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When Christians become a 'hated minority'
Evangelical Christians say they are the new victims of intolerance - they're persecuted for condemning homosexuality.
May 5th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

When Christians become a 'hated minority'

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - When Peter Sprigg speaks publicly about his opposition to homosexuality, something odd often happens.

During his speeches, people raise their hands to challenge his assertions that the Bible condemns homosexuality, but no Christians speak out to defend him.

“But after it is over, they will come over to talk to me and whisper in my ear, ‘I agree with everything you said,’" says Sprigg, a spokesman for The Family Research Council, a powerful, conservative Christian lobbying group.

We’ve heard of the “down-low” gay person who keeps his or her sexual identity secret for fear of public scorn. But Sprigg and other evangelicals say changing attitudes toward homosexuality have created a new victim: closeted Christians who believe the Bible condemns homosexuality but will not say so publicly for fear of being labeled a hateful bigot.

As proof, Sprigg points to the backlash that ESPN commentator Chris Broussard sparked recently. Broussard was called a bigot and a purveyor of hate speech when he said an NBA player who had come out as gay was living in “open rebellion to God.” Broussard said the player, Jason Collins, was “living in unrepentant sin” because the Bible condemns homosexuality.

“In the current culture, it takes more courage for someone like Chris Broussard to speak out than for someone like Jason Collins to come out,” says Sprigg, a former pastor. “The media will hail someone who comes out of the closet as gay, but someone who simply expresses their personal religious views about homosexual conduct is attacked.”

When is disagreement hate?

Bryan Litfin, a theology professor at Moody Bible Institute in Illinois, says Christians should be able to publicly say that God designed sex to take place within a marriage between a man and a woman.

“That isn’t so outrageous,” Litfin says. “Nobody is expressing hate toward homosexuals by saying that. Since when is disagreement the same as hate?”

But quoting the Bible doesn't inoculate anyone from becoming a bigot or hater, some scholars say. There's a point at which a Christian's opposition to homosexuality can become bigotry, and even hate speech, they say.

Crossing such a line has happened many times in history.

A literal reading of the Bible was used to justify all sorts of hatred: slavery, the subjugation of women and anti-Semitism, scholars and pastors say.

“Truly damaging speech cannot be excused just because it expresses genuine religious belief,” says Mark D. Jordan, author of “Recruiting Young Love: How Christians Talk about Homosexuality.”

“Some religious beliefs, sincerely held, are detestable. They cannot be spoken without disrupting social peace,” says Jordan, a professor at the John Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.

The point where religious speech becomes hate speech is difficult to define, though, scholars and activists say.

The Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama is a nonprofit civil rights group that combats and monitors hate groups. Three years ago, it designated the Family Research Council, the group that Sprigg represents, as a hate group - a characterization the group stridently rejects.

Mark Potok,  a center spokesman, says there’s no shared definition of what constitutes hate speech.

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

'One of the most hated minorities?'

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

The conservative media culture is filled with stories about evangelicals being labeled as “extremists” for their belief that homosexuality is a sin.

Their sense of persecution goes beyond their stance on homosexuality. There are stories circulating of evangelical students being suspended for opposing homosexuality, a teacher fired for giving a Bible to a curious student, and the rise of anti-Christian bigotry.

A blogger at The American Dream asked in one essay:

“Are evangelical Christians rapidly becoming one of the most hated minorities in America?”

The reluctance of evangelicals to speak out against homosexuality is often cited as proof they are being forced into the closet.

Joe Carter, editor for The Gospel Coalition, an online evangelical magazine, wrote a blog post entitled “Debatable: Is the Christian Church a ‘Hate Group’?" He warned that young people will abandon “orthodox” Christian churches that teach that homosexuality is a sin for fear of being called haters.

“Faux civility, embarrassment, prudishness and a fear of expressing an unpopular opinion has caused many Christians to refrain from explaining how homosexual conduct destroys lives,” Carter wrote.

Some Christians fear that opposing homosexuality could cause them to lose their jobs and “haunt them forever,” Carter says.

“It’s easier to just go along,” says Carter, who is also author of “How to Argue Like Jesus.” “You don’t want to be lumped in with the bigots. That’s a powerful word."

