Why This Site
The Bible and 
Sexual Orientation & 
  the Ex-Gay Fraud
Twelve Steps 
  To Recovery
Legalism as Idolatry
Jesus and the Bible
A Response to 
  Southern Baptists
Start Your Own 
  Recovery Group
Resources and 
About the Author
Contact Us
Jesus Bible Studies

Picture credit:
Rev. Fred Phelps Holding Up Anti-Gay
Protest Sign
(Look up Romans 9:13  to see that it has nothing at all to do with homosexuality!)

Why This Site

Religious terrorists have distorted the BIBLE  and used it to abuse and oppress Gays and to hold hostage the spirituality and sexuality of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender People!

This WEB SITE is a WEAPON to fight back!

This web site is intended to give encouragement and hope to the multitude of homosexuals and others who have suffered from unrelenting attacks by religious leaders.  Jesus taught that God loves and accepts you as God's children, just as you are.  Being gay does not cut you off from God. 

The information in this web site will help you to answer the ignorance that represses and wounds the human spirit.  Give yourself the time it takes to study all of this site.  It will equip you to feel good about yourself and to help others do the same.


Dr. Truluck's own translations and paraphrases of the Bible passages are used in this web site.  Beginning in January, 2000, Dr. Truluck added to this web site the full text of key Bible passages used in each of the 52 Lessons in the book version of "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse".  These Bible passages are listed at the end of each of the Twelve Steps along with the titles of the Lessons.  You can click on the Bible references and see them to read and study along with the rest of the material in this web site and use them along with the book.  This will make both the web site and the book more useful by making the Bible material more readily accessible and easier to understand.  See all of The Bible and Homosexuality materials. The printed passages usually are long enough to make clear the context of the main ideas.  Brief quotations of the Bible can be misleading and confusing.

The author has been guided in his translations and paraphrases of biblical material by the exact meaning of ancient Greek and by the need to cast the message in language and ideas that are clear to today's readers.  The attempt has been made in the translations to be inclusive and use inclusive language without being distracting.

One main purpose of this web site is to encourage people who have been abused by the Bible and religion to take a fresh look at the Bible for themselves.  Discover the spiritual help there that has been a source of encouragement and peace of mind for many multitudes of people in many different cultures and religious traditions.  

When you finish studying this site, please e-mail the author at
rtruluck@nuvox.net and tell how this site has helped you.

Other religions besides Christianity have oppressed and abused homosexuals.  For Gay and Lesbian affirming web sites by other religions, see the Gay Religion Links on Yahoo! for Judaism, Gay Spirit Visions and Unitarian-Universalism. See also White Crane.  Another helpful link for Christians is Gay Christians.  See the Resources pages of this site.  The basic approach of "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" will be helpful whatever your religious background might be.

At a recent home spiritual growth group, the question was asked, "How is Christianity different from all other world religions?"  My answer was that Christianity is the only world religion that does not do what it claims to do.  All other religions basically do what they claim to do, whether it is honoring ancestors, respecting nature, accepting all religions, or learning the teachings of a great teacher like the Buddha.  Christianity claims to follow Jesus in giving and demonstrating God's unconditional love for all people.  Christianity, however, does not carry out that claim and denies it in countless churches, councils, denominations, radio and television preachers, and a steady flow of books, magazines, and web sites.

This web site is a fresh look at "The Bible as the Friend of Lesbians and Gays."  It is both new and old at the same time.  My position that the Bible never discussed or condemned homosexuality is often called "revisionist".  It is not.  The revisionists are those who have read homosexuality and homosexuals into the Bible through a few out-of-context and incorrectly translated verses and by incorrectly reading current sexual attitudes into the culture of Bible times.

This web site attempts to do two basic things.  It focuses on Jesus and the living Spirit of Jesus within every believer as the true and relevant guide to all scripture and all of life.  It also gives detailed information and facts about Bible words and translations to clarify the truth as the Bible writers intended.  In giving these details, this study brings out the cultural milieu in which Bible materials originated and which greatly influenced what was written and why it was written.

John 20:31 states that "these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Child of God; and that believing, you may have life in Jesus' name."  Jesus throughout all Four Gospels rejected and replaced the legalistic judgmental religion of Law with himself and gave the one consistent commandment: "Follow Me."


This update was added September 14, 2002:

FIVE YEARS AGO today, September 14, 1997, my web site on "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" was published on the internet.  At that time, only a few million web sites were on line.  Now, more than 100 million new web sites are added to the Internet every month!

As soon as my web site was published, I looked up the name on Yahoo and Alta Vista, and to my surprise, I found that not only had my site been listed with links, but each separate page and section was also listed with links and appropriate titles.  I assumed that some dedicated gay person had found it and decided to make it as available as possible! Great!

Since 9/14/97, my site has received approximately 20 million hits.  I looked today at the listing for "Recovery from Bible Abuse" on the major search engines and found my web site listed first with related sites listed also: Yahoo listed 27,600, Alta Vista listed 10,420, and Google listed 31,900.


All of the basic web site material plus 52 "lessons" on related issues were published by Chi Rho Press in my book: "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" in January, 2002.  The book, now it's second printing, has been placed in the hands of hundreds of gay positive pastors, including all active MCC clergy in the US and foreign countries.  Home and church small groups are using the book and web site as a basis for spiritual recovery and growth in hundreds of cities on four continents.  Some people may be using it in Antarctica, but I have not heard from them yet!

Thousands of "updates" related to my web site have been sent out to people around the world who have used the web site and book and requested the updates.  These updates also are picked up and sent out to thousands of additional people by various GLBT positive lists around the world.  The purpose of the updates is to add current information to the web site and to deal with developing issues that concern all of us in our personal spiritual journeys.

Several people in various countries are translating my material into local languages.


Jesus has always been basic in all of my writings and workshops.  The true meaning and identity of Jesus has been obscured by contemporary religion and demands careful reexamination and a fresh look.  Most of my recent updates have dealt with my growing conviction that the true Spirit of Jesus is already within us and surrounds us in every aspect of our universe.

You already are created in the "image of God" and you do not have to go somewhere outside yourself and your immediate world to experience and know the God and Parent of Jesus.  My recent thinking and writings have focused on your experience of the "Jesus within" and the God who already accepts and affirms you and is present with you at all times.  The hand of God is at work in your life at every moment of your existence.  Your willingness to listen to God and recognize the presence of the eternal Spirit with you is essential to your growth and peace of mind.


Contemporary religion has been discredited at every level.  The religious use of biblical material to condemn and reject LGBT people has been shown over and over to be inaccurate and misinformed.  My web site was the first on the Internet to spell out in such detail this self-defeating inaccurate use of Bible material to single out sexual orientation and same-sex love as a target for religious attack and destruction.

