need more research and understanding of why sick and abusive religion
has replaced the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ in all
traditional forms of the church. Jesus was murdered by totally
committed religious legalists. The virus of legalistic judgmental
religion is always fatal. It killed Jesus and will kill you and
your group if it is not cast out by the clear pure truth of Jesus plus
nothing. Jesus made only one demand: "Follow Me!"
Everything else flows from that offer.
Remember: Homosexuality is not demonic.
the main thing that I have learned so far from my own experience and
the struggles of others is that God loves us all the same and we can
completely trust God's unconditional love and acceptance. We
demonstrate our trust in God by letting go of everything else.
Forsake everything, including religion, and follow Jesus. To
follow Jesus you have to keep your attention on Jesus and not on people
or organizations, churches, or anything else. Read the last seven
verses of the Gospel of John for a plain declaration of the ultimate
truth of Jesus Christ. How would your view of being a Christian
change if you took the time to memorize the Gospel of John?
self esteem and other characteristics of codependency are clearly
demonstrated in sick and abusive religion. See the pioneering
work on codependency by Melody Beattie: Codependent No More, Harper, 1987, and Beyond Codependency,
Harper, 1989, where the codependent dynamics of unhealthy religion are spelled out.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
how Paul viewed the abusive religion of his past compared to his
present hope in Christ in Philippians 3 and 4 and meditate on what
Romans 15:1-7 has to say about our acceptance of ourselves and each
other. See the books and the documentary One Nation Under God in the Resources section of this web site. If you can find it, get a copy of Ex-Gays? There Are None!
By Rev. Sylvia Pennington, Lambda Christian Fellowship, 1989: Box 1967, Hawthorne, CA 90250.
A PERSONAL WORD
know of nobody who has changed from homosexual to heterosexual. I
know nobody else who knows anyone whose sexual orientation has been
changed. I know many people who have been profoundly hurt and
driven to self destructive behavior because of attempts, including
electric shock therapy, to change their sexual orientation. The
Ex-Gay Movement is a fraud without any credible scientific research to
support claims to change homosexuals to heterosexuals.
SOME REALLY GOOD NEWS, for a change!
Update for July 5, 2003:
"GOD BLESS AMERICA"
FINALLY WE CAN CELEBRATE
night I watched the special programs of celebration, music, fireworks,
flags, speeches and joyful celebration of Independence Day through new
eyes and with new joy and gratitude for America! The U.S. Supreme
Court has come through for us and we are able to be patriotic in a
fresh exciting new way!
the first time ever, I felt the excitement and joy of celebrating the
United States of America as MY country and my land, my government, my
people, and my rightful place to be an openly gay man.
I watched the television broadcast of the Boston Pops orchestra led by
the absolutely adorable Keith Lockhart, and the spectacular fireworks
ending with the Star Spangled Banner, I felt that I really belong, as I
have never felt since I was a child. It was a very emotional
experience for me. My two kitties were afraid of our local
fireworks, but they didn't panic. I was with them.
I gave them an extra "fresh tuna" treat at l1:15 pm to reward them for their bravery during the fireworks.
PATRIOTIC AT LAST
felt a great wave of patriotism flow over me as I saw my country as
truly finally mine and not an alien hostile land. Religion has
not changed anything, but the legal system has. Religion in
America has demonstrated a remarkable lack of imagination and a
dreadful degree of misinformation in all of their religious approaches
to GLBT people so far. Religion has discredited itself and made
itself irrelevant because of absolute legalisms and ignorant misuse of
biblical material against GLBT people.
Supremes to the rescue! As with the issues of racial segregation
and a woman's right to control her own body, the U.S. Supreme Court has
finally done the right thing and liberated sexuality from religious
domination and misrepresentation.
the day that the Supreme Court threw out the illegal sodomy laws, the
rainbow flag in Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro in San Francisco was
lowered and an American flag was raised for a brief time in joyful
celebration of the new direction of United States law. Do not
underestimate the significance of the Supreme Court decision to declare
all "sodomy" laws to be un-Constitutional!
have fought as a guerilla warrior for many years in our battle for
fairness and acceptance in San Francisco, Nashville, on the Internet
and in my book and travels. To realize that the victory has
finally been won in the legal arena is an overwhelming emotional rush!
opinion, however, is another story. We still have a long way to
go in informing the public and especially the homophobic religious
establishment about the truth and about accurate information regarding
GLBT people. The battle isn't over until it's over. And it
is far from over yet.
informed about the majority opinion in the recent Supreme Court opinion
in our favor. Read all of Justice Kennedy's majority
opinion. The details of his reasoning and opinion are of great
significance. See links below.
has been exposed for what it is. Justice Kennedy claimed that the
US Constitution guarantees the right to privacy. It doesn't, but
the intention is there. Justice Kennedy also made clear the fact
that the Court is not obligated to enforce religion-based morality but
to enforce the provisions of the US Constitution. The
religion-based misinformation about GLBT people has been effectively
challenged and refuted. Praise God! Now, where do we go
can act on your new acceptance by accepting and affirming each other
and yourself. You can let everybody know about your new status of
legal acceptance and approval. This is of incredible
importance. Never before has the ultimate legal authority of our
federal government affirmed the human and civil rights of GLBT
people! Now you truly belong and you should act like it!
Claim what is yours. Come out and declare your own self-esteem
and self-acceptance. This will allow you to become part of the
revolution and not part of the problem.
GLBT MARRIAGE IS NEXT
the dissenting voice of Justice Scalia expressed the promise that GLBT
marriage is the next step. My last update dealt with the marriage
issue, and I want to clarify my views on GLBT marriage. I am
clearly in favor of all GLBT people having the right and privilege of
same-sex legal marriage. My only concern is that the distortions
and abuses of traditional marriage must be avoided and corrected by
GLBT people who enter into legally recognized marriage contracts.
male ownership of the "woman" is not a legitimate dimension of either
heterosexual or homosexual marriages! We are all equals, whatever
our sexuality might be. Dominance and control is not a sexually
determined matter for any of us. We all have the same value
before God and each other. No laws or social traditions can
legitimately compromise that!
in marriage can be a celebration of radical equality. We as GLBT
people can show the way to true equality and fairness in committed
relationships that often has been missing in heterosexual
marriages. Love conquers all, but love is no valid substitute for
fairness and mutual respect in a relationship. Dominance and
abuse in any relationship is destructive and unfair. Be the
creator of something new and positive in your own most precious
personal relationships. Be fair, honest, loving, affirming,
loyal, and radically equal! It will amaze everybody, including
yourself. And it will work for good.
couples thrive on an over/under style of relating to each other.
