GOD THROUGH GAY EYES
This page contains eight articles. You can click on any one of them to go directly to it.
GOD THROUGH GAY EYES published in San Francisco Bay Area Reporter
"BULLYING HURTS" update for May 23, 2001
CASE DISMISSED FOR LACK OF EVIDENCE published in Second Stone
LOVE NEVER GIVES UP e-mail web site update on July 26. 1998
WHEN LOVE IS DEMONIZED e-mail web site update on August 1, 1998
BIBLICAL LITERALISM VS. THE TRUTH e-mail site update August 20, 1998
THINK FOR YOURSELF e-mail site update September 26, 1998
MORE THAN WE REALIZE e-mail update on August 24, 2001, which reflects on the results of the 2000 U.S. Census report of same-sex households.
The following article was published in The San Francisco Bay Area Reporter on October 9, 1997, page 6, and provides an overview of why this web site is here:
W hen I was a student at Furman University, we had an annual "religious emphasis week" when famous spiritual leaders would come to lecture, preach and hold discussion groups with the students. The best speaker that we ever had was a Southern Baptist Pastor who related well with the students and applied his message to the real needs of people. Many years later, when I was living in Atlanta and attending the Metropolitan Community Church, I learned that this particular pastor was gay.
The hypocritical and unhealthy religious abuse of gay and lesbian people by Southern Baptists and other evangelicals is now dominating American culture, where every week is somebody's "religious emphasis week". The Promise Keepers meeting of hundreds of thousands of men in Washington, D.C., last weekend and the current Billy Graham Crusade in the Bay Area are vivid reminders that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are increasingly under attack by the religious establishment.
As an openly gay Christian minister, a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville with two master's degrees and a Doctor of Theology degree, a writer of Southern Baptist Bible study literature, a former Southern Baptist pastor and college religion professor and as the former pastor of Golden Gate MCC in San Francisco and of MCC Nashville, I feel that I have a responsibility to God and to my homosexual brothers and sisters to respond to distortions of the Bible and perversions of the gospel of Jesus Christ that have become daily weapons of judgment and rejection against us.
This article, like my web site and my forthcoming book, Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse, are intended as weapons to fight back in our war with religious terrorists who attempt to hold hostage the sexuality and spirituality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual people.
On the basis of my own years of study and teaching the Bible, I can assure you that the Bible nowhere says that gays and lesbians can or should change their sexual orientation. In fact, there is no word for "homosexual" in the original Hebrew and Greek languages of the Bible. The concept of sexual orientation did not exist in the Bible and did not begin to develop anywhere until less than a hundred years ago. The parts of the Bible used against gays are twisted out of contest, translated wrong, and perverted to use as weapons to hurt and destroy people of the same sex who love each other. All of this is a direct rejection and contradiction of the spirit and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, whom the religious preachers of homophobia claim to follow.
According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, the leading cause of death of gay and lesbian teenagers is suicide, the rate of suicide of gay men is three times the national average, and the rate of suicide of gay men with AIDS is 60 times the average. Homophobic fundamentalists have told me that being gay makes people depressed. They are wrong. Gay and Lesbian people are not depressed because they are gay but because of how we are treated by religious people who think that they are serving God by attacking and condemning us!
One problem is the closet. The rest of the world does not see the terrible toll of suffering, pain and death that homophobia inflicts on the homosexual community. If the reality of horrors that are caused by homophobia could be shown on nightly television news, like flaming freeway wreckage of mangled bodies, destroyed lives, pain, agony, loneliness, suicide, hell on earth and death, and be shown in the faces of the gay children, family and friends of those watching, it might make a great difference in how most people hear the lies of the "religious right," which is neither!
Definition of bully: "one habitually cruel to others who are weaker; to treat abusively." Most of us have experienced some form of bullying.
When I was in elementary school, I was very small. I was always smaller than the other boys (and most of the girls) in my grade. Nobody in the first grade knew I was gay, including myself, but I was easy to pick on. I was always the last one picked when sides were chosen for playground games. I tried harder, but that did not change my size. I was friendly, however, and had a good friendship relationship with most of my classmates.
One of the older students gave me the nickname of "shrimp." I did not pay much attention to it until one of my classmates looked it up in a dictionary and came up with the definition of "shrimp" as: "a small unimportant person!" That was one of the more refined forms of bullying that I experienced.
Bullying is always unfair and unpleasant. I was easy to bully. I could not really fight back. I had to just take it and go on. One day at the lunchroom, one of my classmates jabbed a fork in my butt, and it hurt. I complained, but nothing was done about it. I don't know why I remember this incident, but it is like it happened yesterday! I was about 9 years old at the time.
