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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. ME

    The problem is not whether it's a sin - that's a question for what you believe in terms of afterlife and potential judgement. The problem is whether you can legislate against "sinful" behavior only on the basis that it's sinful, with no other provable detriment to society.

    Murder is definitely a sin, but we don't legislate against murder due to it being on the Ten Commandments - we legislate against it because it's a certain harm to society as a whole and members of that society in particular.

    You might argue against gay marriage if you want to discuss the potential for fraud, for example. But "Because the Bible said so" can not ever be the only argument for criminalizing something, or conversely legalizing it.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • biggles

      Toots, ain't no nothing that is just about future judgement

      May 5, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      click

      May 26, 2013 at 3:36 am |
  2. lenojames

    What is happening is simple. Christians make assertians using the bible, and only the bible as their proof. Then, others come along and point out that their assertions are wrong, with repeatable, verifiable proof.

    Traditionally, Christians would just bully or torture those people into submission, or burn them at the stake. And the would do so with both religious and governmental authority.

    But today, in a country with Separation of Church and State, they can't use torture and execution to preserve their faith. They have to argue, and prove their assertions. And in the marketplace of ideas, they are failing miserably.

    So, without a government to help with enforcement, they revert back to Roman history, and claim to be victims. Christians are being PERSECUTED, and VILLIFIED, and OSTRACIZED for their beliefs!

    And that's because they have such weak support for them.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • oOo

      "They have to argue, and prove their assertions. "

      And don't forget – more often than not, they are arguing with each other. The conflict has always been there in Christianity.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • When cows run amok

      Stop butchering the cows.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • lol??

      So you turned the gubmint into a bully church. You are wearing plastic shoes on a frozen pond.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • ..

      Separation of church and state is a gooooood thing.
      State-sanctioned bullying sucks. Churchs may do it, but expect backlash from it....and don't whine when it happens. Makes you look like a foolish toady.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • jeff

      All Religions are useless.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  3. Tom Williams

    All religions are a myth unless it is yours. Some people are willing to die for their religion, some are even willing to kill for their religion. Those that believe in their religion the strongest, have no problem imposing their beliefs on others. I will respect your right to your beliefs but do not attempt to make your myths into laws that impact me.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • cm

      Well Tom, by all means disregard all teachings in religious creeds. Go cheat, steal, kill, etc. See what living by the sword will get ya. Most every law on this planet goes back to a religious creed.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      You have the cart before the horse there.

      Many of mens laws became religious laws, not the other way around.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • tallulah13

      don't confuse cm with stuff like truth or history. It might make him/her question his/her blind faith.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • cm

      Richard I challenge you on your beliefs. It is creed over society laws.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
  4. Chris

    Just become Catholic. We are so used to this stuff, it's water off a ducks back.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  5. but seriously

    shoving hands up eachothers bums is going to make someone the minority and it aint the christians.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • yalesouth

      and you are the posterboy for enlightened christian thought?

      May 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Proctologists are people too.

      You are an anti-proctolite

      May 5, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • tallulah13

      That sort of prejudice leads to undetected colon cancer.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  6. Mike

    I just love how the author tries to equate the small extreme right-wing "evangelical" group of Christians with Christianity in general. They are in reality a very small (but very loud!) minority of the Christian faith. The vast majority of Americans identify themselves as "Christians" and do not support or condone the hate and bigotry of this small fringe group.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • When cows run amok

      BSE?

      May 5, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  7. cm

    Sadly for sometime gay marriage is a cause....fear not people it will happen – their agendas will be realized. However, there are people who are losing their homes, losing their jobs, losing their livelihoods and all these folks can focus on is gay marriage – uh get your priorities straight – gay marriage should be further down the list.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • yalesouth

      How idiotic; the only reason this is an issue is because backwards rightwingers make it one. If you people did not wage your fear campagin and devote so much energy, it would be a non-issue as it should be, and we could go back to focusing on the economy.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Talk to Congress about the things they're not doing; either way they're not focusing on gay marriage.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The fight for gay rights has no impact on the economy. Except, of course, the positive impact on the wedding industry that an influx of same-sex marriages would have.

