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Picture Credit:
Moses Breaking the Tablets of the Law
by Gustave Dore

Legalism as Idolatry

IDOLATRY is making anything other than God absolute.  In legalistic religion, the individual is absorbed into the system and loses identity and self esteem. Legalism is the mortal enemy of healthy self esteem.   Peace with God is a gift and not a work of law.  Romans 10:4: "Christ is the end (or "goal" Gk. Telos) of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."


 Read Romans 5:1-10; Galatians 2:16, 20-21; Galatians 5:1, 13-15;  Ephesians 2:8-9 for the triumph of love and grace over law.

Legalism denies the love and power of God in Jesus in the Gospels.  Legalism has certain distinct features in the Bible and today:

  1. Legalism is self centered. "Look what I have done."
  2. Luke 18:9-14.
  3. Legalism emphasizes the externals and becomes preoccupied with  trivia.
  4. Matthew 23:5-6, 24-25.
  5. Legalism makes things other than God absolute.  
  6. Mark 7:5-9.
  7. Legalism obscures a clear view of God.  
  8. Matthew 23:13, 15.
  9. Legalism is insensitive to human need. 
  10. Mark 3:1-2; Luke 10:25-37
  11. Legalism ignores individuality. 
  12. Matthew 23:4; 11:28-30.
  13. Legalism develops into a religion of experts.
  14. Matthew 15:3-6; 23:3; 18:1-4.
  15. Legalism creates judgment and divisions. 
  16. Mark 11:15-18; Luke 20:19-20.
  17. Legalism always needs more interpretation. 
  18. Matthew 23:16-23.
  19. Legalism denies your freedom to make your own decisions based on your personal experience with God. 
  20. Mark 2:23-28; 3:1-7.

The awesome destructive power of judgmental legalism in religion should not be underestimated.  Legalistic religion undermines self esteem.  The individual can never measure up to the absolute legal standards of "holy living" or "perfection" demanded by the legalists. 

Jesus came to liberate people from hopeless bondage to legalistic judgmental abusive religion.  "Since you are free in Christ, do not be bound again by a religious yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1).  No matter how legalism is disguised, it is the enemy of Christ and of your self respect and peace in Christ.  Grow in Christ, and you grow in self esteem and freedom.

The word "religion" originally means "to bind" or "to limit" and refers to ideas and beliefs that bind and control people.  The New Testament idea of salvation, however, was expressed in Greek words that mean "liberation" and "freedom."

The Greek words for "save" and "savior" in the New Testament (sozo & soter) mean "to set free, liberate,  rescue" or to be a "liberator" or "one who sets people free." In the time of Christ, the words were used for teachers, who liberated students from ignorance, doctors, who liberated people from sickness, or leaders, who liberated people from an enemy.  The name "Jesus" is the Greek form of the Hebrew name "Joshua," which means "deliverer" or "liberator."  In this web site, the author's translations reflect this more exact and accurate translations of the Greek words for save as "set free" or "liberate". (See Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:11; 19:10; John 4:42; 2 Peter 1:11; 1 John 4:14 and many other references in the New Testament.)

Update for July 18, 2004

The real issue that we face now is not gay and lesbian rights or even same-sex marriage.  The real issue faced by the public today is whether or not our nation will enjoy government of the people, by the people, and for the people or government of religion, by religion and for religion.  The vote of the U.S. Senate to reject the anti-gay marriage amendment was a stark and unexpected defeat for the forces of prejudice and ignorance that have developed great power in recent years.

Now the battle shifts to the House of Representatives, which the President is saying will give the results that he wants and that the Senate rejected.  The battle is being fought on many fronts.  But the battle is the same all the time.  Will the forces of ignorance, prejudice and religious manipulation win or will common sense, fairness and the good of the people win?


False information is the basis of the national confusion and mixed feelings about GLBT people.  The religious organizations that have the most power today are churning out garbage truck loads of lies and misinformation about homosexuals every day.  If you have not done so, look up the websites of Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, Traditional Family Values, Southern Baptists, and other powerful political/religious forces arrayed against everyone who does not accept the fundamentalist religious disaster that has enveloped our nation.

Google lists over 9 million websites related to "Focus on the Family"!  4.9 million websites are related to "Family Research Council".  2.6 million websites are related to "Traditional Family Values." Baptists have almost a half a million websites related and Southern Baptists l19 thousand.

