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. WOW!

    Being a christian is a choice!

    May 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  2. scallywag

    You guys keep telling us its a 'Christian nation.' How can you be a hated minority in this case? Now try being an atheist here... and see what hatred really is.

    May 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • lol??

      It might have started with a lot of Christian influence but the 19th century took care of that.

      May 5, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
  3. Colin

    This articel is why there is such a strong correlation between atheism and success in life. The more religious a person is, the less successful they tend to be in life and the more religious a state of the USA or a country of the World is, the less successful it is.

    May 5, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Well stated, except when they are at the top of the religious pyramid scheme raking in the hard-earned t.ithes of the masses.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • TruthandConsequence

      Where do you get this baloney? And how do you measure success?

      May 5, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Colin

      Tand C – the 10 most atehist countries in the World include Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Australia, New Zealand, Singapour, Switzerland and Finland. They also rank near the top of the World in standard of living, political freedm, education, human rights, lack of political corruption and creditworthiness.

      The 10 most religious contries include IRan, Iraq, Congo, Nigeria, Suaid Arabia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the Central African Republic. Al lrank lowest in the above areas.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @ TruthandConsequence, You can start by researching polls... Look for things like happiness quotients, life expectancy, financial wealth, education, etc. Different people measure success differently, it's true, but you will begin to find some obvious points of direction. Search internationally as well. I happen to live in a thriving secular country which scores high on all of the different measurements of "success".

      If of course you measure success as an imaginary castle in a far away land that you can only reach by dying and no one has ever been able to confirm its existence... then I think christians give the rest of the world a run for its money.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • clinky

      I doubt it, Colin. Practically every member of Congress belongs to a church, both Democrat and Republican. The President, too. Like them or not, they're successful people.

      Many, probably most, Christians practice their faith without rubbing it in peoples' faces. For most of them, you might never know the difference unless you asked–just like gays, come to think of it.

      May 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Correctlycenter

      I haven't seen any Christians begging on the streets or sleeping in the alley...

      May 5, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Z

      The one true God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob is not looking for religion but a relationship with each and everyone of us. Our body is sacred and so is race and marriage. And what's your definition of success? The pilgrims left Europe to worship God accordingly to the Bible and not by man's definition. Most o/t European countries were powerful nations, UK was the number one country of sending missionaries all over the world. Now, most Europeans has fallen away from trusting in a loving God. Isnt Europe in debt? Im not saying there is a correlation like you are. And you are right that religion is corrupted. That's why God is looking for our heart. To love Him, to love others, and to live in humility and to serve all. He loves you, and about 2000 years ago, showed us His love by sending His son, who lived a perfect life to die on the cross for our sins. Seek and you shall find. Seek him truthfully and not with a harden heart.

      May 5, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @ Correctlycenter, Where do you live? You do understand there are more places in the world than your town and country, correct?

      May 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Paul Jaramillo

      This nation has been heavily influenced by the Bible, do you call this nation, USA backwards?
      Portions of the Bible that are used, demand respect for human life and justice,
      not imposition of religious doctrine. The Bible has concepts that mean fairness to everyone.

      May 5, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      So do Dr Seuss books.

      May 5, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Paul Jaramillo,

      Is the USA backward? As an ex-patriot living in a secular forward-thinking society, I can tell you that yes, it is backward. The infrastructure is crumbling, it has the highest prison population in the world (boasting 5% of the world's population, but 25% of the world's prison population = 1% of the total US population in prison), education is some of the lowest in the first world countries (including 45% who believe the earth is less than 10k years old), healthcare is a joke, crime is off of the charts, poverty is rampant with 1 in 7 people in the US being food insecure in 2010 (Food security refers to the availability of food and one's access to it. A household is considered food-secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation.)...

      As an outsider looking back on the country of my birth, it is both shocking and disheartening.

      May 5, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "I haven't seen any Christians begging on the streets or sleeping in the alley"

      Then you must be blind. I see homeless guys on the street every day with signs that say "Homeless, please help. God bless you!"

      May 5, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Correctlycenter said

      "I haven't seen any Christians begging on the streets or sleeping in the alley..."

