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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. Thought Purification

    churches should the same give choice to priests: publicly admit their child s ex abuses or leave the church.

    August 23, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Thought Purification

      *should be given the same choice to...

      August 23, 2013 at 4:49 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 hom0ph0bic 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 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • hharri

      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 hom0ph0bic 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!

      you can't pick some lines that you want to believe in and others you disregard!!! like you?

      August 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Really for Real Scotsman

      Dyslexic doG- "if you're Christian you must believe every word of the bible,"

      That is incorrect.

      August 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  3. Alias

    @lawrence

    In one post you claim the old testament was intended fo rancient jews, but we are not bound by its rules. In oter posts, you use the old testament to support your arguements.

    Please specify where the bible says to ignore parts of itself, and what parts we should ignore.

    August 23, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
  4. Alias

    THIS is why I am against christian christiananity.
    You morons make rules for yourselves, and then try to impost them on everyone else.
    If you lived up to your own standards, it would be less of a problem. However, you commit the sins you want and try to hold the rest of us to whatever subjective standards you want to live by.

    August 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • You're almost there

      If you sit in on a lot of fanatic sermons, you'll hear the preacher say on and on that we are not capable of thinking for ourselves, and that we need to let God take control. People then say "alright, I'm done thinking for myself" and instantly become ignoramuses and make a joke out of themselves and their belief system.

      August 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Troll Finder

      Found another one.

      August 23, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • hharri

      lol

      August 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
  5. Proud Atheist

    The breadth of intolerance shown by churches and their members towards people claiming to do their god’s will makes me very proud to be an Atheist and this is just another example.

    August 23, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Amen, my atheist brother!

      August 23, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
      • Troll Finder

        You Trolls are all over the place.

        August 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
        • pothead

          Mr Troll you seem sad. Struggling with doubt ? We have all been there. We are here for you sweety:-)

          August 23, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Christina

      Please remember that not all churches are like this. Most are open to everyone. There are only a few that forget who they worship, and what Christ stood for which was forgiveness, tolerance and most of all, love. Unfortunately, as with most religious groups, it is typically the most radical that make the news instead of the ones that reach out to their communities and do good for others. I assure you, most churches are not exclusive clubs made up of self riotous jerks, and Christ, himself, spoke out against some of his followers who acted that way. I suppose what I am trying to say is, please do not judge all Christians by the behavior of a few.

      August 23, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
      • Sue

        Great response Christina.

        August 23, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
      • Athy

        What is a "riotous" jerk? A jerk that causes riots, maybe?

        August 23, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • Really for Real Scotsman

      Yeah, so you think that bad behavior in others somehow makes you a better person? Even though you haven't done anything to show you are better..yeah, you just keep thinking that.

      August 23, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • hharri

      if you atheists were good atheists, you would open wide your arms to pedophiles. how dare you judge them! lol, you don't have a single reason to speak of them with such contempt. what hypocritical monsters

      August 23, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        What's the connection?

        August 23, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  6. MJohnson

    The people of this church should hang their heads in SHAME. A church – a place that should exude love and acceptance of all God's children – picking and choosing who they "allow" to enter their doors. Makes me sick. Shame shame shame.

    August 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
  7. John

    Didn't the bible also plainly instruct how to murder disobedient children, how to treat you slaves, how not to eat the abominable shellfish?

    August 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  8. Troll Spotter

    Trollin Trollin Trollin

    August 23, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  9. truthprevails1

    New Mexico just legalized same sex marriage. One more down, far too many to go.

    August 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
  10. Responding to the Pride

    You say this because you believe it is consequence free. Sad.

    August 23, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  11. Reality

    Only for the new members:

    o "Abrahamics" like the members of the topic church believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

    To wit:

    1. The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

    2. "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

    3. See also the From the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”
    "Most scientists who study human se-xuality agree that gay people are born that way. But that consensus raises an evolutionary puzzle: How do genes associated with h-omose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?"

    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/evolution/Gay-gene-deconstructed.html
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    August 23, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Reality

      One more time

      "Most scientists who study human se-xuality agree that gay people are born that way. But that consensus raises an evolutionary puzzle: How do genes associated with h-omose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?"

      A must read:

      http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/evolution/Gay-gene-deconstructed.html

      And one more time:

      "Abrahamics" like the members of the topic church believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

      Or maybe there is no god and the situation of birth differences is solely random happenings in the womb and said randomness made me heteros-exual whereas said randomness resulted in Rock Hudson, Elton John, Ellen DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell being h-omose-xual. More circ-umstantial evidence that there is no god????

      August 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  12. Vik100

    These are people giving Christians a bad name.. That's all. Why are they even allowed to call themselves churches?? they do nothing but operate cheap store fronts and garages, most of them.

