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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. Roddy Hovey

    Arkansas, Article 19, Section 1:
    No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Truthiness

      Ha! That makes sense; oh wait, no it doesn't. We live in a secular government. People can believe whatever the hell they want to. Scripture quotes like that make you seem ignorant and intolerant.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      Absolutely disgusting! That is one heinously offensive and unconst.itutional law!

      May 5, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Dan

      So Roddy, when was the last time that statue was enforced? Just like some of the ideas in the bible, it was relevant at one time. Do you see a trend here?

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

      Hey Dan – do you believe Jesus (the law still stands) or Paul (the law no longer applies)? Think about why you trust Paul more than Jesus...

      May 8, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
  2. Rainer Braendlein

    God's Gospel of His Son Jesus Christ; through the Gospel God reveals his love towards us, the sinful mankind:

    God, the Father, delivered God, the Son, Jesus, for our sins, and raised him from the dead for our justification. This is the maximum revelation of God's love towards us. Yet, we are so corrupted that we consider Jesus' sacrifice as a mere atonement for our sins, and increase sinning instead of reducing it because we assume Jesus' had yet payed the bill.

    Therefore Christ has also insti-tuted sacramental baptism through which we get metaphysically connected with Christ's death and resurrection: We die for the sin, and get a new life in Jesus. After baptism we will no longer say that Jesus has payed the bill in advance but will improve our life through the power of Jesus death and resurrection. This is costly grace.

    Dear gay, don't believe that Christ's sacrifice was a mere atonement but realize that in is also a work of redemption: God wants to deliver you from your gayness so that you learn to use se-xuality responsibly, and to take care of a wife like Christ took care of the Christian Church. Learn to take care of a wife, and don't only seek se-xual satisfaction.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Tim

      God also once said that no man shall judge another in the name of Christ and if they do they will be judged in the same manner.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Science

      Hey RB................you really do not have a leg to stand on .

      Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

      Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

      Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
      bears his name as the “God particle.”

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

      May 5, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Sane Person

      Dear delusioned, I'm sorry you've lived your life believing in nonsense. It wasnt fair that you were indoctrinated as a child and now lack the education or intellectual fort.itude to break free. We'll think for you and try and educate you and your kind to try and limit this from occuring again.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  3. truthsetsfree

    The intense hate that is being expressed towards Christians by the writers in this blog and fostered by CNN is truly frightening. Such hate is what Hitler's followers must have felt towards the Jews they slaughtered and what Muslim terrorists must feel towards those they murder.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • sam

      True

      May 5, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • alf

      you said it

      May 5, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      *rolls eyes*

      I know you guys really, really love feeling persecuted, but to compare the fact that people are calling you bigots for, well, being bigoted, to Hitler really is an unacceptable stretch.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Jimmy G.

      Sockpuppets. How sad.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Dragonwind

      Hatred? No I don't think it is hatred, but when certain groups go out of their way to force their religious views down everyones throats for thousands of years and then gets rightfully marginalized by the modern world as wrong, hateful and counter to a decent and inclusive society, I think it is well overdue.

      I don't mind you being a christian as long as you keep it to yourself, because I don't want to hear about your imaginary belief. I find it ironic that your own book has a passage in it about being a child and doing childish things but putting away childish things when you become an adult. Children believe in all manner of imaginary beings. I personally believe that gods also fit into that category. So.. when are you going to grow up? When you do, we will welcome you into the adult world.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Hitler was christian and so were most of his followers....so what was your point again?

      May 5, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • skytag

      How is it "fostered" by CNN?

      May 5, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • skytag

      What a load of rubbish. People would be fine with Christians if they weren't always trying to impose their beliefs on others through laws made by politicians who are disproportionately Christians.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • skytag

      "Such hate is what Hitler's followers must have felt towards the Jews"

      His followers were predominantly Catholics.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Ruby

      ... And what these Christians feel toward Gay people.

      May 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • G to the T

      Hate implies that I have an emotional investment in your position. I only have disdain...

      May 8, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  4. Jimmy G.

    So-called "christians" only qualify as a monolithic group if you classify them as delusional people who claim to follow Jesus.
    Any other types of classification fail. There are so many sects that the only thing that ties them together is their schizophrenia.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  5. tom LI

    The issue is that Xtians remain silent about all the others living in open defiance of God. Like our Government officials who wage wars , wage their secret wars on innocents with the cowardly weapon known as drones . Govt officials who refuse to support a Health care system for the most vulnerable among us, children and the mentally ill. Government officials who WORSHIP the market system, that stuffs their PACs full of cash.

