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

Picture credit:
The Baptism of Christ
by Masolino Da Panicale (1435)

A Response to 
  Southern Baptists

                   TO SOUTHERN BAPTISTS

SOUTHERN BAPTISTS DENY THEIR OWN HISTORY.  For over 150 years Baptists have believed and taught soul freedom of the individual and have respected and supported the autonomy of the local church.  Recent actions by the Southern Baptist Convention have rejected and repudiated these great principles of the historic Baptist tradition!  The Convention's call for Baptists to boycott DISNEY was a blatant rejection of principles for which Southern Baptists have stood for many generations as well as a way to show the world their new mean legalistic judgmental spirit.

  1. THE CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL TAKE OVER of Southern Baptist Seminaries and other institutions has undermined the objective academic credibility of once great schools and boards and has made Baptists the object of scorn and ridicule in the scholastic world.  Some institutions have already lost their accreditation.
  2. BAPTISTS DENY THE BIBLE in their attacks on homosexuals.  Baptist Greek scholars know, like all others do, that the Bible has no word for "homosexual" in the Old Testament Hebrew or the New Testament Greek.  Yet the same incorrect translations and out of context use of only six verses to attack and condemn gay people continues in this so called "Bible believing" denomination.
  3. BAPTISTS DENY JESUS in their attacks on Gay people.  Jesus never mentioned sexual orientation or even hinted at the idea of homosexuality.  Jesus never said, "Hate the sin and love the sinner."  That slogan has become a favorite weapon used to condemn gay and lesbian people.  If Jesus is the guide to understanding all Scripture, why don't Baptists let Jesus guide them in fighting the abusive and mistaken use of Bible passages to condemn and destroy Gay people?
  4. BAPTISTS DENY REALITY in their support for so called
  5. "Ex-Gay" ministries that try to use religion to change the sexual orientation of people.  Scientists, medical doctors, psychiatrists, attorneys, psychologists, and other professional groups have taken a clear stand against the abusive use of "reparative therapy" to try to change gays to straight.  There is no reliable evidence that a person's sexual orientation can be changed.  ALL of these failures will be corrected if Baptists come back to JESUS.
  6. REPENT!  Turn away ("repent") from your homophobic lifestyle of legalistic judgmental religion that denies God's unconditional love and grace for all people.  SHAME! for betraying the spirit and legacy of John A. Broadus, Richard Furman and George W. Truett.  SHAME! for retreating from soul freedom, autonomy of the local church, and separation of church and state.  SHAME! for claiming to follow Jesus yet teaching ignorance and prejudice.  TURN BACK to Jesus as the only way to truth and life for individuals and churches.
  7. One of my friends recently asked me to point out what parts of the New Testament Southern Baptists have ignored in their attitude of condemning and rejecting gays.  My first response was, "just about all of it!"  But upon reflection, these passages seem to be the most obvious ones:  Matthew 7:1-5; John 3:16-17; 10:10; 12:47; 13:34-35; 17:20-23; all of Acts 10, esp. vss. 28 and 34; I Corinthians 13; II Corinthians 10:3-5; all of Galatians, esp. 2:11-21; 3:1-5, 23-28; 5:1, 14-15, 22-23; all of Ephesians, esp. chapter 2; Philippians 2:1-13; I Peter 3:15; II Peter 3:14-18; I John 3:13-21; 4:7-19; and  most of all Romans 15:1-7.  What do you think?

See the web site for "Honesty Texas," and the web site for Rainbow Baptists the support groups for Southern Baptist and American Baptist Gays and Lesbians.  Also see the book that I have found to be most helpful and informative in understanging the recent struggles of Baptist and other evengelical lesbians and gays and their pastors and friends: Congregations in Conflict: The Battle Over Homosexuality, by Keith Hartman, published by Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1996.

Update for June 17, 2001:
A Report on Soulforce Events at the 2001 Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans:


Soulforce protests and civil disobedience action that I joined in New Orleans June 10-13, 2001, was not about Southern Baptist doctrine.  It was about genocide.  It was not about Southern Baptist polity and practices.  It was about the life or death choices that multitudes of gay and lesbian young people face leading to suicide and other self-destructive actions caused by Southern Baptist religious abuse and misinformation about God, Jesus, the Bible, and the truth.


Mel White and Jimmy Creech led the Soulforce activities.  An experienced and dedicated Soulforce team of specialists guided and taught us.  Every leader was well prepared, calm, consistent and always appropriate.  I was amazed at the competence of every person in leadership and teaching.  I learned more in those few days than I ever expected and more of what I need to know than I would have thought possible.

The other over 100 Soulforce volunteers also were my teachers as all of us learned from each other and our leaders.  A cheerful positive attitude prevailed.  We learned details about the results of abusive religion against all people.  We learned how to behave and participate most effectively in a vigil, a march, a non-violent protest and a civil disobedience arrest, which I experienced along with many others.

My life will never be the same after Soulforce in New Orleans.


On Tuesday and Wednesday, all of us participated in silent vigils outside the Southern Baptist Convention.  We handed out "Invitation to a Jazz Funeral: To mourn for gay Southern Baptists and their families."  We carried a large banner at vigils and at the "jazz funeral" that proclaimed:


During the first vigil on Tuesday, Don Hinkle of the "Baptist Press" interviewed me about who I was and why I was there.  We had a great conversation.  I gave him my brochure on "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" and he asked if he could quote me from the brochure.  Of course I encouraged him to do so.  He wanted a copy of my book, and I have sent him one.  Don works out of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Later during the funeral procession, a reporter from Mobile, Alabama, interviewed me for her newspaper.  Many others were interviewed by various news media covering the convention and our protests.


The final act of Soulforce protest was a dramatic attempt to enter the Southern Baptist Convention to request an opportunity for dialogue with the leaders about the suffering and death of Southern Baptist GLBT people and others.

A Jazz Funeral procession followed behind a casket that held the names and stories of wounded and dead Southern Baptist GLBT people.  A large New Orleans Jazz Band led the procession, playing mournful music.  The symbolism was powerful!

Before the arrests, several of us had the opportunity to speak to a press conference of our experiences of spiritual violence from Southern Baptists.  I spoke briefly of who I am and why I was protesting genocide against gays that uses misinformed religious teachings to convince GLBT young people to fear, hate and kill themselves.  I said that the casket in the funeral was much too small, because to contain all of the dead and mutilated bodies of gay Southern Baptists who had been victims of spiritual abuse and violence would require a casket a big as the Super Dome, which loomed over us like a mountain!

I added that according to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is still the leading cause of death of gay and lesbian teens.


When our group arrived at the entrance of the convention hall, the New Orleans Police stopped us.  Mel White and Jimmy Creech stated our intention of going into the convention to request to be heard and to enter into dialogue with the SBC leaders about the tragic destruction and death that homophobia has brought upon gay and lesbian people.  Television crews recorded all of this for many different networks and local stations.

