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September 20th, 2012
01:41 PM ET

soundoff (795 Responses)
  1. Jeremy

    Why do I want to punch this guy right in his fû©kiʼn face?

    October 5, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • truth be told

      You are full of sinful hate.

      October 6, 2012 at 7:20 am |
  2. Pastor Jim

    It does not matter which side of this debate you are on. What matters here is that Joel Osteen is a coward. He passed on an opportunity to lift Jesus up so that he may appear to be the one who is lifted up. Scripture is clear. Jesus did address marriage. If Joel Osteen does not know where that line is, he needs to read the Bible. He has no business claiming to be representative of God if he does not know what God has said.

    October 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • JFritz

      Osteen mixes positive thinking with the family business of religion. He generally does it quite genially and well. This time he flubbed; should have stuck to "don't know much about that" and continued with what he does best, positive thinking. Never hurts to throw in a little Jesus too, but the nice bits. He was, after all, the "turn the other cheek" guy. I'll take Osteen's brand of church theatre over fire and brimstone any day.

      October 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  3. JFritz

    For all the fundamentalists: Josiah Bartlet on literal interpretation of the Bible. There's none better.

    October 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • JFritz

      Seriously, have many of you thumpers actually read the Bible, or just the nasty bits your "pastors" tell you about? Would you stone your favorite football player for touching the skin of a pig? Kill your friend for working on the Sabbath? Sell your sister into slavery? Do you eat shellfish, pork or mix milk and meat? Do you follow every work exactly as it's written, reading in the many archaic languages the book is written in and translating perfectly, or do you rely on the various committees who handed down their political agendas over the centuries?

      October 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  4. YeahRight

    "You jumped to conclusions by calling the disorders NATURAL."

    No, hundred of thousands of experts in this country have proven it to be totally normal.

    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."

    October 5, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      You get what you pay for and it's political. When the gubmint god is leaning in one direction the employees obey. Just like evolutionism with racism the shrinks can flip. They like to eat, too.

      October 6, 2012 at 6:58 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Is fetal alcohol syndrome natural? Part of the plan? How doe that fit into progress? Evolutionism is all about the bestest making it to the topist.

      October 6, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • Damocles

      @anybody

      Certain things can and do affect a child in the womb. A child can have a propensity to drink even if raised in a non-drinking environment.

      I don't get the part where you say evolution is about the 'bestest'. Plenty of animals have evolved and then gone the way of the dodo for various reasons.

      October 6, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • truth be told

      @dumbocles
      Man killed off the dodo.

      October 6, 2012 at 7:19 am |
  5. Jane Martin

    I don't understand how such a greasy slimy guy as Osteen can extract so much money from people for such a non-cause. I guess he's a great con artist, but wow, his followers must slide out on the oil slick behind him a lot.

    October 4, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Beth

      Jane, don't be such a mean b!tch. It must have hurt Osteen when they fracked his head.

      October 4, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • JimmyAlex777

      That's amusing, Jane. Religious people are just naive to others' ability to brainwash and provide mass hypnotism in an effort to gain the "10 percent inner faith hostage fee". If people are that stupid, then I guess the old saying, "a fool and his money are easily parted" still stands victoriusly.

      October 5, 2012 at 1:41 am |
  6. bataylor

    Joel Osteen seems like the nicest human on the planet. He chooses to believe what he believes, without insulting or bashing someone else for what they believe. He seems a little out of his element in these sort of pundit debate situations, but even the gay gentleman likes him–and so does THIS agnostic. More power to you Mr. Osteen. Keep doing what you do.

    October 4, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Topher

      Joel, when did you change your name to bataylor?

      October 4, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      When did you change yours from GayBait?

      October 4, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  7. Jane Martin

    I like Joel Osteen. I think he is a kind, real and good man. He does not condemn gays. He doesn't understand it. I respect someone's right to not endorse it and understand it As long as they are tolerant and accepting. That's ok. He does not want to harm or comdemn.

    October 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  8. Anybody know how to read?

    Family, families is found in about 300 places in the Scriptures. God talks about blessing these people. Now if you want to show me where the family of Slim and Jim or Lola and Sue were on His mind, be my guest.

