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Evangelist Billy Graham defends Chick-fil-A
July 26th, 2012
02:18 PM ET

Evangelist Billy Graham defends Chick-fil-A

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN)– Billy Graham, the dean of American evangelists, has once again broken his usual silence on hot-button issues, defending the president of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain for his opposition to same-sex marriage days after issuing a letter decrying what he sees as the nation's moral decay.

Earlier this year, the ailing preacher publicly endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay unions in North Carolina, raising eyebrows among many who'd watched Graham studiously avoid thorny social issues for years.

On Thursday, he issued a statement of support for the popular fast-food chain. Many people have slammed Chick-fil-A President Don Cathy for saying his company backs the traditional family unit and is opposed to same-sex marriage.

Graham praised restaurant founder S. Truett Cathy and son Don Cathy, the company's president, "for their strong stand for the Christian faith."

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"I've known their family for many years and have watched them grow Chick-fil-A into one of the best businesses in America while never compromising their values," Graham said.

The Chick-fil-A controversy reflects what many see as America's deep cultural and religious divide. The company's position on same-sex marriage doesn't sit well with Jim Henson Co., whose Jim Henson's Creature Shop toys have been served in Chick-fil-A's meals for children.

Jim Henson Co. is named for the creator of The Muppets. However, the company transferred The Muppets' rights and ownership to the Walt Disney Co. in 2003, according to Jim Henson Co.

"The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over 50 years and we have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors," the company said in a posting on its Facebook page.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2008 GOP presidential candidate, is backing Chick-fil-A. He urged people to turn out to Chick-fil-A restaurants on Wednesday to show their support for what Cathy had to say about marriage.

Graham says he appreciated Huckabee's leadership and plans to visit a Chick-fil-A on that day, August 1.

"Each generation faces different issues and challenges, but our standard must always be measured by God's word. I appreciate the Cathy family's public support for God's definition of marriage."

On Tuesday, Graham leveled deep criticism at the United States. He compared the country to Sodom and Gomorrah, the Biblical cities synonymous with sin.

"Self-centered indulgence, pride, and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle," Graham writes in the open letter released by his organization this week.

He blasts what he sees as efforts to keep references to Jesus out of the public sphere.

"Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone - except God. Yet the farther we get from God, the more the world spirals out of control," he writes in the letter released Tuesday.

Graham, 93, has preached to untold millions over six decades, and provided counsel to generations of U.S. presidents.

His open letter also contains a fund-raising appeal and a notice that Graham's son Franklin, himself a major evangelical figure, is launching a new effort to "bring the Gospel into neighborhoods and homes in every corner of America next year."

Randall Balmer, the chair of the religion department at Dartmouth College, suspects the motivation for the letter is at least partly political.

"It's hard for me to believe that this letter does not have political intent," he said.

Its move to decry what he would see as moral decay "would be tied to the Obama administration," he argued, asking rhetorically why Graham would not have issued the statement in response to an event like the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.

In response to the controversy, Larry Ross, Graham’s spokesperson, said that “the letter does not address timely issues.”

“‘My Heart Aches for America,’ was written 6-8 weeks ago – long before recent current events, such as the tragic shooting in an Aurora, Colo movie theater, or the ongoing Chik-fil-A controversy,” Ross said in an email to CNN. “He is responding to general struggles in our culture and a moral decline that has existed through his public ministry.”

At the same time, Ross said that Graham is keen on the idea of eating Chick-fil-A next Wednesday.

“Considering Mr. Graham's age and limited mobility, his statement today was more an expression of sentiment and solidarity with the Cathy family and their cause than actually a commitment to go to a Chik-fil-A himself,” Ross said. “But he does plan to ‘Eat Mor Chikin’ on Aug. 1, which I expect someone will be able to get for him to enjoy at home.”

Balmer said that evangelicals would take note of the letter, though Graham has largely retired from the public eye in recent years.

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"There is certainly admiration for Billy Graham, as there should be," Balmer said. "There is lingering respect for Billy Graham and I think that people will take notice."

But he said the comparison to Sodom and Gomorrah - which Graham attributes to his late wife Ruth in the letter - was startling.

"When Billy Graham came to Madison Square Garden in 1957, he made comments comparing New York City to Sodom and Gomorrah and was roundly criticized for it," Balmer said. Since that time, Balmer said, Graham has largely avoided making the comparison to the Biblical cities.

CNN's Joe Sterling contributed to this report.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Billy Graham • Christianity • Church and state • Food

soundoff (2,864 Responses)
  1. BB

    I'm suddenly hungry for some chicken!

    July 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Seamusgirl

      me too! So if you believe in God or mention Jesus..its political now. How is that when obviously NO politician is godly?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Chic-Filler

      Come on BB. It's the P0rn you go there to fill up on.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • ᾨ CHE ᾨ

      The masses you see in line are in line for FREE Chick-fil-A and NOT as so-called supporters of these crazy american, Taliban Conservative propaganda.

      If they call themselves TRUE Christians; let them FEED and cloth the poor and every hungry person in America. Instead they invest their evil $$$$'s in CORRUPT Politicians to advance their agenda. They have soul nor conscience ....... period!

      August 2, 2012 at 5:22 am |
  2. Bill

    Just another gimmick to raise money–

    July 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • ᾨ CHE ᾨ

      Yeb, that's how FAKE Christians in America behaves.

      Shame on them!

      August 2, 2012 at 5:24 am |
  3. George Washington

    It will be so funny in 20 years when no one cares about this subject anymore!!

    July 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Merton

      I'm not sure I car now and it's been 20 minutes. I ate there once cause I got a free coupon and it was not that good.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Do you mean when no one cares about government bullying of private peoples beliefs?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      And when has that happened? It will be interesting to see if you actually answer or if you run to another thread like usual.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The mayor of Boston said he would block them from build ing in "his" city and an alder man in Chicago said the same thing. Hijacking jobs and econ omic growth to win political favor from special groups and ad vance an agenda that has been rejected by voters in 32 states.. If not illegal, certainly des picable.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      And do you have links to documented statements from these people to support your assertions?

      July 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Try getting elected to any public office (above dog catcher) in this country without without swearing allegiance to a supernatural deity, OR licking the privates of the NRA.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Matt

      @ hawaiiguest

      The Chicago guy was Rahm Emanuel and you can see that story in Huffington Post. I'm not familiar with the Boston story though.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CGAQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.yahoo.com%2Fblogs%2Flookout%2Fboston-mayor-letter-chick-fil-menino-dan-cathy-201952237–finance.html&ei=FrcRULz-I4mo8QSJ5YH4Bg&usg=AFQjCNH6su7to3mPOvaf9JN2YO3MG0B9qw

      Sorry Hawaii I don't have any verifiable evidence that this article was actually written

      July 26, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      Keep your snide stupidity to yourself.
      There's boston, so does this one man equal the "government", to where you can then justifiably claim, as you did earlier, that there's "government bullying of private peoples beliefs"? Are you willing to apply this same logic to all the crap Rick Perry does as a violation of the seperation of church and state when he does his prayers for "X" on the public dime?

