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. Phelix Unger

    PSsssst, have you heard, have you heard the bird is the word?

    August 24, 2013 at 12:38 am |
  2. Musique Poetry

    I hate that they booted her from the church, but that really shows what kind of Christians they are. Last time I checked, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I guess they missed that lesson. That was not Christlike behavior at all. What about the pastors and elders sleeping with church members that they aren't married to behind closed doors. Not to mention thieves in God's house. They don't want to talk about that. That church is full of crap. The Bible also teaches us not to judge lest we be judged in the same manor. I guess the undercover gays of Ridgedale COC didn't want to be found out. Yes I said. So what!!!

    August 24, 2013 at 12:37 am |
    • Paul Hozein

      I think the minister is trying to wave away calamity that might befall that family but unfortunately they couldn't foresee it.
      The Bible says that "I seek vengeance of father from their children from generation to generation" And do not forget that God destroyed prophet Eli because of the wrongs of his kids.

      August 24, 2013 at 7:38 am |
      • truthprevails1

        What possible calamity could that be?
        No harm is being done by the mother supporting her child and the child is doing no harm by her sexual orientation, especially given the updated 21st century facts that show she has not made a choice in this matter.
        An education is a wonderful thing!

        August 24, 2013 at 7:46 am |
        • One one

          "What possible calamity could that be?"

          Being harmed by the good Christians of her church.

          August 24, 2013 at 8:32 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Apparently Paul doesn't see it that way. I think this lady is better off without these people in her life.

          August 24, 2013 at 8:44 am |
      • Bulletpoint

        Nice one, God, taking it out on the children's children. Way. To. Go. That's really gonna sort it all out.

        September 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  3. Sara

    The anti-intellectual position that such "independent" churches stand for is troubling. The idea is that the bible is so clear it shouldn't need translation, and yet there is still disagreement. Yet this doesn't indicate to the members the rather obvious fact that the first theory is wrong. It reminds me of the excessive egalitarianism in politics in this country. The idea that everyone is equally qualified leads to at best a frightening mediocrity.

    August 23, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • skytag

      "The idea that everyone is equally qualified leads to at best a frightening mediocrity."

      Who have you heard take this position? I've haven't heard anyone take it. Are you one of those people who wastes his time opposing positions no one has taken or that too few people have taken to take them seriously?

      August 23, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
  4. Sara

    I think these people are both wrong and a bit simpleminded, but I also find a lot of the responses here a bit strange. This mother has clearly expressed her view that her church is wrong on its position on hom.ose.xuality. Why is anyone surprised that someone who openly opposes a clubs positions is expelled?

    August 23, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I am not suprised, it actually makes me happy that people are moving beyond the primitive bible morality. They are their own worst enemy.

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

        Yeah, they do kind of seem to be imploding.

        August 23, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
  5. von

    Come on Church! We are getting it wrong!!!!!!

    August 23, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
  6. If you believe the church was right

    Please present the verses from the bible that say you must punish the parent for the sins of their child. Extra points if you can show where jesus said it.

    August 23, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Colin

      Well, actually, fundamental Christian theology encapsulates the idea that the entire human race is responsible for Adam and Eve eating an apple, so parents being responsible for kids should be childsplay for Christians.

      August 23, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      I don't know if the church was right or not & I'm not going to go look up the verses, but if you go to a good bible website you can find some. For the Old Testament search something like "I will visit the iniquities" & for the new "it would be better if he had never been born."

      August 23, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
      • Typical lying christian apologist caught red handed

        "I will visit the iniquities" is about children being punished for the parents sins.
        "it would be better if he had never been born." Is about adults being punished for harming children
        Christians love to claim atheists take bible quotes out of context when the atheist doesn't quote the whole chapter and here we have a cristian so far out of context that won't even quote the whole verse.

        August 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The Church of Christ is a small denomination – not too many people believe that this church is right. People of the C of C do believe that they are right, and that everyone in disagreement with them will be judged by God as unrepentant of sins associated with incorrect doctrine and worship. An aside: they were banned from campus as a cult group while I was at University years ago.

      August 23, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
      • Scott Shifferd Jr.


        You got the wrong church. You are referring to "International" churches, who will call themselves "church of Christ". I am a minister within the Church of Christ.

        August 23, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I'm pretty sure I know them. I attended a bible class at one. Excellent instruction by a fellow who was a full professor of law at the University's law school.