Edward Johnson, a communication professor at Campbell University in North Carolina, says we are now living in a "postmodern" era where everything is relative and there is no universally accepted truth. It's an environment in which anyone who says "this is right" and "that is wrong" is labeled intolerant, he says.

There was a time when a person could publicly say homosexuality was wrong and people could consider the statement without anger, he says. Today, people have reverted to an intellectual tribalism where they are only willing to consider the perspective of their own tribe.

“They are incapable of comprehending that someone may have a view different than theirs,” Johnson says. “For them anyone who dares to question the dogma of the tribe can only be doing so out of hatred.”

Sprigg, from the Family Research Council, says his condemnation of homosexual conduct does not spring from intolerance but a desire to protect gays from harmful conduct, he says.

Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the council, wrote in a council pamphlet that homosexual men are more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are straight men. He also wrote that gay men are also afflicted with a higher rate of sexually transmitted diseases and mental illness as well.

Sprigg says he does not believe homosexuality is a choice and that “personal testimonies" and "clinical experience” show that some people “can and do change from gay to straight.”

“Maybe we need to do a better job of showing that we are motivated by Christian love,” Sprigg says. “Love is wanting the best for someone, and acting to bring that about.”

'That's a lie'

Potok, from the Southern Poverty Law Center, has little use for the love Sprigg talks about.

He calls it hatred, and his voice rose in anger when he talked about the claims by Sprigg and other Christian groups that gay men are more predisposed to molest children and that homosexual behavior is inherently harmful.

He says the Southern Poverty Law Center didn’t designate the Family Research Group a hate group because they view homosexuality as a sin or oppose same-sex marriage, Potok says. There are plenty of Christian groups who hold those beliefs but are not hate groups, he says.

A group becomes a hate group when it attacks and maligns an entire class of people for their “immutable characteristics,” Potok says. The Family Research Council spreads known falsehoods about gays and lesbians, he says, such as the contention that gay men are predisposed to abuse children.

“That’s a lie,” Potok says. “These guys are engaging in straight-up defamation of a very large group of people. There are not many things much worse than you can say in America about somebody than they are a child molester.”

Potok scoffed at Spriggs’ claim that the council and other evangelical anti-gay groups are victims of intolerance.

“That’s whining on the part of people who spend their days and nights attacking gay people and then some people criticize them and they don’t like it,” he says. “That’s pathetic. It reminds me of slave owners complaining that people are saying ugly things about them.”

What the Bible says

What about the popular evangelical claim, “We don’t hate the sinner, just the sin” – is that seen as intolerance or hate speech when it comes to homosexuality?

There are those who say you can’t hate the sin and love the sinner because being gay or lesbian is defined by one’s sexual behavior; it’s who someone is.

“Most people who identify as gay and lesbian would say that this is not an action I’m choosing to do; this is who I am,” says Timothy Beal, author of “The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book.”

Beal, a religion professor at Case Western University in Ohio, says it should be difficult for any Christian to unequivocally declare that the Bible opposes homosexuality because the Bible doesn’t take a single position on the topic. It's an assertion that many scholars and mainline Protestant pastors would agree with.

Some people cite Old Testament scriptures as condemning homosexuality, such as  Leviticus 18:22 - “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” But other Christians counter by saying they are not bound by the Old Testament.

There are those who also cite New Testament scriptures like Romans 1:26-27 - “… Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men. …”

Beal, however, says Jesus said little about sex. And the Apostle Paul, who wrote Romans, was probably referring to male prostitution and men having sexual relations with boys, a practice in the Greco-Roman world.

“Paul does not understand genetics and sexual orientation the way we understand it now as something much more than a choice,” says Beal.

Some evangelicals say Christians can’t change their view of biblical truth just because times change. But some scholars reply:

Sure you can. Christians do it all the time.

Denying a woman’s ability to preach in church was justified by scriptures like 1 Timothy 2:11-12 - “… I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” But many churches have abandoned that teaching - and some scholars say a woman preached the first Christian sermon, when Mary Magdalene proclaimed that Jesus had risen.

Slaveholders in 19th century America justified slavery through a literal reading of the Bible, quoting Titus 2:9-10 – “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything. …” And anti-Semitism was justified by the claims that Jews killed Jesus, such as Matthew 27: 25-26 - “Let his blood be on us and on our children.”