On the other hand, over 1.4 million websites are related to "Bible Abuse" and "Recovery from Bible Abuse" lists over 200,000 websites.  I recently received e-mail responses to my website from Mexico, Amsterdam, Thailand, Canada, Australia, South Carolina, and many other states.  We are being overwhelmed by an avalanche of religious garbage, and yet the truth is also out there for those who want to find it.

Google also lists almost a half a million websites related to "Metropolitan Community Church".  The truth is available.  It just depends on where you look for it.  The term "WHOSOEVER" with usually a message of including GLBT people is related to 360 thousand sites.


What can you do?  Simply tell your truth to one other person!  You can never know the possible implications of telling your truth to just one person.  I admire many people who have told their truth and changed many people.  Rev. Troy Perry, one of my most admired and respected friends, has had the privilege of changing multitudes of GLBT people from fear into hope with his founding and leadership of MCC since 1968. 

Troy Perry's books and his personal magnetism have been of extraordinary influence in our present world.  See his books and other information in link to UFMCC.  Troy Perry began to change the world when he told his truth to one other person.

NEWS FLASH: Rev. Troy Perry and MCC have been invited (July 15, 2004) to "Summit On Government Adoption Policy" and invited to "take an active role in recommending strategies…to recruit adoptive and foster families."  (See this story by clicking here)


Unexpected power and influence are generated when you tell just one other person your personal truth.  You are the world's authority on your story.  Learn to share your truth with confidence and brevity.  Write out your story.  Keep a daily journal.  Think about who you are and what is happening to you.

Another personal friend whom I admire and appreciate is Lawrence Reh, who founded and leads "First Light" Internet discussion group.  (See link to "First Light") What can you do to make a difference in your world?  Each of us has a torch of truth and light to pass on to others.  Jesus reminds you not to hide your light under a basket but to let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify God!  (Matthew 5:16)

The list is endless.  See also "WHOSOEVER" and the work of my friend Candace Chellew-Hodge.  This site includes a lot of material from my "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse".  People frequently write to me to tell me how they have been helped by "WHOSOEVER."

I have added many of the GLBT supportive websites, including some new ones, to my website in the "RESOURCES" sections.  Also look at the same section for "Transgender" websites.


The Internet has truly changed our world beyond comprehension.  I have already reached more people with my Internet website than Jesus reached during his entire lifetime.  That seems almost obscene, doesn't it?  Yet Jesus said that we will do greater things than he did because he is giving his Spirit to us.  John 14:12-18.)

As William Carey said when he began the modern evangelical missionary movement: "Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God."  Carey preached this sermon from Isaiah 54:2 in May1792 to the Baptist Association in England where he had begun a revolution in Baptist thinking that had previously rejected education, evangelism and missions as an intrusion on God's sovereignty and power of election.  The man who had baptized Carey had told him earlier: "Young man, if God wants to save the heathen he can do it without your help or mine!"

William Carey went to India as the first missionary ever sponsored by a Baptist Missionary Society.  He learned Hindi and Bengali and taught them at the Indian University.  He translated the Bible into both and started churches, schools, hospitals, orphanages and did all of the things that modern missionaries do today.  Carey was probably one of the most gifted brilliant people of his time.  We wrote the first atlas of the world in English.  Read the life of William Carey to learn a lot about creative thinking in spiritual matters and challenging the contemporary religious system.


Unfortunately today, Southern Baptists and other fundamentalist evangelicals have tried to copy the earliest methods of Carey and other famous missionaries; but forget that the main thing is to keep focused on Jesus, be relevant to today's culture, and to listen to the people around you while you continue to think for yourself.

Imitating what successful people have done in the past is only effective if you also question all authority, learn from your contemporary culture and think for yourself in all things.

When critics write to me to condemn me for my website material, I often suggest:  Learn to think for yourself instead of listening to unlearned and misinformed preachers tell you what to believe and what to do.


Every day I am touched by the many letters GLBT people are writing and receiving that give hope and encouragement to and from each other.  Your e-mail letter of encouragement, acceptance and hope could save a life.  Your letter could change the mind of a bigot.  Your letter will change you as you write it and think about the lessons you have learned from your own experience. 

Use the Internet.  It is worth the trouble, time and expense.  We never know how much longer we will have it.  The perfect worm could take it all out at one gulp.  I am sure Bill Gates is spending all of the money that he can raise to keep that from happening!  But there are evil forces out there much stronger than Bill Gates.

Rembert Truluck
201 W. Washington St. #805
Greenville, SC 29601

Thank you for your encouragement, prayers and financial help!  I do not know what door of financial support God has yet to open for me and my Internet ministry, but I pray and expect great things from God and from you.

