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From StopHateNewsletter , January 2012

Case Closed!

As a general rule, we do not include complete book reviews in our newsletters.  Robert Minor's booklet, Case Closed!, is an excellent resource that deserves promotion, so we are including a review of this booklet in our newsletter.

Robert Minor is a prolific, and insightful author. When you read his books, be prepared to be challenged. He authored the books Scared Straight, Gay and Healthy in a Sick Society and When Religion is an Addiction. Minor wrote a series of concise and readable booklets for The Fairness Project. Case Closed! is one of The Fairness Project Series booklets.

Robert Minor notes that people who are not prepared to do the hard work required to understand the source of their strong dislike of gay people tend to look for religious and scientific support for their prejudices and hatred. He makes a very good point. Delving into the familial, societal and religious factors that caused such deeply held hatred and dislike is taxing, and, at times, scary work.

This booklet quotes information from the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Council on Child and Adolescent Health, the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association that support the position that homosexuality is not a mental illness, that mental illness is not associated with homosexuality and that mental health professionals should not attempt to change the sexual orientation of their clients.

Minor makes the point that discrimination against gay people can cause psychological problems. Case Closed! discusses the controversial case of ex-gays (gay people who claim they have become straight).
Robert Minor cautions against getting into psychological arguments with people. He makes the valid point that answers to the psychological arguments used against homosexuals are easy to obtain. There is little need to become the defender of the gay community. We have the right to indicate we disagree with the anti-gay psychology and then to walk away from the discussion.

Case Closed! is an excellent booklet. There is a good balance between providing information to show that mental health professionals do not consider homosexuality to be an illness and providing practical advice that can help prevent gay people from getting caught up in potentially painful and damaging arguments about psychology. This book should be in the resource library of every gay community center, of every affirming church and every mental health professional.


From CreatedGay.Com, July, 2008

When You're Having a Religious Argument

Robert Minor is a prolific, and insightful author. When you read his books, be prepared to be challenged. He authored the books Scared Straight, Gay and Healthy in a Sick Society, and When Religion is an Addiction.

Robert Minor makes applications for the queer community in When You're Having a Religious Argument. Because religious discussions relating to the queer community tend to be very emotion-laden and irrational, and often lack civility, the booklet is a very important book for queer people of all religious backgrounds, even if they are no longer active members of a faith community. Sexual minorities are often targeted for spiritual attacks and abuse. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified people need to have a good sense of the dynamics that are often at play during religious discussions, so they are less likely to feel freshly injured when religious discussions turn to topics regarding queer people.

What started as a peaceful exchange of ideas can quickly deteriorate into an angry argument, as the fear of having one's belief system challenged becomes stronger than the desire to have a rational discussion. This booklet helps address the serious problem of over-heated religious discussions.

Robert Minor reminds us that we bring our experiences - hurt, guilt, and anger - into religious debates. Baggage is very powerful and threatening in religious discussions of homosexuality. For gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, these arguments can bring up fears and emotions of rejection, and eternal condemnation. Straight people find themselves facing the fear of a different sexuality, combined with the fear that if they are wrong and God loves queer people, perhaps they were wrong about much more important theological issues. People may wonder, "Could I be wrong about something which might result in my going to hell?"

When You're Having a Religious Argument encourages us to dig deep inside ourselves, so we understand what needs are met through religious debates, why it is difficult to drop the discussion, and why a person remains in a church with which they disagree. Showing real insight, Minor asks if we are staying in a church for the same reasons abused partners stay in a bad marriage.

The booklet helps people recognize many claims made by conservative religious people, which cannot be supported by history. Two common claims discussed are the claim that religion does not change, and that the position a person is taking is what the Bible says or what God says. Anybody who disagrees with somebody in the religious right may find themselves branded with insulting labels.

Robert Minor makes many very good points we need to remember when entering into religious discussions. In this review, only three of those very important points will be listed. Religion involves emotional and spiritual conviction, more than logical convictions. Beliefs are rarely formed or changed due to logic. Emotional issues may prevent a person from changing his or her opinions. Changing opinions is not easy, because it can require public humility and repentance. This review will conclude with one of the most important points Minor shares. There is no rule saying you must win the argument. You can feel free to walk away from the discussion at any time.

This could be one of the most important books about religion you will ever read. Every gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-identified, and straight ally needs to have this book.


