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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. CS

    REMEMBER. RELIGION IS AN OPINION.

    August 23, 2013 at 1:28 am |
  2. CS

    This is simple. She finds another church. They are a private organization and not funded with government dollars. I'm gay, and if my church decides that I'm not for them, then that's ok. It's when they hurt people and break the law–that matters. We have civil and legal rights just like everyone else, but I don't really see the issue here.

    August 23, 2013 at 1:26 am |
    • yalesouth

      actually churches are funded by public dollars, you did not know they are tax exempt?

      August 23, 2013 at 1:28 am |
      • Tracy

        Tax exempt and funded by public dollars are not the same thing.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:30 am |
    • NorthVanCan

      Hate sucks anywhere at anytime. Behind closed doors or in a public school.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:30 am |
    • Tracy

      I can make it even more simple. Stop going to church.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:31 am |
    • Bill

      Not funded with public dollars?!? Are you high? Religions are hugely profitable organizations that are tax-exempt, but yet, as this group of bigots showed, they sure don't mind sticking their noses into political issues while at the same time robbing the government of billions of tax dollars so they can in turn spend it on their outdated 'values'.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:32 am |
    • Roger that

      I don't understand why anyone that is gay or female would want to be associated with religion. Religious groups hate both of them. If you are a lesbian then it's a double whammy.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:39 am |
      • Travel

        You do realize g.ays are allowed to serve and lead congregations today? It is not that unusual anymore.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:11 am |
  3. Craig

    The sign needs to be changed. It should read "Self righteousness endorses Bigotry."

    This is a "Church of Christ?" I got news for these folks. Their "Christ" would never judge someone, nor would he have exiled someone for "loving their child unconditionally." He would, however, have been really upset by the position of the church. After all, he regularly dined with "sinners" and never said a word that suggested he thought the members of the LGBTQ community were somehow lesser people and unworthy of God's love.

    August 23, 2013 at 1:26 am |
    • Kenman

      If you think GOD doesn't judge, you have no clue. That's why Christ came to Earth and died in our places, because sin separates us from God. These church members cannot judge these people, but they can judge their actions, and if that is contrary to the Word then they must speak up or betray the Word and those people like the daughter that are living a life of sin.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:29 am |
      • Observer

        Kenman,

        This church, like most other Christian chuches is full of hypocrites. Don't expect people there to follow the more important Golden Rule.

        August 23, 2013 at 1:34 am |
      • Siren's Song

        what a bunch of hokey.

        August 23, 2013 at 1:41 am |
      • Mark

        Jesus was a man who died nearly 2000 years ago and can't judge anyone. Jesus sounds like a fine proto-socialist and revolutionary who was murdered by the "conservatives" of his time. Your god can't judge anyone more than Santa Claus can. These people are hate mongers who hide behind their magic sky fairy's "word" to justify their hatred. Sickening.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:04 am |
  4. NorthVanCan

    Ok, so God hates Gays because it say's so in the Bible?
    Well......it must be true if it says so in the Bible..?
    NOT!

    August 23, 2013 at 1:23 am |
    • Kenman

      You're obviously a non-believer, because no one knowledgeable says that God hates ANYONE, certainly not the Bible!

      But sin separates us from Him, so the truly compassionate thing would not be to support someone living a life of sin, but having the courage of your conviction and speaking truth to your child that is committed to a life of sin.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:33 am |
    • Lee

      I"m still waiting for someone to show me where Christ says that. Oh, I know the hypocrites will talk about the OT but ignore the quite obvious retlationship between David and Jonathan. They also say parts of the OT don't count any more because of Christ but it's interesting that the parts that don't count are the ones they constantly violate anyway.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:52 am |
  5. Hunt Cooper

