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May 11th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

My Take: ‘Gay Christian’ is not an oxymoron

Editor’s note: Justin Lee is the Executive Director of the Gay Christian Network and author of Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate.

By Justin Lee, Special to CNN

(CNN)–In high school, I was a Christian know-it-all.

My nickname was "God boy," and I was known for regularly preaching at my friends about social issues of the day. I dismissed their objections - and accusations of homophobia - as intolerance for my faith.

"I'm just telling you what God's Word says," I'd argue.

Years later I realized my mistake. What my peers most objected to wasn't my beliefs - it was my condescending attitude. I debated and preached when I should have listened. I thought that stating my position loudly and unyieldingly was a sign of strength. In the process, I alienated my friends.

I'm still an evangelical Christian, but one thing is now crystal clear to me. American evangelicals' bad reputation isn't just because of what we believe. It's mostly because of how we behave.

When ESPN commentator Chris Broussard was criticized for saying that openly gay NBA player Jason Collins was “openly rebelling against God,” some evangelicals argued that conservative theological views are no longer tolerated in America.

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But they're missing the point.

Broussard's language didn't just express a religious view about sexual morality; it referred to gay people in ways that were dehumanizing, reducing all gay people's lives to a single sex act. Other outspoken Christians routinely say even worse things, comparing gay people to pedophiles, for example.

No one is immune from criticism in a free country with diverse beliefs. But if Christians feel particularly singled out at times, I'd argue that our perceived lack of empathy for others is largely to blame.

I can often test a Christian's level of empathy by offering a single admission: When I was 18, I realized that I'm gay.

Empathetic Christians are typically intrigued by such a statement, even if they also question how a conservative Southern Baptist could also be openly gay. They want to know about my struggles, how my family and church responded, and whether I ever feel my faith and sexuality are at odds with one another.

I love these questions, because they show that the other person genuinely sees me as a human being.

But far too often, Christians respond not with curiosity and questions but with politics and preaching.

They quote Bible passages at me, make assumptions about my faith, or tell me why they’re opposed to same-sex marriage.

I'm no longer a person to them; I'm a symbol of a culture war. A battlefield. And when I don't want to be treated that way, they assume I'm turning away because I didn't really want to hear the truth.

This kind of behavior is why so many of my LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) friends want nothing to do with the church.

But it's not only them.

In my book, "Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate," I share the story of Cindy, a conservative evangelical mom whose life was thrown into turmoil when her son told her he was gay.

This wasn't a political question for Cindy; it was a personal one. But the dehumanizing rhetoric about gay people she heard from the pulpit made her afraid to talk to anyone at church about her son's sexuality.

Christians are not a monolithic group. I know many empathetic Christians, including many who speak up regularly for their LGBT brothers and sisters.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

The loudest megaphones do not speak for the rest of us, but they are still loud, and legion. To them I say: Gay people are not an issue. We're people. Some of us are Christians, too. And if it disturbs you that I refer to myself as both gay and Christian, I invite you to take the time to get to know me, and read what I write. You don't have to agree, and you might think I’m a sinner, but at least you’ll see me as a human being.

Baptist minister and author Tony Campolo quips that Jesus entreated Christians not to "love the sinner and hate the sin," but to "love the sinner and hate your own sin."

Jesus saved his harshest words for the self-righteously devout and chose the outcasts and sinners as his closest friends.

Perhaps a lesson in Jesus-style humility might do us all some good.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Justin Lee.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Homosexuality • Opinion

soundoff (3,629 Responses)
  1. bradmin

    whoever thinks gays h omos exuals cant be christians doesn't understand christianity. the idea behind christianity is that we all do wrong & if we had to earn our own salvation, everyone would fail... so christ died for our sins. if a h omos exual can't be christian, then why can an alcoholic? why can a liar? a selfish person?

    May 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Tom in ATL

      Gay and repenting is one thing. Gay and proud is what GOD hates.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "No. When you've breathed your last breath, you'll be face to face with GOD and He decides the rules."

      LOL you talk to god? Or are you citing the man made bible?

      May 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • sam stone

      Purporting to speak for god, are you Tommy Boy?

      May 13, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Talking for god is a christian specialty. Amazingly enough, god likes what they like and hates what they hate! Isn't that cool?!?

