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August 22nd, 2013
03:07 PM ET

Gay detective's mother booted from church

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='EricCNNBelief']

(CNN)–The mother of a gay detective has been booted from the Tennessee church she attended for decades.

Elders at Ridgedale Church of Christ told Linda Cooper and two relatives that their public support for Kat Cooper, Linda Cooper's gay daughter, went against the church's teachings, local media reported. In a private meeting, reports say, Linda Cooper was given a choice: publicly atone for their transgressions or leave the church.

Linda left the church.

Kat Cooper is a detective with the Collegedale Police Department. This month, she fought successfully for health benefits for her same-sex spouse, Krista, from the town.

The Board of Commissioners passed a resolution allowing for same-sex partner benefits, becoming the first city in Tennessee to do so.

Along the way, the mother publicly supported her daughter. That support appears to have led to a rift with her church.

"My mother was up here and she sat beside me. That's it," Kat Cooper told the Times Free Press of Chattanooga. "Literally, they're exiling members for unconditionally loving their children - and even extended family members."

"Her answer to them ... is that she had committed no sin in her mind. Loving her daughter and supporting her family was not a sin," Kat Cooper's father, Hunt Cooper, told CNN affiliate WTVC. "There was nothing to repent about. They certainly couldn't judge her on that because that was between her and her God, and it was not their place to judge her for that."

"The sin would be endorsing that lifestyle," Ken Willis, a minister at Ridgedale Church of Christ, told to the Times Free Press. "The Bible speaks very plainly about that."

The news enflamed the passions of critics and supporters of the church's action.

A phony Facebook page for the church was created by one critic, who posted glib messages affirming same-sex marriage shortly after the controversy went viral. "There's nothing about girl on girl in Leviticus," one post reads.

Mary Sturdibint, a Collegedale resident, told WTVC, "I don't think they should be kicked out of church. If you're going to kick out someone, it needs to be the two that are same-sex that's married. I do believe in that."

Willis declined an on-camera interview with WTVC but released a written statement.

"This is an in-church private issue. Because emotions are so inflamed at this point, I choose not to comment any further," it read.

"The church is overseen by elders. I am a minister, not a pastor and therefore, do not have the authority to speak further on this. The news is getting mixed reviews."

Multiple calls to the church and the Coopers by CNN were not returned.

Church of Christ structure

What happens next for the small suburban church remains unclear.

There is no denomination to hand down an edict praising or condemning the local church's decision.

Churches of Christ are a loosely joined group of independent churches that are autonomous by design. There is no denominational oversight, formal structure or even a denomination headquarters.

Local churches are governed by appointed elders in a structure the church traces to the early followers of Jesus described in the New Testament, said Ronald Highfield, a professor of religion at Pepperdine University.

"They're organized in congregations with their own local leadership so that no other congregation, no set of congregations, no convention can exercise any ecclesiastical discipline over another congregation," said Highfield, who is also an elder in his local Church of Christ congregation.

While there are no documents or position papers by the church on the issue of homosexuality and how members ought to interact with lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender family members, he said that on the issue of sexual orientation, churches in the denomination fall on a spectrum from progressive to conservative.

Most churches, Highfield said, hold a traditional Christian belief that sex is to be reserved for married men and women and that sex outside of that marriage arrangement is wrong, regardless of what the church believes about sexual orientation.

"There is an implicit covenant when you're a member of a congregation to adhere to the scriptures and the authority," he said.

So, he said, supporting a view that could be seen as undermining the teaching of the church could be grounds for excommunication.

Highfield was unfamiliar with this particular congregation until the story broke and said as for its decision, "whether it's just or fair, I'm not going to make a judgment."

Not a new issue

For decades, churches have wrestled with the issue of homosexuality, leading to splits and schisms of individual congregations and entire churches.

Some churches, like the Episcopal Church, have shifted from the traditional Christian position on marriage to now bless monogamous same-sex unions and perform same-sex marriages in states where they are legal.

While churches that have formally shifted their policies on same-sex marriage are in the minority, Americans' opinion of such marriage has shifted significantly from opposition to support.

A CNN/ORC poll conducted in June, when the Supreme Court was deciding the fate of the Defense of Marriage Act and the validity of a California law banning same-sex marriage, 55% of Americans said marriages between gay or lesbian couples should be recognized as valid. That marked an 11-point swing from 2008, when 44% of Americans said the unions should be legal.

