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. Dyslexic doG

    Christians should know about Horus from 3000 BC (Jesus is a copy of Horus), or Attis from 1500 BC (Jesus is a copy of Attis), or Mithra from 1200BC (Jesus is a copy of Mithra), or Krishna from 900BC (Jesus is a copy of Krishna), or Dionysus from 500 BC (Jesus is a copy of Dionysus) .... or any of the DOZENS of other gods predating the bronze age book character Jesus who were born of a virgin on Dec 25, traveled as a teacher, had 12 disciples, performed miracles, was killed and lay dead for 3 days and was resurrected.

    Christians are not even original! What a joke!

    May 5, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      Oh, I think if you just do a smidge of actual research, you'll figure out what the joke really is.
      BTW, just to get you started, Christians never claimed Jesus was born on Dec. 25th. And, deities born from rocks, aren't generally known to be virgin-born, unless you start looking at rocks in a whole new way. 😉

      May 5, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Answer

      "Christians never claimed Jesus was born on Dec. 25th. "

      ===Yourself knowing that exclusive fact.. why do you get upset at being challenged about your "Christmas" if your savior wasn't born on that day.

      It speaks volume then that it was a day that was co-opted to give your puny religion relevance.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      Umm... it was a day that was co-opted to civilize society a bit. You might want to do some historical research on what went on on Dec 25th before it was Christianized, so to speak. It wasn't all that long ago, actually.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • Answer

      "Umm... it was a day that was co-opted to civilize society a bit."

      ==Let's see you put your faith behind your own assertion.

      Go for it. Explain what your feeble words are trying to grasp at.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • mike

      -Steve Wilkinson-

      ...as opposed to deities born from a sky-wizard's space-semen?

      May 5, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • Answer

      "Uhm .. it was done for these other religions (for their own good)."

      "Uhm.. we tried to give them a helping hand by making them accept our view."

      "Uhm.. we christards were in the right to make this our holiday."

      May 5, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • faith


      your critics caution everyone to avoid your ridiculous theories, even after you accuse them of discounting your "work" based on your gender.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • faith

      "Christians should know about Horus from 3000 BC (Jesus is a copy of Horus" proof murdock?

      May 5, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      I think this is that the phrase, 'pearls before swine' is talking about.

      May 6, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Tammy

      Jesus was a copy of Dionysus? Haha...sure, Jesus was the "god" of wine and fertility – that's exactly what he preached and lived. O.o

      I weep for the future.

      May 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I weep for people like Tammy that can't understand the meaning implied by a slightly imperfect usage of language.

      May 10, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  2. Paul Jaramillo

    You are only hearing the minority who have hate in their hearts for a gay person.
    A small number of Christians are fixated on this issue. Sin has no level of bad, from 1 to 10.
    You just can't label every Christian, a hate monger, only those who forgets the concept of love your neighbor.

    May 5, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      I want to love my neighbour – I REALLY do – but if my wife finds out ...

      May 5, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      I agree that only a minority of Christians have hate for GLBT folks. The rest of us have love. The question is: What is the loving thing to do? How do we best love our neighbor? That's why so many of us are actually fixed on this issue. If you know an alcoholic, is the most loving thing to do: A) Pass a law that encourages them to drink more? B) Just let them be? C) Love them by trying to get them some help and to stop drinking? With GLBT behavior, we're called 'haters' if we do C, most just do B, and the push is to do A at the Government level.

      And, sin actually does have levels of bad from 1-10. Where it doesn't, is in regard to your guiltless state before God. But, it seems a bit silly to say that someone lying to their friend is just as bad as hacking them up with an axe, doesn't it? The 'all sin is equal' thing is just goofy oversimplification of a theological point which ends up getting it all wrong.

      They are labeling the opposition to their efforts as hate-mongers, because in a society where most people can't think their way out of a paper bag, it rhetorically works.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
    • Answer

      "And, sin actually does have levels of bad from 1-10." << - Hilarious.

