Sunday, November 30, 2008


I urge you to take an hour, relax, and listen to this wonderful interview with the erudite Rev. Peter J. Gomes, author of some wonderful books, the most recent of which is entitled The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What's So Good About The Good News?.

He is also the author of The Good Book: Reading The Bible With Mind And Heart, that is essential reading for every LGBT person and all who take the biblical justifications for inclusiveness seriously; The Good Life: Truths That Last In Times Of Need.

This video is sure to bless you:

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Friday, November 28, 2008


Since the passage of Prop. 8 in California, I've been very optimistic on two fronts: 1. It's passage is likely to act as an impetus for needed realization, anger, and activism regarding the second-class citizenship of Gay people in our society; 2. Nationalize the demand for equality that Prop. 8's passage would have merely restricted to California. Indeed, as I suggested, the passage of this proposition seems to be a blessing in disguise!

This article is encouraging in highlighting both those fronts in the fight for equal rights, and in incorporating younger people in that fight so that a lot of their energies are focused on the tactics and strategies for winning that fight in the foreseeable future.

Moreover, the galvanizing of those energies is likely to have a positive effect on the judiciary that ultimately will come to realize the danger of the values of the majority to in any way trump any civil rights of any non-predatory minority group.

The only caveat regarding any type of activism must be that what public behaviors and activism occurs must be designed to incorporate the need to win over potential Straight allies.

I truly believe that many of those people who voted for Prop. 8, and other such propositions in other states, are not necessarily homophobic haters. Rather, most Straight people are genuinely confused about what being Gay is all about and, for a variety of reasons already copiously addressed on this blog, equate being "Gay" with being "hedonistic." The lie must be put to that equation once and for all!

The following is a selected excerpt from the above linked article; that article deserves to be read in its entirety:

"A few days after Proposition 8 passed in California, life for Joe Townley had already changed considerably. The 30-year-old gay man had donated money to 'No. on 8' before Election Day, but now he found himself leading marches through L.A.’s streets, co-founding a small grass-roots group called endH8now and thinking up new protest strategies with other young people. A British immigrant and former captain of the British army, and founder of his own Internet business, Townley saw himself as a unique asset for the post–Prop. 8 generation.

“'I’ve seen a lot, I’ve done a lot, and I know a lot about human nature,' Townley says. 'I know how to get things done.'

"Two weeks after November 4, with the anger in the streets quieting down, Townley senses the possibility of a newly empowered gay-rights movement, with a potential leading role for young folks.

“'[Older gay leaders] keep talking about including the younger grass-roots movement,' says Townley, 'but I don’t see that happening. I don’t see a passing of the baton.'

"Young people like Townley are moving forward by organizing their own protests, forming different types of networking groups and seeking the advice of longtime gay activists who also want the gay-rights movement to do things differently."

Please read the full article by clicking this link.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Dr. Bob Minor kindly gave me his permission to post the full text of this excellent article, and I'm very grateful to be able to share it with you. Following his article, I've included an excellent response by my good friend Don Charles that helps supplement Dr. Minor's article with advice that must be sufficiently reinforced if full and equal rights for LGBT people is to become a reality in the foreseeable future.

"Stop Supporting Religious Prejudice"

By Bob Minor

I hope by the time this appears, everyone in the LGBT community will have taken enough deep, cleansing breaths to realize that the blame for the success of California's Proposition 8 does not belong to the African American community.

I hope they've paid attention to the Black leaders who continue fighting to end all discrimination against LGBT people, such as Rev. Kenneth Samuel, Chair of the People for the American Way Foundation's African American Ministers Leadership League, or Rev. Gerald Johnson, the Individual Rights and Advocacy Vice Chair of California's NAACP.

I hope they realize that criticism of a group that's also been discriminated against is an easy fallback on prejudice that scapegoats a whole community while empowering right-wing enemies of LGBT people. More white people and Republicans actually voted for Prop. 8 than African Americans.

It also impedes, if not reverses, the ongoing, difficult work of those leaders within that community who support LGBT people.

It reinforces the standard argument used in every community by scared, prejudiced people -- that homosexuality is an outsiders' problem being forced on us. Even among white people, white privilege gives LGBT people outside status by saying grandly that homosexuality is non- or anti-American.

I hope they've realized that escaping to some ghetto only cut them off from the real world. If they thought that living only with people like them would result in support from people who don't know them, I hope they realize they need to change their lifestyles and get to know people who aren't white and LGBT.

If they thought that living in California, as opposed to Kansas, Indiana, or Alabama, would mean they'd get their way, I hope they now see that our country outside the ghettos isn't ready to vote marriage equality in place. California is no exception. Neither was Oregon.

We're getting closer to changing our society, but as I've said before, we're not there yet. A generation of scared and confused babyboomers, frankly, is probably going to have to die of old age first.

The courts that approved marriage equality in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California have done what courts did with other marriage equality issues in the past against popular opinion. The Bill of Rights tells us that the human rights of minorities should not be up to popular vote. This is what happens when they are -- the tyranny of the majority.

So, let's turn our attention back to the real force behind anti-LGBT prejudice -- addictive, right-wing, institutional religion. Our own issues with religion will make this harder to fight. So it's easy to look elsewhere for blame.

We know that the leadership and funding of Prop 8 was in the hands of white people and their regressive churches. The top funders included the Mormon Church and the Catholic Knights of Columbus. White, right-wing leaders even strategized to target communities of color, once again using them for white, right-wing purposes.

Let's stop treating religious institutions, beliefs, and attitudes that promote people's prejudices as if they are sacred and beyond protest. Let's stop letting people wield crosses, books, and other religious symbols to silence our voices.

Let's stop letting them use religious language to intimidate us. Let's stop letting them bully us by protective masks of righteousness that are meant to stifle criticism of their beliefs and actions.

They know how to play the game -- to intimidate you by saying you're discriminating against them if you object to their dogmas, while the people who suffer are LGBT people whose rights the right-wing would prefer to whittle down to nothing. And they're scheming and planning obsessively every day to do all they can to take away as many as possible.

Let's stop being in denial about this. Their words and actions are mean, cruel, and viciously self-serving.

