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. bj412

    I have no problem with people's freedom of religion, but I have a big problem with people using their religious beliefs to implement public policy.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:41 am |
  2. Science Assistant - Weekend Update

    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.

    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."


    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 10:41 am |
  3. victor

    It's like the KKK complaining people shun them for being racist in public. You're not the victim here bible-thumpers. People don't choose to be gay anymore than they choose to be black, white or Asian. Calling gay people sinners is exactly the same as calling being born brown a sin.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Austin

      this is a dispondant lie. We are all born into sin. and you have a choice to repent.. if you are lusting you are in sin. quit lusting and shun the thoughts the devil seeds into your head. this is the oppression of the devil. gay lust is the effect of a deeper rooted human condition of sin.

      resurrection power is what we rely on to trust God, and to rejoice in all situations that we naturally come up short in. Anger, lust , greed, discouragement, complaint, deceit, they are all the same actions that come from a sinfully emotion being.

      Look to the cross. Repent. The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

      1 Corinthians 10:13
      New International Version (NIV)
      13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

      May 5, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Joe

      "It's like the KKK complaining people shun them for being racist in public". Perfect analogy.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:08 am |
  4. Well then

    If a gay flushes a bowel movement is that considered an abortion?

    May 5, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Austin

      yes if there is such a thing as an.al s.ex this is true.

      the definition of se.x includes 2 s,.exual organs. gay getting off is not se.x. either is straight a.nal intercourse. it isn't s.ex. it is perversion of our intended function for selfish gain.

      otherwise we would be giving birth to fecal matter.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:02 am |
  5. Maria Carvalho

    The article assumes that the only "Christians" are the ractioanry, Jesus freak ones whose purpose in life is to throw stones at everyone else. News for you: to name a few, Catholics, Presbyterians and Episcopalians are Christians too. Good journalists are supposed to define their terms clearly in order to inform, not editorialize. And evangelical Christians must know that the cannot defend the doctrines of Jesus Chtist while chooseing intolerance and half truths to guide them. People don't hate them, they do the hating. People hate their twisted brand of faith.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • skytag

      Christianity isn't really a religion to my way of thinking. It's more of a very broad collection of religions that have very little in common. It includes the Catholics, the Episcopalians, the Mormons, the Westboro Baptist Church, the Amish, the people who handle snakes and speak in tongues, the Christian Scientists and many more, and those don't even count the people who consider themselves Christian while shunning membership in any church.

      May 5, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  6. PooDodger

    I really don't understand religious people who stomp around and declare this or that, pointing to some cherry-picked religious text when it is clear they don't need any texts at all – they are making it all up as they go along, including the cherry-picking.
    Oh, wait!
    That's just like Jesus, the apostate Jew who declared everything must go through him and that he was the one who decides who goes to hell and who doesn't, cherry-picking and violating the arbitrary orthodox rules whenever it suited him, interpreting everything else however he wanted.
    Yeah, everyone is just like these filthy middle-eastern mongrels, having an imaginary rule-book made up on the spot, seeing supernatural influences in everything from dog turds to nuclear engineering.
    Who needs holy books when the imaginary one in their heads is so special? It's all made up. All of it. Completely.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • skytag

      The do need texts to formalize their beliefs for the sake of consistency and so they can tell themselves they have evidence for what they believe.

      May 5, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Austin

      its not made up pal.

      i am going through this again...
      all of the dreams I had, that I discern were visioins, were because I was having dreams that were LEADING what my reality and awake life was about to actually present to me. Did I know when i wrote them down, or expect, for these dreams to be doing such a thing? there were a few where I knew that I could expect something. and they did hit .

      two nights in a row, and a little space between the third dream,

      #1I dreamt about the tile patio , a huge and beautiful rock tile with wide grout and a beautiful pattern and color, ater i had entered a stone arch entrance. There was an arm reaching into a whole, a whole chizzeled out of the ground. and the arm pulled out a leather bag full of gems. wrote these down in the middle or the night half asleep. The next day....I kept reading my bible.......

      Jeremiah 43:8-13
      New American Standard Bible (NASB)
      8 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, 9 “Take some large stones in your [a]hands and hide them in the mortar in the brick terrace which is at the entrance of Pharaoh’s [c]palace in Tahpanhes, in the sight of [d]some of the J.ews; 10 and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am going to send and get Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and I am going to set his throne right over these stones that I have hidden; and he will spread his canopy over them.

