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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. Lamb of Dog

    Embrace your gay and be happy.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  2. the AnViL™

    "Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies."

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8772014

    says a lot about the people speaking out against all the gayness.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      That seems to be the case.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • ..

      Those who yell the loudest are usually latent.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Thats It

      You hit the nail Right On the Head, - ! That is what certainly appears to be the case according to many learned scholars and their observations.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Wendy

      Well, they sure do have way more interest in the se x lives of gay people than those of us who aren't h0m0phobes. Sounds like they're ti-tillated to me.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  3. laguna_greg

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

    Well pastor, you told another lie on Sunday. Hate speech is any speech used to motivate or justify violence against a person or a group, that results in such violence.

    Better be careful what you say!

    May 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  4. Big Sky Humanist

    Once being a born again Christian myself, I grew to understand Jesus was an end times prophet and of course he thought it would be easy for everyone to give everything they owned and to love everyone, because damn it, the world was going to end within the next generation. It didn't happen and it won't happen. He is not going to return.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Answer

      The only way for the second coming to happen is that you make a movie and revel yourself in your fear about it.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • faith

      once being a stupid nazi god-hating atheist, i thought i was hip. i knew more than anybody and while i hated everything and everyone, i thought i was cool.

      when i was enlightened and saw the light, i realized i was an idiot, just like my lying chums. i knew nothin, was headed nowhere except he llo, and was duped by the dear mons who control this garbage dump.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Answer

      @faith

      Sure .. you're that piece of turd that is floating around waiting for the big flush.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • phijef

      I always think it's funny when Christians claim I hate God because I'm not Christian. No, I don't hate God, if there is one. No, I don't hate Jesus. I just don't ascribe to your religion. I think it is silly and, while needed for a time, is not needed in our day and age.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      faith: jeebus is waiting. if you eat your shotgun tonight, you could begin an eternity of servicing the savior tomorrow. take knee pads and breath mints

      May 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • faith

      "Answer
      The only way for the second coming to happen is that you make a movie and revel yourself in your fear about it."

      babe, trust me. u r gonna have front row seats. free. u will close ur eyes and that won't help. screaming won't help. no popcorn. lots of hot dogs

      hide and watch

      May 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • sam stone

      "annnnny time now.....jeebus is coming, so be ready, annnnny time now"

      apparently, inbreds like faith like issuing empty proxy threats

      May 5, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  5. ShawnDH

    US Christians are the masters of playing the victim when they are the ones oppressing others.

    American Christians seem to have no concept of freedom or American ideals...in which their religious beliefs are completely irrelevant to laws in a free, 21st-century United States. That's called religious freedom, and it protects us FROM others' religious views as much as it protects religious views. Nobody is saying you can't be against gay marriage. But when you want to force everybody to live according to ancient Middle Eastern fairy tales, that is a problem.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Well said. If Christian's had it their way, we'd all be under a theocracy...AGAIN.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Hillcrester

      Exactly. Conservative xians are squirming and telling "unfair" because the US electorate Is turning against the imposition of their religious beliefs through laws affecting people who do not share those beliefs.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • lol??

      What are ya complainin' about?? You turned the gubmint into your vision of god. It's in charge of everything. Name something it doesn't control.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Ernesto Plasmo

      It's certainly not all christians though... just a very loud minority. They're bigots first, christians second... they look in their religion for ways to support their own prejudices. The majority of christians I've known are NOT these mean-spirited jerks... they're quiet and keep their beliefs pretty much to themselves... meaning you never hear much about them.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • lol??

      A pathetic chicken in every pot
      A PUblic Servant for every need

      May 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • lol??

      It's not nice to move the field markers every night with inflation. Y'all ain't had no upbringin'??

