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.



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. Grumpy

    1 Corinthians 5:
    5 It is actually reported that there is se_xual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,[a][b] so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

    August 23, 2013 at 2:22 am |
    • Observer


      Please tell us EVERYTHING that Jesus, who never even dated a woman and hung around with a dozen guys, said about gays.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:26 am |
      • Grumpy

        Jesus's life was focused on the time he would die on the cross for your sins, preaching, teaching, and training his disciples. He had no time to devote to a wife and kids.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:28 am |
        • Observer


          Still waiting to hear what Jesus said about gays. He said PLENTY about the s3xual habits of heteros and much of it was bad.

          So what did he say?

          August 23, 2013 at 2:31 am |
        • Sir

          Keep telling yourself that Grump...

          August 23, 2013 at 2:31 am |
        • skytag

          "Jesus's life was focused on the time he would die on the cross for your sins, preaching, teaching, and training his disciples."

          What does that even mean given that Jesus didn't start preaching until he was 33? How much "focusing" does God need to do to teach and preach?

          "He had no time to devote to a wife and kids."

          He can create a universe with a trillion trillion stars, terraform this planet and create all life on it, but he wouldn't have time for a wife. Yeah, okay. Whatever.

          August 23, 2013 at 2:45 am |
      • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

        Observer is a HATER.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:54 am |
    • Dick Wiggler

      Doesn't say anything about the sinner's MOM. That's just old-fashioned hatin'.

      August 23, 2013 at 3:06 am |
  2. nunya


    August 23, 2013 at 2:14 am |
  3. shawbrooke

    If she does not believe what the church believes, whatever is she doing there? She needs to find a church that shares her beliefs. The same goes for any group. If someone does not support what a business sells, then they can't work there. If you are not prepared to follow the condo bylaws, don't buy there! This is not rocket science.

    August 23, 2013 at 2:14 am |
  4. Christian

    How dare they actually do what the Bible says to do! To all these people claiming to be "Christians" and saying how dare this church do this. Read your Bible. They actually did what the Bible said to do, in the way it said do it. Wake up and realize maybe you're being lied too by your "pastor"

    August 23, 2013 at 2:11 am |
    • Travel

      I can't imagine creating rules about the actions of a member's child is what Jesus' good news is about. How are they helping the poor, the orphans and the widowed by doing this? This church is more like the Pharisees, less like Jesus.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:17 am |
    • Roger that

      There are a lot of things the Bible tells you to do, but unless you want to end up in prison, I would suggest not following it. Read it again and see how ridiculous it is

      August 23, 2013 at 2:17 am |
    • Dick Wiggler

      The Bible doesn't tell you to excommunicate a sinner's Mother. You should try reading it once in awhile.

      August 23, 2013 at 3:08 am |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    Yesterday morning there was a knock at my door. A pleasant and enthusiastic young couple were there.

    John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

    Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"

    John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

    John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."

    Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

    Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

    Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

    John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

    Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

    Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"

    John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

    Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

    Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts out of you."

    Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

    John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

    Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

    John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

    Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

    Mary: "Well, maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street."

    Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"

    John: "In this town, Hank is the same as good luck. All good things are attributed to Hank'"

    Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

    John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."

    Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."

    Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"

    John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."

    Me: "Who's Karl?"

    Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

    Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

    John: "Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

    From the Desk of Karl
    1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
    2. Use alcohol in moderation.
    3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
    4. Eat right.
    5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
    6. The moon is made of green cheese.
    7. Everything Hank says is right.
    8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
    9. Don't use alcohol.
    10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
    11. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.

    Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."

    Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

    Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."

    John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

    Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

    Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."

    Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"

    Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

    Me: "How do you figure that?"

    Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

    Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."

    John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

    Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

    John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

    Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."

    Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

    Me: "I'm not really an expert, but not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it plausible that it might be made of cheese."

    John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists don’t know everything, but we know Hank is always right!"

    Me: "We do?"

    Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

    Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"

    John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

    Me: "But...oh, never mind.

    from Jhuger.com

    August 23, 2013 at 2:09 am |
    • Sir

      This is great!

