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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. Moderatelycrazy

    This should not be news anymore. The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists has its 20th anniversary this year, and several of its churches are a good deal older. There are similar groups in many denominations.

    http://www.awab.org/

    May 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  2. Robert

    Some people have non-Biblical definitions of Christianity. Repentance of a sin means forsaking the sin. If you living a g_ay lifestyle you have not repented of your sins. In both the Old and New Testament g_ay se_x is called sin. So yeah, g_ay Christian is an oxymoron.

    “No Jesus, no change. Know Jesus, know change.”

    May 13, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • mama k

      gay is not a lifestyle – learn some basic biology and psychology

      May 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • .

      "In both the Old and New Testament g_ay se_x is called sin. So yeah, g_ay Christian is an oxymoron."

      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 3:24 pm |
    • ME II

      "Some people have non-Biblical definitions of Christianity."

      You have high expectations. Most people seem to have non-Biblical definitions of the Bible!

      May 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Robert

      The Bible says no person living a g_ay lifestyle will be in heaven.

      "..... Do not be deceived: Neither nor hom_ose_xual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." -1 Cor 6:9, NIV

      May 13, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • mama k

      Remember, your interpretation is just one of over 40,000 sects. A very conflicted religion.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • lol??

      mama k sayz,
      "..gay is not a lifestyle..........."

      DEATH style.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • JMEF

      Robert
      I thought jesus was up there sitting at the right hand of his daddy? Now in many circles the gay-dar goes off when reading about the life of jesus and his 12 buddies and why they were jealous of who got the most "attention" from him.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Robert

      Don't be silly, "mamma." The Bible states in no uncertain terms, in the verse I quoted that no person living a g_ay lifestyle will be in heaven. You can cling to God or cling to political correctness. I recommend clinging to God.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Do not be deceived: Neither nor hom_ose_xual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." -1 Cor 6:9, NIV"

      Funny how the word homosexual got in there since the word wasn't invented yet when the bible was written. Theologians state that it is actually talking about male prostitution.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      robert: do you seriously want ETERNAL life?

      May 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • sam stone

      "I recommend clinging to God."

      How does one "cling to" a being in which they do not believe?

      May 13, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
  3. John Lubeck

    Justin Lee misses the point: The words "evangelical" and "Christian" are the truest of oxymorons. Until we remove the evangelicals from this country, we are disturbingly and clearly NOT a christian country.

    May 13, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • mama k

      Which of the over 40,000 Christian sects do you represent? lol.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Harvesting

      The Bible never defines what a Christian is, only a disciple of Christ is defined MANY times in the Bible.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  4. MCFx

    Bootyfunk, how funny that you don't realize you're just another sheep in the "I'm an Athiest", "I hate Christians", "Science is My God" group. You're just following the herd. Maybe one day your two brain cells will accidentally bump into each other, form an original coherent thought, and you'll put down your crayons and post it. Then we'll REALLY get to see how ignorant you are.

    May 13, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • mama k

      Do you have something specific to argue about?

      May 13, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      oh oh... bootyfunk must have pulled on MCwhatevers' jesus tampon too hard...

      May 13, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Haa haa

      Somebody got Bootyfunked and is now severely butthurt.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Why do you believe ancient superstition over verifiable science?

      May 13, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  5. mama k

    I see from many comments and questions that some still don't have a basic education about 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 3:16 pm |
    • lol??

      mommie k, were you bullied as a child?

      May 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • mama k

      Nope – I had a happy childhood in a Christian home.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  6. fyi

    @Lycidas (and some others), quit saying "supposably" - the word is "supposedly".

    May 13, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • ME II

      Thank you!

      May 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • lol??

      WWJRD??
      Janet Reno

      Wouldn't want her for 8th grade u s history.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • .

      From the dumb cunt who says gubmint all the time, lol?? has never answered a post making any sense at all. Proved it once again here.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  7. A pilgrim on the journey

    Q: What do you get if you cross an atheist with a pitbull?

    A: A very angry pitbull.

    May 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Perceptive and less confused than most believers, I'm sure.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • ME II

      A. A very complex genetic experiment, that likely would not work.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      All animals are atheists.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • The Good Shepherd

      Q: What happens when you cross a Christian with a sheep?

