My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage
The author backs same-sex marriage because of his faith, not in spite of it.
May 19th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage

Editor's Note: Mark Osler is a Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

By Mark Osler, Special to CNN

I am a Christian, and I am in favor of gay marriage. The reason I am for gay marriage is because of my faith.

What I see in the Bible’s accounts of Jesus and his followers is an insistence that we don’t have the moral authority to deny others the blessing of holy institutions like baptism, communion, and marriage. God, through the Holy Spirit, infuses those moments with life, and it is not ours to either give or deny to others.

A clear instruction on this comes from Simon Peter, the “rock” on whom the church is built. Peter is a captivating figure in the Christian story. Jesus plucks him out of a fishing boat to become a disciple, and time and again he represents us all in learning at the feet of Christ.

During their time together, Peter is often naïve and clueless – he is a follower, constantly learning.

After Jesus is crucified, though, a different Peter emerges, one who is forceful and bold. This is the Peter we see in the Acts of the Apostles, during a fevered debate over whether or not Gentiles should be baptized. Peter was harshly criticized for even eating a meal with those who were uncircumcised; that is, those who did not follow the commands of the Old Testament.

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Peter, though, is strong in confronting those who would deny the sacrament of baptism to the Gentiles, and argues for an acceptance of believers who do not follow the circumcision rules of Leviticus (which is also where we find a condemnation of homosexuality).

His challenge is stark and stunning: Before ordering that the Gentiles be baptized Peter asks “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

None of us, Peter says, has the moral authority to deny baptism to those who seek it, even if they do not follow the ancient laws. It is the flooding love of the Holy Spirit, which fell over that entire crowd, sinners and saints alike, that directs otherwise.

My Take: Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality

It is not our place, it seems, to sort out who should be denied a bond with God and the Holy Spirit of the kind that we find through baptism, communion, and marriage. The water will flow where it will.

Intriguingly, this rule will apply whether we see homosexuality as a sin or not. The water is for all of us. We see the same thing at the Last Supper, as Jesus gives the bread and wine to all who are there—even to Peter, who Jesus said would deny him, and to Judas, who would betray him.

The question before us now is not whether homosexuality is a sin, but whether being gay should be a bar to baptism or communion or marriage.

Your Take: Rethinking the Bible on homosexuality

The answer is in the Bible. Peter and Jesus offer a strikingly inclusive form of love and engagement. They hold out the symbols of Gods’ love to all. How arrogant that we think it is ours to parse out stingily!

I worship at St. Stephens, an Episcopal church in Edina, Minnesota. There is a river that flows around the back and side of that church with a delightful name: Minnehaha Creek. That is where we do baptisms.

The Rector stands in the creek in his robes, the cool water coursing by his feet, and takes an infant into his arms and baptizes her with that same cool water. The congregation sits on the grassy bank and watches, a gentle army.

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At the bottom of the creek, in exactly that spot, is a floor of smooth pebbles. The water rushing by has rubbed off the rough edges, bit by bit, day by day. The pebbles have been transformed by that water into something new.

I suppose that, as Peter put it, someone could try to withhold the waters of baptism there. They could try to stop the river, to keep the water from some of the stones, like a child in the gutter building a barrier against the stream.

It won’t last, though. I would say this to those who would withhold the water of baptism, the joy of worship, or the bonds of marriage: You are less strong than the water, which will flow around you, find its path, and gently erode each wall you try to erect.

The redeeming power of that creek, and of the Holy Spirit, is relentless, making us all into something better and new.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Osler.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Episcopal • Gay marriage • Opinion

soundoff (15,115 Responses)
  1. Douglas

    Marriage is a solemn event that takes place between one man and one woman of legal age.
    Multiple wives/husbands, child marriages, or G*y, Le$bian pairings do not not fulfill Biblical requirements.

    Calling these false attaempts at marriage Christian is heresy.

    It is time to drive out fear and end the hate. Pull back the veil of sin and deceit.