The rise of the "Ex-Gay" industry has further muddied the waters of truth and common sense in the homophobic religious war against GLBT people.  Yet, no matter how clearly the false claims of the "ex-gay" advocates are refuted, a growing multitude of disappointed and frustrated gay and lesbian people are being sucked into the dismal self-rejection and determined mental illness of "Ex-Gayism."  (See all of my web site material on "THE EX-GAY FRAUD."

Yet in spite of the clear evidence of credible biblical research and scientific medical opinion in psychiatry that refutes the religious and psychological assumptions of anti-gay conventional wisdom; cultural and social misunderstanding and rejection of homosexual orientation prevails like an incurable disease of plague-like proportions.


At this point, the logical question seems to me to be: "What can adequately replace contemporary religion?"  Perhaps, almost anything!  Letting go of abusive contemporary religion is a lot like trying to break up with an abusive lover.  Severely mixed feelings cannot sustain any enduring relationship with people or with a religious system.  LET GO AND MOVE ON!

Informal home small group study and dialogue may be the most viable replacement for contemporary church type religion, which is based primarily in medieval points of view and methods.  Small group home study allows individuals to be open and accepting of each other and themselves and to be non-judgmental and willing to share and learn from each other.

Respect for the individual and acceptance of the value and validity of each person follows the attitude of Jesus as spoken in The Gospels.  You never know ahead of time what you will learn from a single individual that comes into your life, even briefly.

Remember that: "Every person is an abyss and one becomes dizzy standing on the edge looking in."  The possibilities of what you can learn from one person in a small group are incalculable and unexpected.  Read all of "Acts of Faith" by Iyanla Vanzant for practical help in learning from and teaching the people who come into your life.


Where do we go from here?  We simply continue to remain faithful to our calling to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Sovereign and Savior, Jesus Christ.  The Spirit of Jesus is your guide and the energizer of your spiritual life.  You are not without help.  You have all the help that you need.  Use it.

Please contact me if you would like to have help in starting your own group.  See also: "START YOUR OWN RECOVERY GROUP."

Rembert Truluck

Added as update on February 1, 2002:


My web site in September 1997 and book in January 2000 both began with the basic reason for all of my ministry: "Religious terrorists have distorted the Bible and used it to abuse, oppress, and hold hostage the spirituality and sexuality of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people."  My web site and book are my attempt to give you the information and ammunition that you need to fight back!

LGBT people face an intense life threatening form of religious and cultural terrorism every day.  The persistent threat of bodily injury and ridicule and the potential loss of self-esteem, job, income, housing, family, and social status simmer just beneath the surface of the society in which all of us live.  Abusive religion has played the leading role in creating an atmosphere of terrorism confronting GLBT people today.

Now is the time to take arms against a sea of terrorism and by opposing end it!  Religious terrorism against LGBT people is based on ignorance and misinformation.  Our survival as a people is at risk.  We cannot ignore the ignorant abusive religious attacks against us any more than Todd Beamer and Mark Bingham could ignore the terrorists as they took over flight 93 to use it as a weapon of terrorism to destroy many innocent people.  (See link to article on the Internet.)


The President compared the old creed: "If it feels good, do it" to the new creed: "Let's roll!"  President Bush was not thinking of LGBT people, but I am.  The time is now for us to move from demanding our right to "do it if it feels good" and move into our necessary counter attack against religious terrorism!  "Let's roll!"

Abusive religion has always terrorized people who are insecure, uncertain, filled with socially induced guilt, and struggling with self-acceptance.  Child raising techniques in our culture have persistently used abusive religion to try to control children, and the deep scars left by abusive religion never heal for most people.

Wouldn't it be great if challenging and changing abusive religion was as simple and obvious as attacking and killing the terrorists who had killed the pilots and aimed the plane as a missile against Washington, DC!  The basic problem with recognizing and defeating abusive religion is that abusive religion and self-hate have been internalized to some degree in every one of us, and we easily become our own worst enemy in self-destructive thinking and behaviors.


The battle lines between abusive religion and all marginalized minority people have been drawn for a long time.  We have become a "nation of sheep" and allowed ourselves to be seduced into believing many obviously ludicrous religious teachings about God, the Bible, Jesus, and especially ourselves.  Accurate information is readily available.  Ignorance is no longer a valid excuse for cooperating with your own destruction by terrorism religion!

My web site and book are just a small part of the vast wealth of fresh factual information offered by many web sites, writers, professional medical and legal associations, organizations, and institutions.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual people have been required by religious terrorists to dig their own spiritual graves and then like deer in the headlights stand paralyzed while they are shot to death by legalistic judgmental cannons of abusive religious warfare.  Our transition from victims to combat troops has already begun.

Abuse can be defined as the use of power by the strong to control and destroy the weak.  We cannot allow ourselves to be made weak by submission to unrealistic illogical impractical teachings and demands of abusive religion.


The truth really does set you free.  Knowing and believing in your own personal truth is liberating.  Acting on your own truth by "coming out" to yourself and to others is a giant step into freedom and a transition from victim to freedom fighter.  The self-defeating contradictions of "living in the closet" weaken all of us and make us ineffective in recognizing and defeating terrorism in the many forms that attack us.

You know that there is great risk in coming out and being yourself, whoever you are.  Yet greater risk looms ahead for you if you deny who you are and try to hide from yourself and the reality of who you are.  Internal confusions and contradictions sap our energy make us ineffective as persons and useless as warriors in any cause, even our own survival.


A lot of you are uncomfortable with using war and fighting terminology to describe your situation and your way of dealing with terrorism from religion and culture.  You cannot, however, ignore the reality of religious terrorism's threats to your self-esteem, self-acceptance, and your capacity to enjoy a full and meaningful life.  You are not garbage; so don't let anybody treat you like garbage!  If you believe you really are garbage, you will act like garbage, and that is a steep downhill ride to a very hard landing.

People who have become convinced that their basic nature is somehow flawed and even evil in the sight of God have a hard time developing objective personal insight into their self and into their real life situation.  Challenge the threatening and demeaning assumptions that have been dumped on you by others.  Take a good look at what you believe about yourself.  Dispute the negative assumptions about yourself that sick abusive religion has inflicted upon you.

Spiritual warfare is a reality, and your greatest problem in dealing with spiritual warfare often is the presence within you of many opposing sides.  Remember, however, that you are not alone!  Whatever you are struggling to resolve within yourself is also happening in millions of other people.

Meditation, small group study and dialogue, reading accurate information, writing a daily journal, getting physical exercise, taking time to rest and relax, and a lot of other avenues of reflection and renewal are open to you.  If you cannot find a small group to join, start your own group.  Do whatever fits you.


Rembert Truluck
February 1, 2002


In December, 1989, I received the following letter.  It reminded me that many people besides homosexuals have been abused and hurt by legalistic judgmental religion.  

"I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your web site and just how helpful the information it contains has been for me and my husband.

