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Study: Same-sex couples can thrive as adoptive parents

A groundbreaking study by researchers at the University of Virginia and George Washington University finds that children adopted by lesbian and gay male couples develop just as well as those adopted by heterosexual parents.

The findings, published in the August issue of the journal Applied Developmental Science, are important because of the debate surrounding gay parenting. Same-sex couples are barred from adopting children in Florida, Mississippi and Utah. A similar case is in the Arkansas courts.

All this is rooted in "the deeply entrenched belief that children need one male and one female parent for optimal development," the authors write. Numerous studies have affirmed the parenting skills of lesbian parents -- less is known about the capabilities of gay male parents -- but the studies have been criticized for using self-reported data or for lacking comparison groups of heterosexual couples.

There are no such deficiencies in the current study, titled "Parenting and Child Development in Adoptive Families: Does Parental Sexual Orientation Matter?" It was penned by U-Va. researchers Rachel Farr and Charlotte Patterson and GWU scholar Stephen Forssell.

They studied the development of preschool-age children adopted at birth by 27 lesbian couples, 29 gay male couples and 50 heterosexual couples, most in the D.C. and Mid-Atlantic region. The researchers gathered data on child development from parents, teachers and care-givers. Their hypothesis: The development of both child and adult would hinge more on each couple's parenting abilities -- stress, cooperation, laundry skills -- than on their sexual orientation.

And that is what they found. Same-sex parents, and their adoptive children, fared just as well as heterosexual families. It's worth noting that this study apparently represents the first time that independent reports from teachers on children's development and behavior have been considered alongside the self-reported data from the parents themselves.

"Research suggests that family processes, such as parenting quality and attachment, are more important predictors of child outcomes than is family structure," the study says. "These associations have been found both in biological and adoptive families, and among families with lesbian, gay parents and heterosexual parents."

Even the gender development of children adopted by same-sex couples -- perhaps the greatest concern of some critics -- mirrored that of children adopted by heterosexual couples.

"Regardless of whether their parents were lesbian, gay or heterosexual, most boys exhibited behavior typical of other same-aged boys, and most girls exhibited behavior typical of other same-aged girls," the authors write.

The implication: From a public policy stance, the study suggests there is "no justification for denying lesbian and gay prospective adoptive parents the opportunity to adopt children," Patterson, the lead researcher, said.

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By Daniel de Vise  |  July 27, 2010; 10:59 AM ET
Categories:  Public policy , Research  | Tags: LGBT adoptive parenting, LGBT parenting, same-sex adoption, same-sex parenting  
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Comments

You might have noted that the study was funded by a pro-gay organization.

There's a potential problem with sample bias: lesbian & gay couples were far more likely to accept the invitation to join the study than were straight couples, perhaps because they were more eager to show off their kids when they were doing well.

Most fundamentally, these kids were really young: 1-6 years old! What happens when they are establishing their sexual and social identity in another 5-10 years? That's when the absence of a mother or father may play a critical role.


Posted by: qaz1231 | July 27, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

No surprises here. Unfortunately, some people don't care if children are raised by hyenas - as long as one is male and the other female.

Posted by: carlaclaws | July 27, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

W00t!

Another nail in the coffin for the false arguments concocted by gay adoption foes.

Posted by: crzytwnman | July 27, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Gee, how convenient. Just happened to match up with the desired results.

But maybe that's too snarky, congratulations on finishing what must have been a 21 year longitudinal study.

It was a longitudinal study wasn't it?

Posted by: jhtlag1 | July 27, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

What a waste of space. These polls? are absurd !

Posted by: mct1 | July 27, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

qaz1231 -
Q) You might have noted that the study was funded by a pro-gay organization.
A) Great question. Now ask if the principles, methodology, candidate selection, or results were suspect becasue of funding. Most likely not.

Q)There's a potential problem with sample bias: lesbian & gay couples were far more likely to accept the invitation to join the study than were straight couples.
A) And yet 56 homosexual and 50 heterosexual couples pareticipated.