You have to work out whatever really works for you. You don't
have to follow any body else's pattern. Be yourself. Do
what ever really fits you and your partner. Your style of
relating to your partner will work if it is really you and you both
enjoy and feel good about who you are together.
Supreme Court Sodomy Decision: http://news.findlaw.com/ap_stories/a/w/1154/6-26-2003/20030
See also the excellent reports on the Supreme Court decision in the Soulforce web site:
(Click on "Related Links")
"THE GATHERING STORM"
Update for July 8, 2003
This week, Barbara and Chris Purdom have sent out many letters to newspapers and other media on behalf of "Interfaith Working Group"
to question and protest against the media response to the Supreme Court
Decision to protect the privacy and human rights of GLBT people.
The most common media mistake is the pattern of quoting one or two
homophobic clergymen as though they represented all Christians and a
solid block of religious rejection of homosexuality as an abomination
fact is that the media is dishonest and unfair. On television we
have been given the repeated spectacle of seeing really off the wall
homophobic nuts rave against homosexuals with intentionally inadequate
response from so-called representatives of the gay community.
Some of these carefully staged debates about gay rights and gay
marriage in the media have misrepresented the truth and used
misinformation and deceit to advance the cause of repression and
distortion of the truth about GLBT people.
media sometimes reflects the thinking of Nazi propaganda minister
Joseph Goebbels during the gathering storm against Jews in the Third
Reich of death and destruction. The growing avalanche of
ludicrous religious attacks against GLBT people in the wake of the
Supreme Court Decision is evidence of widespread panic in the
legalistic fundamentalist homophobic war rooms and strategy
planning. Let's hope that they successfully self-destruct and
fight to the death among themselves.
PROTECTION AGAINST THE STORM
your spiritual roof leak? Are you prepared for the anti-gay
storms that are rapidly gathering all around us? I hope you are
getting ready for the deluge, because it is clearly on the way.
As Paul said of God's armor in Ephesians, "Have your loins gird about
with truth." Learn and share the truth with others. (See Ephesians 6:10-20.)
great deal of my e-mail now is from people who are using my web site
material to try to get the truth through to their family and
friends. Just getting religious people to read information that
challenges their prejudices and misinformation is a formidable task!
response to religious misinformation and homophobic attacks is simple:
know the facts and be willing and able to communicate the facts to
others. As Adolph Hitler believed and demonstrated, if you repeat
a lie often enough and with enough conviction, people will begin to
believe it is true. Millions of people, including many GLBT
people, have accepted and believed the lies, misinformation and
distortions about homosexuality and homosexuals that often go
unchallenged in churches, religious articles and broadcasts, and within
the family circle.
THE "EX-GAY" TORNADO
One of the most destructive homophobic threats is the growing menace of the "Ex-Gay" industry.
The "Ex-Gay" movement is a torrential mudslide that is suffocating
thousands of GLBT people in hopeless misdirected claims for a cure that
does not exist in medicine or in biblical religion. Now that the
mighty Southern Baptist Convention has adopted the "ex-gay" cause as
one of its chief missionary methods, the fate of multitudes of GLBT
people is hanging in the balance and moving rapidly into the vortex of
the devastating tornado of "ex-gay" terrorism.
is truly a mystery to me how the nonsense and blasphemy of faith
healing for homosexuals has gained such a grip on the thinking of so
many otherwise intelligent and educated people! Railing against
the "ex-gay" disaster does little to slow it down. Accurate
information is available, but few people seem to be hearing it.
The flood of "ex-gay" literature and organizations continues to build
and overflow our fragile world. The gathering storm contains
great varieties of types and methods of destruction.
the strong will survive to build a better world in the future.
How strong are you? How well equipped are you to resist the
ignorance explosion and to go on to engage in a convincing response and
a constructive work of rebuilding a new world on the wreckage of what
we are witnessing today?
JESUS FACED THE STORM
entire life and work of Jesus in the Four Gospels is set in the context
of a gathering storm of deceit, religious abuse, misinformation and
final violence against Jesus. What can you learn from Jesus about
how to handle the gathering storm of misinformation and homophobia that
we face today? A lot! Take a fresh look at the entire story
of Jesus by reading through the Gospel of Mark all in one
sitting. Use a clear modern translation, like the Good News Bible
or the New American Standard Bible. (Avoid the paraphrases).
the exciting rapidly moving story of Jesus as told by Mark speak to you
what you need to hear today to equip you to face and overcome the
storms that are developing all around you. If you know of a
better source, please tell me.
through Luke and John will also equip you with a clearer vision of what
following Jesus is really all about. Let the Holy Spirit speak to
you. Think for yourself. Nobody else knows what you know
about yourself. Shut out the hail of misinformation that rages
all around you. Return to your calm center within.
Meditate. Relax. Listen.
Now, get out there and make a difference!
