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. Hawk

    If I am wrong, and there is a Judeo/Christian God, the day of my death will truly be judgement day. I do hereby affirm that I will give him a fair chance to account for his deeds before I pass judgement upon him.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      Revelation chapter 20 : verses 11-15

      July 5, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Oh look another bible verse spouter with nothing of intelligence to say.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  2. debbie

    First off, if people knew and studied the scriptures thoroughly they would know that there is no physcial place called Hell where people are burned for eternity. That is something not found in the Bible and Jehovah God himself said that "it never came up into my heart to burn people" , when the nation of Israel was falling away from the true God and started practicing what pagan nations around them were doing. One of the things pagans did to appease their god's was to sacrifice their young and people and burn them in fire. This was detestable to God. The True God of the Bible would never have people die and then burn them for eternity. After your dead you are not conscious of anything. Death alone is the final punishment we all endure because of sin and imperfection. People need to really study their Bible and learn what the True God's will is for mankind and this planet he created for us to live on.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      Revelation 20 :11-15

      July 5, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Nope. You don't need to study the Bible. You need to study ABOUT the Bible. You will find when and why it was all cooked up by humans, for human reasons, in human cultures, in known human contexts.

      We know exactly where Yahweh came from, and how he developed in human history.

      July 5, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  3. JeffinIL

    The only way this fat man is getting to heaven is with a really, really big pair of wings.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  4. Phil

    Oops sorry. I didn't see that this was posted on the religious cult blog. Carry on nutjobs!

    July 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  5. Mike

    "Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Jerry

      Amen. Their knowledge of their faith is a mile wide; an inch deep.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  6. Phil

    FYI. No such thing as God, bro. Sorry to buzzkill.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  7. PantyRaid

    I'm down as long as there is a good BBQ everyday.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  8. aelfscine

    This is tremendously insidious. 'Love everyone unconditionally as you change them to fit your sect's norms.'
    ‎'See, it's OK that I force you to fit my worldview because I'm a bad person too, just like YOU.' Wait, what?

    July 5, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  9. Lizzy10

    God cares if a person is good, if they follow the Commandments. Where in the Commandments does it state "Thou Shall Not Be Gay"?

    July 5, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      Leviticus 18 :22

      July 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • aelfscine

      And let's not forget this passage from Leviticus, just a few verses up:
      19:19 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee.

      These are of course enforced just as vigorously by folks such as Perversion is a Crime. I saw a dude wearing a garment mingled with linen and wool and the Westboro Baptist Church was there to THROW DOWN. Because each and every one of these statutes are enforced equally among all, not cherry-picked to fit the political hatreds of the week.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • JustaNormalPerson

      aelfscine, pervert doesn't respond because the other passages in Leviticus are not important to him because they don't let him justify his bigotry.

      July 5, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Lizzy10

      "Perversion is a crime", since when is Leviticus 18:22 a Commandment? Did I miss that one when Moses brought them forth?

      July 5, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  10. mlblogscbgoldsmith

    Nietzsche wrote that as soon as Man decided that he had invented God and began to interpret God's word, then God was dead and was killed by Man. You see this clearly in the Gospels where Jesus lives in deeds of love and selflessness but then Paul and John twist the Word into hate or fear or both. God is dead and every bit of CSI leads us back to Man as murderer.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • aj

      Well stated.
      On a side note, whoever wrote this article needs to be fired.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Jerry

      If Jesus only lived by love a selflessness, as you envision it being, then why did he turn over the tables of the temple money changers? Why did Jesus tell the woman to go and sin no more. Why did Jesus say that there is no other way to the Father except through Him?

      July 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  11. annebeth

    I am a Baptist woman who has read the bible and take it for what it is: a book that was written to be a life guide, but must be considered in the historical time that it was written. I am overweight, wear clothes made of two different fabrics, have gay friends that I love, eat shellfish, am not in a polygamous marriage and still feel that my life is ok in Gods sight. I have no desire to judge people; that is for God to do.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • JustaNormalPerson

      Yours is probably one of the more truly christian responses to this article.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs! ..

      July 5, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      I wish prayer could change broken records.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • jdmeister

      I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Gandhi

      Enough said.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      Was that the same shot dead Ghandi that used to drink his own urine?

      July 5, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  13. christians hate themselves lol

    lol just lol

    July 5, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      Qu eers the folks that gave the world AIDS

      July 5, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      aids was created in a Lab most likely to eradicate undesirables during the Reagen administration you must note although Reagen was a Pagan his administration was evangelical they tried to get rid of the H0m0 and the black

      July 5, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Sorry Sammy,
      There is proof of Immunodeficiency Virus in primates, (humans and apes) long before Ronny.
      Conspiracy theorists .... facepalm.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • sparrow

      @Sam AIDS most likely came from a primate in the African jungle, and was transferred to humans as a result of naughty behavior between one of each species. You're welcome.