Litfin, from Moody Bible Institute, acknowledged that the Bible once sanctioned slavery, but he said that practice was a “cultural expression” that changed over time. Evangelicals who oppose same-sex marriage by citing the Bible are on more solid ground, he says.

“Marriage is a universal and timeless institution that God set up for maximum human flourishing. He set it up in the first book of the Bible with the story of Adam and Eve. It is consistent throughout the whole Bible. … Marriage is in a different category than those cultural things.”

Public jousts over the Bible's stance on homosexuality rarely change people’s minds. What changes is when people get to know gay and lesbian people as friends and hear their story, says Beal, author of “The Rise and Fall of the Bible.”

“If you open up to that other person genuinely, you basically come to a point where you have to sacrifice them to your ideology or crack open your ideology to make a hospitable place for them,” Beal says.

One Christian pastor who is gay says the uproar over the ESPN commentator’s comments can actually be good,  because debates help settle moral disputes.

“What appears to us as antiquated and prejudicial now was once a disputed issue that required debate,” says the Rev. Richard McCarty, a minister in the United Church of Christ and a religious studies professor at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania.

Until the debate over homosexuality is settled - if it ever is - there may be plenty of evangelical Christians who feel as if they are now being forced to stay in the closet.

Carter, the evangelical blogger, says he foresees a day when any church that preaches against homosexuality will be marginalized. Just as many churches now accept divorce, they will accept sexual practices once considered sinful.

“It’s getting to the point,” he says, “where churches are not going to say that any sexual activity is wrong.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Culture wars • Protest • Sex • Sexuality • Sports

soundoff (10,982 Responses)
  1. toddjmorrison

    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful"
    -Lucius Annaeus Seneca

    May 6, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Chad

      was he talking about Christianity?

      Seneca died in 65 AD

      May 6, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • The real Tom

      Was Tod?

      May 6, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Concerned Citizen

      @Chad: Does it matter? Religion has always been a tool to control the weak minded. A pastor doesn't call his congregation a "flock" for nothing.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Charles

      Chad
      You're right. Seneca died before the rulers found Christianity useful, but the principle still holds, correct?

      May 6, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      Odd distinction that. Seneca would have been familiar with Jesus' religion, Judaism, right? But I suspect Seneca was speaking about religion in general, including, although perhaps not specifically, Christianity.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • toddjmorrison

      The point is simple: Religion has been, and still is, a tool to oppress/control people. It doesn't have to apply to Christians.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Seneca accomplished nothing more than atheists today. Make a glib assertion with no substance, though a partial grain of truth and see who runs with it. It's a form of intellectual "shepherding"

      May 6, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      Bill, So what in the bible has substance? For the majority of it, there's either no evidence for it or it has been disproven.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • JMEF

      BD, intellectual shepherding is different from brainwashing young minds by forcing the catechism on them, how?

      May 6, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • ME II

      @Bill Deacon,
      It's all part of God's plan is it not?

      (speaking of glib assertions)

      May 6, 2013 at 10:53 am |
  2. pdmoe

    very open minded comments, especially by people with names like ReligiousBS and Bible clowns. Lets talk about hypocracy, you berate and bash them because they dont agree with you. Irony!

    May 6, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • GrowUp

      Learn to spell, construct a sentence and punctuate properly before bothering us with your blather.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • ME II

      I think it is more because they want to limit others, not that they disagree. IMO

      May 6, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Charles

      When you are addressing bigots and racists there is a limit to the civility one should be expected to grant.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      What's hypocritical about observing that you Christians don't mind lying, hate indiscriminately, and have no intention of forgiveness? You want to someday approach your god, you better listen to what he told you. I should think you'd be grateful to us for pointing out that you hate non-Christians so you could try to do better, instead of just hating us more.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • faith

      " Lets talk about hypocracy" OK, let's. "Hypo," meaning under or below, and "-cracy," rule or govern. So you want to talk about being ruled from below?