    American Xtians only desire to apply their rules to minority segments of the population – like always, they attack the smaller numbers of people with their self-righteous BS. They are always the Big Bully – till someone pushes back and then they're the whining cowards.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • alf

      who are the xtians?

      May 5, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  6. JM

    Christians are not hated just bigots using Gods name to justify hatred and violence are hated

    May 5, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • alf

      Really? why dont you qualify that with some facts.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:08 am |
  7. sam

    Did any of you even graduated HS? Since when does the word disagree have the same meaning as the word hate? That means all of you here mocking Christians haters yourself. As a med student, I disagree with my best friend's drinking habits, does that mean I hate her? By you guy's definition I do. I have a few Gays I go shopping with and I love them, I disagree with their lifestyle and they know it, but we all get along. Yes and I am a devout Christian. Seems like the ones hating here are the peoples mocking christians. How a nice way to show your love.

    Please open a dictionary!

    May 5, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      I don't hate you, I just disagree with your lifestyle. I think that Christianity is harmful to society and that if allowed to continue unchecked it will be its downfall. I'm only trying to help you- Christianity is a choice and you can choose not to be one!

      May 5, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • skytag

      A lot of Christians are pretty hateful when they talk about gays.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Lamb of Dog

      You can disagree with their lifestyle all you want. If you vote or attempt to stop them from doing the same things straight people do then yes you are a bigot.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • tom LI

      Sports casters are not there to make social commentary. In fact, we dont really care what their personal Beliefs are, nor should we care or hear them. The comment was one meant to vilify and defame, and elevate the talking head onto his own moral pedestal. While using his employers soapbox to do it!

      How about we analyze the talking heads life and see if he's in defiance of his God? Shall we? Shall we check on the state of his glass house? No, that he can keep a secret, as he should have kept his religious POV.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      OH, and "I have a few gays I go shopping with and I love them"....nobody believes you, you're lying. Way too stereotypical, and goes to show how sheltered you really are, you think gays are for going shopping with, LMAO.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • alf

      Way to say it, Sam.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • sam

      @whencrowsattack......You call me a liar? I thought you guys dont judge! lol

      May 5, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      @sam

      What are you talking about- "you guys"? Christians are the ones who are not supposed to judge- yet they do, every day. ALL people do, it's human nature.

      Or if you said that because you think I am gay because I support equal rights for gays, you're wrong. Straight married white woman here- who believes Christianity is outdated, dangerous, and bigoted. Have your faith all you want, but keep it out of OUR schools and OUR government. Once you start using it to deny other human rights then you have lost my respect.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • sam

      @WhenCowsAttack..."youguys" as in the people here attacking christians as "haters". Christianity isn't going anywhere my friend, we have been attacked for thousands of years. Have a great day my friend 🙂

      May 5, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      Actually, Sam, Christianity's numbers are steadily declining in this country. It is only a matter of time before we are a truly secular nation and the evangelicals will be nothing more than a fringe group- as it should be.

      The only places where its numbers are rising are in third world countries, rife with poverty, ignorance, and lack of education, where the people are still very impressionable.

      But keep on keepin' on with that theory 🙂

      May 5, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Science

      Hey Sam......... could puke on you but this is good enough !!!

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

      Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !

      Where do morals come from?...................not from the bible !!!

      By Kelly Murray, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/12/where-do-morals-come-from/#comments

      May 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  8. Defensiveness

    -excessively concerned with guarding against the real or imagined threat of criticism, injury to one's ego, or exposure of one's shortcomings... This is a perfect definition for those who believe that a 1500 year old book, written and re-written over hundreds of years, contains absolute truths that somehow justify discrimination. Intellectually questioning someone's logic and reason is not hateful.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:02 am |
  9. Jonline

    I love this new line of arguing from the Christian right: I need my intolerance tolerated. It's stupid. Jesus did not preach separation or hatred only the Christian right does.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • cows with guns

      Isn't “Christian right” a tautology? I men, the Biblical Jesus was pretty far to the left of center, a socialist and an advocate of non-violence.