July 8, 2003
Update added 6/7/03
national magazine this week carried this question on the front cover:
"Does A Fetus Have Rights?" My response was: "What is a
fetus?" The whole abortion and human rights issue has suddenly
become an explosive bombshell in the United States Congress and in
church congregations and sermons across America. You cannot avoid
this controversy. After all, you were once a fetus yourself!
the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, my seminary,
published their news magazine on the subject of "abortion" as the most
pressing issue now facing the seminary! (My question was: "What
about honesty and integrity in biblical studies?") Recently, the
President of Southern Seminary appeared on national television to
declare and defend the current Southern Baptist position on abortion
and related issues.
impact of religious misinformation has also been brought into sharp
focus by the arrest of Eric Rudolph, who is being charged now in
Alabama with his first deadly crime, the bombing of an abortion
clinic. He faces later charges of setting off a bomb in the
Olympic Park in Atlanta and bombing a GLBT nightclub also in Atlanta.
the Hebrew Bible, the sperm, "the seed of the man", was viewed as the
"individual in miniature" and was planted by the man in the woman's
womb as an incubator to house the individual until maturity and
birth. Ovulation of the woman was not known until modern
time. Masturbation or any other method of destroying sperm was
murder. Discarding sperm in a condom, up the rectum or into the
mouth would be an abomination of the worst sort. To be strictly
biblical, the issue of "Fetus Rights" is already settled and sealed in
2000-year-old biblical worldview has been revised and dragged through
medieval imaginations and art to create a vast distortion of the
biblical record and thus guarantee that as long as the traditional
churches maintain their powerful grip on the minds of their followers,
changes that Jesus intended for all people will be impossible. So
this is where we are in the biblical "debate" about abortion and
the fact! Bible Based Religion today is out of touch with
realities of biology, human anatomy, science, physics, astronomy,
medicine, human nature, psychology, history, sociology, and just about
everything else. Why does abusive biblical religion exercise so
much control and power over politics and public opinion?
religion the social disease that will eventually destroy the human
race? Maybe! Why has religious ignorance and misinformation
been elevated to the status of idolatry in so much of our culture
today? (See Legalism as Idolatry
blatant contradictions between factual information and religious dogma
are astounding. At an early age, little children are carefully
conditioned to believe and trust religious teachings that have no basis
whatever in facts or in logic. It takes a lifetime to unlearn the
religious nonsense that most children are fed, and most people never
really get over it!
biblical material assumes a lot of unrealistic and untrue things about
human nature and about life. Biblical material is 2,000 to 3,000
years old, in ancient primitive languages that have never been
adequately translated, and yet has been enshrined in gold edged leather
bindings that imply that it is "the Word of God" whether that is true
or not. The Bible never claims that it is the "word of
God." The churches have added that claim in order to use the
Bible for their own profit and power. This does not demand that
we should abandon our own logic and common sense and believe and teach
stupidity as the "word of God" and the "will of God"!
JESUS AND THE FACTS
of the most obvious attitudes of Jesus in the Gospels is the fact that
Jesus always questioned everything. Jesus questioned the
authority of the prevailing religion and the values of the religious
system. Jesus questioned the religious authority of the leaders
and questioned the abusive use of the Scriptures to hurt and destroy
individuals who did not fit the accepted roles demanded by
society. Jesus questioned everybody who tried to tell other
people what they should believe and do to please God.
challenged all of the prevailing assumptions about human nature and
about the true value of the individual. Jesus rejected the entire
system of "clean" and "unclean" people and the classification of people
on the basis of religion, sex, national origin, ethnic identity, race
and education. Jesus turned over all of the tables in the temple
of abusive religious tradition and identified with and loved all of the
wrong people. For this Jesus was rejected, condemned, and
killed. If you truly follow Jesus, you will enjoy the same
fate. That's a promise.
NOT A MINOR ISSUE
misuse of the Bible and religious tradition to contradict clear
accepted scientific facts about human nature and about anatomy,
psychology, sexuality and other issues is a major roadblock to progress
in human rights in our world today. Many people write to
challenge my thoughts about churches and claim that all churches are
not the same. But they are. Brain washing, hypocrisy,
religious abuses and misinformation are never OK.
can you say that a little bit of dishonesty is all right and dismiss
the destructive forces of religion today because all churches are "not
really all that bad"! Abuse is never OK. Child abuse,
physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse and religious abuse are
never acceptable even in very small doses. To distort the truth
of the Gospel of Jesus is always wrong no matter how great or small the
distortion might be. To use the Gospel as a basis for condemning,
rejecting and abusing people is to betray Jesus and to play God.
Religion itself has become the sin from which religion claims to set people free.
NEW DIRECTIONS CALL US
Where do we go from
here? What new directions are open to us if we abandon the
ancient distortions and misinformation? First, begin to think for
yourself. Be like Jesus and reject any attempt by other people to
tell you who you are and what you should and should not believe.
Find others who are also seeking a better way that really works for
them. A small group meeting in a home is becoming probably the
most viable environment for healing dialogue and spiritual recovery and
all else, love one another just as Jesus has loved you. By this
all people will know that you really follow Jesus. Love covers a
multitude of sins. Love never gives up.
am thrilled at the growing use of my web site and book by small groups
around the world. The problem of "Bible Abuse" is known and
addressed throughout the world now. My web site was the first
that I know to use the term "Bible Abuse." The last time that I
looked at Bible Abuse on Google, there were over 450,000 related web
sites, with my web site being the first one listed.
A NEW TRANSLATION
Hwang in Taiwan is translating my book into Chinese and using it in her
study groups for GLBT Chinese Christians. She has translated 12
"lessons" in my book. I thank God for Kim and for her
ministry. I hope that soon Kim's Chinese version of my material
will be available and we can include it in my web site. This
Sunday, June 8, is the first anniversary of her Chinese GLBT
Church. Pray for Kim and her ministry. Click here to see
web site for her ministry for "Tong Shin Church".
On June 14 and 15 I will be in Columbus, Ohio, for a conference that is being sponsored
by a number of GLBT supportive churches. See the link for details
. If you are in Ohio and can get to this conference, I hope to meet you.
Please pray for my friend Rev. Ralph Lasher in Houston, Texas, where he is now
seeking God's guidance into new directions in ministry.
challenged and won against an oppressive abusive religious system by
being logical, objective, realistic and practical. Are you?
The Bible and Homosexuality
and Jesus and the Bible.
June 7, 2003
Update added August 17, 2002:
"WHAT ABOUT YOU?"
progress has been made for GLBT people in recent decisions by business
and industry to grant equal rights, protection and benefits to sexual
minorities. The Human Rights Commission recently rated 319
companies in their homosexual-friendly policies in hiring and retention
practices. In response, John Paulk of Focus on the Family and gay
bar scandal fame declared opposition to the survey results and effects.