They portray LGBT people as less than fully human. And they've worked very hard to defend their bigotry with devilish smiles.

They try to use "compassionate" language to woo others and even seduce LGBT people and their sympathizers, but they haven't changed a word about homosexuality being an "objective disorder" or a pernicious, anti-family choice.

These are the people who believe LGBT people deserve eternal, unspeakable, torture. And they're willing to participate in making that hell begin even before we're dead, if we let them.

So, let's reevaluate our participation. Let's examine the ways we're enablers of the religious addiction that covers prejudice in every community no matter what the skin color of its believers, including the hues we call white.

Let's make sure we're not the ones giving them the power they have by the choices we make. Even if we reject religion, are our arguments exactly what they want us to get caught in?

If we are a member and financial contributor to these institutions, it's time to examine whether we're part of the problem. As we speak of working inside an institution to change it, are we actually slowing down the progress of the country by continuing an allegiance to institutions that promote anti-LGBT initiatives?

Will we have to face the fact that we might have to say goodbye to the religion of our youth, our family, and our past hopes to let them know that our money and time will not be invested in abusive religion?

Soul-force founder Mel White is clear: "Love demands that we refuse to participate in church studies and debates any longer…. To play along with this game of studying, debating, and discussing if we are worthy of our civil rights is to help postpone justice and support the structures of religion-based bigotry." (Religion Gone Bad, 2006)

Just as we need to support leaders in communities of people of color who are working against all odds to fight for LGBT rights, religious LGBT people and their supporters need to throw their allegiance behind those religious leaders and institutions that are taking the heat from religious addicts because they're standing up for LGBT spirituality.

Don Charles responded to Dr. Minor's article, and the following is his response that must be taken to heart, and put into practice, by all people who genuinely care about LGBT people finally being treated as full-fledged citizens with all the rights that accrue to all other citizens, including the the right to partake in the institution of marriage and all of its benefits that are enjoyed by heterosexuals:

"An excellent essay, Dr. Minor. I agree with you 100%. I would only add that we must stop adopting the language of our oppressors ('queer', 'faggot', 'dyke', 'pervert') and stop fooling ourselves into thinking it 'empowers' us. Lesbians and Gay men marching on Right Wing churches carrying 'we're here, we're queer' signs is the equivalent of Memphis sanitation workers in 1968 marching for equal pay and decent working conditions carrying signs that read 'I am a nigger'. They didn't do that, thank God, because even though they were working-class men, they understood that they had to present themselves with dignity. Toward that end, their signs read 'I am a man'. It's time people like yourself spoke out forcefully against the dehumanizing and self-defeating slurs we throw around so casually. It's time to realize that we can't turn poisonous serpents into cute bunnies by picking them up and cuddling them as we would a bunny. It's time to realize that those who voted for Prop 8 did so precisely because they see LGBT folk as 'faggots', 'dykes' and 'queers'! Most of all, it's time to realize that, fundamentalist rhetoric aside, we are children of God, and nothing that God creates is queer."

Don Charles
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008


This article is only one reason why we should take heart in the eventual winning of full and equal civil rights for Gay people in its satisfactory resolution in the judicial arena that, once established, will positively affect the attitudes of most citizens as it did in the case of African American civil rights.

Social Psychologists have long known that forced change in "behavior", either by fiat or by judicial decisions, eventually changes "attitudes" to be in accordance with that behavior. So, when the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts affirmed the civil rights of African Americans, coupled with President Truman's previous edict in 1947 that the military be integrated, there was an eventual conformity of most people's attitudes to the behavior that was forced on them by law or edict.

The following is part of the above linked article:

"Florida's strict law banning adoption of children by gay people was found unconstitutional Tuesday by a state judge who declared there was no legal or scientific reason for sexual orientation alone to prohibit anyone from adopting.

"Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman said the 31-year-old law violates equal protection rights for the children and their prospective gay parents, rejecting the state's arguments that there is 'a supposed dark cloud hovering over homes of homosexuals and their children.' She also noted that gay people are allowed to be foster parents in Florida.

"Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union, who represent gay foster parent Martin Gill, said the case was the first in the nation in which numerous experts in child psychology, social work and other fields testified that there is no science to justify a gay adoption ban."

"Lederman rejected all the state's arguments soundly.

"'It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person's ability to parent,' the judge wrote. 'A child in need of love, safety and stability does not first consider the sexual orientation of his parent. The exclusion causes some children to be deprived of a permanent placement with a family that is best suited to their needs.'"

This case will be appealed, but it's clear which way the wind is blowing when it comes for full equal rights for LGBT people, no less in California than in Florida, and the "will of the majority" of citizens to deny any or all civil rights to any minority group will not likely serve as a criterion for judicial decisions that are falsely claimed to be the result of "activist judges."

If it weren't for such "activist judges," we'd still be suffering from institutionalized Segregation, as the court decisions affirming integration in public accommodations, as well as Pres. Truman's edict demanding integration of the military, flouted the will of the majority.

Then, as now, when it comes to issues of same-sex marriage, or child adoption by same-sex couples, or child adoption by one Gay person, it is clear that it is the courts and not the will of the majority that can be counted on to, and that eventually will, determine both the acquisition of those rights as well as the eventual adjustment in most people's attitudes to the "activist judges'" rationale for those decisions.
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Monday, November 24, 2008


This is an excellent article by Timothy Kincaid concerning the California Supreme Court and Prop. 8

The following statement in his article is what I consider a significant part of the reason why I'm optimistic that the Court will nullify the vote on Prop. 8, as it would put all minority rights up for grabs at the whim and will of the electorate:

"The Court may be viewing Proposition 8 as a challenge to the Court’s right to apply equal access and due process to unpopular minorities and pondering whether the role of the courts could be made moot by means of a “government by proposition” in which any popular – but clearly unconstitutional – position could achieve the force of law through public vote."
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Sunday, November 23, 2008


The following quote is taken from the excellent article by Peter Tatchell, that I urge you to read in its entirety, entitled, "The Vatican's gay witch-hunt continues: The Pope's plan for psychological tests to purge gay men from the priesthood is a new low."

