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Dr. Minor and the Fairness Project
in the News
Liberty Press columnist offers his thoughts on life
Press, July 2008
Bob Minor speaks to the Baby Boomers
By Matt Hanne
LAWRENCE - As of July 2005, there were an estimated
78.2 million Baby Boomers, a term used to refer to
those born between the years 1946-1964. The oldest
persons among that generation are now 62 years of age,
and they are facing new chances for growth as they
move closer towards retirement. One of those challenges
is as old as the human race: How to deal with the pressures
of dating, relationships and romance?
Fortunately, there is a new source of information
for the Boomers to consult. The Liberty Press’ own Bob Minor
has recently begun writing an online column for experienceseniorpower.com,
a website designed to “provide Baby Boomers a free, online community
to call their own, where they can connect with resources, services and products
designed just for them,” according to Tony Fama, the website’s
“My friend and men’s issues counselor
Dale Ross suggested I contact Bob when I was looking for authors who could
provide substantive Baby Boomer dating, romance and relationship articles,” Fama
Minor’s first two columns were read more
than 200 times in the first three weeks that they were available online. His
first column focused on ideas on how to meet people, and his second column
ventured an answer to the questions “Where am I going and who will go
with me? His second column was even reprinted for the Oakland Press,
out of Oakland, Michigan.
For those who may be worried about a gay author
writing a mainstream relationship column, fear not: Both Fama and Minor are
committed to making the columns as inclusive as possible. “I wouldn’t
even have considered it otherwise,” Minor said. “Tony knew it would
be that way when he first asked me to do it. Gay people are mentioned from
the very first column and all the writing in my column is inclusive.”
“My hope is that with [experienceseniorpower.com’s]
growth, we can leverage our success to address discrimination in its myriad
forms: ageism, sexism, racism, lifestylism,” Fama said. “For all
of our individual differences we share some basic hopes and desires. We’d
all like to be happy, free of fear, healthy and accepted. Regardless of gay,
straight, bi, lesbian, black, white, male or female, all of us can benefit
from this information. My hope is that in emphasizing our common hopes and
dreams we will see we have much in common that binds us together. We need to
get beyond the ignorance that breeds skepticism, fear and hate.”
When jokingly asked if he plans on becoming
the next Dan Savage, Minor replies that he is “not that funny or focused
on sex.” Although he does concede that he is “supportive of people
having all the safe and consensual sex they want.”
For more information about Minor’s columns
or any of its other offerings, visit experienceseniorpower.com and look under
the heading of “Romance and Dating” for “The Same But Different” or “Popping
the Bigger Questions.”
Liberty Press, October 2005
out” not just for GLBT folks anymore
conference to address identifying as progressive
By Milton W. Wendland, staff reporter
- In this time of constitutional amendments, state and
federal elections, and judicial nominations all working
against LGBT rights, the progressive movement seems
fractured and wounded or at least “wishy-washy”
and ineffective. But it is exactly at this moment that
progressives must come together and “come out”
of the closet of recent defeat and self-doubt and into
the light of conviction and assertion.
Fairness Project Summit to be held at the historic Broadway
Church, Oct. 21-23 in Kansas City, will offer spiritual
progressives a place to convene, regroup, and energize
through breakout sessions, panels, and inspiring speakers.
Highlights include opening comments by Paul Loeb, progressive
activist and author of popular books aimed at helping
people activate hope and change in an era of apathy:
Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical
Time and The Impossible Will Take a While:
A Citizen’s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear.
open the conference by speaking on “Coming Out
Progressive.” In addition, there will be a full-day
of interactive training, a documentary and short-film
showcase at the Tivoli Manor Square theaters, and an
ecumenical workshop service and brunch to conclude the
organizer Robert Minor says that the idea for the conference
literally followed on the heels of the 2004 presidential
election. Over a post-election breakfast, Minor and
co-organizer Jamie Rich “decided we needed to
do something that helped and supported progressives,
especially religious progressives, to ‘come out’
as progressives to stand up against the religious right-wing.”
of progressives “coming out” is akin to
GLBT people coming out. It’s an act that is risky
and that makes us vulnerable, but it is also an act
of strength in which we proclaim our pride in ourselves,
proclaim our own values, and demand fairness and justice.