      Now that is a new one.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • Answer

      Tell everyone specifically why it is a direct 1 to 10 level.

      Tell everyone why it isn't 1 to 100. Or 1 to 1000?

      Did it go through the papal process?

      **I love these new spins by the apologists.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ Steve – are you surprised that you are called a hater if you try to get gay people "help" to stop their behaviour? (Your "C") Seriously, do you believe that with some kind, loving , Christian "help" the gay people can see the light and get straight with the Lord?

      In a nutshell, you have demonstrated an amazing ignorance. No wonder people don't like Christians. They're idiots!

      May 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      @ Answer
      And I just love people who don't engage the brain before responding... 😉
      I think you need a basic math or statistics class there. 1-10 (on a scale of 1-10) would be the same as 1-100 or 1-1000, you'd just express the answer differently. ie: 2.5, 25, 250

      May 5, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      Yep. Why is that ignorance? Maybe you can explain. Thanks.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Gays are 'fairy' nice guys. No/ Really they are fairy nice people these fairies are! Honest injun!

      May 5, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • ..

      Steve, you can't stop gay people from being gay anymore than you can stop straight people from being straight. Get a clue.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Answer


      So your levels of sin are subject to a factor / common denominator? Great system.

      And you didn't reply on whether it went through the papal authority. Meaning your pile of c-r-a-p is just that.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Steve. Interesting that you'd equate gay with alcoholic. Do you believe that it is a disease that can be cured if only you want to and work hard?

      May 6, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • G to the T

      Steve – you love them by letting them exercise their own free will and try to not legislate morality (as much as practicle) to conform with your own personal views. The most liberty possible for the most people possible. That's where you start...

      May 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Answer, a few days late but hopefully helpful I think the pope would support this:

      Mortal sins are those that kill the relationship with God with finality
      Venial sins are those that injury the friendship with God but are not final

      Your priest can help you determine which you have committed.

      May 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  3. One one

    What exactly is Jesus "saving" us from? His wrath, and the curse he put on all mankind because, in the beginning, two people wanted knowledge? Then he changes his mind and decides to lift his curse. How does he do this? By impregnating a virgin with his son (who is really himself), then torturing and killing his son. Of course, that makes sense! He could have easily lifted his curse by simply waving his magic wand. But no. He prefers the drama of bloody torture and sacrifice. Now, if we believe all that hocus pocus, we get to go to heaven and live forever after we die. But if we don't, Jesus sends us to hell to burn forever, because he loves us but hates our belief. Yep, that makes sense to me...NOT.

    If it doesn't make sense to you, why would you take seriously anything else these people have to say ?

    May 5, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG


      May 5, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      And, evolution is Richard Dawkins emerging from a mud puddle. Gee, that seems rather silly too now, doesn't it? I guess the lesson here, boys and girls, is that anything semi-complex can be made to look silly if you try hard enough, or are ignorant enough about it. Maybe we should actually try to understand what we're disagreeing with before we do, huh? But, I guess knocking down straw-men is just so much less work.

      The funny thing about the above, is that God just can't win. If He does something about the evil in the world, then everyone says, "Why can't he just say 'hocus pocus' and have it be over with." Yet, if he doesn't do anything, then everyone says, "Where is God... where is justice!?"

      So, when the Boston Marathon Bomber gets to trial, should the judge just 'hocus pocus' that away and send him off with a hefty reward?

      May 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Chad

      The biggest problem is that every one of your statements is wrong...

      Does knowing that cause you any doubt about embracing atheism? No? why in the world not??

      one by one..

      @One one "What exactly is Jesus "saving" us from? His wrath, and the curse he put on all mankind because, in the beginning, two people wanted knowledge?"
      @Chad "the bible states that the man sinned by disobeying the command of God.