The public outcry about the exile of the parents of a gay adult child from this Tennessee congregation seems to mirror this shift in public opinion.

Some pollsters and commentators have pointed to tension about same-sex marriage as a reason for an exodus from churches, particularly among young people.

Many mainline Protestant churches have seen a decline in membership, while pollsters have noted a steady increase in "nones," or people saying they have no religious affiliation. In its latest surveys, the Pew Forum on Faith and Public life puts "Nones" at 20% of the population.

Pew has also noted that at the same time younger Americans are leaving churches, older Americans are returning in a pattern that matches historical trends that have shown people become more religious as they get older.

Because there is no central office for Churches of Christ, reliable numbers on membership are difficult to come by.*

When the Ridgedale congregation next updates its membership rolls, it will be crossing out the Coopers. The family told the local newspaper they were devastated to leave a church where they had been active for 60 years.

For now, both the Coopers and their former church are standing by their own convictions, and after six decades of traveling together, they are heading in different directions.

 

*Update

Difficult, but not impossible. There are 12,438 Church of Christ congregations in the United States with 1.55 million adherents according to publisher 21st Century Christian's annual "Churches of Christ in the United States" which they have compiled since the 1970s.
H/t @BobbyRoss

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Gay marriage • Gay rights

soundoff (3,329 Responses)
  1. Michelle

    So much for "Love one another."

    August 22, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      What is your definition of Love?

      August 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
      • regenesis0

        The missionary position.
        (Though I hear the Reverse Cowgirl is pretty awesome....)

        August 22, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
        • Rico

          NO WAY! I don't like looking at the stink star.

          August 23, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
      • mikemax0420

        Love is Not having to hold in your farts anymore

        August 27, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Patrick

      Also "Judge not, lest ye be judged"

      August 22, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • eeLymmoT

      And, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

      August 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
      • Pete

        That doesn't mean sin should enter into the church! Yes but there is a BIG difference between living in sin and sinning. One is deliberate and the other is not.

        August 22, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
        • Tony

          So when exactly did "sin" enter the church? And since we all live "in sin" and live "fallen from grace", hasn't sin always been there?

          August 23, 2013 at 5:21 am |
        • When the Church door opens and people walk in

          so does sin.

          YOU'RE just being picky about which sins you care about, and which ones you willingly take part in and are in denial of and ignore.

          August 24, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  2. Dyslexic doG

    if you're Christian you must believe every word of the bible, so you must agree with this vile behavior. If you don't agree with this vile behavior, you must not believe every word of the bible so you are not a true Christian.

    according to Christians, the bible is the word of god. you can't pick some lines that you want to believe in and others you disregard!!! are you saying that you know better than god?!?!

    and you accuse Atheists of being arrogant! we know there is no god. you believe there is one but presume to know better than him. that's the ultimate arrogance (or the ultimate hypocrisy!).

    aaaaah the mind numbing foolishness of religion!

    August 22, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • George

      You don't know how much I agree with you. I have affectionately started calling it the good book of one liners as people live for only one line out of the bible and not it's entirety. The other thing that boils my blood is that people continually create new interpretations or translations of the Bible to support their twisted way of life. We are all born in the image of God.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
      • Dippy

        Its, not it's.

        August 22, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
        • RC

          Why do you insist on doing that? Did the missing punctuation completely cloud his meaning for you?

          August 23, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        amen brother George!

        August 22, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • The Other Bob

        Oh really, George? I hope you're not wearing a poly/cotton blend shirt or other garment. You are liable to be stoned by some of your fellow pseudo-Christians.

        August 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
      • Stephen Jones

        "Good book of One Liners" I'll have to remember that! I heard the bible once called "The Cherry Pickers Guide to the Universe". I thought that was a good one also.

        August 22, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
        • Gumdrop

          Westboro Church of Christ

          August 22, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
      • Rascal

        If there were a God, he'd be turning over in his grave seeing so many of his "followers" using his Book for Satan's purposes. Oh the irony.

        August 23, 2013 at 9:58 am |
        • Rico

          His grave? I don't think that God is subject to snuffing it.

          August 23, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
      • I was NOT made in the image of an egotistical power-hungry pathetic loser

        He's made WAY more souls that have either turned against him or don't believe in him over the entire history of the world.

        That means, in the ultimate game of good vs evil between god and Satan, SATAN WINS! God is a pathetic loser, who can't even make beings that even believe in him, much less worship the pizzy little prik.