      May 6, 2013 at 11:58 am |
  3. Gray

    No one is preventing evangelicals from marrying, or beating them up, or killing them, or bullying them until they take their own lives. No one is disowning their children just because they are Christians. No one I've ever heard of has lost his job because he's a Christian. If this guy really thinks he's part of the "most hated minority" in America, he is severely lacking in perspective.

    May 6, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Pete

      There was that Christian Hewlett-Packard employee who was fired for posting anti-gay Bible verses back in 2004, but he was actively protesting the company's new diversity in the workplace strategy, so he lost his court case claim of discrimination.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • In Conclusion

      Ah Pete, couldn't have happened to a nicer person!

      May 6, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Jason B

      But you are working in a very concerted effort to silence and prevent us, through the nonsense of political correctness, of preaching the word which states right and wrong.

      May your political correctness go back to He!! where it came.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • In Response

      Spoken like a true Christian, Jason B, who is supposed to turn the other cheek and love his neighbor!

      May 6, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      "But you are working in a very concerted effort to silence and prevent us, through the nonsense of political correctness, of preaching the word which states right and wrong."
      That's a dirty lie, and no less than what I expected from you. When have you EVER been prevented from talking about angels and sky people and rib-women? You can talk that stuff until you are blue in the face and no one will stop you. And here you are, telling us to stop talking. Welcome to America.

      May 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Jason B, your response exemplifies exactly what is wrong with so many followers of religions. Your religion defines what is right and wrong TO YOU. HOWEVER, your fairy tale book does NOT define what is right and wrong for our society. Only our duly elected or appointed representatives get that responsibility. Your religion offers only one possible view or suggestion of how our laws should be defined. That view must coexist with other religions and those who are athiest or agnostic. On this point, you must accept reality. We are a democracy, and you only get one vote.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
  4. QWERTY

    Never feel sorry for Christians that are bigots and racists!

    May 6, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • Dan Clayton

      Judge not...=)

      May 6, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      translation: Dont judge my religion, it makes people see it for the fraud that it is. Also, do not question the all powerfull oz.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Dan Clayton

      ReligionBS you twist words, I find it ironic that anti-Christ amoral bigots find it OK to use every tool in the book to belittle people trying to better themselves by living higher Christian principles... Yet when Christians get upset they hold Christians to their standards.... Ironic. It is also sad that Good is bad and bad is good.... That is why there are so many things wrong about America today... I am mostly concerned that our generations will be called fools by those who pay the price 50 years down the road

      May 6, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • richunix

      Remember bigotry knows no color, race or religion or social standing. All it understands is hatred

      May 6, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  5. danial54

    Ya'll are giving real Christians a bad name. Judge not.....and shut up.

    May 6, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      real christians give real christians a bad name. You beleive in talking snakes and blood sacrafices for goodness sakes.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • NTG

      What are real Christians exactly? The ones that kill people on sunday for working? The ones who still own slaves (because its ok in the bible)? Or the ones that gather in large numbers like zombies to a shopping mall every sunday and try to instill creationism tripe into schools? The list goes on.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Christians give themselves a bad name, they don't need help to do that.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Dan Clayton

      We live in such a pampered society. The men and women who founded this country would look at our day with disbelief and scorn. When did standing for a principle become a form of hate? Only when the over endulged, growingly dysfunctional children of this generation can't get their way, whatever it is...

      May 6, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "When did standing for a principle become a form of hate" Right before the founding fathers fled Europe becuase of their principles and hate. YOu have an awefully skewed view of history.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Madtown

      When did standing for a principle become a form of hate?
      -----–
      When it's a bigoted "principle" to begin with. Are you the type of person that would have supported the southern slave-owner? They were just standing up for principle.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Simon Says

      If being a pastor, priest or minister is considered an occupation, why are these guys and gals not stoned to death for working on the Sabbath? Next Sunday beat the crap out of your religious leader for his/her sins, thank you.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Frank

      Unbelievable.

      So the 90% of people world wide who do not condone two men sodomizing each other is a bigot?

      IS THAT WHAT YOUR LEFTIES ARE SAYING?

      May 6, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Frank, sources please. Thats what I thought. If 100% of elephants want you burned at the stake, shouldnt we listen to them?

      May 6, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Frank

      Gay Marriage is legal in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and Uruguay.
      The number of people who share your fear and hatred is shrinking daily.