      July 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • usef

      no, what's funny is two men wanting to get married....

      July 26, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • ᾨ CHE ᾨ

      You bet your AZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

      All these FAKE, EVIL Christians will be dead and gone for good for a better America, FREE from these crazy psychos!

      Just can't wait!

      August 2, 2012 at 5:28 am |
  4. Kay

    TJ, I would say you are pretty good at casting stones yourself. You truly need some help with YOUR anger and hatred.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Merton

      Chick fil A preaches Christian values and treats their workers like slaves. They get minimum wage, no benefits, no overtime pay, no health insurance. The owner closes on the Sabath but his stores are cleaned maintained and landscaped by companies he hires to work on Sunday. Another liar fraud and cheat making 100's of millions on religion and hypocricy.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Bobby

      Well, the Bible does condone slavery so he isn't doing anything wrong by treating his employees like slaves.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Romans

      I thought they were making money selling chicken and other food. Just like all the other fast food chains. I guess no one is saying this about McD's or BK because it seems that the common denominator here is CHRISTIANITY, which it seems is trendy to hate on these days.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  5. Reality

    We don't need some overpaid (about $500,000 per year), anti-gay, redneck preacher or his son ($ 1 million per year) telling us what his non-atoning Jesus would do or say.
    ...

    July 26, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Merton

      I remember the respect I had for Billy Graham Sr. and how he stressed tolerance, forgiveness, love of one another and god and to be people of Peace. I never heard him say anything about the condemnation of people and the hateful vitriolic dialogue his son seems so fond of. Peace.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • nomormonpresident

      Totally agree with you "Reality." And to be frank...I thought Billy Graham was 6 feet under. If anything he's got to be part fossil...he does look a little like "The Crypt Keeper." Anybody that needs his opinion ought to consider where it's coming from...

      July 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  6. NaCheri Pittman

    I agree with the head guy of Chic-Filet. I think marriage between a man and a women is exatly right. God says that and I totally agree !!

    July 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Huebert

      Where in the bible does god say that marriage is between one man and one woman? Chapter and verse please.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • junior

      Genesis and the Epistle to the Romans

      July 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Huebert

      @junior

      do you know what chapter and verse means?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • junior

      Yes I do. Thank you for asking and I forgot to mention the Gospel of Matthew too.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Huebert

      You claim to understand yet you still refuse to provide the requested information. Why So? It might be due to the fact that neither god nor Jesus ever explicitly define marriage as being between one man and one woman.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Still waiting for chapter and verse. Or was this an "interpretation?"

      July 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • junior

      Hube,
      Genesis 1:27-28, 2:23-24
      Mark 10:6-8
      Ephesians 5:25-33

      July 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • junior

      Hube,
      Forgot this one
      Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans 1:18-32

      July 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • usef

      oh yippie! yippie! gay marriage!!!

      July 26, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      junior, you just can't pick and choose from bible quotes what you think is correct. Either none is valid, or all is valid. If all is valid, there are some seriously messed up laws in that old testament that just might affect you, also.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • junior

      More the reason for me to reconcile. What is your excuse?

      July 26, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • ᾨ CHE ᾨ

      The SAME GOD said this quote: "WHO are YEE to judge?" unquote.

      I knew this in 1st. Graded BK (a.k.a Bible Knowledge). How come you don't? Beats me!

      You've brainwashed by these FAKE christian psychos resulting in your lack of basic Biblical intellect OR lack thereof.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:35 am |
  7. boocat

    I am so sick of these g**damn "christians." And they have the gall to castigate Muslims????!!!!!

    July 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Matt

      Sounds like you hate everybody :rolleyes:

      July 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Peter Grenader

      No Matt – he's got a point. We are getting sick of this church and their constant whining that things aren't like they used to be 30 years ago. Well guess what... they aren't.

      July 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • usef

      i'm so sick of the liberal media trying to promote f*g marriage! it's a joke!

      July 26, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  8. Huebert

    D@MN YOU CHICK-FIL-A!!!! Why does part of the evil empire make the most delicious sandwiches?

    July 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Come to Jesus Huebert. He's hosting a banquet

      July 26, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Huebert

      Ok fine, but I'm bring my own wine this time, that stuff he served tasted awful.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      It's good for what ails you

      July 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Huebert

      What ails me is Jesus's awful wine. I'm bringing an '06 Chianti, feel free to drink his swill, it taste like kool-aid.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • ᾨ CHE ᾨ

      @Huebert; glad you asked.
      That's how the DEVIL can get you in his ways. They're the Devil Lucifer in disguise and its meals. Stay strong and don't be deceived. That's ALL Jesus wants you you do.

      The Devil Lucifer promised him the World and he didn't fall for it.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:41 am |
  9. Cindi

    LIKE YOU, I TAKE THE BIBLE SERIOUSLY! Many good people build their case against homosexuality almost entirely on the Bible. These folks value Scripture, and are serious about seeking its guidance in their lives. Unfortunately, many of them have never really studied what the Bible does and doesn’t say about homosexuality.

    We gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians take the Bible seriously, too. Personally, I’ve spent more than 50 years reading, studying, memorizing, preaching, and teaching from the sacred texts. I earned my master’s and doctoral degrees at a conservative biblical seminary to better equip myself to “rightly divide the word of truth.” I learned Hebrew and Greek to gain a better understanding of the original words of the biblical texts. I studied the lives and times of the biblical authors to help me know what they were saying in their day so I could better apply it to my own.

    We must be open to new truth from Scripture.

    Even heroes of the Christian faith have changed their minds about the meaning of various biblical texts.

    It took a blinding light and a voice from heaven to help the apostle Paul change his mind about certain Hebrew texts. A sheet lowered from the sky filled with all kinds of animals helped the apostle Peter gain new insights into Jewish law.

    Jerry Falwell believed the Bible supported segregation in the church until a black shoeshine man asked him, “When will someone like me be allowed to become a member of your congregation?” Through those simple words, the Holy Spirit spoke new truth about the ancient biblical texts to the Rev. Falwell, and in obedience he ended segregation at Thomas Road Baptist Church.

    Even when we believe the Scriptures are “infallible” or “without error,” it’s terribly dangerous to think that our understanding of every biblical text is also without error. We are human. We are fallible. And we can misunderstand and misinterpret these ancient words — with tragic results.

    What if someone asked you, “Is there a chance you could be wrong about the way you’ve interpreted the biblical texts sometimes used to condemn homosexual orientation?” How would you respond? What does it say about you if you answer, “No, I could NOT be wrong”? I am asking you to re-examine these texts — carefully and prayerfully. Lives hang in the balance.