          August 23, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
        • Vic

          The Church of Christ has roots in the "Restoration Movement" which does not identify as Protestant but just Christian. But I am surprised that the Church of Christ made that move while it is non-denominational and does not believe that the Old Testament Law applies to Christians!

          For Scott,

          What's your view on the "Dispensation of Grace?"

          August 23, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
        • Scott Shifferd Jr.


          Thank you for your fair presentation of the Church of Christ.

          We believe in the "dispensation of grace" presented in Ephesians 3. We find that we are saved by grace when we have been raised with Christ (Eph. 2:4-6, Col. 2:12-13, cf. Rom. 6:1-6). We recognize that we are saved by grace and not out of ourselves and not out of works (Eph. 2:8-9). We do read that Christ abolished in His flesh the law of commandments in ordinances through the cross (Eph. 2:14-16). Likewise, we also find that the Old Testament is obsolete (Heb. 8:13), and that it is a ministry of death (2 Cor. 3:7). The law of Christ has set us from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2). Yet, the Law and the whole Old Testament are for our learning from examples of the faithful and unfaithful (Rom. 15:4, 1 Cor. 10:6, 11, Heb. 11).

          Thank you and God bless your studies in His Word. 🙂

          August 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
        • Vic

          Thank you Scott.

          God bless.

          August 23, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
        • Observer

          Scott Shifferd Jr.

          "we also find that the Old Testament is obsolete". So we won't hear that the world is going to pieces because we don't have the Ten Commandments in schools?

          August 23, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
        • Scott Shifferd Jr.

          Not from us, but we think the 10 commands should be respected. I think the churches of Christ would agree that the people have the right to display these in the schools for historical and moral relevance. We believe these 10 commands are fulfilled by loving one another (Rom. 13:8-10).

          August 23, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
        • Observer

          Scott Shifferd Jr.

          "people have the right to display these in the schools for historical and moral relevance."

          Any problem if atheists also displayed signs in schools for moral relevance and said things like "God is dead"?

          August 23, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
        • Sara

          Scott, could you clarify how the 10 commandments are selected from the obsolete Old Testament as an exception?

          August 24, 2013 at 12:06 am |
        • The Truth

          The Fulfillment of the Law

          17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5: 17-20

          August 24, 2013 at 7:59 am |
        • Scott Shifferd Jr.

          "The Truth",

          You are confusing 2 different Greek words. Jesus' word kataluo means to destroy, but the word for "abolish" in Ephesians 2:15 is katargeo meaning to make void.

          "For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity" (Eph. 2:14-16).

          August 24, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
        • Observer

          The Truth,

          So it looks like we should go around constantly killing people for all the mindless commands in the Old Testament.

          August 24, 2013 at 11:42 am |
        • Scott Shifferd Jr.


          Please say this in a kinder way. 🙂

          August 24, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
        • Vic

          The Lord Jesus Christ "fulfilled" the Law on our behalf.

          John 17:4
          "4 I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do."

          John 19:30
          "Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit."

          Scripture Is From:

          New American Standard Bible (NASB)
          Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation


          August 24, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • Scott Shifferd Jr.

          Amen. Jesus said in Luke 24:44, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."

          August 24, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
        • skytag

          @Vic: "God bless."

          Just one of the many phrases you repeat regularly to reinforce your brainwashing.

          August 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • skytag

          @Vic: "The Lord Jesus Christ "fulfilled" the Law on our behalf. ... Scripture Is From:"

          Why should I believe any of this?

          August 24, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
        • Observer

          Scott Shifferd Jr.

          In response to me saying "So it looks like we should go around constantly killing people for all the mindless commands in the Old Testament." you said "Please say this in a kinder way."

          Calling the killing of all unruly children, fortune tellers, and anyone working on the Sabbath as "mindless" is doing extreme kindness to this immoral killing spree.

          August 24, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • Sara

      She wasn't punished for her daughters actions but her own public support of the change in city policy. The family has fully admitted they support that change.

      August 23, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • Observer

      (Isaiah 14:21) “Prepare slaughter for his sons because of the guilt of their fathers, lest they rise and possess the earth, and fill the face of the world with cities."
      (Exodus 20:5) “for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me”

      But then:

      (Ezekiel 18:3,20) “As I live," declares the Lord God, "you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore.” “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”

      August 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • skytag

      Read the article again. The issue is that the mom "supported" her daughter in her effort to get her partner benefits, though they never say what form that support took. The church saw that as the mom supporting her daughter's gay lifestyle, and that's what caused the problem.