    G@y marriage uis decidedly unBiblical.

    Best, Douglas

    August 3, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Bob

      As always Douglas right on the money, truth is truth why call truth lies except they want to tickle their own ears with what they perceive to be the truth. Actually what is really sad they know it isn't deep down. How would you like your life to depend on one of these totally deluded they would fold in a heart beat and leave you high and dry. I wonder what it would be like for these in their last moment in life?? do you think that they will know they made a mistake??

      August 4, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • JWT

      Your truth bob not that of other people. WHo have at least as equal truths.

      August 4, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Bob

      JWT please go marry your sister or first cousin

      August 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Jen

      I think when I die I'm going to ask to go wherever Bob isn't. If I had to hang out with Bob and people like him in heaven, I will take burning for eternity instead. Sounds much more pleasant.

      August 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Had enough!

      Your truth bob not that of other people.
      It is always amusing to see how some claim that there is bunch of truths to pick from, what ever suits you!
      And they call us, believers delusional?! LOL!

      August 4, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Simon

      Talk about perspective problems!! If being with Bob on this blog is your idea of suffering, you are a very sheltered, spoiled person. You would inflict eternal suffering upon yourself, so you would not have to listen to anyone who differs with you in opinion. Jen your world is very small

      August 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Jen

      I don't wish to be surrounded by uneducated and intolerant people that are inexplicably obsessed with gays. And Simon, if you consider a wonderful husband, three beautiful kids, many friends and a great family, education, and a great career a small world, that's your tough luck.

      August 4, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Jen, what profits you all you have acquired in your life if you lose your soul?

      August 4, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Jen

      My children of course prism. You obviously aren't a parent if you have to ask a question like that.

      August 4, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Jen, then you don't obviously understand that you have a soul and that your children have souls also. A soul is a terrible thing to waste!

      August 5, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Simon

      The sad thing Jen is that you have all of that in your life and you could make such a callous comment over a CNN blog. Yes despite your great blessings, your perspective is quite small, and rather intolerant and hateful. I would rather live in a world with Bob AND you, than to burn for all of eternity – yeesh

      August 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Simon

      Oh and just for the record, there are some AMAZING people in this world doing AMAZING things who are not educated!! Get off your high horse there!! You have eliminated half the planet with a statement like that. I have an education, but that does not qualify me as a human being.

      August 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • JWT

      Feeling b itchy today bobby ?

      There is nothing illegal in most places to mayrrying a 1st cousin either.

      August 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Jen

      Well prism, I don't believe in souls (at least not in the way that you do). All I can do in this life is be happy, be kind to others, enjoy as many moments as possible, raise happy, healthy children that are productive members of society, and live each day to the fullest. If you believe I'm going to burn in h-ll for eternity because I don't follow some stupid man-made rules like having pre-marital s-x and being fine with other people's lifestyles (that do not hurt others), you can go ahead and believe that. Whatever makes you feel better.

      And Simon (aka person that has changed your handle 117 times because you are too scared of me to use a consistent username), Bob has called me a liar (which is funny because he is the only one of us that has lied), whereas I haven't called him a single name. Most of the planet is uneducated through no fault of their own. Bob lives is the US so has had ample opportunity to become educated. Plus the rest of the planet isn't pretending to 'educate' me and others about gay people and trying to purport to know more than the experts. You may want to go get your heart surgery performed by the guy on the street corner – I will take the surgeon with the degree from Harvard.

      Plus, I would have to be delusional to believe that the 'god' that made me and is supposed to love me unconditionally is sending me to a lake of fire for all eternity because I question it's existence. But then sending a repentant mass murderer just because he believes in it. THAT is crazy.....

      August 5, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  2. Lorraine

    Huh, well, there was no assumption here, Jwt, has responded to many of my post with anger, this is why I say this, from his angry responses, and I never thought that advocating righteousness was a negative projection, wow.