Q)Most fundamentally, these kids were really young: 1-6 years old! What happens when they are establishing their sexual and social identity in another 5-10 years?
A) Studies have to start somewhere. It would be nice to follow these 100 families over 20 years, but a good start to providing data supporting good parenting is not driven by gender roles.

Posted by: cadam72 | July 27, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I have known children of gay parents and all of them seemed to have problems dealing with the facts and had low self esteem. I think it is a shame to expose children to the revolting example set by the queers in their perverted lifestyles.
It is hard enough growing up knowing what you are and the children need not be exposed to not knowing what is a mother and what is a father.
That is why we have the mess we have now. We have queers , transexuals, and men who want to be women and women who want to be men. What is one to think , Probably the answer that will evolve is I don't know what I am. That will provide steady work for psychiatrists in the future.

Posted by: jerry110 | July 27, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, I had no idea that the University of Virginia and George Washington University were both "pro gay organizations"!!!!! Now I won't waste my time searching gay bars for Mr. Right- I'll go straight to the respective Dean's offices and find the man of my dreams.

Posted by: franciscomillet | July 27, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I have known children of gay parents and all of them seemed to have problems dealing with the facts and had low self esteem. I think it is a shame to expose children to the revolting example set by the queers in their perverted lifestyles.
It is hard enough growing up knowing what you are and the children need not be exposed to not knowing what is a mother and what is a father.
That is why we have the mess we have now. We have queers , transexuals, and men who want to be women and women who want to be men. What is one to think , Probably the answer that will evolve is I don't know what I am. That will provide steady work for psychiatrists in the future.

Posted by: jerry110 | July 27, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

If poor people were found to be worse parents than rich people, would you support a ban on poor people having kids? Ultimately, the answer for most people is no - although a small part of me would love to ban a huge chunk of the population from reproducing because I find them too stupid to parent, I live in a free country. It doesn't matter if you are straight or not, what race, or what income - we all have equal rights to screw up our kids.

Posted by: em71 | July 27, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I have known children of gay parents and all of them seemed to have problems dealing with the facts and had low self esteem. I think it is a shame to expose children to the revolting example set by the queers in their perverted lifestyles.
It is hard enough growing up knowing what you are and the children need not be exposed to not knowing what is a mother and what is a father.
That is why we have the mess we have now. We have queers , transexuals, and men who want to be women and women who want to be men. What is one to think , Probably the answer that will evolve is I don't know what I am. That will provide steady work for psychiatrists in the future.

Posted by: jerry110
_____________________

Yeah and I would LOVE to see how small minded and bigoted your hateful children turned out. Probably out on the schoolyard beating weaker children up (be they gay or straight- after all if they look "queer- your words" they probably deserve to be taught how to become a real man.

Posted by: racerdoc | July 27, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

em71, I would support a ban on people who can't afford to have kids from having kids. Only makes sense to me. Some people continually make poor choices in their lives and expect everybody else to bail them out. They complain about their life and how hard it is to make ends meet. They are to blame for their poor choices that got them where they are.

Posted by: englundc | July 27, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"You might have noted that the study was funded by a pro-gay organization.

There's a potential problem with sample bias: lesbian & gay couples were far more likely to accept the invitation to join the study than were straight couples, perhaps because they were more eager to show off their kids when they were doing well.

Most fundamentally, these kids were really young: 1-6 years old! What happens when they are establishing their sexual and social identity in another 5-10 years? That's when the absence of a mother or father may play a critical role."

-Posted by: qaz1231

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handwaving

"The term handwaving is an informal term that describes either the debate technique of failing to rigorously address an argument in an attempt to bypass the argument altogether, or a deliberate gesture and admission that one is intentionally glossing over detail for the sake of time or clarity"

Posted by: irae | July 27, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The article notes that "perhaps the greatest concern of some critics" is some mythological concern about the "gender development of children adopted by same-sex couples".

In my anecdotal experience, 100% of the gay and lesbian people I have ever met were raised in heterosexual parent households.

The so-called "concern of some critics" appears to me to be based exclusively on bare homophobia.