RETREAT TO THE LIBRARY
I read a lot and looked up lots of stuff at the Presbyterian College Library, which was only a couple of blocks from my home. I read great classics like "Quo Vadis" and "Ben Hur" when I was in the fourth grade. I listened to classical music and operas in the library "music room" and learned about Beethoven and Mozart and other great musicians when I was about 11 or 12 years old. I took piano lessons and became good at it for a while. I even took pipe organ lessons from my teacher, who was the church organist at my church. I had a great time going to the church alone and playing the William Tell overture on the pipe organ.
Nobody bullied me when I was reading, studying music or doing other things away from school. I gradually became ambitious to show that I was better than people took me to be. I wrote articles and drew cartoons for the school paper and yearbook. I was in school plays in high school and became an "over achiever" in everything that I tried to do. I played drums in the school marching band. Finally, I was elected president of the student body in high school, graduated and went to Furman University.
All along, I became very active in my church and took every leadership role that came my way. I helped with Vacation Bible School and felt called to the ministry when I was 18 years old.
By that time, I knew that I was gay, and I had to try to hide and overcome that. The bullying stopped somewhere along the way in high school, but it remains an important part of my early development. I wonder if I would have achieved my goals if I had not had to resist and overcome the bullying and negative self-image that others dumped on me.
BULLIES ARE ALSO BULLIED
I have noticed that gays often bully other gays because of their own low self-esteem and need to prove themselves at the expense of other people. None of us understands exactly why we are like we are. One thing is clear to me, however, that bullying is always painful and demeaning no matter what might be the basis of it. Just the threat and fear of bullying can ruin your day or your whole life!
Public or private schools that allow anti-gay bullying to continue unchecked are irresponsible and destructive of the students under their control. No matter what is the basis for bullying by stronger or larger kids over younger or weaker kids, the psychological and sometimes physical damage is inexcusable.
That some governments are debating whether or not to protect LGBT kids from humiliation and bullying in school is preposterous! Why is there any debate at all about the obvious need of school personnel to protect students from bullying? Pain should not be a necessary part of education at any level.
I was fortunate that my experience of bullying at school did not kill my spirit and divert me from my learning and growing into maturity. I have my parents to thank for this. I was never bullied at home, and I was loved and accepted and encouraged at every turn by my parents and my sister.
THE BULLY PULPIT
President Theodore Roosevelt made the famous comment that the presidency is a "bully pulpit." He did not mean "bully" literally. It was his figure of speech to say that the presidency is a great pulpit for shaping public opinion, and he used it well. Pulpits in churches, however, can be and often are used by bully preachers to demean and humiliate weak and terrified people.
Many religions picture God as a great "Bully in Heaven" who uses supernatural power to slap people around. The preachers in those religions become bullies themselves. See a 1983 book on "God's Bullies: Power, Politics and Religious Tyranny."
Yesterday, I received this letter from a gay friend in prison who is soon coming up for parole: "When I was 20 years old, my first lover of two and a half years was killed in a car wreck. At his funeral, the preacher officiating came up to me and asked me what my relation was to my friend (I was an emotional, teary mess!). When I told him, "He was my lover," he said, "Well then, he is burning in hell, and so will you, if you do not change your lifestyle!"
"Can you imagine what that did to a man who spent his growing up years in Boy Scouts, and at the Methodist Church in the Boys Choir, as an Acolyte, and a faithful attendee, even on Sunday when no other family member wanted to go (I would walk or ride my bike). I was devastated. My whole world started to spiral downward and continued for 17 years. During those 17 years, I wrote hot checks, drank, used drugs, and embezzled money from a company I worked for. I also contracted HIV and came very close to dying. Jesus Christ saved me, not just from eternal death but physical death too."
This gay man went to MCC and found the encouragement and loving spiritual fellowship that he needed. He has supportive lesbian and gay clergy friends now who are encouraging him and working hard on his behalf.
CHALLENGE ANTI-GAY RELIGIOUS BULLYING
The reason that I am going to New Orleans in June to join with the ministry of Soulforce is to challenge the anti-gay bullying of Southern Baptists and other abusive oppressive religious forces in our nation and world. Anti-gay religious bullying has led to death by suicide. It has ruined lives. It has created hidden pain and hopelessness for millions of kids. It has caused thousands of personal disasters that never reach the news media simply because the churches have filled the hearts of both gay children and parents with terrible guilt and fear of their own truth.
The "closet" exists primarily because of LGBT fear of bullies of all kinds. When you are chased and attacked by bullies, you try to find a place to hide. That's the closet. Religious bullies have helped to create the closet that they try to invade to expose and destroy people they don't understand.
It is time to expose religious bullies for who they really are. The truth about Jesus and accurate factual information about who we are give us our most important and effective response to bully religion. The Spirit of Jesus will help us. Jesus himself was attacked and killed by religious bullies.