    If heroes of the Christian faith could change their minds about the meaning of certain biblical texts, shouldn’t we be prepared to reconsider our own interpretations of these ancient words when the Holy Spirit opens our minds and hearts to new truth? That’s why we study the Bible prayerfully, seeking the Spirit of Truth, God’s loving Spirit, to help us understand and apply these words to our lives.

    On the night he was betrayed, Jesus told his disciples he was going away from them for a while, but that the Father would send them a “Comforter,” an “Advocate,” the “Holy Spirit” who would “teach them all things.”

    I believe with all my heart that the Holy Spirit is still teaching us. When we reconsider the texts that are used by some people to condemn God’s gay children, we must fervently seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance, or we risk being misled by our own prejudices.

    The Bible is a book about God — not a book about human sexuality.

    The Bible is the story of God’s love for the world and the people of the world. It tells the history of God’s love at work rescuing, renewing, and empowering humankind. It was never intended to be a book about human sexuality. Certainly, you will agree.

    In fact, the Bible accepts sexual practices that we condemn and condemns sexual practices that we accept. Lots of them! Here are a few examples.

    DEUTERONOMY 22:13-21
    If it is discovered that a bride is not a virgin, the Bible demands that she be executed by stoning immediately.

    DEUTERONOMY 22:22
    If a married person has sex with someone else’s husband or wife, the Bible commands that both adulterers be stoned to death.

    MARK 10:1-12
    Divorce is strictly forbidden in both Testaments, as is remarriage of anyone who has been divorced.

    LEVITICUS 18:19
    The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman’s period. If they disobey, both shall be executed.

    MARK 12:18-27
    If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.

    DEUTERONOMY 25:11-12
    If a man gets into a fight with another man and his wife seeks to rescue her husband by grabbing the enemy’s genitals, her hand shall be cut off and no pity shall be shown her.

    I’m certain you don’t agree with these teachings from the Bible about sex. And you shouldn’t. The list goes on: The Bible says clearly that sex with a prostitute is acceptable for the husband but not for the wife. Polygamy (more than one wife) is acceptable, as is a king’s having many concubines. (Solomon, the wisest king of all, had 1,000 concubines.) Slavery and sex with slaves, marriage of girls aged 11-13, and treatment of women as property are all accepted practices in the Scriptures. On the other hand, there are strict prohibitions against interracial marriage, birth control, discussing or even naming a sexual organ, and seeing one’s parents nude.

    Over the centuries the Holy Spirit has taught us that certain Bible verses should not be understood as God’s law for all time periods. Some verses are specific to the culture and time they were written, and are no longer viewed as appropriate, wise, or just.

    Often, the Holy Spirit uses science to teach us why those ancient words no longer apply to our modern times. During the last three decades, for example, organizations representing 1.5 million U.S. health professionals (doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and educators) have stated definitively that homosexual orientation is as natural as heterosexual orientation, that sexual orientation is determined by a combination of yet unknown pre- and post-natal influences, and that it is dangerous and inappropriate to tell a homosexual that he or she could or should attempt to change his or her sexual orientation.

    While there are some people now living in heterosexual marriages who once perceived themselves to be gay, there are millions of gay and lesbian persons who have accepted their sexual orientation as a gift from God and live productive and deeply spiritual lives. The evidence from science and from the personal experience of gay and lesbian Christians demands that we at least consider whether the passages cited to condemn homosexual behavior should be reconsidered, just as other Bible verses that speak of certain sexual practices are no longer understood as God’s law for us in this day.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • TJ

      I know you are trying to make a point, but please go to a natural history museum and see some dinosaurs or some fossils. The bible is most obviously a good fictional book. I get believing in noahs arc when you are seven years old like santa, but let's get real. Morality doesn't come from religion. Treat others as you want to be treated and don't cast stones, lessons most christians seem to forget from their soapbox.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • matt in nw

      Cindi .... In what way does what two consenting adults do in their bedroom effect you??? Think about what you are doing.....You are trying to imposing your belief on other people... trying to run their lives.

      And if it wasnt gays... itd be atheists ... you clowns always have to have an enemy.. always creating an us and them envirnment... You want to stop the moral declin in this country??? .... start by stopping your own scams and cons... that would help out greatly.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Jim

      "Cindi .... In what way does what two consenting adults do in their bedroom effect you??? Think about what you are doing.....You are trying to imposing your belief on other people... trying to run their lives.

      And if it wasnt gays... itd be atheists ... you clowns always have to have an enemy.. always creating an us and them envirnment... You want to stop the moral declin in this country??? .... start by stopping your own scams and cons... that would help out greatly."

      You totally missed the point, you didn't read her post.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • matt in nw

      Cindi – strilke my last .... i read your post till i saw Jerry Falwell.. then i just scanned down and saw bible passages ..should have read to the last - . my apologies...

      July 26, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Mike

      Matt,

      I am a straight man who believes that my marriage is sacred but the points made in the text above are just that, points. And valid ones at that. If you can't see pay your own insecurities to agree that the laws of the Bible have become outdated, then you're clearly the one trying to impose your own agenda.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "If you can't see pay your own insecurities to agree that the laws of the Bible have become outdated, then you're clearly the one trying to impose your own agenda."

      So you believe a woman should marry her rapist, you should stone a child to death if they talk back to you, a man can have multiple wives. NOT! it's outdated! LOL!

      July 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Cali-shine

      God did not change his stance on a man and a woman being the only form of marriage. Things did change in the bible throughout time. In reference to polygamy it was forbidden under the new testament after Christ rose.

      1 Corinthians 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

      1 Tim 3:2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to.

      July 26, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  10. John

    "Marriage between a Man and a Woman is the cornerstone of a healthy society."

    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.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • TJ

      News flash, you can't prove something is wrong from a fictional book or at least a book that has ZERO proof of reality. The bible isn't history, go to church if you want to preach, let the adults who believe in science debate intelligently.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  11. Bill Deacon

    I'm buying stock in Chik-fil-A and dinner there all next week

    July 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • matt in nw

      Heya Bill:)

      at least you re consistant:)

      July 26, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • midwest rail

      If the owner of Chick-Fil-A was morally consistent, he would be funding an effort to make divorce illegal. That will never happen, because he knows the financial impact such a decision would have. He's a coward who chose an easy target.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      He didn't choose a target. He was asked a direct question about his beliefs, which he stated. Personally I couldn't care less if a man wants to marry another man. But, when members of the government start shutting down businesses because the proprietors don't toe the politically correct line, I think that is an obvious transgression of American liberty.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      And thank you matt. Yes, I am very consistent.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Mr. Cathy certainly has chosen a target. He helped fund opposition to Prop 8 in California to the tune of a couple million dollars. Unless and until he funds an effort to make divorce illegal ( now THAT would defend the sanct-ity of marriage ! ) he is a coward who DID choose an easy target.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I think he also said he was married to his first wife which I believe states his opposition to divorce quite well. Are you trying to say he shouldn't be allowed to donate money to political causes he supports? It sounds as if you would fit right in in the Chicago and Boston mobs.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Bobby

