. We are wired by nature to be elevated at the sight of other people's goodness, mirror neurons and oxytocin conspiring to improve the species. Miraculous though it is, this natural human phenomenon has nothing to do with theology. Original Sin is a thing of the past.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • fred

      HawiiGuest
      “What does the speed limit have to do with what we're talking about?”
      =>I was saying the consti-tution referes to separation of church and state but, that is not the reality. Just as the speed limit is 55 yet the majority of people go above it. In the same way laws are approved by men that run their thoughts through their personal religious filter. This is why for 200 years marriage was between a man and a women. This is why it took 150 years for sodomy laws to be taken off the books. If you start enforcing the speed limit at 55 people will begin to go 55.
      “god is directly responsible for people going to hell.”
      =>no, people are directly responsible for making a choice to accept or reject what God offers. If you accept the offer you die to self. That is you now begin to live with Christ likeness becoming more and more evident in your life.
      Reject God and live as you want. This is what Adam and Eve did. The result is death (existence without God). God allowed you the choice because you must freely accept the gift of life it will not be forced upon you.

      May 14, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • fred

      YeahRight
      Evolution knew what she was doing ?
      Evolution and the Bible get along just fine. If God wanted to give us special receptors he could use any method to this.
      You are correct in that we have everything we need to make a free choice to accept or reject God. When you accept God it is much to do with faith and little to with science.

      May 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Evolution and the Bible get along just fine. If God wanted to give us special receptors he could use any method to this.
      You are correct in that we have everything we need to make a free choice to accept or reject God. When you accept God it is much to do with faith and little to with science."

      LMAO Anyone else see the double standard in this statement. LMAO!

      May 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      "Given that God is in charge and allows humans to do all sorts of terrible things I agree God is responsible for all the good and the bad you see."
      So why is it that god gets a pass on HIS decision to send people to hell. Talk about subjective morality and situational ethics.

      May 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • fred

      TruthPrevails 🙂
      “There is no sin in se.xual anything.”
      =>agreed sin is an offense against a Holy God.

      “ No-one's personal actions are hurting you, so you need to mind your own business.”
      =>agreed, I support many AIDS causes. You asked me how gay couples affect me personally and I listed the ways. My response to the harm caused also has accountability.

      “How do you live with yourself being as bigoted as you are?”
      =>I actually have great compassion for the gay community and work with those suffering from AIDS. You can tout all you want about anyone can get AIDS but, it is rare for me to see someone that is not gay with AIDS. It is you that needs to go into the community and find out why unprotected $ex continues.

      “ Does this feeling of loathing something make you feel good?”
      =>I think you need to go hold someone that is riddled with open sores and tell them how much you loath their lifestyle. As they die you tell them why my God has allowed such a thing. My friends who have died of AIDS did not ask me hypothetically about a godless world that allowed such pain they asked me why God allowed it. They asked me about hell and never called me a bigot. They died with the faith that God did not condemn them.

      “if the bible is all you have to back you, then you fail miserably in this world.”
      =>It is the only source I know about that which science has no answers.

      May 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I actually have great compassion for the gay community and work with those suffering from AIDS. You can tout all you want about anyone can get AIDS but, it is rare for me to see someone that is not gay with AIDS. It is you that needs to go into the community and find out why unprotected $ex continues."

      All the gay people I know do NOT have AIDs. It's so funny that Christians still associate this with gays like this since this Is NOT a just a gay disease. Just like many STD's aren't just a gay disease.

      May 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • fred

      HawiiGuest
      The way I read it when we see God at judgment it will be before Christ who died that we might have life eternal. We will see the wonder and glory of God in Christ and the majesty of it will buckle our knees. This is why every knee shall bow and every tongue confesses. This is why God gets a pass.
      My take is that we see the complete truth about God and about ourselves. We see ourselves for who we really are and fully understand the mercy or the wrath of God we are about to face.

      May 14, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      So in other words, you think because he's god he gets a pass on everything. A "do as I say not as I do" leader is a hypocrite, and undeserving of reverence or worship.

      May 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • fred

      HawiiGuest
      Oh, God gets accused and many shake fists at God that eventually find their way back. If God is the creator then I am in no position to second guess or even think I could begin to understand. I have the Bible to go on and enough open ends where it boils down to faith. Personally I blow hot and cold on the Bible and like you wish God just made it perfectly clear all the time. But, I understand if there were not the tree of Good and evil in the Garden then I really am just a hamster in a cage happy with my little spinning wheel to run around in.
      God wants to demonstrate His love because that is who God is. Not much of a demonstration before a hamster but, a human that can accept or reject God that is made in the image of God has great capacity to wonder in awe as even Einstein did. That wonder is there even in those who do not believe. Perhaps that is all God is doing and we are one big evolving pool that generates a few souls now and again that can be satisfied with God for eternity without looking back at the tree?

      May 14, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      Stop dodging around this crap already. I've had a few conversations with you and always you use the same tactics over and over and over. Stop going off on tangents that have absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand. You continue to make claims about the kind of person YOU think god is, but when it comes to anyone else doing that, it becomes a misinterpretation. Your double standards are irritating and constant. Stop just making claims about everything you think as truth, and start actually presenting evidence for your belief, otherwise your just talking out of your ass.

      May 14, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.