        August 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      according to Christians, the bible is the word of god. you can't pick some lines that you want to believe in and others you disregard!!!

      Where does it say that? I agree that all of it speaks truth but you don't read your physics book the same way you read Maya Angelou .. that is down right stupid. So you read in the correct literary style. That is you don't read plsams, as history, you read the gospels as history.

      "we know there is no god."
      Great support your belief.

      August 22, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
      • Rico

        You assert that there is a god, and that puts the burden of proof on YOU.

        August 23, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
        • Mike from CT

          Don't play these childish games. The OP positively assert
          "I Believe (assertion) There is no God."

          We are not in a court of law, the burden is on you for rejecting the historical evidence and reaching a determinate state.
          Just as if I was to say "I believe this is not your house" or "I, bank, believe you did not make a mortgage payment" as the original OP statement I must explain my belief for my statements.

          You don't get to dodge your responsibility.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
        • Doobs

          the burden is on you for rejecting the historical evidence

          What historical evidence? The fact that Egypt exists does not prove that the Jews were ever enslaved there, or even went there on vacation.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
        • Mike from CT

          Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4ff, ESV)

          August 23, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • But Mikey - Luke was written 90 or so years after Jesus would have died

          So Luke would have had to be around 130 or so. It's been proven to have had several different authors.

          Why must Christians lie and give FALSE WITNESS? If they were on the side of truth – wouldn't they ALWAYS tell the truth?

          August 24, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
        • Mike from CT

          How do you get 90 years? don't you dare quote Reality poor site

          A better question, which was written first The gospel according to Luke or The Acts of the Apostles?

          August 26, 2013 at 10:05 am |
      • Mike from CT

        Further, comprehension skills would also lead us to the fact that I never "assert that there is a god,"

        August 23, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Amy

      You obviously never read the bible..

      August 22, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
      • Doobs

        Amy, every single day about a dozen folks just like you come here and make that claim about nonbelievers.

        The fact is, most of us have been raised in religious homes and have probably studied the bible far more thoroughly than many of the Christians who claim we haven't.

        August 23, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Amy

      Your wrong.

      August 22, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  3. Wootings

    Religion is as religion does. And what religion does is define what people you're supposed to hate (and maybe kill).

    August 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  4. Hey! You!

    Yeah, sinners don't belong in church.

    August 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Observer

      Hey! You!

      Are you an atheist? There wouldn't be anyone left in church.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
      • Hey! You!

        I'm a Evangil–, Even–, Evin–,........Damnit I'm a Baptist!

        August 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      odd. I thought all christians say they are sinners, so if the church is not for sinners, who would ever show up?

      August 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
      • George

        Wow!! Second thing I have read in this thread that makes me believe there is intelligence on this planet! Thank you.

        August 22, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
      • Mike from CT

        If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:6-10, ESV)

        Examples:
        It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.1 Corinthians 5:1-2

        “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17

        August 22, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
        • Tom

          Those are the words of men, not Jesus. The Bible was not handed down from heaven rather it is from the hand of man. It was consolidated from among the many teachings of Christianity at Nicea. It was a negotiated truth and under the strong arm of Constantine to unite his kingdom and form a unified theology. Virtually every Christian orthodoxy / denomination today is the handiwork of a decision by men, not God. If you believed faithfully in the word of the Bible then you should only be Catholic, Coptic or Orthodox (Greek, Russian, etc) as these are the direct lineage from Jesus. But no, man has chosen over the centuries to make his own interpretation and usually for reasons other than faith.

          August 23, 2013 at 2:36 am |
        • Mike from CT

          "It was consolidated from among the many teachings of Christianity at Nicea...."

          This is just not true, given that the council of Nicea took place in 325 AD But you have clement and Ignatius quoting it in 90-100 AD and stating there are only 4 gospels. The council put there stamp of approval on what was already what was accepted.

          Constantine did not strong arm it but Rome was already 60% Christian, see when you go against the people you just don't get voted out you get shived in the back

          Now, can you please explain why you think Matthew 18 is something Jesus did not say?

          August 23, 2013 at 8:44 am |
      • Christina

        This is one of the few churches that have forgotten what they have read in the Bible. The church is not intended to be an exclusive club run by self riotous jerks, but to be a place for the broken-hearted to become healed, to find peace, sanctuary, forgiveness and love. Christ, himself, spoke out against people like those who run that church.

        August 23, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
        • mythbuster

          I think you mean "self-righteous" not "self-riotous" (which is a pretty funny invention and does, I admit, describe some of the nuts in our society).