"We are just beginning to recover from a horrific experience in a legalistic, fundamental, extremist church.  Neither of us is homosexual, however my husband was molested as a child.  He never ever told anyone what had happened or how it had affected him.  He just finally told me a few months ago.  He struggled all his life with bi-sexual feeling and couldn't talk to anyone about them.  I understand why he couldn't.

"We were fundamentalists to the core.  We home schooled our children and loved and listened to all the "religious right" tv and radio programs, magazines, books and organizations.  It got to the point I was wearing only homemade dresses, wearing a head covering…My family thought I was nuts.  I was raised in a non-religious home.  They thought we had gone off the deep end, which we had!

"To make a REALLY long story short, I ended up with a serious depression and almost committed suicide because of all the legalism.  As a woman, I was treated like shit by the church, other men, as well as my husband.  So I threw off all the legalist garbage and went on my own search for God, for the real Jesus.  Found Him too.  And He isn't anything at all like the one we had been lead to believe in.

"But living right smack in the middle of the bible belt, USA, isn't easy. The computer is my lifeline for now.  At least until we can find somewhere we fit in, which isn't gonna be too easy.  I'm thinking and praying about placing a small ad in a local paper and see if there are any others, straight or not, who would like to start a support group.  I have to admit that the possibility of the backlash from the local "fundies" scares the hell outta me.

"This has gotten really long.  Better go.  Thanks for the site!  Keep up the good work!"

I have received many similar letters from non-gay people who have suffered abuse and oppression from religion.  This web site is here to inform, encourage, and help anyone who finds it.  Religious abuse and oppression of homosexuals, women, racial minorities, children, scientists, divorced people, mentally ill and retarded people, prisoners, the homeless, many other minorities, and anybody who is "different" are the result of ignorance and a distorted and twisted use of the Bible.  Use this web site in any way that helps you and pass it on to others. 


When I was a Southern Baptist Pastor and Professor, I wrote Adult Sunday School materials for the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board.  This web site and my book are my attempt to build on what I learned there and to provide quality gay positive spiritual materials for Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transsexuals and all other people abused and wounded by sick and oppressive religion.  Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse was developed during my years of teaching, writing and preaching in Metropolitan Community Church ("MCC") Atlanta and when I was Senior Pastor of Golden Gate MCC, San Francisco, and MCC Nashville.

My own personal experience with "steps to recovery" began when I admitted in 1989 that I had lost control of my drinking and was an alcoholic.  I finally went to an AA meeting in Atlanta with my friend Daniel on August 8, 1989, took a "white chip" and began the road to recovery that continues to the present.  I learned that the key for me was to live "one day at a time" and to turn my life over to God to help me keep my promise to myself to get sober and stay sober.

As I continued to teach the Bible at First MCC in Atlanta and then became Pastor of Golden Gate MCC in San Francisco, I began to realize that addiction to abusive religion was an underlying basic problem for many gay and lesbian Christians.  When I became Pastor of MCC Nashville, I began to work out the "steps to recovery" that are given in this web site and in my book, Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse.

I led Bible Study groups and Spiritual Recovery and Growth groups at each of the churches I served.  For over two years, I led a weekly Spiritual Recovery and Support group in my home while I was Senior Pastor of MCC Nashville.  Our average attendance varied from 10 to 35 people.  We learned from each other.  We developed an accepting and nonjudgmental atmosphere where people felt safe to be themselves and to deal with their own personal and spiritual issues.  We learned to help each other by accepting and listening to each other.  This web site will help you start such a group yourself. 

The material in my forthcoming book, Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse, published by Chi Rho Press, consists of 52 chapters that were developed from these weekly home group meetings and that provide information and guidance for following the Twelve Steps To Recovery outlined in this web site. 

The following updates relate to
why this web site is here:

The main purpose of "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" web site is to give encouragement and hope to people who have been denied encouragement and hope by the abusive use of the Bible and religion against them.

See May 14, 2001, update on "FOLLOWING THE WRONG JESUS"

The following Update was added on September 10, 2001:

What destructive force most compromises your freedom?  Is it a person?  A habit?  Inner conflict?  Abusive religion?  What?

Jesus came declaring his purpose to be a liberator.  His liberation ministry was set forth clearly in his keynote speech given in Luke 4:18-19: "The Spirit of God is upon me; Because God has anointed ("messiah") me to announce good news to the poor (the "outcasts").  God has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the recovery of sight to those who cannot see and to set free those who are downtrodden ("kicked" and "stepped on"); to announce the time of God's acceptance of all people."

Elsewhere Jesus made it clear that his mission was to liberate the people from sick religion and to open their eyes to the hypocrisy and lies of abusive legalistic religion.  All of the Gospel of Luke demonstrates how Jesus accepted and liberated people who were "kicked and stepped on" by religion.

The religion that Jesus faced, like religion today, defined itself primarily by who was left out, who was unclean, who was a "sinner" and who was considered to be righteous by keeping every detail of the Law.  The mysterious final statement that Jesus came to "proclaim the acceptable (or "favorable") year of the Lord" seems to me to say that Jesus was showing how exclusive rejecting religion was being replaced in the present time ("year") of God's acceptance (of all people).


This is not just speculation.  The clear application that Jesus made about these announcements was to remind the people that God had always accepted outsiders and aliens as when Elijah and Elisha ministered to non-Jews.  The reaction of the people was to turn against Jesus and attempt to kill him in defense of their exclusive misinformed abusive religion!

This incident at the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus demonstrates several very significant features of the religious situation we face today.  Sick religion is hard to challenge and change.  Sick religion is possessive and controlling and refuses willingly to give up power.  Sick religion holds people captive, blinds them to the truth, and turns them against each other and against anyone who challenges their legalistic abusive teachings.

People who are victims of sick abusive religion are "downtrodden, "stepped on" and "kicked around."  Does this sound familiar in the experiences of GLBT people today, including you and me?  GLBT people obviously are not the only victims of abusive religion.


From the beginning, Billy Graham called his radio and later television broadcasts "The Hour of Decision."  I listened to these programs on radio long before I saw any television.  You and I also face a clear hour of decision now.  You have to decide to accept, affirm and define yourself as God has created you in God's image or else allow misinformed abusive religion to judge you and define who you are.

Life-long confusion and conflict about your true identity as a GLBT person distracts you from living your life to the fullest and diminishes your sense of well being for a lifetime.  You cannot be healthy and happy trying to build your own self-esteem and trying to please abusive religion at the same time.  You face a necessary "hour of decision" even as you read this.

In the Gospels, Jesus constantly called for an immediate decision: "Follow me."  This always meant and still means letting go of sick abusive religion in order to enter into freedom, love, joy and peace.


Freedom can be ours, but are we there yet?  The path of abusive religion leads to conflict, contradictions and confusion, not to freedom.  Traditional abusive religion is not a road to freedom.  It is a detour around freedom.  Liberation means a change in the way you see yourself.