      He can donate money to whoever he wants, but donating money to groups that actively try to deny an entire group of Americans the same rights you have just because they are gay makes you a bigot.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • midwest rail

      C'mon, Bill, now you're just being disingenuous. If his marriage to his first wife qualifies as opposition to divorce, then it certainly qualifies as opposition to same s-ex marriage.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      midwest. Not necessarily. As has been pointed out, lots of people marry multiple times who oppose same seex marriage. Likewise lots of folks are married who support same seex. So just the fact that he is married doesn't qualify him one way or another. But, the fact that he has only married once and chose to highlight that in his comment I think states his position with eloquence and style. I call it walking the walk.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • europeanTraveler

      Right On, Bill! My ENTIRE family and friends are going out and buying Chick-fil-A every chance we have! The ones pointing the finger at Chick-fil-A have no legs to stand on as EVERYONE has the freedom of speech and opinion. That seems to be true for all those LIBERALS out there who constantly wag there fingers at us who don't agree with their extreme leftist views. I say, it's about TIME we hear more from our businesses and individuals who believe in the Bible; believe in its truths; believe in high morals and values and most importantly, believe in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior! So move over you degenerates! We have rights to free speech just as you do and I, for one, am SICK TO DEATH of hearing just your side of things!

      July 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Bobby

      Translation: My entire family is a bunch of inbred morons.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Bobby sums up their entire argument. Nice work Bob

      July 26, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Bill – then could he not merely have voiced his opposition to same s-ex marriage in his comments ? That would have been consistent with your implied opposition to divorce, which I'm still not buying. Instead he has chosen to use his millions to fund opposition to same s-ex marriage in addition to voicing his opinion. I stand by my assertion that he is a morally inconsistent coward who chose an easy target.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Peter Grenader

      europeanTraveler: Don't waste or time putting high morals and the GOP in the same sentence, let alone the same pile. Talk about sacrilege. Jeeeeeeeeee-sus Christ!

      July 26, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  12. Henry

    I wonder what Graham has to say about their signs that suggest they chose to stop carrying the Muppet toys because they were unsafe, something which is a blatant lie, or the fact that Chick-fil-A was caught creating fake FB accounts to post supportive comments about this issue on their corporate FB site.

    Are these also Christian values in action?

    July 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • TJ

      There is no such thing as christian values. You can't be a christian and not be hypocritical, it is impossible.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Probably right about the hypocrite thing TJ. That doesn't mean we don't have values. It just means they are hard to live by.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  13. matt in nw

    A scamming clown harping on moral decay?. the right needs to grow a sense of humor anyway:) Think about it ... the gay community is fighting for the right to give lawyers buckets of money and potentially halve their a.sets ...whats it gonna hurt?

    I love read billy graham stuff - the hypocracy is hilarious... we ve got big big problems in this country- war profiteering, bank scams almost beyond count.– no jobs....why not focus on those? oh thats right .. Billy here would actually have to condemn a bunch of his buddies..:))

    July 26, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • sam

      He's usually quiet on this type of stuff; the big media things, I mean. I have to wonder how much his son is pushing this, and getting dad out in front of the cameras as an icon.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  14. llɐq ʎʞɔnq

    Shocking that Graham also knows nothing about the Bible.

    I also think marriage should be restricted to biblical marriage.
    a. man + woman (Genesis)
    b. man + woman + concubines, (Solomon had 300)
    c. man + woman + woman's property, (her slaves), Genesis 16
    d. man + woman + woman + woman etc. (Soloman had 700 wives + the concubines, Esau had 2, Jacob had 2, Asher had 2, Gideon had many, Rahaboam had 3, ...you get the picture.
    e. man + brother's widow, ("Levirate" marriage)
    f. rapist and his victim, (Deuteronomy 22),
    g. male solders and their female prisoners, which can include virgin girls, who are still children,
    h. as "assigned", (female slave to the owners male slave).

    By all means Mr Cathy/Mr. Graham. Let's keep it to biblical marriage.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • sam

      Traditional biblical family values are awesome. It's cute how all but man + woman are largely ignored for convenience.

      The bible never clearly defined marriage. Jesus didn't talk about it. One faction of this country should not be allowed to try and force the rest of the country to live in their worldview. Don't like marriage? Don't get married. Don't like people of the same gender married to one another? Don't marry someone of the same gender.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Romans

      Really Sam?? Jesus never spoke about marriage?? See below from Matthew

      Matthew 19:3-9: "And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for se.xual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery."

      You're also one of those (I assume) atheists that think they know more about scripture and religion than those who are religious right? You should do some research before stating something you know nothing about.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • matt in nw

      oh yes – that they are..... Like when Lot gave his daughters overr to a mob to be ra ped to same a pair of Angels...Way to step up there Dad:))..... btw... arent Angels like..city destroying beings? ....

      July 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • sam

      Hmm...that quote's been copy-pasted in here more often than you've had rational thoughts, Romans. And it's really more about divorce. Try harder. I know that if it comes to banning those pesky gays from marriage, you can do better about finding a passage that really defines good old marriage.

      $10 says you got all riled up and googled 'bible quotes about marriage'.

      Seems like you're one of those faithful who feels they just know the bible when really they have no idea what they're talking about. Most atheists know it backwards and forwards.

      And hey, tough guy: are you completely convinced I'm atheist?

      July 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Romans

      Are you really that mad that I just refuted your ridiculous assertion that you made about Jesus never talking about marriage. You made the statement....I provided the scripture of Jesus' own words that refuted you..... but its ok, you dont have to make a rebuttal. I'll take from your silence on my scriptural reference that you dont know what you're talking about. Oh, and saying that the passage has been often cited on these boards, doesn't make it less useful...

      July 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Bobby

      Romans, I for one do not care what the Bible has to say about anything. So you can post all the verses you want and I will ignore them because what the Bible says is irrelevant as far as civil rights go.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Romans

      I wasn't discussing this with you Bobby. Sam claimed Jesus didn't say something, then I refuted his point. Go find some crayons and your coloring book, I dont care what you have to say.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Bobby

      You can't even prove Jesus said that, all you can prove is that someone wrote it down 2000 years ago in a book.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • junior

      Gotta give you credit Romans. When somebody claimed that Jesus never commented on marriage, you quoted scripture and made your case. It is evident to see who shoots from the hip and who has their ducks in the row. Once again props to you.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • sam

      Jesus, you are dumb as hell, you and junior, Romans. He *didn't define it*. Again, you're adorable. Can't you read?

      July 26, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • junior

      You call someone dumb who does the very homework that YOU requested. And in spades might I add. Bravo Romans. You are a brother.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  15. Trent

    I have respected Graham for years, and continue to. One great thing about old people is that they can speak their mind without having to care about whether it will be popular or not- I wonder with him whether we have become too politically correct and don't speak about our feelings often enough.