Chris Purdom of Interfaith Working Group gave both sides of this story through his daily news
items. See link below.
news reports show how much political and business progress is being
made for GLBT people: But how about you? Do you feel more secure
and more accepted as an LGBT person now? To what extent do you
feel personally helped by this progress?
you accept yourself more fully and feel good about yourself because
American Air Lines and 12 other national companies achieved a perfect
score in the survey? Probably not! I don't.
YOU MATTER MOST
your world, you are the most important person you know. What
happens to you and how you feel about yourself determine everything for
you. What is happening to other people in other places might be
interesting and even inspiring, but what is happening in your life is
what matters to you.
churches are accepting and affirming gay people, but has that made you
more confident in your own spiritual life? At the same time that
our society is experiencing a surge of religious acceptance of GLBT
people, we are also seeing the growing impact of the "ex-gay" industry
in "Exodus", "Love Won Out" and other discredited homophobic religious
ministries. See the link below to "Focus on the Family" and
become informed about one of the most dangerous enemies of LGBT people
prowling in our midst. Read again the material in my web site on
"The Ex-Gay Fraud" and the accompanying updates and articles.
the world, homophobic fundamentalists, religious ignorance and various
mildly accepting religious denominations see you does not determine
your value to God or your own self-esteem. Your self-acceptance
of yourself as a child of God in the image of God with equal value to
every other person in the eyes of God and in your own eyes is
determined within your own mind. You think for yourself because
you have to. Nobody else can really decide who you are for you.
TOO MUCH INFORMATION
I tell my best friend too much about something, and his response is:
"too much information!" We can absorb and use only so much
information from outside ourselves. We are bombarded with news,
reports, articles, research projects, reliable and unreliable facts,
opinions and propaganda. The Internet now offers contradictory
opinions and detailed information on every subject imaginable and some
that are unimaginable in literally hundreds of millions of web
sites! Travel the search engine "yellow brick road" at your own
am convinced that your truth and your best source for your own
self-acceptance and self-esteem are already within you as God's gift to
you in your basic humanity. The old saying that: "God don't make
no junk" is really true! You are not a mistake. You are not
a problem that somebody needs to fix. You are not trash or
spiritual garbage. You are already God's beloved accepted and
affirmed child. You are "the child of the King"; so act like it.
RELIGION WANTS TO CHANGE YOU
wants to tell you who you are and change you into what culture and
society have decided you should be. God has other plans.
God in Jesus makes clear the fact that you already have eternal value
to God. You are important and have a unique mission in life that
fits only you. Discovering the real you and acting on God's
mission for you is the most exciting and affirming experience available
to you. Being yourself and realizing your potential as a child of
God should be fun. Religion usually is not, unless you are the
one in charge and enjoy ordering other people around!
The churches have
failed to communicate the self-affirming inclusive unconditional love
of God in Jesus for all people. "Miserable sinners" continue to
plod wearily to the altar for one more religious fix that is as
addictive as it is spiritually futile and unhealthy. The churches
do not own God. They do not even know what God is really like
because they base their whole sense of mission on a flawed view of what
people are like and what creation in the image of God means in the
in church is still built on medieval images of "The Fall," "Heaven" and
"Hell." Remove misinformation about the fall, heaven, and hell
and the entire ecclesiastical system collapses into oblivion, where it
belongs. When this happens, what will take the place of
traditional churches? Jesus, I hope!
JESUS PLUS NOTHING
still calls you to follow him. No elaborate confused religious
system of dogma, clergy, polity, political pecking order or anything
else can separate you from the love of God which has been revealed and
demonstrated in the Jesus of the Four Gospels and the Spirit of Jesus
already within you. Knowing and following the will of God in your
life has never been as obscure and complicated as the churches have
tried to make it.
stood a little child in their midst and said: "Here is ultimate
greatness in the will of God." How scandalous! Yet how
profoundly true! Religion is always the enemy of objective truth
and honest objective logical realism. The emperor and the church
are both naked. Only one with childlike vision can see the truth
is your real leader. Abandon everything else but Jesus, and Jesus
will never abandon you. If you follow Jesus, you have the promise
that nothing can demean, control or destroy you. Following Jesus
sets you free from becoming the prey of misinformed religious abusers,
who presently control the ecclesiastical systems of our world.
FREEDOM IN CHRIST
in Christ is freedom from religion. How far along the road to
real freedom have you come so far? What really matters to you is
your own sense of self-worth and your confidence that God accepts and
sustains you in every moment of your life. You don't have to know
anything in particular about God, who dwells in unapproachable light
and mystery. You can, however, know and follow Jesus.
is simple, plain, and real. Jesus is like you. Jesus
struggled, was misunderstood, abused by religion, and rejected by his
own people. Make the clear separation between religion and Jesus
that will allow you the freedom that Jesus enjoyed and celebrated in a
life that did great good, led to the crucifixion and concluded in the
resurrection. Jesus lives today in you because Jesus was not
willing to be bound by religion. You too can soar above the
confusion and contradictions of religion if you follow Jesus.
all, Jesus teaches and demonstrates how to love. Love costs
everything. Love also gives everything. Love really is "the
greatest thing in the world." Because God loves you, you also
ought to love yourself and others. Love is painful, joyful,
hopeful, faithful, satisfying, and reflects the presence of the Spirit
of Jesus within you. Love is life.
VISIT WITH MY MOTHER
sister and I had a great visit with my mother in Laurens, SC, last
weekend as we helped her celebrate her ninety-first birthday. The
greatest challenge my mother faces now as her sight continues to fail
is to let other people help her and do things for her that she has
always done for herself. As always, she is adjusting to these
changes with grace and determination. I am proud of my mother and
thank God for everything that I have learned from her.
Sunday, September 1, 2002, I will speak at the International Conference
of "A Common Bond 2002" in New Orleans on "What the Bible Really Says
about Homosexuality." "A Common Bond" is the GLBT support
organization for present and former Jehovah's Witnesses. See A Common Bond web site and information about the conference at:
"What Freud called religion, Jesus called sin." –Harry Emerson Fosdick
See new web site for Soulforce:
I plan to go to Lynchburg with Soulforce in October.