"Commenting on the new Vatican document, Cardinal Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, advises:

'The candidate does not necessarily have to practice homosexuality. He can even be without sin. But if he has this deeply seated tendency, he cannot be admitted to priestly ministry precisely because of the nature of the priesthood, in which a spiritual paternity is carried out. Here we are not talking about whether he commits sins, but whether this deeply rooted tendency remains … It's not simply a question of observing celibacy as such. In this case, it would be (required for him to have) a heterosexual tendency, a normal tendency."

[For the full article, see here.]

I don't presume to understand what this Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church is talking about, save to say that it seems to me that the so-called "psychological screening" of all new applicants for the priesthood, is another mere diversion to keep people's minds off of the wide-spread sexual abuse of young people by RC Clergy and the coverups by assorted Bishops who would send many of the discovered offenders off to other parishes, and they would again be free to prey on other young people.

Gay people are being wrongly and sinfully blamed for the sexual abuse scandals of the Roman Catholic Church when, in fact, the kind of people that they attract to the priesthood are required to suppress one of the most primal urges we all have: the sexual urge.

And the RC hierarchy doesn't seem to even stop and think that it might well be that suppression, and many of the kinds of people it attracts who would willingly suffer that suppression, despite all the rationalizations given by the RC hierarchy to justify that suppression (a forced suppression that the Apostle Paul explicitly forbids--1Timothy 4:1-3), that might be one of the root causes of their ephebophilia scandals.

Psychologically healthy people are comfortable with their sexuality and seek to express it in healthy ways that don't victimize others. The RC Church is virtually guaranteeing the attraction and retention of a good deal of psychologically unhealthy people who deny their sexuality and when the pressure sufficiently builds, "convenient" and vulnerable targets suffer the results of that suppression by being emotionally and sexually victimized.
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Friday, November 21, 2008


It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that constant discrimination, being the target of hateful rhetoric from many religious leaders, being called "sinners," "a danger to children," "immoral," and the like causes what is euphemistically called "stress." So many LGBT people live lives where they are rejected by family, "friends," neighbors, fellow workers, employers, etc., that stress is a normal adaptation to such abuse and to the threat of such abuse occurring. The passage of amendments forbidding same-sex marriage can do little but increase this stress, hammering home the second-class citizenship of Gay people, and the indignities and deprivation of benefits heaped upon them, their families, and upon the love they have for their partners. Physical abuse ranging from damaging epithets to murder are always a specter in the lives of LGBT people, and it's not surprising that LGBT people suffer disproportionately from stress and constant emotional trauma.

For a recent article on this subject, please see here.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008


A Day of Remembrance: Memorializing Transgender Violence

Friday, November 21, 2008

12-1pm: Malcolm X Plaza
Honoring the victims of injustice
Event includes speakers, a moment of silence, and a reading of all the names of transgendered victims nationwide.

1-2pm: Richard Oakes Multicultural Center
TRANSforming SF State into a Trans-safe environment
We invite transgender students, faculty, and staff to join us in a roundtable discussion about how we can make the university safer and more accessible for our transgender community.

For more information: Ismael 415-338-1203
Sponsored by: Counseling and Psychological Services’ Prevention Education Programs, Students for a SAFE Campus, Richard Oakes Multicultural Center
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This is an interesting article, in that it highlights some of the misinterpretations of Scripture as used to justify discrimination against Gay people.

"Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, said, 'I can’t, for the life of me, imagine that God would say, "I will punish you because you are black — you should have been white. I will punish you because you are a woman — you should have been a man. I punish you because you are homosexual — you ought to have been heterosexual." I can’t, for the life of me, believe that is how God sees things.'”

Hopefully one day the Brian Cooks of the religious world will finally be able to emancipate themselves from toxic "religion," and flee oppressive and discriminatory churches, and stop giving them and their clergy any credibility by in any way attending such churches or supporting them through their financial contributions.

As you might know, for many years I have been advocating the need to remove tax exemptions from all churches and denominations. And the fact that, for example, the Mormon Church may well have donated at least $20 Million, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gave at least $200 Thousand, to seek to write discrimination into California's Constitution, and sought to harm countless Gay people and their families by so doing, further demonstrates the basic unfairness of allowing citizens to subsidize the religious beliefs and even hateful actions of any religious institution.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The following email was just sent out by Equality California:

California Supreme Court Grants Review
in Prop 8 Legal Challenges

Court to Determine Constitutionality of Prop 8

Today the California Supreme Court granted review in the legal challenges to Proposition 8, which passed by a narrow margin of 52 percent on November 4. In an order issued today, the Court agreed to hear the case and set an expedited briefing schedule. The Court also denied an immediate stay.

On November 5, 2008, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of Proposition 8 in the California Supreme Court on behalf of six couples and Equality California. The City of San Francisco, joined by the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, and Santa Clara County, filed a similar challenge, as did a private attorney in Los Angeles.

The lawsuits allege that, on its face, Proposition 8 is an improper revision rather than an amendment of the California Constitution because, in its very title, which was “Eliminates the right to marry for same-sex couples,” the initiative eliminated an existing right only for a targeted minority. If permitted to stand, Proposition 8 would be the first time an initiative has successfully been used to change the California Constitution to take way an existing right only for a particular group. Such a change would defeat the very purpose of a constitution and fundamentally alter the role of the courts in protecting minority rights. According to the California Constitution, such a serious revision of our state Constitution cannot be enacted through a simple majority vote, but must first be approved by two-thirds of the Legislature.

Since the three lawsuits submitted on November 5, three other lawsuits challenging Proposition 8 have been filed. In a petition filed on November 14, 2008, leading African American, Latino, and Asian American groups argued that Proposition 8 threatens the equal protection rights of all Californians.

On November 17, 2008, the California Council of Churches and other religious leaders and faith organizations representing millions of members statewide, also filed a petition asserting that Proposition 8 poses a severe threat to the guarantee of equal protection for all, and was not enacted through the constitutionally required process for such a dramatic change to the California Constitution. On the same day, prominent California women’s rights organizations filed a petition asking the Court to invalidate Proposition 8 because of its potentially disastrous implications for women and other groups that face discrimination.