    Tolerance for another's opinion is one of the things that makes America free and great, backlash against Graham or the Chik-fil-A CEO is only evidence that people are becoming less willing to listen to each other. Both are obviously good men with no bad intent, and yet they are called bigots and have death wishes called on them merely for supporting the same stand they have supported their whole lives, that their fathers and grandfathers and our forefathers supported, and that practically all of society supported until the last decade or so. If Graham is a bigot or deserves to die for his views, then so was just about every other person who built western society and gave us the nation we have; lest we forget, they shared his views. Perhaps we should listen to and appreciate the wisdom of those who have been around longer than we have (even if we disagree with them)- maybe there is something we could learn..

    July 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Are you tolerant of the views of the KKK? If not, why are you tolerant of some people's bigotry and not others? Because it fits better with your interpretation of some ancient and highly immoral text?

      July 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • sam

      Oh, 'no bad intent'. Sure. Because in their minds, it's okay to disciminate. After all, those crazy gays are just sinners.

      When Chick-Fil-A denounces divorce due to their support of 'traditional family values' and gives as much money to stop that as they have to stop gay marriage? I'll stop considering these fools as homophobic jerkwads.

      July 26, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • gsccdallas

      I will tolerate the speaking of any and all viewpoints–even the most egregious and horrendous. I will fight back with words, reason, and debate. I will never seek to officially censure the expression of any viewpoint–even that of the KKK, folks who want to rid the world or people like me, or even terror organizations. Of course, I'm an academic and our guild MUST be open to any and all viewpoints as knowledge would never advance if we decided that the consensus must never ever be questioned. Society would do well to do likewise. A free an open society is one in which the freedom to purse any inquiry regardless of where it may lead is valued. A closed society is one in which certain inquiries or conclusions ar off limits. Seeking to officially silence competing and offensive opinions is childish: "Papa gov't, make him stop"

      July 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  16. TJ

    If billy Graham agrees with you, you are probably on the wrong side. I hope this arrogant chain goes out of business fast. Santorum is also the biggest d-bag out there right now. 10 bucks says he is having a gay affair as we speak.

    July 26, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • brooks

      TJ–sounds as if you are tired of the hypocrisy! That is good, but you are really bitter and angry! You need to repent of murder and slander and follow Jesus!

      July 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Romans

      That's pretty arrogant and judgmental of you to accuse santorum of such a shameful thing. I dont expect you to see your hypocrisy.

      July 26, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • sam

      Which part, Romans? Being gay or having an affair?

      Let me guess which part you think is more sinful.

      'Sin' is bullshit. Stop pretending you even care.

      July 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Romans

      Both are sinful. Stop looking for someone to blame / demonize.

      July 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • sam

      Stop being a judmental hypocrite and slapping labels of sin on things. You're a joke.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Romans

      I didn't write the mail Sam. I just deliver it. You got a problem? Take it up with God.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • sam

      Romans: LOL That's a beautiful cop out. Very haughty.

      Stop delivering second hand spam mail, skimmed from the surface of a faith (or many faiths) that discriminates and excludes. Jesus would be terrified of the majority of you, if he was here today.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Romans

      Christianity doesn't discriminate at all Sam. Jesus invites ALL PEOPLE who will hear his words and believe in him and repent. ALL PEOPLE. Yeah, you're right, that does sound exclusive doesn't it?

      July 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • sam

      Romans, you are comedy gold.

      The love seems to stop when the repenting doesn't happen.

      Keep funding legislation that discriminates against others that are 'sinning' according to the bible. After all, it's god's will. You're only trying to help.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Romans

      So I take it that you didn't catch that I said Jesus welcomes ALL PEOPLE to him did you?? Ok, I guess you have a selective filter of topics that you don't want to be refuted on. Gotcha. Keep the illogical statements coming.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, ghouls, goblins or guns

      I was going to say something similar – if Billy's for it, I'm agin it!! Just another old white guy with The Babble up his ass!

      July 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  17. Zach Moore

    The man speaks truth. wow. The world seems to have become proud of sin.

    July 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      I know, right? I mean, people seem ok that we allow divorces to happen. And we don't stone disobedient children or rape victims. And we don't kill heretics. And we allow people to eat bacon. And wear polyester blends.

      What is this world coming to?

      July 26, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • TJ

      The man is a total moron as a business owner. Any one that thinks it is a good idea to isolate a large percentage of his clientele shouldn't be fit to be a boss. I am sure god loves people that cast stones right?

      July 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • sam

      Yeah, like divorce, which chrisitians don't seem to give a rat's ass about because they're too busy taking rights from others based on their freakin' book.

      Shame on you, dude.

      July 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Romans

      @ Sam: So Christians dont care about divorce huh?? According to a recent pew study, among PRACTICING Christians, the divorce rate is FAR less than the secular population. Your strawman doesn't stand up. You shouldn't paint with a broad brush, Divorce is not overlooked or weighted less than other sins.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      @Romans, if that's true, why isn't anyone pushing as hard to ban divorce as they are to ban gay marriage? Some animals are just more equal than others?

      July 26, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • sam

      Suuuure, Romans. Sure. Listen, when it starts popping up in the news that all these faith organizations are donating millions to prevent and avoid divorce instead of to pushing legislation that bans certain people from getting married? I'll listen.

      Sounds like divorce is less important, though.

      And again – no facts to back your assertions. Just your gut feeling, huh?

      July 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Romans

      Divorce is not outlawed by scripture. In some cases it is allowed such as infidelity of a spouse. It is also not the same situation.
      Marriage between a Man and a Woman is the cornerstone of a healthy society. You can see how our country is unraveling socially, through the positive correlation with single parent families via a high divorce rate. Making divorce illegal will only serve to discourage many people from marrying in the first place, which will lead to more single parent homes and a further degredation of our society.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • J.W

      Could you cite that pew study. When I have look at statistics before usually it said Baptists had the highest divorce rate.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      Many seem proud of letting Iron Age sheep mounters decide what is "sin"

      July 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Romans

      http://www.pewforum.org/Religion-News/RNS-Christians-question-conventional-wisdom-on-divorce-stats.aspx

      July 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • fred

      sam stone
      Sin has not changed in thousands of years. What difference does it make what a sheepherder, Obama or a Neanderthal choose to see it in their respective times?

      July 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • .

      Those statistics came, by the way from a Evangelical Christian research institute, the Barna Group, in the year 2000:

      Denomination (in order of decreasing divorce rate)

      Non-denominational** 34%

      Baptists 29%

      Mainline Protestants 25%

      Mormons 24%

      Catholics 21%

      Lutherans 21%

      Barna's results verified findings of earlier polls: that CONSERVATIVE PROTESTANT CHRISTIANS, ON AVERAGE, HAVE THE HIGHEST DIVORCE RATE, while mainline Christians have a much lower rate. They found some new information as well: that ATHIESTS AND AGNOSTICS HAVE THE LOWEST DIVORCE RATES OF ALL. George Barna commented that the results raise "questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families." The data challenge "the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriage." [...]