All schools, churches and all of life should have big signs with a diagonal slash through the word BULLYING.
"Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses
The following letter was sent as a response to the above update on "BULLYING HURTS" and added on 5/28/01:
"Thank you for addressing the fact that gays bully gays.
Not only was I bullied when I first came out, by being called a "baby dyke". (I'd like to think I had a lot of courage coming out at 16 in 1974.) But also when coming out as a gay Christian in the gay community. (I took Jesus as my savior as a very young girl, when I was bullied then for being different. I often felt that Jesus was my only friend.)
As hard as I tried to fit into the circles of different gay groups, they tried just as hard to discourage me from feeling like I belonged. I did not know of MCC till I was thirty. God told me then to get to a church where I could show other gays just how much I knew God loved me and them too!
I am thankful for MCC for giving me an outlet to spread the Word of God where I know people need to hear it most. I am in the process now of my thinking about how to draw more of those, who feel rejected by the church and God, into coming to church.
I pass out business cards for our church, at the store, at the gas station, anywhere I see someone else who I know is gay. And that has worked to an extent. But it is hard when so many have been "bullied" by those in the "church". I know you understand deeply this whole dilemma.
Keep writing, you are touching many hearts I am sure that are not hearing the Word on a regular basis. I praise God for you. And you are in my prayers. Thank you for being a warrior for Jesus! With Love,
HERE IS ANOTHER ARTICLE BY DR. TRULUCK IN
by Dr. Rembert S. Truluck
Since my web site on "Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse" at http://www.truluck.com was published on the world wide web on September 14, 1997 (currently: http://www.otkenyer.hu/truluck/), I have received e-mail letters almost every day expressing appreciation for help that people have received. I also regularly receive mail asking me to give the proof or the evidence that the Bible does not condemn homosexuals. I have given a lot of thought and study to this request. My careful response is to say that the question is backwards. The real issue is: "Where is the proof that the Bible condemns gays and lesbians?"
Perhaps a more basic question is: "What does Jesus say about homosexuality?" Nothing! Jesus is the ultimate authority for Christians about everything. If Jesus had nothing to say that condemns homosexuals, there is no reliable Bible witness against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people. That should settle the issue. Why doesn't it?
I have added a 10 page study of the 6 "clobber passages" that are used most often to bash gays with the Bible. This study is in my web site in "The Bible and Homosexuality" section. Careful and honest examination of the six Bible passages used to condemn homosexuals are found not to be talking about homosexuals but about heterosexuals. There is no hint of homosexual orientation or same sex romantic love in any of the passages.
There is not enough room here to give the details, but you can find the basic arguments in my web site and in the books by John Boswell, Daniel A. Helminiak, and others.
I did not include material to answer the "clobber passages" against gays in the web site at first. Many other people already have done a fine job of demonstrating the truth about these passages. My main concern in all of my ministry in the homosexual community has been to focus on the positive message of God's unconditional love for all people as revealed in Jesus Christ. All of us need encouragement and a boost to our self esteem. Experiencing God's love helps us to feel good about ourselves. And that is good news!
The basic facts in the Bible case against homosexuals are based on passages in Genesis 19, Leviticus 18 and 20, Romans 1:26-27, I Corinthians 6:9, and I Timothy 1:10. No passage is taken from the four Gospels to base charges against homosexuals on the life or teachings of Jesus. Charges against homosexuals based on the teachings of Jesus must be dismissed for lack of evidence.
The Genesis 19 story depends on a distorted interpretation of the Hebrew word "know" to build an anti gay case. The word means "know" and does not mean "have sex with" as some translations insist. No Jewish teachers said that the sin of Sodom was homosexuality or even sexual until after the time of Christ.
The true message of the story of Sodom is that a small minority of people who are different and have to be hidden behind closed doors ("the closet") for protection from an ignorant, fearful (homophobia), angry (like fundamentalist attacks on gays) mob are God's true messengers (angels) and need and receive God's protection. The real meaning of the story is the reverse of what homophobic bible bashing preachers and teachers have made of it.
More people have condemned me because of my teachings on Leviticus than any other. Read my discussion of Leviticus in my web site. The use of Leviticus and the label of "abomination" as a weapon against gay and lesbian people becomes ludicrous and absurd when the whole body of legal requirements in Leviticus is examined objectively and honestly. Nobody today tries to keep even a fraction of the legal requirements laid down in Leviticus. Jesus has brought an end to the Law as a means of pleasing God, as Paul said in Romans 10:4 and in many other places.
In Leviticus as elsewhere, the law is aimed at heterosexuals who engage in cultic ritual sex acts and not at homosexuals who love each other and express that love in physical affection and sex.
