About this web site
Newly created or updated
the past few months. Planned essays.
Why we have so many essays on sexual minorities.
The following topics are discussed in this section:
"I Promised Not to Tell: Raising a transgender child," by Cheryl B. Evans, Self published, 2016-JUL. Available in Kindle format for $5.93 and paperback for $15.99
Amazon.com customers gave this book a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. This is an incredible rating for a book on such a controversial topic. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. Available for $5.99 in Kindle format or $15.99 in Paperback.
"A must read for a parent, relative or friend of a gender questioning or transgender person. I Promised Not to Tell is a deeply personal and emotional parenting memoir told by the mother of a transgender child. This book will benefit anyone who would like to learn more about transgenderism. Honest, moving and well written, you will not be disappointed!
Review by this web site's author, Bruce Robinson, on Amazon.com:
"An absolute gem:
An amazing book! It allows the reader to fully experience the shock, fears, joy, and triumphs that a fully involved parent of a transgender child may have. I have read dozens of books about the LGBT community in connection with my work on the LGBT section of the religioustolerance.org web site. But this is the first time that I have been motivated to temporarily suspend my work on the site in order to read a book cover to cover. Not to be missed."
Viga Boland wrote the following review:
"... I Promised Not to Tell is quite possibly one of the most important books to date on a very controversial and little understood social issue: transgenderism. And what makes it even more valuable is that the focus is on helping parents recognize,and whether they like it or not, accept that their daughter might actually be a son or vice versa. As Cheryl B. Evans states early in I Promised Not to Tell, and repeats throughout the book, what she and her husband wanted most for her children was their happiness. And everything these parents do in this book proves they mean what they say. They listened to and trusted in what Jordan believed was right for her; they educated themselves on transgenderism; they located knowledgeable therapists and doctors, and stood united and strong beside their daughter when faced with religious ignorance that claims such children are "not of God..."
"If you are facing such a situation with your child, I urge you to read this book. Both you and your child need what Cheryl has so kindly shared with readers and parents. And when you do, I'm sure you will come away impressed not just by the courage shown by Jordan in this book, but by the love Cheryl and her husband have for their children and their compassion for all people. That love affirms what I've always believed: true love has nothing to do with gender. Love is love. I loved I Promised Not to Tell. Couldn't put it down. Highly recommended reading."
The web site has 33 newly created or updated essays so far during 2016-OCT, including the above book review.
New essays are marked "N"; updated essays are marked "U":
- OCT-01: U Books for transsexuals, their families, and co-workers
- OCT-01: U Same-sex marriage in Ireland
- OCT-01: N Iowa couple accused of bigotry & hatred
- OCT-03: U Alabama: State Supreme Court Justice Moore attempts to end gay marriage. Marriage licenses available to all qualified couples
- OCT-03: U Alabama: State Supreme Court issues ruling. Media disagree on its contents and impact.
- OCT-03: N Alabama: Same-sex couples are able to marry througout Alabama, with some effort. Chief Justice Moore
is charged and suspended from office
- OCT-03: N Books in print about evolution, creationism, and intelligent design
- OCT-04: N Searches in Amazon.com for books on the above three topics
- OCT-04: U Proofs 15 to 21 that the Earth is not flat...
- OCT-04: U An "end of the world" prophecy for 2016-OCT-31
- OCT-05: U The Unification Church: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
- OCT-06: U The Unification Church and homosexuality
- OCT-09: N Recent events showing that climate change is adversely affecting life on Earth
- OCT-09: N City ordinances and state laws concerning transgender persons in North Carolina
- OCT-09: N 2016-FEB-22 until now: MENU Charlotte City Council
protect LGBT community, North Carolina state government reacts. Political impacts.
- OCT-09: N 2016-SEP & OCT: NCAA pulls seven championships out of North Carolina. Political impacts of HB 2
- OCT-10: N A donated essay: "Psychiatric Service Dogs for people with mental disabilities," by Julia Merrill
- OCT-11: U 2016-Summer/Fall: Events showing that climate change is adversely affecting life on Earth. Hurricane Matthew
- OCT-11: N 2016-OCT: Did God send Hurricane Matthew as an anti-LGBT message to humanity? Alternate opinions. Hurricane Matthew re-enters Atlantic Ocean
- OCT-12: N 2016-OCT: The craziness of the U.S. 2016 election
season. A random selection of events
ethical or religious content: Part 1 Part 2
- OCT-14: N Australia: Stalemate on same-sex marriage continues after plebiscite blocked by Labor
- OCT-16: U/N Estimates of the number of Wiccans in the U.S. for the years: Introduction, 1972 to 1998, 1999 and 2000, 2001 to 2006, 2007 and 2011, 2014 and 2015.