A representative of the SBC refused our request and the police ordered us to leave or be arrested for trespassing.  The order was repeated and we were given one minute to leave.  During this time, Mel White and Jimmy Creech repeated our request for being heard and repeated our objection to the deadly consequences of religious abuse and homophobia against us.

When we did not move, the police ordered us to be handcuffed and taken into custody.  34 of us were handcuffed and one by one were escorted by to the waiting police van (bus) to be transported to the New Orleans City Jail.  As I walked to the van in handcuffs escorted by a police officer, the crowd cheered and applauded.  It was an incredible moment.  All of us were very polite and were treated with utmost courtesy by the police.

After the casket was taken away, the New Orleans Jazz Band played "When the Saints Go Marching In."  That really got to me and made me cry.  I never cry for myself.  But I cried a lot on Wednesday as I was made to remember the many gay friends who have suffered and died because of neglect, rejection, misinformation, self-hate and other evils dumped upon us by sick abusive religion.

A police sergeant had been assigned to work with Mel White and Soulforce to plan this event and he told us how to conduct ourselves and was totally supportive of our right to free speech and our non-violent way of expressing our message.  He met us at the jail and announced that the District Attorney had dropped all charges and that we were free to go.  We were not booked and did not have to pay the $100 fine that each of us had brought along to pay.  Instead, we gave the money to Soulforce.


As we rode in the police van to the police station, I could not sing.  I was so emotionally overcome by what I was feeling.  I felt totally unworthy to be in the company of the ghosts all around me: the ghosts of gay men wearing pink triangles being taken in busses to Nazi concentration camps and the gas ovens simply because of who they were.  I wept for the black men who were taken by the police into remote areas of the Old South to be lynched by angry white people simply because of who they were.

I wept for the Jews of all sexual orientations who were transported by busses and boxcars by the millions to slave camps and then to the gas ovens simply because of who they were.

I wept for the Native Americans who were carried or driven from their own land into American concentration camps called reservations.  I wept for the thousands of Native American men, women and children that were exterminated by the United States Army so efficiently that dozens of entire Native American Nations were totally wiped out simply because of who they were.  Genocide is an ancient human tradition in many cultures, including ours.

When you want to exterminate vermin, you find a way to make them self-destruct.  Religion in America has found a way to exterminate GLBT people, not by killing them, but by teaching and convincing them that they are an abomination to God and that they are evil and have no right to live.  You don't have to kill people you hate if you can make them kill and destroy themselves.


Genocide is "the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group." (Webster's Dictionary)  You cannot protest genocide too much.  "Racial, political, or cultural group" includes Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transsexuals.  I have been basically a writer and teacher.  I have always supported whatever protests my LGBT community has used to try to challenge and change the fear and violence of homophobia that is killing us by the thousands.

In New Orleans I had the great privilege and opportunity to join an act of open protest and civil disobedience with others in Soulforce and experience the increasingly harsh reality of closed minded and arrogant religion in my former religious affiliation of Southern Baptists.  I have great respect and admiration for Mel and Gary, Jimmy, Laura, Gina, Richard, Dexter, Karen, Diana, Doug, Jean, Rodney, Bill and all of the others who led in many ways and were not listed on the program.  I am grateful for everyone who attended my workshops and who shared personal experiences with me.  Everybody in Soulforce was my teacher, and I am profoundly grateful.

Rev. Carolyn Mobley came to the Monday through Wednesday events even though her church office at Resurrection MCC in Houston was under two feet of water from the flood, which also flooded the new church sanctuary.  Carolyn, a former Southern Baptist home missionary, is associate pastor at MCCR and has joined with me many times in ministry.


I THINK THAT MANY OF THEM DID.  There is much unrest and a great disturbance in the force in the Southern Baptist Convention.  A number of anti-gay resolutions were offered at this convention, but none of them were passed.  I have had conversations recently with many past Southern Baptist leaders who feel as I do that the denomination that we love and once served and honored is now dead.  God can raise the dead, and there is hope for Southern Baptists, whom I still love and pray for that they will enter into a new age of hope and love for all people.

The Spirit of God that was so evident to me in Soulforce people and actions is also in many Southern Baptists.  The Spirit moves among and within us and brings us into understanding and awakening.  Nothing is impossible with God.  Even the most obstinately anti-gay religious group in America can change: one by one.  The Holy Spirit is still working in all of us long after the convention and the demonstrations and the speeches are over.  All that we can do is to testify to and demonstrate our truth in confidence and love.  Then leave the results to God.

Rembert Truluck
Father's Day 2001

This is Father's Day.  Everything in this letter is intended to honor my father, who was the best Christian I have known and who loved, accepted and encouraged me in all of my life and ministry both before and after I was outed as gay.  See Soulforce site for more details.


I plan to be in New Orleans June 7-14 at the time of the Southern Baptist Convention June 11-13 in order to participate in the ministry of Soulforce with Mel White, Gary Nixon, Laura Montgomery Rutt, Jimmy Creech and the great corps of Soulforce volunteers who have already had a great impact on many religious groups to challenge spiritual violence against GLBT people.  See "PLANS FOR NEW ORLEANS".

This section of my web site gives a GLBT Christian response to Southern Baptists.  See "My Story" for the details of my own background and history with Southern Baptists.  Read all of this section for details of how Southern Baptists have abandoned their own principles and traditions in order to attack and condemn LGBT people.  The section on "THE LOST BAPTIST ARK" is especially informative and important.

The earliest Baptists in England and the United States were committed to three great principles: Soul Freedom (expressed in "the priesthood of all believers"), separation of church and state, and the absolute autonomy of the local church.  In misrepresenting and rejecting gay, lesbian, trans and bi people, Southern Baptists have denied and abandoned their own basic principles.

The current attempts by Baptists to use political power and public pressure to enforce their views on others is a radical break with the past and with the views of Roger Williams, Richard Furman, John A. Broadus and other founders of Baptist higher education, Lottie Moon, George W. Truett, Ellis A. Fuller, and a great host of men and women who have given their lives and energy to protect and preserve individual religious liberty and the freedom of each individual to enjoy and serve God in whatever way is fitting and appropriate.

Religious pressure always produces hypocrisy.  Roger Williams, the founder of the first Baptist church in the colonies at Providence, Rhode Island, declared that to force people to practice a religion that they do not believe is to make them into hypocrites, which is worse than no religion at all!

Roger Williams fought long and hard for the freedom of all people of every faith to enjoy the right to believe and to worship as they pleased without pressure to conform to abusive oppressive religion that people in power felt they had the right and obligation to force upon others.  Somehow along the way, Baptists and others today have lost that clear honest vision of truth.

Everything that we are doing now in this web site, my book, the ministries of Soulforce, many local churches, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, The Alliance of Baptists, and a growing army of supports within every religious tradition is devoted to recapturing that vision and reconnecting with the true Spirit of the real Jesus of faith.

(Details of the events in New Orleans will be added later.)

This material was added on April 30, 2001:

The Southern Baptist Convention has no authority!  That may seem strange for such a powerful and influential religious denomination of 16 million members.  In view of my planned participation in Soulforce at the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans June 7-14, I have been giving a lot of thought lately to just what the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is and what makes it so strong and also what makes it vulnerable.