Minor suggests that it is now time for progressives
“to ‘come out’ as progressives and
to be willing first to lose for our values, principles,
and beliefs. We have not been able to convince people
we really mean what we say, that we really value something
important. We have to be willing to say publicly when
our opposition is wrong that it is ‘wrong.’
We can't be wishy-washy in this political climate.”
theme – “Strengthening the Bond: Progressive
Values, Gay Rights and the Faith Community” –
brings together activists, scholars, journalists, and
religious progressives. Conference sessions will provide
attendees practical tools and strategies for use in
framing conversations about progressive values, working
with the media, enacting progressive values in everyday
life and from the pulpit, and learning how to use successful
strategies of the religious right in the service of
the emphasis of the conference is on taking a stand
– among other progressives and in relation to
the religious right. “The right-wing is powerful,
smart, organized, and committed,” Minor said.
“Their opposition seldom speaks as if it is any
of those things. People want conviction. We need to
be able to say, as Bush did successfully in his campaign:
‘You may not agree with me but you know where
fees for the conference are $89 in advance or $99 at
the door. Admission to individual conference events
are also available. For conference schedule and registration
information, visit www.fairnessproject.org or telephone
(816) 931-0738. For more information on the work of
Paul Loeb, visit www.soulofacitizen.org.
The Liberty Press, October 2005
Author Will Speak at Kansas City Summit
Milton Wendland, staff reporter
– Paul Loeb, author of the new book The Impossible
Will Take a Little While, will be speaking at the
upcoming Fairness Project Summit, which will be held
in Kansas City Oct. 21-23. I had a chance to speak with
Loeb about his upcoming visit to Kansas and his thoughts
about the current political climate.
Press: Your first book focused on some of the major
movers and shakers of our time. Your book – Soul
of a Citizen – focuses more on the everyday
person and the little adjustments that we can all make.
Is this in response to the religious right's enviable
grassroots mobilization of its members? Does the left
have something to learn from the right?
Loeb: We definitely have something to learn from the
grassroots political right. They offer people a strong
sense of community, and of purpose. They've been exceptionally
persistent. And they get their message out through stories,
even though the truths behind those stories are often
distorted, while we often rely far too much on abstractions.
We need to persist just as they do, and to convey our
message in terms of specific examples and specific lives
that are affected by larger policy choices. When we
do make progress it's attributable to doing this.
In an age of self-help books, have we forgotten how
to take action? Do we spend too much time anticipating,
analyzing, wondering? Is action the best antidote to
Action is definitely an antidote to cynicism. It's easy
to hold back and erect what I call a Perfect Standard,
where too many people feel they don't dare take a stand
unless they know every 17 decimal point statistic on
every conceivable issue, and are eloquent as King, saintly
as Gandhi, and ready to debate George Will at the drop
of a hat. But that just leaves us powerless. When we
stake a public stand — which includes telling
the story of who we are in contexts that may be resistant
— it gives us back a sense of power and dignity.
As you know, Kansas is currently in the news for a number
of reasons. We recently amended our state constitution
to ban same-sex unions. Our state school board is embroiled
in a debate about whether "intelligent design"
theory must be taught alongside evolution in science
classes. How do we take stock of where we're at? How
do we maintain the energy to keep struggling for equality?
Community helps. It's essential. But also reaching out
beyond the bounds of our core communities to enlist
new supporters. And thinking about the progress we've
made - far easier in terms of dignity and respect for
gays, where huge progress has been made, than in terms
of economic divides that are widening. And also reaching
out to other social justice movements, so that we're
not just speaking for ourselves, but for a broader vision
of respect for ordinary humans and respect for the earth.