Posted by: Len_RI1 | July 27, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I would expect children of gay or lesbian parents to do at least as well as those of straight parents, because children of gay or lesbian parents are always WANTED and PLANNED.

So many straight people have kids because they stuck part A into slot B without condom C. It's disgusting.

Posted by: jakemd1 | July 27, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

One quibble in an otherwise good article: the author misunderstands the scientific method and is confusing a hypothesis with a prediction. "The development of both child and adult would hinge more on each couple's parenting abilities -- stress, cooperation, laundry skills -- than on their sexual orientation" is a prediction. A hypothesis is a statement of fact or an explanation; it is tested by making a prediction consistent with that hypothesis and doing further tests or observations to see whether that prediction is borne out. The hypothesis in this case was (presumably) that sexual orientation was irrelevant to parenting abilities and/or the normal development of the adopted children.

Posted by: MrDarwin | July 27, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

jerry110,

I've known the children of gay and lesbian parents, and they're some of the most well adjusted kids I've ever met. They suffer from few self-esteem problems; they feel that their parents truly cherish and love them; they do well in school; and they understand that in order to truly succeed in this world, you need to approach others with empathy, understanding, and a truly open mind.

See, I can say random things about the kids of gay and lesbian parents, too, except in my case, what I've said is true, and I didn't have to resort to using words in a way intended to demean, dehumanize, and humiliate.

Posted by: brimadison | July 27, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

THE ORDAINED SLAVERY AND BIBLE FAMILY VALUE STRUCTURE BY "GOD YHVH" HIS OWN WORDS
For ANY XTIAN to quote from Leviticus etc places them under the Law and NOT under Grace, according to James2:8-19; 4:1-17 no Charity, no Fruit of the Spirit, just Works of the Flesh, Justified by the LEVITE Law
THERES MORE TALK OF LEVITICUS THAN MATTHEW 5:1-58,6:1-34,7:1-29 & 1ST CORINTHIANS CHAPTERS 13 & 14, "JESUS" Changed The Eternal Leviticus/ Deuteronimy Laws

GOOGLE "BIBLE SLAVERY" FOR BOTH QUOTES IN THE BIBLE AND HISTORY, NEVER DID THE BIBLE TELL THE SLAVE OWNERS THAT SLAVERY IS SIN , IT ALSO PERMIT A MAN TO SELL HIS FAMILY INTO SLAVERY TO PAY OFF HIS DEBTS, SO HOW MORAL IS THAT? THAT THE ABOMINATION, SLAVERY

KJV IS JUST THAT...A VERSION JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHERS,,IT DOES NOT SAY "KING JAMES TRUTH" BUT VERSION, JUST LIKE IN MUSIC, MANY VERSIONS TO A SONG, BUT WHICH ONE IS THE TRUTH

Eucharist (communion) =is pagan in it's origin for CANNIBALISM ie Eat Flesh/ Drinking Blood (vampire)

SO ARE THE US CONSTITUTION'S 13TH/14 AMENDMENTS AND THE "40ACERS AND A MULE, REPARARTIONS" AGAINST THE "GOD YHVH" WORD?

Posted by: shaiarra | July 27, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

This study was NOT funded by a gay organization. It was funded in part by the Williams Institute of UCLA and by the University of Virginia and George Washington University, where the researchers teach. More misinformation from the the conservative right. Probably gets ethics lessons from Andrew Breitbart.

Posted by: JayJonson | July 28, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I think a good question to ask oneself is, what does it mean to "thrive" as the title indicates.

To thrive by the author's definition, I would assume, would be to do well emotionally, as well as in school and to grow up having a good sense of morals.

And who is the main teacher of these morals? I think it's important to remember that same-sex couples more than likely have rejected God to some degree just by their lifestyle. Our founding fathers of this country would never have supported their lifestyle because of their serious belief in God and in His natural laws. Having said that, same-sex couples are already openly defying God by how they live. Is that the type of example we would want to set for our children? Would our founding fathers have accepted this openly defiant position against God? I doubt it.

