How evangelicals won a war and lost a generation
Are church teachings on homosexuality driving millennials away from faith?
March 31st, 2014
02:18 PM ET

How evangelicals won a war and lost a generation

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN

(CNN) - On March 24, World Vision announced that the U.S. branch of the popular humanitarian organization would no longer discriminate against employees in same-sex marriages.

It was a decision that surprised many but one that made sense, given the organization’s ecumenical nature.

But on March 26, World Vision President Richard Stearns reversed the decision, stating, “our board acknowledged that the policy change we made was a mistake.”

Supporters helped the aid group “see that with more clarity,” Stearns added, “and we’re asking you to forgive us for that mistake.”

So what happened within those 48 hours to cause such a sudden reversal?

The Evangelical Machine kicked into gear.

Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the decision pointed to “disaster,” and the Assemblies of God denomination encouraged its members to pull their financial support from the organization.

Evangelicals took to Twitter and Facebook to threaten to stop sending money to their sponsored children unless World Vision reversed course.

Within a day of the initial announcement, more than 2,000 children sponsored by World Vision lost their financial support. And with more and more individuals, churches and organizations threatening to do the same, the charity stood to lose millions of dollars in aid that would otherwise reach the poor, sick, hungry and displaced people World Vision serves.

So World Vision reversed course.

Stearns told The New York Times that some people, satisfied with the reversal, have called World Vision headquarters to ask, “Can I have my child back?” as though needy children are expendable bargaining chips in the culture war against gay and lesbian people.

Many of us who grew up evangelical watched with horror as these events unfolded.

As a longtime supporter of World Vision, I encouraged readers of my blog to pick up some of the dropped sponsorships after the initial decision. I then felt betrayed when World Vision backtracked, though I urged my readers not to play the same game but to keep supporting their sponsored children, who are of course at no fault in any of this.

But most of all, the situation put into stark, unsettling relief just how misaligned evangelical priorities have become.

When Christians declare that they would rather withhold aid from people who need it than serve alongside gays and lesbians helping to provide that aid, something is wrong.

There is a disproportionate focus on homosexuality that consistently dehumanizes, stigmatizes and marginalizes gay and lesbian people and, at least in this case, prioritizes the culture war against them over and against the important work of caring for the poor.

Evangelicals insist that they are simply fighting to preserve “biblical marriage,” but if this were actually about “biblical marriage,” then we would also be discussing the charity’s policy around divorce.

But we’re not.

Furthermore, Scripture itself teaches that when we clothe and feed those in need, we clothe and feed Christ himself, and when we withhold care from those in need, we withhold it from Christ himself (Matthew 25:31-46).

Why are the few passages about homosexuality accepted uncritically, without regard to context or culture, but the many about poverty so easily discarded?

As I grieved with my (mostly 20- and 30-something) readers over this ugly and embarrassing situation, I heard a similar refrain over and over again: “I don’t think I’m an evangelical anymore. I want to follow Jesus, but I can’t be a part of this.”

I feel the same way.

Whether it’s over the denial of evolutionary science, continued opposition to gender equality in the church, an unhealthy alliance between religion and politics or the obsession with opposing gay marriage, evangelicalism is losing a generation to the culture wars.

A recent survey from Public Religion Research Institute revealed that nearly one-third of millennials who left their childhood faith did so because of “negative teachings” or “negative treatment” of gay and lesbian people.

Christians can disagree about what the Bible says (or doesn’t say) about same-sex marriage. This is not an issue of orthodoxy. But when we begin using child sponsorships as bargaining tools in our debates, we’ve lost the way of Jesus.

So my question for those evangelicals is this: Is it worth it?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage really worth leaving thousands of needy children without financial support?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth losing more young people to cynicism regarding the church?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth perpetuating the idea that evangelical Christians are at war with LGBT people?

And is a “victory” against gay marriage worth drowning out that quiet but persistent internal voice that asks, "what if we get this wrong?"

I, for one, am tired of arguing. I’m tired of trying to defend evangelicalism when its leaders behave indefensibly.

I’m going AWOL on evangelicalism's culture wars so I can get back to following Jesus among its many refugees: LGBT people, women called to ministry, artists, science-lovers, misfits, sinners, doubters, thinkers and “the least of these.”

I’m ready to stop waging war and start washing feet.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Rachel Held Evans.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Culture wars • Discrimination • Ethics • evangelicals • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Opinion • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (2,141 Responses)
  1. evolvedorganism

    Evangelicals do not support biblical marriage. Biblical marriage not only permits, but in some cases requires, polygamy. When the evangelicals start defending polygamists, then they will be able to say they are supporting biblical marriage.

    Old testament examples:
    In Exodus 21:10, a man can marry any number of women without any limits.
    In 2 Samuel 5:13; 1 Chronicles 3:1-9, 14:3, King David had six wives and many concubines.
    In 1 Kings 11:3, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
    In 2 Chronicles 11:21, King Solomon's son Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines.
    In Deuteronomy 21:15 "If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons...."