Romans 1:26-27 is the next favorite weapon against gays after Leviticus. The passage is filled with difficulties in translation. Words are used here that Paul does not use anywhere else and familiar words are used in unusual and unclear ways. The context of the passage makes it clear that Paul is talking about some kind of idolatrous worship. What we know about the "mystery religions" in and around Corinth at the time that Paul wrote Romans from Corinth fits the description in Romans 1:26-27.
Paul did not write about homosexuals or about sexual orientation in any of his letters. Romans 1:26-27 is about heterosexuals who enter into the sexual religious frenzy of fertility cult worship and demonstrate that they have abandoned God and God's purpose for their lives.
The final two passages in I Corinthians 6:9 and I Timothy 1:10 use a word that is "male bed" in Greek and is of uncertain origin and unclear meaning. It was not translated as "homosexual" until the Revised Standard Version in 1946. It does not mean homosexual. We are not sure what it means. My personal opinion is that it refers to male prostitutes with female customers, which was a common custom at the time, but that is a guess.
The word translated "effeminate" literally means "soft" or "pliable" or "without courage and weak". It has no sexual implication in the original language and is not used with any sexual significance in the rest of the New Testament.
Clear evidence that the Bible condemns homosexual sexual orientation or rejects homosexuals simply does not exist.
How did so many religious people stray so far from the truth about gays and lesbians? Where did fundamentalist homophobic Bible study jump off the tracks of truth and love? When Jesus ceased to be the guide to understanding and using the Bible! Jesus showed many times that the Bible had been distorted and incorrectly used to hurt and condemn people.
Jesus touched, ate with, and called as disciples the very people that the religious leaders called unclean ("abomination" according to Leviticus). Jesus offers no evidence at all against gays and lesbians as the true children of God. The whole religious arsenal of oppressive and destructive weapons hurled at gays and lesbians is separated from Jesus and the Spirit of Jesus and has no valid place in honest and objective Bible study.
Where is the Bible proof that God condemns, hates and rejects homosexuals? There is none. The whole elaborate homophobic system of condemnation and rejection is based on "smoke and mirrors" that have created "evidence" that does not really exist. I don't have to prove that the Bible does not condemn homosexuals, because the biblical charges against homosexuals do not stand up under careful and objective examination and are "dismissed for lack of evidence."
THIS IS THE UPDATE ON THE WEB SITE THAT WAS
SENT ON JULY 26, 1998.
My dear Friends:
Some of my recent e-mail describing the pain and despair of gay people under pressure from abusive religion, parents, friends, and society made me think:
When little people die, nobody notices
Everybody needs love.
We are told in Ephesians 4:15 that "speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all things into Christ, who is the head". Truth is not seen as truth when it is not spoken in love. We are told in I Peter 3:15 to "sanctify Christ as Sovereign in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to every one who asks you to give a reason for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and respect." The conclusion of the description of love in I Corinthians 13:8 is "Love never fails". Good News Bible translates it "Love never gives up".
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, MD, was a prisoner in four different Nazi concentration camps during WWII. He kept careful records of all of his work with patients under the extreme stress of the Nazi extermination camps of "The Final Solution". Frankl noted that under extreme pressure, some people acted like saints and others acted like swine. After the war and his release from the camps, Frankl studied his records and notes to try to discover what made the difference. He concluded that the people who could handle the pressure without becoming swine were those who had a clear purpose in life and had found meaning to life no matter what their circumstances.
Frankl further noted that the strongest source of meaning in life was love. The presence of love for someone, even if that someone was dead, seemed to be a powerful force to keep the individual sane and functioning even in a death camp. Later, Frankl developed his famous method of psychotherapy called "Logo Therapy," described in his 1963 book "Man's Search for Meaning", and developed later into a "Logo Therapy Institute" in California.
Don't let go of love! Love can save your life. Too many homosexuals give up on love. We are disappointed by so many people whom we love that we decide to quit loving anybody. Love costs too much. Love is too demanding. Love gives you something to die for. Love also gives you something to live for. Choose to live.
Love means to act like Jesus. John 13:34-35, "I give you a new commandment that you love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this everybody will know that you are my disciples if you love one another." See the exposition of love in 1 John 4:7-21.
Being a Christian means love, compassion, caring for others, and risking self for the good of others. "Christian" means that "we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Therefore, accept one another just as Christ also accepted you to the glory of God." Romans 15:1 and 7. "Christian" never means judging and condemning others, belittling and demeaning others, imposing laws and rules on others, or trying to tear down others because they are different from us.
THE CURRENT RELIGIOUS ATTACKS
My heart is touched and in pain when I receive e-mail from so many of God's gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender children who are wounded and in despair because of abuse that they receive from their parents, families, and churches. The "sickness unto death" of despair and hopelessness described by Soren Kierkegaard is engulfing and devouring our people.