In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court held that barring same-sex couples from marriage violates the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and violates the fundamental right to marry. Proposition 8 would completely eliminate the right to marry only for same-sex couples. No other initiative has ever successfully changed the California Constitution to take away a right only from a targeted minority group.

Over the past 100 years, the California Supreme Court has heard nine cases challenging either legislative enactments or initiatives as invalid revisions of the California Constitution. In three of those cases, the Court invalidated those measures.
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In the many accomplishments of his career, perhaps had he done nothing else, his excellent book, Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse would have placed him squarely on the map of being both a meaningful activist and liberator of all LGBT Christians and their families from the poor biblical exegeses that emanate from all too many pulpits throughout the world, and being a compassionate counselor to countless people struggling with their sexuality amidst tremendous discrimination because of the credibility given to homophobic clergy and other homophobic professing Christians. His book is liberating and engaging and I strongly urge you to read it, if you haven't read it already. It can be ordered from or by calling 301-926-1208. You'll be blessed!

The following is the obituary that was sent by the Metropolitan Community Churches regarding Dr. Truluck. May he rest in peace!

In Memoriam
The Rev. Dr. Rembert S. "Buddy" Truluck
Greenville, South Carolina, USA

Another leaf from the tree of this life gracefully falls into the arms of the everlasting...

The Rev. Dr. Rembert S. "Buddy" Truluck author, teacher, and former MCC pastor, peacefully departed this life on Friday, 14 November 2008 in Greenville, South Carolina at the age of 74.

Prior to his MCC ministry, he served as ordained clergy in the Southern Baptist Convention from 1953 to 1988. He served as pastor to local Baptist churches from 1953 to 1973. He also served as a professor at Charleston Southern University (then known as Baptist College at Charleston) during 1973-1981. For many years, he authored Sunday school curriculum that was used in over 37,000 local Southern Baptist congregations.

He was awarded the Doctorate of Theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. At the time of his passing, he was working on what was to be his latest book, "Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up."

During his time in ministry with Metropolitan Community Churches, he served as pastor of MCC churches in Nashville, Atlanta, and San Francisco from 1988-1996.

He was also the author of "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" that served as the foundation for numerous local MCC congregations to build Bible study and sermon series from and contains lots of good Bible-based info; it was first published in 1997 by Chi Rho Press and quickly became their best selling publication.

He was born in 1934 in Clinton, South Carolina. He was the son of the late Rembert and Mary Frances Truluck, Sr. He leaves behind his sister, Jackque Warren (Ed); three children, Deborah Phillips (Tim), Russell Truluck (Peggy), Susan Truluck (Anna); grandchildren, Daniel Phillips and Ashley Truluck. Dr. Truluck also leaves behind a nephew, Forrest Cook (Carolyn); great-niece, Emma Frances Cook, Aunt Kitty and several cousins.

Let us carry with us the memory of his life and the impact of his ministry and hold his family and friends in our hearts and prayers as they remember and celebrate his life.

A memorial service will take place at Horseshoe Falls, South Carolina on this Saturday 22 November at 11 AM local time. For additional info, contact Buddy's son, Russell Truluck, at
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


As I mentioned in the last post, I believe that the passage of Prop. 8 in California was a blessing in disguise. It has served to embolden LGBT people and allies to engage in nationwide rallies, and hopefully other meaningful activism, to demand equal rights in all states of the union, and it has put into sharp relief the ignorance and/or hatred that lies in the hearts of many of one's neighbors, "friends," and acquaintances.

Moreover, it occurred in a "liberal" state like California. It would be tragic, though not unsurprising, for such an outcome to happen in many other states, but for it to happen in California added that much more pain to the bite of the hateful rhetoric and discrimination that has even more forcefully crawled out from under their rocks.

Moreover, in a post entitled, "Which of your civil rights should my religion decide you should lose?," clarity of thinking about LGBT rights being a matter of basic civil rights has been even more clearly demonstrated after the vote on Prop. 8 by the asking of such crucial and rhetorical questions as:

"Which of your civil rights do you want put to a majority vote?"
"Which of your civil rights do we get to vote on?"

[See here.]

However, it must not go unnoticed that the passage of Prop. 8 has also emboldened homophobes nationwide to up the ante in their discrimination.

For example, as related to an organization called Positronic Industries:

"A human resources manager sent out an e-mail message that said management had clarified the issue [about who one could bring to the office Christmas party] as 'the only person that an employee can take as a companion to the Christmas party is an individual that they are married to, or under the current laws of Missouri, they can marry.'” [See here.]

Also, the anti-Gay group, Protect Marriage Illinois, "...are proposing an amendment to the state’s constitution to declare 'the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.” "Ralph Rivera, a lobbyist for the Illinois Family Institute, said Wednesday getting the required number of signatures would send a message to lawmakers about their constituents’ values." [See here.]

I frankly find it inconceivable that the California State Supreme Court will refuse to hear the appeal of the passage of Prop. 8 or that it will uphold the electorate being able to vote on the civil rights of others, particularly once those civil rights were deemed to be applicable to same-sex couples by the California Supreme Court.

"Gay and civil rights groups, the city of San Francisco and other plaintiffs have asked the court to void the measure on the grounds that voters did not have the authority to make, what they say, is a fundamental constitutional change.... Meanwhile, the interfaith California Council of Churches and the Episcopal bishops of Northern California and Los Angeles added their petition Monday to those asking the high court to invalidate Proposition 8. They argue that if voters are permitted to take away rights from a group based on sexual orientation, the same could happen to religious minorities." [See here.]

I am confident that the California Supreme Court will neither look kindly upon a rebuke of its reasoned interpretation of the State Constitution by a tyranny of the majority, nor does it likely want to set a precedent when a court's adjudication of a civil rights matter ultimately results in any group's civil rights being allowed to rest in the hands of voters who can go so far as to write discrimination into a state Constitution.

It seems to me that the judicial, national, and constitutional issues raised by allowing such a tyranny of the majority in any civil rights matter, a tyranny that the Founding Fathers specifically sought to avoid by its creation of a Democratic Republic, will ultimately result in the overturning of the vote on Prop. 8, and the upholding of "the rule of law" upon which this country was founded.
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Sunday, November 16, 2008


Yesterday, Saturday November 15, a coordinated National effort was made to hold protests at city halls within every city to protest the passage of the discriminatory Proposition 8 in California, as well as the lack of equal rights for LGBT people.