      @One one "Then he changes his mind and decides to lift his curse."
      @Chad "the curse was never lifted, the bible states that Jesus became the curse for us and God condemned that on the cross. The penalty was paid, not lifted.

      @One one "By impregnating a virgin with his son (who is really himself),"
      @Chad "God is "one" with Jesus, but that does not mean they are the same person..

      @One one " then torturing and killing his son"
      @Chad "mankind put Jesus on that cross.

      @One one " He could have easily lifted his curse by simply waving his magic wand"
      @Chad "It may be that the Deity can forgive sins, but I do not see how - Socrates 500 BC

      you'll need to think that thru some more..

      @One one "But if we don't, Jesus sends us to hell to burn forever, because he loves us but hates our belief."
      @Chad "God sends no person to hell, He honors your decision to send yourself there.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Answer


      "you'll need to think that thru some more.. " <<< it's so rich.


      May 5, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Chad

      As a parent, what do you do when one of your children strikes and injures another on purpose?

      nothing? Dont address it at all?

      May 5, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • Answer

      Go use your babble, Chard.

      Play the sophist's routine and play the emotions game. Is that all you can do?

      May 5, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Answer

      Let's play that other morality game that you tools want to get at also...

      It's your choice: do you willingly r-a-p-e one person to save the lives of ten hostages?

      It's your choice: do you willingly r-a-p-e one person to save the lives of ten thousand hostages?

      It's your choice: do you willingly r-a-p-e one person to save the lives of ten million hostages?

      It's your choice: do you willingly r-a-p-e one person to save the lives of seven billion hostages?

      ===Now we do the opposite...

      It's your choice: do you willingly r-a-p-e one person to save the life of one hostage?

      It's your choice: do you willingly r-a-p-e ten people to save the life of one hostage?

      It's your choice: do you willingly r-a-p-e ten thousand people to save the life of one hostage?

      It's your choice: do you willingly r-a-p-e ten million people to save the life of one hostage?

      It's your choice: do you willingly r-a-p-e seven billion people to save the life of one hostage?

      ***Sophists tricks on morality mean nothing to myself. Because I can see through the whole ploy.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • Answer

      Sophist tricks are just tricks .. designed to make you feel bad about the price you are willing to pay. To feed guilt into a question whereby all the other options are handed to you from their advantage.

      Make some guilty and then feed them your bs religion.


      You don't even rate as a proper apologist to me.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • Believer

      If I believe in God and believe God's plan of salvation is through Jesus Christ and I believe Jesus' teachings and call Him Savior and Lord, am I offending anyone? Does anybody hate me? If I wish others would respect and revere a holy God and Jesus and the Bible, does that make me a hater? If I care about others and invite someone to read the Gospels to learn about Jesus and His bold claims, is that offensive, assuming it is done in Love?

      May 5, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      "the bible states that the man sinned by disobeying the command of God.
      Presuming the bible to be correct, doesn't that mean that god is not omnipotent or it could have stopped that

      "The penalty was paid, not lifted."
      Surely that's why there was a penalty.

      "God is "one" with Jesus, but that does not mean they are the same person."
      So Jesus is not god? And is therefore not worshipped – false idol and all that.

      "mankind put Jesus on that cross."
      If god where omnipotent it could have stopped that. As I recall didn't Jesus already know so he could have avoided. And anyway wasn't it god's plan so only god is to blame.

      "It may be that the Deity can forgive sins, but I do not see how – Socrates 500 BC"
      Surely that's one of the fundamentals of christianity. Doesn't the bible quote Jesus as saying 'who among you is without sin should cast the first stone' Luckiy heaven doesn't exist – sounds like a lonely place.

      "God sends no person to hell, He honors your decision to send yourself there."
      Except if god is making the rules and the judgement it's god that's doing the sending.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Well, Believer, if your God wants you to actively help to remake society in a way that reflects its divine plan for all of us do you feel obliged to work toward that?