      Also, plenty of hetero people enjoy sodomy.
      If God didn't want men to play in their poopers, why is the male g-spot (prostate) up in there?
      And if your hate is based on sodomy, does that mean you're OK with lesbians?

      May 6, 2013 at 11:02 am |
  6. richunix

    Christian, need to stop quoting “Bible” scriptures as some sort of truth. It has been long established within the academic community that the Gospel were written to enforce a belief and most are consider either Pseudepigraphic or Pseudo-anonymous. To make it simple: Read the crucifixion stories (not making this up) in all four gospel (Mark, Luke, Matthew and John)and you will four different accounts of what happened and yet only one unnamed Apostle was present. So how can you have four different account (some accounts with RED letter statements this is want JESUS said) To a believer they do not hold a strong convention of the scriptures and more so when they questioned.

    May 6, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      To be fair, just the fact that there are accounts of this event which have been so doggedly preserved indicate that there probably really was a Rabbi Yeshua bin Yusuf whose words were so wise that his followers thought he was the promised messiah and preserved them as best they could. I doubt he was actually divine or that he claimed to be, but his friends and students were determined not to let his words fade.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Dan Clayton

      What is long established and dismissed by some does nothing to change the realities that are taught in the Bible. Looking at the Bible from a Academic perspective you can not dismiss its effect on helping an individual control selfishness to the benefit of society. Self-focus limits ones ability to actually consider alternative perspectives. It increases the pride in ones own heart which limits their ability to be teachable. I find it very ironic that most who dismiss the Bible can not identify the principles that it actually teaches. They have not studied it enough to go beyond the weakness of the people who try it. That would be like giving up on being a doctor because of all the malpractice out there...

      May 6, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • richunix

      Dan,

      You are VERY right, the Bible does help those who wish to believe in the Christian ideals, but after nearly 5 years of studying the New Testament, learning konic Greek, reading why the orthodox corrupted the version they had. I also learned why people like Tertullin, Athanasius and Irenaeus did what they did. But at the end of the day, it is your belief and how to have come to accept the world. Thanks

      May 6, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • richunix

      Bible Clown:

      I'm more for the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, as I believe they are the closest anyone will ever be to the man called Jesus.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      You mean how you can help yourself by buying a slave to do all your work for you? Then read the bible for instructions on how to beat your slave if he gets out of line? Exodus 21:20-21

      May 6, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Dan Clayton

      @ReligionBS, You are applying todays luxury of democracy to early humanity. That is what I mean, you have to broaden your mind to be capable of considering the challenges back then. You are standing on the shoulders, of the shoulders, of the solders, of the shoulders, of the shoulders, of the solders that came before you and made the world a little better...

      May 6, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "You are standing on the shoulders, of the shoulders, of the solders, of the shoulders, of the shoulders, of the solders that came before you and made the world a little better..."

      Yes, I am, whats your point? While these shoulders were working (against the directions of your bible) to make the world a better place, your piece of crap 'holy book' was telling people to have slaves. Disgusting. And you want to attribute christianity to this progress? hahahahaha

      May 6, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Dan Clayton

      @BS You have obviously very little understanding of Christianity. All of the law in the Old Testament was completed at the time of Christ, and the new law "Christianity" following the example of Christ was established... Each era has its rules given the understanding and capability of the people. Your efforts are focused on dismantling a religion you find inconvenient without realizing it is part of the foundation of free society. Freedom only works with a people that control themselves. Remove all religion and you have to replace morality with ethics laws that would fill hundreds of books and remove all "free" choice. If you don't believe me look at the liberal bastion of California and study the ballooning books of law at the city, county, and state level

      May 6, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • richunix

      Dan,

      The earliest known writings for the Old Testament are taken from the “Septuagint” written in Konic Greek dated from the 2nd century BCE, some 200+ years before the arrival of the Nazarene.

      Otherwise I enjoyed your reponse

      May 6, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  7. Dyslexic doG

    People who don't want their beliefs laughed at shouldn't believe such funny things.