      May 5, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  6. Keefer

    "Its easier to just go along" says Joe Carter editor of The Gospel Coalition.
    The educated modern man needs no reminder how It has been of the best to "just go along" with the evangelical and his beliefs rather than suffer the wrath that might be so ordained against him by those who have carved out their virtuous beliefs from an age old written scripture.
    History clearly shows how the pilgrims couldn't paddle across the Atlantic fast enough to inflict their pain and misery to all those who disputed their righteous ways and once stepping foot upon the north continent, the sword of Christianity was sharp and swift. Either the non-believer was burned at the stake or an entire culture was annihilated in mass for the progression of the 'Word'.
    Now today, these of so righteous beliefs step over the poor and down-trodden and ridicule those who cannot chuck a dollar into the plate at their congregation.
    You wanna talk about the 'L' word now in the scriptures.....its 'Loser', 'Liberal', or 'Liar'....certainly not 'Love'.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
  7. Jack

    If you don't want to be labeled a bigot, you probably shouldn't profess religious belief that is bigoted.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Pirateman

      Shut up, bigot! Arrrrrr!

      May 5, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  8. Ernesto Plasmo

    When I used to attend (evangelical christian) church there was always a vocal strain of folks who wanted to think they were persecuted, they told made-up stories about christians being persecuted in various parts of the world (at the time a lot of them were set in the U.S.S.R.)... it was so obvious that they LOVED thinking of themselves as some small group of martyrs, that they NEEDED to imagine themselves to be a persecuted minority... holding on to some secret truth that the rest of the world had turned its back on.
    It certainly wasn't all or even a majority of the people... but they were quite vocal... kind of embarrassing... and any attempt to disagree with their fantasies was met with a kind of paranoid hostility.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  9. laguna_greg

    "“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."

    No, not really, not yet. While people might have found Teebow's assertion of his faith in public irksome, nobody condemned him on TV for it, or made threats against his life. Nobody threatened his job, or his career.

    Now when Ellen came out, on the other hand, the Christian Right not only condemned here and called her names, they consigned her to toe flames of Hades and tried to get her put off the air and out of the entertainment biz. Remember how Jerry Fallwell, may he rot, called her "Ellen Degenerate" every chance he got on national TV? And how conservative Xians tried to get Penny's to fire her as their spokesperson, and her show cancelled? i wonder just how many death threats she still gets every month?

    Not so for the Xian ex-pastor, hwho wants us all put down, done away with, and quickly erased from recent memory.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  10. Adam Read

    At some point, we are going to have to address the Children of God:

    1. Are missing Mom, yet pastors say these kids "don't need a mom because Dad does it all."

    2. "Dad" has made his kids think he's perfect...even though we all know he's done some very bad things...like this little act of Global Genocide otherwise known as The Flood.

    3. Jesus had a cousin...named John...who spent a great deal of time pointing to everyone else in his last book of Revelations, making sure that nobody ever pointed the finger at him. Those seven scrolls he's talking about and the fact that he thinks the world is going to end when they're opened are a blatant admission that John knows what really happened...and that his story line isn't going to hold out forever. After all, John was supposedly the closest to Jesus...and was conveniently the only apostle NOT to die of martyrdom.

    ...and he is the guy that said you get everything you ask for (John 14)

    This is going to hit the fan really soon, folks.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Answer

      Tell us about that... your next card is the "end times."

      Go on and spread your delusions of the second coming.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • phijef

      It's totally fine that you think the end is near. I may laugh at your assertion, but you're your own person. However, please do the right things until then. Be nice to your neighbor (no matter their persuasion), and be good to the Earth (you know...the piece of rock your God created).

      May 5, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • susanlkh

      Jesus' cousin, John, was John the Baptist. He was ordered beheaded by Herod at Salome's request. The disciple John, who wrote Revelation, is a different person than John the Baptist. You are a bit confused on your point #3.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • susanlkh

      Oh, and the disciple John wrote the book of John, and 1,2,3 John in the Bible, not John the Baptist. Yes, I am a Christian.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • G to the T

      Susan – actually... we don't know who wrote John. It was only ascribed as being written by him in later traditions... same with the other 4...

