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My Take: Will there be gays in heaven? Will there be fat people?
Anderson Cooper's coming out provoked the author to send a tweet that triggered some strong reaction.
July 5th, 2012
01:11 PM ET

My Take: Will there be gays in heaven? Will there be fat people?

Editor's Note: Craig Gross is the pastor and founder of XXXchurch.com and is the author of seven books. He just turned 36 and is no longer a hip 20-something pastor from California.

By Craig Gross, Special to CNN

After Anderson Cooper came out this week, I posted a link on Twitter to a story that included this quote from Cooper: “I love and am loved.” As I said in my tweet, Cooper is one of my favorite journalists. I was honored to once be on his show.

After I tweeted I got e-mails and a direct message asking the same question: "You still like him now?"

I was saddened by that reaction and started thinking: What would happen if we read the Bible and, instead of highlighting certain passages, we took it all for what it is - truth.

In 1 Corinthians, the Bible says don't indulge your body with food or sex: “‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,’ and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”

My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage

I deal with people who indulge their bodies with sex. I’ve  done it for 10 years with XXXchurch.com, helping people caught up in porn addiction.

If you indulge your body with sex via pornography, affairs, strippers or hookers, and your secrets are exposed, you will not be preaching on Sunday. Sexual sin is not tolerated in our churches. If clergy are caught in these things, they’re disqualified.

What if you indulge your body with food? Well, then you can pastor some of the largest churches on the planet and have the most successful broadcasts on the religious channels and sell a lot of books.

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Same biblical passage, same sin. Why is one accepted and one rejected? Why is it that religious folks want to camp out on a few things rather then all things?

Why do they believe that the gay guy goes to hell but the fat preacher who builds some of the largest churches in the world makes it to heaven?

I have no problem bringing my fat friends to church; they fit right in. Our Los Angeles church has doughnuts to eat during worship service, which makes the hymns we sing sound so much better.

My Take: Why many Christians focus on homosexuality

I coached my son's soccer team last year. My assistant coach is a lesbian. My son became great friends with her son, and my wife and I have become good friends with his mom and her partner. We played on three teams this year with them and have spent time in each others’ homes.

Could I bring them to church? Absolutely not.

Most evangelical Christians don't have gay friends. We just have gay stereotypes and we base our beliefs on a few biblical passages, ignoring passages about things that people in the church really struggle with, like food and other addictions.

The problem is that the church has only one answer for homosexuality: Don't be gay. Come as you are, but you'd better not be gay. But you can be fat.

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Most Christians believe you should just help your friends to not be gay when, in all honesty, only Christ can do that.

I love my lesbian friends. Let’s say I share Christ with them and they accept Jesus - or maybe they already have. Where do they go to church?

There is no way I would send them to an evangelical church, because not everyone would treat them the way they should be treated. But if they attend a gay church many Christians look at them as crazy.

People will push you to take a stand one way or the other on homosexuality, but no one has ever asked me to take a stand when it comes to fat people.

The goal shouldn’t be to change anyone's sexuality. Ultimately, I believe homosexuality gets blown way out of proportion in our churches. If we would all see gays as fellow sinners instead of “others,” there wouldn't be a need for gay outreach, because they would already be incorporated into our community based on a shared need for Christ.

God loves gays and Jesus is for them. God loves the fat preacher. Homosexual activity and overeating are both sins - just like speeding, gossip, lying and cheating. I think I did all of those just today.

All are forgivable in Christ and, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, can be changed. Just remember that change does not happen overnight.

Have you ever seen someone lose 100 pounds overnight? The process takes time. When it comes to the Lord, it’s nothing less than a journey of sanctification.

And wherever you are at on that journey, I think there should be a place for you at church. Because there’s probably one in heaven.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Craig Gross.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (2,508 Responses)
  1. john

    i've tried to post this but here goes another try Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God

    July 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • john

      what it means is yes you lived in sin but now that we know it is sin, we no longer sin. in other words we stopped participating in the sinful activity not kept on doing it. you have to decide for yourself if you believe it and i'm not telling you you have to stop what your doing but if no one evere points it out maybe noone will ever know and that would be a tragedy

      July 6, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @john

      That only matters if you accept the bible as something of an authority. I completely reject the dogma of sin, as it is a religious construct.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • BucketDrop