Always check "Yahoo! Gay and Lesbian News" for the latest news:

Update for July 4, 2004

You have my permission to copy and use any of my website material in teaching and encouraging others. Always include my name and website link in anything you copy.


"Independence" is not the same thing as "Freedom."  Freedom means that you have permission to be and do whatever fits you.  Independence means having the resources that you need in order to think and act for yourself.  Freedom can be given to you.  Independence is something that you have to learn and earn for yourself.

Ignorance and misinformation are mortal enemies of both independence and freedom.  Freedom has to be developed and exercised.  As the old saying goes: "Those who do not read are no better off than those who cannot read."  Freedom to think for yourself and take responsibility for your own decisions and actions requires you to study, read, do your own research and maintain an open inquiring mind.

What most threatens your personal independence?  Is it co-dependency that keeps your own happiness linked to the attitudes, whims and desires of another person?  Real independence deals successfully with the demon of co-dependency. (See Melody Beatty links below.)  How much is your freedom compromised by the grip that you have allowed other people to have over you?


One of the greatest barriers to individual independence is your early instructions and cultural demands that you learned from your parents and from abusive religious teachings and leaders.  How have you escaped this life-suffocating process in your own growth and development?  It is not easy for most people to accept the fact that their family religion was abusive, misinformed and destructive.  It is like rejecting and not loving your grandmother!

Several years ago my youngest daughter and I attend the movie "Independence Day" on Independence Day in Charleston, South Carolina.  This was one of the first of many times that I have spent with Susan that helped us to develop a greater bond of affection and common experience.

Most threats to your independence are not caused by invaders from outer space.  Instead, your independence is compromised by things you were taught as a child and by relatives and friends who tried to tell you who you are without knowing what they were talking about and not really knowing who they were.

Freedom FROM religion as well as freedom of religion was one of the key provisions of the new American "Declaration of Independence" and the United States Constitution that came later.  Freedom from religion is far more significant than freedom of religion!  In a world milieu that assumes that everyone is caught up in and guided by some form of religion, most people have difficulty accepting the reality that no religion at all is better than abusive, legalistic, destructive religion!

The current war that is being fought in the Middle East is clearly a "religious war" that appears so far to be far from over and which could be impossible to win or end.  Throughout human history, believers have been willing to kill themselves and kill their own children in the name of some form of demanding absolute religion.


The Jesus of the Gospels did not come to establish a new religion but came to destroy all religions and replace them with himself.  The only invitation of Jesus was: "Come, follow me."  This commandment is so simple and clear that the leading "experts" of traditional religions can never be satisfied with it.  Religion seems always bent on adding, expanding and legalizing the requirements of Christianity until the whole massive religious mudslide of our time flows like a volcanic eruption of ash and mud to obliterate the landscape and destroy all life in its path.  (See all of "Legalism as Idolatry" )

We all live in a spiritual Pompeii where the excavations of ruins and relics of a dead society have been preserved in vivid detail for anyone who will wake up and think.  The contemporary religious reign of terror showers us with the hot lava and suffocating fallout of religious ignorance and misinformation.

My website already includes massive detailed information and explanations regarding abusive religious threats against GLBT people.  Most of the critical  e-mail attacks that I receive are from people who have not really read all of my website and have seen only the titles and other superficial features and written to me demanding that I explain or justify my conclusion that God created, loves and accepts homosexuals.

My explanations and factual information are already given in great detail in my website and book.


My website on "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" was prepared and published in September 1997 with research and explanations of all of the biblical material used against GLBT people.  Since 1997, hundreds of updates have been added to every section of my website to give specific information and detailed answers and practical methods to respond to the abusive use of religion and the Bible against you.

My website material and book give you a clear path into personal and spiritual independence.  Take the time to read all of it and pass it on to others.  Freedom from bondage to ignorance and religious misinformation is a basic foundation for realistic independence that allows you to know, believe in and accept yourself.

Happy Fourth of July 2004!

Rembert Truluck

Nobody is free until everybody is free.

Check out Melody Beattie online.  Here is a link to information about all of Beattie's books on co-dependence:
http://www.fetchbook.info/search_Melody_Beattie/searchBy_Au thor.html

The "Ex-Gay" industry remains the most destructive challenge to GLBT freedom and independence today.  See Ex-Gay Fraud .

Explore carefully my section on Psychiatry and Medicine.:

Here I have given recent news and responses regarding John Paulk, Joe Dallas, Southern Baptists and others who have poisoned the well of truth and accurate information that is available to GLBT people.