    "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."

    August 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  13. Lionly Lamb

    C'mon people..! Our physical bodies are God's true churches.. Manly built churches are built for socialism's sakes...

    August 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "Man built churches are for socializing".
      FTFY

      August 23, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  14. Real

    Love the sinner and not the sin – We should be here working on OUR OWN souls eternal life and positively influencing otherrs not representing the Devil in someones life or turning them from God- we SHOULD NOT BE judging and deciding who is worthy of the Love God-

    There is not a scale on Earth that can way one sin vs the other. We all sin and we all will
    be judged by the creator if you want to know what is not from the creator – also known as sin – Read the Bible divine intervention has allowed that text of that book to stand the test of time – and still lead souls into of the creator's Will and not of the will of this world. A world whereEvil has full range.

    Many people currupt religion for there own purposes its been happening since the beginning of time – That doesn't make it right – Jesus' most zealous foe was the high priest or Pharises – they didn't like the distraction of the attention off them – No one was watching them pray – so they decided he needed to be crucified. One of the claims against him was he healed on the holy day – he did a miracle on the holy day saved a soul on a day the Church stated nothing should be done. For that they charged him as a criminal. Don't believe in the Church believe in GOD and your soul can live on eternally – We see here in our world God recycles everything – even the smallest peice has its place in the grand picture – The dead – for example a plant once dead breaks down and forms minerals that feed the next plant – everything re invested – If you believe in souls then you should believe in the everlasting life of that soul because we have proof our God is not wasteful – even the smallest thing goes on to provide a further purpose – OUR souls will do the same – Lord God please Bless America

    August 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      There is not a scale on earth that can weigh sin or our soul because neither carry any weight or actually exist. It's like saying "No scale on earth can measure the weight of a fully fed smurf."

      August 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        I've always found Smurfly measurements to be ambiguous.
        They said to be 3 apples high, but what kind of apples?
        I suppose it's just one of those things that has to be taken on faith, like the dimensions of Noah's Ark.

        August 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Just sayin

      Or maybe it's just a bunch of nonsense that for some reason otherwise sane people can't let go of?

      August 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      You first have to get me to understand why consensual s.e.x should ever be considered a sin...just because some bronze age deity says so. The Bible is full of condoned actions that we as a society no longer accept.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • lee

      In Matthew 7:2-5, Jesus warns against judging someone else for his sin when you yourself are sinning even worse. That is the kind of judging Jesus commanded us not to do.

      If a believer sees another believer sinning, it is his Christian duty to lovingly and respectfully confront the person with his sin (Matthew 18:15-17). This is not judging, but rather pointing out the truth in hope—and with the ultimate goal—of bringing repentance in the other person (James 5:20) and restoration to the fellowship. We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). We are to proclaim what God's Word says about sin.

      2 Timothy 4:2 instructs us, "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction." We are to "judge" sin, but always with the goal of presenting the solution for sin and its consequences—the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

      August 23, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
      • skytag

        "If a believer sees another believer sinning, it is his Christian duty to lovingly and respectfully confront the person with his sin (Matthew 18:15-17). This is not judging"

        You have to judge whether the other person is sinning.

        August 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  15. Believer

    JESUS said we are suppose to love one another, even our enemies – NO MATTER WHAT. JESUS went to the sinners and welcomed them. HE told us not to judge others, that is for GOD to do. We should be welcoming in anyone who is wanting to come into a church. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF CHURCH!! We should not be ostracizing anyone from church. Our job is to preach the Holy Word to anyone and everyone who is willing to come and listen. A church that hates is not a church of GOD, but of the deceiver. May GOD deal with them as they have dealt with others.

    August 23, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      yet you have no problem judging people as sinners

      August 23, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
      • Troll Hunter

        Here is the biggest TROLL of them all. Never has a positive thing to say about anyone or anything. Am i right TROLL?

        August 23, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
        • pothead

          Sad Mr troll,trying hard not to have doubts about his skyfairy. Come on sweety let it go and be free

          August 23, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
  16. Church Lady

    Now isn't that special? We like ourselves don't we?

    August 23, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • littlebit

      GOOD ONE!!!

      August 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  17. Johnny Davis

    Matthew 10:32 "So I will acknowledge in front of my Father in heaven that person who acknowledges me in front of others. 33 But I will tell my Father in heaven that I don't know the person who tells others that he doesn't know me. 34 "Don't think that I came to bring peace to earth. I didn't come to bring peace but conflict. 35 I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 A person's enemies will be the members of his own family. 37 "The person who loves his father or mother more than me does not deserve to be my disciple. The person who loves a son or daughter more than me does not deserve to be my disciple. 38 Whoever doesn't take up his cross and follow me doesn't deserve to be my disciple. 39 The person who tries to preserve his life will lose it, but the person who loses his life for me will preserve it. 40 "The person who welcomes you welcomes me, and the person who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me....... This mother although loving her daughter seems the right thing to do, does not understand that we must love Jesus more. Repent and be righteous of this before it is too late.