Focus on the Family recent article promoting "Ex-Gay" industry programs
called "Love Won Out" led by professionally discredited psychologist
Joseph Nicolosi, discredited "ex-gay" activist John Paulk and others.
following update was posted on May 21, 2002, as an encouragement to you
not to give in to the destructive abusive pressures of the world around
THE "ME" AND THE "NOT ME"
small child cannot distinguish between the "me" and the "not me,"
because the environment of a small child is seen by the child as part
of "me". To disturb the environment is to disturb the
child. Even moving furniture around in the room can be disturbing
for a small child.
remember vividly the reaction of my three-year-old son when he came
into his parents' bedroom one morning to jump in the bed with us as
usual. We had changed the bedroom furniture around and moved the
bed to a new position in the room. He stood motionless in the
door, looked around at the scene with a startled lost look on his face
for a few minutes, slowly said, "Oh! Oh! Oh!" a few times, hesitated
for a while, and finally ran and jumped into our bed. His
reaction to unexpected changes in his environment has stuck with me
personal environment is constantly changing. New people come into
your life, former friends (or enemies) return, you move from one
location to another, change jobs, watch close friends change and become
like strangers, people you love get sick and die, and you experience
many other changes and evolutions all around your personal
existence. Beyond all of that, your larger world changes
constantly as well. Terrorism on 9/11/01 has changed the way we
view flying and the way we see other countries, people, and the entire
INDEPENDENCE OR CODEPENDENCE
you cannot distinguish clearly between the "me" and the "not me" in
your relationship to another person, the relationship is
"codependent". The same kind of blurring of "me" and "not me" can
develop when what is happening in the world around you invades your
mind and emotions to the extent that you internalize the homophobia,
false teachings, abusive political rhetoric, religious oppression, and
other negative social and cultural forces that cascade around you in an
unceasing torrent of misinformation and ignorance.
of us are vulnerable to the influences of our environment. When
the little duck hatched out of his egg and the first person he saw was
Bugs Bunny, the little duck cried, "Mommy!" and the rest of the story
was as funny as it was predictable!
the cultural misrepresentations of the truth about GLBT people is
essential for our health and welfare. You are profoundly
influenced by the media and by your own families and friends regarding
your self-image, your sense of self-esteem, and your right to belong in
the world. If your environment ever convinces you that God does
not want you and you have no right to be in God's world, your life can
become distracted and damaged beyond repair.
KNOW WHO YOU REALLY ARE
of displaced people have spent a fortune and most of their life trying
to discover their real parents and their true identity. Many
millions more have spent their lifetime and energy trying to discover
the real God, the real Jesus, and the truth about themselves.
"The world is too much with us, late and soon, getting and spending we
lay waste our powers; little we see in nature that is ours." How
do you see the world around you: as your friend or your enemy, as
against you or for you, as evil or good? How you see your
environment is up to you. What you see depends on your sources of
information and on how you see yourself.
years ago when I was visiting my sister in Atlanta, I talked to her
about missing an important person in my life. She said, "You
don't' so much miss that other person as you miss who you are when you
are with that person." I thought about it and agreed with
her. How you see yourself is far more significant for your sense
of well-being and self-esteem than how you view other people and the
rest of your social environment.
tries to convince you that you are broken and only the church or the
liturgy, or the ritual, or the priest, or certain special prayers can
fix you. Religion deceives you into rejecting yourself as your
own worst enemy and heaps the burden of guilt onto your
self-image. The long term effect of most religious indoctrination
and conditioning is to build layers of self-rejection and deep scars of
self-loathing because of personal failure to measure up to the ideals
that some people have decided are "the will of God" for everybody
else. Religion attacks your individuality and your freedom to be
yourself. Religion drains away your will and your ability to be
independent. Religious conditioning convinces you that you are a
hopeless wretch, and when you finally believe it yourself, you are
hooked on religious dependency for the rest of your life.
the Gospels carefully to see how Jesus challenged and rejected
codependent abusive sick religion and announced real deliverance to the
captives. Jesus did not let the religious environment around him
control his feelings or his faith in God. He did not allow
traditions or events or people or the weather determine who he was or
what he should do. Jesus was truly free. Yet at the same
time, Jesus was available to everyone in need and was intensely
responsive with compassion to all human suffering.
VICTIMS OF CIRCUMSTANCES
sad man told Missionary Miss Bertha Smith that he was getting along
pretty well under the circumstances. She replied, "Well, what are
you doing under there!" Get on top of the circumstances, not
under them. The "victim mentality" that constantly focuses on
what other people have done to you, instead of on what you can and are
doing for yourself, is self-defeating and completely avoidable.
"Woe is me, for I am undone!" is not a spiritual lament. It is an illogical cop-out that avoids personal
responsibility and refuses to take practical action to make your own life better.
happens to you is not nearly as important as how you view what happens
and what you do about what happens to you. You may not be able to
control a lot of your environment, but you can think and decide and
determine your attitudes and reactions to what is happening.
Whatever is happening to you now is temporary. The Spirit of God
within you gives you the larger vision and reveals the significance of
what you are experiencing for the moment.
DECIDE WHAT YOU WILL ABSORB
do not have the time, energy, or capacity to hear and absorb all of the
multitudes of voices aimed at you every day. You can be selective
about what you hear. You can choose not to listen. You can
work to fill your mind and heart with powerful positive thoughts and
feelings that will push out and shield you from much of the negative
environment in which you live.
cannot change the minds and tactics of abusive religions, but you do
not have to listen to the abusive homophobic religious ravings of
Southern Baptists, Mormons, Catholics or anybody else. This week,
I received a wonderfully encouraging e-mail letter from a woman who had
written me about a year ago to tell me her fear of even "peeking out of
the closet" to see what was out there. She wrote to tell me "the
rest of the story" of how she had been helped by my web site and by
LGBT friends to accept herself and come out. She said a turning
point happened for her when she decided to quit listening to lies from
do not have to be a victim of circumstances. You can protect the
"me" from the "not me" and grow more mature every day in self-control
and the capacity to love others without using them or letting them use
of the most abusive and damaging attacks can come from your own family,
friends, and partners in your own household. Verbal and emotional
violence against you even from those closest to you is not the "me" but
is from the "not me" part of your life. You are tempted to
believe that you deserve the abuse from others, but you don't!
