Monday, January 5, 2009

New Book Promises "Bulletproof Faith" for Gays and Lesbians Facing Religious Attacks

A refrain heard relentlessly by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of faith is: "God hates fags!" Whether it's hurled as a direct insult or stated more subtly in a "Love the sinner, hate the sin" theology, the message to LGBT ears is the same: "God hates you and so do we!"

"Gay and lesbian people are constantly under attack," said Candace Chellew-Hodge, the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians. "We're unable to marry the person we love, and many support writing that discrimination into the U.S. Constitution. Churches continue to argue about our lives and many insist we must become something called, 'ex-gay.' We're tired of constantly being a target."

This trend against LGBT people isn't abating. Religious groups from around the nation used their considerable wealth to target the GLBT community by writing marriage discrimination into the state constitutions of California, Arizona and Florida in the last election. This sent the message that it's "gays vs. God" and that gay and lesbian people are disdained by God.

Even Archbishop Desmond Tutu noted in his endorsement of the book that, "Gay and lesbian Christians are constantly demoralized and told they are not children of God. Bulletproof Faith reassures gays and lesbians that God loves them just as they were created and teaches them how to stand strong, with compassion and gentleness, against those who condemn them."

Bulletproof Faith, published by Jossey-Bass, helps readers reclaim the spiritual self that criticism from society and religion has led them to give up. Instead of arguing over biblical texts, Bulletproof Faith helps LGBT people live authentically into their faith despite criticism.

Bulletproof Faith empowers readers to withstand even the most aggressive assaults without fear, doubt, or anger by providing:

- Solid, proven tactics that can be used successfully when faced with an attack
- Practical tools to discover one's "authentic self": the bulletproof part of each of us
- Guidance on how to turn attacks into opportunities for spiritual growth

Bulletproof Faith doesn't argue; instead Chellew-Hodge's approach - born out of 12 years of being on the frontlines in the controversies surrounding gay and Christian identity - teaches readers to draw on their own inner strength and to return abuse with the spiritual Aikido of gentleness, compassion, reverence - and strength.

Candace Chellew-Hodge is the associate pastor at Garden of Grace United Church of Christ in Columbia, SC and founder of the online magazine for LGBT Christians called Whosoever, at http://www.whosoever.org/, which reaches nearly 1 million people a year. She is an award-winning former journalist with 25 years of experience including six years as a news writer, reporter and editor with CNN, and is a graduate of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta.

For more information and a free 25-page study guide for Bulletproof Faith, visit http://www.bulletproofbook.com/.

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