Steve McCoy’s broken babies born in sin

Steve McCoy’s broken babies born in sin July 11, 2013

born in sin cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

Some stories are just too good to pass up. So Steve McCoy tweeted:

“Teach your children they are broken. Deeply broken.”

It received a slew of negative reactions. But it got some positive ones too.

Stephanie Drury pointed it out on her Facebook page, Stuff Christian Culture Likes. McCoy won’t let her be.

McCoy responds with defensiveness and is unwilling to back down from his tweet in spite of the backlash.

I like Amy Mitchell’s response in her post, “People Are Not Broken”.

I drew this cartoon some time ago. Obviously, it challenges the idea of original sin and being born in sin.


Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Andy Hogue

    The Bible says as much.

    “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” –Nakedpastor’s namesake, Psalm 51:5.

  • Andy Hogue

    For anyone wanting to know what the Bible says …

    Original sin: Genesis 3; 6:5; Job 15:14; Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9-10; Mark 7:21-23; Romans 1:18-25; 5:12-14; 7:1-8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; Galatians 5:16-25; 1 John 1:7-8.

    Personal sins: Matthew 22:36-40 (cp. 1 John 3:4); John 8:34-36; 16:8-9; Romans 3:23; 6:15-23; 8:18-24; 14:23; 1 John 1:9-2:4; 3:7-10.

  • Gary

    Just what we needed, a proof texter finding verses to support his view and throwing them at us as if it means end of discussion. Then perhaps another will come in and hand select another group of verses proving conclusively that the exact opposite view is biblically correct. Hey let’s all just spin the big bible wheel of fortune and let our beliefs drop out of it by random chance.

  • But what if I think the bible verses are broken (or not true with a capital T)?

  • pupil the huguenot

    Right now I can only think of one thing more bold than telling fallen children who need Jesus that they’re broken: telling them they’re not and they don’t. I think Jesus said something about preventing the little children from coming to Him?

  • postable_mark

    Wow, David said it? Must be True then. I wonder, did he right it BEFORE he got Bathsheba’s hubby killed, or AFTER he express his love for Jonathan?

  • postable_mark


  • Gary

    Jesus said we need to be like the children if we want to enter the kingdom of heaven. And from this you believe He thought they were “broken”?

  • Norm Englund

    I grew up in a church that emphasized my brokenness. It taught me to hate myself and, eventually, hate God. I left the church. Many years later, thanks to some wonderful people, I find that I call myself a Christian. I’m still occasionally haunted by my early training.

    I’ll always be grateful to people like Gary, who called out Andy Hogue’s proof texting. And I wish I’d been born with the attitude of the baby in David Hayward’s picture.

  • Andy Hogue

    Ha! Good question. I suppose if you doubt the Bible, then my proof-texting isn’t of much value. But why be a Christian at all if the testimony is weak?

    But for those who give the Bible any credence at all, I cited verses out of 9 out of 66 books of the Bible. (Google “Pelagianism” for an alternative view.)

  • Andy Hogue

    Ha ha! True, even God’s beloved was broken.

    I resent your equivocation of brotherly love and gay romance. There are few men in my life whom I feel knitted together with at the heart, but it’s very non-sexual. I hope you have that in your life, brother.

  • Poetry as a genre is really hard for some people.

  • Andy Hogue

    All I can tell you, then, is that there’s new life through Jesus Christ. It sounds like you were on the right track, but that no one offered you any hope of “the Last Adam” — only the failings of the first.

    “I die daily.”

    “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells …”

    “We know that if our earthly house, this [fleshly] tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

    “Here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.”

    “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.”

    “‘The first man Adam became a living soul;’ The last Adam a life-giving spirit.”

    (I won’t provide the chapter-and-verse citations. Look them up yourself if you’re interested in an alternative view than the one you were raised with.)

  • Andy Hogue

    Yes. And some people think that all poetry must be fiction, with no bearing in reality.

  • Gary

    Please, proof texting is lazy at best. If you are any kind of student of the bible at all you know that any position can be substantiated or refuted by simply selecting verses out of context and presenting them as if they stand on their own.

    Any truth to be gleaned from the bible will be done by studying the prevailing themes like love, charity, and the golden rule and applying them to our God given consciences and living well. Then of course we must ignore the abuses God supposedly endorsed like misogyny, slavery, genocide, rape, etc., and recognize that these represent man made corruptions to what God is.