Freedom in Christ is based on recognizing and entering into the humanity of Jesus.  To deny the humanity of Jesus is to deny your own humanity and cast yourself in the impossible role of trying to play God both by abandoning your own relationship with God as Creator and Sovereign and by assuming the hypocritical role of telling other people how to think and run their lives.

To identify with and follow Jesus is to accept and celebrate your own humanity just as Jesus did his.  You are not superman or superwoman.  You are blessed with the image of God in human form.  You can relate to God and to yourself and to others with freedom and confidence, because Jesus has demonstrated and taught how to do it.

The religious crust that has accumulated over Jesus for 2,000 years has obscured the truth and made Jesus into an unbelievable magician and an object of superstition that hinders our freedom to be real and honest to God, to ourselves and to others.  True spiritual freedom means rescuing Jesus from the fundamentalists and from every other form of abusive sick religion .


What can you do to replace the abusive legalism in your life that you have been conditioned to believe and accept as truth?  No religion at all is better than sick abusive legalism!  Jesus came to offer himself as a clear alternative to sick religion.

Conflict over who you really are is not limited to LGBT people.  Abusive religion hurts everybody.  Parents cooperate with sick religion and use it to control and invalidate their children.  Politicians, rulers and empires have used abusive religion to keep multitudes of people in subjection.  History has shown that true liberation is never easy.

I receive abusive letters from committed legalists almost every day telling me how hateful and mean I am to offer the kind of hope and acceptance that is found for GLBT people on my web site and in my book.  Judgmental legalistic fundamentalists always seem to be personally threatened by facts that challenge their systems.  I am an easy target, because I can be attacked anonymously in e-mail.

One result of the steady stream of attack e-mail that I get is to convince me of the absolute necessity of keeping my web site on the Internet to help LGBT people deal with ignorance and religious abuse.  I am amazed at the level of blatant ignorance about the Bible that is demonstrated by people who feel that it is their calling to defend the honor of God against heretics like me.  I shudder to realize the hold that ignorance has on millions of religious people.

Ignorance is never healthy or redemptive.  Most real liberation is freedom from some form of ignorance.  God's truth will set you free to be yourself and to realize your potential as a fully functioning human being.


Yesterday I received a phone call from a gay man in Israel who had studied my web site and was reading my book.  He wanted to thank me for my help and to talk with me about his own situation.  I am constantly amazed at the lengths to which many of our GLBT people are willing to go to find some relief from the conflicts and confusions in their own lives and with their families caused by abusive sick religion.

Late last night I received another call from a friend in Nashville, Tennessee, who continues to wrestle with anxiety and fear based on his background of abusive legalistic religion.  The long-term effects of sick destructive religion are far more devastating and deadly than most people realize.  We tend to excuse traditional religion for its horrors without ever facing the absolute necessity of letting go so that we can move on to truth, life and freedom.

Great need for encouragement and support for GLBT people exists everywhere.  Wherever you are, reach out with love and encouragement to touch people around you.  You will surely include some LGBT people in your reach.

I receive just about as much e-mail from people who have had the joy of helping somebody else with my material as from people who have found help for themselves.  Helping to lift up somebody else always lifts you also.  We will always need each other.  And thanks to the presence of the Spirit of Jesus within all of us, we have each other.


GLBT people traditionally have retreated and hidden their identity in closets of fear and shame.  Reaching out to others is something new.  Reaching out, however, is part of following Jesus, who said that he would teach his followers to become like him and reach out to people.  Reaching out to encourage others is built on your own self-acceptance and self-esteem.  Letting go of abusive religion is an essential step in becoming a freedom missionary.

When you have found the way into freedom, you can lead others to find it also.  You have "reach out" means at your disposal that never existed in the time of Jesus.  You have the telephone, post office mail, e-mail, transportation to take you to visit with others, and you have the Internet.  You may feel that you cannot explain fully the solutions needed to overcome abusive ignorant religion, but you can send others to my web site or give them a copy of my book.

Small home study groups are springing up all over the world to learn and discuss my material.  I rejoice in what God is doing to multiply the ministries of many people.  If you reach out to share your truth with others, I would love to hear about it.

PLEASE PRAY for me and for my ministry this coming weekend when I will lead Sunday worship, spiritual renewal and a Saturday workshop at MCC Winston-Salem, NC, with Rev. Ken Hull.  If you live near Winston-Salem, I hope that you will come to the workshop on Saturday and the Sunday worship services.  Call the church at 336-784-8009 for information.  Thanks!

Rembert Truluck

"It's too bad that ignorance is not painful."

The following update was added on April 21, 2001:

(The following material is a rational basis for my ministry, web site and book and for our commitment to change our world and make it a better place for everybody.  You may want to print it out to read and keep it and pass it on.)

A preacher, his face distorted with rage, shouts anti-gay slogans from his pulpit into a television camera.  A mother quietly tells her son that he is no longer her son because he has just revealed that he is gay.  She adds, "God doesn't love you, and neither do I."  A politician declares to a group of GLBT people, "God will destroy you!"  A newspaper prints a series of letters to the editor that allows religious fundamentalists to vent their homophobic anger in irresponsible abusive distortions of the Bible.  All of this is spiritual violence, and it is wounding and destroying far more lives than most people realize.

Spiritual abuse hurts both the abuser and the abused.  Hate is a bitter emotional diet.  Being hated takes a heavy emotional toll on every victim of spiritual violence.  Physical violence against homosexuals is unnecessary.  Teach them to hate themselves enough, and they will destroy themselves and each other.

Spiritual violence is not a new phenomenon.  It has taken an endless variety of forms and expressions throughout human history.  From the condemnation and casting out of people who don't believe the prevailing religion to hanging witches and burning heretics, spiritual violence has been one of the most persistent and creative human activities ever manifested in social behavior.


Spiritual and emotional violence often go hand-in-hand.  Children are demeaned, condemned for their behavior and told that God does not love them. When spiritual and emotional abuses are combined with homophobia, the devastating results are life-long.


One of the most common passive/aggressive forms of spiritual violence is shunning.  The "righteous people" refuse to speak to or even look at the offending person.  My friend Jo told me of visiting a very religious home where a little six-year old boy was being ignored by his mother, who told Jo not to speak to him because he was not yet converted!  The unnerving spectacle of a young kid trying to get his mother's attention and being ignored because he was not yet a religious convert is truly disturbing.

Several church denominations today still hold formal trials to determine if members are homosexual and then excommunicate those who are.  I personally know that many of the leaders of the most prominent church that does this are gay themselves.


For centuries, people who do not conform to local religious expectations have been publicly humiliated.  Preachers today will single out gay and lesbian people for public rebuke and ridicule from the pulpit.  These acts of spiritual violence usually go un-challenged by the people who should know better.  I have decided to paraphrase the statement of Jesus: "They will scourge you in their synagogues" as "They will humiliate you in their churches."