      #2 the next night I dreamed that i was being attacked by a motorcycle gang and that the leader of the gang had a huge animal horn, att.atched to his seat. he could not even sit on his bike. he was trying to run me over. they were a rebel gang.
      the next day, i had finished reading Jeremiah and gotten into Lament.ations

      ◄ Lament.ations 2:3 ►

      New International Version (©2011)
      In fierce anger he has cut off every horn of Israel. He has withdrawn his right hand at the approach of the enemy. He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire that consumes everything around it.
      ◄ Lament.ations 2:17 ►

      New International Version (©2011)
      The LORD has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word, which he decreed long ago. He has overthrown you without pity, he has let the enemy gloat over you, he has exalted the horn of your foes.


      #3 a few days later I had a dream that there was a huge pile of feathers underneath a bed. that day, I was reading in the book of daniel, ◄ Daniel 4:33 ►

      New International Version (©2011)
      Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.

      the kid who i had the dream about, got into trouble that day, which i had suspected the feather was a sign that he would be humiliated. he had his work pass suspended which was a major blow.

      #4 dreamed I was poisoned by mercury in alcohol. the next dream, didnt have a single dream for two weeks, this next dream I had just let two snakes out of a cage. one was a viper, the other was a rattler. but I had not thought even thought the word viper for a long time. when i woke up, i said to the kid next to me................."something is going to happen today, this one is a sign" i knew the snakes were a sign..

      two hours later i went down to bible study, the leader, on the second passage, said turn to proverbs 23:32

      29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
      Who has strife? Who has complaints?
      Who has needless bruises? Who has blo.odshot eyes?
      30 Those who linger over wine,
      who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
      31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
      when it sparkles in the cup,
      when it goes down smoothly!
      32 In the end it bites like a snake
      and poisons like a viper.

      #5 Dreamed i was in a wh.ore house and I flooded it because i turned on a water spitot upstairs and just let it go and left it on. I had been praying about lust. I didnt catch this dream, until a few week later i did a study on water. I had no clue about this dream. i seemed like a random joke. but i got kicked out for letting the water run and flood.

      15 Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. 16 Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? 17 Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. 18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 A loving doe, a graceful deer– may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. 20 Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man's wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman? 21 For your ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all your paths. 22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast.

      # 6 dreamed i was touring a house and went out back and there was an ABOVE ground pool with an flush deck and a privacy fence right around the deck.

      two days later the kid sleeping next to me pulled out a piece of paper , sheldon clay was his name, and he showed me his blue print he drew, of a new house, with an above ground swimming pool , with a flush deck around the pool, and a privacy fence on the deck.

      #7 this kid on night threw a roll a tp and racked me. I was furious and said to myself, I wonder if he has the light in his eye. and then i rebuked my judgment of his spiritual condition. THE NEXT MORNING he woke up and came up to me and said, "i had a dream last night that i was going around to see who had a special light in their eye to see if they were possessed or not"
      this kid was not a bible verse type of guy.

      #8 had a dream that the kid who was ripping on me lost his money
      a month later i over heard him talking about how he lost his money, and i said watch this, and pulled out the dream i had that he had lost it.

      #9 the cat dream. I had a cat at my house, that night i dreamed that a demonic voice sang to me which inverted my body and then presented the same cat, covered in blood.

      I woke up and the cat was dead in the highway, 550 feet from my house.

      #10 I had a dream i was inside the st. louis arch and I was in there with my cousin, and she was pointing at a glass case , with a bust of someone. she said "look, its thomas Jefferson" and the place was very nice. very expensive and ritzy.

      I had no idea what the st. louis arch was about. but what i had been doing, was getting heavily into the rumors about masons, and this dream just came to me. and when I googled this and I started trembling . this is called "a word of knowledge" which is a type of spiritual gift.

      There have been numerous other ones that I believe were spiritual words of knowledge that i wont get in to .

      None of this stuff, is me trying to fit things together. everything i dreamed, and then experienced in real life as i have stated. Some of these, are totally obvious. others, I have complete faith that they were also spiritual revelations, because I know %100 that some were, so I can have faith that others probably were too. and 8 of the first ten there, all happened in jail.

      This is organized, and relevant information that is a dream, relating to reality that i was about to live.

      That is spiritual revelation.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • G to the T

      Austin – I'm glad you brought this up again because I've been thinking about your experience. I've decided you are psychic! Your dreams were visions of future events, they just happened to have a biblical twist to them because that's the symbolic language you are used to.

      My point is that are usually multiple possible explanations for unusual events. To assume divinity is just that, an assumption...