      May 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Tom
      It isn't gay and proud – it is just plain old pride.
      Humility is a chracteristic sorely lacking in many self-identified Christians.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Jason Jones

      Well put. Those criticizing Christianity are doing so because of a lack of understanding. Some choose to seek understanding while others are perfectly happy in attacking anything that disagrees with them. When trying to understand Christianity it is important not to look at Christians, randomly, but to Jesus himself. It can be easy to find fault in something when you focus on the negative.Overall, we can determine right from wrong with the help of our moral compass (Our Conscience, The Holy Spirit perhaps?). GOD is Love. If we can begin to understand what true love really is then we draw closer to GOD as we demonstrate that love.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Joe

      "GOD is Love. If we can begin to understand what true love really is then we draw closer to GOD as we demonstrate that love."

      Then your religion is a huge failure by the amount of hate and prejudice it has demonstrated through out history.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      You're saying that being gay is a "sin", that it requires repentance. That's crap.

      May 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  2. lionlylamb

    Animalisms’ crusaders for the instinctual caring of those lamed by mankind's w h o r e d o m does psychologically imprison many allotments of humanisms’ tyrannical escapades.

    Gay pride is but a socialite deviancy to win other’s emancipation and declare to the world that sodomy exists and will not go away on its own merits. For as w h o r e d o m s go, many a sodomite is at their best whenever they exalt and over inflate their inbred socialite egos making the w h o r I n g crowds go wild!

    May 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • .

      LL is the belief blog pseudo intellect, just laugh at their posts and move on.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • mama k

      Basic biology still a challenge for you I see, LL.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Coherence is a challenge for LL. Let's not worry about the advanced stuff like basic biology until he learns how to make sense.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      @LL – I feel sorrow for the brain damage you have suffered. "E pili mau na pomaika'i me 'oe"

      May 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      mama k,

      More like advanced sociologic psychology. It's true though that cellular biology's current stances might one day upcoming; change its' tune. For celled structures of atomic physiologies are really chasms of the cosmologically miniscule. Biological references of today have yet to fathom deeply into the very depths of atomized proclivities due scientific bias and socialized parroting of said mentioned biasness.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • mama k

      BS, LL, you're ignoring facts, but that's nothing new for you.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      tallulah13,

      My perceptivities stick together quite well. Many a folk's inabilities to fathom cosmologies of atomic, celestial and cellular variables might be due to biased sciences' understandings in which many a folk do only parrot away in mocked enchantments.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      mama k,

      My first post is not based upon biology as your first post here does so imply. The psychology of socialism is a reality and has no bearings upon biological brevities you linger so lavishly towards. True, biological conditioning via socialized redundancies do give rise to many mannerisms of w h o r e d o m escapades.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  3. TheTruth

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

    When God's says whoever, I believe Him.

    May 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      “It's going to be all right, sir," Harry said over and over again, more worried by Dumbledore's silence than he had been by
      his weakened voice. "We're nearly there ... I can Apparate us both back ... don't worry ..."
      "I am not worried, Harry," said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. "I am with you.”
      – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

      May 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Pole dancing for Jesus

      That's right. Quoting the bible proves everything

      May 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • What IF

      @TheTruth,

      Someone (or several someones) named "John" said that stuff. What makes you think that it was this "God" character speaking?

      May 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • sam stone

      God did not say it. Iron age she mounters said it

      May 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • CosmicC

      "The Truth" wrote a Christian truth: If you say you are Christian, then you must believe in universal salvation. If you don't believe in universal salvation, you're not a Christian. I don't believe in Jesus, God, or the tooth fairy. I don't believe we get more than one life. However, I I do believe in the inherent dignity and worth of all people and that is really to core of this teaching. Leave TT to his/her beliefs, if that's truely what he/she believes, I have no problem standing beside him/her against hatred of any sort.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Augie Doggie 1:10

      Augie my son, my son!

      May 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
  4. Judith

    Of course, "gay Christian" is not an oxymoron nor is "Christian Progressive/Liberal." I should know because I'm a Christian and a liberal/progressive and there are quite a large number of us.

    May 13, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I agree. But sadly, those chiristians who use the bible as an excuse to hate are far more vocal and aggressive.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  5. WhynotListen?