Our founding fathers were serious in their beliefs in God, all one has to do is read "The Declaration of Independence" for starters: http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

Posted by: Suko | July 28, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Interesting how you quote the Declaration of Independence there Suko. Maybe you should read the excerpt from a letter from Thomas Jefferson below since you are so educated on our founding fathers.
‎"But I know also that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institution must advance also, and keep pace with the times."
Thomas Jefferson-Letter to Samuel Kercheval July 12, 1816

Posted by: christopher1971 | July 28, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

To Christopher: How is having relations with the same sex and advancement of the human mind? Wickedness will always be wickedness (no matter how many years and decades pass us by - as God and his moral laws NEVER change - it's people that change, and their way of thinking that becomes more wicked as they move further and further away from God), as it could easily be found in the Bible. If anything, this would be a de-advancement or a step back, so institutions need not advance to keep up with something as objectionable to God as this. It's like going from Algebra 2 to Algebra 1.

And I'm sure our founding fathers would be well aware of how God does not look kindly to this kind of lifestyle and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah as a result.

Posted by: Suko | July 29, 2010 2:27 AM | Report abuse

Just because many religions reject gays and lesbians, does not mean we reject God nor does he reject us. For it is he who has made us who we are. It seems to me that people who spout various bible passages to support their narrow minded bigotry, really have actually never read the entire bible. They are only repeating what they have been spoonfed by others to support their hatred. How else can they literally interpret a few passages while missing the really important ones like 'do unto others' and 'love thy neighbor', etc.

Posted by: bianchi1758 | July 29, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

To Bianchi: Do you know what it means to not reject God, and to accept Jesus as your one true Savior? That means to accept His teachings that's been given to us by His one, true, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. "He who hears you, hears me." The church has been against this kind of lifestyle for the longest time, and it's position has never and will never change.
That said, I'm sorry you seem to think people repeat certain Bible passages to support their "hatred." Like the Church, and as the Church does teach, we are to love one another, just as God loves us. That means, ultimately, that we do things for that person's greater spiritual good. Sometimes tolerating small evil if we can prevent an absolutely greater evil. Kind of like lying to someone that was looking for a particular person, and wanted to kill this person, and they had asked you the whereabouts of his location, and you knew it, but lied to protect that person. In any case, we still cannot support this lifestyle, but we do have to love them, which you are correct about, just as Christ does and His Church teaches us to do.
I understand though the "hatred" you may feel from others, and I apologize for you on their account if any have stepped over the line, as sometimes I think people get a little too zealous and say certain things that don't reflect the fact that they do so with good intentions. But you have to remember, they aren't doing it because they "hate" them (or at least they shouldn't), they do it because they feel that it's wrong and objectionable in the eyes of God. And if you know something is wrong in the eyes of God, why would you continue to do it? It's hypocritical. Jesus Christ himself accused the pharisees and sadducees of doing this. Hence if one did not reject God, then that person would NEED to accept His teachings on the immorality of this particular lifestyle, and to choose a chaste life, unless that person were to start having interest in the opposite sex. One cannot pick and choose what they want to believe, as we aren't at a cafeteria. Sadly, there are many that do that; they don't understand that to follow Christ, means to be obedient to Him and His teachings, ALL of them, just as He was completely obedient to His Father, unto death, a brutal and agonizing death on a cross for us.
Pax Christi to you, Bianchi! :)

Posted by: Suko | July 29, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I really don't know why God should play ANY role in this discussion. To each his own, of course, and everybody is free to believe whatever she or he wants, but it so often astounds me that people always seem to find a way to use God as an argument in any discussion at all.

Since I don't believe, I'm probably going te be slaughtered for this, but isn't it kind of arrogant to presume you know what God 'thinks' or 'wants'? And even if you would know, should you go out and proclaim it? Isn't that the church's job? Or a prophet?

Sorry if my English is a bit shaky... I'm Dutch. Oh, and gay by the way...