We must resist. But how? How does love come into this picture for us who are under such severe attacks every day in the newspapers, in advertisements by religious groups, in our churches, in our own homes, and in all of the media?
God is love and we can depend on God's love for us. "The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:5
Spend some time in conversation with God asking God to show you what to do and what love leads you to do. A fresh look at the life and teachings of Jesus related to love and compassion will help you to arm yourself more fully with the spiritual resources that will overcome the lies, hate, and strangulated spirituality surrounding us. See how Jesus acted on compassion and love in the Gospels, especially in The Gospel of John.
It seems to me that we cannot win this war through human wisdom, clever manipulation, brilliant speeches, strategies of anger and attack, or by any other weapons of human warfare. This is God's war. Our struggle is God's struggle. We are God's people. God can and will fight for us. God is already fighting for us.
Love is on our side. Become informed about love by learning more about Jesus in the Gospels.
The Truth is on our side. Calmly and carefully learn and tell the truth. Become informed about the facts concerning the Bible and homosexuality and about the psychological and medical facts concerning homosexual orientation. This factual information is included in this web site in the sections on SEXUAL ORIENTATION and on THE BIBLE AND HOMOSEXUALITY.
I urge you to give yourself enough time to read, study, and learn the content of this web site. A casual reading or quick scan is not enough. To know the truth and act on the truth in love requires discipline, time, and energy. It is not easy to use the "Information Superhighway" on the Internet. You can travel only as fast as you can read and absorb what you see. Slow down and think about what you read. Meditate on your truth. Discuss the issues with others. Look up the references, links, and resources. Give yourself the benefit of a fresh new education in understanding and accepting yourself as you are.
If you are interested in earning college credit for your study, contact me and we will work it out.
Rembert Truluck, July 24, 1998
THIS UPDATE FOR AUGUST 1,1998, GIVES FURTHER RESPONSE TO THE HOMOPHOBIC RELIGIOUS ATTACKS ON GAYS.
Sent out to over 1,000 people by e-mail. If you want to receive regular e-mail updates about this web site, please send your request by e-mail to Dr. Truluck
THE DEMONIZING OF GOD'S LOVE IN JESUS
The unconditional affirming love of Jesus for all people was demonized during his lifetime. At Nazareth in Luke 4:16-30, Jesus said that God's love included the people most hated and rejected by his own people, who then tried to kill Jesus. In Mark 3:20-30, some of the family of Jesus thought that he was insane and tried to capture him and put him away because he loved and gave himself so completely to the mixed multitude of people that he Did not have time even to eat a meal.
This incident is followed immediately by the attacks of the religious leaders (scribes) who said that Jesus was casting out unclean spirits by the power of Satan. Jesus was rejected and crucified because he loved the wrong people! Mark 3:31-35 concludes the section by showing how Jesus viewed his true family as the disciples whom he had chosen to be with him.
As a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender person, you know what it is like to have your love for someone of the same sex demonized by religious people who have lost touch with the spirit of Jesus. To demonize someone is to distort and twist their love and their good works into something evil or "demonic".
Christianity was twisted into a legalistic idolatry even during the lifetime of Jesus, as noted above. The distortion of the gospel into judgmental legalism was accelerated during the time of Paul as indicated by Paul's many appeals throughout all of his letters to believers to remain in Christ and enjoy the grace of God and not be drawn back into legalism and the other non-gods of their past religious life.
See my study of "Legalism as Idolatry" and click the Bible references and read them.
The Christianity that was made the official religion of the Roman Empire by Constantine was a legalistic distortion of the gospel that led the Emperor to delay his baptism until just before his death for fear that any sins that he might commit after his baptism could not be forgiven.
The nazis demonized Jews (and gays, gypsied, the mentally ill and retarded, foreigners and others) in Europe and blamed the economic problems of Germany on Jews to set up public acceptance of genocide as "The Final Solution" to the "Jewish problem".
DEMONIZING HUMAN LOVE
Homophobic religious legalists have demonized Gays as the people to blame for natural disasters, the moral decline of America, the failure of the family, and "the seduction of youth into an evil and immoral lifestyle"! As a gay man, I reject and repudiate the ignorant legalistic idolatry that condemns my love for other people as a sin and that has distorted Christianity into an idolatrous religion that has:
Replaced Love with judgment and rejection
Rejected Grace in favor of laws and legalistic demands
Replaced Spiritual power with manipulation and politics
Denied Truth and exalted lies and deceit
Abandoned Acceptance and encouraged rejection and persecution
Substituted healthy teachings with sick religion
Rejected modern medicine and replaced science with superstition and lies
Instead of life produced despair and death.
THE FRUIT OF DEMONIZED RELIGION
Millions of children are being conditioned to believe in an idolatrous religion that exalts fundamental legalism above the love of God and that denies God's grace and acceptance of all people that Jesus taught and lived.