          August 24, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • snowboarder

      that's funny!

      August 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Jackson

      Eating shellfish is a sin
      Cutting the hairs on the side of your head is a sin
      Wearing clothing from two different fibers is a sin

      Funny how you never hear churches condemn the people who commit THOSE sins......

      Cherry picking hypocrisy......

      August 22, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
      • Lone

        Go wikipedia Dunning–Kruger effect for yourself. You're citing rules, or more likely crumbs you picked up somewhere along the way, that apply almost exclusively to Judaism, not Christianity. There are two books in the Bible for a reason.

        August 22, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
        • Larry

          uh, there are more than two books in the bible. Plus all the books the early church burned because they didn't conform to the belief system/totalitarian government they were creating. The gospel of Peter calls Jesus a sorcerer. Didn't fit? Get rid of it.
          And who says the rules were only for the jews.

          August 22, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
        • Jackson

          And that is where YOU show how stupid YOU are.

          The shellfish quote is in Leviticus...you know, that same Leviticus book that Christians love to use when it comes to "those shalt not lie with a man as with a woman".

          So, once again, you show just how hypocritical and cherry picking christian leaders are. It is apparently ok to quote ONE part of Leviticus, but not another.

          You lose.....

          August 23, 2013 at 10:57 am |
      • mercydivne

        Jackson I think you're confused...Those 'cultural laws' were done away with when Jesus entered the world. They are 'not' the moral law. And Jesus was always chastising the Pharisees and religious leaders for their cultral laws which hurt their neighbors. Jesus upheld the moral law. The cultural or traditional laws are not moral laws....

        August 24, 2013 at 11:21 am |
        • Susan StoHelit

          Jesus said he came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. And he never eliminated those older laws. At most, there's one statement some claim means he eliminated the food based laws – nothing to eliminate wearing mixed cloth clothing, not allowing the handicapped near the altar, nor any of the other bizarre rules people like to ignore.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  5. tom

    Real Christian of them.

    August 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  6. James

    Sounds more like the church of Scientology !

    August 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Kevin

      where do you think they got their ideas from?

      August 22, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  7. Which God?

    There are some truly sick people in that cgurch. All so much more 'righteous' than we. Yeah, right.

    August 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • writingmomma

      Those are called Pharisee spirits! They are in many, but not all churches. There are churches that practice the truth of Christ's teachings, such as "love thy neighbor as you love yourself." You see, just as there are Muslims that don't all commit acts of terrorism, there are Christians that don't discriminate.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
  8. HOPE,LOVE,FAITH

    i am a follower of jesus, and this church is not representing the heart of God to anyone, no i do not condone behaviour that is not lining up with the word of God, that is for people who are livng in all sin, this must be diffiuclt for the mom, all around, Blessings to you

    August 22, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      so when you holy book that is "the word of god" says that ho.mose.xuality is evil, do you choose to think you know better than god and disregard that part of the bible? or do you not believe that the bible is the word of god?

      August 22, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
      • Canada

        He just knows it's not up to him too judge. I believe that being gay is wrong, but I would never condemn anybody for it... that's not my job... as I also have a plank of wood in my eye.

        August 22, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
        • Crashman

          If it's wrong to be gay, why did God make them that way? I thought He was infallable.

          August 22, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  9. suesark

    "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple."Luke 14:26.....Why would I even WANT to be a disciple of such hatred? This is not the God I worship....sorry all you Bible literalists out there!

    August 22, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Cody Van Ryn

      http://biblesuite.com/greek/3404.htm

      August 22, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Christian reply method:
      1 – ignore your comment and pretend they never read it
      2 – talk in circles without actually saying anything
      3 – insult you and change the subject

      August 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Canada

      lmao! because I actually understand what that means, it's funny that you dont! and it's so futile on my part, because I would explain it to you, but I know your ears would be closed and your eyes blinded! do you actually think that is telling you to HATE? lol! oh my friend, you do not know the spirit or your own, so it would not make sense to you. You are way to egotistical and "of this world"

      August 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
      • Susan StoHelit

        Beautiful example of method #3, thanks.

        August 26, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  10. TravelSheryl

    This is just outrageous as this "chuch" is just attempting to break up this family. They obviously don't believe in family values.

    August 22, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  11. MaryM

    Hate filled Church, surprise, surprise! The mother of a gay detective has been booted from the Tennessee church she attended for decades.