I think a lot of the political right is driven by a
sense that the fabric of the world is being ripped apart,
and that if they just go back to "the old ways"
everything will be fine. Their world is being ripped
apart, but by the Wal-Marts and Enrons and preemptive
wars. If we address this enough, they may recognize
that the reason their lives are increasingly difficult
- and they often are - isn't because some people of
the same sex choose to love each other, but because
huge forces of greed have contempt for everyone.
What's the biggest obstacle to progressive movements
these days? Is it the organizational savvy of the right?
Is it cynicism?
I'd say it's the fracturing of our movements, our inability
to tell the powerful stories that exemplify our causes,
and our inability to reach out to ordinary citizens
who are good-hearted people in many ways, but come from
very different experiences. Of course the right's manipulative
politics doesn't help, nor does the all-too-frequent
caving of the Democrats, but we're going to have to
be the ones to spearhead needed changes.
Cynical attitudes, busy lives, fatigue - these and other
factors might keep any of us from taking action. What's
the one thing we can do right now to start the change?
We can all do something, and I don't just mean donating
to the Red Cross for Katrina - personally I'm giving
to the NAACP, which is helping and organizing, and to
funds to help the local social change groups revive
themselves. We can begin by connecting with some other
people or some other groups so we don't feel so alone,
and doing something that has an impact on the culture
— writing a letter to the paper, calling in to
a talk show, even a conservative one, having a conversation
with a coworker or neighbor, registering some sympathetic
voters. They all carry some risks, at least psychologically,
but as Nelson Mandela says, change happens through the
"multiplication of courage."
Hurricane Katrina's devastation seems to me to be a
metaphor for the sort of uphill battle that many of
us feel we are facing. Do you think the recent events
on the Gulf Coast will end up helping each of us recognize
the power within ourselves or will the sheer magnitude
of the devastation serve only to entrench our cynicism
or feeling of helplessness?
This could be a turning point. I actually write about
this in the most recent article on my website, www.paulloeb.org.
I think it's a potential wakeup call for a whole lot
of people who've not been addressing larger issues,
but whether they then continue to grapple with the hard
issues or go back to ignoring them really does depend
on what we do.
You'll be speaking on the topic of "Coming Out
Progressive" at the Summit. Can you give us a teaser
of what that means and what you'll be addressing?
I'll talk about how we can learn to take a stand and
keep on going. I'll talk about how different movements
interweave with each other. I'll talk about how others
have achieved amazing victories, from Montgomery, Alabama
to South Africa and Eastern Europe, and what it might
take to help ourselves act and keep on acting for the
From The Lawrence Journal-World,
April 16, 2004
professors say Bible often a political tool
Dave Ranney, Journal-World
are not above using the Bible to promote their politics,
a Kansas University professor said Thursday.
In the 1950s, for example, the Bible was used to push
the importance of mothers staying home to raise their
children while, at the same time, making room in the
work force for servicemen returning from World War II.
"Religion was used to promote a cultural value:
in this case, the nuclear family," said Robert
Minor, a religious studies professor at Kansas University.
The fact that several passages in the Bible openly endorse
polygamy was conveniently overlooked, he said.
Minor's comments were part of "Religion and Oppression,"
a panel discussion at the Kansas Union coordinated by
Queers & Allies, an association representing gay,
lesbian and transgendered students.
Abolitionists, too, used the Bible to attack slavery,
Minor explained, adding that passages condoning slavery
and calling on slaves to "obey their masters"
were rarely mentioned.
It's no surprise, Minor said, that the Bible today is
being used to condemn homosexuality and gay marriage.
"There are seven passages in the Bible that are
used against gay people," Minor said. "But
the debate among biblical scholars is not whether they
are pro or anti (gay)."
He added: "The word homosexual does not appear
in the Bible."
Agreeing with Minor, fellow religious studies professor
Daniel Breslauer said among biblical scholars the often-cited
passage "Lie down with no man as you would a women"
is thought to have more to do with gender -- men's power
over women -- than with homosexuality.