Southern Baptists are by far the largest non-Catholic religious body in the United States.  Their 16 million members make it larger than the Methodist, Presbyterian, and Lutheran churches combined.  Actually, Southern Baptists are only about half of the total number of Baptists in the US.  There are about 30 denominations of Baptists, all of which are committed to some degree to the basic Baptist principles of soul freedom, local church autonomy and separation of church and state.

The Southern Baptist Convention only exists as a body for three days once a year at the annual meeting.  That meeting consists of about 40,000 "messengers" sent from the local churches to represent the local church.  They usually represent their own personal views and are seldom instructed by the local church as to what to do or how to vote.  The president of the convention is elected for one year and may be re-elected once.  The president of the convention does not speak for the whole denomination.  The president can and does often express personal convictions and views that many other Baptists may or may not agree are true.


Frequently the media will report that a Southern Baptist leader "speaks for Southern Baptists or represents Southern Baptists" and then gives the opinions of a seminary president, a president of the SBC or some agency director.  Nobody speaks for Southern Baptists, however, and the understanding of Baptists for a long time has been that individual Baptists speak for themselves and nobody else can speak for them.

The Southern Baptist Convention is basically a huge collection of 16 million highly opinionated individuals who never completely agree on anything, especially on the Bible and on social issues.  The seemingly unanimous homophobic attitudes of Southern Baptists are the result of the collective ignorance that pervades the mentality of any large self-righteous group of religious fundamentalists.

An incident in the early 60's when I was pastor of Ingleside Baptist Church in Norfolk, VA, is typical.  At the annual Norfolk Baptist Association meeting a man stood up to speak against the use of alcohol.  He raved on for quite a while with many supportive "amen's" being shouted as he spoke.  A reporter was there and interviewed the man and reported the emotional anti-liquor Baptist discussion as the lead story about the local association meeting.  The problem was that nobody at the association meeting knew who the man was or even it he was a Baptist at all!

Each of the 16 million Southern Baptists believe that their opinion is as valuable as every body else's and that they have the right and obligation to speak, whether they know what they are talking about or not.


Baptists have no "leader" who can speak for the entire denomination.  Most other large religious bodies do.  Baptist leaders have a lot of influence, depending on their position and personality, but they have no authority over what local churches or local individuals think or do.  When a Baptist church decides to withdraw from the convention or is thrown out, it does not affect the church financially or interfere with the church property.  Local churches have total control over their property, finances, choice of pastor and staff and program.

Unlike most major religious denominations, the Southern Baptist Convention has no authority over local churches.  All of the authority runs from the bottom up, from the local churches to the Associations, State Conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention.  Each of these units of local church, local association, state convention and Southern Baptist Convention is independent and has no authority over the others.  The connection is by "cooperation" and not by force.  Associations and conventions can "withdraw fellowship" from churches but they cannot force the churches to do anything.  Membership in associations and conventions is entirely voluntary.  Many churches have voluntarily withdrawn from these denominational units in protest against their extreme legalism and fundamentalism. 

Authority and power are two different things.  Authority is the right to do something.  Power is the ability to do something.  A lot of power and influence runs from the SBC leaders and agencies and institutions to the local churches, but the right to decide what to do always remains with the local church and with the individual members of the church.


Changing the thinking of the leaders of Southern Baptists does not automatically change the millions of individual church members.  In no other major religious denomination is the individual church member recognized as the spiritual authority and final decision maker for all faith and practice issues.

Because of this long-standing intense individuality, Baptists have throughout their history been involved in controversy and endless debate.  One church where I was pastor had actually experienced fistfights breaking out during business meetings in the past.  Colonel Roberts devised "Roberts Rules of Order" primarily to give guidance to tumultuous Baptist church meetings.

The only way to change Southern Baptists is to change each of the 16 million individuals that make up the denomination.  Now, how do we do that!  It is not impossible.  Over a twenty year period, fundamentalist biblical literalists have gradually changed enough Southern Baptists into legalistic judgmental homophobic advocates of prejudice to produce radical changes in many of the Baptist institutions and to influence many recent statements approved by the annual conventions against homosexuals, women in church leadership and in their own homes, and other marginalized peoples.

Southern Baptist higher education and publishing has come under the control of fundamentalist forces that are alien to objective academic freedom in education and for mind and thought control in literature.


The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and The Alliance of Baptists along with the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America have become strong and growing movements within the SBC.  The Alliance of Baptists along with the Baptist Peace Fellowship OF north America have strongly affirmed and welcomed GLBT people and produced great literature by Dr. Mahan Siler, Dr. Millard Eiland and others to help local churches become welcoming and affirming.  The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is larger and by taking an anti-gay position has created a lot of conflict with the Alliance of Baptists and other pro-gay Baptist forces.  (Each of these groups has a web site.)

The First Baptist Church of Greenville, SC, was the church that led in the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention in Augusta, GA, in 1845.  Rev. William Bullein Johnson, pastor of the Greenville church, was the first president of the SBC.  Greenville First Baptist Church was also the first location of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the church where the Sunday School Board was started.  The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Alliance of Baptists also began at the First Baptist Church of Greenville.

When the First Baptist Church of Greenville, SC, voted last year to leave the Southern Baptist Convention, it was a very important historic decision to act decisively against the distortion and destruction of traditional Baptist values by the present denominational leadership.  Many other local churches have left the convention.  Even more dramatic has been the decision by the 2.7 million members Baptist Convention of Texas to withhold all financial support from SBC seminaries because of the distortion and misuse of the Bible by SBC agencies and schools.

The current SBC web site is filled with articles and opinion pieces by various leaders and officials of institutions declaring the absolute authority of the Bible in every word as equal to the authority of Jesus, thus creating a fourth member of the Trinity: "Bibleinity!"


We face the formidable task of getting accurate adequate information about GLBT people to the 16 million individuals that make up the Southern Baptist Convention.  Only a tiny fraction of them will actually attend the three-day convention in New Orleans.  Most of them will read newspaper and denominational reports and will hear about the convention from their pastors, who usually attend the conventions.

Baptists continue to be a "grass roots" movement in which local churches do whatever they want to and call and dismiss preachers as they please without any control from an outside authority.  Sunday School literature was one of the great forces that held Southern Baptists together for many years and still does.  The spiritual influence of powerful preachers and highly respected denominational leaders have often given direction and inspiration to the church pastors and members.  No single person leads or ever has led the denomination.

But we do have the Internet.  One of my aims is to get information about my web site and book to as many Southern Baptists as possible.  I plan to do whatever I can and follow whatever opportunities become open to me in New Orleans to advertise and make known the availability of truth and freedom that are only a mouse click away!