      Hello John. Most of us who are atheist in the US have read the Bible quite a bit. I would challenge you to read a good book on microbiology, a couple of the New Atheist books (but you will have to grit your teeth and try to not let them offend you, read their points and ignore their jabs), pick up a Bart Ehrman book, and then maybe throw in a little Bertrand Russell. Then come back and continue your scripture quotes. They will mean more to any Atheist you are talking to. Remember, to be the best witness, you must understand those to whom you witness, which is why Paul spent so much time in each town during his travels. Try it. Either you will become Atheist/agnostic (like Bart Ehrman) or you will be a much more effective Christian witness.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • motherearth

      @John....Gods made so many can nots...he fool proofed it so everyone's going to He\\ just for $h1$ and giggles...he's that way ya know...We're just a Reality show for his enjoyment.....not worth wasting my time on it, I'm just loving life without him...

      July 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  2. john

    well honestly you don't have to care what the bible says you would be what the bible calls an unbeliever hawaiiguest which means theres no more reason to talk with you but on the other hand I've all i have to do which is to tell you there is something better if you read for yourself you might want to believe i can't really explain i can only point you in a direction but i'm done

    July 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Been there, done that. Read the bible back to front multiple times. It's probably one of the biggest reasons in my move to atheism.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  3. Kevin Barbieux

    The bible also says that cowards will not get into heaven. How does one determine who is or isn't a coward? How can anyone draw that line?

    July 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • hmmmm

      u-need a Bible. God knows. the individual knows.

      July 6, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  4. Obama Pelosi

    Hom-ose-xuality is a sin. people can try to re-write the bible or interpret it differently than what has already been said, but even hom-ose-xuals know they are sinning, they're just surprised that the tide has turned and it is becoming very politically correct to side with hom-ose-xuality, but it is not correct behavior. The American Psychiatric Association and the rest of them can say it's normal behavior, but that still won't change facts. If hom-ose-xuality was normal, then there would be absolutely no need to create two genders, only one. God would only have to create man, and either they can procreate themselves, or they would have the function of both man and woman but there would be no need of two genders, only one. Hom-ose-xuality is a sin, just like adultery. If a man is attracted to another woman, besides his wife, and acts on that feeling, he is commiting a sin and vice versa for a woman. So if you are a man with a man or a woman with a woman, you are sinning. It's not the same as eating shellfish. Those arguments are just as pathetic as comparing obesity to hom-ose-xuality. God did destroy people for their sin of hom-ose-xuality. Murder is still a sin, lying is still a sin, adultery is still a sin and hom-ose-xuality is still a sin. And if you disagree with this, you are a rac-ist.

    July 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Why should anyone care what the bible says about anything?

      July 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Obama Pelosi

      FYI to everyone. If you use the word hom-ose-xual or any form of that word without the dashes in your post, your comment will be censored by CNN. I didn't know that this word was politically incorrect.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's not. CNN's filter is stupid.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Hom.o has a lot of negative baggage, and se.x is there because america is a pus.sy when it comes to that subject.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • BucketDrop

      I am completely lost on your last line, there, but no matter. I still maintain it is likely Jesus was gay. What other man do you know would have a specific one of his buddies who was "the one Jesus loved" and what other man would recline against one of his buddies chests (yes, the one he loved) during dinner. Just sayin... Sin, schmin, read between the lines.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • motherearth

      HELLO......That's fu(king EVOLUTION man, open your eyes and expand your reasoning....

      July 6, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  5. Mark

    What do you guys think of gay incest???? Their love doesn't hurt anyone and they can't procreate. So where is the problem????

    July 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Hom.ose.xuality and incest are two different subjects. Neither has anything to do with the other. Does it feel good to throw out a red herring, and a really bad one at that.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      You can always spot a qu eer at a family gathering its the one trying to score. Qu eers the folks that gave the world AIDS.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @perversion

      Random idiotic posts merely expose you as the troll you are.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Mark

      They are two different things but sometimes they come together. I know several brothers engaged in this. What is a good argument against it? I didn't call anyone names. Why the attack? Sounds like some people are intolerant.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      Both statements are true. TRUTH is never trolling. (probably hard for you to accept)

      July 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Mark

      Just because it has happened, it doesn't mean it affects the subject of ga.y rights. Throwing in a hypothetical that, as far as the country at large, isn't very prevalent, and also contains a qualifier that is completely irrelevant to the actual subject, is worthless. I'm not being intolerant, I'm telling you what your question is, and that is a red herring.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @perversion