  • Gary

    Rabbid fundy alert!!

  • Gary

    Yes non-sexual knitting of two hearts is certainly a more acceptable version of the David and Johnathon love story. But that in no way makes it the correct one. The text leaves plenty of room to suspect otherwise. And since the criticism of homosexuality in the bible is the result of bigotry introduced by men to support a view not originally there…there is no reason to fret about the gay lover possibility anyway.

  • Andy Hogue

    Point taken (Google “Wesleyan Quadrilateral” for some good discussions on how Scripture should be taken with other elements in establishing doctrine).

    So you assume that a conservative Christian is picking and choosing which verses to focus on, and which to ignore. That’s fine. But are you not doing the same thing with concepts? Are you not focusing on the Golden Rule and charity, and ignoring the less savory aspects of holy scripture? Are you not a product of your own modern biases as I am a product of fundamentalist-evangelical hermeneuitics?

  • Andy Hogue

    “Not originally there”? That may require some further explanation … if you and our gracious host are game.

  • My initial blog response was pretty generous, I thought, assuming that he just neglected the whole love part and he wasn’t really trying to say that our fundamental identity is that we aren’t good enough for God. Since then I’ve seen him making it quite clear that he did mean we are to be making sure our children know that they are totally depraved and won’t do anything right on their own.

  • Norm Englund

    Andy, we all have times of despair. This proof texting takes those moments and presents them as our relationship with God. Unworthy of God’s love. A point in the parable of the Prodigal Son is that unworthy doesn’t enter the picture. God just wants to be with us. Broken is an alien concept. God just wants a relationship.

    Those passages could help us get past despair. Instead they’re used to beat us into despair.

    To raise little children in the belief that they are only worthy of damnation, but that God, in His great mercy, will grudgingly keep them out of hellfire if they jump through the right hoops… leads to a God you can only pretend to love.

  • Norm Englund

    I try to look at the Bible through the lens of “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.” It helps a lot with my understanding and attitude. A more plodding, but similar, approach is the Wesleyan Quadrilateral: examine through the lens of scripture, tradition, reason, and experience.

    The Bible is not simple. Our assumptions, economics and politics today are much different than the assumptions, economics and politics of the writers thousands of years ago. Skeptically examining the Bible or doubting how the Bible has been presented to you is not the same as doubting God. (Or maybe it is the same as doubting God, but God is tough enough to take it.)

    The good news is that, if you love God and love your neighbor, you’re most of the way there. The bad news is that you’re expected to love your neighbor as yourself.

  • It gets even more complicated if you consider that the scripture authors also had their own biases due to the times that they lived in… Then it gets even more complicated when you consider that the original scripture authors may have been just the bloggers of their time with no more access to divine revelation than do the bloggers of today but the scripture authors had a high opinion of themselves and presented the ideas as if they came directly from God. Of course the fundamentalist position is that the scripture authors had no bias – they just wrote down exactly what God told them to and the meaning 2000 to 3000 years later is accurately interpreted by the fundamentalists of today. A bit of a stretch. But what do I know since I will undoubtedly be burning in Hell. But at least I don’t loose sleep over thinking I’m broken. Imperfect, yes. Broken, no.

    I can end, though, with a smiley face. 🙂

  • Susan

    After you believe you are broken for a long time you don’t know how to be whole.

  • “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

    The only ones who don’t believe that are the self-righteous amongst us.

  • I’m glad God is tough enough to take it. I guess the anger management classes are working. Just don’t get Him around any Ammonites! He goes a little crazy. As for loving your neighbor as yourself, I guess that doesn’t extend to granting the same rights to your neighbor as yourself…

  • Gary

    That is a weary and arduous discussion with fundamentalists entrenched into the dogma of gay bigotry. I have been down this road many times with very little success. However…if you are genuinely interested in why I believe scripture does not support the “homosexuality is sin” doctrine taught in much of the church I will be happy to provide a link or two that would allow you to at least familiarize yourself with some great exegesis of the half dozen clobber verses as well as the application of some basic biblical principals to the topic.

    Beyond the scriptural case against homosexual bigotry however, is the greater principle of human decency. The church view that individuals who are gay are somehow intrinsically sinful by the very natures they were born with (given by God if you will) is one of the most disgusting and dehumanizing teachings the church has in an already long list of unGodly abuses.