      However, your effort to suppress equality and fairness is duly noted.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • cm

      Are you people serious?? Right-winger I ain't nor to I suppress anything. Gay marriage shouldn't get front row center as it has for the past several years. It is a deterrent from what we as a society should be focusing on. From my standpoint it is a non-issue.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Yes, cm. We get that justice and equal rights aren't important to you (especially if they are for a minority that you don't like). But most of us can multi-task, so we can support what is right even while we try to improve the economy.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • cm

      tallulah13, whatever! Let me see is gay marriage more important than poverty? When does marriage supersede basic human needs.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  8. Freethinker Seeking Reason

    Go ahead, READ the bible and you'll see it is a violent, hateful, misogynistic abomination of cobbled bronze age mythology that the sky fairy followers quote mine to validate their hate and prejudice of others not in their tribe.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • When cows run amok

      Cows need some luvin' too

      May 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  9. Sebastian

    The Family Research Council is absolutely a hate group, and they have contributed to spreading a number of proven false misconceptions about gay people in an effort to paint them in a negative light.

    Also, recasting your desire to ban gay marriage as an appeal to the nobility of straight marriage is like a racist not explicitly appealing to racism but instead appealing to the superiority of whites, e.g., "I believe that white people were meant to rule the earth. What is so hateful about that?"

    May 5, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • When cows run amok

      Mad cows do a better showing some luv

      May 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
  10. Adam

    I really feel for these people. It must be so hard to not be accepted, to be called hateful names. These “Christians” are the real victims. Hopefully society will become more inclusive and accepting.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • When cows run amok

      Cows chew on pastures green every day!

      May 5, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  11. David

    Conservative Christians have mastered the art of being the bully but pretending to be the victim. Maybe one day they will just live their own lives according their own morals and simply leave everyone else alone.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • When cows run amok

      Eat some D’AOSTA

      May 5, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  12. Ladies and Gentlemen....

    You know, for people who think that Christians are such bad people, you guys sure paint a pretty picture of what a good person should be. Practically ever post that rants about Christianity is absurd and just adds to hatred.

    Where is your tolerance to people who don't think the same idea you have?
    Shame on you people. Shame for acting like you can even begin to comprehend compassion to anyone. If you really understood, you would practice to be good people. You may have an opinion that differs from someone else, but that does not mean you should hate them.

    For the sake of humanity, may you all stop being idiots. If you should spread something, then may it be love. I know that you are on the internet, but can you at least act like people with some sense of morals and dignity? Thank you.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      "Why don't you idiots spread some love?"

      I am seriously flummoxed that you were apparently able to type that with a straight face.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Science

      They..........morals...............dot come from the bible !!!

      Where do morals come from?

      By Kelly Murray, CNN

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

      May 5, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Science

      Oops ....don't

      May 5, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • hal 9001

      "WhenCowsAttack". "flummoxed"? Really?

      I'll be keeping my eye on you from now on, "WhenCowsAttack".

      May 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Atheist, me?

      The question of hatred and love and ho.m.ose.xuality is very peculiar. We humans have some basic instincts which are blind. There are people who claim to be able to eat certain types of food only but can be taught to change that. Like hunger s.ex is one of the basic instinct.
      No doctor will tell u being gay is genetic or a m.ental diso.rder. It is a hunger that is being fed. How you satisfy it becomes a habit but it is a choice.
      The Christian view is that being gay(assuming it was congenital) is not wrong but gay s.ex is wrong.
      Besides so called h.et.ero.s can be celibate so why not gays?

      May 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So basically what you are saying is that we should accept bigotry from christians because it hurts your feelings when we don't. Sorry. Fundamental christianity is reaping what it has aggressively sown.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • tallulah13

      AM? It's not your choice to make.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
  13. Sane Person

    You're being intolerant to my intolerance! You're discriminating me by not letting me discriminate people!

    What a joke.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • When cows run amok

      You do the cows proud

      May 5, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  14. h.perry

    Jesus will have the last laugh. Justice is mind says the Lord.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Athy

      Jesus is dead, he can't laugh.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • ...

      He had risen from the dead.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah, right. Such bullshit.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • When cows run amok

      When cows speak , cows listen

      May 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Freethinker Seeking Reason

      Jesus is a fictional character in a fairy tale compilation. Why don't you quote Darth Vader and Lex Luther while you're at it? Oh, and welcome to the 21st century, when religion is going extinct but not fast enough.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Athy

      How can we speed it up?