      August 23, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
  7. amy rigg

    Ken Willis, the minister, is gay

    August 23, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
  8. Kim Kouski

    Like it or not, the church DOES have the right to do as they please. I see so many in society demanding that others drop their faith and pick up society's or else. That's wrong. No one has any right to tell a church what they can or can not do. People LEFT England so they wouldn't have to follow the gov and society's rules. so are we becoming Old England again? Telling people what they can and can't believe based on society's rules? It might not be right that they kicked that mother out of the church, but they have that right.

    August 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • midwest rail

      They are free to be as morally inconsistent as they wish. And we are free to criticize them for being two-faced charlatans..

      August 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • But not according to jesus

      Not even according to the bible

      August 23, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • Sara

      Who is saying they don't have a right? All I see is people calling them idiots for exercising that right. And people have a right to say that.

      August 23, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • skytag

      Why are you wasting time attacking a position no one has taken? Of course the church has the right to do whatever they please in this regard. And I have the right to view their behavior as making Christians look bad.

      August 23, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
  9. radsenior

    God did not make mistakes! These believers in God did!

    August 23, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • skytag

      "God did not make mistakes!"

      Santa Claus doesn't either.

      "These believers in God did!"

      I agree, starting with believing in a nonexistent god.

      August 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
  10. knowthetruth

    Many are turning away from God because people who profess to be Christians are not. Their behavior proves otherwise. However, their very hypocritical actions, prove that the bible has truth. As a matter of fact, Jesus foretold that most people would go in the gate leading to destruction. The bible describes false teachers that would tell people what they want to hear. These ministers are paid. Yet the bible tells us that to preach the good news, people should not get paid. Jesus said you receive free, give free. How do you be honest with your members if your livelihood depended on those whom you shepherd? Please do not make a judgment on the bible until you study it. if you do, realization will come that most "Christians" do not practice what they preach. However, their actions do not control your actions. You have an opportunity to know the true God. If you do, you can go in the narrow gate leading to life.

    August 23, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Please do not make a judgment on the bible until you study it."

      The bibles immorality starts right from the beginning. Adam and Eve, garden of Eden....immoral garbage. The Bible says the sins of the father is not to be put on the son, and yet that is exactly what the 'loving god' did.

      August 23, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
      • knowthetruth

        Man inherited sin and imperfection from our first parents Adam and Eve. However, God judges us individually Galatians 6 – 5. He also gave all of mankind an opportunity for everlasting life on earth – Psalm 37

        August 23, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          That does nothing to change the point I made.

          Also rewarding and punishing based of belief is also immoral.


          August 23, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
        • knowthetruth

          Sorry, I'm not following you. Who is rewarding and punishing based on belief? Are you talking about man? Our Creator rewards those who follow his principles. As far as man goes, most people do not follow God's principles. Blessed, do you want people to treat you kindly? My guess is that you do. Well the bible says if you want to be treated kindly, then you should treat others kindly. Matthew 7 – 12 Imagine if everyone followed that one simple principle, this would be a completely different world.

          August 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Our Creator rewards those who follow his principles."

          Is that all one has to do? Is "belief" required? Or do I just have to be nice? If I just have to treat people well why the need for belief? The bible says the one unforgivable sin is denial of the holy spirit, is that just?

          August 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
        • knowthetruth

          When you mention belief, do you mean belief in a heavenly creator?

          August 23, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Your question borders on being patronizing, make you point.

          August 23, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
        • knowthetruth

          The point is how are you going to follow someone's principles if you don't believe that they exist.

          August 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I can't think of a positve moral message that originates from the bible or is exclusive to it. Saying that in order to to be nice and treat people the way they want to be treated one has to believe in the christian god or ANY god is complete garbage.

          August 23, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
        • knowthetruth

          Blessed, where do you think most of the basic laws governing mankind came from? That's right. You guessed it. Right from the bible.

          August 23, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          Basic morals? ... hate to tell you this, but the basic morals you speak of existed in every society that rose thousands of years before we ever had the misfortune of hearing about your pig- ignorant 'God".

          Basic morals in the Bible...you have to do some major cherry picking and overstepping to piece together a positive message from that pile of trash.