      The data showed that the HIGHEST DIVORCE RATES WERE FOUND IN THE BIBLE BELT.* "Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and Oklahoma round out the Top Five in frequency of divorce...the divorce rates in these conservative states are roughly 50 percent above the national average" of 4.2/1000 people.

      * Note: Divorce rates were still higher in the Bible Belt as of 2009 according to a US Census report.

      I don't remember much discussion of marriage rights for same sex couples back in 2000, do you? Perhaps among gay activists but not in the national news. Maybe, just maybe, the people who fired the first shot in any so-called war on marriage were conservative Christians, and they were shooting themselves in the foot at that! After all, the divorce rate is lower among (drum roll please) atheists and agnostics than among Christians - yes, lower even then Catholics!

      The Barna Research Group, an evangelical Christian organization that does surveys and research to better understand what Christians believe and how they behave, studied divorce rates in America in 1999 and found surprising evidence that divorce is far lower among atheists than among conservative Christians – exactly the opposite of what they were probably expecting.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      "Sin has not changed in thousands of years"

      So I can still beat my slaves to death??!? Cool!!!

      July 26, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • sam

      Romans, your statistics didn't work out the way you hoped.

      Again, google appears to be the best you know how to do. I'm beginning to suspect you're a Poe.

      Keep trying, though. It's fun to watch.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • fred

      *facepalm
      Slaves were treated very harsh in the days when the Hebrews made laws to protect them. These old laws you refer to were an example of kindness (as hard as that may seem) relative to the cultures all around the Hebrews. These tribal people were not a nice bunch by any stretch of the imagination.
      Get some perspective. It is sin to mistreat others slave or free and there are consequences.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Jen

      There's NO WAY Christians have the lowest divorce rate. If you believe a survey from a Christian organization you must also believe Fox News is fair and balanced.

      Just look at Canada. Far more secular nation and a lower divorce rate. Indisputable.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • JWT

      If people do not believe in some particular version of some bible then they cannot be sinners bu the words of said bible interpretatation.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      LOL This argument again? So I suppose that slavery is okay as long as surrounding cultures practice it and your don't treat them "as bad". What was that about some kind of "objective morality" from god? I guess part of that objective morality is "slavery is just fine".

      July 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • fred

      Hawaiiguest
      The kind and proper treatment of others is the hallmark of those who follow Christ. How you can twist that and take a shot at God over laws that added protection for slaves 3,400 years reveals your heart not Gods.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      And yet, whenever this comes up, you can never address the actual point brought against you, and act like a with self-righteous indignation. Fred, you're just getting predictable at this point.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      what is the actual point brought up against me?

      July 26, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Is slavery (owning another person), acceptable sometimes, always, or never?

      July 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      As to one person owning another as property the answer is never.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      And that is what happened in the bible. They were able to be passed down as property. They had only as much freedom as their masters gave them, and could be sold, traded or whatever. If it is truly immoral, then why not say so instead of giving rules on who you can have as a slave, how much you pay, how long they need to survive after you beat them to avoid consequences, not to mention a loophole on how to keep a Jewish slave forever instead of the 7 years.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      Mankind has progressed in the last 3,400 years and this progression is generation by generation. The Hebrew that wrote these laws were themselves slaves under brutal conditions just one generation earlier. These laws were put in place to prevent the kind of abuse that was common and provide a way to freedom if the slave wanted it. These religious types did not make the best of laws and even Jesus blasted them for the ridiculous burdens their own laws placed on people.
      Mankind was not ready for what Jesus had to say for another 1,400 years after these laws. Why would God not simply have condensed the entire process and start with people as advanced as the sheepherders of 2,000 years ago? What makes you think your thought will not be considered backward in another 2,000 years from today. We should inst-itute laws today that we know will be valid in the year 4011AD ! My God people actually had physical $exual relations in those old days of 2011AD risking health and possible emotional attachments……………..
      Just as you cannot just pass a no physical $ex allowed law today people in 2,000 will be in disbelief that no one did anything about this animalistic practice.

      July 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      So now its "the Hebrew who wrote the law". I thought the bible was the inspired word of god? Continue to just move the posts for your argument fred, since that's all you can ever do. Tell me fred, if you had the power to tell a people that slavery is wrong, even though those around them still do it, and they would listen, then wouldn't you tell them? Wouldn't you say to them "Hey, owning another person isn't a good thing". If you would, then congrats, you are more moral than your own god. Have a cookie.

      July 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      In the old times slaves were not treated or looked at as was the case of the African Slave Trade. I think you have the concept of these two cultural thoughts confused. The African Slave Trade was flat out wrong and the practices clearly sinful according to the Bible. Those who treated others as property to do with as they pleased are an offense to a holy God.
      Slavery in 1400 BC through the time of Christ was not of this nature. The master “owned” and controlled the productive capacity of the slave not the slave. Times were very hard and to be a slave was a repreve for many because of the protection, security and general welfare provided by the master. Even by the time of Roman rule there was little difference between slaves and free due to poverty among the majority and most slaves that wanted freedom were able to buy back their freedom. The cost of a slave was 30 sheckles which reflected the value or worth of the skills and services. This bond service or indentured servanthood is in stark contrast with chattel slavery of the New World (African Slave Trade).
      My thought is that abusive masters are that way to begin with and abuse because of who they are inside. There is never any doubt in the Bible that we are to treat others properly and New World form of slavery where the person was the property of another was against the law of God.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      What is the word of God is a different topic which I do not have time to address. The Bible cannot be written by God because God does not hold a pen. Men inspired by God wrote the Bible and yes these men reflect their culture and their view. When Isaiah speaks of his encounter with God and Moses speaks of his encounter the presentation is different yet the image for the reader leaves a clear picture. The Sermon on the Mount by Jesus is the word of God on some key issues. They are not a historic account of a local custom or law but the word of God on key issues. Other parts of the Bible likewise are the direct word of God, historic account or writer opinion. Taken as a whole the Bible is the Word of God and that truth carries out through the major themes and principles that never conflict and have never been proven wrong.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      You realize all you said in your post was "It wasn't as bad so it's okay". You didn't address my point, you merely threw out a justification for owning another human being. Indentured servitude is an apologetics lie, and the fact that you're just willing to buy it in order to preserve your worldview is a sad thing.

      "There is never any doubt in the Bible that we are to treat others properly and New World form of slavery where the person was the property of another was against the law of God."
      Unless god didn't like them, then it was okay to go kill their entire city. What do you not understand about them being property. I mean seriously fred, are you that willing to be willfully ignorant. It specifically says in the bible that they are property, and even gives instructions on how to mark them AS A SLAVE!