      August 23, 2013 at 2:36 am |
    • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

      dawg is a HATER.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:55 am |
      • RC

        And you're just an IDIOT!

        August 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  6. bikewise1

    Here that? That's the sound of religion making itself even more irrelevant....

    August 23, 2013 at 2:09 am |
    • bikewise1

      Darn autocorrect! Hear, not here.....

      August 23, 2013 at 2:10 am |
    • Christian

      ya because survival of the fittest, and darwins racist, genocidal,dog eat dog world, is so very pretty and tolerate. for real, think man, Just read Darwin's book the Decent of Man. Want to know which Historical figure actually did what evolution and darwinism calls for? Adolph Hitler.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:14 am |
      • skytag

        Not much of a counter argument.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:47 am |
  7. Sam

    I see all these comments about God doesn't like this person or that person when this is really an issue about people at a church. Frankly, as someone that believes in the separation of Church and State, who gives a darn what this Church does.

    August 23, 2013 at 2:06 am |
    • skytag

      The actions of churches reflect on the religions they represent. This one is a representative of Christianity.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:50 am |
      • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

        Another HATER from the Sodominian mob.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:58 am |
  8. sleepytime

    Classy as always, Christianity.

    August 23, 2013 at 2:05 am |
  9. Grumpy

    Jesus spoke on this issue.

    Matthew 18
    15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

    August 23, 2013 at 2:03 am |
    • Observer


      There are FAR FAR MORE Christian adulterers than there are total gays, but don't talk about them when it's more fun for you to pick on gays.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:05 am |
      • Grumpy

        You keep trashing Christians but I've been trashing no one. I said the church followed the instructions of Christ about the matter, which they did. All people willfully sinning in open rebellion against God should receive the same treatment. That is the way things were handled in the early church to keep sin out of the church.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:09 am |
        • skytag

          I disagree. I don't think what this woman did warranted the church's reaction.

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


        "You keep trashing Christians"

        I am trashing the Christian HYPOCRITES who tell others to follow a Bible that they don't believe all of themselves. Do you qualify?

        August 23, 2013 at 2:13 am |
      • krhodes

        Observer "Grumpy, There are FAR FAR MORE Christian adulterers than there are total gays, but don't talk about them when it's more fun for you to pick on gays."

        Get this...the church throws out adulterers too! That is awful isn't it.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:14 am |
        • Grumpy

          Sounds like they are doing exactly what Jesus himself said to do and what Jesus said through Paul to do.

          August 23, 2013 at 2:16 am |
      • Observer


        Christian churches are full of Christian ADULTERERS who have divorced and remarried. Some churches don't allow remarriage but they are the exception. Try again.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:16 am |
        • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

          The gubmint is in charge of marriage, observer. For some reason you don't get it. Months and months of telling you about this usurpation and yer bwain don't get it. You just like to TRASH Jesus and Christians. You are a warped HATER.

          August 23, 2013 at 2:36 am |
    • Matthew

      Interesting choice of scripture. 🙂 Keep in mind that Jesus blessed the pagans and showed them great kindness in order to save them through love rather than stone them. Jesus also counted a tax collector as one of his disciples. I get your point, and it is well put, but simply had to point this out.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:15 am |
  10. Claire

    Good riddance– why would you want to be associated with a church who sees your child as a sin anyway?

    August 23, 2013 at 1:59 am |
  11. Keithwlaker

    THe church is the house of GOd, and in His house and in this world we are suppose to forgive those that trespass against us and to ask forgiveness of those we trespass against. We are thought not to judge lease we be judge accordingly. THe church is disobeying every rule of the Bible on this matter.