    August 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Huh, well, there was no assumption here, Jwt, has responded to many of my post with anger"

      No, you are choosing to read it as angry there is a difference and proves your negative outlook.

      August 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Lorraine

      Huh? I do not think so. For if you call cursing, and name calling not anger, then you are greatly mistaking, or are in deep denial.

      August 3, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Lorraine

      Huh? Do not patronize me, or twist words because you think that you have a higher education than I do. For the most part all that you've learned is a barrier, a lie to keep others oppressed, and sustained from the truth of what real life is all about, and that is righteousness, peace, and love for 'all', not just for some, a selected few. Oh, and I am far from being angry, for I love truth, and righteousness is what I do support from YHWH.

      August 3, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  3. Cate

    Why hasn't CNN done a story on the executive who videotaped a Chik-fil-A employee (a young women) and berated her? I'm glad he lost his executive job!

    August 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  4. George

    Timothy 4:4
    "For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving"

    How many gay people does God have to create before you guys figure out he really does love them too?

    August 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  5. Lorraine

    JWT you seem like you walk on the dark side, you have a lot of anger going on, so thinking that these wrong are alright to do fits you well. Jen, you obviously know what I'm saying, you posted your reply to it. And who is jesus?, the only Son, and Firstborn that YHWH speaks of is in Exodus 4:22,23, and he is called 'Israel' not jc. There cannot be two firstborn sons people. The only Creator of life is YHWH, of His righteousness of the law, the 10 commandments; and all religions are idolatry, I have no religion. This is about righteousness, I know that is an abstraction to the wicked, but it is such a thing.

    August 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Lorraine

      Yes, people "ISRAEL" the firstborn son of the Creator of life YHWH, are the chosen people, of the 12 tribes, Jacob, Judah, Jerusalem, not an idol jc. The one who will be upon the throne is from the seed of David, from out of Judah, as prophesied in Micah 5:1,2. Are any of you even reading this book? Read Genesis – Malachi, study, and do the law, the 10 commandments, and live a blessed, and wholesome life to prolong ones days. This does not take religion to do, just do right that's all. Religions are idolatry, pagan, and man-made for gain, and control.

      August 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Huh?

      "JWT you seem like you walk on the dark side, you have a lot of anger going on"

      Actually that is your projecting it into what this posterwrote. Now ask yourself why you assumed people are angry when you read that text because it will explain your negative outlook on life.

      August 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • JWT

      What anger are you talking about ? I merely point out that your personal view of your god is not shared nor applicable to all. Which point is applicable to every person on the planet.

      August 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Jen

      There is no anger in JWT's post AT ALL. You may want to believe that anyone that thinks differently than you is evil and angry, but that's just delusional

      Also, I guess if I understood your post, we have no need to advance kids past the first grade. Hey, they write well enough to understand them – their education is complete!

      As for YHWH (whatever you want to call him), if you believe that wrong never changes, then you must ADMIT that women striving for equal rights in western society is just as wrong as all of those other things you listed. After all, the bible is clear that men have 'dominion' over women, and women must submit to their husbands. They must stay in the home and look after it, and make all the clothing, etc, etc. So if you have ever done anything without the permission of a man, than you are wrong – there is no alternative. Also, you must also believe that slavery is fine. The bible is clear on this as well. Slavery is right. People try to argue that women and slaves as property relates to the culture at the time, but you have been clear that what is right and wrong NEVER CHANGES. And if you want to try to play the 'culture' argument, please point out the part of the bible where it says that slavery is right, and subjugation of women is right, but becomes wrong in 2000 years.

      August 3, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  6. JP

    Is homosexuality a sin?

    Self-indulgence is a sin. But the relationship of two people of the same sex may or may not be self-indulgent.

    Abusing the neighbor is a sin. But the exploration of relationships among homosexuals as they search for partners, evaluate their existing formative relationships, and relate to each other may or may not be abusive.