    New testament:
    When the Jews asked Jesus in Matthew 22:24-28 about the mandatory polygamy in Deuteronomy 25:5, Jesus did not prohibit or even discourage a childless widow to marry her late husband's already married brother.

    April 1, 2014 at 4:00 am |
  2. jessitreble

    Thank you Rachel for having the courage to share this. It is heart breaking what has taken place. I agree that I would rather identify as a Christ follower than with evangelicals or the label Christian.

    April 1, 2014 at 1:40 am |
  3. justme1n1

    These poor children and their families are so much more important then any dispute these religious leaders may have within or outwardly. I am an atheist but, I find some solace that those with whom are religious are standing for something outside of the strings of their religious leaders.

    There are quite a few secular organizations where the monies aren't held hostage. For me, I research any given organization I plan on donating too prior to my donation. My main concern is if a bulk of my monies are going to go to a cause or fill someones pocket book. World Vision has dealt with inner corruption for years. I have read many humanitarian articles on this organization.

    April 1, 2014 at 1:13 am |
    • one24scale

      Name your secular organizations, cause Bill Clinton sure doesn't know where the millions went for the Hatti relief. in fact even refuses to address that question.

      You think United Way is any better ? I use to get strong armed at work from my boss and the yearly United Way drive within the company. With the not so subtle nudge to kick in or get kicked out.

      You want to really make a difference, stay away from the Large Organized charitable organizations, donate locally.
      And not to the Salvation Army either.

      April 1, 2014 at 1:41 am |
      • gayvangelical

        Save the Children (http://www.savethechildren.org/). If World Vision spent their money as efficienly as Save the Children, $53 MILLION more dollars would make it to the food. Compare Save the Children (http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4438#.UzpUqPldXVt) to World Vision (http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4768#.UzpVjPldXVs)

        April 1, 2014 at 1:59 am |
        • one24scale

          The bottom line is that it unrealistic to expect any caharatable organizations with a logistics set up on the scale of helping in some case an entire nation not to incur corruption, which by the way generally comes from within the nations being helped.

          Secondly it is to be assumed on this grand logistic scale you must have an organization full time, which means a salary and wages and administration as well.

          And the average American isn't looking to help anyone in particular except a feel good vibe inside. And feeling even better by April 15th of every year.
          Cause if some really did care about making a difference we would have over 10 million homeless in America.
          (yes I know the so called experts will say we only have around 100,000 homeless)

          April 1, 2014 at 2:11 am |
      • uzbeth

        Sadly much of what you said it true. I wholeheartedly agree that giving locally is an awesome thing! I cannot personally support that enough! That is the main thing I wanted to say in response to your comment, but I do hope you understand that there are many many people/communities around the world who are simple too poor to help themselves and they really do need our help too. It's hard to know which organizations to trust...even at home but we can't prevent those sour apples from us caring and doing what we can.

        April 1, 2014 at 4:20 am |
  4. uzbeth

    I enjoy reading Rachel Evans blog and often see eye with her perspectives, however in this case I feel that she missed the point. As a humanitarian worker, I understand funding and sponsership and everything that goes along with it and the implications to those in the field, but WV is not "just" a humanitarian organization. They do not advertise and raise support as an organization focused on practical humanitarian issues alone; they intentionally focus on a support base primarily comprised of evangelical Christians and represent their work as wholistic which includes an equal or overshadowing component focused on evangelism. As we know, there are 100s and 100s of humanitarian organizations out there who are purely focused on the physical aspects of development and aid; most doing great things and in need of financial support. I do not believe the actions of these people were in any way meant to be a stunt or power play. They desire their funds to not only address the physical but also, and for some even more so, the spiritual aspects affecting the root causes of poverty and as such, what they believe to be an equally important part in a permanent and lasting solution to poverty. If they felt, based upon WV's actions or stance, that that was no longer what their funding was going to support, they certainly have the right, without guilt, to pull their funding from WV and give it to an organization that they feel will represent their goals more accurately. Their decision also does not mean that they are not loving or caring or even callus about any of these issues...on both sides. People have a right to support organizations that, to the best of their understanding, maximize their dollars to help the most people in the most effective ways...as determined by the donors personal goals and priorities. If WV is not an evangelical humanitarian organization but simply a great humanitarian organization than they should represent themselves as such and not prey on the generosity of the evangelical community. I am not saying that they are doung that but they cannot ethically have it both ways. Ultimately, charitably organizations represent the goals and objectives of their donors; that's fact.

    April 1, 2014 at 12:36 am |
    • magicgator

      Very well said.

      April 1, 2014 at 12:56 am |
    • willthefree

      Well written. At the end of the day, however, I don't think we should be focusing on the "rights" of the donators. We all know that they can do what they want with their money.

      We should be focusing on the children involved. So if each of those people who withdrew their support had researched and donated their money through other vehicles to help the same children, then great! Otherwise, it was a selfish act, and the only person affected was the child.

      Say what you will about donators' "rights", but there's no passage in any bible that would agree with leaving a kid to suffer for your decision.