      May 5, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  15. His panic

    If instead of trusting politicians and a corrupt legal system, they would trust God and Jesus Christ God's only Son they would not be in a state of Panic/hysteria. If instead of believing the Consti-tution they would believe the Scriptures they would not be in a state of Panic/hysteria. If instead of following their leaders and their particular interpretations they would obey the Scriptures they would not be in a state of Panic.

    They will continue falling into a state of Panic/hysteria, as long as they continue to believe that a corrupt legal system and human legislation, can change the hearths and minds of a corrupt and perverted people.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      Annnnd, here we have a brand new form of crazy...

      May 5, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Manny

      What exactly do the Scriptures say about hysteria, anyway? Lol.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • h.perry

      You said it perfectly....Ifeel sorry for anyone who doesn't know Jesus.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • When cows run amok

      He'll hath no fury as a mad cow spurned

      May 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • His panic

      The worst is that long before Politicians and the corrupt legal system con-do-ned these aberrations against nature. Some churches and even entire denominations like the Episcopalians were endorsing, marrying and accepting the Hom-os into post of leadership.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  16. E.J.

    edd wrote "Christianity is the most tolerant religion in the world." Duh ... except for the Inquisitions, the Nazi Holocaust, the witch trials, etc. edd, you better take a close look at Buddhism.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Errday

      You'd better take a closer look at Buddhism, E.J., because that religion is also violent. Religion is madness. There are none worth mentioning that have not been used to justify violence at one time or another. Time to go back to school.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      Buddhism isn't even technicially a religion- it is a way of life.

      But yes, far more peaceful than Christianity

      May 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Chris T.

      Nazi? Do your homework.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Errday

      ChrisT, we have plenty of documentation, including Hitler's own words, that slaughtering Jews was because they supposedly killed Jesus and supposedly sought world domination thanks to a little anti-Jew pamphlet written by Martin Luther.
      Germany killed those people according to their Christian beliefs. Don't even fucking bother to deny this you piece of shit. Everyone who researches it discovers these facts. So shut up and gtfo.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Chase

      Or Taoism

      May 5, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Paul Jaramillo

      The holocaust had nothing to do with the Christianity, this is a blatant lie, you have no proof what so ever.
      Hitler was not a Christian, he was a person who dabbled in various forms of paganism. The Churches were closed and the crosses were taken down and replaced with the Swastika in Nazi Germany.
      Any historical crimes took place because of the misreading of the bible or ideas of men in power.
      Hitler never called himself a Christian, He wanted to build a master race and empire, that was his singular goal. Go ahead and spread these lies about Christianity, but you have not one bit of proof to back it up.

      May 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Will of Grace

      The pope did nothing as millions of people died. That is truth.

      May 5, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
  17. Daniel

    Jesus is not the salvation of mankind. Sorry to disappoint you....you will see one day...may you have peace and happiness...

    May 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Errday

      They will never see it because there is no Jesus anymore. He's dead and no longer exists to hear idiots slobbering in the dark.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • When cows run amok

      Bronc-itis?

      May 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • h.perry

      Then what is.You will suffer unless you receive the Holy Spirit. I hope you find him.

      May 5, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  18. oOo

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

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

    (from Notes on the State of Virginia, 1785)

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

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

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

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

    The Royal College of Psychiatrists stated in 2007:

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

    Biology

    The following is from the article:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hormones, epigenetics and orientation

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

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

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

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

    That side appears to be epigenetics, Rice said.

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

    Biological behavior

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (Thomas Jefferson)

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

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

    May 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Science

      Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

      The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

      The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

      Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

      May 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  19. David DeForge Sr.

    Christians, boohoohoo.

    Take your zombie jesus for a hike somewhere else.

    You've delt it for years, now suck it up.

    May 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • When cows run amok

      Take the udder cheek and move on...

      May 5, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      @When Cows Run Amok

      Seriously dude, give it up. You're not funny and you're adding nothing of value to the debate

      May 5, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  20. erin

    I expect to hear this kind of nonsense from deluded crazies like the Van Impes of FoxNews. Christians aren't hated, tonto, bigots are. Most Christians I know aren't bigots, and they don't try to impose their beliefs on others (of course, I do live in the Northeast). As far as "minority" – giorl, please!

    May 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
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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.