      July 5, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Duh

      Yes it's been linked to African monkeys, No it has never been proven to have started due to naughty behavior unless you consider the most likely source, that of poorly slaughtered monkey meat being sold and eaten by many in that region for many many years. It's most likely someone eaither during the slaughtering or eating of what they call "bush meat" that first contracted AID's which then spread through African s.ex workers and then hopped to the US via some 'straight' business men in the late 70's.

      July 5, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      i was being sarcastic,.. the fact is you have a better chance of tracing the inventor of Beer then finding the root cause,.. its all speculation,..the thing is its here and the only ones not trying to stop the spread is the church

      July 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  14. Thinks2010

    This guy has just given fat people another reason to feel anxious and miserable and to turn to food for solace about. Of course, if fat people are destined for hell, at least they'll be in a place where they can burn off a little fat.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  15. Rob- Texas

    The difference is that in some cases Gay people want to become ministers/pastors. Ministers/pastors should be held to a higher vow and should not be activily sinning. Weather it is food, drugs, drink, etc. A drunk should not be allowed to be a pastor, so why should a Gay person? Your analogy fails.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • snoozie

      But is not the fat pastor also "actively sinning"? If he is overeating, then the answer is yes. The analogy stands.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Eric

      If you know anyone who is not actively sinning please introduce them to me

      July 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  16. David

    Christians, cherry picking sins, say it isn't so.

    From an outsider the Bible seems pretty clear on the sin of being rich. Mathew: Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

    Yet find a church today that would turn away a rich man or even consider being rich a sin. But the Bible says man shouldn't lay with man and the Christians pile on the consequences and make it the worst sin in the Bible.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  17. perversion is a crime

    Dead guy Sagan Knows now.
    You only got dead guys to do your thinking for you?

    July 5, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • hey look--it's herbie!

      isn't he cute?
      troll troll troll away, mental midget!

      July 5, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • herbie

      there is no herbie

      July 5, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • aelfscine

      Only Zuul!

      July 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  18. oogi

    This is why I believe in God but not in religion. Folks use religion to forgive their own sins and punish everyone else. And oh yeah, they get to define what is a sin too. And to make money. Most are not very nice people. I don't think God gives a ratsass about most of this stuff.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • sparrow

      I agree with you, oogi! There is plenty of ignorance being shot from both the religious and non-religious, and I personally like the fact that I have my own beliefs and I don't have to share them with anyone else. In my mind, God doesn't care whether I tell anyone about it, but rather that I just believe in him in my heart.

      July 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  19. perversion is a crime

    There is nothing derogatory in truth. Ho mo se xuality is an unnatural state and a filthy sin. It is not gay it is qu eer. Qu eers, the folks that gave the world AIDS.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • solex

      Whose truth? Yours? I think your "truth" is a lie? It is persons like you who blame God for their hatred and bigortry that really anger me. Be a man and admit you hate gays not because of "God" but because you are reprehensible and don't care about others.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      No hatred simple true facts. Qu eers tend to get upset about Truth.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Janet

      "Ho mo se xuality is an unnatural state and a filthy sin. It is not gay it is qu eer. Qu eers, the folks that gave the world AIDS."

      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.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Ho mo se xuality is an unnatural state"

      You a stupid TROLL. 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."

      July 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      i thought a ham and cheese sandwich, fish chips with a glass of beer was the greatest sin,.... what isn't that the one things Christians like most

      July 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • TM

      Monkey see, Monkey do.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      opps i meant shrimp chips

      July 5, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • HeavenSent


      AIDS came from straight guys having CARNAL relations with monkeys. Your lies are going to send you to hell where SATAN will cornhole you for eternity.


      July 5, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Ooohh I hope we see a religion fight. Those are always good entertainment.

      July 5, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • JustaNormalPerson

      perversion, god sees the hate in your heart.

      July 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Woody

      Come out of the closet; you know you want it!

      July 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  20. solex

    The two greatest quotes about religion were made by Ghandi and Carl Sagan:

    Ghandi –

    "I like your Christ. I do not like Christians. Christians are so unlike your Christ".

    Sagan – (When asked if he believed in God)

    "I don't want to believe. I want to know".

    July 5, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      Would that be the same shot dead gandi that used to drink his own urine?

      July 5, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Judaism God was stolen from Sumerians

      Drinking urine right away is not harmful. It is when it sits for an extended period of time. It is mostly just dead blood cells.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      The voice of experience?

      July 5, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Judaism God was stolen from Sumerians

      No, education.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      Drink a lot of urine at school did you?

      July 5, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Judaism God was stolen from Sumerians

      You express a lot of assumption as you do in your faith

      July 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      You claimed expertise. Your own or others?

      July 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Please provide a link to your history source. I'm interested in the history of Yahweh. The last I knew, Yahweh was
      1. the 70 son of El, who got assigned to the Isra-El-ites, , (who they got from the Edomites),
      2. a combo of the above with the Egyptian volcano god.

      July 5, 2012 at 6:33 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.