    As Kat Cooper's father, I thank CNN for reporting our story in a fair and even-handed article. We as a family did not ask for the attention that has come to our doorstep as a result of Kat's courageous fight for the right to have health insurance for her family and for other non-traditional families. It became a national story due to the importance of the struggle for many LGBT Americans to gain equality. We regret that the Ridgedale Church of Christ and the congregation that that my wife and family still love and value as good friends, some going back many decades, got caught up in the negativity and bad behavior of some with passions running amok on both sides of the LGBT controversy. The sense of loss and betrayal by the religious zealotry of the preacher and a few Elders and their idea of religious purity is heartbreaking. Their actions speak for themselves and anything further from my family will not likely change their hearts or convictions. We accept that and are moving on. We wish them all peace and happiness. As much as this has deeply hurt my family, wife, brother -in law and sister- in- law and all extended family we feel our loss is a small thing to bear compared to the bigotry, intolerance and hatred inflicted on people like my daughter who have been subjected to these injustices for a lifetime. Many are bullied mercilessly and have lost their lives to this type of ignorance. We stand proudly with Kat and admire her courage to face down dangerous people and those using religious bigotry to spread their hatred. This issue is too big for us to stand idly by in hopes of not hurting feelings and preserving this hate based doctrine by our silence. Thank you too the vast majority in these comments that have shown compassion, tolerance and kindness. We respect those with different opinions, ideas, and interpretations of their religious doctrine. Those of you that have chosen to judge and make thoughtless comments have only revealed the contents of your heart and revealed your true character. You may never know the hurt and pain you could be causing others.

    August 23, 2013 at 1:11 am |
    • coolusernametwo

      What it boils down to is a clash of two points of view – neither one of which is right.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:16 am |
      • Travel

        How do you know your point of view is right?

        August 23, 2013 at 1:18 am |
        • coolusernametwo

          I tend to form my opinions based on reason, logic, evidence, facts (information) and probability. It usually works pretty well. Try it.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:20 am |
        • Travel

          Still doesn't make your point of view right. I'm sure you think you are right. But it is not like you have some exclusive access to reason, logic, evidence, facts (information) and probability.
          Really, only something like a god can determine what is "right". Not a human being – we can't always think logically or reasonably. And when we think we do – we become arrogant.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:27 am |
    • Kenman

      So now you smear the church that you say you loved, and call their convictions "hateful", "intolerant", etc, etc. Then you must have been a phony member without the Christian conviction. Following God's will is not always easy, but it should always be the goal; on that you apparently surrender AND now condemn the very beliefs that you claim to have held.

      I wish you all well, and especially your daughter, but that will only be by the saving grace of the Lord and it is not promised regardless of your life choices. It is not our authority to change the world as we would and ask God to adjust, or get over it; He, and His Word, are constant and unchanging and it is us who are moving away from Him.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:21 am |
      • Observer

        Kenman,

        There is virtually ZERO chance you believe and support everything in the Bible, so skip the hypocrisy.

        August 23, 2013 at 1:23 am |
      • Craig

        It's simple. This place calls itself the "Church of Christ." Now, show me one place in the Bible that suggests this is something Christ would do. I'll be waiting, but remember...don't quote the Old Testament, because even Christ repudiated parts of that.

        August 23, 2013 at 1:28 am |
    • Jam One

      Wow, thank you for such a civil response.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:34 am |
    • GrewUpInCofC

      Eloquently stated.

      Your minister's position is consistent with what I grew up with in the CofC and walked away from decades ago. I have family who are actively involved in different CofC congregations and I'm certain they would support your minister on this one. I'm glad your family is sticking together.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:46 am |
    • gymnast46

      Mr. Cooper, you have shown remarkable restraint in your eloquent post. If I were in your shoes I'd be far less kind to the bigots who asked your wife to leave their church.

      It's hard for me to believe there are still intolerant throwbacks like the church elders in this country. They are one step removed from the KKK.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:55 am |
    • Lucie

      Mr Cooper, I don't know what I'm more impressed at. Your beautiful and courageous demonstration of love for your child or the amazing grace, humility and compassion you demonstrate in dealing with your situation and those who have caused you harm. The teachings of Jesus are all about love, acceptance and forgiveness and you sir are a perfect representation of that and an example for all to follow.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:02 am |
  6. tiki jones

    Such unforgiving HYPOCRITES! Are you sure you really understand the teachings of Christ??