      May 5, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Steve, Christians claim that your god is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent; created the universe and all in it. So this god created evil, viruses, disasters, etc. Christians claim that this god can do anything but chooses not to unless one prays really hard and then it still might not do anything. In fact there's no difference between dumb luck and divine intervention.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • Earnhardt

      God is saving us from our self destruction. He died to save us because he LOVES us. Gave HIS ONLY SON for us.
      Think about it. He wants to take the self destruction OUT and REPLACE it with HIS LOVE.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • skytag

      Earnhardt, what evidence do you have that anything you just said is true?

      May 5, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • The real Tom

      I love it when the Vegetable proclaims someone else "wrong" because the bible says so.

      May 5, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • Chad


      As a parent, what do you do when one of your children strikes and injures another on purpose?

      nothing? Dont address it at all?.

      If you feel confident in your position, why the difficulty defending it?

      – an omnipotent being can give another being free will to obey or disobey.
      – Jesus and the God of Father are independent beings, both worshiped and glorified
      – you should read up on the difficulty of a just being forgiving sin.

      As a parent, what do you do when one of your children strikes and injures another on purpose?

      why does no one want to answer that question?

      May 5, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Poor Chard. You just can't get any real discussions going anymore, can you? Maybe it's because pretty much everyone on here knows it's a waste of time to bother with you. You'll do what you always do. It's dull. You're a bore.

      May 5, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • pothead

      Well put One One!

      May 5, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
  4. Reasonable Question

    Where is my post

    May 5, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Reasonable Question

      You said, "Where is my post"
      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 8:23 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      That's what she said.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
  5. Colin

    Must go. Dinner time and still a bit jet-lagged. I leave my Bible cuddling friends with a parting thought.

    The belief that an infinitely old, all-knowing sky-god, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, chose a small nomadic group of Jews from the 200 million people then alive to be his "favored people" provided they followed some rural laws laid down in Bronze Age Palestine equals Judaism.

    Judaism PLUS a belief that the same god impregnated a virgin with himself to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to negate a rule he himself made equals Christianity.

    Christianity PLUS a belief that the secrets of the Universe were revealed to a failed conman in upstate New York, that aliens from other planets mated with humans who will one day be gods, that post mortem baptisms send people to a heaven, that the Israelis colonized America and that magic underwear will protect you from evil equals Mormonism.

    I guess Christians can take solace from the fact that Mormons take the gold for utterly stupid beliefs.

    One can imagine Brigham Young standing on a pedestal, accepting his medal and humbly proclaiming, “If my beliefs are even more ridiculous than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants”.

    When, oh when, are you sky-fairy believers going to grow up?

    May 5, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Nice one, Colin – well said. Now go enjoy your din dins – you've earned it.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • Travis

      Oh, sky cake...why are so delicious?

      May 5, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
  6. Ryanmaudi

    The problem with religion today is that it corrupted and flawed. That's true and no one can deny it. Both very devote Christian and extreme atheists are, in my eyes, wrong. Christians don't believe in free thinking, it's all about the Bible and their religious leaders. They don't think for themselves enough. Atheists, on the otherhand, think too freely. They believe that because no one judging them, they don't need to follow any morals and rules because their will be no consequences after they die. Now this only applies to some Christians and some atheists. All Christians believe they're saved and watched and judged and all atheists believe they're smarter than every other religious person. Organized religion arose with organized government in order to keep society from chaos and under order. Religion isn't bad. It's just organized religion that gives it a bad name. Atheists believe there above other people and are free thinking and don't follow anyone's rules, but they follow the laws of government. Hypocritical, but understandable. The sad truth is that the only religion we all follow nowadays is greed with our god being the almighty dollar.

    May 5, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      Yes, many worship Mammon.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • lionlylamb


      May 5, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • LinCA


      Being an atheist doesn't mean having no morals. It means not believing in any gods. Nothing more, nothing less. It is exactly the same as not believing in the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny.

