My Take: Chick-fil-A controversy reveals religious liberty under threat
July 31st, 2012
10:36 AM ET

My Take: Chick-fil-A controversy reveals religious liberty under threat

Editor's Note: R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.

By R. Albert Mohler Jr., Special to CNN

(CNN)–Cultural upheavals often occur in the most surprising contexts. Who expected that a clash between sexuality and religious liberty would be focused on a restaurant company mainly known for its chicken sandwiches?

And yet the controversy over Chick-fil-A is a clear sign that religious liberty is at risk and that this nation has reached the brink of tyrannical intolerance from at least some of our elected leaders.

The controversy ignited when Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy, son of the company’s legendary founder, Truett Cathy, told a Baptist newspaper that he and his company “operate on biblical principles” and “are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.”

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Defining Chick-fil-A as “a family business,” Cathy went on to say that “We intend to stay the course. … We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

Media attention to Cathy’s comments revealed a radio interview he had given a few weeks earlier in which he commented that “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at (God) and say, ‘We know better than You what constitutes a marriage.'

“I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think we would have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about,” he said.

Within days, elected officials in Chicago, Boston and New York were pledging to deny the company access to their cities.

“Because of (Dan Cathy’s) ignorance, I will deny Chick-fil-A a permit to open a restaurant in my ward,” Chicago Alderman Proco Moreno said, in a threat echoed by
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino was just as blunt: “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston,” he said. “We’re an open city. We’re a city at the forefront of inclusion.”

But the kind of inclusion he had in mind would evidently exclude Chick-fil-A.

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who just recently married her lesbian partner, called upon New York University to kick Chick-fil-A off its campus.

9 religious companies (besides Chick-fil-A)

Echoing the Boston mayor’s lack of irony, she also called for exclusion in the name of inclusion: “We are a city that believes our diversity is our greatest strength, and we will fight anything and anyone that runs counter to that.”

Within days, Moreno, Emanuel and Menino had qualified their statements somewhat, promising to operate within the law and constitutional limits. Those clarifications became necessary when legal authorities quickly recognized threatened violations of First Amendment rights.

To his credit, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an ardent supporter of same-sex marriage, warned, “You can’t have a test for what the owner’s personal views are before you decide to give a permit to do something in the city.”

Note carefully that Chick-fil-A was not charged with discrimination in hiring or service but simply with the fact that its president and chief operating officer supports traditional marriage.

Note something else: Dan Cathy’s statements were explicitly religious. He made his comments to the religious press, including a Baptist newspaper. His comments were infused with his Christian convictions, the same convictions that have led the company to close for business every Sunday.

The threats made against Chick-fil-A betray the principle of religious liberty that is enshrined within the U.S. Constitution. Civic officials in some of the nation’s largest and most powerful cities have openly threatened to oppose Chick-fil-A for the singular reason that its president openly spoke of his Christian convictions concerning marriage.

When Quinn, one of the most powerful officials in New York, announces, “I do not want establishments in my city that hold such discriminatory views,” is she also threatening the Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Jewish synagogues and Islamic mosques?

They, along with evangelical Christian denominations, openly oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage. Cathy’s statements are completely consistent with his own denomination’s statement of faith and official declarations. He was speaking as a Christian and as a Southern Baptist, and he was speaking as a man who does his best to live and speak as he believes.

Christian groups allege threats to religious freedom in anti-Chick-fil-A campaigns

When Emanuel and Moreno tell Chick-fil-A to stay out of Chicago, are they audacious enough to deliver that same message to the churches, mosques and synagogues of their city that also oppose same-sex marriage? What do they do with the fact that their own state does not allow same-sex marriages?

This country is deeply divided over the issue of same-sex marriage, and the controversy over Chick-fil-A is an ominous sign that many of the proponents of same-sex marriage are quite willing to violate religious liberty and to use any and all means to silence and punish any individual or organization that holds the contrary view – a view sustained by the voters in 29 states by constitutional amendments.

Addressing the intersection of same-sex marriage and religious liberty, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley has warned that the government must not be “viewed as unfairly trying to pre-determine the debate or harass one side.”

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That is exactly what some elected officials have just shown themselves ready to do. It will not stop with Chick-fil-A. Who will be next to be told to get out of town?