  • Gary

    I do not believe whether we have all sinned is the issue whatsoever.

  • Gary

    Until we drop the false concept that scripture is somehow “holy” we have no way to ever learn to follow the Spirit of Truth which Jesus promised to send us to be our guide.

  • Lennie

    Yeah, I’m broken. You’re broken. Let’s all be broken together, and heal together. Can’t do it on my own.

  • Gary

    Wonderful way to say it. “Imperfect, yes. Broken, no.”

  • In case anyone is misinterpreting my rather poignant statements, I’m not busting on God, I’m busting on certain people’s image of God. There is a difference. I do like the Golden Rule. I don’t believe in Hell. There is a lot of good in the bible but you have to work a bit to find it. Just don’t let the rest of the bible passages provide cover for the various prejudices of today – including the idea that you are born broken and only get fixed by God if you stoke His ego enough (and do what the thumpers say).

  • Of course you don’t.

  • klhayes

    This can be a very dangerous concept. For children that are being abused, the abuse makes them feel broken. And then to reinforce that concept in the context of God only makes it worse.

  • It is indeed interesting the different notions of salvation: Pelagianism, Semipelagianism, and Total Depravity. I kind-of go for what is behind door number 4.

  • Gary

    Well no of course not. No one in here is presenting the argument that they are perfect and that they live some sort of sinless life. That has absolutely nothing to do with the point of the cartoon.

  • Norm Englund

    Jeff, I’m pretty sure there’s still a few seats open in the anger management class.

    I’m sorry that my comment included assumptions about you that were not correct. (In my defense, I only had one question and an icon to go on.) I wanted to encourage you in your questioning. So I responded with a shortened version of what has worked for me when I find many Bible verses broken or misused… My apologies that I was so far off the mark.

  • Brigitte Mueller

    Why don’t you give it a try Gary. Find us a whole bunch of Bible verses that tell us that we don’t start out already broken. It would be refreshing compared to the usual scolding. “From my mother’s womb I was a perfect little saint.” Go find it.

  • Brigitte Mueller

    Do you want to explain that Gary. Basically, you are saying we could be “sinning” but that does not mean we are broken?

  • Brigitte Mueller

    Scripture testifies to Christ. The Spirit testifies to Christ. Neither is a “guide”. Nor is even Christ a “guide”. He never said “I am the guide”. He is the good shepherd, I guess, that is a kind of guide. But much more. The shepherd cares for the sheep and lays down his life for them in guarding them. The Spirit is not a “guide”. He will guide into truth. But this truth is Christ. “I AM the way, the truth and the life.”

  • Brigitte Mueller

    What does it mean to be child-like to enter? It means like they are perfect and innocent?

    — I entered as a child. I was baptized at 2 months old. But also a child receives freely. It is not constantly trying to earn his way showing off. Just so, at baptism we received grace and promise without our own doing or having anything to boast of.

  • Norm, I think you have left some very nice and well intentioned comments here. When I replied to your earlier comment I was thinking of some themes presented by others besides you and read your comment through that lens. I should have been a little slower to hit reply myself.

  • Gary

    Well sure…it means we are HUMAN, and function in the way God designed. The struggle to live better, more loving lives is a journey full of wonderful life lessons and can produce much wisdom and grace. I believe this very struggle is part of the human experience and very beneficial. I do NOT believe it is an indication that we are disgustingly vile creatures totally unlovable by God. In other words I completely reject total depravity as the state of human beings. We are as God intended and the struggle of living life well is a wonderful part (and at times not so wonderful) of the human experience.

  • Gary

    Perfect? No. Innocent…absolutely.

  • Gary

    Nice try. But you won’t bait me into performing for you like an organ grinder’s trained monkey at a street fair. And I don’t believe you are naive enough to believe that those who don’t embrace total depravity don’t have plenty of scriptural support for their views.

  • Gary

    You know…I totally abhor proof texting and won’t do it to “prove” my view is the correct one. But I will offer up a verse which you seem to have totally forgotten about…considering you don’t think the Spirit is a “guide”.