      April 1, 2014 at 1:32 am |
    • mountainlady5281

      Sorry, but any organization that puts dogma over starving children and yet claims to follow the teachings of Jesus is missing the point......by a lot. And in so doing they are losing credibility with many Christians. This is an excellent article and I applaud the author for taking a courageous stand. I left Christianity completely as a young adult because of this kind of intolerance and bigotry and I found more true Christian beliefs practiced by other faiths than by evangelicals.

      April 1, 2014 at 1:40 am |
  5. realbuckyball

    Ho'mose'xuality as an "orientation" was unknown in the history of human ideas until the late Nineteenth Century.
    There was no, (supposed), "lifestyle" until the Twentieth Century. The idea of "orientation" arose when Psychology began to develop as a science. All men were as'sumed to be straight, and only straight, all women straight, and only straight.
    There was also no notion of a continuum of s'exual behaviors, (bise'xuality), as science recognizes today.
    Any "different" behavior was seen as "deviancy" from an absolute inherent norm, which the person was as'sumed to inherently possess, completely by virtue of birth gender.

    In Ancient Israel class and status distinctions were extremely important.
    The injunction in Biblical times, (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), was against (as'sumed), STRAIGHT men, (and only men), (as they ALL were as'sumed to be straight), engaging in same-se'x behaviors. (There is a mistaken use of the Sodom and Gomorrah myth in this context also, which is misguided.)

    Why ?
    It had to do with class structure, and male status. A male, who held the highest position in society, and held the highest class status, was seen to be "feminized" by penetration, and designated as a social inferior, (female), by a male of lower class status, and thus his status was lowered, to that of a woman. THAT is the reason the culture forbade it. It had NOTHING to do with s'ex. It was status, and only status. This concept remains very much, (subliminally and overtly), in place today. This law code, in Leviticus, (the latest law code to be written), is the ONLY place this appears in the Old Testament. The author of Leviticus was very interested in the "equality of all" before God. It was that author's agenda. He also said strangers, and others from outside Israel were all to be treated with equal rights and dignity, which was a departure, from other texts and codes. It is ironic, indeed, this equality has been turned on it's head, to treat gay people, less equality. The author of Leviticus WANTED all people treated equally, and that is why he wrote the injunction into the text, in the first place, to PREVENT inequality. The ideal society for this author was classless, and that could not happen if a male penetrates a male, and makes him thereby, a lower class. It's about class, not se'x.

    This cultural origin was true in the Old Testament culture, as well as the New. That is the reason it ended up in the Bible, and the ONLY reason it was there.

    The law in the Old Testament : "You shall not lay a male as with the laying of a woman, it is an offensive thing". (note: the correct translation is NOT, "it is an abomination"). (The word "toi-va" is used, and in archaic Hebrew, EVERYWHERE else is translated, "an offensive thing").

    Why is this important ? Because there are levels of "offensive things", and levels of meanings of "offensive things".
    There were a number of levels of offensive things in the Old Testament.

    #1. was something which was offensive to God, and this was the worst.
    #2. was something which was offensive to other peoples and cultures, (for example the same word is used with reference to some foods being "offensive" to other cultures, (as hagas might be to Americans), or for example the Egyptians didn't eat, with non-Egyptians, as that was "offensive", or in today's language, "bad manners".
    #3. was something which was just generally "offensive", with no further relational attribution.

    So it can be "offensive" to some people, but not everyone, and is relative to the situation, or to god, or just in general.
    The injunction against male same se'x behavior is the third kind of offensive. It's not related to either God or anything, or anyone else. (There are other verses around it that are stated to be offensive to God, but not this one).
    So in this text, it is offensive to the authors of the text, and that specific culture, (only).

    Same-s'ex behaviors (upper class man penetrated by same class or lower class men), was forbidden, for class reasons. Equal class men, doing non-penetrating activity, or women together was not forbidden.
    ( Woman with woman, in general, was not addressed, and the class issue was not important.)

    So what does this tell us ?
    It tells us the laws were written into the Bible by HUMANS, for human culturally relative, and internally referenced reasons. The laws in the Bible REFLECTED their OWN culture, of the times, and did not "inform" the culture.
    The direction of information flow is crucial. Every Biblical scholar knows this. The Bible was informed by the culture, NOT the other way around. There are no "ultimate" claims possible from culturally relative, historically rooted, human local customs.

    The other main text used to justify the fundamentalist nonsense about ho'mose'xuality, is the Sodom and Gomorrah myth in Genesis. Hospitality of Abraham : In Genesis 18, there is a myth about the hospitality of Abraham, (he welcomes two strangers, who turn out to be angels), as that was an important cultural value, in a society where a wandering desert dweller could get lost, and die. The myth is followed closely by it's counter example of in-hospitality in the Lot myth, (Sodom and Gomorrah). It is not about se'x. It's a counter example to the hospitality story, of in-hospitality. The context is important.