Not only are these children being turned into bigots and hate mongers at an early age; they are missing out on the love, gentleness, kindness, mercy and acceptance of God in their own lives. Low self-esteem is the fruit of religion in the lives of all victims of the prevailing demonized Christianity of our culture today.
Jesus addressed this issue in Matthew 18:1-7, when he said that the greatest in the work of God is a little child, and "whoever receives one such child in my name, receives me." Thus Jesus identified himself with the most abused and oppressed people of all human history: little children. Jesus warned against "causing one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble". The Greek word for "stumble" is the same as "scandal" and refers to a trap used to capture an animal. In 18:7, Jesus said, "Woe unto the world because of its stumbling blocks (same word as "stumble")." Religion that entraps and misinforms children cannot go unchallenged by the followers of Jesus.
Teaching a child to hate other people who are different because of race or religion or "lifestyle" is evil. Teaching gay children to hate and reject themselves because of their sexual orientation is abusive, deadly, destructive, and murderous. Teaching children to love and accept themselves and to honor and enjoy their own unique individuality will prepare them to love, accept, honor, and enjoy others, which, after all, is the way of Jesus.
KEEP PRAYING AND LOVING
Are you spending time in prayer to God to guide and empower you in your personal life and in your response to the unrelenting attacks against you by the homophobic gospel distorting legalists? Do you love yourself? God does.
Special thanks to Chris and Barbara Purdom who have been keeping us informed about the homophobic religious extremist attacks against gays and given us their own and other very helpful responses. To learn about their ministry, click on Interfaith Working Group and explore the site. Subscribe to their free ministry of information and learn more about what is happening in your world.
See the 1996 movie version (video) of "The Crucible" or read the play. Gays are the witches of today.
Please pray for and support this ministry. I would appreciate your ideas and suggestions about my web site. My prayers are also with you.
Rembert Truluck, August 1, 1998.
E-mail site update on August 20, 1998.
FACTS ABOUT THE BIBLE
1. The Bible never discusses same sex romantic love, except for Ruth with Naomi and David with Jonathan. See "The Bible Basis for Same Sex Marriage"
2. There is no biblical Hebrew or Greek word for "homosexual".
3. Jesus never discussed or even implied anything about homosexuality.
4. Three passages in "Paul" are used to condemn homosexuals. Romans 1:26-27 is clearly a rejection of idolatrous practices that has nothing to do with sexual orientation. I Corinthians 6:9 and I Timothy 1:10 are incorrectly translated to condemn people not intended in the original text.
5. Three passages in the Hebrew Bible are incorrectly translated (Genesis 19:5) and taken out of context (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13) to attack gay and lesbian people but are irrelevant to the issue of accepting or rejecting homosexuals today.
6. The Bible nowhere says or implies that homosexuals can or should change their sexual orientation.
7. There is no credible biblical basis for the recent anti-gay sex change therapy ads and the current homophobic religious rhetoric against lesbian and gay people.
8. The true gospel of God's unconditional love and acceptance of all people is being obscured and neglected, bringing spiritual disaster to churches and to millions of people who deserve better.
WAKE UP AMERICA!
You are headed for "hell in a hand basket" because of ignorant screwballs who have taken over religion! When did biblical fundamentalists decide to start using psychology as a basis for changing "sinners"? When they became desperate for control, money, and political power.
Judgmental biblical literalism and legalism are not Christian. Jesus came to love and liberate people, not to destroy them. Either get back to the gospel of Jesus Christ or get out of the church business! Either focus on Jesus Christ or quit lying and calling yourself a Christian.
See all sections of "The Bible and Homosexuality"
See my material on "Legalism as Idolatry"
The Bible is not God. It is a book. The Bible says that the "word of God" is Jesus Christ, not a book or a system of doctrines. The Bible never calls itself the "word of God". Jesus said, "Follow me," not "follow the Bible" or "follow the law" or "follow the church" or "follow the yellow brick road".
Like Paul said in Philippians 3:8: "It's either all Jesus
Rembert Truluck. September 26, 1998.
The real message of confusing and conflicting religious systems in America is clear: THINK FOR YOURSELF.
I am grateful for Barbara and Chris Purdom, Laura Montgomery Rutt, and recently Michael Sung who have along with many others reported on and confronted the current conflicting and exaggerated religious rhetoric from many sources. See "Interfaith Working Group" web site. Religious leaders have commended the President for his confession and request for forgiveness. Other religious leaders have played god and declared that the President does not deserve forgiveness. This is just one of the many obvious contradictions in religion today.
Whatever else Jesus might have done, it seems clear to me that Jesus came to teach people to think for themselves and not to swallow legalistic judgmental religion as the "word" or "will" of God.