I know Dan and Truett Cathy and other members of the Cathy family. Truett has spoken on our campus. I have prayed at the opening of multiple Chick-fil-A locations. I serve on the board of directors of Focus on the Family, which has been supported by Chick-fil-A. My son, Christopher, is a part-time service employee of a local Chick-fil-A restaurant in Louisville. I have not communicated with Chick-fil-A about this column.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of R. Albert Mohler Jr.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church and state • Homosexuality • Opinion • Religious liberty

soundoff (3,216 Responses)
  1. Sam Yaza

    here is the reason why i care so much about Gay rights,..fist I'm kinda the Deity of revolution and rebels,..second we did the same crime loving some one else instead of God

    the earnest feeling of love should never be sin,..i love you humans♥


    Ps. Aimee wrote this song for me,..but its good for every one whose love is a crime

    August 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  2. PrimeNumber

    Elsewhere on this news outlet, large crowds are reported to be eating at Chick-fil-A. In attempting to convince gays that a chicken sandwhich company hates them, the liberal media has stepped on its own putz. I'll bet the liberal news execs wish they had bought more Chick-fil-A stock.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      You need to stop watching fox news.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Ibelieveinsatan

      @primenumber – hopefully they continue eating nothing but chick-fil-a. I hear it is part of a healthy diet – maybe this problem will ultimately take care of itself via cardiovascular disease.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Jen

      Yes, please, go there for three meals a day, 6 days a week! It's really good for you – really it is!

      Luckily a lot of the bigots are the fat people in this country. Won't be around as long.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  3. Verdelet

    This is ignorant being gay is just the same as being tall or short, this is a genetic issue not any person who is gay should be told they can not eat somewhere thats segragation just like white people telling black people they have to use a differant water fountain. I for one will never eat chikfila and none of my friends will be either I hope this company goes bankrupt!

    August 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      Why not ignore CNN? They're great at exploiting gay people.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • theseanwilson

      You didn't read the article, did you?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Mike A

      Funny that you talk about ignorance, your post is the most ignorant I have ever seen. How about you actually educate yourself on the issue before you make such an ignorant comment. Nobody is stopping gays from eating chicken sandwiches. The President of the company expressed her personal belief, but since you hate free speech and hate everyone that disagrees with you, you didn't even bother to read the article.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  4. Ken Margo

    I'm quoting you Joseph

    "Fact is, if marriage is redefined, meaning of the word changed. Not everyone is willing to do that. As of now, the majority is not willing to do that. Otherwise, the law would've changed in all the states already."

    Should like a vote to me.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  5. Wendy

    Its a beautifil thing when brethren dwell together in peace. Just came from an overflowing CF and the peace and love there was overwhelming. I pray this peace upon all , may God bathe us in His love and truth and may we who love Him be ambassadors of His kindness and good will.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Sounds good. But leave the hate for gays behind.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      I'm sure you feel this way every day Wendy. Good for you. The problem is all those wonderful feelings don't mean nothing when something unfortunate/bad/terrible/sucks happen to someone.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Wendy

      It does mean something, we each can be part of the problem or solution. Love, or hate, is a choice. Knowing God loves me with all my faults past and present makes me very grateful that I have the opportunity to extend same to others, even if they hate the God I love. God knows and understands and has compassion on the journey we have each had to endure. He lets me do all kinds of destructive things so I can learn from the inside what the truth is and this is how Ive come to agree with Him that His ways are best. We each journey singley, but not alone.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Look_Up


      Sin filled world, caused by man's fall in the garden. Don't fault GOD for when bad things happen to good people. You don't know GOD very well to accuse HIM for anything you can't explain.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Where's the whipping boy? Don't blame the Sky Fairy.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      When reasoning fails lookup uses scare tactics. Stop being scared lookup. Its ok. There is no hell.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Patrick

      "Its a beautifil thing when brethren dwell together in peace. Just came from an overflowing CF and the peace and love there was overwhelming. "

      Except if you're a gay couple that just wants to get married to protect your family then all the money that CF is using to block their civil rights turns into hate. People like you are disgusting.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Look_Up

      @Lame lamb

      stop throwing the "hate" word around.who told you Christians hate gays? Another gay person? You won't hear that word from us. As said before, love the sinner not the sin. Don't be confused. I know that is easy for you. To be confused.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @look_up. I didn't blame G-od for anything. I stated a fact that while what Wendy said was nice. It doesn't solve problems. Bad things happen to g-od fearing religious individuals as well as non religious individuals.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Patrick

      "As said before, love the sinner not the sin."