      Obviously, he/she is either lying or blind. I see them every day.

      May 5, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • LG

      Really? Bill Gates is successful and religious...so I cant see how your comment is justified.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
  4. Scott

    So much for free speech. Try posting against "gays" and see what happens. This is a joke. CNN removes what they don't like. Hypocrites!

    May 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said, "Try posting against "gays" see what happens. CNN is removing what they don't like. Hypocrites!"

      CNN uses WordPress blogs for their opinion pieces, and they use automated censoring that looks for words, or fragments of words, that are considered offensive. If your post doesn't show up, it most likely had a forbidden word in it.

      On the Belief Blog, repeat posts, even those that were previously censored and not displayed, will show a message stating that you posted it before.

      The following words or word fragments will get your post censored (list is incomplete):
            arse             as in Arsenal
            cock           as in cockatiel
            coon           as in cocoon
            cum             as in circumstance
            homo         as in homosexual
            rape         as in grape
            sex           as in homosexual
            spic         as in despicable
            tit               as in constitution or title
            vag           as in vague
            wonderful us

      To circumvent the filters you can break up the words by putting an extra character in, like: consti.tution (breaking the oh so naughty "tit").

      May 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      LinCA, your advice is welcomed by rational people, but Scott will just get in a snit over it, because it undercuts his conviction that he's being personally persecuted by bigots who hate Christians. Hard to argue facts and reason with a guy who's got a good head of steam up on his persecution complex.

      May 5, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Scott

      Lin, ty. We need more people exposing these censors. My posts didn't have any rude "slang", they were just in opposition to "gays" and they either were not posted at all, or later removed.

      May 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      Or better yet. Why dont you take your "against gays" and get lost.

      May 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Scott

      Lamb of devil, sounds like your all for the censorship, aren't you? Another hypocrite!

      May 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      This is my third attempt to reply. Yes you are enti.tled to you hateful point of view.

      May 5, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      But that doesn't mean you are not sc.um

      May 5, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  5. 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.

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

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

    The Royal College of Psychiatrists stated in 2007:

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


    The following is from the article:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hormones, epigenetics and orientation

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

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

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

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

    That side appears to be epigenetics, Rice said.

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

    Biological behavior

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (Thomas Jefferson)

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

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

    May 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm |

      Ya problem is not new – who has time to go through your filthy secular s crap, denier of truth absolute, Baba Mohammad, 360*, filthy self centered gay ism, monkey ism

      May 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Colin

      There is nothing a Chrsitan hates more than cold hard facts that undermine their silly sky-fairy superst.itions.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      logic doesn't work with Christians.

      "disconfirmation of a belief doesn’t always lead to the repudiation of that belief, which is why providing evidence that a belief is wrong will not necessarily make a person abandon that belief if their investment in it is strong enough."
      – Drake

      May 5, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • oOo

      Evidently Islamabots are not comfortable with facts, either.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Science

      A bost load of facts = truth .

      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?

      By Kelly Murray, CNN


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

      BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

      Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet

      Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before


      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.

      April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

      May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

      Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young


      And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

      From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life


      the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

      Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

      Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.


      No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

      Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

      No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

      Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

      Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.


      Ca-nabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®) – National Cancer Insti-tute


      Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...

      Good stuff !

      The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

      Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

      Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.


      For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !

      Where do morals come from?

      By Kelly Murray, CNN


      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.”


      Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
      Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \



      Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
      By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...


      April 7th, 2012

      08:32 PM ET

      The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth


      Make sure to read comments

      April 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |

      Breaking News

      NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.


      NASA: Mars could have supported life

      Star Dust we are


      Holy Hallucinations 35


      The ORIGIN story is bullsh-it...............so is the bible............... nasty !

      From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life


      Scientists have unearthed the first direct signs of cheesemaking, at a site in Poland that dates back 7,500 years.

      Human Evolution


      BBC. Planet of the Apemen. Battle for Earth 1. Ho-mo Erectus


      BACKFILL on E =mc2.....

      Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'

      By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

      Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.

      “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”


      May 4, 2013 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |

      Cheech & Chong's History of 420


      All cults...........creationists, ID believers and devil cults.................

      The fact...............the earth is to old ...........time to EVOLVE !.

      Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

      Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.


      Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

      Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.


      Education works for children

      Earth From Space

      Detailed satellite images reveal the web of connections that sustain life on Earth. Aired February 13, 2013 on PBS

      Program Description

      "Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.


      February 16, 2013 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |


      May 5, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • Science

      Oops................. load

      May 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  6. Happy Camper

    If christians are feeling persecuted, perhaps their church could invite an LGBT person to give a seminar on how to handle vilification and persecution.

    May 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • lol??

      Hap, I already told you they are bearing the burdens of seminaries and can't handle any more.

      May 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
  7. Dinny

    I am amazed at the blatant ignorance of the agnostic/atheist comments displayed here. Enjoy the coming Tribulation. You'll deserve what you get.

    May 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      Keep your pathetic scare tactics to yourself. We don't care about your sky fairy.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      " the coming Tribulation" ... HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ... LOLOLOL ... thanks for that 🙂

      May 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      God loves you so much, that he created hell in case you don't love him back... LOL

      May 5, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      You write of "the coming Tribulation" as if it's an establish fact and then accuse others of ignorance, eh?
      Remind me never to ask you for advice on how to tie my shoelaces.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Captain Kirk

      Oh please. Don't remind me of the Tribbles.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Apparently the (cue echo and reverb) Tribulation has been "coming" for 2000 years now. Yep, any day now. Yep, all us sinners will be thrown into a fiery pit to roast for all eternity, just so the sadistic xtians and their sadistic god can enjoy the show.

      May 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  8. darknesscrown

    Christians are a hated minority??? Really? They make up 80%+ of the population. Christians will NEVER be a minority in the United States. Ever. EVER. The people who SHOULD remain "closeted" about their "Christian" values are the fundamentalist Christian psychotics who think, among other things, that the Earth is 9,000 years old, America was unequivocally founded FOR Christians BY Christians (which it absolutely wasn't), that global warming is a hoax because the Bible says clearly how the world will end, and that the world as they know it should be governed by the Bible. YOU (if you are one of them) are the the kind of people the rest of us can't stand and DO NOT want to hear a peep out of...including your fellow Christians who aren't nuts. Un-freakin-believable.

    May 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      enjoy it while it lasts Christians. Another 10 or 20 generations and the human race will look on your God and Jesus the same way as we look on Zeus and Thor and Ra (and santa claus and the tooth fairy) today. What a giggle!

      May 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • lol??

      In the name of what-god do you speak with your prophesy??

      May 5, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  9. Their Time Is Coming

    These gay haters were cut from the same pattern as were those who conducted The Inquisition and the egregious, low down acts from the Fifties with their penchant for mistreating Blacks, as were those who used the Bible to make slaves out of them. They tried to justify their wrong-doing with the Bible but God is not mocked! Their time is coming!

    May 5, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Chad

      =>interesting, so you endorse:
      – repealing all laws restricting gambling
      – repealing all laws restricting prostitution
      – repealing all laws restricting polygamy
      – repealing all laws restricting bestiality
      – repealing all laws restricting pedophillia
      – repealing all laws restricting drug use

      you oppose restricting any behavior that anyone wants to do?


      "I contend we are both conservatives, I just believe that one fewer societal behavior is proper than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible societal behaviors as being legitimate , you will understand why I dismiss your pet one(same se.x marriage) ." – Rephen Stoberts

      May 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • ME II

      Are you asserting that Religion, and Christianity in particular, is the only reason for the existence of such laws?

      May 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      To Chad:

      I favor repealing any laws prohibiting conduct that doesn't hurt anyone else, yes.
      As to pedophelia and bestiality, I'll stick with the "consenting adult" standard, even if the conduct isn't obviously harmful.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Athy

      What do those lows have to do with religion? They might have been endorsed by religion, but certainly not originated by religion.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @ME II

      Not worth using logic with Brad. Never argue with an idiot ... they'll bring you down to their level and beat you with experience

      May 5, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • lol??

      "..............Their time is coming!..............."
      Kronos is not to be feared.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "Are you asserting that Religion, and Christianity in particular, is the only reason for the existence of such laws?"