    Either way, the entire "debate" (really it's just being bullies, to be simple) is nothing but a distraction. What did the Christian God, and Jesus himself preach? Patiance and acceptance? if anything I know that is a huge part of it (it's been awhile since I've studied the bible) These two things should be the forefront of every Christians minds. What this piece says is right, you shouldn't try and shove your views onto other people, that's how you alienate people, and why there is such a backlash on the Christian religion, especially those that belong to western baptist church, or whatever they're called. I digress, Everyone should be more accepting, patiant and understanding, in other words open minded. These debates ultimately go nowhere, and hurt people in the long run.

    May 13, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  6. Josh

    All Christens are sinners.

    May 13, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  7. R.T.

    Let anyone out there who is without sin throw the first stone!

    May 13, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Paul

      Since sin is a made up concept, and no one on the face of Earth has ever sinned, who do you want me to throw my rock at?

      May 13, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Doom Upon You

      I am also without sin. Somebody hand me a rock. I'm going to smash the fuck out of R.T.'s skull.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
  8. Joe

    Gay Christain on Gay conservitive = Stupid Gay

    May 13, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • UhOh

      Joe made a stupid comment.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  9. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    The christian god doesn't approve of Mr. Lee's gayness... look what he did to his hair... what an evil callous god...

    May 13, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  10. Ben31

    h omose xuality is an a bomination

    May 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • .

      Ben31 is an abomination.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Not according to the bible. Of course, god hates divorce, so...

      May 13, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Dim31

      It says while eating shellfish.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Ben31

      Gays can skirt around issue all they want by pointing out some old testament versus about shrimp etc that has been invalidated in the New testament but nothing changes the fact that gays have been sentenced to death by stoning.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • UhOh

      "It says while eating shellfish."

      Oh look an illiterate Christian, what's new.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • lol??

      Bama, Pastor in Chief, per CNN. Get yer LUV!

      May 13, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      What does "sentencing" have to do with definition. People have been sentenced to all sorts of punishments, but that doesn't say anything about the morality or immorality of the act for which they were sentenced. Stupid much?

      May 13, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Hmmm

      Ben31 sounds like a gay bar...

      May 13, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • mama k

      So Ben, how old were you when decided to drop out of school?

      May 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Souljacker

      Well, if you want to claim that the new testament wiped the slate clean for you, you have to accept that it was wiped clean for us as well. All those verses you point to occur in the old testament.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • lol??

      Nope, the bride was refashioned by the potter. You wanna be an Old Maid, have at it.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Ben31
      Let's run some of the other fun "abominations", shall we?
      Women wearing pants are abomination. (Deuteronomy 22:5)
      Eating winged insects with four legs is verboten. (Leviticus 11:20) Thankfully, none have ever existed, so we're in the clear.
      Sacrificing a defective goat is a no no. (Deuteronomy 17:1)
      Hippies take note: Incense is an abomination. (Isaiah 1:13)

      13 of the abominations in the Bible are dietary restrictions that Christians say don't apply to them. Technically, a pepperoni pizza is evil.
      17 refer to improper sacrifices that, again, Christians say don't apply anymore. When't the last time your pastor sacrificed a goat?
      3 refer to divorce/adultery which run rampant through the Bible Belt.
      5 verses talk about the love of money and dishonest economic practices. Given that America's true religion is Capitalism, that seems a mite ironic.

      So before picking the astonishingly few passages that some interpret as condeming gays, you should probably figure out how many times a day you embrace abominations.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  11. Lester Singleton

    Depends on your definition of "Gay Christian".

    May 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Dan

      There are no happy Christians, they exist in a constant state of fear and panic.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
  12. mike

    Gay Christianity is a Gnostic religion. Its not Christianity. This is nothing new....Began with individuals twisting Christs message into what was convenient for them just after Christ's death. They all claim a "secret knowledge" making their Gnostic flavor the latest and greatest. Pedophiles may claim their own flavor soon. For those who want the truth, its in the Bible. Change its content at your own risk.

    May 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      The bible must be interpreted otherwise you'd have permission to own slaves and beat them to death (as long as they don't die in the first three days) and murder your children for talking back or whistling a tune on Sunday.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • UhOh

      Well you better let the Pope know that since even he has stated being gay is not a sin.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  13. sly

    Strange article. Belief in God is just an opinion. Gays have opinions.

    Wierd what people write about.

    May 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • lol??

      Yup, ye ol' animal behavior has a certain fascist fascination.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Nice comment! 🙂

      May 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  14. HOORAY

    JOB WELL DONE

    A standing O to mama k, Science, Gay Marriage Watch, JMEF, Cpt. Obvious, Richard Cranium, meifumado, sam stone, Cluckles, Colin, ME II and the like... well done!