Nobody deserves to be abused.
BECOME A LITTLE CHILD AGAIN
a child does not mean letting your environment threaten and defeat
you. Becoming a child again means regaining the sense of worth
and value with which you were born and which equipped you to view
yourself as the center of the universe and the most important person in
your world. All too soon, however, older people began to chip
away at your self-esteem and show in words and actions that you were
decreasing in value as you grew older.
out of the prison walls of negative conditioning that limit and demean
all new people who are born into the world takes a lifetime.
Break that cycle. Be different. Make a difference for
others. Resist becoming a victim of circumstances. Watchman
Nee wrote his commentary on Romans with the title: "The Normal
Christian Life" to show that the normal Christian life is not one of
defeat and failure but a life of living and acting on Romans 8:37: "We
are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ, who strengthens us."
are already doing better than you think. You are already God's
beloved child. You are already equipped to stand with and
encourage others. You are already on the path to glory.
Ignore the detour signs. Press on in your upward calling and keep
your eyes on the prize that the Spirit of Jesus has set before you:
your freedom and independence from the "not me" in your world.
Update added Feb. 5, 2001
Recently my friend Lawrence Reh used the term "faith-based hatred" in commenting about religious abuse against LGBT people in "First Light".
Since the President is trying to find a way to give federal money to
support "faith-based" social programs, the term "faith-based" seems to
have become a substitute for "religion" and "church", which are
separated from government by the U. S. Constitution. What does it
mean for something to be "faith-based"?
strong rejection and condemnation of GLBT people in our society is
based primarily on religion. Homophobia is "faith-based" just
like prejudice, racial inequality, limiting of opportunities for women,
and many of the other social ills that churches claim to be in the
business of fixing. Any realistic assessment of the role of
religion in social, political and legal discrimination against GLBT
people reveals that anti-gay attitudes are solidly "faith-based."
of this clearly demands a fresh look at "faith" as to what it is, why
it has such a strong hold on public opinion, and what to do about the
damage that "faith" does to individual freedom and opportunity.
Taking a clear objective look at your "belief system" takes courage,
accurate information and a lot of time. Socrates said: "The
unexamined life is not worth living." Is the unexamined faith
also not worth having?
religious groups actually forbid their followers to question their
faith and ask too many questions. Fundamentalist sects often
teach their people that it is a sin to read or listen to anything that
disagrees with their beliefs. Religion often demands a level of
ignorance in church members that would not be tolerated in any other
area of life.
"EXAMINING YOUR BELIEF SYSTEM"
live in a world of many various and contradictory belief systems.
The Internet gives us detailed information about more different
religions and belief systems than we realized even existed. There
is no corner where anyone can hide from the impact of religion on
society. Even if you have not been abused by religion, your life
touches many others who have.
violence exists today in many lands, including our own. What can
one individual do to change things? What have you already done?
begins when you decide to examine your own belief system and face and
understand what it is and where it came from. The Third Step to
recovery from religious abuse is to "EXAMINE YOUR FAITH." Read
the material on this subject in my web site and book in Step 3. There I have suggested that you "take a fearless objective at your faith." Is it really yours?
Write out what you believe and why you believe it. Know
what is going on in your own head about faith and belief.
VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
each of the major religions in the world are many variations and
contradictions. Most of the responses that I receive in e-mail
from my Web Site and Updates come from people who view God and faith
slightly and sometimes vastly differently from me. This does not
mean that they or I am wrong. It simply means that we view faith
from different experiences and we listen and learn from each other in
dialogue that helps all of us to be better informed.
objective scientific study of religion is a fairly recent
development. "The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in
Human Nature" by William James was published in 1902 and is thought to
be the first clinical scientific study of individual religious
experience. Later studies by Wayne E. Oates, Gordon W. Allport
and others have greatly increased the availability of objective
fact-based material on religion. Allport in his book on "The
Individual and His Religion: A Psychological Interpretation," published
in 1950, pointed out that while all human motivation is difficult to
trace, religious motivation is impossible to trace.
this one reason why Paul exclaimed in Romans 7:15: "I do not understand
what I am doing; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I
am doing the very thing I hate"? It may be impossible for you to
trace the roots of your own belief system, which you began to learn
long before you realized what you were learning and long before you
developed any critical ability to decide things for yourself. All
of us have had to endure a lot of "faith-based" nonsense.
GROWING AND CHANGING
belief system grows and changes as we grow and change. The
absolutely confident person who has no doubts about anything is Hitler
raving on his balcony or the televangelist raving into his
camera. Many of my friends have had to let go of all religion in
order to find and follow a faith that makes sense to them and fits
them. In my experiences with MCC congregations, I have met many
individuals who have been involved in a series of widely different
religions with often contradictory beliefs before they finally came to
an MCC and found a spiritual home that met their faith needs.
means change. A dynamic faith is a faith that changes and grows
as you change and grow. Asking questions is not a sin. To
fail to ask questions makes you vulnerable and gullible. Jesus
asked questions and encouraged his followers to ask questions
too. Jesus challenged and questioned everything about the
prevailing religion in his "faith-based" society that misunderstood,
rejected, and finally killed him.
purpose is not to try to think for you but to equip and encourage you
to learn enough to think for yourself. Either you learn to think
for yourself in matters of faith or you become the victim of those who
are all too willing to think for you and who attempt various forms of
thought control to subdue and dominate you in the name of their
conception of God.
is the issue. The name Jesus is the same as the Hebrew name
Joshua, which means "deliverer" or "liberator". It is often
translated "savior," but the word "savior" has been attached so firmly
to legalistic judgmental religion and a misunderstanding of sin and
forgiveness that it is quite useless in speaking to those of us who
recognize that the most destructive force that limits us and destroys
our freedom is often the very religion that claims to set us free!
Our faith cry can always be: FREEDOM NOW!
It is appropriate and necessary to challenge every abusive use of power.
GAY PRIDE: THE OTHER SIDE OF SICK RELIGION
WHAT IS "GAY PRIDE"?