It may well be that the passage of Proposition 8 in California was a blessing in disguise, as it tragically hammered home to otherwise relatively complacent people that their civil rights have not only been denied; they are viewed as people who are not deserving of equality; they have been rebuked by "friends," neighbors, and others in a way that unmistakably slaps them in the face with the reality that they are second class citizens, even in an era that elected our first Black President (who has had more threats of assassination than any other President Elect in our history).

Moreover, although I'm not an attorney, I'm cautiously optimistic that the California Supreme Court will nullify the vote on Prop. 8 for the following reasons:

1. The reason the Founding Fathers did not make the U.S. a "Democracy" but made it a "Democratic Republic" is because they were very much concerned that there would otherwise be a "tyranny of the majority."

2. In our Democratic Republic there is a separation of powers where it is the Judiciary's task to adjudicate the constitutionality of matters brought before it.

3. If a Supreme Court can rule a practice to be unconstitutional and then there is allowed to stand a vote of a majority of people that overrides that ruling, the basic fundamentals of our Democratic Republic are violated, and the need for a Supreme Court is summarily erased.

4. If such a precedent is set that allows a majority vote to trump a Supreme Court's ruling that a given practice is, and always has been, unconstitutional, the civil rights of every minority group is both up for grabs and will exist, until further notice, at the whim of a majority vote at the ballot box.

The Founding Fathers, having incorporated the thinking of such disparate philosophers as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who thought that human beings were basically good and that it was society that corrupted them, and Thomas Hobbes, who believed that people were basically mean, brutish, and selfish, were very leery of having the United States become a simple Democracy.

Rather, they wanted its citizens to be able to elect their own leaders who would represent them; have a separation of powers into the three branches of government: the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial; have a Judiciary that would adjudicate once and for all any Constitutional issues that were raised, and to be final arbiters of the interpretation of the Constitution in matters that came before that body.

The California Supreme Court is now faced with a decision as to whether or not to contravene the whole structure of our Democratic Republic, allowing a simple majority vote of the people to override a Supreme Court's ruling as to the unconstitutionality of forbidding same-sex marriage, and allowing a minority group's civil rights to be abridged by a vote of the electorate. In other words, the Court is faced with the decision as to whether or not, once it rules that a practice is, and always was, unconstitutional, can the voters override that decision that has hitherto been within the purview of that Court.

Given these and undoubtedly other legal issues, helped by the Nationwide demonstrations yesterday, as well as the California Legislature's vote on two different occasions that same-sex marriage be allowed in California, I am cautiously optimistic that the vote on Proposition 8 will not be allowed to stand by the California Supreme Court.

In any case, the issue isn't "if" same-sex marriage will be legal in California, but "when" it will be legal, not only in California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, but in every other single state of the Union! Of that fact, I have absolutely no doubt!

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Thursday, November 13, 2008


This is just one example of a counterproductive and traitorous act that will have the effect of retarding the acquisition of full and equal civil rights for LGBT people.

"A group stood up, declared themselves fags, and began screaming loudly. Upon hearing the loud interruption, other affinity groups went into action. A team that had been hiding under the pews in the closed-off balcony dropped a banner and pulled back the curtains to reveal “IT’S OKAYTO BE GAY! BASH BACK!”. Another group threw over a thousand fliers to the entirety of the congregation. The fire alarm was pulled. Queers began making out in front of the pastor. And within a matter of minutes,
everyone had evaded the guards and made their escapes."

Now, beyond the cathartic release of understandable pent up rage, what good does this kind of activity do and what does it really accomplish, save to further alienate potential allies and members of the Judiciary who will and are currently grappling with the whole issue of homosexuality and same-sex love? There are many sincere people who voted for Prop. 8, not because they are necessarily haters, but because many of them are both confused about these issues and are told by ignorant and/or hateful homophobic clergy, and reinforced by each other, that Gay people are "sinners," and are "immoral."

And why wouldn't those hateful messages gain resonance among their congregations and among the public at large? Many Straight people are genuinely shocked when I tell them that the egregious images they see of Gay people in many public demonstrations do not really accurately depict Gay people's lives. Given what most people usually see, they readily believe the ignorant and/or hateful clergy and others who equate being Gay with being "immoral" and being hedonistic.

Look at many of the images that the public sees of Gay people? Most all of them identify Gay people with the most egregious images portrayed in assorted public exhibitions; hearing many visible Gay people in the media refer to themselves as "fags," "queers," and the like; many Gay people seeming to revel in the role of "sexual outlaw," and seeming to enjoy portraying themselves as "the other," and then in the same breath expecting most Straight people to embrace that persona and affirm equal rights for people they don't understand and whose public persona frequently defines them and other Gay people as merely one-dimensional sexual hedonists.

I'm not at all suggesting that people become closeted, nor am I suggesting that people be inauthentic! I am suggesting that the most basic principles of public relations be employed to show Straight people the genuine lives of Gay people, and that the two are not really different, save for the gender of the person one loves, and how that person deserves to have all of the civil and sacramental rights enjoyed by heterosexuals. In other words, we have to win the hearts and minds of people, and to disrupt church services, shout epithets, speak and act in ways deliberately designed to be offensive to others is not the way to win those hearts and minds if, in fact, this goal is what is desired by these exhibitionists!

Let's face it: Why would the average Straight person vote against Prop. 8 in California when the only image he or she has of Gay people is what he or she sees in, for example, last year's Folsom Street Fair?

Does anyone honestly think that such public displays will win over the hearts and minds of potential allies? Does anyone really think that trashing church services and shouting epithets will in any way change people's hearts and minds?

The issue of same-sex marriage in California is now before the California Supreme Court that may well nullify the vote that passed the hateful Proposition 8. Disruptive demonstrations in churches, the shouting and general use of hateful epithets as self-identifiers, and any continued depictions of public images as shown above, and which are identified in many Straight people's minds with the lives of Gay people, can do nothing but sabotage the quest for same-sex marriage, as it also sabotages the acquisition of full and equal civil rights.