See also see information about "The Alliance Defense Fund", which is the homophobic abusive religious organization that presently is leading the legal challenge against same-sex marriage in several states.  See also the analysis of this organization in People for the American Way.

"Alliance Defense Fund" published the recent Southern Baptist sponsored book on "The Homosexual Agenda."  See my review of this book

Update added September 7, 2003

(A special welcome to new MCC clergy candidates who have received copies of my book and are receiving this update for the first time.)

The Internet is being infected with the double plague of SPAM and Viruses.  The whole world is being infected with the plague of religion.  By now, you probably have good virus protection and a firewall on your computer.  SPAM is another can of worms!  I am getting at least fifty unwanted e-mails for every e-mail that I recognize and open.  Most of the unwanted e-mails contain computer viruses.  I do not open any attachments now.  If you want to send information to me, include it in the body of your letter.

Misinformed religion is just as pervasive in our culture as SPAM and viruses and a lot more destructive.  Letting abusive religion into your life is like opening virus-infected e-mail!

SPAM and viruses will take over your computer and destroy its usefulness.  Religion, however, will take over your life and destroy you!

Today is Sunday, September 7, 2003.  My cable television provider has just added almost 20 new channels to their service.  I have been channel surfing this morning, and I am constantly amazed at the multiplicity and intensity of the religious programs that dominate Sunday television.  I just watched D. James Kennedy of the Coral Ridge Church Industry beg for money to support Judge Roy Moore in Alabama in his defense of the Ten Commandments monument and to support religious freedom, which is a contradiction if I ever saw one!

Television religion is all about money.  Several years ago James Kennedy paid for the anti-gay pro "Ex-Gay" newspaper advertisements that featured John and Anna Paulk and great crowds of people who allegedly had been changed from gay to straight by religion.  Kennedy earlier had sold copies of his anti-gay video to raise money to send to the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, to support their effort to outlaw all positive GLBT programs and legislation.

(Click here for my college lecture on Ten Commandments)

The biblical "Ten Commandments" are found in Exodus 20:1-21 and in Deuteronomy 5:1-33.  Read these passages to see how the two lists are different and notice the terrible threatening setting for this event.  These two lists give different reasons for remembering the Sabbath Day.  If you read the lists of commandments carefully, you will notice that they are about the property rights of the man.  They assume that the man owns his property, his woman, his animals and his slaves as personal property that is to be respected and protected by law.  We don't live in that kind of world anymore!

The Jewish list of Ten Commandments is different from the Christian list.  The first commandment in the Hebrew list begins with this First Commandment: "I am the Lord your God" followed by the Second: "You shall have no other gods before me."

Remember that all of the biblical laws about adultery are about property rights, not about sex!  The word "sex" does not exist in the Greek or Hebrew languages of the Bible.

Controversy over the Ten Commandments will continue as long as abusive legalistic judgmental religion continues to grip the thinking and control the religion of multitudes of people.  Freedom of religion means freedom from religious ignorance and oppression.  Whenever the use of public funds and public power is enlisted to force any religious interpretation on the people, freedom of religion is compromised and denied.  Freedom of religion is always also freedom from religion.


Religion is always based on ignorance and misinformation.  People did not know what caused lightening and thunder; so religious explanations were created to fill in the ignorance gap.  The entire history of religion is an exercise in exchanging one level of ignorance for another.  To question and discard religious ignorance does not mean that one rejects God.  It simply means that you question and reject a particular destructive illogical view of God.


Where did you get your view of God?  What teachings and cultural forces developed your belief in the kind of God that you imagine and say that you worship?  Where did your God come from?  You were given some kind of vision of God when you were too young to be objective and think critically about the subject.  You were conditioned to some form of religion before you ever learned to think for yourself.  Faith had nothing to do with it.  You had no choice.  Now you do.  So where do you go from here?  How much inconsistent ignorant religious baggage do you have to drag along with you for the rest of your life?  Hopefully, none!


Today is "Grandparent's Day" and greetings and telephone calls are being made everywhere to express love and appreciation to grandparents.  This is wonderful.  My children have already called my mother to say "Happy Grandmother's Day" to her.  But your grandparents grew up in a world that does not exist anymore!

You have to learn to think for yourself.  If you don't think for yourself, you don't think.

My updates are not intended to tell you what to think but are intended to give information and stimulate you to think for yourself.  Disagree with me!  Argue with me!  But also take the time to read the best sources for yourself and determine to be free from ignorance and misinformation and learn to think for yourself.