      Gandhi said that, it's not in the Bible.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "stop throwing the "hate" word around.who told you Christians hate gays? "

      So what do you call it when the Christian community is working to block their civil rights, it sure isn't love! Duh!

      August 1, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • midwest rail

      The Big Lie as practiced by the contemporary faux Christian – "Love the sinner, hate the sin." Having stolen the concept from Gandhi and thoroughly corrupting it, they then go on their merry way spewing hatred, ignorance, and bigotry.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Hermann

      If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  6. Look_Up


    Be Bold and of good courage – in love – share your faith – don't back down.

    You are not the first generation to be persecuted. Remember those of the early 1 st century church. Remember those who stood up in the arenas in Rome, faced lions, fire, cross hanging, boiled in oil, stoned to death, and how they were able to say,

    " Forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing?"

    Once you share the gospel "Good News", then they are accountable to GOD for their destiny.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Poor hate mongers.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Persecuted? Give me a break. a little over dramatic there don't you think. You have your opinions I have mine.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Look_Up


      Yes, We hate to think about you going to hell (a very real place).

      We love you enough to throw you a LIFE line and tell you the turth.

      You choose to believe the lie, that your life style to be intangled in un natural ways with someone of the same gender is okay with GOD. He loves the sinner, not the sin. Get it!

      You were not created the way you think or have been lied to believe. With GOD's help, you can change, and be as GOD had created you. 1 man with 1 woman. Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.

      Keep it simple, for you, check the plumbing.... Men don't carry eggs and can't have babies. Women don't have sperm, but have eggs and do carry the child to birth.

      Anything else you don't understand – the information is available anywhere and everywhere to find.

      We are praying GOD will open your eyes, soften your heart, and help your unbelief.

      There is still time, but know this....

      A day of judgements draws near... Be ready. Be saved. Go to heaven. Not hell. Your call. Not ours.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      A very very very real place. So be scared. Be frightened. Hell hell HELL

      August 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Look up. I love you enough to throw you a brain line. Hopefully you use it. And save your scare tactics for the kids.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Scare scare scare. Stop and read how silly your post is.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Look_Up

      @Lame lamb


      Not a scare tactic.. Reality. Heaven and Hell are real places.

      Like gravity real. What goes up comes down. Let us know when you defy gravity and we will back off telling you hell is a real place.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      You are so silly. Its real real real I've been there i know. Blah blah blab

      August 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      How do you know heaven and hell are real places if you haven't been there. No one could have told you from experience they are real unless you talk to dead people.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • slickmick67

      I'm not sure how agreeing with the position that a certain group of people, who have committed no crime or infraction, should have less rights than you do reflects 'courage'. In this country, this SECULAR country, it's a very serious matter to deny any citizen the basic rights all other citizens enjoy.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  7. Ben

    Boston Mayor "we are a city of inclusion" funniest part of this article, pretty sure thats the most racist city in the country.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  8. SM

    Huh? Why are Christians' religious liberty or freedom of speech being attacked? How? Dan Cathy said what he wanted to say. He has freedom of speech and exercised it. Isn't it naive to think in this day and age that there won't be a response? People are allowed to respond. There is a difference between censorship and disagreement. And how are they losing their right to believe in what they want? They can believe that God is Charlie Brown for all I care, but give gays the same rights afforded by marriage as straight people have access to. Gays pay taxes. Why shouldn't they have equal rights in every other aspect of life? Christians can thump their bibles, speak in tongues, sit in church every Sunday, and do all the other things that Christians do regardless. No one is stopping them. No one's religious ideology should keep any group from sharing the same rights we all are supposed to have. That would be un-American.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • ThsIsNotReal

      The boycott isn't the issue. Everyone has the right to boycott what they disagree with. Its what the government is doing that is the problem. People can boycott, but government can't deny permits because of something that was said. That's where the 1st amendment violation comes in.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • midwest rail

      And Moreno and Emanuel have both since backtracked, and rightfully so. No business permits have been denied, and quite obviously his business hasnt suffered. Next.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • SM

      Yet, I wonder what the response would be if Mr. Cathy's view of the "traditional" family was "white only," and he had made such a statement publicly? Would that then justify banning his restaurant in certain cities? How would the public react then?