    August 23, 2013 at 1:58 am |
    • Travel

      I agree. Look at who Jesus spent time with; people that the religious people in His time shunned.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:01 am |
  12. Mark

    So, this mother was ejected from her hate group for not properly hating gays... oh well. It is always amazing to me that people expect anything different from these churches/hate groups. They are hate groups mired in bigotry and intolerance. Would anyone be surprised if the Klan ejected a member for supporting her child's interracial marriage? No... because it is the Klan. This is an evangelical church which is an organization dedicated to hate and is full of hate mongers... when one of their members failed to hate appropriately according to their book of mumbo-jumbo, she was punished. Hopefully, she leaves this and all backward religion behind her.

    August 23, 2013 at 1:54 am |
  13. Roger that

    Another example of why God is not great.

    August 23, 2013 at 1:54 am |
  14. Kimmie

    I thought God was all forgiving. I thought God loves everyone. I guess that is not the case if you are religious.

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

      God forgive the repentant, not people who brazenly sin.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:59 am |
      • Observer

        People who "brazenly" divorce and remarry are adulterers unless their first spouse already was an adulterer.
        Christian churches are FULL of such Christian ADULTERERS. It's all hypocrisy. Welcome aboard.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:03 am |
      • redzoa

        I thought all sins were equal in the eyes of God? And as a believer, allegedly knowing what is and isn't a sin, wouldn't any conscious sin be "brazen' in choosing to engage it in full knowledge that it is a sin? Besides, isn't forgiveness an act of grace, available at the last dying breath regardless of how one choose to live their life, i.e. the ultimate get out of hell free card?

        Of course these are rhetorical so please don't feel obliged to offer any of the standard apologist's "true Scotsman fallacy" responses . . .

        August 23, 2013 at 2:08 am |
      • skytag

        What sin did this woman brazenly commit?

        August 23, 2013 at 2:55 am |
  15. Grumpy

    So, the woman endorses what the church says is sin and then scratches her head when they ask her to either stop supporting sin or leave the church. She chose sin over God, eh?

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

      Sad, but true! If the church bows to every evil, it is evil and no sanctuary for grace.

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


        Skip the hypocrisy. Choose the Golden Rule instead of fostering anger towards gays.

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

          Both Paul and Jesus said to disfellowship sinning members after you try to bring them to repentance if they refuse to repent and continue to chose to live in sin. The church's response was completely Biblical.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:53 am |
        • Roger that


          The Bible also says to kill gays, but we all know that is complete nonsense as well. Wake up and join the rest of us in the 21st century.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:58 am |
        • Travel

          Are the church member's sins any less than this mothers? I think not.

          August 23, 2013 at 1:58 am |
        • Observer


          Paul also said people shouldn't get married and that women shouldn't instruct men.


          August 23, 2013 at 1:58 am |
    • Mark

      She chose her child over the imaginary figure created to give credence to this hate group's bigotry. That is a good choice and one everyone should make.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:57 am |
    • skytag

      How did she endorse sin?

      August 23, 2013 at 2:56 am |
  16. canlasgarrett12104

    Reblogged this on canlasgarrett12104's Blog.

    August 23, 2013 at 1:46 am |
  17. Rich

    The Church of Christ is a cult. My wife and her family were raised in the Church of Christ and saw this kind of nonsense often.

    August 23, 2013 at 1:44 am |
  18. Matthew

    I am a gay man. I have survived being beaten so severly that I almost died. I do not agree with the actions of this church, but I do support their right to do so. This church is actually balancing the rights of churches and the rights of individuals to free speech very well. They are not saying that you cannot support this cause, they are sayig you cannot support this cause AND be members of this church. They are exercising their own religious freedoms, not condemning others. If the church actively tried to block or oppose the fight for equal rights for these brave women this would be a different story.

    As long as this church does not actively try to impose their beliefs onto others I have no problem with them even though I disagree with their interpretation of certain scriptures.

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

      I commend you, for what it's worth, on your reasonable explanation of the situation and wish you every saving grace!

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

      Thanks for sharing. I agree.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:09 am |
      • ms_oh

        church is within their rights and lady was within her rights to disagree and leave. Notice it was her choice to leave.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:24 am |
        • Observer


          If she truly had her CHOICE, it would have been to stay in church and keep everything as it had been, but they didn't give her that CHOICE.