THINKING FOR YOURSELF REQUIRES
1.Self Esteem. Believe in yourself and believe that your opinions matter. Trust your own instincts. You have a life of your own unlike anyone else in the world. You are the world's authority on you own personal experience. Love and accept yourself as a thinking, reasonable person. Think for yourself.
2.Information. You need information in order to think for yourself. Remember, however, that all information (including mine) is given from somebody's point of view. Read. Study. Meditate. Think critically about everything you learn. Read all 200 pages of my web site.
3.Patience. Be patient with yourself. Give yourself time to think. Learning, growing, healing, and recovery take time.
4.Humility. You do not know it all and never will. An open mind is the one absolute necessity for an education. Be open to new truth from every person you meet. You can learn something that you need to know from anyone if you really listen. Lyndon Johnson was a speech teacher in high school. As President, he once said, "Learn to listen. When you are talking, you ain't learning nothing!"
5.Faith. Believe and trust in what you have discovered for yourself. The truth is out there and also is within you. Discover and build on your own truth. Blind faith is exactly that: blind. A lot of religion today is a sad demonstration of the blind leading the blind (Jesus said of religious leaders in Matthew 15:14, "Leave them alone: they are blind leaders of the blind, and if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a ditch.")
6.Questions. Question everything. Religion resists questions. Many people have told me of asking questions about sex in church schools only to be punished by having their mouths washed out with soap and being banished to sit in the hall for asking such questions. Go through the Gospels and see how much of the teaching of Jesus was in the form of asking questions. Jesus questioned religious leaders and disagreed with them most of the time. Jesus also questioned and disagreed with things in the Hebrew Bible. It is OK to question religion and to disagree with religion, especially when religion is used to hurt and confuse people and to undermine their self esteem and ability to live happy and functional lives.
My friend Tony had been a Pentecostal minister for six and a half years when I met him. I learned a lot from Tony. Pentecostal religion includes widely different views of holiness and such issues as wearing makeup, jewelry, etc. Tony said that the verse that was used most to give guidance in individual decisions about such things was Philippians 2:12: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." That left room for a lot of personal opinion and decision making. What might be right for one person might not fit another.
Think for yourself. It is always worth the effort.
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
We are winning more than we realize! In this age of instant electronic news and articles, we see a lot of reports that still condemn and reject us. We read the interpretations by the homophobic religious right that the recent national census shows how few same-sex committed couples live in America. The total now is above 600,000 couples. Well over a million LGBT people have been willing to come out and declare their sexuality. This is incredible! Think of this great progress just in the 32 years since Stonewall!
Thirty years ago, nobody was counted as a same-sex couple. That number has exploded thirty years later by a million times. By any reasonable way of reckoning, this is a tremendous win for us. Thirty years ago, only MCC was performing public unions for same-sex couples. Now thousands of churches are doing it, often against the warnings and threats of their own denominational leaders. This is extraordinary progress.
Who would have thought thirty years ago that Denmark, Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany would be honoring and celebrating same-sex marriages today! Many thousands of same-sex domestic partners in the U. S. now receive job benefits that were unavailable in 1969.
Soulforce has confronted all major American religious denominations and caused them to hear the truth about homosexuals and the Bible and to enter into various levels of dialogue and discussion of realistic honest fairness and justice for all GLBT people. Soulforce has made the major denominations face the human suffering and death that their homophobic misinformation and teachings are causing to their own children and families.
HOORAY FOR OUR SIDE!
Hooray for every one of the 1,200,000 plus GLBT people who came out and declared their pride and their honesty in the census! In spite of how the anti-gay forces interpret the census, it was a tremendous win for all of us. It is just the beginning. Millions of uncounted same-sex couples will eventually find the courage and confidence to resist the homophobic pressures and be counted ten years from now in the next census.
The U.S. census was not a mass movement or great public demonstration. It was simply individuals and couples one by one claiming their rightful place of respect and acceptance in our society. The census says a lot more than anybody really expected. In Mississippi, one of the local politicians exploded in surprise that Gay and Lesbian couples were in every town, rural area and neighborhood in his state, where he thought we did not even exist there.
Coming Out is still our best strategy for changing our world. You cannot change your world from the closet. GLBT people still suffer great pain of rejection and suffering from their own misinformed religions, families, friends, churches and communities. Education with the truth is still our number one priority. You who receive these updates and pass them on to others have contributed greatly to spreading the truth that sets all of us free. Thank you!
THE TRUTH IS BEING HEARD
Because of the Internet and many other means of getting out accurate information to the world, the truth about homosexuals is being heard. Many entrenched homophobic institutions are building great resources to fight the truth in the name of their God. The more extreme their methods become, the less credible they seem. Nobody yet has found a way to keep people from free access to the Internet, my website, Soulforce, Whosoever, and literally thousands of other sites that affirm, accept and celebrate the truth about us.