    The great irony is that some religious fundies use the Bible to keep gay people away from their "table", and feasts, using the very texts that the Bible intended to teach hospitality, to do the opposite.

    April 1, 2014 at 12:27 am |
    • one24scale

      Good observation. And we can take that even further to mental illness where now every behavior deem outside the norm is labeled under mental illness, with some even being reclassified to make it look like a mental illness.

      It's Voodoo diagnosis for lack of a better term, and meant to give psychology legitimacy.
      And a great meal ticket.
      Estimates alone in America has 1 in 5 seeing a therapist.

      April 1, 2014 at 12:34 am |
      • G to the T

        Possibly, but I see the trend going the other way – being gay was once considered a mental illness (for very non-medical reasons of course) but it is no longer classified as such.

        April 2, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
    • ddeevviinn

      " So what does this tell us"

      It tells me that you've spent a lot of time and verbosity displaying your lack of hermeneutical and exigetical skills. Sorry to be so harsh, but it is what it is.

      April 1, 2014 at 12:45 am |
      • one24scale

        Of course to the person who lacks critical thinking and is merely projecting a selfish desire.
        You people act as if your chosen life style has merit into some grand utopia. Man is of a carnal nature and even today in 2014 is still poking farm animals.

        You have no great insight to anything except what feels good at the moment and your civil right wagon hoping stunt give no credibility to your arguments.

        April 1, 2014 at 12:51 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          " You people"

          Now that's funny.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:09 am |
        • LinCA


          Before you judge, let's take a look at what one24scale actually said, and how far it is off the mark.

          He/she said, "Of course to the person who lacks critical thinking and is merely projecting a selfish desire."
          Someone who in the 21st century still clings to unsupported beliefs can rightfully be said to lack critical thinking skills, and isn't the promise of an afterlife at least part of what drives believers, which is a pretty selfish desire? I'd say this is a pretty accurate description of your typical christian.

          He/she said, "You people act as if your chosen life style has merit into some grand utopia."
          It definitely is a choice to remain blissfully ignorant and remain a believer. The delusion that such a choice leads to a place in heaven seems to fit too. Again, I'd say this is a pretty accurate description of your typical christian.

          He/she said, "Man is of a carnal nature and even today in 2014 is still poking farm animals."
          Bible belt. Need I say more?

          He/she said, "You have no great insight to anything except what feels good at the moment and your civil right wagon hoping stunt give no credibility to your arguments."
          This is where it gets a little hazy but "no great insight" and "no credibility" do fit the bill. I can only guess that the reference to civil rights is more about the first amendment than desegregation.

          All in all pretty accurate. Not perfect, but considering it came from a fellow believer, better than expected.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:26 am |
        • ddeevviinn


          Sorry, I've already " looked and made my judgement."

          April 1, 2014 at 1:41 am |
        • one24scale

          Who knew..

          April 1, 2014 at 2:01 am |
        • realbuckyball

          There is no evidence that se'xual orientation is "chosen". If it is then YOU also "chose" it. That means YOU are admitting in YOUR experience, it could have gone either way. Are you sure you want to admit that in public ?

          April 1, 2014 at 8:54 am |
      • realbuckyball

        And your post tells me you have NO CLUE how you would even begin to refute ONE word of it.
        But thanks for playing.

        The only "herman" I know is Herman Munster.
        I could care less about your nonsense.

        April 1, 2014 at 12:53 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          " The only Herman I know is Herman Munster"

          Yes, exactly.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:11 am |
  6. dotclicker

    No where in the Bible does it say to withhold friendship or services to your neighbor because of their sins – why? Because it is up to God to Judge.

    April 1, 2014 at 12:11 am |
    • roberttcan

      Actually it likely had a lot more to do with vigilante justice than anything to do with God. Vigilante justice can often spread into revolts against leadership and as the whole point of the bible and most religious texts is ultimately control of the population .....

      April 1, 2014 at 12:16 am |
      • dotclicker

        Interesting point.

        April 1, 2014 at 12:18 am |
    • dotclicker

      Where did organized religion go awry?

      April 1, 2014 at 12:17 am |
      • one24scale

        You mean 'when' did it.
        The very first minute of it's man made creation.
        Religion is not now nor has it ever been of God.

        Yet it is by and through religion most here about a God. But if we never had religion mankind would have still question their existence, their role here on earth.
        And even 99.9% of those affiliated with a religion will never get it much less those who claim a belief in nothing.

        April 1, 2014 at 12:47 am |
    • christianguy17

      Dotclicker, what are you talking about? What do you mean by "judge"? Because, God said we ARE to judge if we find a fault with a brothet (matthew 18 passage), we are to, in meekness, instruct thise who are in error (2 tim 2:24), and how can the gospel go forth into all the world (matt 28:18-20) without encountering opposition? It doesn't make any sense to let others continue in sin, not say a word but say we love our neighbor...when we know their end if they continue in their path.

      April 1, 2014 at 12:29 am |
      • observer


        Tell us that you tell ALL your fellow Christians about ALL of their sins.