      A: Dinner, a nice warm coat, cap and some gloves.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      what do you get when you cross a christian with a slave?

      redundancy

      May 13, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  8. Doc Vestibule

    I find it greatly satisfying that the founders of the world's most prominent Christian "Gay Cure" foundations wound up falling in love and becoming ex-ex gays.

    May 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • lol??

      Greatly?? Are you sure??

      May 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • ME II

      @Doc Vestibule,
      Interesting, hadn't heard that. got a link or something.

      @lol??,
      Why" It appears to be a word and used correctly.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Joe

      Yup and they spoke about how it was all false but yet Christians still use their stuff to try and justify their bigotry.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Me II
      Their names were Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper.
      CNN filter won't let me post the link, but you can google "Micheal Bussee apology" and read what he has to say.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • ME II

      @Doc Vestibule,
      Ah, the Exodus International thing, I forgot about that. Thanks!

      May 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Finally, in late 1978, Bussee and Cooper began a secret adulterous relationship. They quit EXIT and two years later; both men divorced their wives and began living together. "I was ripped apart by the pain," recalled Ann Busse at the 1985 Exodus Conference. "I could not believe Mike had been unfaithful."

      No attack on traditional marriage here folks, move along.

      Gary Cooper died of AIDS in 1986

      May 13, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  9. Gunny

    To me, Religion is – a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: That is why spiritual people sharing beliefs are called a religion. On that definition, football is a religion, all sports are religions, and also atheistism is a religion. They hate to admit it because the word "religion" is always attached to the worshiping of some type of God.

    May 13, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • lol??

      Yup, futball fanatics and zealouts.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LET's Religiosity Law #12 – The Patriots are the best football team in the NFL. This law cannot be impugned.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Neberlander

      The Patriots are nothing but cheating losers. They couldn't hack it so they spied on everyone and cheated.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Obviously you don't know what the word "impugned" means

      May 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Millie

      The Patriots should have their name revoked for criminal hypocrisy and go back to being the Oilers. They are oily.

      May 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
  10. ME II

    ^ Should be "accurate"

    May 13, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • ME II

      mis – freaking – posted.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • lol??

      I've heard it called firun' blanks.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • .

      You would know, as many as you swallow lol??.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • ME II

      @.,
      Why?

      Why do you even post such drivel?

      May 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
  11. Marc

    I don't understand why you are a Christian or a Conservative. I would rather pray at home and not vote than associate myself with people who hate me just for being me. Your continued support and public excuse making only guarantees that they will continue to hate you and people like you. You are doing yourself and the gay community a disservice.

    May 13, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • CNN moderate reader

      Who says everyone hates him? I don't. I have a gay conservative Christian son.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Akira

      I disagree. For one thing, the gay community is neither a political party, nor a religion. Why must he choose one to align himself with? He sounds as if he puts God above all...and isn't that the way it's supposed to be?

      May 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
  12. Heidi

    Thanks for writing this. I'm a really struggling with my faith due to my very small town is so close minded towards the gay community. I can't stand it so I'm not attending church anymore. I've alway wanted a better arguement than we're all created in God's image. How can they dare call themselves Christians when they are so unexcepting of others?

    May 13, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • lol??

      Actually God protected you with your desire to stay away from churches. Now your part of the relationship is to study His Word. Don't be a lazy witch.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • mama k

      Don't listen to the lol?? fool, Heidi. Think of it as the village idiot of the BB. There are many on here who ignore current knowledge.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  13. Science

    Not funny the Sky daddy and the red devil trying to control the beroom ?

    May 13, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  14. A pilgrim on the journey

    Q: If 100 atheist are in a building that catches fire, how many people get burned?

    A: Nobody Burns.

    May 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      yawn.....get a job.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      .....or at least learn how to troll properly.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Thoth

      Thx for proving the author's point with all your q & a....

      May 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Akira

      This make zero sense.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Knights Who Say

      Real Answer: Nobody burns, because we're smart enough to get out of the building...