    October 4, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  9. Beth

    No matter how you roll, Osteen sure is one greasy, way-too-slick slimebag. BP should tap into his hair and the gascos should frack is head. Or maybe they already did.

    October 4, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Jane Martin

      Nice Beth. Perhaps you can keep your personal negativity to yourself next time. We don't need it.

      October 4, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Steven Lindahl

      @Jane Martin

      Who's "WE"?

      October 5, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  10. Erik

    "Hahahahahaha! proven natural by whom – man or God? "

    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.

    October 4, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      The world sure had to wait a looong time for this enlightenment.

      October 4, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      You jumped to conclusions by calling the disorders NATURAL.

      October 4, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  11. truth

    @TheRealTruth... Hahahahahaha! proven natural by whom – man or God? How do you get around 'men who lie with men'?

    October 4, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Derek

      For the name you've picked, you sure lie a lot. But never with another body, it sure sounds like.

      October 4, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  12. truth

    @John... well-crafted comment, but you must let scripture interpret scripture. God made man and woman; the scriptures further discuss how a husband wife should treat each other. Never does God's word discuss men with men or women with women in a positive light... quite the contrary. Please study your Bible.

    October 4, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • John

      "Never does God's word discuss men with men or women with women in a positive light... quite the contrary. Please study your Bible."

      You're the one that doesn't understand the bible. 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

      October 4, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Derek

      Again, Liar, why can't god do his own website and push out some good tweets? Ain't happening, ain't no god.

      And no, bible wacko websites don't count.

      October 4, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • random

      It's funny when people say "study your bible." It's not my bible - it's yours. It's not the word of god and it's not holy. It's a collection of writings by various people, in various languages, in various places, at various times, compiled by another group of people. Just like anything else that has ever been written or will ever be written, the contents of the bible have to stand or fall on their own. As Jesus himself said, "Truth is truth and religion is bullshlt."

      October 5, 2012 at 12:45 am |
  13. Derek

    Christianity: all faux and no gaux. Love that one.

    October 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  14. truth

    @ELANE – you seemed to have missed 1Cor 6:9-11: "9 What! Do YOU not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom?+ Do not be misled. Neither fornicators,+ nor idolaters,+ nor adulterers,*+ nor men kept for unnatural purposes,+ nor men who lie with men,*+ 10 nor thieves, nor greedy+ persons, nor drunkards,+ nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom.+ 11 And yet that is what some of YOU were.+ But YOU have been washed clean,+ but YOU have been sanctified,*+ but YOU have been declared righteous+ in the name of our* Lord Jesus Christ+ and with the spirit of our God."

    Elaine, you need to study your Bible.

    October 4, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • TheRealTruth

      "Do not be misled. Neither fornicators,+ nor idolaters,+ nor adulterers,*+ nor men kept for unnatural purposes,+ nor men who lie with men,*"

      Since being gay has been proven to be normal that scripture doesn't apply to them.

      October 4, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Derek

      Why would anyone study such a wretched book? And more significantly, how come your god can't get with the last decade and do his own website and some tweets?

      Lack of those is sure sign that your god is one big myth and you are severely deluded.

      October 4, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • James

      "Elaine, you need to study your Bible."

      No you do actually. The scriptures actually say nothing about homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation. Our understandings of sexual orientation are distinctly modern ones that were not present in the minds of Scripture writers. A few passages of Scripture (seven at the most) object to certain types of same-sex expressions or acts. The particular acts in question, however, are sexual expressions which are exploitative, oppressive, commercialized, or offensive to ancient purity rituals. There is no Scriptural guidance for same-sex relationships which are loving and mutually respecting. Guidelines for these relationships should come from the same general Scriptural norms that apply to heterosexual relationships.

      October 4, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Bob

      "you are severely deluded"

      No, they are full of hate.

      October 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Derek

      Who is "they", Bob? And really, why no god tweets? Old guy a bit behind the times?

      October 4, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Bob

      "Who is "they", Bob? And really, why no god tweets? Old guy a bit behind the times?"