Tim Miller, another religious studies professor, encouraged
the 25 students in the audience to recognize the differences
among religion, politics and culture.
"I don't think religion is inherently oppressive,"
he said. "But I think people can be oppressive
and are capable of using the Bible as a tool of oppression."
Andrew Stangl, a Wichita freshman, asked why the nation's
mainstream churches have been less than outspoken in
support of gay rights and in opposition to the Iraq
"Where is the outrage?" Stangl asked.
Breslauer replied: "The Vietnam War made (church
leaders) realize their patriotism could be called into
Miller added that many churches were "truly internally
conflicted" over whether to extend an open door
to gays and lesbians.
From The Breeze (James Madison
University's Student Newspaper), January 29,
taught to be warriors
Professor speaks about society's views
of what makes someone 'more of a man'
by Stephen Atwell / senior writer
Speaking about cultural influences in the United States
that scare people into being straight, a professor of
religious studies at the University of Kansas talked
Monday night in Grafton-Stovall Theatre to a crowd of
"Just because you are heterosexual does not make
you straight," Robert Minor said. "We have
to scare people into being straight, into acting straight,
into looking straight, into thinking straight, into
feeling straight, into voting straight - and that is
what I want to talk about."
Minor discussed a pervading theme in American culture
that's focused on war. As a result of this preoccupation
with war, men are taught six elements in order to convince
them that they are warriors. He mentioned the war on
drugs, the war on terror and the war on poverty as examples.
The first of these is to convince the men that if they
are willing to kill other men and risk being killed
in the process, then they are more of a man.
"In our culture, you get medals for killing another
man, but you can be killed for loving another man, can't
you?" Minor asked.
Another factor in the evolution from boys to soldiers
is the tendency to separate them from their emotions.
Minor explained that boys are taught to avoid expressing
fear, hurt and confusion. Instead, they are taught that
anger is an acceptable alternative to being afraid,
hurt or confused.
"Isolation and anger are the key male responses
to separating men from their emotions," Minor said.
Men also are taught to separate themselves from their
bodies in order to not acknowledge hurt. Once a man
does not acknowledge that something hurts, it is much
harder for him to realize when something may hurt someone
else, according to Minor.
Men are instilled with homophobia, which Minor described
as "the fear of getting close to your own sex."
He said, "The U.S. culture is the most homophobic
culture that has ever existed on this earth."
At some point, men are taught that they are getting
too close to other men, Minor said. This is an essential
process to making men into warriors. If they are expected
to kill someone, they can't feel attached to them.
He also said men are taught to devalue what is feminine.
These values are learned by such common phrases as "you
run like a girl" or "you throw like a girl,"
which emphasize a woman's status.
Finally, in order to make men into warriors, they are
taught to "demonize" gay men.
"The worst thing you can call a kid in first, second
and third grade is stupid or gay," Minor said.
Similar values, he said, are instilled in women so they
value what is masculine and are taught to support the
When women started getting close to each other, they
started seeking reproductive rights and equal pay, Minor
said. As a result of this, any woman who would do something
for her own interest is rumored to be a lesbian.
He urged students to step outside of their gender roles.
He said that things were not going to change until men
become accepting of their feelings, and women learn
to protect themselves.
"I think they have to step outside of a very fear-based
society, which is forcing them into roles as men and
women - including what I call the 'straight role,'"
Minor said. "They have to have the courage to know
who they are and decide what is now important is that
they live as their full humanity."
Students reacted to Minor's speech.
"I like that he makes jokes and cultural references
to things everyone can relate to and know about, so
that it is not just some over-your-head scholarly thing,"
senior Amy Ray said.
The lecture was sponsored by a number of campus and
One of these groups was Harmony, an organization for
gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons as well
as straight supporters.
Junior JohnAlex Golden, president of Harmony said, "To
think about it as the way we build up society and the
way we survive as a society - it's not something I'd
ever really thought about."