      May 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • A pilgrim on the journey

      KNights, because there is no fire.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      nobody burns...that's probably because they are smart enough to get out.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Pilgrim. You do know that when there is afire there are visible signs – smoke and flames, plus other detectable attributes such as heat, and often noise. Pretty lame analogy for a god (with or without fleas)

      May 13, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • sam stone

      pilgrim: jeebus is waiting. you can speed up the journey quite a bit if you have a sidearm

      May 13, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
  15. lol??

    What kind of attributes does a god have to possess to meet the qualifications necessary for an A&A to believe?...

    May 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • .

      One dead cunt named lol?? may convince me enough to say "There IS a God...".

      May 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • G to the T

      Just one – verifiable existence.

      May 13, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  16. Sinful

    Why do we demand truth in everything but morality and religion? Why do we say, “That’s true for you but not for me,” when we’re talking about morality or religion, but we never even think of such nonsense when we’re talking to a stock broker about our money or a doctor about our health? Although few would admit it, our rejection of religious and moral truth is often on volitional rather than intellectual grounds—we just don’t want to be held accountable to any moral standards or religious doctrine...

    May 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
  17. MCFx

    I couldn’t disagree more. Christians are the most empathetic people on the planet. The statistics are clear. They show that through their giving not only of their money but their time. They are in the trenches with the addicts, alcoholics, late nights with battered women and children, on-call at all hours of the night. That doesn’t even get to the missionaries who travel to third world countries and battle disease, feminine, and war….countries and regions lethally hostile towards Christianity and you have the gall to accuse ALL of Christianity of intolerance because of a few who choose debate your lifestyle choice. I would ask you to take your own advice, get out of your selfishness of wanting these people to get to know YOU and why don't you try to get to know THEM?

    May 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Akira

      Tolerance is a wonderful thing. And no, he didn't accuse all Christians of being intolerant; not at all. If he didn't admit he was gay, what would your reaction to this essay be?

      May 13, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Thoth

      And Christians are the only folks that help others? Humanists? The truth is empathy is part of the human condition and requires no religious dogma. People that want to (and do) help others would do so even in the complete absence of religions.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • A pilgrim on the journey

      That's true, liberal atheists are the least generous of all faith groups even when church giving is eliminated.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • tevii

      Interesting post.... considering historically they are the most violent. Do we need to walk through history and point out the Crusades, the witch trials, the Christian inquisition, the current violent attacks on gays, i could go on and on and on but you should hopefully get the point.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      pilgrim
      Where does your data for that come from...I know...you don't have any because that is a lie. Ask Bill Gates sometime how much he has given.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Bob Dobbs

      Do you know the number one reason for Christians "empathy" and "giving"? I work for a Christian NGO and we have had several companies poll our donors. The number one reason for people giving their time and/or money to those less fortunate is that they want to to atone for sins and have a better chance of getting into heaven... It is not because it is the right thing to do, or because they truly care about others... it is out of selfishness and guilt. Another nice little factoid: These "missionaries" who go to third world countries; often they MAKE the people attend some sort of religious service BEFORE they give out food, clothing, medical care, water etc... How is that empathetic? I do not believe that all givers/missionaries believe these things or do these deeds for selfish reasons. Some people are truly caring, and do these good deeds for the sake of doing them; to help their fellow human beings.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • G to the T

      And they are completely selfless in their work correct? They don't have any ulterior motives right? They only come in, do the good work and then leave... no? You mean they ALSO try to convert people at the same time? When they are at their weakest?

      Just more jewels in their crowns of glory...

      May 13, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  18. A pilgrim on the journey

    Q: How many atheists does it take to turn on the lights?

    A: There is no light.

    May 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Odd you would make a poor joke based on an electric light bulb that was invented by a deist.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
  19. Gunny

    God already knows who is gay. He does ask us to condemn or dehumanize them. We are supposed to be working on walking in fruit of the spirit at all times. That means stop hating.

    May 13, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Joe

      "He does ask us to condemn or dehumanize them."

      That's what Christians said about owning slaves too.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Gunny

      Correcting – he does not ask us to condemn or dehumanize them.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • lol??

      Don't base western civilization economics on their doctrines or you'll be sorry.

      May 13, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  20. meifumado

    Question to the gay Christian dude.
    Have you had premarital relations with another man?
    Or are you saving it! =)

    May 13, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
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About this blog

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