      They means all the multiple handles they are using.
      "tina" – degenerates to:
      "truth be told" – degenerates to:
      "truth" – degenerates to
      "Atheism is not healthy..." degenerates to:
      "just sayin" – degenerates to:
      "captain america" – degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" – degenerates to:
      "WOW" – degenerates to:
      "nope"– degenerates to:
      "2357" – degenerates to:
      "herbie" – degenerates to:
      "chad" – degenerates to:
      "Douglas" – degenerates to:
      "herbie" – degenerates to:
      "fred" – degenerates to:
      "ug" – degenerates to:
      "!" – degnerates to:
      "j" – and many other names, but it's still the same disgruntled ex

      October 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  15. truth

    There's no getting around what God's words says... 'men who lay with men will not inherit God's kingdom'. Joel is not a true Christian – he's a puppet, watering down the truth of the Bible because he's in it for the money. Truth is free. Study the Bible and get the big picture. Understand who really rules the Earth (2Cor 4:4, ), why there are so many religions, why mankind cannot govern itself successfully, why people suffer and die, why there's so much corruption and hypocrisy in both religion and man's governments. The truth will set you free – just seek it, but don't look to Churchianity.

    October 4, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • John

      "There's no getting around what God's words says... 'men who lay with men will not inherit God's kingdom'."

      In days gone by, it was reasonable for Christians not to question conventional wisdom about the Bible. Because everyone used the Bible to justify slavery, for instance, Christians were OK with believing that some of their fellow human beings were just another species of farm animal they rightfully owned. Later, we Christians were entirely comfortable using the Bible to justify the atrocious idea that women are second-class citizens too simple-minded to be trusted with the vote.

      And up until the Internet made readily available all kinds of previously inaccessible knowledge and information, we could be excused for believing that the Bible indisputably states that God considers homosexual love a moral abomination.

      Today, however, anyone who can read, or simply watch YouTube videos, is forced to acknowledge the absolute credibility of the universe of scholarship, and the reasoning based upon it which unequivocally proves that the Bible does not, in fact, oblige Christians to believe that homosexual love, in and of itself, is necessarily any less moral than is heterosexual love.

      That closet door is now swung wide open. The truth of the matter is now there for anyone to behold.

      Christians today who take seriously the search for truth must admit that the old axiom that homosexuality is a sin has been forever reduced in status from objective truth to subjective opinion. From fact to belief. From beyond question to unquestionably dubious.

      Believing that homosexual love is a condemnable sin, in other words, is now a choice one must make.

      And what Christian - what person at all? - would choose ignorant condemnation over enlightened love?

      October 4, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Derek

      How come god can't push anything out on Twitter himself?

      October 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  16. Michael

    Wow. You Christians are so unlike your Jesus.

    October 4, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  17. midwest rail

    The Big Lie as practiced by the modern faux Christian – "Love the sinner, hate the sin." They then go on their merry way spewing hatred, ignorance and bigotry.

    October 4, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • pervert alert

      Unlike ho mo se xuals who do things that would make a maggot gag.

      October 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • pervert alert

      Qu eers the folks who gave the world AIDS

      October 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • midwest rail

      It's always a good day when we get to be entertained by the inane and delusional ramblings of the pervert.

      October 4, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • .

      "Qu eers the folks who gave the world AIDS"

      Until recently, the origins of the HIV-2 virus had remained relatively unexplored. HIV-2 is thought to come from the SIV in Sooty Mangabeys rather than chimpanzees, but the crossover to humans is believed to have happened in a similar way (i.e. through the butchering and consumption of monkey meat). It is far rarer, significantly less infectious and progresses more slowly to AIDS than HIV-1. As a result, it infects far fewer people, and is mainly confined to a few countries in West Africa.

      In May 2003, a group of Belgian researchers published a report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. By analysing samples of the two different subtypes of HIV-2 (A and B) taken from infected individuals and SIV samples taken from sooty mangabeys, Dr Vandamme concluded that subtype A had passed into humans around 1940 and subtype B in 1945 (plus or minus 16 years or so). Her team of researchers also discovered that the virus had originated in Guinea-Bissau and that its spread was most likely precipitated by the independence war that took place in the country between 1963 and 1974 (Guinea-Bissau is a former Portuguese colony). Her theory was backed up by the fact that the first European cases of HIV-2 were discovered among Portuguese veterans of the war, many of whom had received blood transfusions or unsterile injections following injury, or had possibly had relationships with local women.