      August 2, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  9. Look_Up

    Next stage in Christianity, when you see these things – look up for your redemption draws near. Christ is coming back soon for HIS faithful. Don't be discouraged – be of good courage in these days of disbelief and sinful nature of those we encounter.

    Love them as Christ loves us,"even when we were sinners, HE died for us." Christ loves the sinner, not the sin.

    For those who choose to live by the un-natural ways of creation – we will let you and GOD work that out.

    For me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Soon, really really soon.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Like tomorrow, or the next day. Maybe another 2000 years. But soon.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Look_Up

      @lame lamb

      Tomorrow, could happen. Are you ready? Got your ticket?

      If not, we can help...

      August 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Men of hubris have been proclaiming the "end is coming soon" for centuries. They were all wrong. So are you.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      I don't need a ticket to Sky Fairy land. Your belief is just as silly as heavens gate cult belief. So put on some new shoes and catch a ride with those guys.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • slickmick67

      When is soon? Just asking, since a bunch of folks were told 'soon' almost 2000 years ago...

      August 1, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  10. gabe

    George Marsden, a historian of religion, wrote a great piece about the rise of Christian fundamentalism in America. Certainly applies here. Worth reading, for those interested: http://goo.gl/4ICLL

    August 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  11. Joseph MA

    Jen – Same s-e-x marriage means redefining the meaning of marriage for straight couples. Whether you attest to it or not. I can agree that it doesn't change your relation with your spouse but the meaning of the word marriage changes.

    A union between opposite s-e-x is not the same as union between the same s-e-x. Both are different and come with its own responsibilities and potential.

    Then why try to harm the other? The right solution would be to coin a new term for the union between same s-e-x. That way nothing changes for majority. Then talk about what rights are needed for the same s-e-x union for all practical purposes.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Thats a cop out. How about we let gay people be equals?

      August 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      How can 5 be equal to 6? What is different is better kept as different for the good of everyone

      August 1, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Doesn't divorce change the meaning of marriage? I'm a straight married male. We have gay marriage in NY. My marriage hasn't changed one bit. I don't wake up thinking about gay marriage. Just admit you're a bigot. you're the worst kind of bigot. You hide behind something to cover up your bigotry.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      For the good of religious fanatics. That same argument was used to fight interracial marriage.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Then why try to harm the other? The right solution would be to coin a new term for the union between same s-e-x. That way nothing changes for majority. Then talk about what rights are needed for the same s-e-x union for all practical purposes."

      You know they tried that separate but equal with African Americans and it proved that it doesn't work or don't you know your history. Duh! Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

      The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:

      No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws

      A federal appeals court on May 31st ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it denies equal rights for legally married same-sex couples, making it likely that the Supreme Court will consider the politically divisive issue for the first time in its next term. This most likely will be decided in the courts and since most courts keep ruling in gays favor they should be able to over turn all the unconstitutional laws prejudice bigots have been trying to pass.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      Ken Margo – the fact that you don't wake up thinking about it means just that you are not thinking about it.

      Fact is, if marriage is redefined, meaning of the word changed. Not everyone is willing to do that. As of now, the majority is not willing to do that. Otherwise, the law would've changed in all the states already.

      Attempts to categorize someone as bigot, racial etc do not help either. Someone else's incorrect stand on something else doesn't make my stand on a different issue correct/incorrect. Even if the arguement is similar. It should pertain to the issue at hand.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      YeahRight – if it was that simple we wouldn't have been talking about it...

      Marriage is a right. But what is marriage? Right to vote is there. But it still needs to satisfy certain conditions. Similarly if right to marry has to satisfy certain conditions – like age for example.

      As of now, at least now, the majority feels the definition of marriage as between same s-e-x couples dilutes the definition which is already in place. Let us see how the courts handle this this.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      You CANNOT put civil rights issues to a vote. Slavery would never have ended. The majority whites would always win. That is why it's called EQUAL rights. it's not about what you or others accept. It is what is right. Suppose some one wanted to take away a right YOU currently enjoy because they think you don't deserve it. How would you feel.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      I am not saying to put it to vote either. In order to exercise the right to marriage properly, few more fundamental definitions would have to be in place.