          Try again.

          August 23, 2013 at 2:27 am |
    • ms_oh

      that's due to the deviant life style rotting the brain.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:19 am |
      • Observer


        Grow up.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:21 am |
        • ms_oh

          IIf that means taking it in the short, no thank you.

          August 23, 2013 at 2:26 am |
        • Observer


          Millions of heteros engage in sodomy.You hypocritically didn't mention them.

          Did you have ANY point at all?

          August 23, 2013 at 2:29 am |
      • Matthew

        LOL I will actually take that as a friendly joke. 🙂 If you notice we are agreeing with each other though. The church is well within their rights to do what they did. Every church has the right to their beliefs whether the majority agrees with them or not.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:33 am |
    • skytag

      I don't think anyone has questioned their right to do what they did.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:59 am |
  19. ms_oh

    Gay detective's mother booted from church... That's totally untrue. Just begin the article with a friggin lie. The mother chose to walk away.

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

      Good point, CNN is notorious for doing that! But, what do you expect with the other headlines on THIS page, such as the Pope's ill-advised statement, and the "Six tribes of Atheism" under the "Belief" banner!

      August 23, 2013 at 1:46 am |
      • Michael E

        Atheism is also a belief, even though it's not one that you agree with.

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

          No. Atheism is a lack of belief.

          August 23, 2013 at 2:08 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          atheism is a belief like bald is a hair color ...

          August 23, 2013 at 2:11 am |
    • krhodes

      "Linda Cooper was given a choice: publicly atone for their transgressions or leave the church.

      Linda left the church."

      Exactly...she made her "choice" and left.

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

        Yep. They did her a favor. No more wasting time with ignorant hypocrites.

        August 23, 2013 at 1:56 am |
        • krhodes

          Observer "Yep. They did her a favor. No more wasting time with ignorant hypocrites."

          They didn't do her a favor...she left.

          August 23, 2013 at 2:16 am |
        • Observer


          They forced her into leaving since they would not allow her to be herself. If she had her CHOICE, she would have stayed as she was. Ooops,

          August 23, 2013 at 2:19 am |
      • PDXMAN

        I have to disagree with you on the part of the choice given "Publicly atone for "their" transgressions or leave the church". One cannot atone for the transgressions of others. It is something the individual themselves has to do. There was one point in all history where someone made atonement on the behalf of others....That was Jesus Christ. As a Christian, and an elder in my own church, I cannot agree with the statement that one can atone for others. That places me in the seat of the Lord I have chosen to follow. If that is how this particular church presented the options to this person, then they did not in fact follow biblical teaching in my opinion. I can no more atone for the sins of others than I can assume I'm saved because my grandparents or parents went to church. I have to make that decision as does anyone else. Same for atonement. I have to atone for my own sins. While I can ask for prayers from others to give me the strength and courage to do so, I cannot assume I'm forgiven for them because someone else interceded on my behalf. I still have that choice to make.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:07 am |
        • shawbrooke

          Either she agrees with the church or she doesn't. She makes the decision. End of story, just as it would be if someone decided to live in a condo complex and follow none of the rules.

          August 23, 2013 at 2:16 am |
  20. Michael

    Screw these religious fruit loops. God help them when they need the police at some point.

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

      Ah yes, the typical response of anti-Christians, YOU are the most intolerant of all! If a church allows everything of the world, then their beliefs and convictions are meaningless and they serve NO ONE, least of all God. That might not matter to you, but in the end it will.

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

        Your church has no authority to condemn anything. Your god doesn't exist and you use your "beliefs" as an excuse to hate and oppress.

        August 23, 2013 at 1:59 am |
        • FYI


          Just because you use your "beliefs" as an excuse to hate and oppress, doesn't mean others do.

          August 23, 2013 at 2:04 am |
      • ms_oh

        we had a couple burglaries... The Pit Bulls chewed the last one up so badly, no more issues. What police?

        August 23, 2013 at 2:18 am |
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About this blog

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