      July 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      “You realize all you said in your post was "It wasn't as bad so it's okay".”
      =>no, I said that mistreating another person is wrong regardless of the nature of slavery.

      “Indentured servitude is an apologetics lie,”
      =>news to me when I get a chance I will take another look. This whole thing is very frustrating when everything boils down to different opinions. I run into the same problem with one well regarded geologist that shows me proof of a global flood and then an atheist geologist comes out and says that is not possible. I am not a geologist so I default to what I think which is typically without merit since I am not competent to weigh evidence I cannot understand.
      “fact that you're just willing to buy it in order to preserve your worldview is a sad thing.”
      => I buy it based on the known historic difference between the New World slave trade and slavery in Roman times. There is no question about New World slavery and the way slaves were treated. That was wrong regardless if you are a believer or non believer.
      When you hit the 26th Dynasty there are actual contracts of servitude available from about 600 BC which are in stark contrast with the harsh African Slave trade. Although laws go back to 2500 BC regarding slavery I do not see a lot of hard evidence outside of the Bible as to how the Hebrews actually treated slaves.

      “Unless god didn't like them, then it was okay to go kill their entire city.”
      =>different topic
      “It specifically says in the bible that they are property, and even gives instructions on how to mark them AS A SLAVE”
      =>please let me know which verse you are concerned about.
      My general reply would be that Joseph was sold as slave by his brothers to Egypt. Ishmael son of Abraham was born of a slave girl Abraham married. God blessed both Joseph and Ishmael with prosperity. The Bible clearly shows it was wrong for Joseph to be sold into slavery and Sarah to treat her slave Hagar like dirt. God blessed these slaves and their families.
      Why do you always dig around in the Bible with a negative intent? Considering all that is in the Bible your focus remains on the dark side. Contrast what the Bible shows people actually doing that is contrary to the main truth of God which is holiness and goodness. We fail as believers is the tread in the Bible and you can attest that this goes on to this very day yet we are all too blind by our desires to see that.

      July 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Leviticus 25:44-46 (NRSV)

      As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property.

      Exodus 21:20-21 (NRSV)

      When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner’s property.

      It clearly states in those verses that the salves are considered property. I don't know why I'm bothering to bring these up, since you'll merely pull justifications out of your ass to make sound not so bad.

      July 27, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      You have taken Leviticus out of context. These verses begin and end with “I am the Lord your God who took you out of Egypt………………..you are my servants. God gives constant clear reminders that they were themselves slaves in Egypt. The Hebrews knew very well that God punishes wicked harsh masters and frees slaves. The Hebrews knew they were to treat slaves as they would have wanted to be treated in Egypt. Treat others as you would treat yourself. Now Leviticus 25:53 He is to be treated as a man hired from year to year you must see to it that his owner does not rule over him ruthlessly.

      Again with Exodus you have taken passages out of context. Laws were put in place to protect men including slaves

      July 27, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      LOL I called that one. Oh I must have made a prophesy! Bow down to me!
      If you think tacking on "I am god, hear me roar" to the beginning and end magically makes it all nice and better, then you're worse off than I ever realized.
      What you continually, and I do mean continually, avoid, is that their slaves were PROPERTY, and I asked you very early on whether slavery (the owning of another person) was always wrong. You said yes, and now you're DEFENDING WHAT YOU SAID WAS WRONG.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      You continue to miss the point on slavery. The Israelites had just come out of harsh slavery in Egypt and were about to posses the land. The Bible does not endorse slavery in any way but sets out to offer protection to slaves. The Israelites did not have many slaves when they left Egypt as they themselves were slaves. Stop taking the Bible out of context to suit your point. Before God sets up the rules you brought up in Leviticus God give a strong reminder. “I am the God who brought you out” of slavery in Egypt was a strong reminder never to forget where they came from and who delivered them. Now that they would have slaves they must never forget what it was like to be treated harshly. These passages set limits or rules on treatment of slaves. You never need to limit what is good but you do need rules to limit what can be bad. Hopefully you are clear about the difference. If not, you simply need to set up falsehoods some reason and these verses are not the problem something much deeper is eating at you.
      Before we go any further on this are you clear on the fact that God and the Bible, of course, point to harsh treatment of slaves as wrong? Is it clear that God does not limit goodness rather the things people do that are sinful? Is it clear that limits are set to keep your soul out of bondage to evil?

      July 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      How about this. Until you can at least fucking admit it says that the SLAVES WERE PROPERTY, which you have still not fucking addressed, probably because you want to keep your happy happy view of the bible intact, then we can move onto another aspect of this. I won't let you continue to do what you have always done in shifting the conversation away from something that you don't like, or have a tendency to ignore.

      July 30, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Jen

      I love the 'you're taking the bible out of context' argument, especially when the passages hawaiiguest posted could not be more clear. If those passages don't mean what they say they mean, the the whole man lying with man probably doesn't mean what it says either! Therefore god is fine with gay marriage! Problem solved!

      July 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      Although I never took the time to see what the meaning was behind the word “property” in the two passages you cite I have no reason to doubt it referred to ownership. I thought I had mentioned owning another as a slave was wrong and the common practice of slave “ownership” in the days of Exodus as well as today was wrong. Yes in certain situations slaves could be passed onto the children just as other property was transferred.

      July 30, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      You're coming in slowly, but passing them on as property was not a situational thing. As long as they were a non jewish slave (required to be released fter 7 years, although there's a loophole to make them a full blown slave, and as such considered property, just as a non jewish slave was), they could be sold, inhereted, and treated as property. They could even be beaten to death (see the exodus quote).
      It wasn't a "oh happy me I'm a slave" kind of thing fred. It continued to be a horrible experience for the slave, all with the "supposed" consent and rule giving of your "all-loving" god.

      July 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • fred

      Jen
      I agree with you, if the Bible is wrong on any doctrinal point then the Bible could be wrong on others. I will take that one step further and say if the Bible is wrong about one doctrinal point then it looses all credibality.

      July 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      I agree with you it was horrible (even if the Israelites were to not to be harsh with their slaves). Your take on Exodus is in error but I will set that aside for the moment.
      On the issue of slaves in Leviticus you said; “with the "supposed" consent and rule giving of your "all-loving" god.”
      Consent was given for ownership of slaves “as they entered the land to posses it”. The custom and way of the land was slavery. God knew how harsh these surrounding cultures treated their slaves so God gave a big warning not to ever forget just how bad it was and never forget when they were slaves in Egypt. God restricts the masters power over the slave, makes the slave a member of the household, give rest on the Sabbath, gave them asylum and ways to earn freedom.

      July 30, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      What would the culture have to do with anything when it comes to divine edicts? Is the morality of god dependent on the surrounding cultures of his "chosen people"?