The departments of anthropology and sociology also sponsored
"[Minor] tries to distance himself from [attacking
people based on their sexual orientation] and talks
about how this cultural conditioning hurts all of us
regardless of our sexual orientation," sociology
professor Christine Robinson said.
From Gay Today, December 5, 2003
Book Challenges Old-Fashioned Social Concepts
Savvy Scholar Examines Personal Relationships
and Core Issues
Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society Points
to a Brave New World
By Jack Nichols, Editor, GayToday
Florida - During
what appears to be a promising Winter season in the
publishing industry, a revolutionary new work titled
Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society offers unique
challenges to the gay and lesbian community, questioning
antiquated attitudes that have too long been taken for
The topics in this book are familiar, but Professor
Robert N. Minor's commentaries have surprised readers
and reviewers alike with insights that strike a familiar
cord, as if they'd uncovered things that they'd known
all along. Dr. Minor addresses a variety of core issues
that go deeper than daily conversations. And he challenges
his readers to overthrow those perspectives that are
stifling their lives as well as the lives of friends
and loved ones around them. Their solutions are woven,
he says, out of each person's uniqueness.
An early review captured the Professor's approach: "In
this ground-breaking book, Minor does away with the
need so many of us have to justify, defend, and play
the victim role as gay people. Instead he shows us,
by example, how to realistically see ourselves, respond
to our critics, and define our own lives and community."
Dr. Minor puts U.S. society itself on the defensive.
Nothing is assumed to be true, healthy, or humane. The
sickness is what we're being taught to value and it's
everywhere hurting relationships from friendships to
committed partnerships, the political climate that is
given to LGBT people, and a variety of issues about
There's something that becomes apparent as Gay &
Healthy proceeds: what Dr. Minor is talking about
to LGBT people ought to be said as well to improve the
lives of straight people. What he has had the audacity
to proclaim in an easy-going style, is that people are
healthy to the extent that they don't ape society's
ways of seeing and doing things.
He's not talking about anarchy, but something at the
core of human being and human existence as well as the
core of American dreams that are betrayed by mainstream
views of "the American dream." And he is getting
at something we seem to all know within ourselves but
Tackling topics from self-images to politics and romance,
the professor has rejected the victim role. "No
matter how much LGBT people have been victimized, and
are continually being victimized in U.S. society, we
don't have to frame our lives, sexual expression, relationships,
politics, and movements in terms of the evaluations
of a larger society that can't solve it's deepest problems."
On sex, Minor argues, that it's hard to find a society
in history that is so confused, even dumbfounded, when
it comes to issues of sexual commerce, activity, intimacy,
and partnering. Sexual addiction, he says, is rampant,
even mainstreamed, including our institutions' emphases
on celibacy and abstinence. "Sexual addiction therapists
know that celibacy often can be a sexual addiction when
there is an obsession with it." That describes
the Roman Catholic Church and other denominations, he
observes in a chapter entitled "Priests, Sexual
Abuse, and Sexual Addiction."
Minor's criticisms of the current state of politics
include not only exposure of "The Faithless Business
of Faith-Based Initiatives," and "Weapons
of Mass Distraction," but the "Pitiful State
of LGBT Politics" confronting us from both major
parties. We are living a victim role when we "settle
for Republican dismissal and Democratic compromise."
Minor's chapters on "Leadership," arise out
of workshops he does nationally for activist leaders,
such as has been the case during the last four years
at NGLTF's "Creating Change" Conferences.
"The victim role of any marginalized group is acted
out in our criticism and distrust of leaders. It's easier
to eat our own than to fight what's really hurting us
Beyond sections on coming out, growing up in the USA,
gender, holidays, histories, and society, Gay &
Healthy in a Sick Society examines the self-image of
LGBT people as it's often acted out publicly. Minor
argues that there are issues that we should no longer
be caught up in. When we are, the right wing is winning
and the LGBT community is not acting out of its best
self-concepts. "The Psychological Debate is Over"
suggests new strategies to stop getting caught up in
the right-wing ex-gay debates. Minor also wants us to
ask whether the portrayal of LGBT people as valuable
consumers is really a mark of poor self-image, not pride.