Religion is filled with emotional hooks that bind you to inappropriate and irrelevant teachings and ideas that were formulated in a world that does not exist anymore.  Freedom from ignorance is the basic freedom upon which all other freedoms are built.  Education of all kinds sets you free to think for yourself.  Ignorance binds you to the thinking, prejudices and ignorance of others.  Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  Jesus also said, "I am the truth." 

Learn whatever you need to know to be able to think for yourself.  The word "religion" is based on the word for "bondage" or "to bind".  Your real freedom to be yourself, to think for yourself and to respect and affirm yourself is based on your acceptance of factual information that tells you the truth about your own reality and about the real world in which you live now.

This is the reason for my web site and book, which are given to provide factual information and realistic explanations based on sound scholarship and real life experience that help GLBT people to accept and affirm themselves and to feel good about themselves in spite of what the temporary religious culture might teach and try to enforce.

Rembert Truluck
September 7,2003

See new web site for an emerging new GLBT spiritual ministry led by my friend Rev. Jay Neely, who was District Coordinator for the GLAD District and has helped me and many other MCC pastors to feel good about our ministries and to do a better job because of his encouragement and counsel:

International Christian Community Churches

Rev. Jay Neely' message

Click here to see new material on The Ten Commandments added March 26, 2002

The following update was added May 31, 2001

In preparation for my trip to New Orleans next week to join with Soulforce in challenging the Southern Baptist juggernaut, I have had to rethink the destructive role of religion in all of our culture.  Why is religion so highly praised and rewarded in spite of its destructive results in human lives?  (Webster's definition of "juggernaut": "a massive inexorable force, campaign, movement or object that crushes whatever is in its path.")

"RELIGIONISM" dominates much of today's culture.  Making religion into a form of "idolatry" results from making religion absolute and an end in itself, creating a substitute for God.  Any "ism" becomes a religion when human experiences, ideas and teachings are made absolute and are protected and defended without regard to the facts and by denying obviously contradictory experiences and abandoning objective realistic logic.  Some examples are Legalism, Conservatism, Communism, Socialism, Fascism, Racism, Extremism, Colonialism, Sexism, Paternalism, Liberalism, Capitalism, Materialism, and Heterosexism.

"Religiosity" can be defined as the use of religion as a substitute for realistic objective thoughtful reason.  Religion is such a broad term that it has been filled with widely contradictory meanings and has become an excuse for psychological terror and oppression, political deceit and power, genocide, savage wars, and a multitude of human disasters on a scale as yet unrealized or admitted by the "religionists."


The first step in "Religionism" is the abandonment of logic.  The followers of religion are convinced that the teachings and demands of their religion are absolute and cannot be questioned or challenged by logic or objective realistic thinking.  Webster's definition of "religionist" is "a person adhering to a religion, esp. a religious zealot;" and as an adj.: "excessively, obtrusively, or sentimentally religious."  The word "religion" is from French. "religare," "to restrain, tie back."  Religion has become a powerful tool of political, social, economic, and family restraint and control.

How has religion been used to control you?  How have you used religion to try to control others?  Did it work?

In religion, every effort is made by the religionists to justify, explain and give practical application to their beliefs, no matter how illogical and obviously confused and contradictory those beliefs might be.  In religion, obvious misinformation often is maintained as "the word of God."  Objective open-minded study and research are discouraged by religious attacks that condemn "intellectualism" and the imagined ungodly tyranny of scientific information.  Is "religious logic" a contradiction in terms: an oxymoron?


Religion creates a world of fear.  Children are born into an environment filled with fears of God's condemnation and judgment, social disapproval and rejection, internal doubts and fears of their own sexuality, and the ultimate horror of burning for all eternity in hell.  Children are taught early to fear failure, strangers, anybody who is different, other races, other religions, and a threatening landscape of life full of phobias and destructive people, including the face that they see in a mirror.  Children are taught to be afraid of certain foods, dangerous water, animals, places, people and just about everything that their parents also were taught to fear.

One of the greatest fears fed by religion is the fear of being left out, the fear of rejection and abandonment.  Religion teaches people to be afraid of their own freedom to think and to fear their own ideas when they conflict with the religious "group think" that dominates them.

Freedom from fear is perhaps the greatest gift that one person can give to another.

