Religion, The Bible & the GLBT Community
|RELIGIOUS HATE CRIMES|
CHRISTIAN GROUP GETS
TEN HOURS OF TV TIME
And Justice for All? Pope Does Not Agree
|Do Unnatural Acts Cause Natural Disasters?|
February 14, 2000
Rembert Truluck. Update for February 14, 2000 "Steps to Recovery From Bible Abuse" http://www.truluck.com Thank you for passing this on to others on your list.
ANY FURTHER DELAY IN THE FULL ACCEPTANCE OF GLBT PEOPLE IS UNACCEPTABLE. The Internet is full of news reports about Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians and others wrestling with life and death decisions about homosexuals in the churches. Southern Baptists have long ago given up on following the Spirit of Jesus regarding GLBT people. Many other groups, however, are planning conferences and conventions later this year. The propositions and battle lines are being drawn.
But why? If the churches are truly Christian and based on Jesus as seen in the Gospels, why is there so much difficulty in finding and doing "the right thing"? The facts speak for themselves. Jesus accepted all people as having equal value before God as God's children. Jesus never even hinted at homosexuality or any judgment or rejection of love between people of the same sex. Indeed, Jesus' teachings about love are all set in the context of love between people of the same sex.
If the charges against GLBT people are based on the life and teachings of Jesus, the case has to be dismissed for lack of evidence. Why has it not been? What is really wrong with the churches? What is wrong is the fact that most churches are living in the past and are willfully ignorant about the facts. This is not limited to attitudes and policies regarding homosexuals. The issue of homosexuality in the churches has become the wide-open window on contemporary religion that reveals the shallowness and irrelevance of ignorance and meanness that has been allowed to pass for Christianity for much too long!
Children and women have for centuries been abused in the name of God. Religion has abused minorities of all races, social standings, cultural limitations, ages, religious views and everything else that makes individuals different from "the group."
THE LEADING CHURCHES TODAY ARE LIKE MEDICAL DOCTORS who spend their time arguing about whether to use anesthetics for surgery, diagnosis before treatment and other issues that were settled long ago! As long as the churches and church leaders refuse to face the fact that their entire point of view is imprisoned in ignorance and a medieval world-view, not much is really going to change. Denial is just as paralyzing in religious abuse as in drug, alcohol, spouse or any other kind of abuse.
ADMIT THE ABUSE The first step to recovery for the churches is for religious leaders and the people in the pew to admit that they are wrong! Jesus is not in any way a basis for homophobia or for judgment and rejection of homosexuals. No timid half-way-steps will do. Either abandon your mistreatment and abuse of GLBT people and include us as God's children, or get out of the business of lying about Jesus and misrepresenting the gospel.
"Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" is now a book that gives the truth in detail about GLBT spirituality and what needs to be done now in response to biblical and religious abuse against us. MAKE THE TRUTH AVAILABLE
If you are involved in any way with the churches and denominations that now are facing GLBT issues, do what you can to get this information to the leaders. Read my web site and the book on "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" and be sure that your church leaders know about them both. Give a copy of the book to whoever most needs to see it. This will take an investment in time, determination and money. If I had the money, I would see to it that every pastor, seminary professor, state paper editor, Sunday School Board employee and denominational leader in the Southern Baptist Convention had a copy of my book. At least, I would be sure that they all knew about the book and had access to the information about how to secure a copy. Please pray with me about the desperate need for the facts to be made known to church leaders who are deciding this spring and summer the spiritual fate of millions of people. Pray about what you can do about it, and do it.
GAY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
I am already researching and writing the next project: "Gay Sunday School Lessons," to be published by Chi Rho Press. This project will include printed spiritual lessons for GLBT people along with special materials for leaders and teachers to use in facilitating study groups. I am also adding some new material and fresh Bible texts to my web site this week.
"RAINBOW BAPTISTS," the American Baptist GLBT support ministry, has invited me to lead their annual retreat June 9-12, 2000, near Seattle, Washington. For information, contact Chris Boisvert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Chi Rho Press, see: http://www.chirhopress.com/whatsnew.html.