        How many of your fellow Christians have you told to get a divorce AGAIN because they are remarried and so are ADULTERERS?

        April 1, 2014 at 12:35 am |
        • christianguy17

          First off, divorce is lawful in a couple of cases. However, let's say for the sake of argument the initial divorce was unlawful, then they should still stay married but seek repentance from God. They have made their vows and it is a valid marriage before God.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:44 am |
        • observer


          How many of your fellow Christians have you told to get a divorce AGAIN because they are remarried to someone else and so are ADULTERERS?

          Are you going to answer the question? Number please.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:48 am |
        • christianguy17

          I see you are not interested in having a conversation but just christian bashing. I already answeed your question. Their marriage is valid although entered into wrongly. So in fact, they should stay married and not get divorced a 2nd time, ergo, the number would be zero. Also, the Bible teaches sins should be "covered in love" when at all possible. However that cannot be always done, especially if the sins are those which lead to spiritual death. It is then our duty to "deliver them from the fire".

          April 1, 2014 at 12:58 am |
        • observer


          You are assuming that there is ONE couple who divorce and remarry each other. That is NOT the issue. I am talking about people who have been MARRIED, DIVORCE, and then MARRY someone else.

          How many of your fellow Christians have you told to get a divorce AGAIN because they divorced, then got married to someone else and so are ADULTERERS?

          Still waiting for a NUMBER.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:04 am |
        • christianguy17

          I did say they were divorcing and remarrying each other...i just said divorced. Both parties in the marriage could have been married and divorced multiple times...but once they're done with their marry-go-round rides, realize they are sinning, they should repent and stay in their current marriage. So you can logically deduce that that number you keep seeking yourself.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:10 am |
        • observer


          How many of your fellow Christians have you told to get a divorce AGAIN because they divorced, then got married to someone else and so are ADULTERERS?

          Still STUMPED? No idea?

          Can't think of a number other than a HYPOCRITICAL "zero"?

          April 1, 2014 at 1:14 am |
        • sam stone

          What makes you think you have the authority to speak for god?

          April 1, 2014 at 5:48 am |
        • joey3467

          The simple act of getting remarried is where they commit the sin, at least according to the bible, so until they get divorced again and don't remarry anyone they are living in sin just like gay people, at least according to the bible.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
      • sam stone

        We are to judge if we find fault? Okay,pull the bible out of your rectum and join the 21st century. You're welcome

        April 1, 2014 at 5:45 am |
  7. abcontador

    This article contains many good examples of why organized religion is not only ridiculous, but destructive and hateful. I am not even a gay supporter, but I am disgusted by how Christians treat them–all based on their bizarre book that was written by who knows who, who knows when. For the life of me I cannot understand why an educated/smart person would believe the none-sense–I suppose if they are brainwashed early enough, it becomes hard wired and seems real to them.

    April 1, 2014 at 12:07 am |
  8. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    o "Abrahamics" 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. So how is it a sin??

    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?"


    March 31, 2014 at 11:34 pm |
  9. rsabharw

    True love and true marriage by one man and one woman is the ideal ... everything else is substandard.

    March 31, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
    • observer


      Bigotry is VERY SUBSTANDARD.

      March 31, 2014 at 11:39 pm |
    • dotclicker

      Its very clear that its God's responsibility to judge. Why are you acting as God? Don't know if he'll like that.

      March 31, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
    • anovemberdusk

      Because the divorce rates and cheating spouses really sets a moral precedent that marriages between gay or lesbian couples just can never match. Oh I think you forgot to add something to your post. That a marriage between a white man and a white woman is the ideal. I mean if we're going to go bigot we may as well go all the way because if you do anything less it just cheapens your view. That and we could call you out for being just like the people that objected to biracial marriages. If you just start off with it we know from the start you are a typical bigoted Christian and not trying to differentiate your modern bigotry from good ol' fashioned bigotry.

      March 31, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
    • grumpy0ldman

      Evangelical reasoning is substandard. Love is never a bad thing. Haters on the other hand...

      April 1, 2014 at 12:53 am |
    • doobzz

      Well, since Eve was from Adam's rib and therefore genetically male, that means the first "marriage" was actually Adam and Steve.

      April 1, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
      • joey3467

        Wouldn't it have been between Adam and a dude named Eve?

        April 1, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
  10. Reality

    Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary- now there is one of the all-time rednecks who oozes the continued idiocy of 2000 year old semi-fiction and fantasies

    March 31, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
    • dotclicker

      Its very clear that its GIts very clear that its God's responsibility to judge. Why are you acting as God? Don't know if he'll like that.od's responsibility to judge. Why are you acting as God? Don't know if he'll like that.

      March 31, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
    • davery1968

      The first problem with 'southern baptist' is the only reason they exist is because they split from the 'baptist' because original 'baptist' took a stance against slavery, same with southern methodist.