I expect to learn a lot that I need to know from Mel White, Gary Nixon, Laura Montgomery Rutt, Jimmy Creech and everybody else with Soulforce as well as from many GLBT supporters and leaders already in New Orleans.  You and I and Soulforce and everyone who reads these updates are part of our mission from God to bring truth, hope, freedom, and self-acceptance to all of our LGBT sisters and brothers throughout the world.  There is no turning back.  We have to "take our stand".  We can do no other.  We cannot change people, but God can.  We can let God use us in whatever way God decides is right for us: by life or death or ministry or silence by witness or writing or learning or teaching or marching or praying and most of all by letting God be in control as we let go and move on into a better and more hopeful future of freedom and respect for all.

Rembert Truluck


This material is given in one long page so that you can easily print it to study and pass on to others .

  1. JESUS in the Gospels defined his ministry by who he included that had previously been left out.  See the first home town sermon that Jesus preached in Nazareth and notice the response in
  2. Luke 4:17-30.   When the people rejected the inclusive message of Jesus, he left town. When Southern Baptists defined themselves by who they left out (homosexuals) in changing the Bylaws of the Southern Baptist Convention to exclude any church that accepted openly Gay and Lesbian members, Southern Baptists ceased to be Christian (Christ like)!  They also forced pastors, staff and church members into the closet of denial and oppression about sexual orientation.  To force people to lie about who they are is at least spiritually unhealthy and at most is evil.

This update was added April 12, 2001:

Religion is an increasingly explosive issue.  Religion is explosive, confusing, controversial and inconsistent.  Religion often is abrasive, abusive, misinformed and destructive.  Why, then, is religion so influential and powerful in our culture?

Homophobia and various other racial, social, sexual and personal prejudices are based on sick oppressive religion.  Why?  Churches with vastly contradictory teachings exert tremendous political and financial power over millions of people.  Why?  How does the obviously destructive force of misinformed religion continue and thrive in today's world of progress in information and understanding in every other area of life?

Until we face and resolve these questions, religion will continue to enslave millions of people in the grip of distortions of reality that defy logic and reason.  The human misery that has been created by religion is beyond comprehension.  To document just the mindless religious abuse of women and children would stagger the imagination and bring all modern spiritual and social values into serious question.


Misuse and misunderstanding of the Bible has become one of the greatest problems in dealing objectively and realistically with religion.  Southern Baptists, the largest non-Catholic religion in America, aggressively teach that the Bible is "the word of God," meaning that every word of the Bible has equal authority and has to be believed and followed in detail by all people of faith.

In preparation for going to New Orleans to participate in Soulforce during the Southern Baptist Convention in June, I looked through the Southern Baptist web site.  There the main issue for debate and discussion stems from the decision by the Texas Baptist State Convention to withdraw all financial support from Southern Baptist Institutions that teach and promote biblical literalism in oppressive and abusive ways that are inconsistent with the historical Baptist faith.

The result of this development is a long series of articles and papers on religious and biblical authority.  The SBC position is an increasingly severe emotionally charged ferocious defensive of the absolute authority of the Bible, placing Jesus and the Bible on the same level of authority and inspiration.  This recent development is a great departure from the objective realistic study of the Bible that I learned in my college and seminary education offered by Southern Baptists from 1952 to 1968.

(Click here to see Southern Baptist Convention Site.)


Religious crusades in the name of God have dominated church history.  Fallout from the religious military crusades of the eleventh through the thirteenth centuries continues today in violence and death in the Middle East.  One of my friends recently commented that the purpose of the church is the same today as when Constantine made Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire: "to make soldiers for the empire."

The abusive use of "Christian" religion to subdue and destroy native populations who got in the way of European expansion into the world continues to oppress and encourage violence against third world populations.  In Africa, Asia and other parts of the world, many indigenous people and their leaders are fighting back and returning to their own cultures and religions with a sense of revenge and "holy war."

Religion has always been emotionally explosive.  Vigorous emotionally charged religious crusades springing from contradictory sets of doctrines and teachings fill the television, radio, and printed media 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  There is no let up in the intensity and extremism of contemporary religion.

"Instant evangelism" by which emotional hypnotic repetition of simplistic religious ideas accompanied by overpowering gospel music and dramatic emotional public displays have recruited millions of "converts" to popular misunderstandings and misinformation about the Bible and Jesus.  This crescendo of religious fervor will find one of its most powerful expressions at the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans in June.


(See the Soulforce Web Site.)

The religious establishment in America is an incredibly powerful force of oppression and abuse against people who don't accept the prevailing cultural view of themselves and who will not any longer tolerate religious abuse simply because they are different from the so-called "moral majority" (which is neither!).

Formal protest against abusive religion began when Cain killed his brother Abel over the explosive religious issue of whose sacrifice was most pleasing to God!  Religious war has escalated ever since into genocide, human sacrifice, abusive childhood religious conditioning, military slaughter of innocent people, torturing and burning heretics, and every imaginable cruelty perpetrated by people against other people in the name of God.

Religious teachings and misinformation about the Bible, God and Jesus form the primary basis for homophobia, self-hate, suicide, violence, neglect, rejection and spiritual abuse against homosexuals.  Protesting homophobia is protesting genocide.  You cannot protest genocide too much.  Our survival is at stake.


When I was part of the gay activism in San Francisco in the early 1990's, I saw riots and the destruction of public property in response to repressive and abusive actions against GLBT people.  Far more devastating, however, was the internal hate that public and religious policy encouraged and reinforced in GLBT people.  Self-destructive behavior is not limited to suicide.  There are as many ways to punish and destroy one's self as there are people who have been taught to hate and reject themselves and give up.

I have always supported and encouraged my Gay and Lesbian sisters and brothers who confront and fight against homophobia and abuse in whatever way fits them as individuals.  Some have entered politics and become the current community leaders in our area.  Some have devoted themselves to fighting the AIDS plague.  Others have worked for changes in many different places and by many different means.  MCC has been part of the struggle.  Other churches of many denominations have joined in.

Now Soulforce is focusing attention specifically on homophobia and spiritual abuse in the leading religious groups in the world.  The public media and the Internet have greatly expanded the reach of Soulforce and other activists.

The Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans will be my first time to identify in person with the great work of Mel White and Soulforce.  I am proud to be part of what is already being done.  My ministry of teaching and information has been mostly through writing, the Internet, my Web site and book, and leading local retreats, conferences and church workshops.

I don't know what my role will be in New Orleans, but I am confident that God wants me to be there.  So I am going.  God will show me what to do when the time comes.

Thank you for your encouragement, support and prayers.


It is a sobering thought to remember that more people probably have died fighting against religion than for it.  The Greek word "martyr" is translated as "witness" in the New Testament.  A "witness" is someone who puts his/her life on the line for God.  Luke said in Acts 1:8 that Jesus called his followers to "be my witnesses" (be my martyrs) beginning where they were and extending to the "uttermost part of the earth."

You don't have to die or suffer physically to be a "martyr".  When you listen to other people and demonstrate compassion for rejected marginalized people, you are a witness/martyr.  When you extend the unconditional inclusive love of God to others and help abused oppressed people recover their self-esteem and joy of living, you are a witness/martyr.  Whatever you do for one of the "least of these, my brothers and sisters," Jesus declared, "You have done it for me."