"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the world of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) "Be eager to present yourself approved to God as an unashamed worker, cutting straight the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15 (literal translation)
http://www.truluck.com PO Box 24062 Oakland, CA 94623 - Telephone: 510-625-9426
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Vol. II Issue 7 August 2001
RELIGIOUS HATE CRIMES
"Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse"
The following statement was issued recently by the anti-gay right wing
religious organization called "Focus on the Family" in an article with
the title of "How Hate-Crime Laws Harm Religious Freedom and Lead to
Quoting: "First, the passage of hate-crime laws that include "sexual orientation" will be used to chill free speech and to harm religious leaders. If a member of a congregation were charged with a hate crime, his pastor could be prosecuted for "conspiracy" or subjected to civil lawsuits if the pastor preached against homosexuality. The mere prospect of defending this kind of lawsuit is enough to intimidate a pastor, chilling his right to free speech. Certainly, those who advocate violence should be held accountable, but ministers should not have to live in fear of preaching non-violent opposition." (See link to this entire absurd article at bottom)
SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF AN ANGRY PREACHER
How non-violent is preaching? I have seen many Southern Baptist preachers, especially "evangelists," become red in the face, tremble with rage, stomp around on the rostrum, bang their fists on the pulpit and scream angrily at their frightened listeners. One of these evangelists was famous for ending his performance (usually about two hours in length) by taking a bright railroad lantern into the aisle and swinging it around yelling, "Stop! Stop! You're going to hell!" Needless to say these acts of oratorical violence were effective in gathering multitudes into bogus religious experiences that were called "conversions"
While I was a student at Furman University, I heard this particular evangelist named Percy in a Greenville County rural Independent Baptist Church in the pine trees one hot summer night. Percy was a huge man with white hair. He always wore a black double-breasted suit and had a voice like thunder. All of the windows were open. As the preacher incited his audience to increasingly extravagant emotional excesses, he pounded away at the pulpit and the audience with the legalistic
judgmental bastardization of Christianity that was popular and unquestioned at the time. Many people cheered, laughed, ran up and down the aisles, ran outside and shouted as they ran around the church building and in and out among the pine trees.
It was an incredible spectacle. It was not unique. I saw this kind of performance in many Baptist churches while I was continuing my education and visiting all kinds of evangelistic meetings with some of my fellow students. It was part of my education. It still goes on throughout the South and in many other sections of the country.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM TO TERRORIZE
Imagine a young gay boy trembling in fear in his seat at that church, wedged between his large big-hair mother and his even larger redneck father, who had no fear of the preacher's message of doom. They were immune to the message and the preaching violence. They had been "born again" and were "safe in the arms of Jesus." The young gay boy, however, heard the shouted angry denunciation of people who were different, homosexual, damned for all eternity by an angry God, and learned at that moment to hate, reject and ultimately destroy his own life.
Using religious violence to goad young people into suicide is just as violent as any other "hate crime" imaginable. Hate crimes against homosexuals are not limited to physical violence and death. Discrimination against LGBT people in housing, employment, medical services, and many other things that the average person takes for granted, are also "hate crimes." Constitutional guarantees and a multitude of laws that protect minorities from discrimination are routinely ignored in regard to same-sex couples and LGBT individuals. These are hate crimes too.
REFINED SPIRITUAL VIOLENCE
Spiritual violence has become more subtle and indirect than the preacher with the railroad train warning lantern shouting fear and anger at scared people in the pews, but the violence is just as real and even more destructive today. Major religious denominations are engaged in unending debates about homosexuals and the Bible and are passing polite carefully worded policies that clearly define LGBT people as different and special and needing extraordinary attention to their "condition".
All of this might sound like progress, but the subtle implication in ALL of it is that Lesbian, Gay, Bi, and Trans people need special consideration and help because they are terminally different from everybody else.
In all of this, the religious establishment in the churches fails to address their own basic errors and misinformation about God, humanity, Jesus, and what the Gospel is really all about. The Gospel is not about sin; it is about love. It is not about condemnation; it is about acceptance. It is not about how to exercise spiritual violence against the unruly; it is about how to know and express the unconditional inclusive love of God to all people in all things. Why did the churches jump the track in the so-called "Great Awakening" in the early years of this nation, when the most popular and universally accepted portrait of
God was presented by the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Edwards in "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God!"?
More important is why the churches have continued into the twenty-first century chugging blindly along in the mud and bushes instead of turning back to the path of faith once delivered to the saints and clearly set forth in the Good News of Jesus Christ at the beginning.
Our homophobic enemies charge us with wanting special rights. This is a gross misrepresentation of reality. We simply want relief from special abuse and discrimination inflicted upon us by religion and society because of our sexual orientation. The issue is never "special rights." It is always "special harassment and abuse." Only religion could get it all backwards and not even realize how stupid it is!