      1. What is marriage ? – It was never defined – as far as I know. The reason being, it was always thought to be between male and femaile.
      2. What is gay? How do you identify a gay person? Is it identifiable like you identify male or female by any scientific means? If yes, at what point of time? At birth or at certain age? If we are to go with the definition that it is an orientation, can it potentially change? Remember that during the marriage between opposite s-e-x-es the s-e-x-uality doesn't change. Is that so for gay couples?

      August 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      That is such B.S. I thought all you needed to do was fall in "love" now you're adding conditions. Maybe we should make all marriages null and void until we come up with "conditions" we all can agree on. Considering you can't get two people to agree on the time of day, this should be a snap!

      August 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Erik

      "What is gay? How do you identify a gay person? Is it identifiable like you identify male or female by any scientific means? If yes, at what point of time? At birth or at certain age? If we are to go with the definition that it is an orientation, can it potentially change?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

      August 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      So I guess you don't have the answers for the two questions. In order to maintain status quo, we obviously don't need to know anything more.

      Two people fall in love can be marriage but not always so. that much for sure. Wouldn't u agree?

      But if you want to change the definition of marriage, you definitely need to know the answers to the above questions. And ofcourse it has to be agreeable.

      I mean, if we don't have an agreed definition of marriage and gay what are we talking about when we say gay marriage?

      August 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I mean, if we don't have an agreed definition of marriage and gay what are we talking about when we say gay marriage?"

      Marriage is a civil right these rights include:

      Tax Benefits
      -–Filing joint income tax returns with the I R S and state taxing authorities.
      -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.
      Estate Planning Benefits
      -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
      -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
      -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
      -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.
      Government Benefits
      -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
      -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
      -–Receiving public assistance benefits.
      -–Employment Benefits
      -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
      -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
      -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
      -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.
      Medical Benefits
      -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
      -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.
      Death Benefits
      -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
      -–Making burial or other final arrangements.
      Family Benefits
      -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
      -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
      -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
      -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.
      Housing Benefits
      -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
      -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.
      Consumer Benefits
      -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
      -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
      -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
      -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
      -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
      -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
      -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
      -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
      -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
      -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Jen

      It did NOT change the definition of my marriage. And please tell me how gay marriage harms my marriage (you specifically say that it does so please answer this question).

      Every marriage is different. No two marriages are the same. And some are radically different than others. Very religious people believe god is a large part of their marriage. I'm agnostic so god plays no part in my marriage. Wouldn't you say my marriage is radically different than a religious person's? So why do we call it the same thing? I guarantee it is not the same thing, so why don't we change the name of either mine or the other person's?

      August 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      Erik – I have seen this post of yours before. While informative it doesn't provide answers to my questions.

      I have no questions on the orientation being biological. Question is how to identify? Is the word of the person the only way? What if the person feels otherwise after having two kids by whatever means?

      These are all important possibilities, not just points to win arguements. The answers are important to know for everyone.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      Jen, the difference is an agnostic's (yours) or a religious person's marriage is not based on yours and your partner's s-e-xuality – clearly defined as male or femaile.

      In case of gays all you have is to go by what the person says he/she feels at the time. Which could change if,

      1. if the persons reinvents otherwise later on
      2. was misinformed for whatever reason

      and scores of other possibilities. Without a means to idetify a gay, the whole marriage thing could be null and void if the person claims/realizes to be non gay later on. While one can not deny being a male or female

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

      "Is the word of the person the only way? What if the person feels otherwise after having two kids by whatever means?"

      What happens when a straight couples feels otherwise after having two kids, life goes on. The people involved try to work it out both legally and emotionally. Why do you think so many kids are in foster care, it's not because of gay couple issues. Duh!

      Social science has shown that the concerns often raised about children of lesbian and gay parents—concerns that are generally grounded in prejudice against and stereotypes about gay people—are unfounded. Overall, the research indicates that the children of lesbian and gay parents do not differ from the children of heterosexual parents in their development, adjustment, or overall well-being.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      Read the above as – "the difference is an agnostic's (yours) or a religious person's marriage is based on yours and your partner's s-e-xuality – clearly defined as male or femaile."