Freedom from fear was the persistent offer of Jesus in the Gospels.  "Don't be afraid" is a constant greeting from Jesus to his friends when they were under pressure and were confused.  "There is no fear in love.  The goal of love is to cast out fear, because fear causes pain and panic.  Anyone who lives in fear has not yet fully experienced love."  (My translation of 1 John 4:18)

How much of your religious motivation is based on fear?  You probably have heard the term "churchianity" as a way of speaking about making the churches an absolute end in themselves, and therefore idolatrous.  Churches hold great power over people because they do not hesitate to "scare the hell out of" children as early as possible.


You are made in the image of God.  Whenever you are taught to fear and reject yourself, you are being taught to abandon your true self and your own experience of God within you.  The first step in following Jesus and being like Jesus is to accept and affirm yourself for who you really are the way God made you.  To deny your true humanity is a spiritual step backwards.  In the creation story, it is obvious that God did not intend any humans to "play god".  Adam and Eve, Adam and Steve, or Eve and Alice were intended to be truly and honestly human and let God be Sovereign.

The idea of accepting yourself before you can accept God into your life may seem strange, but that is only because you have been conditioned by traditional religion to question and deny our own value as an individual.  God was here long before the church was!  God is eternal, inclusive, consistent and realistic.  The church isn't.

Like the Bible says: "Remember that God is Sovereign!  God has made us and not we ourselves.  We are God's people and the sheep of God's pasture." (Psalm 100)  God comes to us.  We do not come to God.  The absolute sovereignty of God is displayed in God's presence in you in every breath that you breathe.  Every breath you take reminds you of the Spirit of God that is already within you.  It is all so clear and simple.  Only years of careful distortions of reality and outrageous abusive religion could destroy the simplicity of experiencing God just by being yourself as God made you!

The elevation of the statement that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" to the level of absolute religious dogma has replaced the truth of God that is clearly given throughout the Bible and in human experience.  God is already with you before you are born.  God never is "gone on vacation" from you, because you contain the image of God in your very existence as a human being.


The trashing of humanity by the churches as a basis for offering themselves as the only hope of "salvation" is ludicrous.  The churches try to undo what God has already done and create humanity in the image of dirt instead of in the image of God.  That's awful, and it has to be challenged and stopped.  The history of the horrors of human suffering and death at the hands of religious people is clear evidence for any thinking person that something is terribly wrong with "Religionism."

LGBT people are being trashed by spiritually insensitive and unrealistic churches that have opted to play God instead of serving God by accepting and affirming all people in God's image.  The current destructive abusive churches in their present ungodly configuration cannot redeem themselves.  They are incapable of self-awareness and honesty.  Tradition has triumphed over reason, and there is no turning back.


I am under no illusion that I as a teacher/writer or any of us in human wisdom and energy alone can change this world.  But God can.  The question is how can we get in touch with the God who already dwells with us, who made and sustains our every moment of life and who loves and accepts us just as we are?  Is the Creator God of Jesus Christ also available within us, as Jesus claimed in the Gospels?  The entire life and ministry of Jesus was a powerful rebuke and challenge to traditional abusive religion.  Must you also leave religion and follow Jesus instead?  Is it really that simple?  Yes.  So do it!

Rembert Truluck

The following update was added October 26, 2000


Freedom is our goal, but do we have freedom yet?  Are you free from homophobic discrimination?  Are you free from fear as a GLBT person?  Are you free to feel good about yourself no matter what religion and family and society tell you about yourself?

Are you free from the draining and preoccupying struggle to accept and affirm yourself?  Are you completely free from self-destructive and self-sabotage thinking and behavior?  Is the war finally over?  No, I don't think so.

The majority of churches still claim that the Bible judges and condemns us as GLBT people.  The majority of states still allow severe discrimination against homosexuals to continue to the point of violence and death.  Public opinion has not yet even marginally approved of us without reservations.


The issues that LBTG people face become more complex and difficult every day.  Same-sex marriages and GLBT adoptions, gays in the military, Boy Scouts, John Paulk, "Dr." Laura, heresy trials of clergy who celebrate same sex commitments, mass media preachers of fear and condemnation, big money given to the homophobic destructive "ex-gay" industry, and new issues and attacks launched every day remind us that attempted genocide against homosexuals is heating up, not subsiding.

No matter what happens or what might seem like progress, we cannot ever afford to give up and accept the judgment against us that we are sick, evil, ungodly, abnormal, or any other such unfair unproved labels.  To give up and give in is to contribute to the mass murder of hope, acceptance, and encouragement for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual people.  To give up is to contribute to the genocide of our race.


Our culture has so conditioned us to believe that we are an abomination to God and are not of equal value with other people that we often compromise our integrity and support and help to keep in place the very institutions of religion, government and society that are working unceasingly to destroy us.  We are like concentration camp prisoners who are required to dig our own graves before we are cut down and cast unmercifully into oblivion.