          August 23, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          That is a lie. The basic morals of don't murder, don't steal, don't r@pe, predate the Bible. that is misinformation that christianity spreads. The "morals" that are directly connected and original to christianity aren't very moral, belief is more important than one's children. S.ex is under most conditions bad and to be avoided. The other 10 commandments have little to do with actual morality and are mostly geared towards obedience to your nonexistent deity. The golden rule did not come from Jesus, most cultures had similar philosophies, some were superior.

          August 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • skytag

      I was a Christian for four decades. I've studied the Bible, a lot. I finally realized it's a book of comforting fairytales.

      August 23, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        At the beginning of those forty years were you born again?

        August 23, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Based on the behavior of contemporary evangelical Christians, what difference would it make ?

          August 23, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
        • skytag

          Don't try that crap with me. I know what you're doing. You want to come up with some excuse blaming me for why I abandoned your fairytales because you can't handle the reality that real Christians can figure out it's all fiction. You have to tell yourself I wasn't really born again or that I never really believed or that I didn't really accept Jesus or some such nonsense because you can't handle the truth. Not that fairytale you euphemistically call "the Truth," but real truth, the stuff that is, not the stuff you've imagined so long you can't distinguish between belief and fact.

          Sorry, dimwit, but the reason you have no evidence for anything you believe is the same reason I am now an atheist: There is no truth in anything you believe about God. It's all just a comforting fictional narrative.

          You keep this reality at bay by constantly reinforcing your brainwashing. Regularly repeat standard Christian phrases and platitudes, read your scriptues, pray often and so on. It takes a constant effort to maintain your delusions and keep reality at bay. I don't need your fairytales and it's not my fault you need them.

          August 24, 2013 at 12:01 am |
        • Athy

          Hmm. No response from Robert. Well done, Skytag.

          August 24, 2013 at 12:20 am |
      • America is Lost

        You can claim to being a Christian all your life and spend you life "studying" the Bible. But unless you have an experience of Salvation, a time and place where the Lord Saved your very soul, a time and place where you had personal experience between you and God, then you're not a Christian.

        August 24, 2013 at 12:40 am |
        • Observer

          America is Lost,

          Hitler killed millions of innocent people.

          Do you believe that two consenting adults in a loving relationship in the privacy of their home should suffer the SAME punishment as Hitler? Yes or no?

          August 24, 2013 at 12:53 am |
        • America is Lost

          Observer, that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the statement I wrote to skytag.

          But as for your question, I'll answer it by asking you this. You constantly fight against religion here by saying individuals and societies have the right to decide what's right and wrong. By your own argument, then isn't it that society's right to decide what happens to them? Or are you all of a sudden going to apply your double standard hypocrisy to the situation? Can't have it both ways. Right is right and wrong is wrong. You know the answer to your question, or you wouldn't have asked. Not don't tempt me anymore here Satan.

          August 24, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  11. angelaott

    The whole premise behind Christianity is that we are all sinners! So lets assume that what she did was a sin(I don't personally think it is), if you start throwing out all the sinners in a church, they would be empty.

    August 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      It is true that all humans are sinners, Christian or not. It is also true that the church has rules and there are specific rules for how people can be removed from the church. Open unrepentant sin is what gets people kicked out.

      August 23, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
      • skytag

        "It is true that all humans are sinners"

        It is true you believe that.

        "It is also true that the church has rules and there are specific rules for how people can be removed from the church."

        There are hundreds or thousands of flavors of Christianity, not one you can call "the" church. Each flavor may have its own specific rules along these lines, but there is nothing anything like a universal consensus within the Christian community regarding what offenses warrant kicking someone out.

        August 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
        • Robert Brown


          August 23, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • Athy

      They can only throw out the ones they catch. Or the ones dumb enough to 'fess up.

      August 23, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        The ones they catch or the ones who refuse to repent.

        August 23, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Repent from being kind and accepting toward one's own children Robert?

          August 23, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Hey Tom,

          My bad, I wasn't writing about this specific case. We don't know all the details, but it does seem extreme to church the mom over what the child did, if that is what happened.

          August 23, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
        • skytag

          @Robert Brown: "We don't know all the details, but it does seem extreme to church the mom over what the child did, if that is what happened."

          Apparently the problem is that she "supported" her daughter in her efforts to get benefits for her same-sex partner. The article does not elaborate on the nature of that "support," though one comment by her daughter suggests her mom sat with her at some proceeding. The church felt the mother was supporting her daughter's sin of homosexuality by being supportive of her efforts to get benefits for her partner. That's the best I could get from the article here.

