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When Christians become a 'hated minority'
Evangelical Christians say they are the new victims of intolerance - they're persecuted for condemning homosexuality.
May 5th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

When Christians become a 'hated minority'

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - When Peter Sprigg speaks publicly about his opposition to homosexuality, something odd often happens.

During his speeches, people raise their hands to challenge his assertions that the Bible condemns homosexuality, but no Christians speak out to defend him.

“But after it is over, they will come over to talk to me and whisper in my ear, ‘I agree with everything you said,’" says Sprigg, a spokesman for The Family Research Council, a powerful, conservative Christian lobbying group.

We’ve heard of the “down-low” gay person who keeps his or her sexual identity secret for fear of public scorn. But Sprigg and other evangelicals say changing attitudes toward homosexuality have created a new victim: closeted Christians who believe the Bible condemns homosexuality but will not say so publicly for fear of being labeled a hateful bigot.

As proof, Sprigg points to the backlash that ESPN commentator Chris Broussard sparked recently. Broussard was called a bigot and a purveyor of hate speech when he said an NBA player who had come out as gay was living in “open rebellion to God.” Broussard said the player, Jason Collins, was “living in unrepentant sin” because the Bible condemns homosexuality.

“In the current culture, it takes more courage for someone like Chris Broussard to speak out than for someone like Jason Collins to come out,” says Sprigg, a former pastor. “The media will hail someone who comes out of the closet as gay, but someone who simply expresses their personal religious views about homosexual conduct is attacked.”

When is disagreement hate?

Bryan Litfin, a theology professor at Moody Bible Institute in Illinois, says Christians should be able to publicly say that God designed sex to take place within a marriage between a man and a woman.

“That isn’t so outrageous,” Litfin says. “Nobody is expressing hate toward homosexuals by saying that. Since when is disagreement the same as hate?”

But quoting the Bible doesn't inoculate anyone from becoming a bigot or hater, some scholars say. There's a point at which a Christian's opposition to homosexuality can become bigotry, and even hate speech, they say.

Crossing such a line has happened many times in history.

A literal reading of the Bible was used to justify all sorts of hatred: slavery, the subjugation of women and anti-Semitism, scholars and pastors say.

“Truly damaging speech cannot be excused just because it expresses genuine religious belief,” says Mark D. Jordan, author of “Recruiting Young Love: How Christians Talk about Homosexuality.”

“Some religious beliefs, sincerely held, are detestable. They cannot be spoken without disrupting social peace,” says Jordan, a professor at the John Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.

The point where religious speech becomes hate speech is difficult to define, though, scholars and activists say.

The Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama is a nonprofit civil rights group that combats and monitors hate groups. Three years ago, it designated the Family Research Council, the group that Sprigg represents, as a hate group - a characterization the group stridently rejects.

Mark Potok,  a center spokesman, says there’s no shared definition of what constitutes hate speech.

“There is no legal meaning. It’s just a phrase,” Potok says. “Hate speech is in the ear of the beholder.”

'One of the most hated minorities?'

Intolerance may be difficult to define, but some evangelicals say they have become victims of intolerance because of their reverence for the Bible.

The conservative media culture is filled with stories about evangelicals being labeled as “extremists” for their belief that homosexuality is a sin.

Their sense of persecution goes beyond their stance on homosexuality. There are stories circulating of evangelical students being suspended for opposing homosexuality, a teacher fired for giving a Bible to a curious student, and the rise of anti-Christian bigotry.

A blogger at The American Dream asked in one essay:

“Are evangelical Christians rapidly becoming one of the most hated minorities in America?”

The reluctance of evangelicals to speak out against homosexuality is often cited as proof they are being forced into the closet.

Joe Carter, editor for The Gospel Coalition, an online evangelical magazine, wrote a blog post entitled “Debatable: Is the Christian Church a ‘Hate Group’?" He warned that young people will abandon “orthodox” Christian churches that teach that homosexuality is a sin for fear of being called haters.

“Faux civility, embarrassment, prudishness and a fear of expressing an unpopular opinion has caused many Christians to refrain from explaining how homosexual conduct destroys lives,” Carter wrote.