      May 9, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  11. Jake

    This is ridiculous. Christians are not, in any meaningful way, a minority subject to hate. When people discriminate against women, or look at them negatively, they do so indefensibly, based on no defensible reason. Similarly, when people discriminate against racial minorities, or look at them negatively, they do so indefensibly, based on no defensible reason. When people look at the religious beliefs of other people and say "you are full of crap" or "that belief is immoral," they are making an assessment of of those beliefs. They are NOT acting out of prejudice, but rather out of an honest reaction to professed beliefs. You don't want people to think your beliefs are stupid and immoral? Well, stop believing stupid and immoral things! And, in particular, stop trying to force those beliefs on others. The fact that you profess your stupid and immoral beliefs based on the Bible, religion, fairytales, etc. does not render them immune from such criticisms. Get over yourselves!

    May 5, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • The Only Truth

      What you encourage is immoral, not the other way 'round. We aren't having it. You will not redefine morality. Your immorality may have existed for many ages, but it has never been accepted and never will be completely accepted.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Melissa

      Jake is correct whether you like it or not. You are the ones behaving badly, and you're getting it thrown back in your faces. You not liking it is your problem, no one elses.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Hillcrester

      Disagreement is not discrimination. When laws are proposed that evangelicals cannot worship in their churches, then we can start talking about discrimination.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • ..

      You aren't going to define morality, PERIOD, Only Truth. What others do with their lives and in their bedrooms is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, and never will be. Get used to it.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • The Only Truth

      You don't know how right you are. I don't define morality. God did, and it's in the Bible. I'd ask where yours is, but you probably can't produce a source of morality you all agree on.

      You lose.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • LinCA

      @The Only Truth

      You said, "What you encourage is immoral, not the other way 'round."
      Discrimination based on a bronze age fairy tale is morally reprehensible.

      You said, "We aren't having it. You will not redefine morality."
      You are free to live your life according to your fantasy about your imaginary friend. You are free to chuck rational thought by the wayside. You are free to remain blissfully ignorant. You don't get to make that determination for anyone else.

      You said, "Your immorality may have existed for many ages, but it has never been accepted and never will be completely accepted."
      Your immorality may have existed for many ages, but it has never been accepted and never will be completely accepted.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Answer

      "God did" – That is why we laugh.

      Keep on telling yourself that. Stupid people want their gods. It's so laughable.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "We aren't having it."

      You don't get to decide what others do in their private lives.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • LinCA

      @The Only Truth

      You said, "You don't know how right you are. I don't define morality. God did, and it's in the Bible."
      Your book of fairy tales holds nothing that was written by, or inspired by any divine creature. It's nothing more than folk tales of desert dwellers and their sense of morality.

      Civilized people have evolved beyond ancient bullshit.

      You said, "I'd ask where yours is, but you probably can't produce a source of morality you all agree on."
      Don't hurt anyone unnecessarily. How's that work for you?

      You said, "You lose."
      As long as morons like yourself keep trying to force their delusions on the sane past of society, probably.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • The Only Truth

      I wondered when the famous CNN atheists would show their regunant selves. Hi Lin. Anyway, you are immoral, and if you and your ilk push it in my face constantly, I'm going to make sure you know it.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Answer

      "I'm gonna make sure ..." - The guns aren't solely on your side.

      That is why you can't intimidate anymore.. poor christards.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • The real Tom

      TOT, you're a hoot. I love it when tards like you threaten others. It's so "Christian."

      May 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • LinCA

      @The Only Truth

      You said, "I wondered when the famous CNN atheists would show their regunant selves."
      It's realists.

      You said, "Hi Lin. Anyway, you are immoral"
      Coming from you, I'll take it as a compliment. It is one of my life goals to have the Westboro Baptists picket my funeral. If the dimwit bigots are against what I stand for, I know I'm doing the right thing.

      You said, "and if you and your ilk push it in my face constantly, I'm going to make sure you know it."
      Let us know how you feel about it. There is nothing more powerful to alienate reasonable people from your sort than your ignorant rants. The more you spout your nonsense, the more I get to point out that your entire religion, even life, is based on a belief in a creature that is no more likely to exist than the Tooth Fairy.