    August 23, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • snowboarder

      what a rabble-rouser. no wonder the jews and romans killed him.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Exacly why we should abandon this cult

      August 23, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Wow, the insanity of the belief at its best. How pathetically immoral to insist the mother put anyone or anything before her own child! What kind of sick minded god would make such a demand? And why would anyone worship it?

      August 23, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
      • RobK

        Nothing on this earth compares to eternal life in heaven. That is what our ultimate goal should be and for all those that we love. What would you give in exchange for your soul.

        August 23, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          No, that is what you believe. It is based solely on a 2000 year old book that we know was written by man. There is zero evidence outside of it to support souls, your god, your jesus, heaven or hell.
          My ultimate goal on this planet is to do what is right for the betterment of my fellow man. I don't need a god to do that, I'm not that weak.

          August 23, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          T.P.

          A wee bit of possessiveness seems to be in your blender... my this and my that...

          August 23, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
        • Sam Yaza

          not my daughter

          August 24, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • You'retooignorant

      So, youre saying that you have to love "Jesus", someone who may or may not truly exist, over your own child? Wow... Your judgment is baffling.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
      • Johnny Davis

        It is by faith we believe. If you have no faith so be it. 1 Timothy 4:1
        The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
        1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Ignorance of reality is bliss!

          August 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • myrtle may

      Beautiful misinterpretation of Jesus' words. And typical of fundamentalist Christian churches: they reject those they deem "sinners". Who needs church more than a sinner?

      August 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
      • Johnny Davis

        Please enlighten me with the correct interpretation of the verses. Remember I did not interpret, I cited Jesus words. Please read 2 Peter 1:20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
        • MarkinFL

          You interpreted the moment you decided it was appropriate for this context. To assume comprehension requires interpretation. You just happen to believe that yours is correct....

          August 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
        • Johnny Davis

          Those are not my words but Jesus' They have to be correct, and in the same context f you read the forgoing scripture. People must decide to follow Christ and the word which is Him if they want to be His. Not what we chose to be His words. Remember that all scripture is God breathed, or inspired according to 2 Timothy 3:16. The scripture is the word. The word is God according to John 1:1. So which part of God are you willing to dispose of, the portion that says no unrighteous unrepentant person is going to heaven or the portion that says we should not associate with the unrepentant immoral.

          August 23, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
        • CobblePot

          I think the interpretation is just the opposite. Loving her daughter unconditionally will cause divisions, and it has. I don't think Jesus was promoting family divisions. Instead, I believe what he was saying is that when you stand on your convictions, it is likely to cause divisions with those who would conform to rigid idolatry. In this case, it has caused divisions with the elders of the church. My gut feeling is that they are all trying to live as best then can according to what they believe. It's not like the tarred and feathered her. They just said they didn't agree and she left. I don't see where they were spewing hatred at her. They may be wrong, but that doesn't make them 'evil'. and instead of hating on them, perhaps we should be encouraging them to rethink their stance on the issue. Change comes through dialog, not ridicule.

          August 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
        • Johnny Davis

          So I should read what the scripture says or what you think it says? Please reread 2 Peter 2:22

          August 23, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "This mother although loving her daughter seems the right thing to do, does not understand that we must love Jesus more."

      And that is some immoral drivel from Jesus...I am required to love him more than my children or he will deny me. That is messed up. Why would anyone consider that the action of a loving god?

      August 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        Exactly. People who think like that should never be allowed near children, it's that kind of thinking that was partially the reason Andrea Yates killed her kids.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          And yet Christians seem to accept this without question, and when asked rarely give any answer that would justify such nonsense.

          August 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
      • RobK

        It obviously means that if your child is doing something immoral or ungodly, then you should uphold what is right and not try to justify immorality, just because it is what your child is doing. And that will be in the best interest of the child.

        August 23, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          If that is what is "obviously" means how come believers don't unanimously agree with your interpretation?

          August 23, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
  18. GayChristian

    I hope this family packs it up and heads downtown to St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Chattanooga where they would be welcomed, along with their daughter and her partner, with open and accepting arms.... not all churches are perfect, and worship styles vary wildly, but there ARE churches who welcome all, and St. Paul's would be one of them.

    August 23, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • RobK

      I see this "accept all" quoted frequently, and I continue to ask: "Do you accept unrepentant murderers, wife beaters, child molesters, adulterers, thieves, and rapists?"

      August 23, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.