    August 23, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • coolusernametwo

      Pointless. It's like asking "do you understand the teaching of Hustler magazine?" Obscene!

      August 23, 2013 at 1:18 am |
  7. GrewUpInCofC

    The story may as well have been about the CofC's beliefs in general so outsiders could criticize them in a broader context. CNN could then peek in on other religions for equal scrutiny by non-members.

    I suspect the story offers no surprises to CofC members as a whole. The mom may even have spoken in favor of the church had it been a different member's daughter.

    My memory of the CofC is that it isn't tolerant of individual discretion on core beliefs, so members either go along with the program or leave. The mom made her choice.

    I won't defend the CofC since I walked away from it years ago. But I wonder if the point of this story is only call out the CofC for its beliefs.

    August 23, 2013 at 1:09 am |
  8. coolusernametwo

    Actually, both religion and gayness are mental sicknesses. One is learned, the other one congenital.

    August 23, 2013 at 1:03 am |
    • RC

      Speaking of sicknesses.....

      August 26, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  9. Clausen

    I'd just like to say the 99% of churches out there are not like this. Please don't judge an entire religion based on the dumb actions of one small group. Most churches I know would never do a thing like this for any reason.

    August 23, 2013 at 1:03 am |
    • coolusernametwo

      It's like saying that 99% of Nazis are good Nazis.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:05 am |
      • Elf

        99% Were good actually

        August 23, 2013 at 1:11 am |
        • coolusernametwo

          Tell that to the Jews that died in concentration camps.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:13 am |
        • Travel

          99% of CNN Religion Blog atheists have a lot in common with Christians. They things they criticize others the most about: they possess, too!

          August 23, 2013 at 1:15 am |
    • SSampson

      I don't judge any group based on the actions of a few in cases like this – Of course I do think people that believe in imaginary beings have issues... There has never been any proof of any of these beings – EVER – none – zero – nada... As such, 'faith' was created... so that you could believe without requiring any proof....
      Luckily science exists – so we have been able to prove – despite arguments from religion – that the world is round and the earth rotates around the sun.... If religion was real and GOD actually talked to people a few thousand years ago, don't you think he would have mentioned that??? or at LEAST let them know those facts before they started killing people for saying it...

      But I ramble yet again.... talking only to the fools that can't see or deal with reality

      August 23, 2013 at 1:14 am |
  10. MysticYat

    Always good to see the reality of Christianity in action. These "good christians" are exactly kind of the trash that Jesus kicked out of the temples in the bible story......

    August 23, 2013 at 1:01 am |
    • coolusernametwo

      Jesus is a myth, and not even a good one!

      August 23, 2013 at 1:07 am |
      • Mark

        Jesus existed as a man. It seems like he was someone today's conservatives would call a liberal and a socialist, with all his acceptance of people and trying to help the poor get food and stuff. The supernatural nonsense was created by those who co-opted his movement after death and turned it into a religion. If Jesus did write anything down, Peter and Paul destroyed it in order to spread their perversion of his message and instead turned him into a god instead of the revolutionary that he was.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:09 am |
  11. skytag

    Tennessee is the state where a judge recently told a woman she couldn't name her son Messiah because there was only one messiah and that was Jesus Christ.

    August 23, 2013 at 12:58 am |
  12. Pazzatick

    Sadly, this is precisely why a) hireing Christians invites huge lawsuits and serious liability, and b) why young people shun the church. Gay people are as easy to work with as can be and we all know it's no big deal. But Christians? "I won't work with him, her lifestyle offends me, that person's private life is an afront to my beliefs..." etc. You'd have to be a moron or have serious insurance to hire a born again zealot nowadays.