      July 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      In the Bible we see God working through the people exactly where they are in life. The Israelites were not spared the harsh realities of Egyptian slavery or the $exual perversion of the cultures around them. God gave them clear instructions on how to live as a chosen people. This does not mean in any way that God is subject to culture. The basis of the Bible is that this is a fallen world which includes natural disasters and personal failures. The world is what it is but the chosen are to be a holy people separate onto God. One way is show kindness and not treat slaves the way the rest of the land that they are now entering into do.
      Just as you or I cannot dictate or choose where we are born the Israelites did not choose Cannan. They did not land softly into the Promised Land it had to be taken by force at great cost to all. The land not only treated slaves badly they were wicked in many other ways.
      We have no idea why God works this way or why Gods plan yet the consistent pattern is the redemption of a people to a place very different than the reality we know and see. The pattern is that each generation has a small remnant that carries on the ways of the Lord until only a group of people find themselves in the Promised Land that will be separate from evil for all time.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      You merely go on another tangent that amounts to "No, no, god isn't (insert thing here) because that would contradict what I already decided is true." Your mental gymnastics are sometimes quite impressive.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • fred

      Hawaiiguest
      You may want to think that but the problem is you approach God with the heart of a skeptic or one that is personally opposed to God as the result of a life issue real or imagined. I on the other hand approach God with a heart that knows there is something more to this existence than that of an animal. Even when I was agnostic I asked could this really be all there is? Now, as the result of a life issue combined with the miraculous intervention of Christ I had an encounter with God (real or imagined probably would not have mattered) that leads me to find the goodness and holiness of God. Jesus said seek and you shall find. You find the gods of the skeptics and I find the God of Creation.
      You and I have different higher authorities when it comes to the answer for that which is not straight up factual. Until we can agree on what consti-tutes a higher authority that we both accept there can be no consensus.
      On the issue of slavery is there a factual objection to God being good when warning the Israelites not to treat slaves harshly as they were treated when they were slaves themselves? Is there a factual objection to God setting up punishment for those that mistreat their slaves? Is there a factual objection to God setting up a way for slaves to obtain their freedom? Is there a factual objection to God demanding that slaves rest on the Sabbath? All these verses are out of the Bible just as the ones you pulled out.

      July 30, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      So you need to already accept it as good before you realize it's good. How convenient. No life issue, just rational thought.
      And what magical way is this for slaves to earn their freedom in the bible? Can you point to it?

      July 30, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  18. Portland tony

    And to the president of Chic-fil-A, I say "any publicity is good publicity"!

    July 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  19. *facepalm*

    One bigot defends another. How is this news? Racists also defend the KKK. Not sure why this would be surprising to anyone.

    July 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • brooks

      facepalm–you are so intolerant! You are so judgemental! You are such a hypocrite! Repent and follow Jesus!

      July 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      If I don't embrace the KKK am I also intolerant? If so, then I'm happy to be intolerant.

      July 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  20. William Demuth

    I hope he chokes to death on their dry chicken.

    Parasitic birds of a feather always flock together.

    I look forward to his iminent death

    July 26, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • brooks

      william Demuth–Billy looks forward to his iminet death! Do you? According to scripture you are a murderer and thus need to repent! If you do not repent william, you will perish! Jesus, Billy and I do not want you to perish! We would love for you to repent and follow Jesus! You won't be afraid to die and you wont be afraid to stop following the masses!

      July 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Romans

      Thank you for showing the true colors of the ignorant and atheist left.

      July 26, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      Chocking on chicken is probably better than chocking on one's pride. After all, that is a "deadly" sin.

      July 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Romans

      True ignorance is equating atheist and left.

      July 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Romans

      @ Hawaii Guest: Most atheists are left. There seems to be a strong link between secular humanists, atheism and left wing slant. Its not ignorance if its supported by observable fact.

      July 26, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • sam

      Observeable mainly to you, Romans. You're making a leap in judgment with no real basis in fact.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Romans

      No Sam, its called Sociology. You should take a course sometime, or read a book.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Romans

      Cited studies for this? Stating that it is an "observable fact" doesn't just make it so.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • sam

      Oh, it's sociology. That explains it. Did someone you know tell you this, or did you hear it on Fox news, maybe?

      You try reading a book...other than the bible.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Romans

      Oh thanks for the smarmy suggestion Sam, but I read plenty of books on the way to getting my masters degree. Thanks but I'll take my advice from intelligent people.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      Hawaii, isn't proof predicated on observable facts?

      July 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @SPA

      Hypothesis are predicated on observable facts. Proofs exist only with mathematics and is a useless term outside of that. That's why I always ask for evidence of something, not proof.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I like chicken

      July 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      Hawaii – I must have misunderstood then because I didn't realize that mathematics could be applied to the statement made by Romans which was an observation on his part that there seems to be a strong link among atheists, human secularism and polical left leanings. Not sure math proofs can be applied to this hypothesis.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      Isn't observable facts a form of evidence? If not, then an eyewitness is inadmissible evidence.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • sam

      Romans, level of education is no indication of intelligence.

      You are an apparent case in point, based on what we've seen from you so far.

      It's been amusing, but I need to get back to work. Lunch is over for another day. Keep googling things you believe will back your points, though – there are plenty other posters who will enjoy it.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @SPA

      Just stating something as an observable fact does not automatically make it evidence. Eye witness accounts are something completely different, especially when you take it in the context of a court of law. This is why independent verifications, such as surveys or studies (if conducted properly) lend credence to the claim. Besides, what factors are being taken into account? Geography can play a role, family history can play a role. So many things can contribute to the political leanings of a person, that it is almost non-sensical to me to equate either atheism and left, or christianity and right.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      So a spot survey (statistically insignificant) who in this thread identifies as right politically and non believer?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      *sound of pebble down an empty well*

      July 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      corollary question – Who identifies as left leaning and Christian?........ Bueller?.......... Bueller?.......

      July 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      Does it feel good to spout irrelevant idiocy in order to hang on to your generalizing preconceptions?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill Deacon,

      traditionally a lot of Catholics are left leaning and Christian.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Hey it was just a question. Thanks for playing though

      You and Sam are the ones who turned the discussion into a debate over the quality of the observable and verifiable evidentiary sociological implications of generalized political affiliation in relation to spiritual and cognitive self identification.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      GOP, I'm aware of that. I'm just poking fun at the way Hawaii and others want to make everything about the scientific study which backs up someone else's statement

      July 26, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      And you turn it into vomiting out questions which would have, if answered, shown an incredibly small control group with condescending stupidity thrown in. That was not a serious question, it was rhetoric.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • J.W

      I am a left leaning Christian

      July 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      OK Great! So JW, allow me to assume you are pro same seex marriage. How do you feel about the politicians who are blocking Chik from establishing businesses because of the religious beliefs of the president of the company?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      Hawaii – What you stated is reasonable. I never said that I agreed with the statement however it does appear to me as well that most atheists that I have met personally do have a leanings to the left politically and are generally secularists as well. I know many Christians that lean to the left as well.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:12 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.