I recently secured a copy of “The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today” by Alan Sears and Craig Osten, published in 2003 by Broadman & Holman Publishers, the fractured publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. This 229-page book is the most recent Southern Baptist attack against GLBT people that builds an elaborate argument of misinformation and distortions in order to attack discredit and destroy homosexual people.
The book begins with a misrepresentation of the life and career of John Paulk, the discredited “sexuality expert” employed by Focus on the Family until he was caught cruising in a gay bar in Washington, DC. See my web site material on John Paulk and my review of his work. The entire book is made up of bogus research, fabricated statistics and other “tricks of the trade” of homophobic “scholarship” and polemics.
The book claims that the homosexual agenda is primarily aimed at the destruction of religion and the attempt to turn public opinion into hate against anyone who opposes homosexuals. The book is based on fear and inaccurate information that would be ludicrous if it were not being taken seriously by so many millions of Southern Baptist leaders and obedient church sheep!
Broadman Press for many years was the SBC organization that published many of the best works by the various scholars and seminary and college professors in Southern Baptist Institutions until the radical fundamentalists took over the denomination in recent years. The name is built on the name of Dr. John A. Broadus and Dr. Basil Manley, two of the four founders of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Greenville, SC, in 1859, and now dishonors those two great men by using their names in dishonest destructive scholarship and publications.
Broadman Press published the 12-volume “Broadman Bible Commentary” beginning in 1969 written by the best seminary and college professors in the SBC. Almost immediately, the convention attacked the commentary and ordered the first volume to be withdrawn and rewritten from a conservative point of view. Now the entire commentary has been withdrawn from the Baptist Seminaries and other bookstores and is unavailable anywhere for purchase.
One definition of “religious fanatics” is religious people who have lost their sense of direction and redoubled their efforts! Southern Baptists certainly now fit that definition.
The Fear Factor
Dictators always rule by means of fear. From ancient warlords, popes, emperors, kings and conquerors to Hitler, Stalin and Saddam Hussein, submissive people have been controlled and crushed by fear. Why are informed Southern Baptists afraid to expose and end the regime of ignorance and terror that grips and misuses this once great defender of religious freedom and objective theological education?
I was present at the Southern Baptist Convention that voted to reject the first volume of the Broadman Bible Commentary because a small group of misinformed preachers was able to convince the messengers that the first volume on Genesis was a threat to truth and to the will of God. I saw most of the famous and respected leaders of the denomination go to the podium and beg that people not to pass this destructive proposal. But the people followed the fear factor, and the deed was done that set into motion the downhill slide of the SBC ever since.
Homophobia is Fear
Recently several critics of my web site have written to me to tell me that they were not homophobic because they were not afraid of gay people and did not know of anyone else who was afraid of gay people! I wrote back to give the definition of “homophobia,” a word that was invented in 1972 by Dr. George Weinberg in his book on “Society and the Healthy Homosexual.” Homophobia is not the fear of gay people but is the fear of homosexuality in others and in one’s self.
Popular mythology about homosexuals has become religious tradition in our culture. Bringing objective factual information and logic into the public mind is almost impossible. The homophobic mythologies are perpetuated by religion and politics and a massive media attack against GLBT people that is mind boggling both in its ignorance and its effectiveness.
The underlying false assumption of the “The Homosexual Agenda” is the notion that there is some kind of great homosexual organization that represents all GLBT people and has worked out and promoted an agenda that speaks for all of us! How absurd. We can hardly get together to redecorate the house, have a decent pride parade or sustain a local GLBT center much less a world-wide conspiracy to destroy straight people!
The Homophobic Agenda
The agenda of the homophobic organizations and movements today is emerging with greater clarity every day. The first principle of homophobia is the use of fear based on distortions of the facts, the invention of bogus statistics, citing discredited scholars and other “experts,” misrepresenting the truth about sexual orientation, and ignoring the position papers and statements supporting homosexual rights by all of the professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, legal and educational associations in the United States.
“The Homosexual Agenda” book includes 15 full pages of footnotes and references to give the impression of careful academic research, when in fact; there is no objective reliable research at all in the book.
One basic principle of the homophobic agenda is the use of misinformation and bogus statistics to try to convince people that homophobia is sound reasonable thinking. It is not.
Religion is the primary tool of the homophobic agenda. The Bible is cited as the absolute rule and requirement for right thinking about everything, and the varieties of scholarly translations and interpretations are completely ignored in favor of preaching and posturing based on highly questionable distortions and fabrications of biblical material.