    August 23, 2013 at 12:53 am |
    • Kenman

      You obviously don't understand morals and religious values, and since you assert that hiring Christians invites trouble, you might look in the mirror. It is those like you that attack the faith and moral teachings of the faith of our Forefathers and cause the trouble and sink our once great country into darkness.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:06 am |
      • HeyZeus

        Who's Forefathers White man?

        August 23, 2013 at 2:23 am |
      • conqui

        You obviously do not understand the faith of our Forefathers. Most of the most famous ones did NOT consider themselves to be Christians. For instance, Thomas Jefferson explicitly did not believe Jesus performed any miracles, he did not believe in Heaven or Hell, he did not believe Jesus was divine, he did not believe in the resurrection (he had many negative things to say about those who believed in miracles and the resurrection), he did not believe in angels, I could go on and on. Many other founding fathers had similar beliefs, even if they were official members of a church. Get rid of your fantasies and get thoughts that are factual.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:53 am |
    • Travel

      There are a lot of Christians that happen to be gay.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:07 am |
      • coolusernametwo

        It's like saying that there were a lot of Jewish Gestapo. There were, to be sure.

        August 23, 2013 at 1:09 am |
        • Travel

          No, there are many congregations that are welcoming to all s.exual orientations. A lot are fighting the battle for equal rights.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:20 am |
  13. BillR

    I think gayness is a mental disorder – my opinion – but I think this decision is ridiculous. God loves all people and a mother loving her own daughter unconditionally is wonderful.

    August 23, 2013 at 12:51 am |
    • jerd

      i think disorder is an extremely poor choice of words.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:03 am |
      • Kenman

        No, it is an emotional disorder, unnatural, and physically, emotionally and spiritually destructive.

        August 23, 2013 at 1:07 am |
        • Observer

          Kenman,

          The professionals at leading psychology organizations would mostly claim you don't have a clue.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:18 am |
      • coolusernametwo

        So, what do you call it when someone's brain is not right?

        August 23, 2013 at 1:12 am |
        • HotAirAce

          religious cult member disorder?

          August 23, 2013 at 2:20 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Too bad mental health and medical professionals don't agree you

      August 23, 2013 at 2:17 am |
    • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

      Mental health pro's proved they are wishy-washy on the subject and just go with the flow of gubmint money.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:38 am |
      • HotAirAce

        If that's true, it won't be long before believing in supernatural gods or being a Babble Humper is added to the list of illnesses.

        August 23, 2013 at 5:09 am |
  14. Amanda T

    They better start exiling ALL divorcees,ALL families cohabiting prior to marriage,AND ALL PREGNANCIES OUT OF WEDLOCK. Oh wait that'd probably touch everyone in the church in some way shape or form.

    August 23, 2013 at 12:50 am |
    • HotAirAce

      You left out everyone that's had an abortion.

      August 23, 2013 at 12:55 am |
    • HeyZeus

      Add anyone that has worked on Sunday, Women that work outside of the home, men that have looked upon other women lustfully, Anyone that has eaten pork, oh boy that list gets long...

      August 23, 2013 at 2:26 am |
  15. GrewUpInCofC

    Exiling members was known as "withdrawal" when I grew up. The entire congregation, including family members of the person involved, were expected to shun the person completely. The idea is that the person would would become so lonely and ashamed that they would come back and repent their evil ways.

    August 23, 2013 at 12:35 am |
    • DS

      I was shunned from the age of 4 until my 6th birthday, for not saving the excess oil from a can of tuna.

      August 23, 2013 at 12:41 am |
    • Beatriss Scatolakis

      These fools did the lady a favor. God hasn't been to that charge in decades!!

      August 23, 2013 at 12:48 am |
  16. JavierB

    So she wasn't "booted" from the church. She was given two options and she chose to leave.

    August 23, 2013 at 12:30 am |
    • Observer

      JavierB,

      They did her a favor. She doesn't have to spend anymore time with the ignorant hypocrites at church.