Recently I watched part of a really stupid television debate about the problem of the humiliation and bullying of GLBT children in school.  The woman who represented the religious right denied that there was a problem and blamed the gay activists for causing the trouble.  It was truly insane.  Gay and lesbian children who are humiliated in school because of their sexual orientation are the victims of spiritual, emotional and sometimes physical "hate crimes" and need all the help they can get.


Racial minority parents don't reject their children because of their race.  Parents of gay children, however, often reject them because they are gay, even if the parent is also a closeted homosexual.  Family religious values have been used as a basis for incredible rejection and abuse of GLBT children.  Many of the "run away teens" in our big cities are actually "throw away LGBT kids" who have been forced from their own homes because of their sexual orientation long before they were prepared to survive on their own.  Many of them don't.


Suicide continues to be the leading cause of death of gay and lesbian teenagers.  In the 30 years since the gay rights movement began, little progress has been made in correcting the self-hate and self-destruction that spiritual abuse creates in gay youth.  Churches continue to trumpet their ignorance about homosexuality and homosexuals.  The continuing growth and powerful influence of the "Ex-Gay Fraud" is alarming.  Look at the web site for "Focus on the Family" and be shocked at the extent of the "ex-gay" industry and the misleading professionalism that is enlisted to make the whole thing seem to be believable.  It isn't.


When policemen become criminals, what happens to law enforcement?  When firemen become pyromaniacs, what become of fire protection?  When politicians become crooks, what happens to government?  When preachers and religious leaders become spiritual abusers and deceivers, what happens to faith, hope and love?  The pollution of spiritual resources by homophobia and radical distortions of the truth about the Bible and God has cut off millions of people from the spiritual encouragement and help that they need and deserve.


Ancient religious explanations and interpretations about God are not God.  Confusion comes when language does not mean what it intends to communication.  Not one word in the Bible means exactly the same today as it meant 2000 years ago!  Few words mean the same thing today that they meant even 100 years ago.  We live in a religious environment of confusion and misinformation because language is confused and the entire religious world has become a "tower of Babel."

Religion is dominated by the use of meaningless and irrelevant words and symbols to express equally meaningless and irrelevant ideas and teachings.  We do not live in the first century or in the Middle Ages, and we do not think or live in any culture but today.

In addition to the confusion caused by rapidly changing culture and language, the contradictions and conflicts among religious groups present a confusing noisy demand for "values" that other religious groups call "nonsense" and still others call "evil".  The most vigorous and violent attacks on religion have always been perpetrated by rival religion.


Spiritual violence is based on misinformation.  Religion is seldom objective, realistic, logical and based on accurate information.  Religious teachings and practices are based more on emotions and family conditioning than on reasoned study of factual information.  A great deal of spiritual violence is based on misinformation about the Bible and about the history and nature of religion.  Correcting religious misinformation is a formidable task against deeply entrenched prejudices and long standing customs.  Few things are more emotionally defended or attacked than religion.

Where does one find accurate adequate information?  The Internet offers everything, but the overwhelming distorted and confused face of religion on line is hardly a final solution for the inquiring open mind that seeks to know the truth.

Do you dare to look within yourself for the truth about yourself and the God who made you?  Perhaps.  To what extent do the heavens tell the glory of God and the firmament reveal the work of God?  Is nature "red in tooth and claw" or is the whole creation "the voice of God" that is always heard in every place?  What approach to the Bible is really relevant to your personal search for truth?  What is the relevance of the Bible today?  These are questions you have to answer for yourself.  The answers of other people often only distract you from discovering your own truth that fits and satisfies you.

Sharing with others in small group study and dialogue can be helpful.  We can learn a lot from and along with others as we think and share, learn and grow.  How can we avoid letting small group dialogue become an end in itself that simply reinforces the problems that we already have?  Is there a way to avoid judgmental rejecting attitudes in groups dialogue?  Where does our freedom to be ourselves really come from?


Spiritual violence can hide the face of God.  In Matthew 23, Jesus spelled out in detail the destructive power of abusive sick religion in obscuring the truth about God and God's will for all people.  As one preacher liked to say, "Most people have had a mild dose of religion and it has made them immune to catching the real thing!"  "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing" is probably more prevalent in religion than in the manufacture of dynamite!


Spiritual violence leads to death.  Death may be slow and tormented by self-doubt and internal stress and confusion.  Death may be final and tragic by suicide.  Death may be prolonged by self-destructive attitudes and behaviors that sabotage lives, careers and relationships.  However life works out, the wages of spiritual violence is death.  No illness, disease, plague, economic failure, political tyranny or military disaster threatens the human race as much as spiritual violence.  The object of all violence is to control or kill.  Spiritual violence intends to control or kill.  Spiritual violence kills the joy and hope that make life worth living.  No wonder so many victims of spiritual violence give up and die.


Nobody asked me for my opinion, but here it is anyway.  From what I have seen so far, the only hopeful light at the end of the tunnel is Jesus.  I am not talking about the fake Jesus of traditional power religion but the real Jesus manifested in the humanity of Jesus of Nazareth in the Gospels.  The Spirit of the real Jesus is demonstrated clearly and simply in love: love for yourself and for others no matter how different from you they might be.  To love and accept yourself and others as Jesus demonstrated and taught, you have to reject and abandon traditional religion, just as Jesus did.

Let go and move on.

Stop the violence.  Start over.  Follow the real Jesus.

See Soulforce site and Jesus Bible Studies.

One of the main reasons that this web site is here is to provide accurate information to you about spiritual issues related to sexual orientation.  The truth will set you free.  The following web site update was sent out at the end of December, 1998:

By Rembert Truluck

Many of our lesbian, gay, bi, trans sisters and brothers give up hope and suffer depression because of lies about the Bible and sexual orientation that have been dumped on them in the name of God!  One of the most destructive recent distortions of truth was the national ads and other media attempts to confuse and depress homosexuals with the false claims of "Exodus" and other "Ex-Gay" groups that represent the rapidly growing "ex-gay" industry.   The "Ex-Gay" Fraud is a hoax that has taken a heavy toll in human suffering, depression, and suicide.  See "THE EX-GAY FRAUD."

No profession works harder to help troubled people restore an attitude of hope in their lives than do medical doctors who are specialists in psychiatry.  Earlier this month (December, 1998), the American Psychiatric Association took a strong stand against the fraudulent "ex-gay" therapies and declared that "there is no evidence that sexual orientation can be changed".  For the details of this report, see PSYCHIATRY AND MEDICINE.


When Jesus declared that "The truth will set you free." (John 8:32), the immediate response of the religious leaders was to declare that they were the children of Abraham and had never been slaves to anyone!  They lived in denial that they had ever been slaves in Egypt and Babylon, were currently under the total control of the Roman Empire, and were subject to a demanding and destructive legalistic religious system that denied their God given freedom even to enjoy real rest on the Sabbath.  When your hope is based on your own ability to obey the absolute laws of the legalists, you have no hope.  Faith equals hope.  Law equals despair.