    August 22, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Christina

      There are plenty of other churches in Tennessee that would welcome the mother and her son as well as his boyfriend or spouse should he choose to bring him as well. It seems as if they did her a favor by kicking her out as who would want to be a member of a group that clearly does not have a relationship with the one they claim to worship.

      August 23, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  12. AJ

    all I can say is that "this is nuts"

    August 22, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  13. Toby Dana

    This is why hate christians and all religions. They are really awful people.

    August 22, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • HOPE,LOVE,FAITH

      pls do not put all people who love jesus in this group that you hate

      August 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        but you are all in this group

        August 22, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
        • Lone

          Being purposely obtuse isn't flattering.

          August 22, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
        • Christina

          That is like saying all atheists are the same. It is not so.

          August 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
      • Johnny

        If you don't want me to put you in that group then stop calling yourself a Christian.

        August 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
        • Christina

          Are all those with the name "Johnny" bigots?

          August 23, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Lone

      I'll give you the benefit of doubt that your simply immature, but your level of secular hubris is incredible. Since you have religion to fall back on as a fault, what is your excuse for lumping billions of strangers together and labeling them all as 'awful people'? Better have one that is air tight.

      August 22, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  14. Frank

    It's things like this that makes us all religious people look bad. Banning, especially the mother, not even the son would be in my church, is just ridiculous.

    August 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      It does for sure. As more and more people are educated about homosexuality, the biblical stance makes less sense and turns people off, it speaks pure hatred and bigotry. I know christians who would never treat LGBT like they were less than human or less worthy.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • mdreader

      It's the religion that makes Christians look bad. I am over it.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      I totally agree with you ... However, one wonders why other churches don't specifically call out the "wrongness" ( for lack of a better word ) of THIS church.
      Silence equates to agreement.

      August 23, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
  15. Sam Yaza

    churches have the right to be bigoted, government cannot get involved its their choice.

    however its important to remember you have sinned in the eyes of your god

    "Loving her daughter and supporting her family was not a sin"

    well yes yes it is

    "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple."Luke 14:26

    your supposed to love Jesus more then your family, and homosexuality is a sin in his yes, true it dos not specifically say woman on woman is a sin but never the less.

    note: i am not a christian, I'm a pagan and I'm just stating the fact

    unrelated one on one with miss Linda Cooper

    their are other faiths and gods out their who will support your family and your love of them, take a different covenants and avoid the "or else" unconditional love of Christ.

    i don't worry about hell, the worse thing that can happen to me if i fuck up is being reborn on earth again, i do right and I'm Avalon bound, its win win. Christianity is evil do away with it, were human we make mistakes we shouldn't be punished for it.

    August 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Pagan is v.ague. Could you specify?

      August 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
      • Sam Yaza

        yes

        Druidic Shinto.

        August 22, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Well, it takes all sorts. Different strokes for different folks. I didn't even know Druidism and Shinto went together, although I suppose there is some crossover.

          August 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
        • Which God?

          yaza, the two don't really mix. But, in your mind you must be A Ninja Druid.

          August 22, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
        • Sam Yaza

          Dude! like peanut butter and jelly

          druid is the religion of the circle, and shinto means complet circle

          its actualy scary how simulare they are.

          August 22, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
        • Sam Yaza

          i'm a descendant of Aoife not Scathach...

          im taking old Nature worship Yamata Shinto not the perverse Confucius corrupted Shinko

          Priestesses not priests

          August 22, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
      • Epidi

        I call myself Pagan as well. Paganism covers many different traditions. But, basically, if you do not suscribe to a book religion 9Bible, Torah, Quran, etc) you are likely to be Pagan. If Nature is your deity, you are likely to be Pagan. Being Pagan does not necessarily mean one is Wiccan. There are many classes or rather categories of Paganism.

        August 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • bczu

      But it also states in Leviticus that if you are lame you may not approach the altar of the lord. Trim your beard or cut your hair. And you cannot wear clothing containing two different fabrics. It doesnt state anywhere that one is worse then teh other. So if anyone of those "elders' went to church sick, after shaving their bear and wearing two different fabrics in their clothing, they have just committed three sins. Ironically, the gay man has only committed one.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
      • bczu

        Shaving their beard....

        August 22, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        I suppose if you tried to shave a bear, you'd end up feeling worse than sick.

        August 22, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
      • Bellezurdog

        Save a bear? Wow didn't know I had to save a bear to be a Christian! Think I will pass.