      August 23, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • freddo

      My, what cute little semantic games you're playing.

      The options were – fall in line, or get the f* out.

      She was booted. There was no option.

      August 23, 2013 at 12:44 am |
  17. Craig

    I really can't see why this is news. It seems like a private matter that CNN has drummed up to try to create a rift between gay marriage supporters and those against gay marriage. There's nothing illegal going on here...

    August 23, 2013 at 12:30 am |
    • Travel

      Apparently atheists love to read stuff like this. They can't stop talking about it!!!!

      August 23, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • Clausen

      Agreed.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:05 am |
  18. rob0rah

    Being gay is not the problem, religion is!

    August 23, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • coolusernametwo

      Actually, both are.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:02 am |
      • Observer

        Gays are a big problem for bigots.

        August 23, 2013 at 1:04 am |
  19. Ologyomega

    To say this is not typical of the bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ would be false. In Luke 12:51, it states, 'Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division'. As far as Christians being hateful.. that's not what the bible teaches nor is that what elders teach. You're taught to hate the sin but not the sinner. Once you get baptized and accept the edicts of the scriptures, you've made the choice to follow it. If not, you can if you so choose. Which is what this mother has decided to do even though she was affiliated with her church for over 60 years. The church has rules, the same way a home has rules. The rules aren't forced upon anyone nor should they be, but if someone feels that following the doctrine is too much to handle then they should re-evaluate what lifestyle they want. The elders were right in their decision.

    August 23, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • Craig

      Whether the elders were absolutely correct in their decision, I don't know if I can say. I don't know if we have enough information, but I absolutely agree with everything else you said...

      August 23, 2013 at 12:32 am |
      • Ologyomega

        Craig, I'm not responding with the hopes of being contentious. I feel that that could only be counter- productive, but I do feel healthy conversation is important. How would you have handled it had you been the group of elders?

        August 23, 2013 at 12:36 am |
    • Observer

      Ologyomega,

      The elders are hypocrites who pick and choose what "rules" they agree with and ignore the rest. You are supporting the hypocrites. Well done.

      August 23, 2013 at 12:35 am |
      • Ologyomega

        Well, Observer, let's talk about what decisions this church has made that proves them to be hypocritical.. Are you referring to divorce? Are you alluding to something else? If so, please let me know.

        August 23, 2013 at 12:40 am |
        • Observer

          Ologyomega,

          If you and the church support slavery, discrimination against women and the handicapped, beating children with rods for discipline, etc. then you actually follow the Bible. Otherwise, it's just pick-and-choose HYPOCRISY.

          August 23, 2013 at 12:44 am |
        • Travel

          No, Observer. I don't believe you.

          August 23, 2013 at 12:54 am |
        • Observer

          Travel

          "No, Observer. I don't believe you.'

          Please read a Bible someday.

          August 23, 2013 at 12:56 am |
        • Travel

          I've read it. People way smarter than you have read it, too. And they didn't come away with your understanding. It is possible that you are the one that is wrong. Most atheists that troll religious boards and news articles are wrong a lot, especially about the Bible.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:03 am |
        • Observer

          Travel

          "People way smarter than you have read it, too". No argument there no matter how irrelevent.

          You have supplied ZERO rebuttal. Still waiting for you to say anything relevent.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:06 am |
        • Travel

          Right back at you!