Even if all religions opened all church levels of leadership to homosexuals, welcomed and even paid us to come to church and help to lead it, and performed same-sex weddings upon demand, nothing would really change unless the churches face and change their morbid abuse of power at every level of their legalistic judgmental distortions of Christianity. Joining some churches is like joining a mutual spiritual suicide pact. Who would want to!
THE ABSURDITY OF DISCRIMINATION
Neither government nor religion is yet ready to include all people in the civil and personal rights protection guaranteed to everybody. The fact that there is still a debate about including GLBT people in all civil rights legislation (as recommended in 1973 by the American Psychiatric Association, Psychology Association, Medical Association and Bar Association) is itself absurd. To hesitate to include everybody on the basis of sexual orientation in all civil rights rules and opportunities is itself a "hate crime"!
Isolating GLBT people from everybody else for any reason whatever is a "hate crime." Never! Never! Never! willingly accept yourself as different from everybody else because of your sexual orientation. Don't contribute to violence by classifying yourself as "different." You are a child of the Almighty Creator God of all of the universe, all time, all space and all things.
You are far more like everybody else than you are different. No variations in our humanity can be allowed to isolate and reject any of us from being accepted and treated with the respect due to every individual on this planet.
As "the Elephant Man," who was quite different from everybody else, exclaimed in his frustration: "I AM NOT AN ANIMAL!" You are not an animal to be tamed and abused or killed and eaten, not even by homophobic religious cannibals! You are a human being in the image of God. Accept yourself as you are and expect others to do the same. Don't waver or doubt or give up. We are right and our enemies are wrong.
God is with you, for God made you like you are.
"For God so loved everybody that God gave Jesus to you, that whosoever believes (follows or identifies with) Jesus should not give up (throw your life away: "perish" means "to utterly destroy, completely destroy, kill") but have a full and meaningful life now and for ever. For God did not send Jesus to judge (condemn) you (the world "cosmos"), but that you through Jesus should be set free (saved means "liberated"). (My paraphrase of John 3:16-17)
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Vol. II Issue 7 August 2001
GAY AND LESBIAN HUMANIST
34 SPRING LANE, KENILWORTH, WARWICKSHIRE CV8 2HB
TEL AND FAX 01926 858450
EMAIL email@example.com WEBSITE www.galha.org
Affiliated to Amnesty International and the International Humanist & Ethical Union
NEW RELEASE, 22 July 2001
ANTI-GAY CHRISTIAN GROUP GETS TEN HOURS OF TV TIME
The anti- gay Alpha course - a recruitment programme run by evangelical Christians - is to get ten hours of TV time starting next week. The series Alpha: Will It Change Their Lives? starts next Sunday at 10.45 on ITV and has been condemned by the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) as homophobic and the biggest Christian propaganda campaign ever seen on British TV.
The Alpha course, which originated at Holy Trinity church in Knightsbridge, London, is a Bible-based introduction to Christianity. It preaches that homosexuality is a sin and that homosexuals will go to Hell. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, has endorsed it as "a wonderful tool for the Christian faith".
GALHA Secretary George Broadhead said: "We are alarmed that this controversial course is being given ten weeks of uncritical air time on ITV. It teaches people to reject 'practising' homosexuals and to feel guilty about sex generally - unless it is within marriage. The danger lies in Alpha's attractive packaging and marketing. It is not until you are well into it that the unpleasant bits become apparent. Alpha's marketing is very clever, very appealing and a lot of young and vulnerable people are being drawn in."
Mr Broadhead added that ITV seemed to have abandoned its usual journalistic rigour over this programme, which is fronted by Sir David Frost. "The programme is straightforward propaganda and there is little in the way of questioning or examination," Mr Broadhead said. "Critical voices are almost entirely absent. For a public broadcaster to put such a programme out risks compromising its journalistic integrity. Alpha is controversial, and has many critics, but you'd never think so from this programme."
A huge billboard campaign, described as the biggest religious advertising campaign ever mounted, will run in tandem with the programme. George Broadhead commented: "This indicates to us that the promoters of Alpha see this TV series as merely an extension of their paid-for advertising. It breaches the ITV Programme Code which forbids religious recruitment."