    Disobeying what God commands in the Bible is a sin. But, we have biblically-derived criteria for assessing and applying specific commands by reading them against larger themes.
    Turning your back on God is a sin. Homosexuals are often among those who have turned their back on the church, and may be sinning because they also rejected the God they found in church. The church needs to be in mission to homosexuals with the message of Jesus and who God really is.

    Yielding to your passions, even celebrating them is a sin. Homosexuals do include those who have done this. But it is not an inherent aspect of being gay.

    Since we see people who have dedicated themselves to God, and for whom their gay sexual life is integrated into that decision and we see that their sexuality does not draw them away from church we must conclude that being and living gay is not a behavior in and of itself that produces pain to the neighbor and leads one away from God.

    By the criteria the scripture sets for us for what is godly life, and by the reasoning scripture asks us to employ, homosexuality cannot be described as against God’s law.

    If this seems like a rather quiet sort of justification for homosexuality, then perhaps it is because the grand clichés of this debate have been shouted at us for too long. But look at the Bible: it's demands and vision cut across all categories, not staying on the surface but penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow' it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, rejecting all forms of self-justification, all forms of attack on the "other" and all forms of escape from God's assessment of our behavior. How on earth could we have ever thought that a series of flat rules was all God wanted to tell us on morality?

    August 3, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • YeahRight

      Of course gay is a sin that's why its said to be a abomination to God. It has nothing to do with the bent and twisted world JP wants to present to us. Gay mentality is so far off and even those that stick up for the gays that are not themselves gay don't have the balls in real life to understand what it is all about. They are like the guy in Arizona that harassed the Chick Fil A worker and are a total loser.. I am so glad he got fired maybe now he will get a clue what a real life is about.

      August 4, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  7. Janet

    "I stand by the Bible. In it, I find no case where God joined a man + man or a woman + woman in marriage. E V E R. You find that insulting? "

    The Biblical condemnation of homosexuality is based on human ignorance, suspicion of those who are different, and an overwhelming concern for ensuring the survival of the people. Since the Bible regards homosexuality as a capital crime, it clearly assumes that homosexuality is a matter of free choice, a deliberate rebellion against God. We have learned from modern science that people do not choose to be gay or straight; hence it is neither logical nor moral to condemn those whose nature it is to be gay or lesbian.

    August 3, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • ImLook'nUp

      I'm sticking with the man + woman = marriage deal. It's a great buy in my book!

      August 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  8. YeahRight

    "It is well established that there are high rates of mental illnesses, including depression, drug abuse, and suicide attempts, among gays and lesbians. This is true even in the Netherlands, where gay, lesbian and bi relationships are far more socially acceptable than in the U.S."

    More lies by the desperate prejudice bigots. Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

    August 3, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  9. YeahRight

    It is well established that there are high rates of mental illnesses, including depression, drug abuse, and suicide attempts, among gays and lesbians. This is true even in the Netherlands, where gay, lesbian and bi relationships are far more socially acceptable than in the U.S. Depression and drug abuse are strongly associated with risky mating practices that lead to serious medical problems.

    August 2, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Thanks for proving you're nothing more than a prejudice coward. LMAO!

      August 3, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  10. YeahRight

    I think gays are disgusting and lewd their behavior is something out of Sodom and Gomorrah I really don't think that they should have the right to marry and they are lucky to have any rights at all.

    August 2, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Jen

      Oh look...yeah right has a secret admirer.

      August 3, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • YeahRight

      "Oh look...yeah right has a secret admirer."

      It's just Bob aka junior aka Douglas and all the other handles this poster uses, he is just being stupid and lying proving he's not really a Christian after all but a Troll.

      We all know the REAL trught that heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      August 3, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  11. Lorraine

    yeahright, no you're the stupid one, if you think that prejudice, lying, hate, stealing, violence, greed, poverty, perversion, war, and men sleeping with each other even then, until this day, and adultery, has changed since the days of old, you are delusional, and dumber, than dumber. These things among other wrongs have no validity of measure, they are what they are stupid. They don't change, there is no such thing as a little hate, or a little in difference, it is what it is, and people today are doing these wrongs just like they also did long ago, nutty person, and LMAO, to you too. You are obviously blinded by the technology, that has nothing to do with the human behaviors, dumber,dumber.