          August 23, 2013 at 1:09 am |
        • Ologyomega

          I disagree with you, Observer. I haven't looked too much on the slavery issue, but when it I think of the atrocities of slavery in it's ugliest forms I would have to disagree with you on that as well. I won't argue about the slavery aspect until I get a chance to look it up, but I'll be more than happy to defend my position on the other issues you've brought up.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:09 am |
        • Observer

          Ologyomega,

          Okay. Defend this quote directly from God:

          (Lev. 21:16-23 "Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aaron, saying, 'No man of your offspring throughout their generations who has a defect shall approach to offer the food of his God. For no one who has a defect shall approach: a blind man, or a lame man, or he who has a disfigured face, or any deformed limb, or a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, or a hunchback or a dwarf, or one who has a defect in his eye or eczema or scabs or crushed testicles. No man among the descendants of Aaron the priest who has a defect is to come near to offer the Lord’s offerings by fire; since he has a defect, he shall not come near to offer the food of his God. He may eat the food of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy, only he shall not go in to the veil or come near the altar because he has a defect, so that he will not profane My sanctuaries. For I am the Lord who sanctifies them.’” [God]

          So much for the handicapped.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:14 am |
        • Betty

          Leviticus 20, BEFORE it speaks of "man lying with a man" says "For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him."

          So until the streets of the United States are littered with the slightly dented bodies of 13 year old boys, I'm going to say it's monstrously hypocritical to shun the mother of a lesbian. And why is literalism so important right up until you get to the part about girl on girl? I mean Leviticus 20 has a pretty specific list of don'ts, but somehow God forgot that chicks like to do it to? If he didn't forget, but he felt the need to mention specifically that a man shouldn't sleep with his neighbors wife, his father's wife, his sister in law, his sister, his uncle's wife or his brother's wife...oh, and also no women on their periods. So either God just had lesbianism slip his mind, or he really doesn't care one bit. In which case, this church better install lightning rods on the roof.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:16 am |
        • Ologyomega

          Observer, I'm sorry it took me so long. I was trying to read into the background of the scripture and my laptop over heated because I had multiple tabs up. With the temple that you were referring to, I took it to mean come perfect before the Lord. The same way if you go to Heaven, you have to strive to live a holy life. Lol If anyone and everyone was allowed to go to Heaven, then Heaven wouldn't be Heaven. It would be Earth. With all the killings.. all the crimes.. all the hate.. I think it's more symbolic that God requires perfection. That's not to say that He hates the disabled, because He says they could eat like everyone else. In terms of how that relates to today, in order to get to Heaven, you have to live as holy a life as possible.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:48 am |
        • Travel

          You do realize Leviticus was written to the tribe of Levites and includes instructions for the priests to follow. It is not some universal law that people are supposed to follow today.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:51 am |
        • Ologyomega

          Betty, it's a bit absurd for you to make such a comparison. You're calling the truth hypocritical because it's not killing children? I hope you could give a better argument than that. Especially when in the New Testament it's said that you should NoT kill. It even goes further and states that if you hate someone, that's considered murder..

          August 23, 2013 at 1:52 am |
        • HeyZeus

          "You're calling the truth " Stop right there.

          Please prove it "the truth". To prove, you must use outside reference. Not what the bible states. You cannot prove.

          While you will state to me, prove it is not truth, I reply I do not have to. As I am not stating that what myths I believe truth, only that I follow them.

          State your proof of Truth, real proof, not Jesus done did it, and an actual debate can occur, state no truth, and your points are worthless.

          August 23, 2013 at 2:45 am |
      • Tia

        We all chose what rules we will abide by and what rules we will reject. It's called free will. Those who don't agree with the decision of the church elders are free to join a church whose rules and teachings they accept.

        August 23, 2013 at 12:50 am |
        • Observer

          Tia

          "We all chose what rules we will abide by and what rules we will reject."

          Exactly. That's why Christian churches are usually loaded with hypocrites telling others how to live their lives following a book they don't actually believe in.

          August 23, 2013 at 12:55 am |
        • skytag

          Christianity, the religion of choice for the church-shopping crowd.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:01 am |
        • Betty

          Or, they can shine a light in the darkness and point out the mean spirited, un-Christlike, hypocritical BS this minister is spewing and the hateful decision of this congregation. You know, because they have free will and stuff.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:21 am |
      • Beatriss Scatolakis

        AMEN! What a friend they don't have in Jesus!

        August 23, 2013 at 12:53 am |
        • Ologyomega

          What do you mean?