    May 6, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Dan Clayton

      People who think their few years of experience, and access to human knowledge are enough to dismiss the thousands of years of culture and religious beliefs that accommodated development of morality and led man to this democratic point need to challenge their pride and open their mind.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • GrowUp

      @Dan. And the tooth fairy says so.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Yet Dan Clayton thinks that hisr few years of experience, and access to human knowledge are enough to dismiss the thousands of years of culture and religious beliefs of thousands of other religions. You cant make this kind of stupid up folks, you have to be brainwashed from a very young age.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • QWERTY

      Never feel sorry for Christians that are bigots and racists!

      May 6, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Pete

      Dan Clayton
      Religion led man to this democratic point? Funny, considering that millions of Christians here in America continually pray for King Jesus to come and end democratic government here in the USA. None of them believes that there will be any more free elections after he returns and takes over the world, right? So, in reality, they're all praying for a dictator to come and impose their values upon all of us. How American of them!

      May 6, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Dan Clayton

      Nice to see namecalling and bigoted comments against Christians are the only things that these gay rights commenters can respond with. Why don't you actually make your case, If you are so pro American and anti-Christ what is America to you. A place without any restraint or social obligation. A place of unfettered personal endulgence. Sounds like Las Vegas for everybody. You must not be a parent or have an understanding for the innocence of those born into this life.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Yeah Dan, its like, if there wasnt christianity, people would be raping little kids while asking for donations, all to save yourself from hell!

      May 6, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  8. Dyslexic doG

    Christianity is the belief that a god impregnated a virgin with himself, to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to forgive the "original sin" of a couple we now all know never existed.

    Atheism is the belief that the above belief is fvcking stupid

    May 6, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Dan Clayton

      If gay rights were not inherently hyper emotional and disrespectful like this comment it may actually have a point

      May 6, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      More like it was a useful fiction and did a lot to help civilize the world and permit the development of a kind and moral culture, but now, like Santa Claus, it needs to be set aside with a smile. We've outgrown it.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • GrowUp

      Getting someone pregnant, without her consent, for your narcissistic need to be "worshiped" does not sound very "loving" to me. Just sayin.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • GrowUp

      @Dan. A little overly sensitive aren't you ?

      May 6, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Russ in OR

      Atheism:

      The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • The real Tom

      Feel better when you lie, Russ?

      May 6, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • Dan Clayton

      @ GrowUp I may be oversensitive, but its not for the reason you may think. I am a Christian, but I am more concerned that stupid is leading stupid. If there is a better more egalitarian way for a society to work we need to have this conversation. But to let corrupt politicians pit us against each other and then fight over unwinnable points while they get fat on our future is stupid. We need to have more intelligent conversation, and start making politicians accountable for the treasure they take from this country.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
      And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

      Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of
      our death. Amen.

      Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

      Hail Mary . . .

      And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.

      Hail Mary . . .

      Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

      Let us pray:

      Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

      Amen.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • biggles

      Lol

      May 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      You're all damned! Everybody knows that Atum created the rest of the gods by m-a-s-t-e-r-b-a-t-i-n-g! When your heart is weight against the Feather of Truth in the Underworld, the Divine Crocogater will eat your butt forever! It says so in the Book of the Dead, so it must be true!

      May 6, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
  9. GrowUp

    Christians have been whining for centuries. Perhaps they need to look in the mirror to understand why they have been disliked over the ages.

    May 6, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Dan Clayton

      Ironically, or not-ironically, Christianity is the only religion that could have created democracy. Its principles let everyone choose for themselves. It just so happens that most Christians believe nature and God in perfection can not abide wickedness too long. The bible talks about the earth being so offended it opens up to cover the wickedness forever. So Christians in our minds are simply warning those who have every right to do what they want, that every path leads to an end and the end to many corrupt paths is not pretty. People are still free to not listen... How can you really be offended by someone who really believes they have your best interest at heart.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • biggles

      We plan on doing a lot more whining. Get used to it

      May 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  10. palintwit

    Many studies have shown that there is a higher incidence of incest among bible belt evangelicals than in any other group that participated in those studies. Food for thought.

    May 6, 2013 at 9:51 am |
  11. Bible Clown©

    Peter Sprigg is a liar, and nobody ever comes up to him and whispers that they are afraid to admit being Christian, but you should send him your rent money anyway because he talks purty.

    May 6, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Why would he lie? Not believing him is like not believing Jodi Arias!