The routine compromises that we make every day with sick and abusive religious people and institutions and with ignorant cultural demands, antiquated community traditions, and abusive rejecting family ties builds steady unrelenting internal stress and pressure within us that often breaks out in crazy self-destructive behavior.


We think that we can adopt the abusive religion that we have inherited and make it our prisoner to fight for and with us.  Has that happened yet?  It won't.  The reason why religion and churches are so hard to convince that GLBT are equally God's children and accepted and included by God without exceptions is because abusive religion and churches are out of touch with God in the first place.

For Jesus, people came first.  For most contemporary religion, the institution comes first.  People are crushed and destroyed under the churning wheels of demanding controlling religions institutions.  The pope is just as much a victim of the destructive power of abusive religion as is the gay man who tries to develop and maintain a mature loving relationship with his partner.  Religion is no respecter of persons.  Religion abuses everybody.

In the life of Jesus, many people who were oppressed by religions laws and exclusive spiritual rules were set free from abusive religion and decided to follow Jesus instead.  Even the high priest who ordered the crucifixion was a victim of the religions abuse of which he was a part.

Jesus did not try to tame or imprison the judgmental legalism of his day.  He abandoned it.  Jesus knew, just as you know today, that to take legalism captive and try to dress it up to be attractive and respectable is impossible.  The underlying basis for legalism is fear.  The underlying basis for what Jesus taught is freedom.  Legalism and freedom are as far apart as the east is from the west.

The greatest danger in taking prisoners is that the stronger and more entrenched the prisoners are, the more likely they will attack, subdue and control you.


Love and truth come together in Jesus in the Gospels and in your life.  Jesus had compassion and felt the pain of others.  Jesus told the truth and had no fear of truth.  Keeping love and truth in balance is one sign of true spiritual maturity.  The first piece of our spiritual armor in Ephesians 6 is truth.  God is true, "for it is impossible for God to lie".  God's presence within you leads you in the path of truth.

Jesus said: "I give you a new commandment, that you should love one another just as I have loved you."  That includes loving yourself as well as feeling and responding to the pain of other people.  The spirituality that Jesus demonstrated and taught has nothing to do with religion.  Religious people and institutions, indeed, were the primary forces that Jesus fought against and won.


As a Trans-les-bi-gay person, you have inherited centuries of religion based misinformation and prejudice.  Freedom is available to you now.  You cannot enter into that freedom, however, while sleeping with the enemy.

None of us can turn back.  None of us can afford to give up and quit.  All that we have today is our future.  Stephen Hawking ("A Brief History of Time") has shown us that time and space are relative to each other in that nothing in space is exactly the same from one moment to the next.  The movement of time makes all things relative to when they happen.  The future of you and me as individuals and of all GLBT people is in God's hands.  We may not know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future.  So far, our best window on God is Jesus.  There are many other windows, but none is the same as Jesus, who is like you and within you, for you and always available to you, dynamic and accepting.

The presence of the Spirit of Jesus within you transforms you into a new person at every moment of your existence.  What you are becoming is far more significant that what or where you have been.  We cannot take the past as our prisoner and make it support and accept us without abandoning truth, which is to abandon God.


What do you personally have to abandon in order honestly to follow Jesus?  If it is abusive oppressive forms and structures of religion, why are you unwilling to let go?  What has abusive religion done for you that a severe beating with a hot poker could not do?

"We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."

--2 Corinthians 10:5

Update added on March 26, 2002:

The Hebrew Bible gives the Ten Commands twice: Exodus 20:1-17 and in Deuteronomy 5:6-21; 10:1-5.  The Commandments are called "Ten Words" in Exodus 34:28.  The Jews listed the Ten Commandments in abbreviated form in ten words that were placed on doorways as a reminder of their relationship with God.


The Ten Commandments were based on the relationship of the people of God to God.  The first "Word" of 10 is Exodus 20:1-2.  God's mighty act of deliverance is the basis for the commandments.  Compare to Romans 12:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 6:20.

"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."  The basis for the commandments is what God has already done for God's people.

THE SECOND WORD: Have no other gods: Exodus 20:3-6

"You shall have no other gods before me."  Like a parent who tells the child that what other parents let their children do is not to be their standard for acceptable behavior!  Since God is Spirit, no images can be allowed.  This ideas is developed at length in Isaiah 44:6-20.