      The more you show how ignorant you are, the easier it is for me to ridicule your silly and infantile beliefs.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  12. God is pretend

    God is pretend, wake up people, anyone with an IQ over 60 knows its a scam.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Luvin it

      Anyone with an IQ over 60 thinks atheism is a turd.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Jack

      There is no proof for God, and even though you and I may agree that we feel completely comfortable believing in a natural world without god(s), there are some who feel there may be a greater consciousness out there who created everything. There are many smart people who believe both, though there is a very strong inverse correlation between education level and belief in god(s).

      May 5, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      luvnit
      Studies have shown that the lower the intelligence, the more need of religion, the higher the intelligence, the less need.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Luvin it

      And other recent studies have shown that atheists are closet theists. Still other studies have shown that atheists, due to their lack of morality and empathy, do not give anywhere near as much money to charity, and the money they do give is to NPR. Atheism is a big fat stinky turd.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  13. phijef

    I'm getting sick of this claiming to be a victim schtick. Minority? Not every town in this country has a Walmart or a McDonalds or even a small grocery store, but every town has a church in it. Get over yourselves. If people see you as bigoted, it's because you are bigoted. If you claim religion makes it ok for you to be bigoted, then you aught to be bigoted of those who eat shellfish too, and don't forget those who are wearing clothing of mixed fabric (the TRUE sinners!)!

    May 5, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  14. Religion

    If Christ existed, he wasn't a hateful, hypocritical, d-bag like most Christians.

    If Christians are despised, they have certainly earned it.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  15. sybaris

    When did you choose to be straight?

    May 5, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      The first time I looked at a girl and thought she is pretty. I cant help it. I was born straight.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Answer

      The same moment I chose to have two legs. I could have opted for four. It was a difficult choice.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • LOL

      Well, let's see, I was born with a ...., and that makes me male. She was born with a ..., and that makes her a female. Wha? Look, w e make babies together! Woah, wondered what those .... were for! Which one of the two ... were you born with? Now, did you really need that lesson?

      May 5, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • The real Tom

      It's "WHOA," honey. I don't think it's others who "need a lesson." It's you.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      I suppose that if I had felt the same way about men that I feel when I see an attractive woman then I would have been gay. And I would have been proud of it.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  16. abh88

    I think you should make it more clear that this is satire. Poe's law seems to be at work quite a lot in these comments.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
  17. James P.

    In our society, living living a lie is generally viewed as cowardly. So in my opinion, that's why Mr. Collins is being "hailed", for his decision to openly live his lifestyle. What are the intentions behind the statements made by either Mr. Sprigg or Mr. Broussard?

    Mr. Collins came out publicly, and now he has to deal with all of the negative and positive aspects of his lifestyle. That was his choice.

    Mr. Broussard and Mr. Sprigg, publicly expressed their beliefs, and now they have to live with all of the negative and positive aspects of their lifestyles. That was their choice.

    If you're going to stand up and say something publicly, then you need to be accountable for it. If you can't or if it bothers you when people question your statements, then maybe you shouldn't have said anything to begin with.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Really

      Are you kidding us? It was brave of Collins to come out? A washed up Center at the end of his career who is in free agency? Coming out as something that is on every TV show and constantly in the media? Assured attention that will make the NBA and its teams think twice about not picking him for a team because they don't want the unwantedmattention from activists who will surely claim discrimination? How brave. How brave that he led a woman on for 8 years. Give that man a trophy.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Visitor

      Well "Really" he could have been g-dly and married her, which is the advise of many Evangelical Pastors. "YOU can CHANGE yourself!"

      May 5, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • James P.

      In response to "Really"; let me know when you come down off your cloud. I'm not sure if you know the actual meaning of the word "brave", so here's the definition: "brave – /brāv/; verb; to endure or face (unpleasant conditions or behavior) without showing fear". I'm pretty sure that Mr. Collins' public stance on his orientation fall within the parameters of that definition. But hey, that's just what I "believe".