Some Christians fear that opposing homosexuality could cause them to lose their jobs and “haunt them forever,” Carter says.

“It’s easier to just go along,” says Carter, who is also author of “How to Argue Like Jesus.” “You don’t want to be lumped in with the bigots. That’s a powerful word."

Edward Johnson, a communication professor at Campbell University in North Carolina, says we are now living in a "postmodern" era where everything is relative and there is no universally accepted truth. It's an environment in which anyone who says "this is right" and "that is wrong" is labeled intolerant, he says.

There was a time when a person could publicly say homosexuality was wrong and people could consider the statement without anger, he says. Today, people have reverted to an intellectual tribalism where they are only willing to consider the perspective of their own tribe.

“They are incapable of comprehending that someone may have a view different than theirs,” Johnson says. “For them anyone who dares to question the dogma of the tribe can only be doing so out of hatred.”

Sprigg, from the Family Research Council, says his condemnation of homosexual conduct does not spring from intolerance but a desire to protect gays from harmful conduct, he says.

Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the council, wrote in a council pamphlet that homosexual men are more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are straight men. He also wrote that gay men are also afflicted with a higher rate of sexually transmitted diseases and mental illness as well.

Sprigg says he does not believe homosexuality is a choice and that “personal testimonies" and "clinical experience” show that some people “can and do change from gay to straight.”

“Maybe we need to do a better job of showing that we are motivated by Christian love,” Sprigg says. “Love is wanting the best for someone, and acting to bring that about.”

'That's a lie'

Potok, from the Southern Poverty Law Center, has little use for the love Sprigg talks about.

He calls it hatred, and his voice rose in anger when he talked about the claims by Sprigg and other Christian groups that gay men are more predisposed to molest children and that homosexual behavior is inherently harmful.

He says the Southern Poverty Law Center didn’t designate the Family Research Group a hate group because they view homosexuality as a sin or oppose same-sex marriage, Potok says. There are plenty of Christian groups who hold those beliefs but are not hate groups, he says.

A group becomes a hate group when it attacks and maligns an entire class of people for their “immutable characteristics,” Potok says. The Family Research Council spreads known falsehoods about gays and lesbians, he says, such as the contention that gay men are predisposed to abuse children.

“That’s a lie,” Potok says. “These guys are engaging in straight-up defamation of a very large group of people. There are not many things much worse than you can say in America about somebody than they are a child molester.”

Potok scoffed at Spriggs’ claim that the council and other evangelical anti-gay groups are victims of intolerance.

“That’s whining on the part of people who spend their days and nights attacking gay people and then some people criticize them and they don’t like it,” he says. “That’s pathetic. It reminds me of slave owners complaining that people are saying ugly things about them.”

What the Bible says

What about the popular evangelical claim, “We don’t hate the sinner, just the sin” – is that seen as intolerance or hate speech when it comes to homosexuality?

There are those who say you can’t hate the sin and love the sinner because being gay or lesbian is defined by one’s sexual behavior; it’s who someone is.

“Most people who identify as gay and lesbian would say that this is not an action I’m choosing to do; this is who I am,” says Timothy Beal, author of “The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book.”

Beal, a religion professor at Case Western University in Ohio, says it should be difficult for any Christian to unequivocally declare that the Bible opposes homosexuality because the Bible doesn’t take a single position on the topic. It's an assertion that many scholars and mainline Protestant pastors would agree with.

Some people cite Old Testament scriptures as condemning homosexuality, such as  Leviticus 18:22 - “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” But other Christians counter by saying they are not bound by the Old Testament.

There are those who also cite New Testament scriptures like Romans 1:26-27 - “… Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men. …”

Beal, however, says Jesus said little about sex. And the Apostle Paul, who wrote Romans, was probably referring to male prostitution and men having sexual relations with boys, a practice in the Greco-Roman world.

“Paul does not understand genetics and sexual orientation the way we understand it now as something much more than a choice,” says Beal.

Some evangelicals say Christians can’t change their view of biblical truth just because times change. But some scholars reply:

Sure you can. Christians do it all the time.