It really is all that simple.

Jesus concluded: "Love one another just as I have loved you.  Then everybody will know that you really do belong to me."  Love means non-violent.

See Matthew 12:14-21 for the words that Jesus used to remind himself of his (and your) gentle non-violent mission.

This update was added November 3, 2000:

How solid is the spiritual ground on which you stand?  We recently have witnessed a severe shaking of the foundations of traditional religion in the split with Southern Baptists by President Jimmy Carter and the decision of The Texas Baptist Convention to cut off all funding for Southern Baptist Seminaries!  See articles about this in the "Recent Updates" page of my web site.

I find no pleasure in seeing my old denomination engaged in such self-destructive behavior.  The Southern Baptist Convention that I grew up with as a child, a teenager and a pastor and university professor doesn't exist any more.  This is tragic and sad loss for me personally.  My childhood church was filled with love and kindness.  My experiences as a ministry student and student pastor for four years at Furman University in Greenville, SC, laid my foundation in honest objective scholarship and a deep appreciation for the basic Baptist traditions of personal freedom, autonomy of the local church, religious liberty, separation of church and state, and above all a spirit of kindness and generosity founded on the life and teachings of Jesus in the Gospels.

At the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, I earned three theology degrees including a doctorate in 1968.  My professors and classmates were committed to objective vigorous scholarship.  The primary aim of all of my teachers was to help us learn to think for ourselves and be prepared for whatever the future might offer to us in our rapidly changing world.

When I wrote Adult Sunday School lessons for the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board for 7 years, my editor, John Steen, encouraged me to be creative and taught me how to write.  He was a lot like Adam DeBaugh, the editor and publisher of my recent book, in that he did not change what I said but worked hard to make it easier to read.  Dr. Steen is still my friend, has a copy of my book and encourages me in my present Internet and writing ministry.


When I was a student at the Southern Baptist Seminary from 1956-62 and1964-68, the seminary was probably the finest and most respected evangelical seminary in the world.  Many of my professors wrote the textbooks that were being used all over the world.  They wrote the multiple volumes of "The Broadman Bible Commentary," which I used for textbooks in several of the courses that I taught at Baptist College.  That commentary set has been withdrawn and made unavailable in Baptist seminaries and bookstores.  In fact, all of the existing volumes were taken up and kept away from sale several years ago.

This bold censorship of objective scholarship has been one of the greatest losses that any major denomination could suffer.  It compromises the truth and undermines the future for everybody.  It has taken 20 years for the forces of ignorance and ambition to snuff out the Southern Baptist evangelical light that once burned more brightly than any other.


The GLBT vote is crucial in the national election next Tuesday.  Your influence, however, may go far beyond what you can do yourself with your vote.  Let your parents, family and friends know the issues that are at risk for you in this election.  Encourage them to vote for people who clearly stand for fairness and equality for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual people.  This could have a cumulative effect that can turn the tide of politics for all of us for years to come.


This is no time for fear and timid retreat.  Our world is changing rapidly before our very eyes.  Nothing remains the same.  Everything continuously changes and moves in new directions across new boundaries and into uncharted territory.  Have you found a spiritual anchor that is adequate for you and that gives you a solid rock to take your stand and not waver or give up?

Jesus is the only dependable foundation that I have found to be adequate in every situation and in the ever-expanding uncertainties of my world.  I don't want anything to blur or distort my vision of Jesus.  Religious nonsense and misinformed biblical literalism cannot be allowed to distract me from the real Jesus.  I must resist the temptation to defend and justify sick and abusive religion just because others are doing it.


My friend, Rev. David Pettitt, is the founding pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Monterrey, Mexico.  The church under his leadership has experienced phenomenal growth and brought national attention to the spiritual life and ministry of GLBT people in Mexico.  His recent letter is thrilling and encouraging.  Read it also by clicking on my "RECENT UPDATES" page in my web site.

My e-mail comes from all over the world now.  I just received e-mail today from a 14 year-old girl in upstate New York.  She had been struggling with religious oppression from the "Extreme Teen Bible."  She was sinking into confusion and despair.  She wrote: "Now, in November, the moment after reading part of your web site and realizing what the content meant, a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders.  I could not stop smiling from ear to ear, thanking the Lord that he is so kind and accepting and praying for help in spreading the truth, because I know and believe that the truth NEEDS to be heard.  One who is a Baptist still believes I am possessed with the devil.  I gave her the address for your web site, so hopefully through you she will find the truth also.  Dr. Truluck, you saved my life."

Another e-mail also came yesterday from a man in Pretoria, South Africa, who said that stumbling on my web site was truly answered prayer.  He spent over 4 years as regional director of an ex-gay ministry in South Africa trying to change.  He said that he eventually gave up after a lot of heartache for the pain of others and his own ensuing depression because of his failure to change.  He went on to describe his depression and desperation and concluded by saying: "I thank God for using you as an instrument to reach out to me."

Whatever you do to reach out to others to encourage and lift them up will accomplish far more than you can imagine!  I am convinced that when we really care about people, the Spirit of Jesus moves within us to energize us to know what to say and opens doors for us to reach out to others in the kindness and humility that Jesus has created in our hearts.

This update was added October 31, 2000:

Southern Baptists at Odds
By Hanna Rosin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday , October 31, 2000 ; Page A01

Texas Baptists dealt a serious blow to the Southern Baptist Convention yesterday, voting to cut off $5 million in funds to protest a recent fundamentalist shift in the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

Leaders of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, by far the largest of the denomination's state groups, and officials of the Southern Baptist Convention both saw the vote as a moment of truth, a warning that dissatisfaction with the national leadership's attempts to consolidate power could become serious enough to someday split the denomination.

"This is meant to indicate our grave concern over the continuing move of Southern Baptist leaders toward a more fundamentalist position," said the Rev. Charles Wade, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. He called some of the leadership's recent decisions "almost blasphemous."

Southern Baptist leaders who had traveled to the annual state convention inCorpus Christi to lobby Texas leaders were shaken by yesterday's vote.

"It's a very sad day for the Southern Baptists and for the spirit of cooperation," the Rev. Bill Merrell, spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, said after the vote. "Many see this as the beginning of the endgame in which a new national convention will be formed."

The vote follows the defection of hundreds of churches across the country after the central leadership's June vote to ban female pastors and its declaration two years earlier that wives should "submit graciously" to their husbands.

Earlier this month, former president Jimmy Carter mailed a letter to 75,000 Baptists saying he "can no longer be associated" with the Southern Baptist Convention because the denomination's leadership has become "increasingly rigid," imposing a doctrine that "violates the basic tenets of my Christian faith."

The 2.7 million Texans, who represent nearly a fifth of Southern Baptists, voted yesterday to cut most of the money--$4 million--they give to six Southern Baptist seminaries. Wade said the seminaries teach an "over-direct evangelizing" style at the expense of more traditional Christian social work.