Posted by: LotsofSpots | July 29, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

To LotsofSpots: Grace and peace to you!
I would like to answer your first question as to why God should play a role in this discussion. It is because it involves a lifestyle that God has not desired for us from the beginning. We know this not just by what the Church teaches, but even so in the first book of the Bible in the Book of Genesis where it basically states: "He created them male and female in His image and told them to be fruitful and multiply". How can one multiply if they were of the same sex? In short, God created us: to know Him, love Him, and to serve Him. Part of serving Him is to proclaim the Good News to everyone, even if we are to be persecuted or martyred for it. But in order to proclaim the Good News, one has to know it first of course - which is what the same Church that started 2000 years ago is here for. ;)
To answer your question about whether it's arrogant to presume if one knows what God "thinks" or "wants," I would say that it is not (but in some cases it may). The reason I would say that it is not, is because Christ established His Church here on Earth to teach us, and to guide us in the ways of "Truth". And "Truth" isn't something, it's a SOMEBODY! =) And his name is Jesus Christ! ^__^ And if one is a Christian, than it isn't entirely impossible to know what God wants for us, as His most holy and inspired word is in the Bible and has been proclaimed and taught to us by His (visible) Catholic Church for the last 2000 years! And as disciples of Christ, we are supposed to preach the Gospel to ALL people, no matter who they are, as Christ commands it of us. It isn't an exclusive-only job of the Church, as lay Christians are all participators in His Church as disciples of Christ.
Oh, and your English is very good!
Peace, and God's blessings to you and to everyone! =)

Posted by: Suko | July 29, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the compliment about my English!

I'm amused though, that you used your response to talk about your religion, instead of answering my question. I didn't ask which reason you could fashion to MAKE God part of this discussion, I asked why he would be involved in it al all. It's an article about parenting and same-sex realtionships. There's nothing in it about human reproduction or what religion's take on it would be. In fact, you might say that it's about something very scientific, which to me is mostly the opposite of religion. You basically proved me right by doing exactly what I was wondering about.

I'm not going to contradict anything you say about your religion, because that's yours to have and believe, but I do wonder what you have to say about the article without placing it in the context of God.

Posted by: LotsofSpots | July 29, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

To LotsofSpots: I sincerely apologize if my previous answer was insufficient for you about why God would be involved in this discussion. It's because it deals with an issue that is gravely immoral, one in which the Church desires us to speak out against because of its serious nature. And you gotta admit, this IS serious. It deals with a man and a man, or a woman and a woman who are together as a couple. This is completely unnatural. And not only are they a couple, but they are a couple adopting a child. There are some issues that probably don't need the discussion of God brought up in it, but this most certainly isn't one of them.
This article claims that same-sex couples can "thrive" as adoptive parents, and as I said in an earlier post, I believe it depends how one defines "thrive."
If you'd like me to answer this question, then first I would need the definition of the word "thrive" that the author uses. And in my humble opinion, I don't think "thrive" is the best word. For someone to "thrive" as an adoptive parent, they must, and I mean must set good & moral examples for their children (this includes HOW they live). They MUST teach them to be holy and pure, loving, charitable, meek and humble of heart. They must teach them to form their conscience not with what this secular world tries to bombard us with, but with the "Truth." "Truth" is "Truth" no matter how many people tell you it's not. And a lie is a lie no matter how many people tell you it's not. And again, that's why the Church is here to show us the way to the "truth". This is, by the way, my definition of the word "thrive."
Having said that, I don't believe same-sex couples can ever truly "thrive" as this article claims since they aren't living in the "truth". They are living a live contradictory to how God calls us to live. They are living the opposite of my definition of "thrive" and how not only I, but I'm sure other Christians would see it.

I hope this better answers your question as to why God HAS to be in this discussion. God bless you! =)

Posted by: Suko | July 29, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Suko: Hmm, I guess we're two very different kind of people: you probably can't imagine living in a world without God; I can't imagine living in a world with a God. Not to mention me being gay and you... well, I'm guessing not :-D Look, it's simply no use trying to persuade me with your arguments, since they don't mean a lot to me. You'll have to try something better.