      August 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      YeahRight – "What happens when a straight couples feels otherwise after having two kids, life goes on"

      That is the issue. We assume that life goes on. It doesn't for those who are involved. But one problem doesn't solve another. The issue above is not a justification for allowing more possibilities for it

      August 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Without a means to idetify a gay, the whole marriage thing could be null and void if the person claims/realizes to be non gay later on. While one can not deny being a male or female"

      Wow, you are clueless on this subject and must not know any gay people. Gays are male and female. Oh hey I know let's throw in bisexuals too, that will really confuse you more since you're so clueless on this subject. LMAO! Obviously you're not doing your homework, nor have you really read the posts, gays don't choose to be gay and they can't change, now bisexuals do so with your prejudice why don't you focus on banning them from marriage too. LMAO!

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

      August 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "That is the issue. We assume that life goes on. It doesn't for those who are involved. But one problem doesn't solve another. The issue above is not a justification for allowing more possibilities for it"

      No it's not, gay marriage is legal in several states and it has not had the effect you are trying to "assume" it will. You can't convert someone into being gay. Duh!

      August 1, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Jen

      But it is not clearly defined as a man and a woman, not in an increasing number of countries (including the country of my birth), or in the state I live in(MA). So that's not true.

      And yes, if something happens down the line then they get divorced. Straight couples do it all the time, so unless you want to make divorce illegal I don't know what the issue is.

      Also, you are dodging my questions again. How does gay marriage harm my marriage?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today

      more ridiculous Christardian logic

      August 1, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      I think we're getting to deep on this. Forget the religious argument. Look at it financially, florists, limo service, caterers, musicians, tux rentals etc.. all help the economy and create jobs. If gay marriages were at churches, think of the money the church would get. You mean nobody wants the money?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Oz in OK

      Oh sure – 'Let's go with separate-but-equal because it won't affect ME, just you icky gays who don't deserve to be married' line. Works every time. /eyeroll

      August 2, 2012 at 2:46 am |
  12. bold

    I would also ask the president of the southern baptist association if he spoke up when some people in tennessee asked the mosque to get out of town? That's defending religious liberty too

    August 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • ThsIsNotReal

      Couldn't agree more. I am a Christian and a libertarian. I love supporting religious freedom for EVERYONE including Christians, Muslims and atheists. I like it when religious conservatives talk about religious freedom, as long as they don't mean only for Christians.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  13. Papasan

    Is Chick-fil-A open on Sundays? If so, they need to be stoned to death. It says so in your"good" book. Read Numbers 15:32-56

    August 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Brandon

      No, they are not open on Sundays. Also, you've read that out of context and are missing the fullness of scripture. There is more than one verse, more than one statement.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • open cinnamon shoe

      They are not open on Sunday. Try reading the article...

      August 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Chad

      – they are not open on Sundays
      – The Jewish Sabbath (which is what Numbers 15 refers to) is Saturday, not Sunday
      – The "Law" (enumerated in the Torah (which is where Numbers is)) came to an end with the sacrifice "once for all" of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • ThsIsNotReal

      Wow that is about the worst example you could have picked. They are famous for being closed on Sundays lol.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Oz in OK

      Well, considering that they're actually open on the Sabbath (Saturday – the 7th day of the week) that *does* make them guilty, doesn't it?

      August 2, 2012 at 2:48 am |
  14. bold

    Who is being intolerant when focus on the family organized the boycott of Ford for supporting domestic benefits? How about the group million moms on the boycott of jcpenney for hiring ellen degeneres? Or the same group on the starbucks boycott?

    August 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Oz in OK

      See, when the fundies boycott a gay-supportive company, they're just 'exercising their freedom of expression.' When a faux-christian company gets boycotted for their anti-Gay stance, then they're all 'Ooooh we're being oppressed!!!' Hypocrites.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:51 am |
  15. Reality

    From p. 35:

    Sent from my local Chick-fil-A:

    The owner of Chick-fil-A as does R. Albert Mohler Jr suffer from the Three B Syndrome, Bred, Born and Brainwashed in red-neck Christianity. We should try to cure all those who are suffering from this Syndrome which affects about 30% of the human race.