    August 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • JWT

      Some of these things are wrong only in your personal opinion. Non-believers in your personal belief do not need to believe such and they are correct in their belief.

      August 3, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • Jen

      Very judgmental person aren't you Lorraine? Aren't you always saying that only Jesus is allowed to judge? Pretty sure your sinning – get ready for that pit of fire!

      Also, your writing skills are still lagging significantly behind that of my three year old. Perhaps you should spend some of your blogging time educating yourself instead.

      August 3, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  12. Jeannine

    The Scriptures were written approximately 2000 or more years ago when there was no knowledge of constitutional homosexuality. The Scripture writers believed that all people were naturally heterosexual so they viewed homosexuality activity as unnatural. Women today are pointing out that the inferiority of women expressed in the scriptures was a product of culture and the times in which the Bible was written; it should not be followed today, now that we are beginning to appreciate the natural and God-given equality of men and women.

    Similarly, as we know that homosexuality is just as natural and God-given as heterosexuality, we realize that the Biblical injunctions against homosexuality were conditioned by the attitudes and beliefs about this form of sexual expression which were held by people without benefit of centuries of scientific knowledge and understanding.

    It is unfair of us to expect or impose a twentieth century mentality and understanding about equality of genders, races and sexual orientations on the Biblical writers. We must be able to distinguish the eternal truths the Bible is meant to convey from the cultural forms and attitudes expressed there.

    August 2, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Lorraine

      Oh, Jeannine, why do you insist on saying that these scriptures are old, in Isaiah 43:11-19, are for the future. This book is juxtaposed, y ou have to compare what is going on today with the examples of what happened in the past. Therefore, it covers the past, the present, and prophesied for the future. And, remember that YHWH changes Not, everything for then, is prophesied for now, and it has not changed. In Daniel 12:4 it mentions how we will run to and fro, with increased knowledge of our technology, but nothing has changed from the way people were then, and how they are now. As a matter of fact we are just as worst. This is because we will not do the law of life from YHWH, the 10 commandments, and until we all return to Him as He asked of us in Malachi 3:7, the sufferings will stay. We are doing this to ourselves not obeying Him.

      August 2, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • YeahRight

      "but nothing has changed from the way people were then, and how they are now."

      It's stupid statements like this that are so revealing of the low mentality of some religious people. LMAO!

      August 2, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  13. Michael

    This one goes out to all you fundamentalist Christians out there. Selah! I may be too narrow addressing this to just the fundamentalists. Many traditional Christians also fit the bill. Really, it’s anyone who believes that homosexuality is a sin, and that somehow God, infinite and eternal creator and sustainer of the very Universe, is ‘against’ a tiny human behavior that harms no one. So, in other words, uneducated and ridiculous people everywhere.

    Officially, the majority of Christian churches say that homosexual behavior is a sin, thus proving that the theologians behind those churches don’t understand their own Bible. There are a whole bunch of goofball laws written down in the Old Testament that everyone ignores. Why is being bigoted toward homosexuals the one people latch onto?

    The various Christian brands go through the Old Testament, picking and choosing the parts they consider cool. No one accepts the whole thing. No one. I mean, when was the last time a cheating spouse was actually put to death in keeping with the commandments of the Bible?

    Using the Old Testament to determine if something is a sin is simply a matter of human and not godly opinion. It’s meaningless and certainly not ‘the word of God’. His teachings aren’t some basket of fruit for you to pick over. You either have to accept the old law in its entirety and start killing lots and lots of people or reject it in its entirety. Hand-picking the stuff you like is bogus, especially when you only pick the stuff that seems to legitimize your meanness to other people.

    So the Old Testament is out.