Denying a woman’s ability to preach in church was justified by scriptures like 1 Timothy 2:11-12 - “… I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” But many churches have abandoned that teaching - and some scholars say a woman preached the first Christian sermon, when Mary Magdalene proclaimed that Jesus had risen.

Slaveholders in 19th century America justified slavery through a literal reading of the Bible, quoting Titus 2:9-10 – “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything. …” And anti-Semitism was justified by the claims that Jews killed Jesus, such as Matthew 27: 25-26 - “Let his blood be on us and on our children.”

Litfin, from Moody Bible Institute, acknowledged that the Bible once sanctioned slavery, but he said that practice was a “cultural expression” that changed over time. Evangelicals who oppose same-sex marriage by citing the Bible are on more solid ground, he says.

“Marriage is a universal and timeless institution that God set up for maximum human flourishing. He set it up in the first book of the Bible with the story of Adam and Eve. It is consistent throughout the whole Bible. … Marriage is in a different category than those cultural things.”

Public jousts over the Bible's stance on homosexuality rarely change people’s minds. What changes is when people get to know gay and lesbian people as friends and hear their story, says Beal, author of “The Rise and Fall of the Bible.”

“If you open up to that other person genuinely, you basically come to a point where you have to sacrifice them to your ideology or crack open your ideology to make a hospitable place for them,” Beal says.

One Christian pastor who is gay says the uproar over the ESPN commentator’s comments can actually be good,  because debates help settle moral disputes.

“What appears to us as antiquated and prejudicial now was once a disputed issue that required debate,” says the Rev. Richard McCarty, a minister in the United Church of Christ and a religious studies professor at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania.

Until the debate over homosexuality is settled - if it ever is - there may be plenty of evangelical Christians who feel as if they are now being forced to stay in the closet.

Carter, the evangelical blogger, says he foresees a day when any church that preaches against homosexuality will be marginalized. Just as many churches now accept divorce, they will accept sexual practices once considered sinful.

“It’s getting to the point,” he says, “where churches are not going to say that any sexual activity is wrong.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Culture wars • Protest • Sex • Sexuality • Sports

soundoff (10,982 Responses)
  1. Farooq The Great

    Christianity is responsible for hospitals, orphanages, women's shelters, feeding of the poor , etc etc.

    Yeah. What a "hate" group. You bigoted deviants are twisted.

    May 5, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • BaltG

      Also, responsible for countless wars and death, priests raping children, rampant spreading of disease due to idiotic views on contraception, etc etc etc

      May 5, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • RJP3

      Christianity was also responsible for the German acceptance of the intolerance of Jews in Germany, the hatred and jailing of Gays in Germany, the acceptance of the terror of Franco and his RELIGIONS fascist state in Spain, Christianity is the back bone of the Far Right Wing Christian KKK and was used to keep laws in place against mix marriages, segregation, jailing of gay people, ect ect ect ....

      May 5, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Rolph

      Look in the mirror Farooq
      Bigoted-deviants-twisted
      If you throw words like that around you better be prepared to have them thrown back at you.
      Remember to turn the other cheek
      Forgive them for they know not what they do -–nor do you

      May 5, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Farooq The Great

      @BaltG

      Yeah. They are responsible for disease because people don't have enough self control to keep it in their pants.

      Wars have been fought over lots of things. Atheist regimes are just as violent as any Christian nation has been. Christianity brought the world an evolution towards peace. The world is better BECAUSE of Christian values.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Farooq The Great

      @RJP3

      There are different denominations in Christianity you know. They aren't all Roman Catholic.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • BaltG

      With all due respect, that's all false. You're in an advanced stage of denial. Although, that comes with the territory when you subscribe to all that rubbish.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Farooq The Great

      @Rolph

      Sorry buddy. When you try and twist Christianity into a hateful religion, you are twisted and deviant. I pray they repent.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Jp

      You can't really use charitable works as absolute proof of an organization's good intentions. Hezbollah sponsors schools, hospitals and the like as well. Even the KKK has a charitable organization. I doubt you are making this argument for these groups.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • BL

      Just because a group does SOME good things doesnt make them a good group. Thatd be like saying Hitler wasnt bad because he fed the poor,

      May 5, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • morgan

      I know right! mother Teresa did an offle thing when she fed, clothed and nutured thousands if not millions of dying people, lonely children, etc. Christianity does absolutely no good for this world. 🙂

      May 5, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • CafeenMan

      That was classic. First you list off all the good things christianity is supposedly responsible for. Then when it's pointed out to you all the evil done in the name of Christianity you say, "Hey! Look over there! They do it too!!!!"