The false teachings and lack of academic credibility is never more obvious than in the subtitle of the book “The Homosexual Agenda”: “Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today.” The book itself expresses the principal threat to religious freedom today! The SBC and the homophobic agenda, not the “homosexual agenda,” is the principal threat to religious freedom today. Distortions and lies are always a greater threat to freedom than the truth.
Homophobia and the Ex-gay Fraud
The “ex-gay” industry has become the primary everyday tool of the homophobic agenda. The Southern Baptist Convention and the growing rash of family research and protection organizations promote and even demand that the bogus claims of the “ex-gay” industry be accepted as fact and supported with financial contributions and a daily supply of living victims to be sacrificed to this modern version of the worship of Moloch in biblical times.
Homophobia as Idolatry
Whenever anything other than God is made absolute, the result is idolatry. The homophobic agenda demands blind obedience to ignorance and misinformation that replaces God with human error and the Holy Spirit with misguided human opinions. The real Jesus is replaced with a fake Christ who goes along with homophobia just as obediently as the Pharisees and Hypocrites at the time of Jesus went along with idolatrous legalisms that were destroying the people in the name of God. As always, read Matthew 23 to see again what Jesus had to say about this powerful abusive form of religion.
The homophobic religious establishment led by the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Mormons and various “save the family and marriage” sects like Focus on the Family and Family Research Council along with individuals like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Lou Shelton spew a constant stream of the lies and distortions of the homophobic agenda into every level of American culture. The homophobic virus is infecting everybody within reach.
Professional sports, local state and national governments, arts and entertainment, publishing, broadcast news and the educational system all are being infected with the homophobic agenda that contaminates the very air we breathe. GLBT people are not immune. The growing presence of internal and horizontal homophobia within our own community and even in many personal relationships is a seeping poison that quickly becomes a rising flood of homophobic filth.
The extent of the anti-GLBT onslaught of the Homophobic Agenda is seen in the fact that Google lists 126,000 web sites related to the “Homosexual Agenda”!
Paul saw the devastating results of legalistic judgmental religion that defines itself by who is left out. In Philippians 3:8, Paul used the Greek term “skubala” to describe his former abusive destructive exclusive legalism. Skubala is a rare word, used only in Philippians 3:8 in the New Testament. (KJV translates it “dung” and others translate it rubbish, refuse, etc.) The word means “excrement” either animal or human. It is a very strong word!
If Paul were walking in the barnyard, he would say, “Watch out! Don’t step in that pile of skubala! (I checked out skubala in Arndt & Gingrich; in Moulton & Milligan and in Kittel and they all supported this understanding of the word. No modern biblical translation correctly renders this word for “B.S.” accurately!
Homophobia Denies Jesus
“Perfect love casts out fear.” “The love of God has been poured out in your hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to you.” You do not need to be afraid anymore.
The churches have always ruled their people on the basis of fear. Fear of burning forever in hell, fear of falling into the crushing hands of an angry God, fear of dying unforgiven for your sins, and fear of who you yourself really are all make up parts of the arsenal of fear based control exercised by churches.
Recognize the homophobic agenda for what it really is: a blatant denial of Jesus and the mind of God that homophobic people pretend to proclaim and protect. Homophobia is a disease that must be resisted at all cost. Homophobia is the virus that kills far more GLBT people than AIDS or any other human illness.
Become informed. Know the facts. Challenge homophobia at its ignorant lying roots. Resist the lies that try to convince you that your sexual orientation is a mistake and that you are some kind of “abomination of God” because ignorant preachers say you are!
This is not a new problem. The last book written in the New Testament was probably 2 Peter, which concludes with the following statement in 2 Peter 3:15-18, after reflecting on how the writings of Paul were already being misunderstood and distorted:
“Regard the patience of our Lord to be liberation (salvation) just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught (ignorant) and unstable distort (“twist” “torture” “torment”) as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled people, you fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to Him is the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
The author of Invitation To Freedom and Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse, Rev. Rembert S. Truluck served in Metropolitan Community Churches in Atlanta, San Francisco and Nashville from 1988 to 1996. He earned a doctorate in sacred theology from Furman University, serving from 1953 to 1973 as a Southern Baptist preacher. He resigned as a professor at Baptist College at Charleston (now Charleston Southern University) and became an MCC pastor after being outed to the college’s board of trustees.