      May 5, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  10. Alex

    Tim Tebow: Im a Christian.
    Public: Keep it to yourself.

    Jason Collins: Im gay.
    Public: This is great lets talk about this.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • sam

      Sad

      May 5, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Sane Person

      Except that isnt how it happened, and you know it. Also, the fact that no one is scared to claim to be christian (and hundreds thank jeebus for liking thier football team more than the other one), and yet, only a single major professional sports athelete has acknowledged being gay, should give you a slight hint.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • JJ

      Tim Tebow: Watch me pray and proselytize and wear stupid verses on my eye paint and generally be in everyone's faces with my stupidity and delusions.

      Collins: So I'm gay, let's play ball. Back to the game.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • garibagio

      Couldn't have said it better. I think what happens is Christians loose the point, we are supposed to love others like ourselves and preach the 'good news'. Too often in our passion for others we preach to them their 'sin' which is none of our business unless their in the church.....

      May 5, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Lamb of Dog

      I think tebow got plenty of hype considering his lack of skill.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Trent

      One of those things is a reality, the other is a complete sham invented to keep stupid people in line. I'll let you figure out which is which.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • alf

      Alex, I love it. You summed it up perfectly

      People only want to here what they want to hear. That is a true definition of a HATER

      May 5, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • skytag

      Gays aren't trying to limit the rights of Christians.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  11. Doug

    ROFL. Spew hate and you'll get hate back. Christians are the majority and they're hated because they aren't willing to reject their most vocal and hateful minority. Kind of funny that they demonize Islam, they have the exact same problem.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  12. Truth Will Out

    Christianity was never a crime that merited judicial death sentences well into the 19th Century in Western nations.

    Christianity was not considered a pathological condition by psychology and psychiatry until 1974.

    Christians were never targeted by police for harassment and shakedown. There didn't need to be a riot in front of the Stonewall Church of Christ in 1969.

    Christians were never considered a security risk by the US government and persecuted because of it.

    Christians were never considered a security risk by the US military. If you were caught praying, you weren't interrogated, then given a dishonorable discharge. Later, the military wasn't told to not ask Christians if they were Christians, and they didn't ask Christians not to tell anyone if they were.

    There weren't thirteen states that considered Christianity illegal in 2003 and required the Supreme Court to make it legal.

    There aren't twenty-nine states that consider it perfectly acceptable for you to lose your job simply because you're Christian.

    No one ever beat up a Christian, tied him to the back of a pickup truck and dragged him at speed down roads, then lashed him up to a fence and beat him until he was dead like they did to Matthew Shephard.

    There aren't politicians in Uganda who are publicly saying that Christians should be put to death.

    There aren't nations in the Caribbean where a Christian is afraid to go for fear that he'd be put in prison for twenty years.

    Christianity isn't ostracized because of a few lines from a Bronze Age book, some ravings from a Fifth Century penitent and convert, and some flawed reasoning from a Thirteenth Century academic who used incomplete scientific data to bolster popular prejudices.

    When all of that happens, Christians, come to me and I'll be sympathetic to you.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Jonline

      that's really good.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • sam

      You forgot to mention all the Christians that died in Nigeria recently for their faith. All the martyrs in past history. Blinded much? lol

      May 5, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      And what about the gays in Uganda who died because the Christian missionaries went over there and told them that being gay was an abomination?

      May 5, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • garibagio

      Your perspective and facts are omissive and skewed but point taken.....

      May 5, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • WhatDidTheySay

      Well said.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • sj

      "No one ever beat up a Christian, tied him to the back of a pickup truck and dragged him at speed down roads, then lashed him up to a fence and beat him until he was dead like they did to Matthew Shephard."

      Seriously Truth Will out ????

      I'm guessing you've never even glanced through the Bible. Do you not know the terrible death in which Jesus Christ died?? How he was beatin with whips until he could barely stand, how his clothes were ripped off of him. How while being beat he had to drag his own cross that he would die on. How he had huge spikes nailed through his wrist , sides, and feet. How a crown of thorns was shoved onto his head. How he hung there for everyone to see including his mother until all his blood dripped out in a slow terrible death and he took his last breath right after asking for God to forgive those who did this to him . Have you never read of how all the discples were later tortured and murdered in horrific ways such as being stoned to death, beheaded and being fried alive? Have you never watched the news and seen how Christians all over the world today are still being persecuted? It was horrible that such an evil person could kill the man you mentioned. But dont sit there and say that Christians have never faced this as well unless you know the facts.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      Jesus wasn't a Christian, he was a jew.