      Face it. Christians don't have a lock on love, goodness, morality or anything else. Morality existed long before Christianity did and it will continue to exist in spite of it. Without morality we wouldn't have survived as a race to see Christianity get invented.

      May 5, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  2. BaltG

    It's not just the evangelicals that bother me, it's the traditionalists too. Just because some book says something... that's the way it is? In case it hasn't been pointed out yet.... the Bible is a nice collection of stories, written by men. No wonder these evangelicals are becoming such a "minority". They make themselves look so small-minded and foolish. Get a grip.

    May 5, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • morgan

      I think you are the one looking small minded and foolish. you are the traditionalist here because you reject any new concept that rejects yours.

      May 5, 2013 at 10:09 am |
  3. Mark

    Christianity is dying, and "Christians" are killing it. Good riddance.

    May 5, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • KamKay

      Sorry Mark- not going to happen. We are growing stronger and stronger. As the article stated, more and more Christians are quieter about there faith because we are becoming the most discriminated against, but the numbers grow worldwide enormously every day, because there is nothing in the world like encountering the true love and joy of Jesus Christ. Say His name Mark- JESUS, JESUS, JESUS. Quieter, but yet powerful through Christ Jesus. Bless you.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • BL

      I always find it so funny when a religious person says a bunch of stupid, hateful things and then finishes it a "bless you" or "may god be with you" or something along those lines that makes them feel like they are somehow doing "gods work"

      May 5, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • CafeenMan

      Christianity won't die off. It will just become a smaller cult that exists in some backwoods cave. They're losing their clout and the desperation is really showing. They hate it that they're being marginalized. But you're right. It's their own fault. Their hatred and intolerance is becoming more and more unacceptable.

      May 5, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  4. Dan

    The Christian evangelicals seem to think it is ok for them to judge others but don't want to be judged themselves. If they kept their mouth shut and let each person choose their own relationship with a God of their understanding they wouldn't be a hated minority. They are creating their own problem and they have the solution, just hold their tongue and stop judging others as the bible also suggests we do.

    May 5, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Susan

      As long as that goes for all religions, like the Jews who cried that the libraries in our county were open on Saturday, but not Sunday, thus forcing the county to spend thousands each year for an additional day for 9 branches. Oh, and they cried when it was limited to 9 and not all 17 because it was "too far" to drive an additional 10 minutes to the next closest one. Or the Muslims who protested because they were going to expand a liquor store (that had been there for 55 years) that would bring the building 20 feet closer to their mosque. Or the Jews (yup them again) who complained that the township building displayed a Christmas tree and fought to have it removed because it was "offensive" (not sure how they left their houses between September and January of each year, but I digress). Shall I go on, or are we only venting about Christians today?

      May 5, 2013 at 10:04 am |
  5. oOo

    For the sake of "The end" poster below, I repeat and will keep repeating.

    The problem is nothing new. Christianity has always been conflicted – certain issues make that conflict more obvious. One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one (over four million members) in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage. Thomas Jefferson hit the nail on the head over 200 years ago:

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    (from Notes on the State of Virginia, 1785)

    Some claim that Christianity and science are not incompatible, yet we find many who continue to ignore science on the issue of homosexuality. Is the problem poor education, steadfastness to one's own flavor of biblical interpretation, or both?

    The following is long, but note the quote from Professor MIchael King below in the section on psychology.
    =========================================================
    Psychology

    The American Psychological Association states "there are probably many reasons for a person's sexual orientation and the reasons may be different for different people", and says most people's sexual orientation is determined at an early age. Research into how sexual orientation in males may be determined by genetic or other prenatal factors plays a role in political and social debates about homosexuality, and also raises concerns about genetic profiling and prenatal testing."