    May 13, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • lol??

      If Death is your hero Herodian. That Esau blood is cool.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I'm sad that I wasn't mentioned...

      May 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Aw shucks!

      Little ole me? you're makin me blush

      May 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Cluckles the Boneless Chicken is Having Terrible Difficulty with the "Standing" Part. And the Ovation.

      No standing orgasm for Cluckles?

      May 13, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • the like

      Thank you. I'd like to thank all the fundies for saying such stupid things over the years. Without them, it would be a better world.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • :O

      This is my standing O face.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Cluckles is correct! Lets all give a limpid meat puddle orgazmic ovation to Cluckles... he can't help being boneless... poor Cluckles...

      May 13, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • JMEF

      Hooray
      Too early, we will wait for the final curtain to take our bows and maybe a short encore if the cheers are loud enough. Chad on the other hand thrives on the jeers.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      :O

      This is my standing O face.

      HA! That was funny...

      May 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
  15. Atheist Hunter

    First, the g ay christian uses a false construct as a shield to hide his false parallel. Se xual orientation is the false construct as it was crafted to reinforce the unproven idea that ho mos exuality is innate. Since they could not scientifically prove hom ose xuality to be innate/genetic (tho studies have been done) they created language as if it had been proven. Using this false foundation, he attempts to build a case which would reinvent the whole biblical understanding of salvation.
    Evoking se xual orientation as a direct line equal to gender is false because gender is immutable, —never changing— whereas se xual preference (the appropriate term used prior to the invention of se xual orientation) does in fact, change.

    May 13, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • .

      "Se xual orientation is the false construct as it was crafted to reinforce the unproven idea that ho mos exuality is innate."

      Erik

      Being gay is not a choice science, in fact, is actually not in dispute on this matter.

      All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

      Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy or reorientation therapy, "counsels" LGBT persons to pray fervently and study Bible verses, often utilizing 12-step techniques that are used to treat sexual addictions or trauma. Such Christian councilors are pathologizing homosexuality, which is not a pathology but is a sexual orientation. Psychologically, that's very dangerous territory to tread on. All of the above-mentioned medical professional organizations, in addition to the American and European Counseling Associations, stand strongly opposed to any form of reparative therapy.

      In my home country, Norway, reparative therapy is officially considered to be ethical malpractice. But there are many countries that do not regulate the practice, and many others that remain largely silent and even passively supportive of it (such as the Philippines). Groups that operate such "therapy" in the Philippines are the Evangelical Bagong Pag-asa, and the Catholic Courage Philippines.

      The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

      On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

      Take this interesting paragraph I found on an Evangelical website: "The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" – meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are 'born that way.'"

      But that's not at all what it means, and it seems Evangelicals are plucking out stand-alone phrases from scientific reports and removing them from their context. This is known in academia as the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Interestingly, this is also what they have a habit of doing with verses from the Bible.

      This idea of sexuality being a choice is such a bizarre notion to me as a man of science. Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

      The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

      Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

      Furthermore, there are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • lol??

      It's all about mob rule from Sodom. Lynch mobs impress. BBBBbbbboooooo republics, HHHHhhhoray demobocracies!!

      May 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Nodak

      You might want to remember that Christ said "judge not that you be not judged".

      May 13, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • UhOh

      "You might want to remember that Christ said "judge not that you be not judged"."

      Prejudice Christians don't follow the bible.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • DavidTX

      According to the bible Sodom was destroyed because they were r a p i s t s.

      "all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have s e x with them.” 6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” 9 “Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door." Gen 19:4-9

      This had nothing to do with being gay, this had everything to do with a vile r a p i s t community where Lot was ready to offer up his virgin daughters to appease them. Of course, as anyone knows who has read the bible, Lot's daughters don't stay virgins for long... another bible story that says "R a p e? No way! Incest? Okay!"

      May 13, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Truth

      The bible has already judged. He is just repeating the judgement from the New and Old Testament. Some people cannot handle "absolute truth" because to accept it means a change needs to be made.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Some people can't handle the truth that the bible is nothing more than the mythology of a specific group of middle easterners. It's pretty sad to see people use this old book as their moral compass, instead of using their intellect and humanity.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      "The bible has already judged"

      Transladed, edited Iron Age hearsay

      May 13, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  16. Pan3

    More pro–Gay Christians need to speak out and drown the anti-Gay Christians. Stop haveing your preachers think and speak for you!