Instead, they will divert that money to the three more moderate Texas Baptist seminaries. Almost half of all Southern Baptist seminarians attend schools in Texas.

The Texas convention also cut off all $1 million of support to the denomination's headquarters in Nashville, which is controlled by the new leadership. Texans will continue to contribute $20 million directly to missionary work at home and abroad.

Perhaps more importantly, Texas leaders changed their constitution toactively welcome other states to join the Texas convention and serve on its committees, a move Southern Baptist leaders saw as planting the seeds of a competing denomination.

Politically, Texas leaders are not nearly as liberal as Carter is. But the dispute transcends politics and involves elemental theology, the kind that historically has split denominations.

As the protesters see it, the fundamentalists who have taken over leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention in the last 20 years have changed the very nature of this 150-year-old denomination, moving it away from one that values religious autonomy--an individual's personal experience of faith and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

In its place they have established a system under which self-appointed "Baptist popes," as critics call them, become the sole interpreters of biblical truth and impose that truth on individual believers.

"In church history there are times when those in power have used the Bible as a club to bludgeon the conscience," Wade said. "But we believe God created us to be free moral agents."

Texas leaders specifically object to a June modification to the Baptist Faith and Message--the closest statement the denomination has to an official creed. The statement, revised only twice before in the denomination's history, drops language that says the faith is "grounded in Jesus Christ." Instead, it says the Bible "is the source of our authority."

Southern Baptist leaders dispute those objections as based on an extreme reading of the changes. In a new World Wide Web site set up to refute the charges, they deny "demoting Jesus" and "replacing him with a book."

The new statement merely clarifies misunderstandings caused by vague language in the 1963 version, they write. Often, the emphasis on Jesus has allowed believers to use their religious experience to engage in free-lance scriptural interpretation, writes Russell Moore, a Baptist theologian.

Merrell added that Southern Baptist seminaries have always required their students to sign statements saying they agree with tenets of the faith.
(This is not true--Truluck)

"The Baptist Faith and Message has been the victim of severe negative spinning," Merrell said yesterday. "If you read it closely, you will see that we reject the idea that any ecclesiastical body can coerce the beliefs of anyone."

© 2000 The Washington Post


Update for June 18, 2000

This update is longer than usual.  I suggest you print it out to read it more easily.  Pass it on to others.  Keep it to show to your grandchildren.

In the climactic scene in the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark," Indiana Jones and his girlfriend are tied to a pole to watch as the Nazis open the ancient Ark of the Covenant.  This holy symbol of Israel's religion has been captured and is being taken as a trophy for Hitler.  When the Ark is opened, beautiful light and colors and faces appear then suddenly turn into scenes of horror as shafts of light strike through the onlookers killing them while the faces of those who opened the ark melt and explode!  Indiana Jones and his friend survive, because they do not look at the desecration of the Ark.


In 1610 a small group began to meet with John Smyth in London to celebrate their belief in the priesthood of all believers, complete religious freedom for each individual, the separation of church and state, and responsibility of each individual to make his or her own decision about their faith in Jesus Christ.  This led to the practice of believers' baptism.  Smyth's little group was the first known church that is basically the same in beliefs as modern Baptists were until the falling away from freedom that began at about the same time as the Stonewall rebellion in 1968 in New York.

These people were called Baptists.  They practiced the same basic beliefs as the Baptists who help to begin the United States of America and who led in the fight for religious freedom for all and the separation of church and state in the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Smyth's group later grew into several groups and began to start churches.  Their belief in the absolute autonomy of the local church developed to protect the individual believers from abuse and oppression by a controlling central authority.

Thomas Helwys joined with John Smyth and in 1612 wrote a book, "The Mystery of Inequity," that included the first plea in the English language for religious liberty and the separation of church and state.  For this, Helwys was imprisoned and died in prison.  Roger Williams in 1631 read "An Humble Supplication' by another Baptist, John Murton, who wrote while in prison.  Williams was convinced by Murton's message.  Later, Williams received a grant of land, which became the present state of Rhode Island.  Williams founded the first Baptist church in the colonies in Providence, Rhode Island.

Roger Williams was deeply committed to religious freedom and separation of church and state.  The Rhode Island colony was the first political state to allow total religious freedom to all faiths, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Moslems, Atheists, pagans, etc.  Other colonial leaders vigorously opposed total religious freedom, because they were convinced that without a state religion, anarchy and unbridled crime would lead to a complete break down of society and government.  Instead, the Rhode Island colony became a model of efficiency and peacefulness.  The example of Rhode Island greatly influenced the development of religious liberty in the beginning of the United States.

My favorite quote from Roger Williams is: "If you force people practice a religion that they don't believe, you make them into hypocrites, which is worse than no religion at all!"

When I grew up in the First Baptist of Clinton, South Carolina, and entered the ministry in 1952, Baptists still held to these basic beliefs in soul freedom, the spiritual competency of the individual, separation of church and state, and the absolute autonomy of the local church.


For almost 400 years, Baptists consistently celebrated the absolute autonomy of the local church.  Even through the ordeals of a disastrous civil war and two world wars accompanied by great social upheavals and cultural changes, Baptists in America remained committed to their individual religious freedom, separation of church and state and the autonomy of the local church.

Suddenly, in 1992, the Southern Baptist Convention made a radical turn in a new and uncharted direction.  The convention reacted to the celebration of holy union for two gay men by Rev. Dr. Mahan Siler, Pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, by casting out a local church from the SBC for the first time in its history.  The SBC also changed their bylaws to exclude any church from the convention that accepted openly gay and lesbian people as members.

My personal response was to see this as a call to action and a challenge to everything that I had respected and honored all my life as a Southern Baptist.  My seminary friend and classmate, Mahan Siler, had sparked a whirlwind of revolution that continues to explode in all directions.  Mahan and I have had many opportunities to discuss and follow up on this event.  My web site and book are part of my response.

As soon as Southern Baptists defined themselves by who they left out, they ceased to be Christian.  This has produced an ongoing and intensifying "horror show" that seems for now to be endless.


Yesterday my friend Adam DeBaugh suggested the term "selective inerrancy" to describe the current Baptist principle of biblical misuse.  The abusive use of the Bible against women, people of color, homosexuals, objective scholars and others by Baptists has been based on the selective use of often dubious texts and the abysmal neglect of texts that give another view.  Jesus described in Matthew 23 the mindset of hypocrisy and mean spirited religion that prevails in many religious environments today.

When I was still a student pastor, Dr. W. A. Criswell, pastor for many years of the largest Southern Baptist Church, the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, published a book that combined misinformation with enthusiasm in a powerful statement: "Why I Preach that the Bible is Literally True."  This book was one of the most influential ever in Baptist history.  Because of his success in building a church with thousands of members, Criswell became the great authority on everything for multitudes of Baptists, especially for the struggling local pastors who were trying hard to survive.


Because of the prevailing Baptist opinion that the Bible is the "word of God" and is infallible in every detail, words have become absolute and worshipped in place of God.  The Bible never calls itself "the word of God."  Jesus is the word of God in all of the Gospel of John and in many other places in the New Testament.