      Just because atheists don't have imaginary friends doesn't mean they have no morals.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • Athy

      Well said, LinCA. That seems simple enough even for the religies to understand. Do you suppose they will?

      May 5, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said, "That seems simple enough even for the religies to understand. Do you suppose they will?"
      Probably not. It would require them to acknowledge that the core belief of their religion isn't any more rational than a belief in the Tooth Fairy. Once someone realizes that, I doubt they remain believers.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • Travis

      Couldn't have said it better myself. It's nice to see that this blog hasn't attracted only the self-righteous and narrow-minded.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
  7. Tim Riker

    "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37

    "To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

    “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

    “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14

    May 5, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • Answer

      Paint your house with nitro-glycerin. You'll feel better tomorrow.

      Do-It 2:day

      May 5, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      Odd how many hate mongers focus on old tribal law and not what Jesus was reported to have said.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Given that the Bible was written by a number of people, and people run the range from angelic to monsters, it's not surprising that there are parts of the Bible that carry wisdom. This of course in no way implies that the rest of the Bible is wise, nor does it imply that the Bible is in any way divinely inspired. It's merely a reflection of humanity – the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you derive comfort and inspiration from the good parts, then enjoy. Just don't use the bad parts ie gays are an abomination – to spread hate.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Tim Riker

      The Family Research Council broke the Ten Commandments when they lied and spread myths about gays and lesbians.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Santa 1 1:1 Ho Ho Ho!

      May 8, 2013 at 1:06 am |
  8. Travis

    Expressing your social or religious views is perfectly acceptable. Saying you disagree with the beliefs or actions of another person is perfectly acceptable. However, when you hold the rest of the world to the same standards to which you hold yourself, and when you universally condemn those with whom you have disagreements – that's hatred. Whether Christians like it or not, the Bible is not a universal truth. If a person chooses to live their lives guided by Biblical principles, that's fine. In fact, it's admirable. Few role models exist who are better than Jesus Christ, and even an imperfect person who strives to follow His example is doing a good thing. But not everyone chooses to follow the same path, and it's wrong for us to expect that everyone will conform to our individual moral standards. The Bible, Torah, Koran, and all other great religious texts are written and inspired by man, and man is inherently flawed. No one has a monopoly on truth and righteousness, no matter how much you want to believe you do. Fundamentalists believe that they are superior to other who do not share their beliefs, and this is the very definition of bigotry.

    May 5, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • lionlylamb


      So,, Atheistic Fundamentalists are fundamentally scorned and/or praised each according to those Christian hate groupies?

      May 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
  9. Sarah

    Christianity is not the hated minority, gay-bashers are. They are not to be confused, and shame on CNN for posting this crappy journalism.

    May 5, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      good note
      It is sad how many hate mongers get away with claiming to represent one religion or group.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Except that many gay bashers who happen to be Christian base their views on gays – ie they are abominations – on their Christian faith. The two are tied together. Obviously there are many, many Christian sects that do not preach that gays are evil, etc – look at the United Church, for example. But the hardline, Fundamentalist Christian sects – watch out! Like ANY fundamentalist sect – Christian, Muslim, Jew, whatever – it is the hardline religious nutbars that really, really taint their entire religion.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
  10. justsomeone

    People have the misconception that it is ONLY the christians who disagree with people being gay, but it is not. From my observations as a high school government teacher where we have had many open discussions about this issue, it is not just the christians that are anti-gay, there are plenty of people who are for some reason or another.

    May 5, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • Joe

      But Christians are the loudest and have the power to do the most harm.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Certainly in the United States that is the case – the majority of religious people are Christians, the majority of people who gay bash based on religious doctrine are Christian. This does not take away from the h-ardcore fundamentalist Muslims and Jews who gay-bash, but they are a much smaller group.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  11. Surthurfurd

    I do not think one's religion defines how they treat people. There are great and terrible people in all groups. The problem we have is when we are part of one group we tend to forgive the shames of the group's members while being extra sensitive to the shames of others.