    Before we all start playing REM’s “Losing My Religion,” consider this denying someone the right to marry is not Christian, and certainly not American.

    The people who are opposed to gay marriage, and by extension, gayness itself have no excuse. They are bigots and bigots alone. They can’t use their special book to justify their hate, even according to the special book itself. They have no one to thank but themselves. They take the Lord’s name in vain and feel righteous about it

    Yes, they take the Lord’s name in vain. Most people believe incorrectly that this commandment is about cussing, but it’s not. It’s about using God for yourself, for your own vain (personal) ends. They hold the Bible in the air and use it like a bitch to bolster their own prejudices and bigotry and hate and that is vanity, all is vanity.

    The teachings of Christ are plain enough: love and forgiveness, tolerance and healing, acceptance and rebellion. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing more needed. Add what you will to it; it still won’t be from the Christ. It will come from your own (black?) heart.

    Jesus Christ is the origin of the word ‘Christian’. Perhaps we should pray about that a bit more.

    Today’s Christians tend to be followers, accepting of the notion that religion is just a box built by someone else into which they must stuff their spirit. They are naive and willingly line up like lemmings wherever told. They have a casual ignorance that tells them the Beast will come in the obvious guise of science or secularism or liberality. They cannot conceive of the Father of Lies actually lying to them.

    Sinclair Lewis said that when fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying the cross. When the Beast comes to the world, you can bet your sweet ass he will be thumping the Bible and preaching a hate disguised as love.

    August 2, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  14. Tay

    I would love to share this with you and your guest...It's a truth ministry that can help...
    Please click on the link or go to You tube and type in "TGHC Conroe". New messages are posted every week!



    and start at 22:15 for the above youtube

    LOL in Christ

    August 2, 2012 at 2:39 am |
  15. Bob

    Thank you Lord

    August 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Lorraine

      Giving the praise unto another is not the right thing to do here. This is what got us in this mess in the first place. YHWH says He is the Savior, and the Redeemer in Isaiah 49:26, and in Malachi 1:6,14, if YHWH is the father, then where is His honor,His praise? And as taught in Isaiah 1: 1-6 of the people going astray from YHWH.

      August 2, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Bob

      Lorraine God is the our Lord but Jesus was the sacrifice for sin where is your sacrifice for sin if you dont believe in Jesus??? I will be more htan happy to explain it but I will not unless you have some interest.

      August 2, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  16. John

    Some argue that since homosexual behavior is 'unnatural' it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.

    Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.

    There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally, it might be well for the one quoting to read the text in its entirety.

    Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman. Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and Romans 1: 26-27). But homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment visited upon idolaters by God because of their unfaithfulness. Homosexuality was not the sin but the punishment.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Sexual perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual liaison.

    Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of homosexual behavior. But was Paul's opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been challenged and transcended even by the church! Is Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned ideas?

    Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy, Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter respectively).

    That is all that Scripture has to say about homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist, these references do not build an ironclad case for condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition toward those of their own sex

    August 1, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • zar

      Twisted Bishop....whoa!!

      August 2, 2012 at 12:03 am |
  17. 2Cents

    "I think maybe people are getting tired of the small percent of the population kicking the silent majority around."

    The NAACP has passed a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage as a civil right, putting it stamp on an issue that has divided the black community.

    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's board voted at a leadership retreat in Miami on Saturday to back a resolution supporting marriage equality, calling the position consistent with the equal protection provision of the US constitution.

    "The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure political, social and economic equality of all people," board chairwoman Roslyn M Brock said in a statement. "We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law."

    Same-sex marriage is legal in six states and the District of Columbia, but 31 states have passed amendments to ban it.

    The NAACP vote came about two weeks after President Barack Obama announced his support for gay marriage, setting off a flurry of political activity in a number of states. Obama's announcement followed vice-president Joe Biden's declaration in a television interview that he was "absolutely comfortable" with gay couples marrying.

    "Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP's support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the fourteenth amendment of the United States constitution and equal protection of all people" said NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous, a strong backer of gay rights.