Baptists continue to call themselves "people of the Book," which produces a sickening neglect of Jesus Christ and the humble, inclusive loving Spirit of Truth promised by Jesus to all believers.

I downloaded and read the entire 31-page "2000 Baptist Faith and Message" which gives the 1963 and 1925 statements in parallel columns.  It is a blizzard of words that gives copious biblical references without regard to their context, accurate translation or relevance to what they are being used to prove.

This all-inclusive attempt to say everything about all religious issues is a bold rejection of the Baptist principle of soul competency of the individual and a thinly veiled grasp at control through an official "creed," which Baptists vigorously deny that they have!


When I attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, 1956-68 for three degrees including a doctorate, it was the leading evangelical seminary in the world.  Dr. Duke McCall was President.  My professors were authors of textbooks that most major evangelical seminaries used, especially in teaching biblical Greek and Hebrew.  My professors all had the same objective: to teach students to think for themselves by learning accurate information from primary sources and by developing effective personal methods of study and research.

This has changed.  The present President of Southern Seminary, Albert Mohler, ended the debate at the Convention about the authority of the Bible when he said: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is what it all comes down to: The Bible is not merely a record; it is the revelation of God."  The messengers stood and applauded.  (Thanks to Lawrence Reh at FirstLight@egroups.com for this info.)

No room is left for effective disagreement and debate in the present state of legalistic fundamentalist control of the SBC.

A few days ago a retired friend of mine who was once a leader at the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board in Nashville said: "Most of us left the Southern Baptist Convention 10 years ago."

Can Jesus through the Holy Spirit bring change and hope in this prevailing attitude of Baptists that makes not just the Bible but their particular literalist interpretation of the Bible absolute and binding on everybody?

So far, the Southern Baptist move into legalism and literalism continues to accelerate.


The great tragedy of Southern Baptists is that this once powerful force for truth, freedom of religion, excellence in theological education, local church autonomy, separation of church and state and progressive social change has fallen into the pit of legalism and the abusive use of the Bible against just about everybody, including themselves.

Signs of hope, however, are beginning to emerge.  Mel White and SoulForce go marching on with truth, love and glorious commitment to do whatever it takes to overcome the misunderstanding and distortions that are destroying our GLBT sisters and brothers around the world.

The American Baptist Convention progress is in stark contrast to Southern Baptist regression in GLBT acceptance and affirmation.  Many other evangelical churches and denominations are openly affirming and including GLBT people at every level of church life and leadership. 

See the great work of the Alliance of Baptists and the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America in their new workbook for Churches (address given below).  My personal experience with the Southern Baptist "Honesty" retreat in Austin, Texas, last September and "American Baptist Concerned" retreat last weekend in Seattle greatly encouraged me!

The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches continues to lead the way in the United States and 19 foreign countries.  MCC for over 31 years has given accurate information, encouragement, hope and the opportunity for Christian fellowship and ministry to multitudes of GLBT people, including me.

Millions of people are hearing the real truth about GLBT people for the first time and are listening, learning and changing their minds, as indicated by many recent surveys of public opinion.


The following update tellS of my visit to University Baptist Church in Austin, Texas in September, 1999.

Update for September 23, 1999

God is alive and healing homophobia at University Baptist Church, "Honesty" Gay and Lesbian Baptists, White Rock Community Church, and among a growing number of other accepting and affirming people and churches "deep in the heart of Texas!" 

GAY POSITIVE SOUTHERN BAPTISTS are receptive to the good news of God's love and acceptance of GLBT people at University Baptist Church in Austin, Texas.  Our two-day "Honesty" Gay and Lesbian Baptist Retreat was a celebration of great progress that has begun among many open minded compassionate Baptists. 

56 people from 17 cities attended my workshop on "Rebuilding The Bridges."  One man drove from Florida for the retreat.  Pastor Dr. Larry Bethune of UBC was a gracious and encouraging host.  His Sunday morning sermon was inspiring and informative, and you can read it on the UBC web site.

My own heart was deeply touched by being in a Baptist Church to lead and teach for the first time in over 18 years.  I am greatly encouraged by my experience last weekend in Austin, Texas.  What a joy it was to see and feel the love and acceptance for homosexuals by Southern Baptists who have learned, believed and acted on the truth about God's love for all people!  Pastor Larry Bethune has done a wonderful job over the past several years leading and educating the people about the Bible and homosexuality.


Doors of acceptance and affirmation for homosexuals are being opened by many ordinary local Baptist people.  The Sunday School meeting that I led for all gay and non-gay adults Sunday morning was emotional for me.  I found great enthusiasm and acceptance.  I was affirmed in my mission, and so were they.  This level of knowledge and acceptance did not happen over night.  The church has a teaching pastor who had equipped the people to understand and accept GLBT people.  I met and learned from many people.

HANS VENABLE and DAVID STAHL have been lovers and partners for 16 years and have been active members of UBC all of that time.  When Hans was elected a deacon, someone decided to "out" him as gay and inform the local Baptist Association, which promptly voted to throw the church out of the Association if Hans remained a deacon.  The pastor and the church stood by David, and the story was told in detail with pictures by the "Dallas Morning News" and many other Texas newspapers.  Information about these events can be found in the University Baptist Church web site under "NEWS."  (See also "Open Circle" in UBC web site.)


Skip Allen, son of Dr. Jimmy Allen, former Southern Baptist Convention President and Speaker for UFMCC General Conference in July, was at the Retreat and told his story to me and to the group.  Meeting and getting to know Skip was an uplifting and revealing experience for me.  Skip also played the piano and sang his own compositions at the Saturday night concert.  Skip encouraged me and made me realize even more the importance of our mission of information and education for evangelicals. 

Skip realized that he was gay at a very early age.  He has battled AIDS for years and is living in hope.  He has worked his way through the confusion, homophobia, anger, rejection and pain of being the son of a Southern Baptist pastor who also served as President of SBC and wrote a book about AIDS in the family that took the lives of Skip's sister-in-law and two nephews.  Skip has endured the spotlight of unwanted national attention and with God's help has found peace and hope along with contagious joy and an exuberant sense of mission in Jesus Christ.  Skip was a blessing to me, and I look forward to continuing our new friendship and seeing what God is going to do through his life in the future.  I was impressed with the large percentage of Gay and Lesbian participants in the Retreat who also were Preacher's children.

A NEW GENERATION of Southern Baptists and other evangelicals is learning that God loves and accepts homosexuals as God's children.  Truth is bringing freedom and hope to multitudes of GLBT people who had once given up on God, Jesus, the Bible, the Church, and themselves.  The Church still needs a lot of work.  The Bible needs to be seen for what it really is.  God, however, is doing just fine.  Jesus has never really been in trouble, just misunderstood and misrepresented.

What will you do to make these good things happen for more of us?