    May 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • lol??

      Exactly, read the scriptures and stay away from gubmint sanctioned and licensed churches. Paul didn't beg for a license, like a dog.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • .

      263 Ministers Proclamation

      As Christian clergy we proclaim: the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.

      In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:

      -to affirm- that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;

      –to embrace- the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;

      –to declare- that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;

      –to celebrate- the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;

      Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  17. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    @mama k – hi neighbor!

    May 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • lol??

      You likum Tories.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      is that some kind of nonsequitor or something? I didn't realize living in Virginia made me a Tory...

      May 13, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • lol??

      Yup Lucy, better checkum your bloodlines. Bloodlines are very important to Rapturists. The Mormons can help you out.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Teh Name Here

      lol?/captain america thinks you are Canadian and doesn't know squat about Canadian politics. Nothing to see here.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I'm not Canadian (not that there's anything wrong with that!) lol

      May 13, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  18. All rise!

    A standing O to Robert Brown, Atheist Hunter, Mike from CT, Chad, Vic and the like... well done!

    👏

    May 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • science

      To simple ..................the fairy and the red devil did not create US................

      MOM and DAD did !

      Or you know.............All rise!...............and wouldn't mom and dad be proud now ?

      May 13, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Science

      You know ...................Mom and Dad ...............did DO IT.................everybody should know that !

      Peace

      It was not the red devil and the fairy !

      May 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Cluckles the Boneless Chicken Fares Poorly Against Blaster in Thunderdome

      So you want to "rise" and give a standing orgasm to your guys?

      Very funny choice of words on a story about gay Christians.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Ids

      Those are all names of the same poster. Sockpuppets. Only an idiot would congratulate himself like this.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • tallulah13

      That good old christian vanity. It sort of warms the heart, doesn't it?

      May 13, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  19. Gay Marriage Watch

    I see from some of the comments and questions that some still don't have a basic education about homosexuality. Poster lol?? has demonstrated numerous times to be ignorant of current knowledge on homosexuality. Muslims lead the way as having the most uneducated, disenfranchising stance toward gays. But many Christians are not far behind. Just last week CNN reported some gays being arrested in Zambia which is a predominantly Christian nation.

    Christianity has always been conflicted on social issues, but this current hot topic really highlights the extremism within Christianity. One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one (over four million members) in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage. Thomas Jefferson hit the nail on the head over 200 years ago:

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

    (from Notes on the State of Virginia, 1785)

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

    Whatever your religion, whatever your belief, with gay marriage coming quickly to the U.S., now is the time to at least have a basic education about homosexuality.

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

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

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

    The Royal College of Psychiatrists stated in 2007:

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

    Biology

    The following is from the article:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hormones, epigenetics and orientation

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

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

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

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

    That side appears to be epigenetics, Rice said.

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

    Biological behavior

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

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

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

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

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

    May 13, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • lol??

      Got any air pollution in Siberia??

      May 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Blech

      hey mamma k, you keep posting that. We've seen it. Stop posting it.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Science

      To simple ..................the fairy and the red devil did not create US................

      MOM and DAD did !

      Or you know.............lol??

      Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !

      Where do morals come from?

      By Kelly Murray, CNN

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

      Gravity is not up for debate !

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

      Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet..............................E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas.

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

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142250.htm

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

      The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

      The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

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

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm
      April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

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

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

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418104324.htm

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

      From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

      the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

      Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

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

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305145821.htm

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

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

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

      Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

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

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423134037.htm

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

      http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/.../page4

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

      Good stuff !

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

      Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

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

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

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

      Where do morals come from?

      By Kelly Murray, CNN

      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

      Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

      Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

      Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
      bears his name as the “God particle.”

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

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

      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

      Science

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

      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

      April 7th, 2012

      08:32 PM ET

      The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

      Make sure to read comments

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

      Breaking News

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

      http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/18/us/planet-discovery/index.html

      NASA: Mars could have supported life

      Star Dust we are

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWdU_px9ApE&w=640&h=360]

      Peace

      Holy Hallucinations 35

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XTCRdC8Dlo&w=640&h=360]

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

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUliLKSJ4bQ&w=640&h=360]

      BACKFILL on E =mc2.....

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

      By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

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

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

      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/category/culture-science/

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

      To simple ..................the fairy and the red devil did not create US................