    Gay marriage has divided the black community, with many religious leaders opposing it. In California, exit polls showed about 70% of black people opposed same-sex marriage in 2008. In Maryland, black religious leaders helped derail a gay marriage bill last year. But state lawmakers passed a gay marriage bill this year.

    Pew Research Center polls have found that African Americans have become more supportive of same-sex marriage in recent years, but remain less supportive than other groups. A poll conducted in April showed 39% of African-Americans favor gay marriage, compared with 47% of white people. The poll showed 49% of black people and 43% of white people are opposed.

    The Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights advocacy group, applauded the NAACP's step.

    "We could not be more pleased with the NAACP's history-making vote – which is yet another example of the traction marriage equality continues to gain in every community," HRC president Joe Solmonese said in a statement.

    August 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  18. Bob

    I just ate lunch in a CFA here in Downtown Houston. It is in a food court. Must have been 300 people in line, took about 40 minutes to get to the order desk. My brother in Tomball Tx where we live said the CFA there has the line out the door and down the side of the bldg and the parking lots for several business around are packed and there is a line of cars up and down hyway 2920 waiting to get in the parking lot.
    I think maybe people are getting tired of the small percent of the population kicking the silent majority around.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Bob is a proven liar on this blog so take this comment for what is probably a repeat of his bad habit of lying.

      August 1, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • ImLook'nUp

      What are you talking about? If you're watching the news reports, they show lines of people at those restaurants and it's not in just one city or town. It's all over the place!

      Light'n up, YR. Not everybody is on your bandwagon.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Bob

      Thanks looking but Yeah is one of the little people he never learned to be respectable

      August 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • ImLook'nUp

      It is true. YR is lacking in the civility department.

      As we know, Jesus tells us to bring the little ones to Him.

      God help you YR because He really can!

      August 2, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • Lorraine

      Bob, yes please do explain this to me. Especially when I learned in Ezekiel 14:14-21, and Jeremiah 31:30, and Ezekiel 18, that no man can die for another persons sin, or soul, not even His best of servants can do this. He teaches that we are all responsible for our own righteousness is what YHWH teaches in these scriptures of His Word. So why would He go back on this of His Word, when He also taught that He changes not in Malachi 3:6.

      And, tell me this as well, what part of YHWH saying that He is the only Savior, and Redeemer, in Isaiah 43:11, Isaiah 49:26, and Isaiah 60:16? Then He says that no man can be delivered from out of His hands in Isaiah 43:13, how can one ignore this from YHWH? In Zech. 14:9 He shows you He is One, and in Isaiah 44:24, He does it all alone. Ans Isa.44:22, He forgot our sins, are you people even reading this book? The NT is not fulfilling the OT, YHWH does not Change.

      August 2, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Lorraine

      Oh, and Bob, I forgot to say this, that our sacrifice is the acceptance of prayer of Solomon Supplication, in I Kings chapters 8, and 9. This prayer was accepted by YHWH to pray towards the holy land, and ask for forgiveness for all our sins. Until the temples are rebuilt, as prophesied in Jeremiah 31:37-40, and in Ezekiel chapters 40,41, and in 47, about the healing waters, these are future prophecies to come after the last battle in Ezekiel 38, also a future prophecy.

      August 2, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • YeahRight

      "What are you talking about? If you're watching the news reports, they show lines of people at those restaurants and it's not in just one city or town. It's all over the place! "

      Yo moron, do some research before spewing your nonsense, there are CFA that are supporting gay rights. LMAO!

      August 2, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • YeahRight

      "It is true. YR is lacking in the civility department.

      As we know, Jesus tells us to bring the little ones to Him.

      God help you YR because He really can!"

      Yet you have thrown insults at me, both of you. What a bunch of hypocrites. You're the one that is going to need help if your Christ does exist he's not going to allow a bunch of lying prejudice bigots into his kingdom. Duh!