    “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth:” John 16:13a

    This is recorded as the very words of Jesus and is a great example of how even those of you who believe you form your opinion on scripture are still very much operating from your own understanding. I find it ironic that you find a way to deny what this verse says. Jesus said the spirit would GUIDE us into ALL TRUTH.

    You know I actually do still believe in Jesus. And this is one of the reasons why I abandoned biblioletry.

  • Andy Hogue

    There are other books I cited which are not poetry — epistles, gospels, etc.

    There is some degree of depravity we’re born with. God cursed the earth, which Genesis states (some would argue metaphorically) but which is confirmed in the NT. I’m loathe to say “total depravity” because the first Adam was made for a relationship with God. We’re depraved, and that’s it. And that’s what we need to be saved from (you know … by a Savior?).

  • Andy Hogue

    Sure, God loves us all … but you sure hate me.

  • Andy Hogue

    Let’s see their verses.

  • Andy Hogue

    Four people voted down the Bible. That says a lot.

  • Andy Hogue

    That’s a lot of biblical exegesis to defend a Bible you don’t have a lot of faith in. That said, I’ll read your links and consider them. (I’ll stop posting on this thread, now.)

  • Andy Hogue

    That depends on your definition of “you.”

    Are “you” the old man — the flesh, the carnal nature, or this earthly tent — which has been cursed and is prone to sin, depression, hate and rebellion against God?

    Or are “you” the new creation — the spirit-man, the image of the Last Adam, “he that does not sin” — which radiates outward and renews the old man, too, thus regenerating and saving the entire person flesh, soul and spirit?

    I crucify my “old man” daily, as Paul told us to. But I live in the “new man” with a peace that passes all understanding and a perfected love in my heart. I never had this until I gave up my selfish ways and humanistic esteem, and sought after something greater than myself.

  • Gary

    That’s one hell of an assumption on your part. And of course it is also false.


  • Gary

    I refer you to my reply to Brigitte directly above.

  • Gary

    Some very strange assumptions on your part in this post.

    First of all I have no intention of defending the bible. That would be strange to me. Secondly to state that I don’t have a lot of faith in it is rather strange as well. I love the bible for just what it is but have no intention of elevating it to some type of “holy” status as if it was some mystical 4th member of the trinity. My faith is not in a book. I hope yours is not either.

    The reason I provide the biblical exegesis to refute homosexual bigotry is because it is almost always the result of eisegesis over exegesis (or simple ignorance) and to those who believe the only source of truth is biblical, no other argument seems to carry any value. Personally I see more value in appealing to human decency and modern culture than to attempting to make the moral views of iron age civilizations entrenched in sexism, racial bigotry, and a host of other very morally questionable beliefs somehow fit our modern society.

  • mrichardson84

    Wrong. We voted down your misuse of it. Learn the difference.

  • Daniel

    The funny part about when most people quote that verse is that there isn’t a period where people like to put it. There’s a comma. Meaning people are only quoting half the sentence. If you read past that comma, there’s a nice little surprise awaiting. 🙂

  • Gary

    I have always gotten a kick out the argument that if you don’t agree with ME about what the bible means then it must be because you don’t believe God or the bible. Usually the next step for them is to say you must not be a believer at all or you are apostate, damned, and a tool of Satan. (All of which has been said to me in this very blog recently).

  • Norm Englund

    Andy, we keep on talking past each other. Your concept of the Bible is not much like my concept of the Bible. I see the Bible as a record of people trying to know and understand God. They build on that record in a two steps forward, one step back fashion.

    In a similar spirit to the UCC’s “God is still speaking” slogan, I believe that there is a lot written in the last hundred years that should be in the Bible, or included as a modern companion piece to the Bible. MLK Jr’s “Letter From A Birmingham Jail” immediately springs to mind. The video and letter on homosexuality that Gary provided links to also seem like promising additions. I see God as wanting to help us grow, not browbeat us for our “depravity”.

    Our understanding of savior is different as well. I say Jesus is my Savior, but I don’t mean by his dying. I mean by his life and continuing life. Jesus leads and loves, even if that means death. Jesus is on my side. He didn’t say to the adulterous woman, “You depraved whore! Beg for my forgiveness! You won’t deserve it but I’ll give it to you anyway.” He said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.” The former attitude breaks a person and would devastate a child. The latter attitude affirms, directs and encourages. (you know… like by someone who loves us.)