From The Gayly Oklahoman, February 3, 2003

Pamphlets Challenge Grassroots Activists

Kansas City, MO - “It’s time for new strategies. Everybody remembers the anti-gay soundbites of the right wing. Who remembers what we say even though we’ve been responding to the same old arguments for decades?”

That’s the basis for the first three of a series of pamphlets written by Dr. Robert N. Minor. In “The Fairness Project Series” he intends to change the dynamic of pro-LGBT arguing for every-day people.

“Even if we don’t like it, we know: ‘It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.’ But what do we remember of our own responses where we weigh the possibilities, talk to ourselves in conferences, let the right wing dominate the conversation and set the language, and respond over and over to the same criticisms till we’re exhausted?”

“They have set the agenda. And we’re often stuck. We need practical, every-day, tips on how to get beyond their agenda without having to worry about being experts,” Minor says.

In 2001, Minor, a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas, authored the book Scared Straight: Why It’s So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It’s So Hard to Be Human (St. Louis: HumanityWorks!). Within a month it was named “Book of the Week” by the premier men’s issues website: In 2002 it was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and an Independent Publisher Book Award.

His first three pamphlets published in late 2002 are meant to be practical, how-to-do-it guides that don’t begin with a stance he calls “the victim role.”

“We don’t begun with our own agenda. We respond as if we have something to apologize for. We don’t realize that we’re the healthy ones in this debate. So, we need a consistent, simple approach that will be remembered. And one that won’t get caught up in their issues. We need to stop allowing them to use religion, psychology, and everything else to cover up their prejudices. And we need to quit arguing the same things again and again.”

So, the first pamphlet, When You’re Having a Religious Argument, begins with asking what it is about religion that “hooks us” even if we are not religious. “If we reject religion, our anger at religion is still a sign we’re hooked,” Minor points out.

Minor then outlines issues that need recognition by us as we respond and then gives seven practical suggestions to “get down to the real issues beneath religious arguments.”

The second pamphlet arises out of the workshops for LGBT activists Minor has conducted for the last three years at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change Conference. Entitled, Burnout, Blowout, and Breaking Up: Navigating the Hazards of Activist Leadership, Minor sets forth principles and helpful tips to help make LGBT leadership a healthy, growing experience for the leaders. “In progressive activism, the leadership principles developed for business and other institutions that are meant to maintain the status quo, won’t work. But they will cause burnout and bitterness.”

The third pamphlet is meant to change and simplify our responses to the claims of the ex-gay movement. Case Closed! Responding to Psychological Arguments Against Gay People gives seven practical tips for responding to the use of psychology to cover prejudices. “Don’t get caught up in arguing psychology,” Minor recommends, “but do understand the unanimous, quarter-of-a-century-old, gay-positive conclusions of the major psychological organizations as well as the psychology of the anti-gay arguments you face.”

For more information on Dr. Minor, his seminars and writings, visit his website at
© 2003, Gayly Incorporated.


From Midwest Times, Jan 30-Feb 5, 2003

Bob Minor in the interest of Fairness
by Gaby Vice, Community Editor

Ever been caught in an argument about being gay and then told that there are "proven" religious and psychological reasons that the LGBT community is in the wrong? When you are caught in this situation, ever wished you had the resources at your finger tips to deal with these repetitive and pointless arguments once and for all? Now thanks to the on-going work of The Fairness Project and their new series of pamphlets, there is!

The Fairness Project was founded by Dr. Robert Minor, a Kansas City local and Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas. Minor is also active in the local and national LGBT Community and is president of the Board of the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of Greater Kansas City (LGCC-KC) as well as a respected author (his most recent book Scared Straight: Why It's So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It's So Hard to Be Human, was named a Finalist for both a Lambda Literary Award and the Independent Publisher Book Award). He leads workshops on gender roles, homophobia, and racism for universities, colleges, churches, businesses, government organizations, and community and religious groups throughout the US as well as workshops for non-heterosexuals on personal growth beyond "coming out" and how to be a healthy activist.
The mission of The Fairness Project is to promote fair and positive understanding of all human beings regardless of sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, nationality, race, ethnicity, age, or abilities, by educating and advocating for fundamental structural change and personal healing. "I am convinced that all issues of fairness are related, that all oppressions are connected, and that all discrimination must end so that every human being can live and flourish as a full human being," Minor explained. "I have the belief that if we want to eliminate oppression of LGBT people, then we need to eliminate all oppression because it all goes together, and to end one oppression we have to end them all," he added.