The freedom to live in the hope that Jesus gives is being denied to many homosexuals by homophobic religious demands and promises that are based on abusive use of the Bible and on flawed and discredited psychology.  The truth, however, will set you free.

This is war!  When President Roosevelt tried to rally the spirits of the American people during our nation's darkest hour of depression and war, his firm promise was repeated many times:  "All we have to fear is fear itself."  The many cultural and religious forms of homophobia that surround and oppress us are the fears that attack us from without and from within and "makes cowards of us all".  Perfect love casts out fear.  Jesus cures homophobia.


Enjoy the brilliant light of truth, accurate information, and "the facts" about sexual orientation, the Bible, Jesus Christ, and the clear conclusions of the medical, legal, and psychological professions that as a homosexual person you are not sick, broken, or depraved.  You are a child of God and a fully loved and accepted member of the family of God, no matter what some churches and preachers say about you!  Enter into and enjoy God's perfect inclusive unconditional love revealed in Jesus.

Begin the NEW YEAR with hope, love, joy, and peace within.  Your new self-confidence and self-respect will be not only a basis for renewed hope in your own life but also will be an encouragement to other people. 

Happy New Year 1999!

"I am convinced that not death or life, not even angels, not politicians (rulers), not things in the present or things in the future, not force, not highs or lows, and not any other created thing will be able to cut us off from the love of God in Christ Jesus, who is our true Leader."  (Romans 8:38-39)

My following Bible study was begun and used while I was teaching religion courses at the Baptist College of Charleston, SC, from 1973-1981 and was further developed and applied to our community in Atlanta, San Francisco, Nashville and in my forthcoming books.  It gives a clear biblical basis for why you need the information in "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse."   

Your Ministry of Encouragement

Read: John 14:12-18, 25-27; 15:26; 16:13-15, 32-33;
Psalm 23;
Acts 4:31-37; 9:26-28; 11:19-30; II Corinthians 1:3-7

Stephen King's story, "The Body," was made into a delightful movie about a group of boys on a great adventure to locate a body in the woods.  The movie explored dynamics of growing up as the boys stood by each other in a series of exciting and threatening events.  The movie and the hit song from it were titled, "STAND BY ME." 

During my ministry as Pastor both in Southern Baptist and in Metropolitan Community Churches, when I visited people in hospitals or at home in times of serious illness or grief and bereavement, the usual response was, "Thank you for coming.  Thank you for being with me."  People seldom commented on what I said.  They simply said: "Thank you for being here."  I learned that often when people are under great stress, the less said the better.  Often a loving hug and to "weep with those who weep" says far more than words can.  Pastoral Care Professor Dr. Wayne E. Oates at seminary taught the symbolic role of Christians "being there."  We represent God's love and presence.  Dr. Oates cautioned us not to talk too much or try to explain everything but to let our presence in love and care speak for itself.


"Thank you for being here when I needed you!"  "I just want somebody with me.  I don't want to go through this alone."  "Where is everybody?"  "Please come see me."  "Please go with me.  I can't face this by myself."  Do these words sound familiar?  Have you said them yourself?  Everybody needs somebody sometime.  Many homosexuals and especially people with AIDS and those who love them often go through loneliness, isolation and feelings of abandonment.  For many in our community, the greatest spiritual "gift" of all is the gift of showing up.     

You may have helped with the great work of "Open Hand" in taking meals to people with AIDS, been a volunteer in an HIV/AIDS support ministry, sat with a friend or lover for many weeks and months of suffering just "to be there," or been a volunteer "BUDDY" to a person with AIDS.  When I was a volunteer for "emotional support" at the showing of the Names Project Quilt in Atlanta in May, 1988, I stood with Barbara as she stooped down to attach a "BE A BUDDY" pin to the quilt panel she had made for her brother.  It was the pin that had been worn by the friend who stood by her brother and cared for him in the final months of his life. 

Barbara and I stood by the quilt panel for several minutes and held hands and cried.  Nothing was said.  Nothing needed to be said.  Many years have passed, and I am choked up again as I write this.  I still feel Barbara's pain.  We are gradually learning the healing power of just being there. 


Jesus invented the ultimate "buddy program."  The final promise of Jesus Matthew was "I am with you always."  Read John 14:16-17, 26-27; 15:26-27; 16:13-16, 32-33.  Jesus described the Holy Spirit as "the one called alongside" (Greek: PARAKLETE, "comforter" in KJV) and said in 14:18, "I will not leave you abandoned ("orphaned").  I will come to you."  Then in John 17:18-26, Jesus prayed that his followers would be as close together and united with each other as Jesus is with God.  This remarkable prayer of Jesus reminds us that we have the same help to handle stress as Jesus had.  We have each other and we have God.  "I am not alone, because God is with me!" John 16:32.

Jesus carefully and prayerfully selected a group of intimate friends "that they might be with him" (Mark 3:14 and Luke 6:12-16)) as he coped with the increasing pressure and threats to his life that led quickly to his arrest, trial and crucifixion.  What a personal disappointment it must have been for Jesus later when he was arrested and "they all left him and fled" (Mark 14:50).


Barnabas was a model disciple.  Read the story of Barnabas in Acts 4:32-37; 9:26-28; 11:19-26; 12:25; 13:1-5; 15:30-41.  Barnabas means son of "encouragement," which is Greek paraklete, exactly the same word used for the Spirit in John 14:16,26; 15:26.  It is the nickname given to "Joseph the Levite from Cyprus" by the apostles (Acts 4:36). 

Barnabas stood with Paul and identified with him to encourage the apostles to trust and listen to Paul, who was a recent convert and a former enemy (Acts 9:26-28).  The term "take hold of" in 9:27 where "Barnabas took hold of" Paul in the presence of the apostles is the word that was used of Peter taking hold of Jesus in Matthew 16:23 to rebuke him, of Jesus taking hold of Peter to save him from the stormy water in Matthew 14:31, and of Jesus taking hold of a disabled person to give healing in Mark 8:23.  The word "take hold" means literally "to draw to one's self" and was used to express affection and close identification by one person with another.  Without Barnabas, we may never have heard of Paul.

Later, at Antioch, Barnabas was being true to his name in a ministry of "encouragement" ( paraklete) to new believers (Acts 11:19-24).  Barnabas left Antioch to look for Paul, found him at Tarsus and brought him to Antioch to help in teaching the new converts, who were first called "Christians" (Christ-like) at Antioch (11:25-26).  The rest of the story of Barnabas revealed his strong role in the expanding and inclusive gospel that in Acts 15 was finally seen to be the good news of God's love for ALL people.  Nobody was left out.  It is fitting that the last word on Barnabas pictures him standing by a young man named Mark, whom Paul did not like and did not want to take with them on the next missionary trip.  Barnabas separated from Paul and took Mark with him.  Much later, Mark was reconciled with Paul (Col. 4:10) and went on to give us the first written gospel of Jesus Christ.  The "being there" ministry of Barnabas was important beyond anything he could ever have imagined.