Avoid negative people and churches. That may seem to be very difficult when the negative people are your own family, friends and your home church in which you grew up and first learned about God. I probably get more mail from people who are trying to compromise their own honesty with their family's and church's misinformation than from anybody else. Compromise with misinformation and religious bigotry is caustic and will rot your soul and your self-image.
Listening to the anti-gay misinformed fundamentalists, who are very persistent and overly sure of their beliefs, is like picking at an inflamed sore. Too much attention only makes it worse. We can avoid a lot of unnecessary grief by simply keeping our distance from destructive ignorant people.
LACK OF INFORMATION
Lack of information about GLBT people does not mean that we do not exist! The political, social, religious, family and financial pressures on us to remain in the closet about our sexual orientation are powerful effective forces of control over our own self-image and over our willingness to be open about who we are and whom we love.
One reason that homophobic religion saturated society does not have accurate information about us is simply because abusive religion blinds people to the truth. Fundamentalists refuse to listen to anything that challenges their legalistic system. Not listening to other points of view has become a doctrinal requirement for many abusive religions.
You can lead a fundamentalist to the truth, but you can't make her/him think!
LITERALISM VS. REALITY
The literal use of biblical material from various highly diverse passages can create confusions and contradictions that make any realistic objective use of the Bible almost impossible. When abusive religious literalists begin their teaching with "the Bible says…" they forget that the bible is a book and not a person and does not have a mouth with which to speak or a brain with which to think and be objective about what is being said. Cultural and personal prejudices and misinformation become mixed with whatever the biblical material may describe and render the message impractical and irrelevant.
We have to be honest about religion. The greatest source of homophobia and repression of GLBT people in our culture is religion. Why do so many otherwise intelligent and well-informed people still cling to discredited religious mythologies and social prejudices as their basic spiritual path today? I don't know! I am especially puzzled why so many LGBT people still cling to the same old discredited and destructive abusive religions.
Have we utterly failed to see the real Jesus of the Gospels? Is the true story of the real Jesus so damaged by traditional distortions and abusive interpretations that the truth in Jesus is obscured forever? Perhaps. This is why I feel such urgency to complete and publish my own understanding of Jesus.
A VISIT WITH JOHN EVANS
Last Friday, I went to Sonoma, California, to visit for a couple of hours with my long-time friend John Evans. John was drawn into the first "ex-gay" experiments in Marin County many years ago and was convinced by the preacher, Rev. Kent Philpot, to break up with his lover of 15 years, even though John and his lover had begun a spiritual support group in their home for GLBT people in which over 30 people had come to a personal experience with Jesus in their lives. John did what the preacher demanded. He broke up with his lover, who was dead two years later. Then John's best friend committed suicide because he could not change from gay to straight.
Sylvia Pennington tells John's story in her book: "Ex-Gays, There Are None." I tell part of John's story in my book in Lesson 38 on "Love in Action". I visited John to ask him to tell me his view of Jesus. It was thrilling to hear what he said about how Jesus was real to him and was within him and not in religion or church. John had become a Christian as a boy when he was crying himself to sleep in his bed after his father had beaten him, as he frequently did. John said he asked Jesus to help him, to come into his life and to take him through the pain and suffering he was enduring. John said that a great wave of joy and hope flooded over him for over two hours, and I could tell that he was reliving that experience as he told me about it.
John has been interviewed in several television specials, a movie ("One Nation Under God") and in many other settings. Dr. Ralph Blair, founder of Evangelicals Concerned, made a special trip to Marin County at John's request to start the first Evangelicals Concerned work in northern California. John has been my teacher about the dynamics of sick religion that he has endured from religious people who tried to change him and denied the reality of his relationship with Jesus simply because John is gay.
AT THE CROSSROADS
We are at the crossroads of a clear unavoidable decision. We either continue to play with abusive demeaning misinformed religion, or we cut loose and follow the real Jesus or whatever other path is liberating and appropriate for us as individuals. You do not have to remain limited and held prisoner by false religion, no matter what the religionists claim or what you have been convinced is true by misinformed judgmental legalistic people who don't really know what they are talking about. Jesus clearly came to set his people free from abusive destructive religion. Jesus calls every one of us to do exactly the same thing.
Talking with John Evans made me more confident than ever that the time is now for me to let go of all other interests and to concentrate on developing material that will help all of us know, believe in and follow the real Jesus. Please pray for me as this project continues and accelerates.
Thank you for all of your encouragement and support. Please keep in touch with me and let me know your news also.
Public acceptance and affirmation of GLBT people is also the rejection of abusive homophobic religion.
See my plans to visit MCC Winston-Salem, NC, in September and Vermont School of Law in October.
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