I seriously think your religious beliefs have clouded your judgement, since you seem incapable of expressing your OWN views, be they negative or positive. You keep bringing in your faith, the bible, God, Jesus as reference points, while I want to know YOUR opinion and not theirs.

I don't think it's right to use someone else's opinion (or a book's opinion, in this case) to make a point. We are all different people with different feelings, and of course we are free to agree with what someone else thinks or says, but that doesn't make it true or viable. It's like saying: 'my dad says ice cream is good for you, so it must be true'. You're free to agree with your dad, but that doesn't make it a valid argument. For example: you claim that a same sex relationship is immoral. Morality is not a bunch of rules made up by anyone, they are not written down somewhere, it's the rules we all agree upon to be right. It's ethics that makes us who we are, and makes us civilized. I don't think it's fair to use words like immoral to describe something you (and I mean YOU, not your religion) do not agree with , since it's not yours to decide what's immoral and what's not. That's for the whole of society to agree on.

Anyway, I'm drifting here. Let's get back to the article. I think that a traditional family is the most reliable place to grow up for kids. It's safe, it's sound, it's been done like this thousands of years. Note that i used the word 'reliable', since I do not think it's necessarily the best or even only way to grow up. I think that kids should be exposed to all kinds of people. I think it's great when parents take their kids to a Gay Pride Parade, or be a part of a multicultural event of any kind, because that's what prepares a kid for the world. There are a LOT of different people out there and it's only fair that kids know about that. It makes them less afraid and more respectful of other cultures, beliefs and opinions.

But a great part of childhood is a steady homestead and while I believe that a gay household can be just as steady as a straight one, I don't think we're quite there yet. As long as kids call each other 'fag' or 'homo' in school and homosexuality is not accepted and respected just as any other part of society just as heterosexuality is, kids of a gay home will always be part of a minority and that's not something a child should deal with at that point or a that range. So, for the moment I think a family with a mom and dad is the most reliable and safest choice for children to grow up in. Let's just hope that our generation can make a difference for future families.

Posted by: LotsofSpots | July 29, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

To LotsofSpots: Greetings and peace to you again! =)
I hate to break this to you, but you say that you live in a world without God, and, you know that's not true! Me speaking to you like this, right now, at this very moment, is proof that you are living in a world with a loving God. God has and will always use others to make Himself known to others. Indeed, He has already made Himself known to you! You've heard His name, you've heard others like myself speak about Him. You are already using a gift that God has given to you too; he has given you the great gift of discernment. He given you the freedom to use this discernment and your God-given talents for good or for wrongdoing. He has even given you your very own unique set of DNA, which scientists are still perplexed by, which only some "greater power" (which is God of course) could create something as complex as it, which I'm sure you know. You live in a world where archaeologists and scientists have uncovered overwhelming evidence of the Old Testament stories being as true as they claim to be, including that of a man named Jesus, who claimed to be the messiah, the Son of God. You live in a world where miraculous cures are STILL happening in our daily life. People on their deathbed, given new life... like my dad... but I won't get in to that.

To put it simply, do you know what this debate comes down to? Whether or not Jesus Christ is real! And if He is, DID He, or did He NOT die and rise from the dead to save us from eternal damnation? Is He, or is He not the long awaited messiah as spoken in the Hebrew or Old Testament scriptures? Is He not, the "way, the truth, and the life," as he claimed to be. And if He is, then there IS "truth." There is truth in what He has spoken Himself and through His Church in regards to faith and morals. "He who hears you, hears me." - as He told His apostles. And His Church has spoken and preached about morals for the last 2000 years. So yes, contrary to what you have said, the guidelines or rules about how we are to live are life, or morals, are written down. Just grab a Catechism of the Catholic Church and you'll much about the faith and morals.

Now, I do not wish to continue this debate, as it comes down to what I just mentioned above. You either accept and believe that there was a man named Jesus who came to show us the way. Or you don't. Simple as that. It's your choice, as God has given you free will to accept Him, or reject He who given His life PERSONALLY for you, so that you be with Him for all eternity.

May God bless you! :)

Posted by: Suko | July 31, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

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