THE THIRD WORD: Do not ignore God: Exodus 20:7

"Name" represents God.  God's "name" given to Moses at the bush in Exodus 3:13-15 was "I AM."  To "take in vain" means to consider something to be empty or worthless (the opposite of "worship").  Loving parents warn their children not to ignore them when they call them away from danger, as when a parent calls the child to come out of the street and the danger of oncoming traffic.

THE FOURTH WORD: Remember and Keep the Sabbath

Note the difference between Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15.  See also Exodus 23:10-13 for emphasis on the compassion intended in the Fourth Word.

Sabbath commandment is probably the most misunderstood law of all.  It is the one law that Jesus intentionally broke many times (according to the religious tradition). See Mark 2:23-3:7.

Exodus 20:8-11 based Sabbath Law on God's example of rest on the seventh day of creation.  The commandment, then, is to remember who you are – in the image of God!  You are to be like God.  See also 1 Peter 1:16 and Leviticus 11:44f.  "You shall be holy, for I am holy."

Ephesians 5:1: "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children."  See discussion of this in the last chapter of The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Deuteronomy 5:12-15 based the Sabbath Law on the deliverance from slavery in the Exodus from Egypt.  Perhaps by the time of Deuteronomy, this law had already been misunderstood and misused.  The command to rest was a reminder that God's people are free, not slaves.  See Galatians 5:1.  The word "Sabbath" means: "rest."

THE FIFTH WORD: Honor your parents: Exodus 20:12

The same promise of long life in the land is given for keeping the whole law in Deuteronomy 5:33.  Parents were the source of the law for the children.  Read all of Deuteronomy chapter 6 for the significance of the fifth word and as the introductory context to the commandments in chapter 5.

Hope for the future as told in Malachi 4:5-6, the last two verses in the Hebrew Bible, is based on the restoration of the relationship between parents and children.  Honoring parents implies religious instruction in the home.

THE SIXTH WORD: Respect for other people:
Not kill: Exodus 20:13

The four laws of Exodus 20:13-16 form the basis for many laws.  They express the basic human obligation to respect the life, relationships, property and reputation of other people.  As Thomas Jefferson observed in the "Federalist Papers": "There would be no need for laws if men were angels."

The law: Not kill: Exodus 20:13 commands respect for life.  It implies what Jesus said about not hating others in Matthew 5:21-22. Implied also is respect for all that makes life meaningful: opportunity for education, security of a safe home, job, equal civil and personal rights, etc.:  as implied in the individual right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

THE SEVENTH WORD: Exodus 20:14: Not commit adultery

Women were viewed as the property of their husbands.  The teachings in the Hebrew Bible about adultery are not about sex.  They are about property rights.  In the New Testament, Jesus and Paul saw women in a different light, as women became persons and then partners in the mission of Christ.

THE EIGHTH WORD: Exodus 20:15: Not steal

Respect for the property of others implies protection of the individual's right to work and enjoy the fruits of labor, fair wages, equal opportunity for employment, equal housing, etc.

THE NINTH WORD: Exodus 20:16: Not bear false witness

Respect for the reputation, good name, of others is part of the law that instructions the people of God not to take away anything that belongs to another.  Gossip, judging others, and slanders often are rebuked in the Bible.  Note Jesus in Matthew 5:33-37.  See also Matthew 7:1-5; James 3:1-12; 4:11-12; Romans 14:1-13.

THE TENTH WORD: Exodus 20:17: Not Covet

This last summary word of the law deals with attitudes of heart.  You shall not desire to take away from others their life, their women, their property, or their reputation.  Only a "new heart" predicted by Jeremiah and fulfilled in Jesus can give the love that carries out the Ten Commandments.  See all of Romans chapters 5 through 8.

Romans 13:10 points out that: "Love is the fulfillment of the law."  See all of Romans 13:8-10.  See the summary commandment given by Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40 and applied in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.

The ultimate expression of the meaning of the Ten Commandments is given by Jesus in John 13:33-34: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this everybody will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."  The example of Jesus is the Bible definition of "love".  See 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 for a description of love.  For the New Testament view of LAW, see Romans 3:19-26; 8:1-4; Galatians 2:16-21; 3:1-29.

(These notes were given to my Bible Survey classes at the Baptist College of Charleston, SC, from 1973 to 1981 as part of the syllabus material printed and provided to each student.  Over 2,000 students were enrolled in these classes on the Hebrew Bible, which was a requirement for graduation for each student at the college.)

Professor Dr. Rembert Truluck, Baptist College of Charleston: 1973-1981

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