      Given the evidence we have already looked at, it seems highly likely that Africa was indeed the continent where the transfer of HIV to humans first occurred (monkeys from Asia and South America have never been found to have SIVs that could cause HIV in humans). In May 2006, the same group of researchers who first identified the Pan troglodytes troglodytes strain of SIVcpz, announced that they had narrowed down the location of this particular strain to wild chimpanzees found in the forests of Southern Cameroon . By analysing 599 samples of chimp droppings (P. T. troglodytes are a highly endangered and thus protected species that cannot be killed or captured for testing), the researchers were able to obtain 34 specimens that reacted to a standard HIV DNA test, 12 of which gave results that were virtually indistinguishable from the reactions created by human HIV. The researchers therefore concluded that the chimpanzees found in this area were highly likely the origin of both the pandemic Group M of HIV-1 and of the far rarer Group N. The exact origins of Group O however remain unknown.

      HIV Group N principally affects people living in South-central Cameroon, so it is not difficult to see how this outbreak started. Group M, the group that has caused the worldwide pandemic, was however first identified in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Repub lic of Con go. It is not entirely clear how it transferred from Cameroon to Kinshasa, but the most likely explanation is that an infected individual travelled south down the San gha river that runs through Southern Cam eroon to the River Con go and then on to Kin shasa, where the Group M epidemic probably began.

      Just as we do not know exactly who spread the virus from Cam eroon to Kin shasa, how the virus spread from Africa to America is also not entirely clear. However, recent evidence suggests that the virus may have arrived via the Cari bbean island of H aiti.

      October 4, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • pervert alert

      The normal 99 % of the earths population know the Truth. Qu eers the people who gave the world AIDS

      October 4, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      The only kind of "trickle down" that actually works:

      Little h0mophobic troll idiot degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" – degenerates to:
      "...." degenerates to:
      "tina" – degenerates to:
      "truth be told" – degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy..." degenerates to:
      "just sayin" – degenerates to:
      "captain america" – degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" – degenerates to:
      "WOW" – degenerates to:
      "nope"– degenerates to:
      "2357" – degenerates to:
      "herbie" – degenerates to:
      "chad" – degenerates to:
      "Douglas" – degenerates to:
      "herbie" – degenerates to:
      "fred" – degenerates to:
      "ug" – degenerates to:
      "!" – degnerates to:
      "j" – and many other names, but it's still the same disgruntled ex
      Evangelical Fortune Cookie "writer".

      October 4, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Why is this suddenly back in the debate?

      October 4, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • pervert alert

      Truth never goes away. Qu eers the people who gave the world AIDS

      October 4, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • .

      "Why is this suddenly back in the debate?"

      Because
      "tina" – degenerates to:
      "truth be told" – degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy..." degenerates to:
      "just sayin" – degenerates to:
      "captain america" – degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" – degenerates to:
      "WOW" – degenerates to:
      "nope"– degenerates to:
      "2357" – degenerates to:
      "herbie" – degenerates to:
      "chad" – degenerates to:
      "Douglas" – degenerates to:
      "herbie" – degenerates to:
      "fred" – degenerates to:
      "ug" – degenerates to:
      "!" – degnerates to:
      "j" – and many other names, but it's still the same disgruntled ex

      Likes to troll this topic and spew their hate.

      October 4, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Derek

      Christians -all faux and no gaux...

      October 4, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  18. Christian

    Would any of you so called experts care to talk about Sodom and Gomorrah. God make it perfectly clear.

    We are not God therefore our place is to hate the sin not the sinner.

    October 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Elaine

      In Genesis 18, the story about the angels coming to Lot's house, we learn that the reason they were coming to destroy Sodom was because of the wickedness that ALREADY existed in the city. The exact form of wickedness is not mentioned in that story!

      Let's just reinforce this CRITICAL piece of information. In the story of Sodom, in Genesis 18, God had ALREADY decided to destroy the city BEFORE the attempted rape of the angels – which incidentally was perpetrated mainly by heterosexuals since ALL the men of the city were involved, and we know that throughout history, gays have only represented about 10% of the population. Also, if they were homosexuals, why would Lot suggest that they take his daughters instead? That just doesn't make sense if the men were gay.