My 88 year old Mother can barely see.  She is visiting her sister this week in McCormick, SC, and told me that one of my cousins, who is the local librarian, took her to the library and set her before a big-screen computer to let her see and explore my web site.  She had not seen it before.  She read a lot of it and told me that she really enjoyed it and was amazed at how easy it was to find her way around and "click" from place to place!

Many recent events convince me that long-time Southern Baptists can change and can become informed and affirming friends of Lesbians and Gays.  All that they need is accurate information, the truth about Jesus, and a lot of love. 

Most of the Retreat participants had seen my web site.  In fact, my invitation to lead the Retreat was suggested by a member of the committee who did not know me but had seen "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" and had passed it on to his friends.

If you know of any church or group who would like to plan a similar event of learning, dialogue, fellowship and inspiration, please tell them to get in touch with me. 


On November 14, 1997, my following article appeared in Second Stone magazine.  I am repeating it here for you to read and send on to anyone that you feel will be helped by it.  Second Stone had to cease publication in 1998.  All subscribers were transferred to The Other Side magazine to receive the rest of their subscription. 

I renewed my subscription to continue to receive The Other Side and received today the promised bonus special issue on "Christians & Homosexuality: Dancing Toward the Light" ("a Life-affirming exploration of personal, biblical, and ethical issues").  I am grateful that the life and ministry of Second Stone is being continued by The Other Side.  Contact The Other Side at 300 W. Apsley Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144. Click here to see THE OTHER SIDE web site.


After I was outed in 1981, I resigned from Baptist College and moved to Atlanta. I began to dread the holidays.  I worked for a delivery service and put myself on to work every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.  I did not want to spend a holiday thinking about and grieving over my lost family and children from who I had been separated.  I kept as busy as possible.  I even had a hard time going to church on holidays.  MCC in Atlanta was a lot of help to all of us who were lonely and depressed during the holidays.  They had special events, meals at church, and a lot of pleasant fellowship was available.  I was still lonely and depressed.

Holidays can be a painful time of remembering lost friends and family and departed comrades.  Separation from our parents and other relatives can hurt more than usual during the holidays, especially when you are told, "You can come, but don't bring Steve!"   

Because I did not want to face the loneliness and separation of the holidays, I did a lot of holiday drinking.  Once, in 1988, when I first tried to quit drinking, I went to an AA meeting in August, took a white chip and became sober.  I did OK until Christmas, when I began to drink again, and soon I was more under the control of alcohol than before.  I learned the hard way that one drink is too many and a thousand drinks are not enough.  I kept drinking until the next August 8, 1989, when I went to another AA meeting and started over with another white chip, and with God's help to live "one day at a time". I became sober and have stayed sober for 9 years, four months and one week today!  I know better than to use alcohol to try to handle conflict and stress.  Do you?

How can we handle the conflicts and stress of the holiday season in constructive and positive ways?  Does Jesus give us any help?  Yes!

Jesus endured his greatest stress and the ultimate test of his purpose and mission in life during a holiday.  He was betrayed, abandoned, tortured and murdered during the holidays!  The Passover was the biggest holiday of the year in Israel.  The population of Jerusalem swelled to over 2 million people during the Passover season.  People were everywhere, just like Christmas shopping mall mob scenes today!  In the midst of the celebration of Passover, Jesus went apart to be alone in the Garden and prayed, "If it is possible, let this cup pass from me.  Nevertheless, not my will, but Your will be done."

Whatever stress you face, Jesus has already faced it and handled it well.  This is why the presence of the Spirit of Jesus in you will guide and empower you to handle your pressures and disappointments.  Holiday time can be a time of spiritual growth and an opportunity for outreach in love and ministry for Jesus in the lives of the people around you.

Remember that other people are hurting and need you.  Reach out to others.  Give yourself in phone calls, visits, writing letters, sending e-mail, and giving your time and your attention to people who need you.  Most of all, share Jesus with others.  If you are prepared to share your experience with Jesus, God will give you the opportunity to give the greatest gift of all: the gospel of the good news of God's love.

Sue was a deacon at Golden Gate MCC in San Francisco when I was Pastor there.  She met David at a homeless shelter and encouraged him and became his friend.  She shared with him the MCC brochure on how to become a Christian: "The Bible as Your Friend."  David had AIDS and was seriously ill.  At about midnight one night, David called Sue from San Francisco General Hospital and told her that he needed to see her because he was afraid.  Sue went to see David and as soon as she saw him, she knew that he did not have long to live.

David said, "Sue, I am afraid that when I die I will go out somewhere into limbo or something."  Sue reminded David of the brochure and they read through it again.  Sue told David that he could have Jesus in his heart and life if he just invited Jesus to come into his life.  David asked Sue to help him pray.  She did.  David fell back on his pillow and looked up and smiled and said, "I think I have my purple angel wings now!"  After a couple of hours, David asked Sue, "Can I go home now?  I want to go home."  Sue said, "Yes, David, you can go home."  David shut his eyes and died at 3:00 A.M.  David was 16 years old.

A week later, Sue called David's mother, for David had given her the phone number.  David's mother told Sue, "As far as I am concerned, David died 6 months ago!"   That was when she had learned that her son was gay and had AIDS. 

Somebody needs you to be the family that has abandoned them because they are gay or lesbian.  Your greatest gift to others is to be the loving hands and voice of Jesus to touch people who are wounded and in pain because of the homophobia and religious abuse and oppression that prevails in our society.  You may be someone's only hope.  David is still out there.  Look for him.  He needs your love this holiday season.

Jesus knew what it was like to be misunderstood by his own family.  He showed us how we can select the people who are to be our spiritual family and how to make good choices about who we let be close to us.  See Mark 3:20-21 and 31-35, where Jesus said, "Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."

I encourage you to look at my web site on "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse"  for information that will equip you to understand and help others with the encouragement and love of Jesus.  Merry Christmas to you and to all a good night!

Rembert Truluck

"The Christmas holidays are whatever
you make them to be for you."

If you want to explore more fully the spiritual support of gay and lesbian Southern Baptists see "Honesty/Texas"

See also the web site for Cathedral Of Hope MCC in Dallas .

A hard hitting "Personal Testimony" video response to the Southern Baptist attacks against gay and lesbian people has been produced by one of my friends here in the Bay Area and is available for purchase.  Contact the producer by e-mail at martinjg@flash.net for information.

See also a new site called "BAPTIST WATCH".

Special thanks to Barbara and Chris Purdom for sending my web site updates on to the readers of religion@CritPath.Org.  I learn a lot of news and up-to-date information from religion@CritPath.Org.  If you have not yet done so, look at the web page for Interfaith Working Group and sign up to receive their regular e-mail news items about "gay rights, reproductive freedom, and the separation of church and state" throughout the world.  Write to them and thank them for what they are doing.

[ Home ]  [ Why This Site ] [ Bible & Homosexuality ] [ Ex-Gay Fraud
12 Steps to Recovery ] [  Legalism as Idolatry ]  [ Jesus & the Bible
Response to Southern Baptists ]  [ Your Own Recovery Group
Resources & References ] [ About Author] [Contact Us] [Jesus Bible Studies]