Added on January 26, 2001
PRIDE means accepting yourself and celebrating who you are as a Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual person. Gay Pride means coming
out. When you accept your own sexual orientation and believe in
yourself enough to come out to yourself, you have experienced gay pride.
the hardest person to come out to is yourself. You can't come out
to God. God already knows! God made you the way you
are. "It is God who has made us, and not we ourselves. We
are God's people." (Psalm 100) The hardest person to accept is
yourself. Gay pride always begins with you.
accepts you because you are made in the image of God. Genesis
1:31 says that when God made you, God said, "That's good, very good."
is the foundation for extending gay pride into accepting and affirming
others. "Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted you, to
the glory of God." (Romans 15:7) Are you moved with compassion
towards your LGBT brothers and sisters who may be struggling with
self-acceptance and are trying to find love, joy, peace and hope in an
alien and hostile world? "Compassion" means to feel the stress
and pain of others.
GAY PRIDE doesn't
just happen. It is hard work to overcome the profound effects of
abusive religion and cultural abandonment that afflict all
minorities. Self-esteem is the greatest achievement that you can
reach in life. Your sense of self-worth is so valuable, that you
work hard all of your life to find and express it. To reach your
goal of self-esteem and happiness requires knowledge and positive
THINK FOR YOURSELF
of Gay Pride is learning to think for yourself. My friend Mel
White says that we as well as our opponents are "victims of
misinformation." I agree. The reason for my web site and
book on "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" is to provide accurate
relevant factual information to everybody about homosexuality and about
spiritual issues that concern all of us.
Internet is truly an information explosion. The problem is that
all sides of every issue are being given in convincing form. Over
55 million web sites are on the Internet now, and over a million new
sites are added every month. In 1993, when Bill Clinton became
President, there were only 25 web sites on the Internet! Now
every "hate group" and every political and religious interest has a web
Internet is filled with "ex-gay" propaganda financed by the
conservative religion industry. A steady flow of new books by
"ex-gay" forces and other anti-gay organizations is flooding
bookstores. You have to be selective about what you read and let
into your mind. Know the source of information that is given to
you. Question everything. Think for yourself.
PRIDE IS NOT ARROGANCE
bigotry and "the oppressor's wrong, the law's delay, the arrogance of
office" plague GLBT people at every turn. Our sense of pride in
who we are and our acceptance of ourselves as the children of God in
the image of God is not arrogant. Gay pride is basically intense
realism. It is humbly facing and accepting our personal truth
about who we are. It is denying the homophobic lie that we are an
abomination against God and unworthy of the rights and protection
enjoyed by everybody else. Gay pride is not arrogant; it loves
ourselves and others.
pride is active involvement in politics, community and social
action. It can also be active involvement in religion if you do
not compromise your truth in order to be accepted and included.
Gay pride is resistance to injustice and ignorance in the churches, not
a quiet acceptance of prejudice and the unfair use of abusive religion
to control you. The method of your personal activism is up to
you. Remaining quiet and submissive to abusive religion is
negative activism that hurts you and others and erodes pride and
SPEAK OUT FOR LOVE AND TRUTH
pride is positive. You can speak out for love and truth and
demonstrate your acceptance of yourself and others without fighting
anybody. Our enemy is not people. Our enemy is ignorance
and homophobia. Out love your enemies. Live the Spirit of
Jesus in all of your relationships. Jesus did this and changed
the world. So can you.
LIBERATION FROM SICK RELIGION
(written and sent out in e-mail September 10, 1998)
Rembert Truluck Update on web site.
have received thousands of e-mail responses to my web site since it was
first published on the Internet on September 14, 1997. Many
people have written to tell me how much they have been helped to deal
with their own abusive religion experiences. Others have written
"hate mail" and even abusive and insulting personal attacks in their
defense of homophobia and abusive religion.
A clear picture of sick and dysfunctional religion has begun to emerge.
Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (tenth edition) includes in the
definitions of "sick" the following: "spiritually or morally unsound or
corrupt" and "mentally or emotionally unsound or disordered." The
Greek word that is used for "sound" doctrine in Titus 1:9 and elsewhere
literally means "healthy". "Unsound" doctrine means "unhealthy"
religion hurts people. An underlying characteristic of sick
religion is an arrogant absolute certainty about everything. Sick
religious leaders, churches, and denominations often pose as experts in
every field of study, science, religion, psychology, politics,
sociology, and everything else.
See the URLs below to look at my web site material on "Legalism as Idolatrous Religion" and on
"The Dynamics of Sick Religion."
HOW TO RECOGNIZE SICK RELIGION:
1.Claims to possess absolute truth.
2.Claims that anyone who disagrees is evil.
3.Sets people against each other for religious reasons.
4.Demeans and belittles people and makes them feel shame and guilt if
they do not comply with religion as seen by the dominant group.
5.Requires obedience to beliefs and practices that are not logical.
6.Refutes and rejects the findings of modern medicine, science, and psychology without knowing the facts.
7.Teaches self-destructive behavior unhindered by the evidence.
8.Demands absolute allegiance to a particular party or group.
a lot but does not listen. Offers to engage in dialogue but
refuses to give the other side a fair opportunity to respond.
10.Demonstrates a closed mind and uncompromising judgment of all opposing views.
own observations as a counselor, pastor, religion and Bible teacher,
and writer for the past 46 years have shown me that sick religion
produces mental, physical, emotional, and social dysfunction and stress
but denies that religion is the cause of the problems.
OUR ENEMY IS IGNORANCE
John A. Broadus, one of the best educated and most brilliant Baptist
leaders of his age, was one of the founders of The Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary and author of seminary text books. Dr.
Broadus was preaching at a small rural church in South Carolina. After
church, one of the local people was criticizing and disputing what
Broadus had said and finally said, "Dr Broadus, don't you think that
God can do without your education?" Dr. Broadus replied, "Yes, I
believe that God can do without my education, and furthermore, brother,
I believe that God can do without your ignorance."
religious attacks against homosexuals have brought gay and lesbian
people and their supporters together to resist and fight the common
enemy, which is ignorance, not people.