        August 22, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
        • regenesis0

          And Elisha he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. (2 Kings 2:24)

          Bears are the instruments of God's wrath! He sends them to murder little children because they made fun of an old man being bald.
          ...wait, what?

          Man, God is a dick.

          August 22, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
      • Jon

        Christians are not forced to adhere to the tenets in the Old Testament as it relates to certain rules and procedures. That changed when Christ came and provided Salvation based on His sacrifice, not adherence to strict rules and regulations.

        August 22, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
        • Stephen Jones

          Christians cherry pick through the Bible to support any weird, ignorant, cruel thing they want. They use the old testament and new testament. Some even use The Book of Mormon (just as silly and credible as the Bible).

          August 22, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
        • Crashman

          So when Jesus came along, all of a sudden the rest of the book is invalid? Funny, they still read from it in churches. And quote it on protest signs.

          OK, so where is it in the New Testament that being gay is a sin?

          August 22, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
        • Christina

          Christ also said He did not change a jot of Moses's law, so where does that leave us?

          August 23, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Sam Yaza,
      For Christians there are consequences for sin, if you are born again, hell is not one of the consequences.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
      • Stephen Jones

        Ah, to be forgiven and in the case of this church bigoted and cruel. Of course being a bigot or cruel is not a sin.

        August 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Pete

      Here we have a heathen that knows more about the Bible than most everyone here! Nice explanation brother!

      August 22, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  16. Athy

    Hey, folks, it's Tennessee! What would you expect, tolerance? Same state where a religious-zealot judge wouldn't allow a mother to name her child Messiah. I wouldn't even fly over that state if I could avoid it.

    August 22, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • nick

      How tolerant of you.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Roger that

      http://youtube.com/watch?v=1tqxzWdKKu8

      August 22, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • mtnman

      Don't forget that there ARE gay people living in Tennessee and many straights there are very open minded.

      August 22, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • Christina

      Rest assured that not all Tennesseans are like that. The majority of the population, religious and non-religious, believe what they did was wrong. They are like the black sheep of the family; no one really wants to claim them. LOL

      August 23, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
  17. Doc Vestibule

    When Scientologists cut all contact with "suppressive persons" (including spouses, children, parents etc), most people point a finger at the Hubbardites as an oppressive cult.
    What's the difference if a Christian church pressures a member to do the same thing?

    August 22, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      none Christianity is a cult, even got its raise during the cult popularity thin in Rome

      a cult is a religion were the center of worship is an Idol

      an idol is a human, a demigod, or an avatar.
      Christ is all three.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
  18. I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

    Gay haters hate gays and supporters of gays. Seems pretty normal for a Southern church.

    August 22, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Christina

      Not all Southern churches are exclusive.

      August 23, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  19. fred

    Good. They don't belong in the house of God.

    August 22, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Observer

      fred,

      Grow up. You certainly don't believe everything in the Bible so skip the world class HYPOCRISY by picking and choosing.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      You would disown your child because your church tells you to?

      August 22, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • meifumado

      Sin is an invention of man.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
      • ThinkAgain

        Invented by people to control and keep others under their thumb.

        August 22, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Oh dear, please stop and join the 21st century. These people pay taxes and do good deeds, they are harming no-one and they certainly have no control over their sexual orientation, let them be.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • ThinkAgain

      God is bigger than your petty insecurities and fears. I stand with this family.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • ThinkAgain

      This is why I don't attend a church: It turns into a club of people bickering and judging each other, COMPLETELY missing the point of their faith.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Athy

      Hey fred. Great post. Keep up the good work; we atheists love you.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • fred

      Ok, there are 3 different people using the handle fred. Why doesn't anyone ever steal the handle Athy or TruthPrevails ?

      August 22, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        fred is a pretty common name

        August 22, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
        • fred

          Thanks, I think it's pretty too !

          August 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        Go ahead and steal my handle. I post my comments using a wordpress account, so if my alias is not blue then it is not me.

        August 22, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Kevin

      you clearly have no idea what your own religion preaches, how pathetically sad.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  20. HITLER WAS A CHRISTIAN

    THE CHURCH MUST BE RUN BY PUTIN HIMSELF

    August 22, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      dude not cool,... leave Putin out of this.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
      • noly972

        That's right. You certainly can't accuse Putin of being Christian or having anything to do with them.

        August 22, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Doobs

      Ol' Vlad is too busy catching fish and riding horses shirtless.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:24 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.