The Fairness Project has just released three pamphlets "When You're Having a Religious Argument," "Case Closed! Responding to Psychological Arguments Against Gay People," and "Burnout, Blowout & Breaking Up - Navigating the Hazards of Activist Leadership." Minor wrote the pamphlets and is making them available as a resource to the LGBT community because he has found that the LGBT community has for many years been put into the victim role and is often expected to explain itself with a victim's response.

"We are treated as if we have something to explain, defend, and catch up to, when in fact we are ok and need to break out of the victim response. We need to take a proactive stance, beginning with how we feel about ourselves and our leadership. We must show the institutions around us that we have nothing to apologize for. We need to get out of the habit of wanting to be liked by straight society. The issue is not if we're liked but how to get our rights and live our lives on our terms", Minor explained passionately. He hopes that these pamphlets will be a valuable resource in taking that proactive stance and living our lives on our terms
"In Burnout, Blowout, and Breaking Up: Navigating the Hazards of Activist Leadership", Minor says: "Decide not to wait for someone else to take the initiative in stopping something in the dominant society that is hurting us. When we take the lead, we are stepping out of a victim role that is stuck in repeatedly pointing out one unmet need after another, complaining about things not getting done, and deferring action to others. We no longer act as if our lives depend on whether others do or do not take the initiative."

Minor's vast religious education and knowledge also gives him the insight to take on religious bias against the LGBT community and in "Case Closed: Responding to Psychological Arguments Against Gay People" he takes a direct hit at those who say being gay is psychologically wrong. He says:"It's not that "ex-gay" "experts" don't know that they are acting like enemies of mainstream science. They just refuse to change the prejudices upon which they've built their self-image."

Minor gives us all some excellent advice on how to deal with a religious argument in "When You're Having a Religious Argument" saying: "Anyone growing up in our culture receives widespread and general religious abuse. The most pervasive form of American religion is that of tele-evangelists, right-wing ministers, and conservative religious authorities who confront people with threats, humiliation, negative and demeaning self-valuation, subordination to others, denial of our own insights, and a variety of tactics meant to protect religious institutions. Even people who did not identify with the religious position grow up with such abuse in our culture because it is constant, widespread, dominant and multi-dimensioned."

"I honestly believe there is something sick about US society. This is reflected in the fact that it won't accept us as LGBT people. We are regarded as inhuman and unhealthy. Society's sickness is reflected in the way they treat us and the way they deal with sex, gender, race, consumerism, and even war. People who want to discriminate against us
will use any excuse. The good thing is they have used all the excuses, and we as a community must now move on. The question for us is how can I gain my life and my freedom, whether they like it or not. All the objections have been heard over and over again, through these pamphlets, all the answers to the same old questions are readily available if society as a whole has a desire to hear them, and in the mean time we need to get on with our lives", Minor explained.

For more information about Dr. Minor, The Fairness Project or his book or pamphlets, visit his website at
Robert N. Minor, Ph.D., will be the featured speaker at the First Friday Breakfast Club on February 7, 2003. For more information on this event, please contact
Location: Four Points Sheraton at 45th and Main
Cost is $8 per person for first-time attendees and $15 for non-members. © 2003, Diverse Media Group.


From Liberty Press, November 2002

Tips on religious arguing offered in new series by Trent Koland, staff reporter

LAWRENCE — The famous South African playwright Athol Fugard once said: "We compound our suffering by victimizing each other." That self-victimization, visible in the LGBT community, is the same concept Dr. Robert Minor hopes to eradicate by publishing his series of pamphlets entitled The Fairness Project Series.

The Fairness Project was created by Minor in 2001 to coincide with the release of his book Scared Straight: Why It's So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It's So Hard to Be Human.

The mission of these educational pamphlets is to "promote fair and positive understanding of all human beings regardless of sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, nationality, race, ethnicity, age, or abilities, by educating and advocating for fundamental structural change and personal healing," according to the Project's website.

Minor says he was tired of seeing gays and lesbians corner themselves into the role of sufferers.

"I wanted LGBT people to get out of the victim role -- that's the position which starts with the idea that WE have something to explain and justify," Minor said. "We don't. They need to get over it and we need to stop taking the defensive position."