      @Chad "not at all, their are clearly benefits to society as a whole to make those activities unlawful. I put that list in there just to show the hypocrisy of a person labeling someone else that disagrees with their stance on gay marriage as a hate filled bigot. I'm sure you agree such is nonsense.

      Are you suggesting that the only reason for not wanting to change the definition of marriage to include same sex marriage is on Christian grounds?

      May 5, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Chad


      so, gambling, prost.itution, pedophillia, bestiality, drug use dont hurt anyone?

      1. we dont live on islands, we interact and we impact eachother
      2. who made you god? By what right do you claim the ability to decide who is an "adult" and who isnt?

      May 5, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • ME II

      I don't think your list portrayed what you intended. While it is not bigotry to disagree with gay activities on a personal level, i.e. 'It's not for me' kind of thing. I think someone disagreeing with two people's right to marry has an up hill struggle to not be viewed as a bigot, primarily because it doesn't affect you.

      "Are you suggesting that the only reason for not wanting to change the definition of marriage to include same s[]ex marriage is on Christian grounds?"

      1) I don't agree that it is "changing the definition or marriage"
      2) Yes, I am... well religious grounds any way, not just Christian.

      May 5, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II " I don't agree that it is "changing the definition of marriage"
      @Chad "interesting, why do you think it is then necessary to pass a law allowing same sex marriage?

      @ME II "Yes, I am... well religious grounds any way, not just Christian."
      @Chad 'interesting, you claim that no non-Christians oppose changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex marriage?

      May 5, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • ME II

      "interesting, why do you think it is then necessary to pass a law allowing same s[]ex marriage?"

      Actually, I think the courts often overturn bans on same-s.ex marriage because the statutes don't specify 1 man – 1 woman. Many of the laws being passed are changing or adding such a definition where one did not exist before, not the other way around.

      DOMA (1996), for example, is defining marriage as 1-man 1-woman, but it wasn't so before DOMA was it?

      Many of the first states, where courts forced it, allowed same-s.ex marriage because it was not dfined as 1-man 1-woman.

      "Forty-one US states currently define marriage as between a man and a woman. [Only] Three of those states have statutory language that pre-dates DOMA (enacted before 1996) defining marriage as such. "

      "interesting, you claim that no non-Christians oppose changing the definition of marriage to include same-s[]ex marriage?"

      I did not claim that, please read it again. what I'm saying is that, as far as I'm aware, the only reasons proposed for banning same-s.ex marriage, and therefore overriding the equal rights issues, are from a religious basis. None other claim to override equal rights, as far as I know.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
  10. Engineer in Raleigh

    I find it amusing that some people with the ostensibly central religious tenet "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" don't understand why it might make someone mad when you tell them they can't get married.

    It makes me wonder if these people think the Bible is a random collection of fatwas and incantations meant to send them to heaven.

    What amuses me most is that this same set of people are the ones who refuse to believe they descended from apes.

    May 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • darknesscrown


      May 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • lol??

      What amuses me is people that think they are descended from dogs are the first ones sayin' you need a license.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      "It makes me wonder if these people think the Bible is a random collection of fatwas and incantations meant to send them to heaven."

      You mean it isn't???

      May 7, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
  11. .


    May 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • clinky


      May 5, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    Without Honey BooBoo or the Kardashians to watch 2,000 years ago, people had to make stuff up to entertain themselves. The Bible is just a collection of the best of those stories. It's like America's Funniest Home Videos from the bronze age. 🙂

    May 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • edmundburkeson

      And Christ had nothing better to do than to sacrifice himself? That's a little hard to swallow!

      May 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • edmundburkeson

      2000 years from now know one will know who boo boo is!

      May 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      And 2000 years from now religions will no longer exist.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • edmundburkeson

      Does that include secularism, naturalism and materialism?

      May 5, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      I can imagine that also.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • edmundburkeson

      If the trend continues, all of Europe and America will be Muslim. They estimate that Europe has 50 years tops! You are the master ape. I hear and obey!!!

      May 5, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
  13. Ron

    They are removing blogs they don't like. CNN is a fraud!

    May 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      they must like this one ...