    May 5, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • Lyle

      "I do not think one's religion defines how they treat people."

      Ever hear of 9/11?

      May 5, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  12. u

    Lamb of Dog
    If thats what you need to believe. I dont see how an omnipotent being changes. And why would he need to create a son for this. Couldnt god have just stopped being a jerk without jesus?

    lamby, if the sky were green and u had 2 brains cells, dodo could kiss sambo

    May 5, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • Joe

      Maybe he is not so omnipotent. Remember he created everything in 6 days and was so pooped he needed to rest.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • PraiseTheLards

      Joe, you have a point... if there was indeed a "god" he sure would have been better off making the week only 5 days... then there would be 73 of them in a year and things would be much more predictable...

      May 5, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • ..

      Oh, great. The simpleton "faith" has a new screen name to hate behind.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
  13. Rob

    Can you honestly write that the "The Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama is a nonprofit civil rights group that combats and monitors hate groups?"

    They have an agenda that is just a strong as the Family Research Council. Your analysis of the scriptute is infantile and shows poor reporting. You can get really good scripture scholars on both sides of this question.

    Report that! You have written an op-ed and not a good one. Poor journalism, but this blog has been underwhelming since it started.

    May 5, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • allens

      aside from what you said (which was well put). how can they say they are christians, when they show such hate and anger? do they believe jesus would have behaved that way? i think if anyone is hell bound, it is these hateful good christians.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • Janet W

      A statement equating the Southern Poverty Law Center with the Family Research Council can only be made by a person who knows nothing about the work of the Southern Poverty Law Center. As a monetary contributor yearly since 1986, I've supported the group's widening scope through the years. It began focusing on using the law to go after racist groups like the Klan, then branched out to other white supremacy groups, anti-immigrant groups, and anti-gay groups. Unlike the Family Research Council, SPLC promotes tolerance of differences. Ever heard of Teaching Tolerance magazine? Check it out. It's free to educators and donors. Tolerance is not what Family Research Council is about.

      I support tolerance. People, the world is too small to only have your, or my, idea as THE idea. And your religion, despite your opinion, is not the only religion, or even the one true one. It never was and it never will be.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
  14. Religion

    Christians: "Why is everyone so intolerant of the fact that we're a bunch of hateful, bigoted, hypocritical d-baggs who have a pathological obsession with running other peoples lives?"

    May 5, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • Esaias

      Wow, you just proved the author's point.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • Paul Jaramillo

      Nobody in this nations runs your life, where do you get these ideas?
      In this nation you can live as you please.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
    • lionlylamb


      Quit it with your lemon-aiding those 'fairy like' gays passing you by at the corner. Betcha they were thinkin 3-some! OWTH, Toga,, toga.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ lionly – how old are you? Seriously? Ten? You sound like someone in grade four.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • average christian

      from the way you are talking I can tell you are not a christian but a religious person. Christ would not write abusive language like you

      May 5, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
  15. Paul Jaramillo

    Surthurfurd: Being treated like your inferior did not begin or end with Christians,
    people who are rich also treat you the same way.
    You will always find someone who thinks they are better than you,
    but they are lying to themselves. Putting someone down to pull yourself up
    is not a Christian concept, it is a human concept.

    May 5, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      I would never claim that Christians even function as a unity, much less are accusable regarding the actions of some of the members.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
  16. Colin

    10 Commandments that every child should be taught.

    1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.

    2. DO NOT think that claims about magic, miracles and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.

    3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.

    4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars want to prohibit you from looking under the hood.

    5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and ghouls and believing in any of them does not make one moral.

    6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should you believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.

    7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?

    8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of God,” “God is outside the Universe” or “God moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered fool.

    9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?

    10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.

    I sometimes think that, if we taught our children these simple rules on how to think, instead of what to think, the mindless, retarded, childish nonsense we call Christianity, would be gone within a generation.