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Vol. I Issue 9 April 5, 2000
Sent in by Member Mountman
I opened my door today to find a magazine on the ground. I thought "Oh no, not another tract!" Especially when I saw on the cover Focus on the Family. I thought that I'd check it out and see what it said. Inside was movie, tv, and music reviews. Geared towards the rating systems. And sure enough there it was. They rated the MTV show Undressed. "Homosexuality, bisexuality and group sex play significant roles in Undressed. Gay and Lesbian encounters are displayed with the same aplomb as heterosexual trysts. Dialogue goes so far as to hint that gay sex should be regarded as a more lofty ideal than traditional "breeding.".... The world's largest music network loves to recycle its trash". Needless to say, I was highly offended. There is a # 1-888-232-6459 on the back. It says it is to request Plugged in. I called it anyway. Surely you don't think that I would call for more slaps in the face. I wanted to let them know how I felt. A person named Cory answered the call. I let him know that I had received it, unrequested, today. I told him that I am a Gay Male and that I found it offensive. I told him that I have family values. I have had the same 2 roommates for over 20 years. We work, pay taxes, and have raised a child that is now 29 and married with a new baby. Also I told him that when I was growing up I was a member of a Family. Even if I was Gay. I told him that I did not want to receive another copy of this publication. He asked if there was a mailing label on the back cover. I said no, but, there was a code number on the back. He asked what city I was living in and my zip code. When I told him, he said that he couldn't tell their whole mailing list in my area that I didn't want to receive the publication. I told him that if I did receive it again I would lodge a formal complaint. I do agree that parents need to keep an eye on what their kids are watching or listening to. When I hear that kids are big fans of South Park (an adult cartoon). That lets me know that parents are not supervising their kids entertainment. When we were raising our son, we kept an eye on what kinds of things he did for entertainment. In closing, I just wanted to say that we should all call the # listed above and also write to them and let them know your feelings. You can also write them at Focus on the Family, P.O. Box 35500 Colorado Springs, CO 80935-3550. They also have a website at www.family.org/pluggedin Mountman/Joseph Wright
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Vol. I Issue 14 October 16, 2000
Response to: And Justice for All? Pope Does Not Agree (See Original Article)
Rome has every right to be upset that Pride Festival was held there during their Holy Jubilee! You might find this a rather odd statement but allow me to elucidate. The Catholic Church does not wish to have it’s dirty laundry aired in public, and with Pride Festival being held in Rome forced them to confront what is happening in their own ranks. Now please don’t get me wrong … I love all my Catholic brother’s and sister’s, it is the hierarchal regime that I take issue with. I have never made any secret of the fact that the church has done more to damage the spirits of many than they have to bring them into the family of God. In the ranks of the Catholic Communities and Celibate Anglican Communities there has always been an element of homosexuality. More and more we are learning of the great abuses that happened at the hands of some of these clerics. An “Old Boy” hierarchal mentality exists within the community believing, if you don’t talk about or acknowledge it, then it doesn’t exist. The Pope is well aware that Pride Fest was held in Rome to be up close and in-your-face to the church and for that reason the Pope chose to lash out.
A boycott of the church donations would not serve any purpose except hurt those that depend on this money for help, ie: Catholic Charities. As Christian people who happen to be gay we are called to a higher calling. To Love those that Hate us. We should be above tit for tat. We have to be out there and visible as people of love, not people of retaliation. We are called to social justice but how we carry out that social justice is the key point. Pride Fest was a statement to the Catholic Church and all the churches, saying publicly here we are get used to it because we’re not going away. We also have to accept the fact that as long as “man” has his hand in it … it’s bound to be messed up. As far as the assumption that the Pope is infallible that is just plain hogwash. The Pope is human as each of us and is just as fallible as the next person. He is there to be a shepherd to his flock teaching love and acceptance of all God’s creatures.
I do not consider myself to be radical, out there shouting from the rooftops that we have to be accepted by the church because we don’t need the church to validate or accept us as far as our salvation goes. What we need is a place where we can worship without fear of recrimination. Most people are really looking for acceptance of their gayness by the church that they grew up in and felt comfortable in. We are all God’s creatures and have full title and share to the kingdom of God through the blood of Jesus Christ. I do not debate the issue with people for the debate will never end and leads nowhere and scripture very plainly tells us “Whosoever Believes” will have everlasting life, no exceptions. Is it any wonder that the “Traditional” mainline churches are falling apart at the seams and the accepting and affirming churches are flourishing?
Peace and Joy Pastor John Burtch
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Vol. I Issue 12 July 2, 2000
Sent in by Jacy - Thanks!
Read and pass this on please.
Do Unnatural Acts Cause Natural Disasters?
Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition, recently warned Orlando, Florida, that it was courting natural disaster by allowing gay pride flags to be flown along its streets.
"A condition like this will bring about ...
earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor," Robertson said.