      April 1, 2014 at 12:40 am |
  11. cindiendicott

    Although this doesn't involve children, it could show that the intolerance is not all one-sided. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/dating-site-protests-anti-gay-marriage-contributor/2014/03/31/c180de36-b93c-11e3-80de-2ff8801f27af_story.html

    March 31, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
    • LinCA

      Bigotry need not be tolerated. A civil society doesn't need to stand idly by when hate and discrimination rears its ugly head.

      April 1, 2014 at 12:46 am |
  12. rollanmccleary

    While some charity and common sense ought to cover things for the greater part in controversies like the WV one, for real, persuasive change among evangelicals there is a desperate need for a more sophisticated theology to cover the whole gay question. I don't see any improvement, not just in America but in Africa and Russia otherwise. But there really are answers, some not even professed gay theologians yet see or admit (they will tell you Jesus never touched on the gay question which is not true). For some new and surprising perspectives see "God and the Gay Gaps in Matthew Vines' Vision" at

    March 31, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
    • hope2come

      Yes, I agree there are good books that shed light on this topic. I would like to pass a message onto Rachel. I am confused, why look beyond the Bible for answers. Is this not the start of this controversy. The Bible has the answers. It maybe hard to understand at times, but if it is seen as a whole and not out of context, it explains and answers this topic. I would encourage those with questions to read the Bible, find out their own answers and stop pointing fingers at others!

      March 31, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
      • Sungrazer

        "Read it because: we need more atheists — and nothin' will get you there faster than readin' the damn Bible." -Penn Jillette

        March 31, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
        • dotclicker

          Exactly! There is a huge gap between what the bible says and what is practiced. The bible is pretty damn clear about a few things such it is up to God to judge your faithfulness. So, yet, why do people insist on impersonating God and judge?

          March 31, 2014 at 11:53 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          250 million individuals in this country recognize that quote for the nonsense it is.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:02 am |
        • hotairace

          I think you missed PJ's point – a rationale, thinking person that reads The Babble will become an atheist. But I suppose you might be claiming that atheists are attempting to impersonate some alleged but never proven god.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:05 am |
        • Sungrazer

          Those people don't really read it.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:06 am |
        • hotairace

          The number of people that believe something does not mean that it is true. That being said, religion is losing market share to non-believers, so it's just a matter of time before delusional believers become a minority.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:10 am |
        • abcontador

          Hey ddeevviinn - the number are shrinking every year - and, every western country is showing a decline in organized religion (probability correlated with how well their populace is educated). The reason the US numbers are still embarrassingly high is because people are allowed to brainwash their children. They start inserting doctrine at a young age, just like they did with the HIlter youth.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:12 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "250 million individuals in this country recognize that quote for the nonsense it is."

          And how many of those have actually read the bible, I would be willing to bet less than half, and I bet it is far less.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:27 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Once again, at the risk of being accused of applying argumentum ad populum, this entire quote is a fallacy in that 80 percent of the population has read the bible and have not become atheists.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:28 am |
        • ddeevviinn


          That reply was not specifically directed at you. I did not see your reply until after I had posted my last reply.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:32 am |
        • Sungrazer

          I dispute that that many people have read it cover to cover. I dispute that any significant fraction has *read* it.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:33 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          80 percent? I don't hink that is an accurate number...

          April 1, 2014 at 1:06 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          " 80% I don't think that is an accurate number"

          Plus or minus 3%, figures for U.S population ( 33% worldwide)

          April 1, 2014 at 1:17 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          parts or the whole thing?

          April 1, 2014 at 1:19 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          " parts or the whole thing?"

          Huh? Do you mean regional parts of U.S ? If so, no the whole U.S. ( Statistics are from Pew and Gallup)

          April 1, 2014 at 1:29 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          No I meant "have read parts of the bible or the whole thing".

          April 1, 2014 at 1:32 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Silly me. Different wavelengths.

          I honestly don't know if it's parts or whole. I seriously doubt the whole 80 % has read it from cover to cover. My thought is that the vast majority have read or have had read parts of it to them.

          Off to bed

          April 1, 2014 at 1:48 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Well as a fan of Penn Julliet I know, because I have heard him say it, when he says "read the bible" he means literally the whole thing.

          April 1, 2014 at 2:00 am |
        • Sungrazer

          And he means *read* it, not just "read" it.

          April 1, 2014 at 2:44 am |
      • grumpy0ldman

        The bible is a work of fiction written by men. It contradicts itself so often that you can find any answer you want by picking and choosing from that pile of drivel.