    May 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Zargoth

      Best post ever; thank you, Colin!

      May 5, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • Esaias

      Colin, thanks for proving the author's point!

      May 5, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
    • Captain Kirk

      @Esaias – how so? What specifically is the problem?

      May 5, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
  17. Joe

    So a Christian can use the Bible to harm others (lgbt kids committing suicide by the thousands each year as a result of their hatred) and if they get called out on it, they are the victims?????

    May 5, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • Paul Jaramillo

      No Christian is going to cause the suicide of a Gay person.
      A person who does that is filled with anger and not the love of Christ.
      Jesus spent his time with people who he was told not to, the love of Christ
      will not permit the loss of one person through self hatred. To cause the suicide of a person is a grave sin.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • Joe

      Well, this happens all the time. I happen to know gay people who attempted to kill themselves because they felt there was no place for them in God's house because of what the Christians in their life told them.

      If you say that no Christian would do this, then who should I believe is a Christian is I can't rely on someone identifying themselves as such.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
  18. Colin

    The funny thing about most evangelical Christians is that they are only Christians because of where they were born. HAd they been born in Iran, they would likely be Muslim, if in India, Hindus or Jains, if in Tibet, Buddhists. They are too fvcking stupid to realize their god is no more universal than the language they speak.

    May 5, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Philip L

      "They are too fvcking stupid to realize their god is no more universal than the language they speak." Colin you announced to the world your low IQ by the highly "intellectual" words used to express a poorly reason argument. I bet if vulgarity was magically eliminated you would be left to use grunts and pointing to say you want something.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • Athy

      "Poorly reason argument" What the hell is that?

      May 5, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
  19. mellimac

    Organized Christianity was called a cult at one time, then it became mainstream, now it can't get away from it's own dogma. Eventually, folks will recognize it as a cult again, then poof, it will go the way of greek gods (good movies though).
    In a perverse way I like the spirit of modern churches, but all that baggage (witch hunts, inquisition, holy wars etc) will eat it up.
    The absurdity of defining a partnership between two folks as sacrosanct to Christianity doctrine is akin to Zeus controlling the kingship of the gods.

    May 5, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
  20. Just Call Me Lucifer

    How about you christians and muslims pick a nice neutral place to slaughter each other and leave those of us who dwell in reality to propagate the planet. Hell, I'll even donate money so you can buy weapons to kill each other off.

    May 5, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • mark

      Your type is propagating the planet....there are atheist all over the world killing hundreds of thousands of people. Just move to China. Hang with Lennonist, Stalinist ,Mao. Hey Albania is declared as atheist move there with all their freedoms. Please go!

      May 5, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • ..

      Don't know the difference between atheism and totalitarianism? Please learn before spouting off, mark. You look ignorant.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • mark

      The leaders were atheist, don't pretend to be smart. 1976 Albania one of the most restrictive societies on earth declared itself an atheist country.

      May 5, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • mark

      The leaders were atheist, don't pretend to be smart. 1976 Albania one of the most restrictive societies on earth declared itself an atheist country, just saying...... move there!

      May 5, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Just Call Me Lucifer

      My "type" is propagating the planet.? I just love how you assume that I'm an atheist. Nice chip on your shoulder you got there.
      I know... perhaps you can pray to your no-show god and have him smite me or something. Oh wait, thats right, your god NEVER shows up and NEVER answers your prayers. Good luck with that genius.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • Just Call Me Lucifer

      By the way mark, as long as atheists are killing christians and muslims, I'm completely ok with that. You dumb phucks have been a bane of humanity for way too long. How about they nail you to a cross so you can die like your christ supposedly did. I mean, of course you realize that whole POS book you christians supposedly follow was made up by men. No god ever wrote a book.,
      and I'd bet good money you've never read it cover to cover anyway, just like 94% of all christians.

      May 5, 2013 at 9:29 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.