      May 6, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Pete

      And not believing Jodi Arias is like not believing any of the gospel writers.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  12. NTG

    When is the government going to fund research into the cure for this neurological disorder?

    May 6, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • mama k

      So you really feel having a belief is a neurological disorder?

      May 6, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • NTG

      Religion is a neurological disorder.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • cw

      mama K, you were able to discern that NTG is anti-Christian based on that sentence? You must have incredible powers of deduction.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Well theres thousands of different people worshiping thousands of different gods. They cant all be right...but they can all be wrong.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      read "The God Virus: How religion infects our lives and culture"
      by Darrel W. Ray

      May 6, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Jesus freaker

      That would be nice, but religious freedom will always be a right in this country no matter how crazy it seems.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      Having a religious belief is not a neurological disorder. Thinking you have a right to tell people who to love is a neurological disorder.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Science

      NTG...........by the numbers ?

      Monkey Math: Baboons Show Brain's Ability to Understand Numbers

      May 3, 2013 — Opposing thumbs, expressive faces, complex social systems: it's hard to miss the similarities between apes and humans. Now a new study with a troop of zoo baboons and lots of peanuts shows that a less obvious trait - the ability to understand numbers - also is shared by humans and their primate cousins.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130503132719.htm

      May 6, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • NTG

      I think it needs to be modified to Spiritual Freedom. Personal spirituality is fine, it's when the religious congregate into covens is when the problems are seen and felt. It just astounds me how many grown adults are willing to cast away all logical reasoning for this, it has to be some kind of disorder.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Pete

      Jesus freaker
      And freedom of speech in this country guarantees our right to express how crazy those religious beliefs seem as well. Some would rather we live in a country like Iran where criticizing religion, or should I say the predominate religion, can get you jailed, or worse.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Complacent Salamander

      Belief, and especially jumping to conclusions (even if most of the conclusions wrong) has had certain evolutionary advantages, partly because once in a while a highly advantageous correct conclusion pops out, and sometimes the "jump" is also the right emergency reaction. That is thought to be why it is part of how our brains work and have evolved. Religion is one of the unfortunate negative side effects; it is one of the "wrong" examples, Christianity being a prime case.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • NTG

      Christianity has done FAR WORSE to none believers over the years.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  13. dave

    playing with feces is gross - especially when two grown men do it

    May 6, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • mama k

      Grow up.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • GrowUp

      So why does it come out of your mouth? Imbecile.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Just Asking

      Speaking from experience perchance, Davey?

      May 6, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Paganscorp

      Nerd

      May 6, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • someone

      And it's any less gross between a man and a woman? Fecal matter stinks just the same.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Frank

      Right. And every one else has to ACCEPT and LIKE two men playing with feces with their private parts.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • fintastic

      @Frank...... it's very simple...... Don't accept it? don't like it? don't do it!.. try and wrap your tiny mind around that.

      May 6, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Frank, if you are so bothered by it, why are you watching it on those adult channels?

      I've been around for a while, and have never witnessed a single gay person "playing with fec es" in public. Have you? If not, how do you know they are doing so in private? Are you a voy eur who looks in others' bedroom windows at night?

      May 6, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  14. Nick D

    I absolutely abhor when Christians try to play the woe is me oppressed minority card. The reason people call you a bigot is because you're being a judgmental *expletive* and sticking your nose into matters that have absolutely nothing to do with you. I don't give a single solitary f#$@ what you or your peon brained compatriots have to say about me and my life. Mind your own business, no one asked you. Sit down and shut up.

    May 6, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • Paganscorp

      Very, very, very well put.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Complacent Salamander

      Third that.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Lance

      Apparently you do care, or you would not have such strong emotions that you felt the need to post here. I'm sorry the beliefs of others bother you so much.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  15. dave

    Christians are not a minority stop trying to play the victim you sound like women

    May 6, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      Last I heard, God didn't need to hide behind Granny's skirts. But go ahead and save Him from those terrible gay people because I'm sure He will become your New Best Friend after that.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:51 am |
  16. Ken

    Let's go through a list of some things that use to be sins for Christians.

    Christmas: Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans actually made celebrating Christmas a crime for about 13 years.