Several months ago, I wrote a post entitled, "On The Need To Grow Up," and my good friend Don Charles wrote a subsequent post defending my position that is entitled, "In Defense of Growing Up." Most of those who chose to comment on those posts vilified us for our contentions as you will see by also reading the comments, yet I strongly urge you to read or re-read those posts.

We cannot afford to allow witting or unwitting traitors from within to continue to sabotage civil rights gains! Although there is a lot of blame to go around for the passage of Prop. 8, what has been summarily neglected is not only contained in these two posts, but is also manifested in such a demonstration as depicted in the article that precedes this post.

The view of Gay people as one dimensional sexual hedonists; the view of Gay people as "the other," the "sexual outlaw; the use of hateful anti-Gay epithets (coined by the oppressor) as self-identifiers in the naïve notion that their use somehow detoxifies those terms and makes them terms of empowerment ["There's a famous photograph from the '60s of Black Civil Rights marchers holding signs that say I AM A MAN. It strongly conveys both the dignity of the marchers and the righteousness of their cause. Imagine the impression that photo would convey if the signs had read I AM A NIGGER instead. LGBT folk who like to confront the power structure calling themselves 'fags' and 'queers' and acting out guerilla shock tactics need to reconsider their approach. What do you want to generate, respect or ridicule? Validating people's prejudices is a lousy way of getting them to acknowledge your human dignity!"]; the self-loathing that has many Gay activists thinking that marriage should be a non-issue that deflects from more important civil rights concerns when, in fact, in my opinion it is marriage that is the most important civil rights concern for Gay people, as along with the conferring of that right that finally recognizes the legitimacy and dignity of same-sex love and puts it on a par with heterosexual love, is likely to come full and equal civil rights; to settle for incrementalism, such as civil unions and Domestic Partnerships merely retards the acquisition of marriage rights.

To settle for civil unions and Domestic Partnerships acknowledges that same-sex love is somehow inferior to heterosexual love; is different in nature from heterosexual love; isn't as deserving of legal and sacramental recognition as is heterosexual love, and that stance must be viewed as unacceptable.

It might well be that the passage of Prop. 8 may have ironically been one of the best things to move Gay civil rights forward, in that there is now no further mystification, no sanitized rhetoric possible from which homophobes can hide, especially since it not only occurred in California, but actually removed a constitutionally affirmed right by the California State Supreme Court. The gloves are now off, and we can capitalize on that realization by: 1. Fighting for same-sex marriage in the courts; in California that might be far easier to do than elsewhere, given the fact that the Supreme Court is in the position of deciding whether the tyranny of the majority can determine the civil rights of a minority group, overturning the Court's already adjudicated decision that the denial of same-sex marriage rights has always been unconstitutional; 2. Peaceful demonstrations demanding equal rights; 3. Picketing churches that are homophobic, showing how their claim to represent Jesus is despicably contravened by their advocacy of legalizing discrimination against Gay people, much as they did with African Americans in the relatively recent past; 3. Writing letters to the editor advocating for equality; 4. Talking with friends and neighbors, and telling them the truth about Gay people's lives and not relying on hedonistic images that show Gay people as merely one-dimensional, sexually obsessed, human beings.

If we act maturely; speak sensibly; always show dignity in our advocacy, far more mileage will be obtained than by juvenile excesses and downright counterproductive, albeit understandably cathartic, activities that can do little but reinforce the hateful messages that have been spewed by the oppressor as well as give the oppressor credibility in the eyes of many who would otherwise be our allies.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008


This coming Saturday, November 15th, there will be protests at City Halls throughout the country demanding full and equal LGBT rights.

The times and cities for the protests can be found by clicking this link.

As many as possible should attend!

Of all days, I won't be able to attend the one in my city as we will be out of town visiting our daughter whom we haven't seen for a very long time, but I urge all who can make this protest to do so, as it will properly show our revulsion against not treating LGBT people with dignity and express our demand that full and equal civil rights be conferred to all LGBT people and same-sex couples.
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Please watch this brief video by Keith Olbermann, and give it as wide a distribution as possible. It appeals to the rational among us, many of whom may well have voted for Prop. 8 in California because they were and are confused about this whole issue and succumbed to the lies and distortions put out by Proposition 8's advocates, not the least of which are many clergy and their followers who call themselves "Christians."

As I've written so many times, the Gospel of Christ consists of the following: grace (unmerited favor to you); faith (trusting God over and above seen circumstances); love; peace; reconciliation; inclusiveness.

That's the only Gospel to be found in Christianity, and any other false interpretations promoting legalism and perfectionism is nothing short of heresy, and knows nothing of the Gospel or of Christ!

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Monday, November 10, 2008


This says it all:

"'It's very unfortunate and embarrassing that the (Christian religion) is in large part responsible for this act of bigotry,' the Rev. Ed Bacon said after his sermon. Share your thoughts on same-sex marriage

"In Sacramento, a protest at the state Capitol was boisterous but peaceful as speakers led the crowd in noisy chants. Protesters waved rainbow flags, a symbol of the gay rights movement, and 'No on 8' signs as police watched from the side.

"Speaking on CNN's 'Late Edition' Sunday, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed disappointment at Proposition 8's passage.

"'It is unfortunate,' Schwarzenegger said. 'But it is not the end because I think this will go back into the courts. ... It's the same as in the 1948 case when blacks and whites were not allowed to marry. This falls into the same category.'"

[For the full article, see here.]

There are a lot of reasons that Proposition 8 passed in California! However, it seems to me that the major reason is the entrenched homophobia and enmeshment with the most reactionary forces within society of most of the institutional Church.

Largely, Prop. 8 and all other discriminatory acts visited upon LGBT people has been done with the active initiation and complicity of most of the institutional Church, and this issue, like all civil rights issues, will eventually be resolved by the courts. The issue isn't "if" same-sex marriage will become legalized but "when" it will become legalized.

We can only hope that the next generation of people will not have to suffer through the indignities and discrimination that the current and previous generations of Gay people have had to suffer, and that Christians who are Christians in fact will never affiliate with any church or denomination that in any way initiates or advocates discrimination against anyone or any group of people.