      Prove your assertion troll.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      AIDS came to the world through San Francisco qu eers. Ground zero = one really sicko qu eer with hundreds of contacts with man and beast from Montreal Canada.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @perversion

      Merely more random assertions. Continue to show your irrelevancy troll, at the least it gives me something to laugh at.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      laugh all the way to the grave.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @perversion

      Ooooo so spo.oky. Man you really are priceless. All you have is the same old veiled threats and asinine assertions.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  6. john

    The bible is right. you have to read it yourself because no religion today will use it properly. religion will not get you into heaven. and if i have a chance at going to a place better than i can possibly humanly dream of I am not going to jeporadize my chance at getting there by supporting a selfish cause that the bible says is sinful and wicked

    July 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      And why should anyone care what the bible says?

      July 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • asdf

      Religion and the Bible were both originally created as a means for one group of humans to control another. It's a moot point to claim one is more beneficial than another, you're just writing off a newer contrivance for an older one.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • somebody

      why should anyone care what you think

      July 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • motherearth

      @perversionisacrime....that says a lot about your family....It's a individuals right to fall in love with whoever they please...You would not allow your parents to pick a bride for you....Why? Because you can exercise your right to fall in love with the person you chose......Why would you deny 2 consenting adults to love the person of their choice?.................. says a lot about how your morals operate.....rusty !

      July 6, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  7. ANNIE B.

    Andrew, If I were as cynical and negative as you say I am, I possibly wouldn't even take the time to sit down and write this email to you!!!! As a human adult, I don't feel the need to take sides, neither politically, nor as a religous person. I try so hard to listen to the other side and to remember the old Chinese saying "From listening comes wisdom, and from speaking comes repentance!" I pray that I don't have to repent too much for speaking out to yu on this subject!!!!

    You are right, that "human adults are so mixed up and full of judgmental crap"....but that does not cancel their "automatic ticket to heaven." What it does do, is make them a human adult, worthy of having an opinion that they feel passionate about!!!! They have a right to speak their minds, and to try to convince others to see life through thier glasses. Just because we don't agree with them doesn't negate that!!!! If anyone out there wants to see me 'get sent straight to hell" because I have a different opinion from them, I would invite them to put their thoughts on the screen and let's discuss it!!!!

    July 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  8. biglifter

    Keep hammering away at that gay agenda CNN. Not a day goes by without an article about it

    July 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  9. cement

    Who cares if there are gays in heaven? Another arousing article from CNN intended to incite. No, there are no gays in heaven because they are not God's people. Fat people will be there, however.

    July 6, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      And your useless assertion has absolutely no evidence to back it up.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • common sense needed

      Leviticus 18 : 22

      July 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Why should I care what the un-holy bible says?

      July 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • common sense needed

      You will be called to account

      July 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      By who?

      July 6, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • GayChristianGuy

      GEE WIZ

      July 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  10. Obama Pelosi

    Where is my post CNN? I sent a post at @ 6:45pm but it's not showing up. If this post shows up before the first one, then I know you have censored my post.

    July 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Ever heard of an automatic word filter? It doesn't tell you your post has been rejected, and there was probably a word or part of a word that got picked up. A state of paranoia isn't a good way to live.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Obama Pelosi

      The reason my post was censored was because of the word hom-ose-xuality, without the dashes.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Ocie

      @hawaiiguest, you have no way of knowing that the poster doesn't know that there were no censor-worthy words in his/her post. If that's the case, you are making assumptions and there is nothing "paranoid" about the post.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Ocie

      Because it is unreasonable to think that CNN has all these people reading posts and censoring them in the instant when you press post to when the page refreshes.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  11. Joseph

    What if we acted like there was no afterlife? You know, like reality would seem to indicate, as there are a lot of major religions of which only one can be right, but none must be.
    So...why not just be good to each other, encourage one another to be the best we can be, accept the flaws in others as we hope they'll accept ours? Why does religion have to enter such basic, obvious morality at all?

    July 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Many religions don't encourage treating eachother fairly, nor does it promote acceptance of flaws. Religion deals in control, and divisiveness.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  12. Know It All

    Suggestion...don't let another human being tell you what awaits you in heaven. Talk to God about it!

    July 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Which god are you talking about?

      July 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  13. Martin

    It's not truth if you don't believe it. It's just pure fantasy.

    July 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Martin

      What is actually true is independent on its acceptance.