      May 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  7. Sotzume

    It is not so much that these kind of so called Christians are hated, it is much more that they are hateful and hate filled. This ridiculous argument that people who think gay people are so bad because some silly old books filled with science fiction "miracles" say such a thing, and therefore, should be denied their civil and basic human rights, is even sillier. People who hate others because of something that is natural to that individual are bigots...period, end of discussion. They are wrong, period, end of discussion. And to work to keep people from their rights, from living their lives in peace and privacy and in the pursuit of their own "happiness" is not just hateful but is abominable.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  8. darkhorror

    That is simply not a reasonable argument, the bible says plenty of things that we find terrible today. Yet you only take the parts that ether you have been brainwashed into believing such as gay marriage is bad, or that support your lifestyle or bigotry and ignore the parts that don't.

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

    If you reject the assertion that the Bible is the word of God, and therefore realize there is no such thing as "sin", then the entire conversation changes. The evangelical Christian assertion that you can "cure" someone of a genetic predisposition would be laughable if it wasn't so ignorant and hurtful.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Austin

      you would be right if you were not wrong about everything here.

      I am a sinner like you stevie, but i have experienced spiritual supernatural revelation. and I am no righteouss man all I can do is be honest with you . God is here, and His word is His tool for us to grow intellectually and spiritually. We are told to grow into maturity as people who reflect the design of life that God created us for. Living as Godly children.

      This is to follow His pathway. Not our own .

      He will light up a way for you to repent from unbelief.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • G to the T

      Austin – which verion of his "word" are we referring to here? I've got 6 different bibles at home...

      May 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  10. SixDegrees

    If evengelicals stop trying to pray in the public schools, I'll stop trying to think in church.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  11. bb09red

    Whats funny here is that the article is about Christians being intolerable of others beliefs, but about 90 % of all comments on here are just people bashing christians andh their fake beliefs, and how the people are idiots or stupid. You are making yourselves look just as bad as these intolerable people.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • darkhorror

      Where do you think it comes from... You see them trying to put their religion into everyone's lives, that they want to fix gay people,... While just being hypocrite about the religion they practice.

      May 5, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Austin

      its not a genetic slavery. resurrection power is freedom from sin. This is the entire point. We all need to have faith in Christ that we have victory in every personal struggle. The problem for me is allowing people to reject God so that they have the license to sin. This is not good for you or those who you influence. This is not about hating you . its about helping you.

      Nothing can seperate us from the love of God. Satan has no right over your soul. Its time to fight against the devil. not against people. Your freedom from sin is the cause.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  12. Austin

    This is as pointless speculation. The secular one world system, and a time of peace, will be the "antichrist system" in place that leads to the antichrist himself, and the white horse where 1/3 of the world suffers at his hands. He persecutes Christians, and later ALSO THOSE WHO FOLLOW HIS SECULAR RELIGION. this false religion is called "the wh.ore that rides the beast"

    A supernatural God does not follow statistics.

    I have experienced the supernatural revelation of God's revealing spirit. There is no one on the face of the earth that will ever be able to take back the faith that God provides His children. His resurrection power is the force of life and light.

    2 Corinthians 4:6
    New King James Version (NKJV)
    6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Lamb of Dog

      So thats an argument against world peace?

      May 5, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Science

      Gravity is not up for debate ! ............E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas..........that do not lie or sin !!!

      Splat again Austin !!!

      May 5, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Austin

      No it is not an argument against world peace. It simply states that you people will buy in and worship a false sense of peace. It will be fake and then those who take the mark, will suffer for it. It is a trick.

      Of course we want peace. But the devil would never allow the peace of Christ it's dominion because his number one goal is to capture your worship through unbelief, which equals not believing the devil exists. Game over.

      May 5, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Austin

      please excuse my use of the term "you people" I am simply informing, not trying to point a finger.

      May 5, 2013 at 10:54 am |
  13. paulripley

    When these preachers speak out against gay marriage they are using the same speeches used to oppose interracial marriages back up until the 1970's. They use the same Biblical verses. Everything. They were wrong then. They are wrong now.

    Saying you are a 'hated minority' because someone does not believe in your beliefs is a joke. Last I checked, being against gay marriage does not get you fired from a job in over half the states. That being against gay marriage has you beaten to a pulp to being murdered in hate crimes. Being against gay marriage does not have your spouse and children not covered for medical insurance. Being against gay marriage does not make it so you cannot adopt. Being against gay marriage does not get you banned from attending church. Being against gay marriage does not take away any of your basic rights in this country.