      MOM and DAD did !

      Or you know.............lol??

      May 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Thomas Jefferson hit the nail on the head over 200 years ago"

      Really? Was he also correct when he said, "Ignorance is preferable to error"
      I always thought that a logical mind prefers to risk error and learn from errors than to live in ignorance..

      May 13, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • mama k

      (The whole line is: Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.)

      May 13, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • mama k

      It certainly is important to learn from errors and overcome misunderstandings, ergo the repeated posts on homosexuality since there is still much misunderstanding.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • lol??

      Science, you're such a BULLY! Sumpin' happen as a kid??

      May 13, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  20. Gay Marriage Watch

    Same-se-x marriage in the U.S.

    Done deal: Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington & the District of Columbia.

    Who's next?
    Illinois: Gov. Pat Quinn called on the Illinois House to send him legislation to legalize gay marriage, saying lawmakers had plenty of time to make up their mind on the issue. The state Senate passed the measure on Valentine's Day, and the governor has said he's ready to sign it.

    New Jersey: Gov. Christie doesn't seem to be against gay marriage coming from a ballot measure, but has stated in the past he would veto such a change from legislators. This was his stance before the President changed his views. If Christie reconsiders, NJ could be sooner than expected.

    California: It seems gay marriage will be in CA soon one way or the other. This is because polls show a much larger support for gay marriage than when Prop 8 was passed. So even if the upcoming SCOTUS case were to fail, it would likely be put to voters there very soon again.

    Hawaii: Already has some good laws on the books evidently, and although things have been put on hold until after 2013, legislators there are attempting to speed up the process.

    ==========================
    Let's see around the globe:

    Done deal: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay, & portions of Brazil.

    In the works:

    France: Has already passed same-se-x marriage bill in both houses; president intends to sign; right-wing party plans to challenge in the Consti tutional Council to try to force a delay on enactment.

    Germany: On 22 March 2013 the Bundesrat passed an initiative to open marriage to same-se-x couples, which now moves onto the Bundestag for approval.

    Ireland: On 14 April 2013 as part of the Consti tutional Convention a measure voted in favour of same-se-x marriage by a margin of 79 percent.

    UK: On 5 February 2013, the House of Commons debated the Marriage (Same Se-x Couples) Bill and approved it in a 400–175 vote at the second reading. (Third reading to be scheduled.)

    Finland: 03-19-2013: The citizens' initiative overrides the committee's decision, and thus the bill must now be considered by the Parliament.

    Brazil: In November 2012, the Court of Bahia legalized same-se-x marriage in the state of Bahia. In December 2012, the state of São Paulo legalized same-se-x marriage. More Brazilian states are considering measures.

    Luxembourg: On 6 February 2013, the Chamber's justice committee agreed to approve the measure opening marriage for same-se-x couples. On 20 February, the committee initially backed the right to simple adoption for same-se-x couples. On 6 March 2013, the committee confirmed that position.

    Australia: lower house MP will seek to have his Marriage Equality Amendment Bill brought for an immediate vote in the House on June 6.

    Mexico: rulings due this summer.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSQQK2Vuf9Q&w=640&h=360]

    May 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • lol??

      So what country are you from, anyway??

      May 13, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • mama k

      Hint, lol??: as I posted to your "cousin" in bigotry "ISLAM FOUNDATION OF BLAH BLAH BLAH", if I drive a few miles, I'm at the driveway of Gunston Hall.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • lol??

      "....................Gunston Hall was one of the finest homes in colonial America. ................."

      http://www.lva.virginia.gov/

      Yup, Tory "..............such as the Loyalists of British America who opposed American independence during the American Revolutionary War. The Tory ethos has been summed up with the phrase 'God, King and Country............."

      Smell em a mile away.

      May 13, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • mama k

      I can only guess you've never been to the metropolitan DC, northern VA area, lol??

      May 13, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • lol??

      My travels do not concern you, but you realize begging for a king, SOP for socies, is antiSemitic. Gay for a Day ain't gonna fly.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • lol??

      Like Paul, I will brag about my Top Secret clearance. It's mystifying though, how presidents got em, mama K.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • G to the T

      Please keep in mind that lol?? (like many christians here) obvious holds the words of Paul higher than those (supposedly) said by Jesus himself.

      I've always found this to be an odd dicotomy...

      May 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.