    Acting: For most of Christian history acting was regarded as the same as telling a lie about yourself. Somebody should tell Kirk Cameron!

    Interracial Marriage: The laws against this for purely "moral" reasons were only turned over a few decades ago in some places in this country. Amazing how fast things can change in Christian circles. Well, some Christian circles. There are still closeted Christians who see it as wrong.

    Being Left-Handed: Yup, that's where we got the word "sinister" from, after all. The Bible actually has way more verses against being left-handed than against being gay. My grandmother use to tell us how they would rap her on the knuckles in school every time she tried to write using her left hand. They use to think that they could "cure" that too.

    Let's hope that we can add being gay to this list sooner than later, eh?

    May 6, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  17. pdmoe

    Wow, look at all these hateful comments being made by these evil oppressive Christians. Oh wait, the comments are directed at them. This cracks me up.

    May 6, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • lamb of dog

      Two of the last three were hateful comments by christians.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • tallulah13

      Yeah, it's terrible when non-christians don't understand that you're not supposed to criticize the church, and that the more radical sects of christianity should be able to behave in bigoted and reprehensible ways as long as they do it in the name of god. Even though they can't even prove their god exists.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • ..

      Look at poster "faith"'s loving Christian posts. Hate hiding behind his book.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • pdmoe

      Now I understand, ANY comment made by a christian is hateful, but any comment made about a christian is "open minded and justified". Got it.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  18. roe

    It drives me crazy at the things we focus on when we can solve real problems.

    May 6, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Pete

      Discrimination against gays not an issue, eh? And I guess cancer isn't a "real problem" to anyone who doesn't personally have it either, but most people can still feel some sympathy for those who do suffer it.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  19. JJ

    But my faith directs me to hate certain groups of people and prosilytize to others in an attempt to convert them into my church. Baby Jesus said I would be hated in his name so bring on the hate since it just proves that I'm right since you are just fulfilling his prophecy. Glory!

    May 6, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • lamb of dog

      What goes around comes around.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • steve

      Religion=Hate....you said it buddy!

      May 6, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Simon Says

      Baby jesus would also hate you and kick you out of the club, unless of course you were giving money to his shaman.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:01 am |
  20. Jalexe

    After reading some of the responses about Christains using the Bible to push the the pro hate agenda. For one you have to understand that it the principle of gay marrige. We don't hate the people, just the lifestyle. Just like majority of parents dont hate there children, but hate what they did wrong. For those you have expirenced hateful reaction from Christians, i'm sorry, that is not the way were are suppose to react. Nevertheless, it does not excuse our stance on the issue. While times have changed, the principle marrage hasn't.

    May 6, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • lamb of dog

      Who cares if you like it or not. You should not be trying to tell people how to live.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Principle of YOUR marriage. Marriage has meant MANY things over the years and has changed drastically. Marriage for love? Used to be quite rare. Multiple marriage? Used to be quite common. Marriage as a religious activity? Totally optional.

      Marriage is a civil matter though some people like to add a religious service. Religion should be kept out of Marriage contracts and the gov't should stay out of religious service.

      I am married with 2 children. I have friends that are married with no children. I have divorced friends. I have gay friends that have been together for 28 years. Longer than any marriage of my friends or myself. I consider their relationship a model for my own. They are more married than most couples I know even without the doc.ument. They deserve the same benefits.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • GrowUp

      You have better things to worry about like how to construct a basic sentence.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Simon Says

      Please do not, I repeat, do not attempt to home school your off spring.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      "Just like majority of parents dont hate there children, but hate what they did wrong."
      See here's the rub. You equate their ( gay ) lifestyle as something 'wrong' - it isn't
      Your analogy would be more accurate if say you wanted you child to play basketball and he wanted to play the tuba. Would you hate him for playing the tuba? For that 'lifestyle'?

      May 6, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      "We don't hate the people, just the lifestyle." Oh, it's a "lifestyle?" Gay people are just in it for "kicks," daddy-o? Man, are YOU ever square. Imagine yourself heading out to the gay bar and trying on some of this "fun." Get real, it's not possible to "choose" a gay lifestyle. If it seems possible to you, you are at least bi. Sorry, but you need to know.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:12 am |
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About this blog

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