Barnabas stood with Paul at the "Jerusalem Conference" when Peter, Paul, and Barnabas convinced the other leaders that all people should be accepted as believers without having to become Jews.  See Acts 15.  In view of the totally inclusive spirit of Barnabas, you can see why Paul was so upset when certain Jewish believers from Jerusalem came to Antioch and, as Paul said in Galatians 1:11-13: "When Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he as to be condemned.  For prior to the coming of certain men from James (or from the Jews), Peter used to eat with the Gentiles; but whey they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself apart, fearing those "from the circumcision".  And the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy." 

This led to Paul's conclusion in verse 16 that "Nobody is justified by works of the law but through faith in Christ Jesus…for nobody can be justified by the works of law."  Read all of Galatians to see how Paul taught a totally inclusive gospel of Jesus.  Note especially 3:28 and all of chapter 5. 


Read II Corinthians 1:3-7 for an impressive summary of the believer's call to "stand alongside" those who suffer pain and oppression.  In this passage, the word "comfort" is paraklete, which literally means "called alongside."  The word "tribulation" (Greek thlipsis) means "pressure."  In this passage, the source of encouragement is God and our encouragement of each other comes from God's presence with us.  Read Romans 15:4-7 for a powerful reminder that encouragement and perseverance in the Bible come from God:  "May God, who gives perseverance ("super remain" or "never give up" in Greek) and encouragement, grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus.  Therefore accept one another just as Christ also accepted you to the glory of God."

The presence of the Spirit of Jesus in our lives empowers us and gives us wisdom to be a friend and caring support for one another in times of stress and testing.  As was said to the signers of the Declaration of Independence, "We will all stand together or we will all hang separately!"


The Old Testament pictured God as steadfast, dependable and unchanging.  Frequently the term "steadfast love" or "faithful love" translated the Hebrew term HESED, which was used to refer to the "covenant love" from God toward the people of God.  The Greek PARAKLETE ("called alongside") was used in translating Isaiah 40:1: "Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, says your God."  Read Isaiah 40:1-11 and notice close relationships with the Gospel of John. 

In studying the meaning of PARAKLETE in the Bible, I was curious about how the Septuagint (Greek version) of Psalm 23:4 rendered "Your rod and your staff comfort me."  I was not really surprised to see that it was PARAKLETE.  So I looked up the Hebrew word that was back of PARAKLETE.  It is NAHAM, which is an intensive form that means "to console, comfort" from a word that means literally "to draw breath forcibly, pant, sigh, groan."  This was an exciting discovery.

God's comfort as God stands alongside us is given to us as we "breathe in" or receive encouragement from God.  The Hebrew word for Spirit is RUACH, which means "to exhale, breathe out forcibly."  (See Genesis 2:7 and Ezekiel 37, where breath, wind and spirit are all the same word.)

Psalm 23:4 paints a beautiful word picture of our comfort coming from God as God breathes out to us the life giving Spirit and we breathe in and receive the Spirit.  Jesus made this explicit after the resurrection in John 20:22: "Jesus breathed on them and said to them, receive the Holy Spirit." When we faithfully stand with one another, we continue the work of the apostles, the ministry of Jesus, the mission of the Holy Spirit, and the creative and comforting work of God.

"COMFORT" originally had its primary sense of "to make courageous, brave, strong," from the Latin fortis, from which we get "fort, fortify, etc."  Now, however, "comfort" implies soft and frail.  We use "comfort" for a soft, pliable bed covering.  PARAKLETE means "to be called alongside" others, not to make them dependent and weak but to encourage them to be strong, brave, and courageous and not to be victims but to live in the hope, love, joy and peace that are given in Christ.

How has God's presence with you encouraged you recently?  How has God used you to stand with others under stress?  One of our churches called their outreach and support ministry for People with HIV/AIDS the "PARAKLETE PROJECT."  How can your spiritual recovery and support group earn this name?

The purpose of disciples of Jesus is to give support, acceptance, love and encouragement to people under stress and pressure.  We are not called to judge and condemn or to apply rigid legalism and law to the lives of other people.  To follow Jesus is to love as Jesus loved.

Update for November 11, 1999

"Lonely" and "Depressed" are the two words most often used by GLBT people who write to me about the overwhelming stress in their lives that has been caused by homophobic parents, churches, friends, and society.  I have used both words to describe myself at times.  Perhaps you have also.

In a recent article from Chris Purdom on "Religion at CritPath," Vanessa Bauza, of the "Sun-Sentinel," told the story of Joe, a young gay man who "was depressed and felt isolated" until he found Project YES in Miami, Florida, "and finally felt he belonged."  (See Interfaith Working Group and ask to be added to their religion mailing list.)

Support groups are developing all over the nation to provide information and acceptance for GLBT people who feel "isolated and depressed."  Martha Fugate, founder of the Miami Project YES, said: "The kids are OK.  It's the world that needs to change."  She has led more than 58 congregations of various denominations to sign a model statement "agreeing to minister to the spiritual needs of all people, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth."  Martha Fugate's concern to "do something about the conditions that were driving teens to kill themselves, including isolation, stress from peer pressure, lack of acceptance, teasing and depression" led her to organize a few volunteers in her home in 1995.


You are not alone in your struggles, because millions of other GLBT people throughout the world have felt the same pressures and dealt with the same kind of difficult family and personal situations that you face.

GLBT Support Groups are found in all large cities and in an increasing number of small towns and rural areas.  An easily reached source of information is The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.   My web site and book are intended to provide information and practical materials to guide in establishing small group spiritual recovery projects both within and outside of churches.

I have learned from many of you who have written to me to tell me your story of how you have faced and dealt with the homophobic pressures in your world.  Somebody else that you know needs to hear your story also.


One of the main features in my 52 Lessons for weekly Study in my book deals with experiences of Jesus in the Gospels that parallel what we face today as GLBT people.  Jesus also had to deal with parents who did not understand him, friends and family that thought he was crazy, religious bigots who hated him because he accepted and ate with outcasts, teachers who distorted and abused the Bible, friends who abandoned him and betrayed him, and just about all of the contemporary problems that we face today.

Jesus pointed out in The Gospel of John that though he was often alone, he was never really alone, because God was always with him.  Jesus frequently promised to be with his followers at all times and not to leave them helpless. (John 14:16-18)

Read through the Four Gospels and look for the passages that show Jesus dealing with issues and situations that you are facing now.  You will be surprised to see just how relevant the life of Jesus is for you today.  You will also find practical help in dealing with stress that will equip you for healthy self-acceptance and prepare you to help others.