      So just to get this straight, the event that took place at Sodom was an act of violence and rape, mainly by heterosexuals. It had nothing to do with a loving relationship between two people of the same sex, and homosexuality was NOT the sin of Sodom in whatever form. The story of Sodom in Genesis 18 was about violence and domination, the same type of event that takes place in prisons and occupied countries, but it was NOT the reason for God's decision to destroy the city, and to use this story as a basis for prejudice against homosexuality in general is like comparing rape to marriage. There is NO similarity!

      The aftermath of Sodom aside, let's take a look at other passages of Scripture that mention the sin of Sodom. Here are 14 references to Sodom and not one of them mentions homosexuality!!!!! The overwhelming themes are idolatry, immorality and inhospitality! To me, this indicates people like Bob and HeavenSent have taken things out of context!

      Deuteronomy 29:17-26 – the sin – idolatry and images to false gods – "Why has the Lord done this to the land? . . . It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the Lord . . ."

      Deuteronomy 32:32-38 – the sin – idolatry – "He will say 'Now where are their gods?'"

      Isaiah 1:2-23 – the sin – idolatry, rebellion, injustice, murder, greed, theft, covetousness, mistreating the poor – "They have rebelled against Me."

      Isaiah 3:8-19 – the sin – idolatry, arrogance – "Their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying His glorious Presence"

      Jeremiah 23:10-14 – the sin – idolatry, adultery, lying by priests and prophets – "Both prophet and priest are godless. . . . They prophesied by Baal and led My people astray."

      Jeremiah 49:16-18 – the sin – idolatry, arrogance, oppression, pride of the heart – "The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived
      you. . ."

      Jeremiah 50:2-40 – the sin – idolatry, pride, false prophets – "Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror. . . . . For she has defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. . . . . Their shepherds have led them astray."

      Lamentations 4:3-6 – the sin – cruelty and failure to care for the young and poor – "My people have become heartless."

      Ezekiel 16:49-50 – the sin – "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned: they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me."

      Amos 4:1-11 – the sin – idolatry, oppression, mistreating the poor – "I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom . . . . yet you have not returned to Me."

      Zephaniah 2:8-11 – the sin – idolatry, pride, mocking – "This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the Lord Almighty. The Lord will be awesome to them when He destroys all the gods of the land."

      Luke 17:26-29 – Jesus speaking – No specific sins mentioned

      II Peter 2:1-22 – the sin – idolatry, living after ungodliness, lawlessness, arrogance, blaspheming, adultery, greed, corruption, depravity, boasting, lust – "But there were also false prophets among the people . . . . ."

      Jude 1:7-8 – the sin – sexual immorality and perversion, i.e fornication after strange flesh (angels, see Genesis 6:1) KJV

      The dictionary defines "perversion" as "a sexual practice regarded as abnormal". That means that a heterosexual practicing homosexual acts is perverted as in the case of ALL the men of Sodom wanting to engage with the angels (strange flesh). However, since sex with the same gender is normal for a gay person, there is no perversion associated merely by the sexual act.

      Note also that, while the word "abomination" has been used with reference to homosexuality, the biblical interpretation of the word "abomination" relates to any act of uncleanness as set out in the Holiness Code, such as eating shellfish, trimming your hair, touching the skin of a dead pig (should we stone the entire NFL?), wearing clothes of two kinds of material (polyester/cotton) – the list is long. How can we discuss one sin to the exclusion of all others?

      This is an enormous subject, which has been reduced to simplistic values. It is plain and simple prejudice to portray homosexuals as immoral just because of the gender to whom we are attracted. Of course there are immoral homosexuals, just as there are immoral heterosexuals, but simple orientation carries no implication of morality or immorality.

      Our sexuality is God-given. God made us the way we are. It follows naturally that He loves us exactly the way He made us. So long as we embrace marriage with the same standards as any monogamous, loving heterosexual relationship there should be no barrier against us.