The first pamphlet in the series is entitled "When You're Having a Religious Argument" and describes strategies for keeping cool and refuting common arguments against homosexuality.

There are three major points the pamphlet discusses. They include: advising people to confront their own shortcomings and relationships with religion; understanding the inaccurate claims used by many theologians; and confronting the real motives and issues hidden under the veil of religious argument.

Minor says the LGBT community needs to be more focused in its presentation to mainstream society.

"[I] want us to develop our own set of sound bites," Minor said. "We've not been good about our public presentation. We've been right but not as effective as we could be. We're good at talking to ourselves while conservatives dominate talk radio. People remember the conservative sound bites, 'It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,' but what do they remember from liberals as we weigh the various opinions and issues and lose our audience?"

There are several other pamphlets on the way according to Minor. The second in the series will be titled "Burnout, Blowout and Breaking Up: Navigating the Hazards of Activist Leadership" and will deal with the pressures LGBT advocates face by being at the head of the activist movement. Two more pamphlets are in the making but are, as of yet, untitled.

Ultimately, the series is about the empowerment of the LGBT community, Minor says.

"The truth is LGBT people are fine," Minor says. "Society and its prejudices are sick. Let's believe that and act like we believe that."

Pamphlets are $2 apiece. To order any of the series send a check to The Fairness Project, PO Box 45604, Kansas City, MO 64171.
© 2002, Liberty Press.


From the Rainbow Center, Seattle, WA, June, 2003

God & the Gays: What I learned from shared ideas at the Rainbow Center Coffee Talk Discussion Group by Paula Bennett

Religion alone is a pretty hot topic for many, but add in the queer factor and it's guaranteed to ruffle more then one feather on a loud few. More people have died horrendously in the name of religion then any other. It is also the main reason why some will not acknowledge acceptance of us in the GLBT community. Getting drawn into an argument can be frustrating enough, but its ten times worse when you are arguing with sincere religious people who are quoting traditions and scripture from religious authorities to back up their anti-gay stance.

Using Dr. Robert N. Minors' pamphlet "When You're Having A Religious Argument" as a tool, we came together to share ideas about how to express our own spiritual opinions without forcing them onto others and how to openly accept others ideas.

He talks about how an effective response to these types of people requires four key elements. One, clarity about what we are doing when we argue, two, recognition of some key dynamics of religion we'll face, three realization of certain basic facts behind religious arguments and four, willingness to affirm personal responsibility for the positions we hold.

At times religion has been a strong force for the liberation and affirmation of people. When it supports justice for the oppressed, it is liberating for many. But at other times, it is used to support the biases, prejudices and oppressions found in societies. The bible, in particular, has been used for centuries to justify slavery, apartheid, inquisitions, and the subjugation of women. In our own time it continues to be used to condemn those who identify as lesbian or gay and even in some sects to approve violence against them.

Dr. Minor states that changing cultural prejudices should be our goal. Calling on people to face their own prejudices requires recognition that arguing religion is a way not to have to face deeper issues. He talks about how everyone needs to step back and decide why they feel the way that they do. Prejudices, fears, and other insecurities are often hiding behind religious arguments. We all need to take responsibility for the opinions and positions that we hold, without having to rely on support from so called authorities. When we do this, we not only affirm our own worth but we call on others to be accountable for their own prejudices towards GLBT people.

Fun Fact:  If we were to follow the bible strictly as written we would all be burning bulls as weekly sacrifices, Leviticus 1:9, selling our daughters into slavery Exodus 21:7, not working on the Sabbath, or else being put to death Exodus 35:2, or lastly no more playing football without thick gloves as touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean Leviticus 11:6-8.

Suggested Reading: Queer Dharma: Voices of Gay Buddhists by Winston Leyland, Faith Beyond Resentment by James Allison Darton, Religion is a Queer Thing by Elizabeth Stuart, Twice Blessed: On being Lesbian, Gay and Jewish by Christine Balka & Andy Rose, Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature, and What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel A. Helminiak.


Gay Today quotes from The Fairness Project Series:

From "When You're Having a Religious Argument"

— From "Burnout, Blowout, and Breaking Up: Navigating the Hazards of Activist Leadership"

— From "Case Closed: Responding to Psychological Arguments Against Gay People"

— From "Homophobia: A Diagnosis and Cure"