There are tender moments in Gay & Healthy.
Sections on "Relationships," and "Becoming
Families" challenge why we need and want relationships
or children and describe how we can make our relationships
and child-rearing better than the limited norms of society
In "Just as Good Isn't Good Enough," Minor
says acceptance of lesbian and gay parenting by the
American Academy of Pediatrics is great but still too
low a standard for raising healthy children. And though
Minor prefers that we emphasize friendships to solve
our problems with coupling, he has practical advice
for couples, such as chapters on "That Romantic
Touch" and "Seven Messages that Wreck a Relationship."
Toby Johnson, editor of the literary periodical, White
Crane Journal and author of Gay Perspective:
Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of
God and the Universe, says: "Dr. Minor demonstrates
that a sex-positive and gay-positive perspective on
life naturally results in socially and ethically desirable
attitudes and behaviors. In transcending polarized gender
roles and gender expectations, gay people are a beacon
to a society hopelessly drowning in anti-sexual and
life-denying attitudes. Minor holds up that light for
all to see. Readable, entertaining and unfailingly sensible,
these analyses of modern life, especially modern gay
life, deserve this second incarnation in Gay and
Healthy in a Sick Society."
In an advertisement for the book, I too expressed my
enthusiasm: "Minor's gift for clarity turns this
amazing new book into the most compelling and consequential
reading experience conceivable. I cheered his illuminating
viewpoints from cover to cover. As a stellar contribution
to current dialogues, Gay and Healthy in a Sick
Society will remain unsurpassed for many years
the online archived version of the above article.
the The Word, June 2003
Straight Author to Lead Seminar at Ghost Ranch
Minor, Professor of Religious Studies at the University
of Kansas and author of the book Scared Straight: Why
It's So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It's So Hard
to Be Human will teach "Getting Unstuck: Making
Progress on Sexual Orientation and Gender Issues"28
July-3 Aug. at Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Centre
Scared Straight as a result of 10 years of workshops
on homophobia and gender issues. Within a month of publication,
the book was named Book of the Week by www.Menstuff.org
In 2002 it was a finalist for both a Lambda Literary
Award and an Independent Publisher Book Award.
with the theme of the book, the seminar will allow participants
to explore the personal and social issues that keep
them from being creatively engaged.
It is open to people of all ages and orientations, including
young adults, pastors, and counsellors. It is intended
for people at both beginning and advanced levels of
dealing with gender issues and homophobia.
information, ring 505/685.4333.
the Midwest Times, Jan 30-Feb 5, 2003
Minor in the interest of Fairness
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
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.
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".
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 www.fairnessproject.org.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Four Points Sheraton at 45th and Main
Cost is $8 per person for first-time attendees and $15
National Public Radio "Morning Edition,"
December 23, 2002
Texts" by Roger Martin
'Tis the season to recommend a book to buy, right? Well
here's one way to think about it.
There are 2 billion Christians, 1.2 billion Moslems
and 800,000 Hindus -- that's about half the people on
So why not buy that special someone a good translation
of the sacred text of one of those religions?
The hard part is choosing from among the dozens of Bibles,
Qurans or Bhagavad-gitas out there.
So I asked several scholars in the University of Kansas
Department of Religious Studies to recommend translations:
Tim Miller, Paul Mirecki, Richard Jeske, Dan Breslauer,
Margaret Rausch and Robert Minor. Here's
what they said.
Miller, Mirecki and Jeske recommended either the Revised
Standard Version of the Bible, or its successor, the
New Revised Standard Version from among the 25 or so
translations or paraphrases of the Bible available in
The Bible was written in Greek and Hebrew and these
translations are faithful to the original, understandable
and relatively free of editorial bias, the scholars
Jeske, a member of the Translations Committee of the
American Bible Society, praises both revised standard
versions for including excellent notes about portions
of today's Bible that don't appear in some of the ancient
Everything you read in the Bible is a copy, or a copy
of a copy, Jeske says, so it's important to know which
passages aren't present in all the manuscripts.