      When gays are only asking to have their loving relationships acknowledged and respected, why is there so much fear and anger? To strengthen marriage, why not take a stand against divorce and separation, instead of opposing love and commitment? Jesus spoke of divorce, but he never mentioned homosexuality. I believe that was because homosexuality was not even an issue in His day. Love was love. Love IS Love!

      "Protect marriage? Puhlease. With a 50 percent divorce rate, rampant domestic violence, Las Vegas drive-through chapels, and I wanna-marry-a-really-rich-guy reality TV shows, there's no way gays could trash marriage the way straight people have."

      This letter only refers to the sin of Sodom. There are actually six "clobber verses" which are used against gays. Space does not permit an explanation of each one, but just as the sin of Sodom has been misrepresented, so have the other verses. There is an explanation for each one that clearly indicates that, just as slavery was condoned by Scripture for many years, ("Slaves obey your masters . . . . ." Eph. 6:5-8) and civil wars were fought to protect the ownership of people, we now know that Scripture was interpreted incorrectly, for God would not have people to be possessions.

      We now have a fuller understanding of Scripture with regard to slavery. It's time to accept a fuller understanding of homosexuality based on new research into language, concepts and customs when these words were written.

      So please choose acceptance and inclusiveness whether or not you understand fully. One of us is wrong. Many of you think it's me. I think it's you, based on solid research into Scripture from another perspective. Yes, God encourages us to question Scripture.

      "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, REPROOF and instruction in righteousness." II Tim. 3:16

      If there is even a chance that I could be right, do you want to take the eternal risk of rejecting some of God's children, and slamming the doors of your churches to those of us who wish to enter? That's what you're doing when you treat us as less than yourselves simply based on our orientation.

      If we have done the research, and it is our understanding that God loves us, including our orientation, then why not just let God be the judge? He will be in the end anyway. If one of us is to err, why not err on the side of love and acceptance? Now that was truly Jesus' example!

      October 4, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  19. John

    In days gone by, it was reasonable for Christians not to question conventional wisdom about the Bible. Because everyone used the Bible to justify slavery, for instance, Christians were OK with believing that some of their fellow human beings were just another species of farm animal they rightfully owned. Later, we Christians were entirely comfortable using the Bible to justify the atrocious idea that women are second-class citizens too simple-minded to be trusted with the vote.

    And up until the Internet made readily available all kinds of previously inaccessible knowledge and information, we could be excused for believing that the Bible indisputably states that God considers homosexual love a moral abomination.

    Today, however, anyone who can read, or simply watch YouTube videos, is forced to acknowledge the absolute credibility of the universe of scholarship, and the reasoning based upon it which unequivocally proves that the Bible does not, in fact, oblige Christians to believe that homosexual love, in and of itself, is necessarily any less moral than is heterosexual love.

    That closet door is now swung wide open. The truth of the matter is now there for anyone to behold.

    Christians today who take seriously the search for truth must admit that the old axiom that homosexuality is a sin has been forever reduced in status from objective truth to subjective opinion. From fact to belief. From beyond question to unquestionably dubious.

    Believing that homosexual love is a condemnable sin, in other words, is now a choice one must make.

    And what Christian - what person at all? - would choose ignorant condemnation over enlightened love?

    October 4, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Speak for you own mob.

      October 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  20. 250 Ministers Proclamation

    As Christian clergy we proclaim the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.

    In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:

    <b–to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;

    -to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;

    –to declare that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;

    -to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;

    Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

    October 4, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Speak for your own mob.

      October 4, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Bill the Cat

      250 heretics have no say on real Church dogma.

      October 4, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Melvin

      "250 heretics have no say on real Church dogma."

      The Scriptures at no point deal with homosexuality as an authentic sexual orientation, a given condition of being. The remarkably few Scriptural references to "homosexuality" deal rather with homosexual acts, not with homosexual orientation. Those acts are labeled as wrong out of the context of the times in which the writers wrote and perceived those acts to be either nonmasculine, idolatrous, exploitative, or pagan. The kind of relationships between two consenting adults of the same sex demonstrably abounding among us - relationships that are responsible and mutual, affirming and fulfilling - are not dealt with in the Scriptures.

      October 4, 2012 at 6:22 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.