      Christianity didn't exist prior to the death of Jesus, by definition.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Truth Will Out

      I know the facts, sj. Roman persecution of Christianity lasted less than three hundred years. Christian persecution of my tribe has lasted nearly a thousand years in earnest and seventeen hundred years in truth, since St. Jerome and St. Augustine. Maybe you need to get your history from sources other than your Bronze Age book of fantasies.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  13. Doodlebug2222

    When you stand up against others beliefs – expect for them to also challenge yours.

    I am Christian but first and foremost I believe to -live and let live- as well as -allow people to make their own choices and decisions in life- and to not fault them when they make decisions you might not agree with. After all, do you want people standing there and slamming everything you do – as if nothing you do is right? Really, that is akin to bullying and if you can dish it out – learn how to get it back.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  14. skytag

    I don't think the fear of being called a bigot is the problem. After all, didn't Jesus tell them they would be blessed when people revile them? The real problem in my opinion is that people are increasingly less reluctant to point out to them that they have no evidence to support their beliefs. I'd be reluctant to tell people every house should have a chimney if I believed in Santa Claus. This is no different.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • garibagio

      Lol.....the truth of Christianity has been enough to satisfy the greatest minds in human history.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • skytag

      @garibagio: The truth of Christianity is that it's just one of thousands of narratives made up by and embraced by human beings because they like that narrative better than the alternatives. Your argument is genuinely pathetic. What "satisfies" minds is frequently not rational and most certainly doesn't have to be based on fact, and some of the greatest minds in history have been "satisfied" by belief systems that were not based on Christianity.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Sharon

      @garibagio

      Yeah, it is funny how that happens when you will be reviled, thrown out of society and otherwise endlessly persecuted for challenging Christianity.

      Please, the greatest minds in history for the most part had to go about their business despite the church much less accepting of it.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Dragonwind

      Garibagio let me ask you something. Can your 'truth' be verified? Can you prove that any of it is true? Can you prove that 'god' exists? No? Then it is not a Truth, it is a belief that you think is true. A wise man once said: "I propose that we are both Atheists. When you understand why you don't believe in all the other gods, you will understand why I don't believe in yours".

      Human beings will be better off when belief in imaginary friends in the sky vanishes from our species.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:41 am |
  15. dscot

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

    "Reverence for the Bible" as used here is a euphemism for religiously sanctioned bigotry. The fact that your intolerance is not tolerated does not make you the victim of intolerance.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  16. But wait a minute..

    "Hello and welcome to your life. Nobody knows how you got here but we do know if you see Brad and Steve get married you must scream "NO NO" really loud or when you die you will be set on fire indefinately. Any questions?"

    May 5, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  17. RichardSRussell

    Let's say, against all scientific evidence, that gay people DID choose to be gay. So what? Aren't they still free people in a free society, free to do whatever they want as long as they're not hurting anyone else?
     
    It's possible that evangelicals don't like me reading comic books, either, so should there be a law against it? Should they be bad-mouthing me to my nabors and kids because of it? And if I tell them to bugger off, then *I'M* the hater?

    May 5, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  18. JeffreyRO5

    People would take Christians and their hatred of gay people more seriously if Christians were just as vocal about how fornicators and adulterers are sinners. These hypocritical Christians (yes, I know it's redundant) just want to attack a minority that doesn't have much power to defend itself. They don't dare go after the much more numerous straight sinners. It's bullying, not religious belief.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  19. dmwinsd

    The Christians aren't a hated minority. But the ones who shout out loud that their religion is the only true religion and to he!! with everyone else will not get a good reception outside of their own ilk. Freedom of speech does not automatically carry with it the requirement that others take kindly to what is spoken.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  20. Rachael

    Unfortunately this 'minority' is becoming a majority through fear mongering about 'end times'. The Bible was written starting around 600BC. The Bible is based on a caste based society. All 3 Abrahamic religions are so stubborn they refuse to take the time to evaluate how foolish they have become and refuse to listen to any reason. They simply want to control other people.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • mini1071

      Guess what goes around comes around....

      May 5, 2013 at 11:14 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.