    Professor Michael King states: "The conclusion reached by scientists who have investigated the origins and stability of sexual orientation is that it is a human characteristic that is formed early in life, and is resistant to change. Scientific evidence on the origins of homosexuality is considered relevant to theological and social debate because it undermines suggestions that sexual orientation is a choice."

    The Royal College of Psychiatrists stated in 2007:

    "Despite almost a century of psychoanalytic and psychological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person's fundamental heterosexual or homosexual orientation. It would appear that sexual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment. Sexual orientation is therefore not a choice."

    Biology

    The following is from the article:

    Homosexuality ultimately a result of gene regulation, researchers find (12/11/2012 – LiveScience)

    [ The search for a "gay gene" may be off-target, new research finds. Another process called epigenetics that switches genes on and off may explain why homosexuality runs in families.

    Epigenetics are heritable changes caused by factors other than DNA. Instead of traits getting passed down through the genes, epigenetic change happens because of the way genes are regulated, or turned on and off.

    These genetic regulators may be the reason homosexuality persists in nature despite the fact that gay people are less likely to reproduce, suggests the new study published in the journal The Quarterly Review of Biology.

    "These things have evolved because they're good for the parents, but they sometimes, not [with] high frequency, but sometimes carry over" into offspring, study researcher William Rice, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told LiveScience. In a male fetus, Rice and his colleagues write, an epigenetic change that benefited the mother may lead to "feminization" of sexual preference — homo- or bisexuality. The same may be true for epigenetic changes passed down by dad to a female fetus. (The terms feminization and masculinization of sexual preference refer to sexual orientation only — not to physical or personality traits of the offspring.)

    The findings add to past research suggesting gay men haven't died out, because female relatives of gay men tend to have more children on average than other females. The study researchers specifically found that two genes passed on through the maternal line could produce this effect.

    Hormones, epigenetics and orientation

    Rice and his colleagues focused on epi-marks, which are molecular changes that act like temporary "switches" to turn genes on and off. If a gene is a blueprint, the epi-mark is the construction foreman who makes sure the product gets built. An epi-mark also determines when, where and how much a gene is expressed, according to the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis.

    These molecular switches are usually erased very early in the developmental process, but they can be passed down from generation to generation, too, Rice said.

    Some epi-marks are particularly important during fetal development, when they promote normal physical development in the sexes despite natural variations in testosterone during pregnancy. Researchers know that fetal exposure to too much testosterone can masculinize the genitals, brain or behavior of a genetically female fetus. Likewise, too little testosterone can make a genetically male fetus more feminized.

    But here's the catch: There's lots of overlap between the levels of testosterone male and female fetuses get exposed to. That means there must be another side to the story, Rice and his colleagues wrote.

    That side appears to be epigenetics, Rice said.

    "Early in development, we think these epi-marks are laid down so that girl fetuses will be relatively insensitive to testosterone and male fetuses will be relatively sensitive to testosterone," Rice said.

    Biological behavior

    Thus, if an epi-mark that kept a mother from getting exposed to high testosterone in development gets passed on to her son — the opposite sex — it could desensitize him to testosterone, contributing to his sexual preference for men. Similarly, if a male-specific epi-mark from dad gets passed to a daughter, it could "masculinize" her sexual preference, making her more interested in women.

    These findings could explain why twin studies show that homosexuality runs in families, but no "gay gene" can be found, Rice said. In identical twins, there's about a 20 percent chance that if one twin is gay, the other will be too. If genetic change were responsible for homosexuality, you'd expect a much higher match, Rice said. Epigenetics, however, can explain the heritability without the need for a specific genetic change.

    The hypothesis could be tested by examining epigenetic marks in parents of kids with gay versus straight offspring, Rice said. There are, of course, concerns that this knowledge could be used by parents who want to avoid gay offspring, Rice said, but that concern already exists around certain hormonal conditions in utero, which are known to contribute to an increased chance of offspring being lesbians.

    "That cat's already out of the bag," Rice said. He added that an understanding of the biological underpinnings of homosexuality could help emphasize that same-sex behavior is not "unnatural."