One often overlooked source for help is your own experience.  You have learned a lot from your mistakes and failures as well as from your successes.  Remember what has worked for you and what has not.  Since 1987, when I first visited my sister in California, I have kept a daily journal and written down the significant events and ideas of each day.  I have just written page 7650 in my journal.  I learn a lot about and from myself when I look back over some of my own experiences.  The journal has helped me to write my web site and book.

Do you find yourself repeating the same mistakes in relationships and getting involved in unpleasant and distressing situations over and over?  Do you know why you do these things?  Writing a daily journal and being honest in what you write to yourself can help you more than you might think.  When I read back over some of my journals, I am amazed at some of the idiotic things I have done.  Sometimes I think I must be crazy.  Then a little voice says, "But ya are, Blanche. Ya are!"

If you have not done so, read "My Story" in "About the Author" in my web site.  If you want to tell me your story, I would love to hear it.

You don't have to be "lonely and depressed."  There are many GLBT people nearby who can and want to encourage and lift you up.  There is also somebody nearby who needs your encouragement and needs to hear your story.  Reach out.  Somebody will reach back.

Rembert Truluck

"Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world."  --Jesus


September 18, 1998, Update

 "Prejudice" is from "prejudicium" meaning "preconceived judgment or opinion" also "an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge" or "an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics."  (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition).

I graduated from high school in Clinton, South Carolina, in 1952.  I grew up in the "deep south" culture of racial segregation that was part of the only world that I knew.  When I went to Furman University in 1952 and then to The Southern Baptist Seminary (Louisville) in 1956, I was thrust into a new and changing world of desegregation and cultural revolution that is still happening.  At the seminary, I was exposed to views that challenged the basis for segregation and met many African American students.  My first Greek teacher was a Nigerian doctoral candidate.  He and his wife were refused membership in the seminary church, Crescent Hill Baptist Church, because their policy then rejected black members.  His wife was refused admittance to the Baptist Hospital and the Methodist Hospital and finally went to the Jewish Hospital, because at that time denominational hospital admission policies refused to admit non-white people.

It was not a surprise, then, when Dr. Emanuel Dahunsi returned to Nigeria, he did not teach in the seminary there as expected but became pastor of the largest Baptist church in Nigeria and began to work hard and effectively to get the Baptist foreign missionaries out of his country.  He succeeded.

As I learned and experienced new things and my cultural and religious conditioning began to be replaced with information and enlightenment, my racial prejudices and wrong attitudes melted.  Many other seminary students experienced the same thing.  The problem was that the local churches that we left to go to the seminary were not changing.  Many students returned to southern churches as pastors and tried to bring their churches to a new way of seeing racial prejudice and segregation. 

Many of these new pastors lost their jobs almost as soon as they arrived on the church field because they tried in one sermon to bring their churches to a point of view that had taken 3 or 4 years and a lot of research and experience for them to develop themselves.

I became pastor of my first church, a small rural Baptist church near my home town, while I was a student at Furman University.  After 3 years, I preached at a black church one Sunday afternoon for a special youth program.  I had always wanted to preach in a black church, and it was great fun.  The next Sunday, when I arrived at my church, an elderly former deacon met me at the door.  He was trembling with rage as he said, "Is it true what they say that you preached to the niggers?"  I said that I had preached at a black church for their youth meeting.  He replied, still trembling, "Well, my wife will never ride in the car with you again!"  And she didn't. I had given her a ride to church every Sunday evening, because he could not drive at night. 

He and his wife never came back to church.  And several other families quit coming to church.  I had been in their homes for meals many times.  These people were like family to me.  I was planning to go to the seminary in the fall and had planned to stay at the church until I moved to Louisville.  Instead, I resigned in July to relieve the pressure that was created by my going once to a black church to preach.

I learned not to underestimate the incredible power of prejudice and ignorance.  The dynamics of homophobia and prejudice against homosexuals is remarkably similar to what I experienced about integration and racial fears and hate many years ago.  A lot of the racial prejudice is under better control, but it still exists in many destructive and dishonest forms.

For many people, racism is in the closet, but the destructive power of racial prejudice is still evident everywhere.

Homophobia is even more destructive than racism.  Today, few people would argue that there is anything immoral in a person's race.  Prejudice against gay and lesbian people, however, is largely based on the use of the Bible or traditional culture and family to reject homosexuality as immoral, evil, sick, disgusting, and "an abomination to God." 

As a young Baptist pastor in the 50s and 60s, I attended church board meetings in which normally calm and gentle men became enraged, red in the face, loud, and abusive when discussing such issues as the use of Baptist Sunday School literature that "taught integration" and the even remote possibility that the church might some day accept black members.  Racial rhetoric has calmed down, but most Southern Baptist churches still have no black members. 

The Southern Baptist Convention recently "apologized" for their history of racism.  Almost no Southern Baptist churches in the south have black members or clergy.  The apology was empty and meaningless.  Yet in spite of all of the anti-gay rhetoric and convention actions, Baptist churches all have gay and lesbian members and far more homosexuals on church staffs and in denominational leadership than anyone will admit.

Prejudice against gays and lesbians underlies public policy and political events in this country far beyond the visible actions of leaders and the rhetoric that fills editorial pages with letters and opinions.  One of the really ugly features of racism in the southern churches was the condemnation and rejection of any white person who spoke up for civil rights for black people.  You know what those people who sympathized with blacks were called.

I got e-mail today from a retired Methodist minister who is active in PFLG who told me how he "went from nigger-lover in the 60s to fag-lover in the 90s" and added, "I kind of like the sound of those two names, especially the last.".  There is nothing pretty or nice about prejudice, racial hate, or homophobia.  Prejudice is "man-made evil." 

As Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender people, we are blessed with a mission from God to follow Jesus and  "proclaim good news to the outcast, liberate the captives, open the eyes of those who cannot see, set free those who are kicked and stepped on, and proclaim a time when God accepts all people equally." (Luke 4:18-19)  We also enjoy the support of many non-gay people.  Many of our supporters have paid a great price for giving their help and encouragement to us.

Bishop John Spong, Rev. Jimmy Creech, Rev. Mahan Siler, Rev. Cecil Williams, Rev. John House and a growing army of heterosexual ministers and leaders have taken the risk and paid the price of standing with us, fighting for us, and telling the truth.  I am grateful for the non-gay ministers, politicians, business leaders, doctors, teachers, parents and brothers and sisters who have stood by us and taken up our cause for justice, fairness and human rights.

Prejudice is still a powerful destructive force.  Prejudice feeds on ignorance.  Resist prejudice of all kinds. Don't feed it. Don't let it move in and live with you.  It is an angry violent beast. It will destroy the people who try to make it their pet.

Rembert Truluck
"Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted
you to the glory of God."  Romans 15:7


This WEB SITE is intended to give you information to help you respond to the warning in II Peter 3:16

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