Dr. Rembert Truluck, from Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse, steps up to take on the dangerous phenomenon of ex-gay ministries in the following commentary, “The Ex-Gay Wars.” In doing so, he offers his thoughts on Anything but Straight, a new Haworth Press book by my former colleague Wayne Besen that takes an in-depth look at Christian Right ministries that claim to turn gay people into heterosexuals through the power of God (or, at least, to turn them into celibate, anti-gay right-wingers). I don’t like Wayne’s often-nasty rhetoric much, but credit where it is due — his research is impeccable and the book is a must-read for those who really want to know what goes on in these enterprises. (For another thoroughly researched take on the ministries, check out my 1999 investigative Baltimore City Paper piece, “The Other Side of the Rainbow.”)
On to Dr. Truluck’s sermon…
The Ex-Gay Wars
War has been declared against GLBT people on many battlefronts. Religion, politics and ignorance have been launched like nuclear missiles against all of us in recent years and months and days. All-out war has been declared against us in retaliation for all of the GLBT progress that has been made recently in the US Supreme Court and in many significant arenas of public policy and public opinion.
A recent book by Wayne Besen on the “Ex-Gay Industry” is a very important source of counterattack in our response to the escalating war against us. The book by Wayne Besen is Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth. I encourage you to get a copy of this book and use it as a helpful resource in your personal equipment for battle. See the long –€śForward–€ť to the book by Mel White.
Wayne Besen has been an effective advocate for GLBT human rights for many years, and this recent book is an impressive and practical resource for all of us engaged in the battle for truth and honesty. Besen is the person who made photographs of John Paulk in the [Mr. P’s] gay bar in Washington, DC, that exposed the truth about John Paulk and his fake –€śEx-Gay–€ť claims in Focus on the Family ministries!
Wayne Besen provides a great deal of helpful historical information and gives accurate scientific research and facts that refute the hysterical “ex-gay” nonsense that is being dumped on GLBT people by Southern
Baptists and other abusive religious deceptions.
TRUTH IS THE FIRST CASUALTY
Truth is the first casualty in any war.
We will never win the homophobic war against us by the abusive religious forces of our society if we remain uninformed and ill equipped with the truth. “Be diligent (study) to show yourself approved of God, rightly dividing the word of truth–€ť (2 Timothy 2:15). Learn what you need to know to respond adequately and effectively to the –€śslings and arrows of outrageous fortune” that are being hurled against you!
Wayne Besen has provided us with a significant arsenal of truth in the “Ex-Gay” wars that engulf and devour us today.
Think through and write out your own truth about yourself. Look within to discover who you really are and celebrate your unique personality and qualities that God has bestowed upon you. Nobody else can really tell you who you are. You will not find your own spiritual truth “out there” in a church or a teacher or in a doctrine, a creed, a book or the Bible. You will discover your own personal truth within.
You are made in the image of God. You have been given the Spirit of Jesus within your own mind and heart. God is with you and all around you in your present environment. Use and explore what you already have.
The foundation Bible verse that I used for the basis of my first book, Invitation to Freedom, which was on –€śPersonal Evangelism in the GLBT Community,–€ť was I Peter 3:15: –€śSanctify (set apart) the Sovereign God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every person that asks you for a reason of the hope that is in you, yet with humility and respect.–€ť (All of the material in Invitation to Freedom is now included in my book on Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse.)
The spiritual battle armor of God in Ephesians 6:12-18 begins with “truth!” There is no substitute for knowing the facts.