    "In fact, it's a major part of the natural world," Rice said. Fourteen percent of Western gulls raise chicks in female-female pairs, he pointed out. And 8 percent of male sheep show zero interest in fertile ewes, but get sexually excited by other rams. ]
    ========================================================

    Whenever... preachers, instead of a lesson in religion, put [their congregation] off with a discourse on the Copernican system, on chemical affinities, on the construction of government, or the characters or conduct of those administering it, it is a breach of contract, depriving their audience of the kind of service for which they are salaried, and giving them, instead of it, what they did not want, or, if wanted, would rather seek from better sources in that particular art of science.

    (Thomas Jefferson)

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    (James Madison, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution, framer of the first ten Amendments; from A Memorial and Remonstrance as delivered to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785.)

    May 5, 2013 at 9:42 am |
  6. Traci

    Throughout history, Christians have tortured and killed entire civilizations in the name of their faith. I have no issue with a person's personal faith and spirituality, as long as they keep it to themselves. If they believe in heaven, they should worry about getting themselves there and refrain from condemning every single person who doesn't measure up to their idea of a "righteous" human being. Those outside the religious majority have had to basically scream at the top of their lungs to the world that they are just as moral, just as good, just as deserving of human rights as those who claim themselves to be followers of God. Basically Christians consider themselves persecuted now because the "outsiders" have decided to stop tolerating their bullying.

    May 5, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  7. SKR

    Hey, Broussard? Ever get your hair cut? The Bible expressly forbids that. YOU'RE living in unrepentant sin too. How does it feel to be living in open rebelliion to God?

    May 5, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  8. pazke

    Oh, boo hoo hoo. You reap what you sow.

    May 5, 2013 at 9:40 am |
  9. CdninCa

    Interesting. So now that some Evangelicals are feeling pressured by society to keep their beliefs and way of life quiet, you would think they might understand what some LGBT folks have been feeling. Feels like a bit of Karma to me ... do unto others is coming back on them.

    May 5, 2013 at 9:40 am |
  10. MalcomR

    Always has amazed me just how interested religions are in the private s.e.xual lives of consenting adults. Why is that I wonder? I'll bet I know...

    May 5, 2013 at 9:40 am |
  11. MagicPanties

    Oh yes, such a shame.
    If only people could also publicly proclaim their support of the KKK.

    May 5, 2013 at 9:40 am |
  12. nona barton

    Christians have been a hated minority since the beginning. That is why I are one! There is something to be said about a man that could cause 2000 years of controversy all because he loved. That is the man I will proclaim as my Lord and Saviour!!!

    May 5, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • bobby jones

      go kill yourself so you can meet him then, y o u a r e s t u p i d

      May 5, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • CdninCa

      Ghandi said something to the effect of "I like your Christ but not your Christians". It's not Jesus that's misunderstood, it's some of his followers who do nasty things in his name that bring scorn to Christianity.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • craig

      Amen.

      May 14, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
  13. RJP3

    Up until the 70's Catholics were taught that it was an affront to God to walk into a Protestant serviced. Many churches taught it was an affront to God to mix races – a RELIGIOUS belief that was used to support laws preventing mixed marriages. Most of America was alive when that discussion was going on. American Evangelical (Fundamentalist) religions wants to control society by LIMITING legal options. Most Americans are for expanding options – that allow people to privately live as they will with or without religion. Anyone trying to limit options for consenting adult Americans will not be liked or tolerated in mature educated society (and yes the way degrees are tossed out in America I know many Evangelicals have degrees – that does not mean they are educated).

    May 5, 2013 at 9:40 am |
  14. Tim

    Jesus has told us, they hated him and they will hate us as well.
    We are not the ones that judge the wicked.
    God is their judge and make no mistake he will judge.
    Our job is to tell the truth to each other as God has told us to.
    The only reason we speak against these things is because God wants us too.
    However he will be the judge in the end, not us Christians.
    You have free will to live your life as you wish.
    As do we and we will continue to do so.
    -God Bless

    May 5, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Jeebusss

      Uh oh. Is your pretend friend going to get me?