Apparently he was referring to his belief that the presence of openly gay people incurs divine wrath and that God acts through geological and meteorological events to destroy municipalities that permit gay people the same civil liberties as others. ?(Robertson also warned Orlando about terrorist bombs, suggesting the possibility that God may also employ terrorists.
Before Pat and his Christian cronies get too carried away promulgating the idea that natural disasters are prompted by people who displease God, they should take a hard look at the data. Take tornadoes. Every state (except Alaska) has them-- some only one or two a year, dozens in others. Gay people are in every state (even Alaska). According to Pat's hypothesis, there should be more gay people in states that have more tornadoes. ?But are there? ?Nope. ?In fact, there's no correlation at all between the number of gay folks (as estimated by the number of gay political organizations, support groups, bookstores, radio programs, and circuit parties) and the annual tornado count r=.04, p = .78 for you statisticians).
So much for the "God hates gays" theory. God seems almost neutral on the subject of sexual orientation. I say "almost" because if we look at the density of gay groups relative to the population as a whole, there is a small but statistically significant (p .05) correlation with the occurrence of tornadoes. And it's a negative correlation r= -.28).
For those of you who haven't used statistics since 1973, that means that a high concentration of gay organizations actually protects against tornadoes. ?A state with the population of, say, Alabama could avert two tornadoes a year merely by doubling the number of gay organizations in the state. ?(Tough choice for Alabama's civil defense strategists.)
Although God may not care about sexual orientation, the same cannot be said for religious affiliation. ?If the underlying tenet of Pat's postulate is true--that God wipes out offensive folks via natural disasters --then perhaps we can find some evidence of who's on God's hit list.
Jews are off the hook here: there's no correlation between numbers of Jews and frequency of tornadoes. ?Ditto for Catholics. But when it comes to Protestants, there's a highly significant correlation of .71.
This means that fully half the state-to-state variation in tornado frequency can be accounted for by the presence of Protestants. And the chance that this association is merely coincidental is only one in 10,000.
Protestants, of course, come in many flavors-- we were able to find statistics for Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, and Others. Lutherans don't seem to be a problem--no correlation with tornadoes. There's a modest correlation r= .52, p = .0001) between Methodists and tornadoes.
But Baptists and Others share the prize: both groups show a definite correlation with tornado frequency r= .68, p = .0001). This means that Texas could cut its average of 139 tornadoes per year in half by sending a few hundred thousand Baptists elsewhere (Alaska maybe?).
What, you are probably asking yourself, about gay Protestants? An examination of the numbers of gay religious groups (mostly Protestant) reveals no significant relationship with tornadoes. Perhaps even Protestants are less repugnant to God if they're gay.
And that brings up another point--the futility of trying to save the world by getting gay people to accept Jesus. ?It looks from our numbers as if the frequency of natural disasters might be more effectively reduced by encouraging Protestants to be gay.
Gay people have been falsely blamed for disasters ever since Sodom was destroyed by fire and brimstone. ?(We have been unable to find any statistics on disasters involving brimstone). According to a reliable source, the destruction of Sodom was indeed an act of God. (see Genesis 19:13) ?It's destruction was perpetrated because the citizens thereof were, according to the same source (see Ezekiel 16:49-50)"arrogant, overfed and unconcerned [and] did not help the poor and needy"--not because they were gay.
Now Pat would have us believe that gays are the cause of tornadoes (as well as earthquakes, meteors, and even terrorist bombs) in utter disregard for evidence showing that Baptists are much more likely to cause them.
I say "Kudos!" to Orlando. Despite Robertson's warning that Orlando is "right in the way of some serious hurricanes" (hardly a revelation), note that it was not struck by the very destructive Hurricane Andrew a few years ago. And amid the recent conflagrations (that's fires) in central Florida, which occurred just after Pat sounded his alarm, Orlando was spared. Keep those flags waving!
As any statistician will tell you, of course, correlation doesn't prove causation. Protestants causing tornadoes by angering God isn't the only explanation for these data. It could be that Baptists and Other Protestants purposely flock to states that have lots of tornadoes (no, we haven't checked for a correlation between IQ and religious affiliation).
But if Pat and his Christian crew insist that natural disasters
are brought on by people who offend God, let the data show who those people
are. Janis Walworth July 16, 1998 Sources: Tornado
Occurrence by State, 1962-1991 1990 Churches and Church
Membership; Population by State, 1990 US Census; Gay &
Lesbian Political Organizations, Support Groups, and Religious Groups from
Gayellow Pages, National Edition, 1987.
Permission is given to all to reprint this article in its entirety on a not-for-profit basis.
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