Gideon (Judges 7) led a small force to victory against a much larger
army, the key to success was sudden fear and panic among the enemy
soldiers that led them to fight and kill each other in the
darkness. Attacks against gays have not divided us, instead they
have made us more united and stronger. The enemy is being
fragmented and turned against itself as it flounders about in the
darkness of ignorance and fights itself.
reported that almost 1000 letters responded to the cover story about
"The Uproar Over Sexual Conversion" (August 17, 1998). Most of
the letters were from gay and lesbian people who rejected the anti-gay
claims in the story and refuted the spurious claims of homosexual cures
by telling their own stories.
to sick and abusive religion demonstrates the same kind of denial and
habitual lying that are characteristic of alcoholism and drug
abuse. Be aware of the symptoms of sick religion. Resist
getting caught up in sick and abusive religion yourself. Take a
fresh look at your own spirituality.
"The unexamined life is not worth living" --Socrates
"The truth will set you free" --Jesus
"The truth is out there" --Chris Carter
See also Legalism as Idolatry
When you read the Bible remember:
"The map is not the territory".
This material was added November 8, 2000
"WE WILL WORK HARDER"
(A Response to the Presidential Election)
GLBT people would see the election of anti-gay George W. Bush as a
disaster. The vote at this time (2:00 AM) is still too close to
call. The election, whatever the final results, is a clear call
to all of us to work harder and pull together to improve our world by
telling and living the truth about Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual
began writing this update at 1:00 AM on Wednesday when the networks had
announced that Bush had won. Now, at 1:30 AM, the television news
tells us that Bush has not won after all, and a recount is expected for
the entire state of Florida due to the closeness of the vote! No
matter how this election turns out, we have our work cut out for us.
tremendous influence of the homophobic religious right in this election
is fair warning to all of us to renew our personal and community
efforts to expose the destructive results of sick abusive religion and
to demonstrate the reasonable and fair spiritual values of the true
meaning of Jesus and the Gospel. This is no time to give up and
COME OUT AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE
as GLBT people have won greater public understanding and acceptance
primarily through coming out and demonstrating to our families and
friends that we are responsible citizens, hard working people and
loving caring compassionate contributors to our communities.
Politicians have not given us our self-respect or our progress in
social and cultural acceptance. We have won these things for
ourselves. Politicians cannot take away what they did not give to
us in the first place.
churches and denominations have not given to us our spiritual recovery
from sick religion. We have found our recovery and healing on our
own with very little help and a lot of opposition from traditional
religion. We can start something new. We can begin really
dedicated home spiritual recovery and growth small groups. We can
help ourselves and help each other one at a time.
BEGIN WITH YOURSELF
recently received e-mail from a friend in Tokyo who has begun studying
my book along with his lover. They just finished going through
Step 4 dealing with how to handle anger and told me the things that
they learned that were personally helpful to them. Their
experience reminded me that it only takes two people to make a
group. Two people can discuss and share their ideas and questions
in a healing event of dialogue that goes far beyond what reading alone
I also saw again a lot of the movie of the life of Mahatma Gandhi, who
forever changed the world simply because he decided who he was and let
everybody else know. Gandhi lived his conviction that non-violent
opposition to injustice was the only way to change injustice. He
was beaten, but he would not give in. He openly identified with
the suffering and misery of his people even though he was educated and
could have been wealthy. He lived in poverty and simply was who
he was. Finally, Gandhi was murdered by one of his own
followers. Yet Gandhi still is changing the world through
SoulForce and the determined efforts of Mel White and the many
volunteers who have taken their stand together with White, Nixon,
Creech, Montgomery Rutt, and a growing multitude of others.
you decided who you are? Do you know who you really are?
Are you willing to accept yourself and affirm yourself and take your
public stand as the real person that you know you are? Jesus
decided who he really was and took his stand and would not
retreat. What keeps you from doing the same thing?
GOING BEYOND COMING OUT
and admitting to yourself who you really are is just the first
step. Letting others know the real you is another step. The
necessary next step is to enter into disciplined study and learning
that will equip you to grow strong enough to move out beyond your own
protection and help others to find peace and hope. The purpose of
my web site and book is to give to you the information that you need to
build up your own confidence and become able to answer anyone who asks
a reason for the hope that you have.
enough to make a difference takes time and self-discipline. We as
GLBT people have often indulged ourselves in a lot of self-destructive
thoughts and behavior. It is time now for us to turn our great
energy around and focus on building up our own knowledge and spiritual
GOING BEYOND RELIGION
have had a lot of help from religious people in tearing ourselves down
and developing a dismal self-image. Do whatever it takes to free
yourself from sick abusive religion. Be objective and
realistic. Be willing and able to see your own abilities and
assets and don't be afraid to try new things and be creative.
Meet new people with the expectation of learning something valuable
from each person. Above all, be open and receptive to whatever
God is trying to teach you through your own experience.
don't have to stay the way you are. Change is happening in your
life no matter what you do. Now is the time to decide what
direction that change should take for you and why. Think for
yourself. You actually do know better than anyone else what
really fits you and what is healthy and hopeful for you. Break
out of whatever low view of yourself has been dumped on you by religion.
everything. Especially question any negative opinions you might
have about yourself. Remember that you really are made in the
image of God; so act like it. Expect great things from
yourself. Then make them happen.
WHY WE HAVE TO WIN
no way are we willing to sink back into spiritual poverty and
self-defeating religious teachings just because preachers, churches,
teachers and powerful people have made the Bible into a angry weapon of
injury and death. The widespread misuse of the Bible to clobber
people into a fearful cringing acceptance of misinformation and lies
has to be challenged and defeated. Our mission is clear.
Shake off the slimy tentacles of sick oppressive religion and follow
only what really makes sense to you. For me, Jesus is the one who
really makes sense and whom I gladly follow in spirit and in truth.
for yourself a clear vision of purpose for your life and an easily
defined goal that you understand and can explain to others.
Whatever may happen in national or local politics cannot stop or
distract you if your goals really are yours. Decide who you really are
and act on it with courage and determination. You will make a
difference. You will change things for yourself and for
others. You will win.