The damage the passing of Proposition 8 has done to Gay people is enormous; the damage of the success in spewing hate and lies from the pulpit by wolves in sheep's clothing concerning Gay people, and the silence of most professing Christians to this outrage, has done enormous injustice and harm to Christianity and to Christians.

I'm cautiously optimistic that the California Supreme Court will nullify the passage of Prop. 8; if not, it will be nullified in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The most important thing to do now, after the understandable public expression of rage at this injustice, is to support Lambda Legal and all other attempts to win full civil rights for LGBT people in the courts. [See Here.]
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Sunday, November 9, 2008


This is Californian's Against Hate's Dishonor Roll Listing All Significant Donors Toward The Passing Of Proposition 8 In California.

Although I believe this issue will ultimately be won in the courts, perhaps going so far as the U.S. Supreme Court, these two videos on Harvey Milk are certainly appropriate to show that we must never give up when it comes to acquiring equal rights for all people. The issue of Prop. 8 in California isn't only about Gay people's civil rights, but it's also a civil rights matter than affects us all. If any one group's dignity and civil rights can be denied, all of our civil rights are up for grabs.


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Friday, November 7, 2008


If this isn't amazing and despicable, I don't know what is!

The LDS Church, pumping tons of money and virtually hounding their members into passing the discriminatory and mean-spirited Prop. 8 in California whose passage now denies the Constitutional protections of same-sex marriage as adjudicated by the California Supreme Court last May, has the temerity to have a major official within that Church give out this message upon that Proposition's passage:

"Now that California voters have outlawed same-sex marriage, an LDS Church leader called Wednesday for members to heal rifts caused by the emotional campaign by treating each other with 'civility, with respect and with love.'

"'We hope that everyone would treat [each other] that way no matter which side of this issue they were on, said Elder L. Whitney Clayton, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Presidency of the Seventy."

To add insult to injury, here's what a Mormon who opposed Proposition 8 said:

"Morris Thurston, of Orange County, an LDS member who opposed the ballot initiative, said he received a lot of 'feedback that was either outright hostile or self-righteous preaching' from strangers because of his moral concern about imposing religious beliefs on others.

"Thurston's hope is that Latter-day Saints on both sides of the issue 'will reach out and try to embrace people who might not have agreed with them. It doesn't mean we will change our minds about it, but it does mean we need to be brothers and sisters in the gospel.'"

[For the full article, see here.] [For some reason, this morning, I can't find that article that appeared on November 6th in the previous link to its source, the "Salt Lake Tribune." However, this link provides some of the information contained in that article.]

What "gospel" is he talking about? It's certainly not the Gospel of grace, faith, love, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness that Jesus lived and taught!

As far as I'm concerned, these statements are nothing short of obscene!

That Church, along with so many churches and denominations within the institutional Church (Which is particularly remarkable, given the LDS Church's checkered past regarding marriage and sexuality, along with the Roman Catholic Church that has its clergy comprised of presumably celibate men who presume to lecture us on love and sex.), have consistently demeaned and oppressed LGBT people, culminating in those and many other churches being instrumental in spreading downright lies concerning the realities of same-sex marriage, and having fomented lies about the reality of Prop. 8, just as they continue to propagate lies about the reality of Gay people and their lives. And now these representatives of the LDS Church expect everyone to let bygones be bygones!

No Christian who is a Christian in fact advocates discrimination against other people! No Christian seeks to deny other people full and equal civil rights! No Christian advocates writing discrimination into any state of federal Constitution! No Christian spreads lies and distortions about other people! No Christian seeks to impose his or her theocratic values upon citizens of a Democratic Republic!
So much for the use of sweet reason, and a meeting of the minds!

And where were these sanctimonious "brothers and sisters in the gospel," and where was the reality of "civility," "respect," and "love," when they continued, and still continue, to cause the untold suffering of countless numbers of God's Gay children?
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Thursday, November 6, 2008


This is an excellent article that deserves to be read in its entirety.

Proposition 8 in California passed by a margin of six percentage points (According to CNN news yesterday evening.), which is quite a significant percentage difference, and attests to the effectiveness of the "religious" right wing's propaganda from the pulpits throughout California last Sunday, as well as the effectiveness of the massive amounts of money poured into commercials that ignorantly, deceitfully, cynically, and hatefully played upon the fears of parents that their children would be harmed by the defeat of Proposition 8.

Part of the above article, reads as follows:

"For months, pro-gay marriage campaigners fretted that a big turnout for Obama would tip the scales in favour of Proposition 8 because it would bring out record numbers of African-Americans, who tend to hold more conservative social views. A CNN poll seems to suggest that's exactly what happened, with African-Americans voting 69 to 31 in favour. It goes without saying that we wouldn't be seeing the election of a black American today had the civil rights battles of the 1960s been decided by public referenda – a message we would do well to play up more."

The outcome of this vote is akin to the U.S. Supreme Court's affirming Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 and then subsequently overturning that vote with Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. In my opinion, the same will occur in this matter, when it eventually goes to the U.S. Supreme Court and the argument, in part, is made that the U.S. Supreme Court in the latter decision said in reference to a minority group that "separate is not equal."

Although I'm not an attorney, Brown v. Board of Education seems to be the best argument against the constitutionality of the outcome of this vote, as it demonstrates the tyranny of the majority toward a minority group that overturned the California Supreme Court's decision that found that to deny same-sex couples the right to marry was, and always had been, unconstitutional.

Since when are civil rights to be determined by popular vote? Since when can a popular vote overturn a State Supreme Court's decision? Since when can a majority vote of any electorate override a Supreme Court's judicial decision concerning a constitutionally protected right?

If mere public opinion determined the acquisition of civil rights of a given minority group, we'd undoubtedly still have such egregious legally protected sources of discrimination and oppression as Jim Crow laws and institutional Segregation.

Moreover, if this decision of the voters regarding Prop. 8 is allowed to stand, the civil rights of every single minority group is up for grabs as they are now at the mercy of all sorts of demagogues who can whip up enough frenzy among the electorate to overturn hitherto taken for granted civil rights that are enjoyed by citizens of California, even overturning past California State Supreme Court rulings that have for long affirmed those rights.