      July 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  14. Wayne

    A lot of people live in secret sins from other humans. The Lord knows all of our sins regardless if open or secret. The Bible is the written word of God and gives instructions on how to live upon this earth until his return. His command was, yes to love each other, but to also spread the gospel through out the world until his return.
    The word teaches us about sin and also who and who will not enter into the Kingdom of God. It is plainly written in his word. Just look it up and you will know. It is that simple, just like salvation is so simple. Yes, some will enter and some who calls Lord, Lord will not enter. Only thing I can state is that you live by faith. So dust off your Bibles and start reading. Knowledge is wonderful and God is a just God and all that are tried in the end is JUST JUDGEMENT!

    July 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      @Wayne ever smoke kush

      July 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Read this post if you enjoy words written by a man who believes in an invisible, angry, sky fairy.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    July 6, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • NoTheism

      You are correct, here is a prayer study that you can use as reference: web.med.harvard.edu/sites/RELEASES/html/3_31STEP.html

      July 6, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes otherwise rational adults into believing in an imaginery friend.

      July 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • just sayin

      It doesn't take long for an atheist to steal and lie. What does an atheist hope to accomplish by posting a lie under an indisputable Truth? God bless

      July 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's not a truth if you believe it, just lying.

      July 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • just sayin

      All but the dimmest bulbs in the chandelier believe it. God bless

      July 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      Kush changes things

      July 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why do you lie, just?

      July 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It isn't a 'truth', it's your belief. Not a fact. And no, many intelligent people don't believe what you do.

      If you want anyone to follow your example, why do you lie about things?

      July 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • just sayin

      There is no lie to be explained. God bless

      July 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Of course there is. You just accused me of stealing. That's a lie.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If you are witnessing to others, why do you have to lie to make your point?

      July 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • just sayin

      No lie and no apparent accusation unless you are the one who stole atheism is not healthy for children and other living things. If that is the case you've outed yourself again and deserve the label, thief. God bless

      July 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You lied. You accused me of being a name thief. That is a lie. YOU LIED. Why do you have to lie to prove your point?

      July 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Right here is your post, just sayin:
      j
      ust sayin
      So you are the name thief fascinated by pants. We might have known. God bless

      -----–
      You are a liar. I have stolen no name. Why do you lie to make a point?

      July 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Tom

      just sayin doesn't have a point. All it is is random assertions and dodging answering any kind of criticism or questions.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't care if the turd has a point or not; it made an accusation that is false.

      just sayin will lie about anything and everything.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • just sayin

      You really do protest too much ! You are busted, evidence will out. A different thread as well, now everyone knows . Sorry about you, the facts speak for themselves. God bless

      July 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Same thread, sh!twit. You posted it. You lied. You will lie about anything. Why should anyone believe what you claim to be truth, when you lie?

      You lie about God.

      July 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • nope

      @Tom Tom
      nope ... you are busted

      July 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • diapers in a twist?

      Tom Tom

      July 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope. The only one who's busted is just sayin. Bearing false witness against someone is a big no-no with God, isn't it, just sayin?

      July 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  16. Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer keeps the idiots busy.

    July 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  17. duckforcover

    I was always under the impression only God decided who goes to Heaven. As yet no "religion" has proof of direct communication with God. I plan to wait and find out.

    July 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • John

      Many people make that claim.

      Hundreds of millions of Americans are so delusional of their religious beliefs that they think they can talk directly to a god.

      July 6, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  18. Johnjon

    I can't wait to get to heaven. I want to see my first boyfriend who passed away 26 years ago and tell him I love him, and missed him all these years. I've been with my partner 22 years, and I still think about my first every day. such a shame he died at 39.

    July 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • John

      What if Islam is true, or some other religion? You would have to visit him in hell, but they do not allow that in Islamic hell. Would that be acceptable to you? Would you want to go to some other religion's hell to say you love him?

      If his spirit or soul is still alive I bet he already knows you love him. There is no need for a delusion of organized religion.

      July 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  19. Christian Values

    Great video clip by Maher.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAvDtPz33w0

    July 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • John

      This is a great video!!

      July 6, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • just sayin

      Excellent for those who need others or video to do their thinking for them. God bless

      July 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Dave

      I was going to comment, but Bill already said it all.

      July 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  20. Roberto Bobovich Bobabishi

    Will there be Christians in heaven?

    Of course not! Zeus don't like Christians!

    Or maybe there isn't any heaven.

    July 6, 2012 at 6:27 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.