      May 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  14. Colin

    Q.4 I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am

    (a) A gifted psychologist

    (b) A well respected geneticist

    (c) A highly educated sociologist; or

    (d) A Christian with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.

    May 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Oh! Oh! I got it! Number 4!

      May 7, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
  15. Jessie Gutierrez

    How is CNN even on the air? No wonder these are all getting destroyed by Fox, mock all you want but number and showing the truth. (CHeck any nelson rating for any day for past 10 years. CNN is like MSNBC, ON THE WAY OUT and god only know I would never invest in them.

    May 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      then why are you on this Blog then you tool!

      May 5, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      FOX does well cause its the only place for crazy people. And when you have a monopoly its easy. Why don't you go post over there?

      May 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      I've heard of the Nielsen ratings, but not the Nelson ratings........anything to do with Ozzie and Harriet? The bad old days?

      May 7, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  16. matt houston

    I don't hate Christians, I hate the arrogance they possess in assuming they alone have the Truth as given to them by their religion. It also doesn't help that they are hypocrites when it comes to freedom of speech. Apparently, they learned zero from being an oppressed minority in their founding days....except for how to do what was done to them to others.

    May 5, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • SomeGuyInNC

      Agreed. And the interesting thing is that they're on their way to becoming a very marginalized minority. Not by virtue of demographics either. They've pretty much brought it on themselves – nobody likes a hater.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Colin

      It's the Christian activists I hate., The ones who want t omake laws or tell us all how to live based on their primitive sky-superst.ition.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • lol??

      colin sayz, "............primitive..........." You're insulting your ansisters. Far East won't like that.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  17. Colin

    Q. 2 You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are:

    (a) a reptile handler who has severe mental issues;

    (b) a five year old boy who just read a fairytale;

    (c) a scientific fraud; or

    (d) a Christian

    May 5, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • lol??

      It's a distraction so you don't hear the gospel of salvation. The Bible says nothing about the age of creation.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Oh! Oh! I got it, I got it!!! The answer is "any or all of the above"!

      May 7, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
  18. Colin

    Q.1 The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings on the planet are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the religion of:

    (a) The ancient Celts;

    (b) Bronze Age Egyptians;

    (c) Pre-Colombian Aztecs who knew no better; or

    (d) Modern Christians

    May 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • SomeGuyInNC

      That means we're all worshipping someone as cuddly as Kim-Jong Un. No, thank, you.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • davidi85

      Nope, he's not. If you denounce his name. And no longer or never did feel him in your heart then you have commit d the unforgivable sin. He will not force himself on anyone. And he lets you go to your own sinful desires. Man by himself is a hopeless case, my self included. I used to drink heavily and just about everything else you can think of.. But was I truly happy? No, that's what you have to ask yourself? Are you truly happy? do you have joy and love in your heart? That's what Jesus gives us.. I also disagree with allot of things that self proclaimed Christians have done. But if you research, you will learn that most of them just used this too fool others.. You can't believe everyone who says they are a christian is a christian. And please don't pass judgement on Jesus for the abomination of some self proclaimed Christians. And ANY Christian who thinks himself better than his brother is a fool. If they ever read the Bible they would learn that NO ONE is worthy of Jesus and we are saved only by Grace. If any haven't read the Bible , you owe it to yourself to do so with an open heart. If you don't, please don't judge all of us for a few..

      May 5, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
  19. SomeGuyInNC

    It's not persecution. It's merely disagreement. You do have freedom of speech, but not freedom from backlash.

    And even if it were persecution – who cares? The oppressors themselves would then be on the receiving end for a change. And not much as "oppression" goes – when one considers the hateful actions that evangelical types have inflicted on their fellow children of God over the decades. Fine, let them have a taste. They earned it.

    May 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  20. Ron

    CNN blogs are a fraud, They remove blogs that don't fit their agenda!

    May 5, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Ron, you dope, you're probably using one of the 50 verboten character strings somewhere in your message. Do you really think some p∞r schmuck at CNN sits there all day long reading these postings and deciding which ones to keep and which ones to throw in the bit bucket? Would YOU want a job like that? Well, neither does anyone else. It's their idiot nannybot at work, that's all.

      May 5, 2013 at 5:52 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.