Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse
Fundamentalism and American Culture
George M. Marsden
When Religion Gets Sick
Wayne Edward Oates
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Steps to Recovery From Bible Abuse
Soulforce in St. Louis
Southern Baptist News Reports:
50 homosexual activists arrested attempting to disrupt SBC
'We love homosexuals,' James Merritt tells SBC
Other Articles By Rembert Truluck:
Jesus for Dummies
The reason that we are dummies about
Jesus is because we have been dummied by religious manipulations and
misinformation. The same abusive sick religion that has made GLBT
people hate themselves and try to destroy themselves and each other is
the source of our confusion and misinformation about Jesus.
Explore More Whosoever:
On Tuesday, June 11, 2002, in St. Louis, the immovable object of
ignorance at the Southern Baptist Convention met the irresistible
force of truth in Soulforce.
Both Soulforce and Southern Baptists turned a corner in St. Louis.
Soulforce moved into a new level of non-violent protest against
spiritual violence against God's GLBT children by infiltrating the
convention audience and directly confronting the leadership of
Southern Baptists. The President of the SBC responded by voicing
extreme statements of misinformation and biblical ignorance that were
as self-defeating as they were shocking.
HOW JESUS GIVES US TRUTH
Jesus in the Gospels clearly challenged everything about his
contemporary religious scene. We are called to follow Jesus and do
the same. The more I contemplate the Jesus of the Gospels, the more
I am convinced that Jesus did not intend that his sayings and
teachings should become etched in stone or frozen in a "holy book" to
be made into doctrines and official pronouncements of an absolute
"new law" to be forced on people whether they understood it or not!
Jesus confronted hypocrisy and spiritual violence at every turn. We
are called to do the same. Jesus moved about and identified with the
religious outcasts and the spiritually "unclean" of his world. We
to do likewise. Jesus questioned absolutely everything that his
contemporary religion did and taught. We are to do the same. If we
follow Jesus, we never remain satisfied with partial success. If we
follow Jesus, we do whatever it takes to change everything. Even
Jesus was the ultimate revolutionary. He put his life on the line.
He violated all traditional taboos against touching and loving the
wrong people. He cleansed the Temple. He stood his ground. He
confronted and challenged the principalities and powers of his world.
He died because of who he was and what he did. Jesus won.
THANK YOU SOULFORCE!
My only regret was that I was able to stay with Soulforce in St.
for such a short time because of previous commitments. I was present
for training and for sharing with my friends there, but I had to miss
the Soulforce actions on Monday and Tuesday. In St. Louis, I spent
some time visiting with Jeaneane Hill and her husband Bob. I had met
and enjoyed the exuberant spirit of Jeaneane in New Orleans Soulforce
events last summer. She sent me a wonderful letter about her
experience of confronting the SBC and spending time in jail. Her
letter is included below and has been added to my web site.
Mahan Siler also was at the Soulforce training and preparation
This was my first visit with Mahan since I was pastor of MCC
in 1994. Mahan gave me a preview copy of his new book about his long
arduous journey as pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in
Raleigh, N. C., where he led his church to accept and affirm GLBT
people and finally to celebrate the holy union of two gay men in the
church in 1992. The Southern Baptist Convention reacted by launching
a prolonged war of spiritual violence against homosexuals and against
any non-gay people who supported homosexuals.
In his book, Mahan tells the personal stories of many gay and non-gay
people who were part of the great movement into truth, love and
acceptance of God's GLBT children. I was deeply moved emotionally as
I read the details of the struggle that Mahan and his wife Janice
shared with their friends and the congregation of their church in the
years leading up to 1992.
Visiting with many Soulforce friends like Mel White, Gary Nixon, Doug
Donley, Jimmy Creech and many others lifted my heart, encouraged me
and taught me many new things. All of the people on the Soulforce
staff are incredibly capable and well prepared. I learned from every
conversation and every presentation.
When I spoke briefly at the end of the Saturday afternoon session of
preparation, the one emphasis that I tried to make is that: "You
cannot protest genocide too much!" Southern Baptist teachings are
destructive and demeaning to all LGBT people and have a powerful
impact in convincing gay youth that they are unworthy and evil and
deserve to die. You don't have to exterminate the homosexual vermin
in your world if you can get them to destroy themselves by your
teachings, doctrines and demands!
All around the walls of the great Methodist church where the training
sessions were held were large photos of GLBT people who had committed
suicide or who had been killed in violent homophobic attacks. This
setting was sobering and instructive. Religious teachings of
spiritual violence that lead young people to hate themselves and
reject themselves because of who they are and to become
self-destructive and suicidal are a thinly veiled form of genocide.
And you cannot protest genocide too much!
SOUTHERN BAPTIST DILEMMA
Southern Baptists have backed themselves into a terrible spiritual
trap by their misinformed and unrealistic rhetoric against God's GLBT
children and against women in church leadership. The reaction of
Southern Baptists leaders so far to efforts by Soulforce and others
bring objective, logical, reasonable practical thinking and
information into issues related to gender orientation has been
increasingly hostile, ignorant and unrelenting.
The parents and friends of Southern Baptist GLBT people along with
their gay loved ones wait in vain for honesty and real love to be
shown by the SBC. A growing number of GLBT supporters among Baptists
is developing and will increase in influence and will help to make
some changes. The headlong plunge into spiritual oblivion by
Southern Baptists as a group, however, is tumbling over the precipice
in a ragged retreat from the great traditions of freedom and
integrity of the founders of Baptist life in America.
BIBLE ABUSE RAGES ON
The twisting and distorting of biblical literalism is rampant in the
Southern Baptist Convention. The Bible has been elevated to the
status of an idolatrous image that demands above all else the human
sacrifice of children to the prevailing spiritual ignorance and
violence that masquerade as the gospel of Jesus Christ. Young minds
are being deprived of the truth and fed on the rotten religious
garbage of lies and deceit that are laying the foundation for a total
rejection and abandonment of all religion in the not too distant
What will replace the discredited Bible of contemporary religious
persecution of God's children? I hope that it is the Spirit of
who challenged the conventional wisdom of his day and set into motion
the spiritual process by which we can do the same thing ourselves
All is not lost. God is not on vacation. The Spirit of God is at
work in all things and in all of us. God is with you and surrounds
you at every moment of your life. Let God show you your mission and
your role in the spiritual journey all of us share. You are needed.
You are necessary. God has work for you to do that fits you exactly,
though it probably would not fit anybody else.
Copyright © 2002 by the author
All Rights Reserved
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