For Mirecki, editorial slant is an important consideration
in picking a translation. He says that the Douay Version
of the Bible reflects a Roman Catholic viewpoint, for
example, the New International Version a conservative
If you like literature, the Jerusalem Bible
or its successor, the New Jerusalem Bible,
might be what you're looking for.
The Jerusalem Bible was originally a French
translation produced by eminent Roman Catholic scholars,
Jeske says. The English translation from the French
version included the hand of J.R.R. Tolkien, author
of Lord of the Rings.
The disadvantage, say Jeske, is that it's twice removed
from the original source material.
The sacred text of Judaism is called the Hebrew Bible.
Its chapters are the same as the Protestant Old Testament,
but they appear in a different order. Dan Breslauer's
favorite translation of this text is the Jewish Publication
If you're thinking of a Quran, Margaret Rausch
recommends The Meaning of the Holy Quran, by
Abdullah Yusuf Ali.
Despite its title, it's not a commentary. Muslims believe
that the Quran and the Arabic language are
inseparably interwoven. Thus, any translation is necessarily
As a result, Rausch says, sensitive translators call
their work "the Message of the Quran"
or "the Meaning of the Quran," not
just "the Quran."
The Bhagavad-gita, the Hindu sacred text, is
the briefest of the three, at just 700 verses. Robert
Minor recommends Barbara Stoller Miller's translation,
titled The Bhagavad-gita: Krishna's Counsel in Time
A central idea in the Gita is that one should
act without regard to the fruits of one's actions. And
Mahatma Gandhi took away from the Gita the
idea that one must fight the evil in one's own heart,
Even better than giving just one of these sacred texts
as a gift, you might consider giving all three.
If you do, though, you'll have to package the texts
in shrinkwrap yourself.
My web search using the words "The Bible, the Quran
and the Bhagavad-gita three-volume gift set"
didn't turn up a thing.
on religious arguing offered in new series
Koland, staff reporter
— 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.
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
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.
he was tired of seeing gays and lesbians corner themselves
into the role of sufferers.
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.
pamphlet in the series is entitled "When You're
Having a Religious Argument" and describes strategies
for keeping cool and refuting common arguments against
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
the LGBT community needs to be more focused in its presentation
to mainstream society.
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
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.
the series is about the empowerment of the LGBT community,
truth is LGBT people are fine," Minor says. "Society
and its prejudices are sick. Let's believe that and
act like we believe that."
are $2 apiece. To order any of the series send a check
to The Fairness Project, PO Box 45604, Kansas City,
MO 64171. © Liberty Press, 2002.
From Outlook News
(Columbus, OH), September 13, 2002
to lead workshop on understanding Catholic crisis
COLUMBUS — Robert N. Minor, professor of Religious
Studies at the University of Kansas and author of Scared
Straight: Why It's So Hard to Accept Gay People and
Why I's So Hard to Be Human will conduct a workshop
on understanding homophobia during the PFLAG national
discuss, "When Religion Compounds the Oppression:
A Look at the Catholic Church Crisis" in which
he strategizes how individuals can personally move beyond
arguing religion and the Bible to get down to the deeper
issues that need to change so that real change will
"… religious groups sanctify prejudices that
our cultural hangs on to because something deeper is
this "something deeper" in his book, which
was named a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and
an Independent Publisher Book Award.
of religious power, hierarchical authority, and institutional
protection coupled with fear of loss and change are
threatened when religious institutions are forced to
rethink this issue. To protect the current status of
the institution and prevent change, the institution
responds in fear with doctrinal grandstanding, and diversionary
tactics which at times may look like partial concessions,"
he said. © Outlook News, 2002.