          August 23, 2013 at 12:57 am |
      • Mark

        First, the Bible was written over a period of years, You comment about slavery no longer is valid as slavery existed in Biblical times but no longer. As for beating children with rods, there were several forms of discipline in those times. Discrimination against women, the Bible states in Timothy a woman is to remain silent in church. We have separation of church and state for a reason. While politically the church may be wrong, but the church has the right to govern its own congregation. The Church of Christ as the article states governs their own selves. No one is perfect and everyone has a different point of view.

        August 23, 2013 at 1:10 am |
        • Betty

          So slavery doesn't exist any more? You may want to read a book or google a couple of things.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:21 am |
        • Observer

          Mark

          "First, the Bible was written over a period of years, You comment about slavery no longer is valid as slavery existed in Biblical times but no longer'

          lol. Get serious. Slavery existed for MANY CENTURIES after the Bible was written and many Christians in our country were slave owners. Get your head out of the sand.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:31 am |
        • Travel

          Slavery is very much alive today. We just don't see it. Stop paying your taxes – the government will make you into something very much like a slave.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:33 am |
        • Travel

          There were Christians (and all different types of people) on both sides of the slavery issue. There were Christians who were slaves, too.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:34 am |
        • Observer

          Travel

          "Slavery is very much alive today. We just don't see it. Stop paying your taxes – the government will make you into something very much like a slave."

          Nothing remotely close to how the Bible said to treat slaves. Read one.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:38 am |
        • Travel

          I read that Jesus Christ was descended from slaves.
          I know slavery was and still is a human being problem. It is not strictly a condition found in groups of people, like atheists or Christians. I've learned of many Christians who fought to abolish slavery. I know if I follow the 10 Commandments I can't treat another human being as a slave.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:43 am |
        • Observer

          Travel,

          As long as you are picking-and-choosing from the Bible, why not choose the more important Golden Rule rather than passages that pick on gays?

          August 23, 2013 at 1:50 am |
        • Travel

          Sorry, I don't do that. You are wrong about me.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:53 am |
        • redzoa

          Although the second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) might forbid slavery, there is nothing in the Decalogue (Exodus 20:1-17) that forbids it, i.e. the practices condoned in Leviticus 25:44-47.

          August 23, 2013 at 2:00 am |
    • Atheists do it better ;)

      lol, and this is why the christian religion is dying, no one wants the hypocrisy and hatred, the intolerance and misogyny, the blood god from the bronze age will finally die out, and mankind will be free.

      August 23, 2013 at 12:37 am |
      • Travel

        Dying? What world do you live in?

        August 23, 2013 at 12:46 am |
      • Ologyomega

        The Christian religion is dying because there are more so many denominations saying different things. It's like living in a society where all the adults say something is wrong.. but they all have different definitions of what wrong is. It's hard to be convicted when there are so many different doctrines. Christianity was never supposed to be that way..

        August 23, 2013 at 12:46 am |
      • Athy

        They'll probably attempt to change in order to maintain their membership. But it may (hopefully) be too little too late.

        August 23, 2013 at 12:48 am |
        • Ologyomega

          I don't think they should change.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:00 am |
        • Athy

          That would be even better. They'll die that much sooner.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:02 am |
        • Ologyomega

          Christianity is not going to die.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:14 am |
        • Athy

          Oh, it eventually will, but not soon enough.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:26 am |
        • Ologyomega

          The persecution of the Christian religion has been going on since the days of the early church in the book of Acts. Christianity has had perpetual attacks from it's early onset. What makes you think that it will leave? I think this is just another case of there is nothing new under the sun. This isn't the first time it has been attacked and it won't be the last. I do believe, though, that it is getting weaker..

          August 23, 2013 at 1:57 am |
  20. eve

    What a wonderful example of Christian love this church is. hopefully the sarcasm is evident.

    August 23, 2013 at 12:25 am |
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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.