        April 1, 2014 at 1:01 am |
  13. jamesroyalty05

    As a Christian, from what I understand a Christian to be is someone who stands upon the word of God, meaning they will defend it if they have to, and go by it in their life. They are to turn the other cheek when someone offends them. To love their neighbor as theirselves. To serve others so that God will exalt them as Jesus said to the disciples and as He mentions we will have done to Him as we have done to the least of His flock. To forgive others of their trespasses against them. To make sure when we go to correct other people that we do not have bigger problems in our own lives. To go and make disciples of the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To be ready and watching for Jesus's coming. To not worry like everyone else about needs for we know that God will supply all of our needs when we put His Kingdom first. To not divide our attention between God and the world. We need to be baptized ourselves for the remission of sin. To answer Satan's challenges by the word of God. To be fishers of men. We are to be poor in spirit, meek, hungry for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and willing to take persecution for His sake. To be commandment keepers. Etc. None of the verses of what Jesus taught was about hating anyone, Jesus exemplified love. Does that mean that He loves everyone? yes. He died for everyone's sins too. So should Christians be ones to look down on others that don't share the same beliefs or practices? No, because we all fall short of the glory of God and Jesus said anyone who raises himself up will be humbled, specifically when He mentioned the priest praying about how he was not like the other sinners. Does that mean we have to support un-Biblical things, no again.We are free to practice what we preach in this country. Will people be offended by us practicing what we preach, yes, Jesus said so. So I say Christians should show love to people like Jesus said, but if it comes down to someone asking you personally to do something that is un-Biblical then do not so you can be separated from the lost. Stand up for the Bible, Jesus stood up for you. In short He tells us to not hate others, but do not do as they do.

    March 31, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
    • Madtown

      a Christian to be is someone who stands upon the word of God
      Don't you first have to be certain the word you follow is actually God's? The bible was written by human beings, so that can't be it.

      March 31, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
    • kardiamark

      It's un – biblical to not feed hungry children. Certainly, it's a fair interpretation of Jesus' teachings to say it's un – biblical to use them as pawns, too.

      March 31, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
  14. gauge2

    The Evangelicals need to join a different book club. Nonfiction would be a refreshing change.

    March 31, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
  15. fabulouslystubbornoldgoat

    Amazing how the Evangelical Christians are trying so hard to change the subject here from how truly ugly what some of them did in the matter.

    March 31, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
  16. masterchief2819

    Reblogged this on Mjölnir.

    March 31, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
  17. timfreeman1955

    Very good article. I often struggle and have come to realize that my job is not to point out the sins of others. I interpret Jesus' comment that in order to remove the splinter in my neighbor's eye, I need to remove the plank out of my own eye, as an impossibility. Meaning, I'll never be able to remove the splinter in someone else's eye, because the plank in my own eye prevents me from doing so. So, I am bound to accept whomever crosses my path with full embrace and exclude no one. I will be honest, that is easier said than done as I have preconceived ideas from my upbringing and culture that challenge that mandate. I continue to try and trust God I would do as God desires...thank goodness God hears and forgives my stumbling...59 years and counting.

    March 31, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
    • ddeevviinn

      Here is the rub for me: I have a number of gay friends that I consider to be some of the kindest, most empathetic individuals I know. I have never once " pointed out their sin" to them or any other individual I know. But there are occasions ( internet belief blog) where the topic comes up and one is put in a position of defining their belief on this particular moral issue. It has been my experience that simply stating the belief that h o m o se xuality is sin results in the labels, h o m op phobe, bigot, evil and so on. Adultery is the same, I believe it to be immoral and will express that opinion if asked, but I don't go around " pointing my finger."

      As christians we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves and to lover our enemies. What we are not called to do is deny the moral absolutes in the tenets of our faith.

      March 31, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        I think this is why justifying ones belief is so very important. The only argument for the "immorality" of hom.ose.xuality is a religious one (sin). If you are wrong about your god it means you are wrong about labeling gays as immoral. Where as other crimes such as murder and r@pe would still be immoral with or without religious belief.

        March 31, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          " If you are wrong about your God it means you are wrong about labeling gays as immoral"

          But if you believe something to be true, as I do the teachings of the christian faith, you are not concerned about mislabeling something inaccurate. I do not dismiss the sin of adultery simply because there exists the possibility that I may be wrong " about my God".

          In actuality, what if hypothetically ( yes, I realize this is not hypothetical for you) my belief in God, and in turn my mislabeling of g ays, is wrong. What does it really matter? I have already stated that I do not " point out" anyone's sin, In addition, I do not criticize, mock, mistreat, castigate, or in any other way treat a g ay human being with any less respect than anyone else. I'll go one step farther, I would not deny a g ay individual any service or occupation, nor would I oppose any civil union or ga y marriage where legislation had been passed by majority vote or judicial edict ( in that ours is not a true democracy). So you see, my belief in this particular moral absolute has virtually none of the ramifications you as sume.

          March 31, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          And from our conversations devin I did not thnk you probably use your religious belief to deny rights to gays. Your belief has very little direct effect on gays in this country. Though that is not the case for many Christians as this opinion piece points out. What I was trying to get across is that many things labeled as "immoral" by Christian belief can be argued to be immoral without the religious view. Adultery, stealing, murder, ect., ect. does actual harm to another person. Hom.ose.xuality on the other hand does not and cannot be argued to be immoral without a religious basis.

          "I do not dismiss the sin of adultery simply because there exists the possibility that I may be wrong " about my God".

          I do not dismiss adultery either, but I don't need a religious view to argue the position that it is immoral.