    But being gay, you can be fired from your job for being gay in over half the states. Being gay your spouse and children will not be covered under your medical. Being gay means you have a chance to be beaten and murdered in a hate crime. Being gay means most churches will ban you from attending. Being gay means you lose all your basic rights in this country.

    Being gay is a discriminated minority not someone who is against gay marriage. Anyone who is against gay marriage think they are a hated minority needs to get their head examined.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Austin

      No g.ay marriage has no comparison to interracial marriage. Racism is not the same as sodomite intolerance. Sodomy perversion pertains to straight people, and Ho.mo s.ex is another step off the bridge.

      1 dont reject God or the His inspired Word
      2 Repent, resurrection power is the freedom from sin. This is a promise and a command.

      He is risen.

      1 Corinthians 10:13
      New International Version (NIV)
      13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

      Lust is the same type of sin as anger and deceit............disobedience

      May 5, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  14. flexmaster

    back when the christions were turning their beliefs into laws ie. anti gay rights, war on drugs, anti abortion ect. they were happy as clams. i have nothing aginst religion they are good words to live by in moderation. but do not pass laws because of your beliefs that it is the way to live. eveybody does not belive

    May 5, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  15. RichardSRussell

    "Evangelicals who oppose same-s¢x marriage by citing the Bible are on more solid ground, he says."

    Right, because, thanks to the Bible, EVERY man is ent¡tled to 700 wives and 300 concubines. That hasn't changed since the time of Solomon, wisest many of antiquity and beloved of Yahweh.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Luis

      Right on target!
      Lets re establish the natural order!

      May 5, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  16. ImIrish

    It's just wishful thinking on the part of those who hate Christians.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  17. dx2718

    Anyone who preaches hate should not be surprised to be hated themselves.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • hiruu

      EXACTLY...what people fail to realize is that evangelicals are VERY similar to Muslim extremists, and if they didn't live in an open society like the US and the West in general, they would resort to the same extremist tactics, imho. There beliefs are usually steeped in the same fantastical nonsense with shifting moral scales that makes me sick to my stomach to listen or see.

      May 5, 2013 at 10:43 am |
  18. Bonnie

    The lack of understanding presented in this article speaks very clearly to the so-called "Christian" of today that does not take the time to learn the truth directly by actually studying the word of God in the Bible.
    Please read Leviticus chapter 25, verse 4 and then verses 39 to 54. People wilfully sold themselves to repay debts, but if the debt was not repaid by the seventh year, the master must let him go free, and with provisions.
    Secondly, the issue of the female in relation to service to God: Please read Galatians 3:26-29, where God clearly states that once anyone has become fully trained in God's wisdom and has been baptized in clean conscience as a true follower of Jesus Christ, God's only-begotten Son, there is NO DIVISION between male and female in God's eyes, they are equal servants of God.
    Any true follower of Jesus will remain faithful and loyal to Almighty God, regardless of how permissive and wicked our society becomes. The cowards will not prevail. They will fall into the cesspool of disobedience and confusion.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • PooDodger

      Go fuck yourself, Bonnie. Your god doesn't exist. Your bible is worthless and useless. Your words are empty and false.
      You are the coward hiding behind your religion, condemning other people with your irrational and twisted rules someone made up to scare dirt-dumb people.
      Well, I'm not dumb. Your god is dumb. Why don't you think up a better one? That's how they all get started, you know.

      May 5, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  19. Abolish

    They state their case that disagreement isnt hate, then turn around and say they are hated because others disagree with them.

    Then try to play the victim card as if they werent the overwhelming majority in our country. Get over it, this is what not having 100% oppressive levels of followers and belief in what you say. We had to take it, and so do you.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  20. John

    First off, it's a tactic used by the GLBT communities to advance their agenda. Anytime you can call someone a bigot or racist or whatever, you immediately place the burden of defense on the accused. In the meantime, while that person is trying to clear their name, the accuser has gained support by appearing to be a victim (even though they don't need to prove anything...merely make the accusation). This tactic has been used for decades because unfortunately most people are too naive to see through it so they fall for it. Now is that to say that it doesn't truly exist ? No..it does but it certainly is not among true Christians...they disagree with the lifestyle as sin, but they do Not hate anyone. And do Not associate the Westboro Church with Christianity.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Gay

      Yep. Deviants. The world is really gone to hell when these freaks truly see nothing wrong with themselves.

      May 5, 2013 at 10:39 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.