    The Cure in less time than it takes to eat my chicken sandwich:



    Added details available at no extra charge.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Brandon

      Seems strange that a religion that was started thousands of years ago could be categorized as redneck, thought that was strictly a American term (which fyi, wasn't around thousands of years ago). Or that some redneck, somehow brainwashed a third of the populace of the entire world!

      August 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • AR

      You will be sorry when the world comes to an end! Everybody has their own belief system. It's just like myself, a Christian, going into a gay bar, and saying, you should be shut down because this is a gay bar. I just don't go there. If a gay couple has a problem with Chick-Filet, then don't eat there. There are only hundreds of other restaurants to eat at. Or someone that opposes abortion goes and kills an abortion doctor – it's just as bad to kill the doctor as it is for the doctor to kill the baby.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • ThsIsNotReal

      Yes there were and Yes there will be. Oh look I can also make un-proveable claims!

      So I guess you personally guarded Jesus' tomb in the weeks following his crucifixion? You must have since you can personally testify that He didn't rise.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      August 2, 2012 at 12:45 am |
  16. Free Brazzers Account

    Hi my friend! I want to say that this article is awesome, great written and come with almost all vital infos. I'd like to peer more posts like this .

    August 1, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  17. Chad

    @Colin "what I object to is using this preposterous belief to set social policy that binds non-Christians. As a small example, I cannot buy a nice bottle of red wine on a Sunday where I live because Christians believe the World was created in six days and that the Sabath is sacred. Fine, if they want to believe this disproven, childish garbage, but don't curtail my freedoms based on it."

    =>think that you are fundamentally not understanding what "religious freedom" is.
    It's more than just not outlawing the practice of Christianity

    At it's core, it is predicated on allowing citizens that practice a religion the freedom to lobby their government to enact legislation in line with their belief system.
    In other words, you arent allowed to enact a litmus test on laws the same way you arent allowed to enact a litmus test on a persons beliefs.
    To do so would be discriminatory, AND a violation of my civil rights as a citizen of the USA .

    end of story.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Bravo Chad

      August 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • jp

      @Chad – You are the one that is sorely mistaken on this. The 1st amendment is pretty clear "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." this does not mean that any religion has the right to coerce or draft legislation based upon it's beliefs – it means simply that people have the right to believe what they want to believe and not be persecuted for it. If you allow legislation to be passed based upon the beliefs of one religion, you are inherently violating the principles of the 1st amendment. You are wrong sir, good day!

      August 1, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Chad

      er.. no..

      Congress shall make no law:
      1. respecting an establishment of religion

      =>Govt can not create a state religion, or prevent the establishing of a religion.

      2. prohibiting the free exercise thereof
      =>Govt can prevent people from practicing a particular religion

      There is not, nor has there ever been a "religious litmus test" applied to legislation to disallow anything "religious". Every citizen is allowed to lobby their government for the establishment of laws in agreement with their world view, regardless of what that world view is.

      hope that helps.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Chad

      should read "Govt can NOT prevent people from practicing a particular religion"

      August 1, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  18. Al

    Religion is a chosen lifestyle!
    It's mission is to recruit others to its beliefs.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • ThsIsNotReal

      That's true. So what's your point?

      August 1, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  19. Brandi

    By all means, let's make this an attack on religion. It couldn't possibly be that Christians are being intolerant.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • lamb of dog


      August 1, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  20. lwhardin

    I don't understand this comment: "And yet the controversy over Chick-fil-A is a clear sign that religious liberty is at risk ". Really? I think the one thing that the controversy is a clear sign of is intolerance.

    The one sign that religion is under attack is the fact the more and more young adults are going to college and hopefully learning critical thinking skills.

    When God turns up on Leno or Letterman and pronounces what his opinion is on this or that topic, then I will ascribe that to God. Every single religious text was written by man. And, in an historical perspective, when you analyze what these books were trying to achieve, you can see that they were simply a political and social tool to control the masses.

    I think I'll go order a sandwich from my local restaurant and give to the first non-normal person I meet....I guess I'll have to eat it myself.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • CherylS

      Isn't it interesting when the intolerant try to turn it around so it looks like they are the ones under attack. I guess the best defense is a good offense. And what he said is pretty darn offensive.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Travis

      Iwhardin, your comment does little but reveal your ignorance about the subjects you presented...

      August 1, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
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About this blog

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