      May 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Really:

      Coming out at this point in his career was actually a great move. This man has played as a well-liked journeyman on several teams. Other players respect him and realize that they played for several years with a gay man and absolutely nothing bad happened because of it. If some hot-shot kid had been the first to come out, his career would have been over before it started. But now that Collins has shown that it's really no big deal, it opens the door for future players, and more importantly, for the closeted players currently active in professional sports.

      As for the ex-girlfriend/fiance, he's not the first gay who has tried to play the part of a straight in order to fit in with society, but no one is ever happy living a lie. Both of them would have ended up miserable had they married. Even had he been straight there was no guarantee that their relationship would last. She chose to remain with him, and since they split up in 2009 so I'm not sure why this is news.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
  18. noly972

    From the article, "Intolerance may be difficult to define, but some evangelicals say they have become victims of intolerance because of their reverence for the Bible." When you make a career of being intolerant toward your fellow human beings as well as American citizens (as Mr Sprigg has), a response of intolerance shouldn't come as a surprise. Doesn't the good book say something like, "...As you sow so shall you reap..."? If you sow intolerance, then intolerance should be the crop you reap. These intolerant people who whine about being marginalized while marginalizing others are the very definition of hypocrisy. They're the people who give the rest of American Christianity a black eye; much like Islamist extremists do to their more moderate brethren.

    Then, there's the outright and blatant lying. When I was growing up my parents and religious leaders taught me that lying was a sin. Apparently, these people didn't get that memo. It seems they pick and choose the sins that are important, who is guilty and the punishment to be meted-out. I don't believe that I want them to be the arbiters of my morality until they exercise some of their own.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  19. Brian

    These evangelicals run around telling everyone they are going to hell, yet they don't understand why people hate them.
    "Oh hey, um yeah you are going to hell, but it's no big deal."
    "Well scr ew you too"

    May 5, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
  20. Jesus freaker

    People are born gay for crying out loud. If the Bible said that blindness was an abomination, would you people be arguing for your right to tell the blind how wrong they are? Jeez!

    May 5, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • birch please

      But they have no choice to believe god gave them free will.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Tamsyn

      Right??!

      May 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Religion

      Yes, the would.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      I can well remember those turbulent times when i was 10, 11, 12 years old. Up in my room, flipping a coin, trying to decide if I would be gay or straight. Sure, all you Christards remember doing that, don't you? It's a choice, that's all. Straight. Gay. Just a choice.

      Right.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • LOL

      Oh brother, another one? Look, dude, two men can love each other and it ain't that, right? Acts are what delineate the two. In other words, the kissing and "s.e.x." is what defines what they are, otherwise, they'd just be men. The acts are what are sinful, not how someone was born (although it's never been definitively proven that people are born that way).

      May 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Sam's Uncle

      I disagree. I know this is maybe oversimplification, but people are born people. We all have certain characteristcs, feelings, and tendancies (i.e., personality) from birth, but that doesn't mean we are born one thing or another. We are born people. We make decisions about how we will live our lives and the decisions we will make. Often times those decisions are influenced by our personality. Sometimes they are not.

      I think you take more issue with how a large segment of society decides the moral correctness of one's choices and decisions. We all accept certain societal moral value judgments. Christians accept that marriage should be between a man and woman. Other groups may accept a different moral value judgement on the issue. They may support gay marriage. Each side will argue their moral judgement is correct. However, neither side will be able to "prove" the correctness of their stance. Thus we have social contract theory, which allows each side to argue for their moral position until one side establishes a majority, and society accepts the position.

      While you may not personally understand the moral value judgment of your opposition, it does not necessarily mean they are wrong. They simply believe differently than you. I think true bigotry arises when we are unwilling to respect the position of others who may not feel the same as we do, even if we don't necissarily agree. I personally stand in the camp that believes gay marriage should not be accepted as morally "correct." That doesn't mean that I can't have respect for others who oppose that point-of-view. It also doesn't mean I have to agree with their moral value judgements.

      May 5, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.