      August 2, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • ImLook'nUp

      Really? Tell me what I said that insulted you.

      August 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Really? Tell me what I said that insulted you."

      Really you're going to hide behind this stupid statement because you can't hold yourself accountable to the insults you use on this blog. That's hilarious!

      August 2, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • ImLook'nUp

      YR. You said that I insulted you. Tell me how. I'd like to know.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "YR. You said that I insulted you. Tell me how. I'd like to know"

      I said you threw insults at me which I don't take seriously because your opinion comes from a prejudice coward when it comes to the subject of gay civil rights.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • ImLook'nUp

      I stand by the Bible. In it, I find no case where God joined a man + man or a woman + woman in marriage. E V E R. You find that insulting?

      The Bible is not my "opinion" book. It is a life book. Something waaaaay bigger than you or me.

      August 2, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • JWT

      The bible is in fact an opinion book. Many believers have different opinions of what is in it. Also it is your opinion book or life book and not that of others. It's opinions about many things do not apply to any other people than those that believe in that particular interpretation.

      August 3, 2012 at 7:34 am |
  19. Bob

    I hear they're all swamped today... The Chick Fil A I went to lunch at was sure swamped...It was filled with people who had blood-drive t-shirts on, and Cancer fun-run t-shirts and people's grandmothers were there... a real hateful looking crowd!

    August 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Since Bob has been proven a liar on this blog take this comment for what it is just more lies.

      August 1, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Lorraine

      Bob, Religions are all not of YHWH, they are idolatry, and pagan to Him. He gave us His prophet Daniel to prove this to us in Daniel 11:39-45, of christianity, and of islam, and all are strange gods, and the false governments all prophesied for this generation the 4th kingdom Daniel 2:40-49, of the vision, of the end times to come in Daniel 12.

      For over 2000 years this has not worked out for us, it has gotten worst, wake up people, return, and give the praise to YHWH the Creator of life, as He ask of us in Malachi 3:7.

      August 2, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Simon

      Hahahaha exactly Bob, a real scarey bunch!!!! Bless you

      August 4, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  20. Erik

    "Similarly, by no longer listing it as a psy disorder we are not saying that it is "normal" or as valuable as hetero.
    Modern methods of treatment enable a significant proportion of h0m0 who wish to change their orientation to do so."

    Being gay is not a choice science, in fact, is actually not in dispute on this matter.

    All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

    Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy or reorientation therapy, "counsels" LGBT persons to pray fervently and study Bible verses, often utilizing 12-step techniques that are used to treat sexual addictions or trauma. Such Christian councilors are pathologizing homosexuality, which is not a pathology but is a sexual orientation. Psychologically, that's very dangerous territory to tread on. All of the above-mentioned medical professional organizations, in addition to the American and European Counseling Associations, stand strongly opposed to any form of reparative therapy.

    In my home country, Norway, reparative therapy is officially considered to be ethical malpractice. But there are many countries that do not regulate the practice, and many others that remain largely silent and even passively supportive of it (such as the Philippines). Groups that operate such "therapy" in the Philippines are the Evangelical Bagong Pag-asa, and the Catholic Courage Philippines.

    The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

    On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

    Take this interesting paragraph I found on an Evangelical website: "The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" – meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are 'born that way.'"

    But that's not at all what it means, and it seems Evangelicals are plucking out stand-alone phrases from scientific reports and removing them from their context. This is known in academia as the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Interestingly, this is also what they have a habit of doing with verses from the Bible.

    This idea of sexuality being a choice is such a bizarre notion to me as a man of science. Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

    The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

    Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

    Furthermore, there are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

    Having said that, in the realm of legal rights, partnership rights, and anti-discrimination protections, the gay gene vs. choice debate is actually quite irrelevant. Whether or not something is a choice is not a suitable criterion for whether someone should have equal rights and protections. Religion is indisputably a choice, but that fact is a not a valid argument for discriminating against a particular religion.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:59 am |
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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.