          Speaking from a Christian perspective it seems to me they should let God handle it if they really believe all that hooey they claim to believe. It seems to me that based on the teachings of Christianity it behooves Christians to err on the side of forgiveness and tolerance and let God deal with stuff like this in his own way.

          If I were still a Christian and still believed I'd be standing in front of God one day answering for my actions here, I think I'd rather explain why I was maybe too forgiving and compassionate than why I was too quick to judge. To the best of my recollection from my days as a Christian Christ didn't go around exhorting people to be more judgmental and shun more people.

          August 24, 2013 at 12:24 am |
  12. Jellybelly

    Last I checked we still live in a free country. If you want to belong to an organization, usually you agree with their ideals. If not, find a different organization. The church has the right to make it's own rules, if you don't like them find another church, don't demonize the church, they are free to believe as they would like. They did not go out and force this woman to attend their church, then force her to adopt their beliefs.

    August 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      You are absolutely correct. They can be as bigoted as they want. And we can criticize them just as freely.

      August 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Dippy

      Its, not it's.

      August 23, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • skytag

      No one said they didn't have the right to do what they did. Many of us just see what they did as more evidence Christianity is a fraud.

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

      I would think that maternal love would count for something, especially since Solomon quite rightly counted on that when making his judgement.
      She was active in that church for 60 years. Sixty. Years.
      They honestly expected her to denounce her child? How absurd.

      August 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
      • Sara

        I don't know that they expected them to denounce her, but they probably expected her not to publicly support recognition of same se.x unions. She and her husband have essentially both done that.

        August 23, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
  13. Lionly Lamb

    Lionly Lamb
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Anyone know what righteous moralism entails and what perceptions of immorality suggests..?

    August 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    August 23, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
  14. Vic

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Generation X & Generation Y (millennials) are leaving the church because of legalism that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself rejected, simple as that! They may be out of the church but they are faithful in Christ. Welcome to the Nones.

    The FREE GIFT of Salvation by the Grace of God through Faith ALONE in Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior, the UNMERITED FAVOR, is UNCONDITIONAL!

    August 23, 2013 at 10:58 am | Report abuse | Reply

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    This Mortal Flesh


    August 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    This Mortal Flesh


    August 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    This Mortal Flesh

    Abraham, the father of Faith and many nations, and the friend of God, was a liar!
    Moses, the father of Judaism, was a killer!
    David, king of Israel, was a murderer and an adulterer!

    And the list goes on and on..

    Why then did God reveal His messages through them?! The answer is SIMPLE, they TRULY BELIEVED!!!

    God imputes righteousness to people on the basis of Faith and NOT on the basis of works, since the beginning of time!

    This mortal flesh is corrupt due to the "original sin," and it can never be clean, until the end of time!

    A sinless human is an Oxymoron, a Paradox!

    A lot of people who venture into the Bible, Christians & non-Christians, DO NOT UNDERSTAND the above fact, the "Dispensation of Times" and God's Ultimate Divine Intervention to SAVE this world!

    A lot of Christians turn into Pharisees (the originals of whom condemned and sentenced Jesus Christ to death, aka self-righteous) whether in good faith or not!

    Therefore, it is imperative for whoever hears the Good News of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to discern this truth:


    John 3:16,17
    "16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."

    Romans 6:23
    "23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

    Ephesians 2:8,9
    "8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."

    All Scripture Is From:

    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

    August 23, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply

    August 23, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      If the bible is god's word, why does The Lockman Foundation hold the copyright?

      August 23, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  15. Sam

    Typical of churches in Tennessee. Bigotry.

    August 23, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
  16. susan

    Lots of judging and stone throwing going on...that's what they should expect.

    August 23, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  17. niknak

    Typical of those so called "loving followers of jesus" to exclude people they find are not living the way they say they should.
    And so they are taking it out on her mother.
    Maybe they can dig up her father's body and parade it around the street in front of the woman's house like they do in Africa tto gays that have dies.

    That woman will be far better off without those hypocrites.

    August 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • hharri

      like thammy describing her intentions for pallen's buttocks?

      August 23, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
      • hharri

        i am always grateful to see her pals jump right in and rebuke the little preevert

        August 23, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
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About this blog

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