          March 31, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          " Adultery, stealing, murder etc.. does actual harm to a person"

          Again, we have divergent presuppositions. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, my criteria for determining truth is not " does anybody get hurt ". I won't bore you with the details, but I gave a silly ( and yet realistic) example of why this " does anybody get hurt" notion is not my cup of tea. It was a reply to Akira earlier in this thread, if you get bored and need something to read, check it out.

          March 31, 2014 at 11:52 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          devin I did read it because I find these issues interesting. Let me ask you a question. I have been married for close to 20 years. I have never cheated on my wife. But we have had discussions as to what would consti.tute cheating. She and I have agreed that if there is no deception because she and I consent to whatever the situation, it is not cheating and is not adultery. Can you argue our position is immoral without using a religious argument? Can you argue gay behavior is immoral without a religious basis?

          April 1, 2014 at 12:20 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          ' Can you argue our position is immoral without using a religious argument?"


          Can you argue gay behavior is immoral without a religious basis?"


          April 1, 2014 at 12:39 am |
        • jondoe88

          Don't feed the trolls

          April 1, 2014 at 12:51 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I appreciate the honesty devin.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:02 am |
      • tallulah131

        Devin? Calling people immoral because they are born differently than you makes you a bigot. It's sad that you can't figure out that one for yourself.

        March 31, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
        • ddeevviinn


          Yes, in your eyes, I most certain I'm a bigot.

          March 31, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
        • ddeevviinn


          March 31, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
      • Madtown

        Adultery is a choice, same-gender attraction is not. False equivalency.

        March 31, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          You say choice, I say tomato.

          March 31, 2014 at 11:11 pm |
        • G to the T

          @ Devin "You say choice, I say tomato."

          You may be flippant, but I say this is the crux of the issue. If you felt it was immoral because they chose to engage in pre-marital se.x that would be one thing but you are saying that their orientation (something they don't choose) is immoral in and of itself. Honestly I'm suprised more Christian's aren't in favor of gay marriage as it would remove the stigma of permiscuity.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          G to the T

          Where we differ is in this issue of "choice". You accept h o mo s ex uality as genetically hard wired into an individual the same way in which hetero s e xuals are programmed for male/female attraction. I don't. What I do believe is that sin has infected every one and everything on this planet and as a result we all come into this world with individual propensities to do wrong. Some are born with a strong propensity towards h o m o s exulity, others alcoholism, and still others rage, lying, stealing etc... It's all about choice and which way we choose in the midst of our own "personal demons."

          I realize this is nonsense to you, I just wanted to clarify my position.

          April 2, 2014 at 12:11 am |
        • observer


          Please tell us about the day you CHOSE to be hetero. Did you experiment? Did you research both sides? Did you ask the opinions of your family and friends?

          April 2, 2014 at 12:17 am |
        • G to the T

          "You accept h o mo s ex uality as genetically hard wired into an individual the same way in which hetero s e xuals are programmed for male/female attraction. I don't. "

          Observer already beat me too it, but you didnt' respond so I'll ask again – if what you say is true, when did YOU decide to be a hetero? Was it because you had a bad gay experience? (see how ridiculous that sounds?)

          April 2, 2014 at 10:51 am |
      • observer


        "I have a number of gay friends that I consider to be some of the kindest, most empathetic individuals"

        Now tell us why "some of the kindest, most empathetic individuals" are UNWORTHY of the same rights that you have.

        March 31, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          See my reply to cheese.

          March 31, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
        • observer



          March 31, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          " I appreciate the honesty"

          Your welcome.

          Sorry to get to the point with such brevity.It is a discussion I would enjoy having at another time, but it's getting late and I didn't think we could do it justice with just a few lines. I'm intrigued by this " non-deceptive che ating" of which you speak. Sounds like something I may want to run by the wifey:)

          Have a good night.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:55 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Sorry obs. this reply was meant for cheese above.

          April 1, 2014 at 2:05 am |
  18. elderban

    People who use religion to discriminate, vilify, harass, injure or even kill others aren't real Christians or Muslims or Jews. They are merely using religion as an excuse to spread their hate. They've taken something that is supposed to bring peace to the world, twisted it and turned it into their own personal instrument of destruction.

    March 31, 2014 at 9:50 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      According to the books those religions follow that is exactly what they are supposed to do.

      March 31, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
  19. monkeyabeyman

    Math 24:14
    The witnesses preach the good news of the kingdom..and are and have been the only group on earth doing so since the last days began 100 years ago...I MEAN CMON..DO YOU NOT THINK ALMIGHTY GOD WOULD NOT HAVE HIS ORGANIZATION ON EARTH DOING SO?

    March 31, 2014 at 9:50 pm |
    • Doris

      No one know who authored Matthew.

      And I doubt anyone understands what you wrote here.

      March 31, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
  20. elizabeth mcmanus

    Thank you for your courage, Rachel. This piece conveys beautifully and succinctly so much of the frustration i felt over this entire debacle.

    March 31, 2014 at 9:50 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.