      May 5, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • RJP3

      BS Tim – your half truth is what is also know as a lie. Evangelicals are not just speaking out – they are trying to maintain or impose CIVIL RELIGIOUS LAW. We are not having Sharia in America – and we will continue to toss off the chains of Biblical law as well. One should follow those religious laws FREELY and by choice.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Tim

      I already said it is not me that Judges you.
      It will be God, and he will judge.
      It is very sad to see people like yourself going in the wrong direction.
      I know you would like me to say something in which you can use against me and others.
      However I will just say that love will over come all.
      I pray for you and your soul.
      I would love to see you all some day in heaven.
      May God touch your hearts and bring you to the truth.
      – God Bless You!

      May 5, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Dan

      Tim, so what makes you think God wants you to speak out? Because that is the problem. And, yes by speaking out you are judging. So keep on judging others, because you are setting bar higher for yourself every time you do.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:56 am |
  15. Jeebusss

    Christians: "OH NOES!!! We can't force our views down people's throats anymore!"

    Cry me a river.

    May 5, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  16. steve ferzacca

    as a group, Christians historically and continually conduct their affairs with hate in their hearts - it's payback time!

    May 5, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  17. Jacqui

    Christians don't share their opinions. They share the Word of God which is recorded in the Bible. Christians aren't bigots, they believe that the wages of sin is death. They actually care for people and wish to see them come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ so that they may experience the love of God. They speak the truth so that people don't enjoy short term pleasure at the expense of eternal separation from God, the Creator of the worlds and everything in them.

    May 5, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • oOo

      Read Brian's post below.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Jeebusss

      Lol. You live in a land of self-induced delusion. Put down the book of fairy tales and join us in reality.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • RJP3

      And Jacqui YOU and your post personify the arrogance of all Fundamentalist. You are so SURE you are right you can never ever add the REQUIRED comment – "IN MY OPINION" because that is all it is – and FREE people will always demand that in polite free society. We will not be RULED by your decision in what you have CHOSEN to believe.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • UofM

      THAT is what makes it hateful. If it was presented as just another person's opinion then nobody would care one way or the other.

      But many religious people in general, and Christians specifically in this case, are making the claim that the supreme creator of the universe is against it. One could dismiss even this claim if it were not for the fact that people, claiming to know the will of god, who are actively trying to create or prevent laws specifically designed against something that 1. is none of their business, and 2. doesn't harm anyone else.

      So yes, when a person claims knowledge that a supreme being would look unfavorably upon another person, then that can absolutely be considered hate.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • Operaman

      "Slaves obey your slave masters". Ringing endorsement of Christian values. Let's all follow the rules in the Bible. And this is from the New Testament.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:49 am |
  18. Brian

    Belief in god, any god whether you are christian, jewish, muslim or any other of the established religions is in itself immoral and has delayed mankind from attaining knowledge and science that can bring true peace happiness and freedom from disease. Half of the intellectual capacity of the human race (I mean women) has been squandered by oppressive religions not allowing these people to flourish and contribute to scientific progress as they surely could have. Having been born and raised in a christian society I only have any knowledge of the bible so can only comment on that. This book is probably the cruelist most barbaric piece of fictiuon I have ever read. Of course many christians like to "cherry pick" only what suits them. Which of course begs the question. if they cherry pick aren't they essentially just making up their own god(s)?

    May 5, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Susan

      Hey, good for you. But what you're complaining about is like condemning the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for using derogatory language against black men. Yes, let's ban THAT book because it contains rude language and forget about its overall educational value as a classic. As for the Bible, that was written 2000 years ago when the world was different, barbaric, and without the advancements of today. The world was flat and the Earth was the center of the universe then. Why do we cherry pick what we believe in the text? That's obvious–because humanity has evolved.

      May 5, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  19. John

    And Christians are coming to realize that they have no rights over the lives of others. People in this country are free to choose their own lifestyle and beliefs.

    The end of Christian dogma and influence in this great country is coming to long-awaited closure.

    May 5, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Joann

      Can't agree more. The only acceptable religions should be those that embrace tolerance and acceptance of others and reject violence and war for religious beliefs.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:46 am |
  20. TrueBlue42

    Sigh. Must be Sunday, the day of the week you can count on CNN to make a headline out of another "We Poor Xtians Are Being Victimized" opinion piece. I'll come back later when/if there's real news to report.

    May 5, 2013 at 9:37 am |
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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.