None of us in California, having the vote on Prop. 8 as a precedent by its affirming discrimination within the state's Constitution, is immune from being victimized in the same manner, should the economic, social, and political conditions be ripe for such demagoguery to again rear its ugly head.

It's a crying shame that the African American voters who voted for this discriminatory Proposition weren't able to transcend their own narrow self-interests and prejudices and see that the grinding oppression faced by their parents and grandparents was due to the very same mind-set that prompted them to vote for Proposition 8; they and all others who voted for that Proposition didn't learn from their civics courses in high school that we are a nation of laws, and not of human beings, and that we are all equal before the law.

Although I'm not particularly sanguine about the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court, it seems to me that the satisfactory resolution of this matter will ultimately be found there.

In the meantime, increasing meaningful grassroots and organizational activism is needed, along with significant amounts of education to dispel so many of the myths associated with Gay people in the minds of many Straight people who have a distorted picture of what it means to be Gay and of Gay people's lives, so that more potential Straight allies can be recruited to help meaningfully fight in this struggle for full equality.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

BOOK REVIEW: BULLETPROOF FAITH: A Spiritual Survival Guide For Gay And Lesbian Christians

If you are a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender Christian, how do you feel when someone calls you a fag, a dyke, a sissy, a pansy, or any other hateful, derogatory name? How do you feel when others, such as family members, and even professing Christians, seek to deprive you of civil rights and call you an abomination in the eyes of God? How do you feel when clergy preach against you and what they call your “homosexual lifestyle” and demand that you give up “the sin of homosexuality” in order to become “right with God” or else you’re going to hell? How do you feel when even family members discriminate against you, and make it very clear that they don’t accept you for who you are?

Now, how do you handle those feelings, and what do you think about the person hurling one or more of those epithets at you? I guarantee that after you read Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide For Gay And Lesbian Christians, by the erudite and eclectic Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge, you will finally understand the psychological and spiritual strategies that you may employ to not only neutralize the effects of the hurt that you understandably feel, but translate those insults and that hurt into further psychological and spiritual growth, as well as help move the struggle for full and equal civil and sacramental rights for GLBT people forward.

As Rev. Chellew-Hodge writes: “Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people are in exile—cast out from our homes, our churches, our jobs, and our society. We are ostracized and oppressed by dogma, tradition, and legislation. We are a wounded and outcast people, desperate for a word of hope from the one who loves us most.” (Pp. 151-152)

Fortunately, this book that is one of a kind gives concrete methods by which GLBT people can both contend with personal and institutionalized homophobia and also lead happy lives while so doing! Rev. Chellew-Hodge uses her own considerable experiences, other eclectic sources, and her keen insights that puts into a healthy perspective essential psychological and spiritual coping mechanisms that is a breath of fresh air in dealing with the sufferings, heartbreaks, and anxieties attendant upon attacks by those who seek to both demean and distort both the Bible and the reality of GLBT people’s sexuality and very lives.

When one is castigated by virtually all institutions within society, as well as by one’s family, neighbors, pastors, and strangers for who he or she is, and is threatened with being rejected at a moment’s notice for the same reason, one is understandably defensive, angry, and afraid. Indeed, the psychological damage such exclusion and oppression engenders can be overwhelming, and cause much emotional turmoil, often resulting in disengagement from others, self-destructive behaviors, assorted emotional illnesses, and even self-loathing.

The GLBT Christian is likely to suffer from such oppression at least as much as the GLBT non-Christian, as he or she has long been exposed to spiritual vilification with hateful messages that tell him or her that God can’t possibly love that person; that person is going to hell if he or she doesn’t repent of “the sin of homosexuality”; the “homosexual lifestyle” is an abomination before God; that person is an abomination before God; the destruction of society is largely due to his or her very existence. How is the GLBT Christian to deal with such vilification, oppression, discrimination, and hate and the emotional feelings that they engender?

This excellent book fills a much-needed gap in the literature! It shows the seamless reconciliation between being a Christian and being a GLBT person; provides down to earth practical advice and coping strategies for the GLBT Christian. Other books that seek to show that reconciliation deal with assorted Scripture verses that are erroneously used by many professing Christians seeking to prove that homosexuality is a sin, and there are many such excellent books available to all Christians, Gay and Straight (A list of many of them can be found in the Appendix of her book.), that finally lays to rest any such erroneous contention.

It is this one book, however, which meets a need that no other book of which I’m aware even addresses. That is, it provides down to earth, concrete, ways of thinking and interacting with one’s oppressor whereby the GLBT Christian can neutralize the devastating effects of homophobia on the one hand and on the other hand also improve the quality of his or her psychological and spiritual life.

Rev. Chellew-Hodge shows an easy familiarity with the Bible, learning and rejoicing at least as much in the questions it poses as in the answers it gives, and highlights its essence as it applies to GLBT Christians without either torturing certain seemingly offending passages or relegating the Bible to some idolatrous embodiment of God, Who is best and most confidently seen in one’s very own life experience that, she affirms, is the only viable means by which to sustain and reinforce our faith.

This very well written, easily readable book delivers on its promise that it: “…empowers readers to withstand even the most aggressive assaults without fear, doubt, or anger by providing a useful working knowledge of biblical history; solid, proven tactics that can be used successfully when faced with an attack; spiritual practices…that enhance and strengthen faith; practical tools to discover one’s ‘authentic self’... [and] guidance on how to turn attacks into opportunities for spiritual growth.”

Indeed, I feel confident in saying that every GLBT Christian who reads this book will approach his or her spiritual life, the world, and those perceived as his or her “enemies,” in a new, refreshing way that will most assuredly redound to the benefit of his or her emotional and spiritual health.

Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide For Gay And Lesbian Christians is truly a life-changing book! It provides psychological and “Spiritual Survival Tips” that will open the eyes of the reader to productive ways of experiencing, processing and handling homophobic attacks, virtually guaranteeing that his or her life will be immeasurably improved.

If you read only one book this year, Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide For Gay And Lesbian Christians, should be that book!

Click This Link To Purchase The Book.
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