- OCT-20: U/N Our attempts to estimate the number
in the U.S.
for the years: 2001 and 2008 and 2015
- OCT-22: U/N Part 9: 2016-OCT: About "bathroom bill" HV 2 in North Carolina: Colorado Christian University petition. Political impact. Gubernatorial
- OCT-22: U/N Part 3: The craziness of the U.S. 2016 election
season. A random selection of events
ethical or religious content:
"Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior" by Bart Ehrman. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $18.77 plus postage in Hardcover, $15.70 in Kindle format, or $21.95 in audible formats.
Some book reviews:
“Ehrman provides an intriguing overview of memory studies and introduces readers to a variety of important pioneers and studies. ... Ehrman concludes that ‘the historical Jesus did not make history; the remembered Jesus did.’ An intriguing new angle on the well-worn field of ‘historical Jesus’ studies.” (Kirkus Review)
“An intriguing and entertaining take on the formation of the Gospels.” (Library Journal)
“With his typical humor, passion, and vivacity, Ehrman explores the ways that memory shapes, distorts, changes, and preserves the stories of Jesus passed along by the Christian community. Ehrman’s provocative book raises engaging questions that drive readers back to the sources of our information about Jesus.” (Publishers Weekly)
“One can see why Ehrman is so widely known and respected by so many people. Here Ehrman takes a completely different approach from his previous books. This book is a new approach to the study of the beginnings of Christianity.” (Association for Mormon Letters)
”Jesus Before the Gospels is a scholarly yet readable study of Jesus and the Gospels. Ehrman’s scholarship remains unmatched. Ehrman unveils several unexplored aspects of the life of Jesus and the Gospels. Everybody with an interest in Christianity and religion in general will find this fascinating book useful.” (Washington Book Review)
“With Jesus Before the Gospels, Bart D. Ehrman has written a thought-provoking book prompted by his interest as a historian in the various traditions about Jesus. Enjoyable to read ” (America Magazine)
Average rating in reviews by 38 Amazon customers: 4.3 out of 5 stars.
During 2016-APR, Amazon.com reported that this book was the #1 best seller in New Testament commentaries.
The web site has 27 newly created or updated essays so far during 2016-SEP. New essays are marked "N"; updated essays are marked "U":
"Fighting God: An Atheist Manifesto for a Religious World," by David Silverman. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$17.80 plus postage in Paperback, $11.92 in Kindle format, or $16.45 plus postage in hardcover.
Also available in Audible and MP3 CD formats.
This book is written by an Atheist about Atheism. It might be very helpful for Christians and others who attempt to proselytize non-Christians. That is because it accurately reflects real beliefs of many Atheists.
Amazon.com book description:
"Fighting God is a firebrand manifesto from one of the most recognizable faces of atheism. In his book, Silverman -- a walking, talking atheist billboard known for his appearances on Fox News -- discusses the effectiveness, ethics and impact of the in-your-face-atheist who refuses to be silent.
Silverman argues that religion is more than just wrong: it is malevolent and does not deserve our respect. It is our duty to be outspoken and do what we can to bring religion down. Examining the mentality, methods and issues facing the firebrand atheist, Silverman presents an overwhelming argument for firebrand atheism and reveals:
- All religion is cafeteria religion and almost all agnostics are atheists.
- American society grants religion a privileged status, despite the intentions of the Founding Fathers.
- Christian politicians have adversely (and un-Constitutionally) affected our society with regard to science, health, women's rights, and gay rights. ...
- It is not "Islamophobia" to observe dangerous teachings and disproportionate violence in Islam, including the governments of some predominately Muslim countries that execute Atheists, Muslims who leave Islam for another religion, and homosexuals.
- Atheists are slowly but surely winning the battle. ..."
Average rating in reviews by 77 Amazon customers: 4.5 out of 5 stars. That is unusually high for a book on such a controversial topic.
There are 36 new and revised essays activated during 2016-AUG:
- 2016-JUL: The World Health Organization may no longer classify being transgender as a mental disorder
- Lammas, a Wiccan/Neopagan celebration held on AUG-01 in the Northern Hemisphere, & FEB-01 in the Southern Hemisphere
- Tentative selections of recommended books for future months: September & October, November, December & January, February, March, & April
- The federal FADA: (First Amendment Defense
Act): A brief description of the status quo.
A concern of some Christian groups.
State versions of FADA
- Marriage equality in Australia:
- 2015-OCT until now: Support for gay marriage in the U.S. Speculation about the future of marriage equality in the United States
- 2016-FEB to APR: Attention returns Rowan County, Kentucky: Kim Davis and marriage equality both win: a new marriage application form is approved for Kentucky
- About transgender persons: Pope Francis condemns telling children that they can "choose their gender"
- Cosmology and the shape of the Earth:
- Part 8: Passages from the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) about the Earth's shape. Additional proofs that the Earth is not flat.
- Part 9: Proofs 16 to 19 that the Earth is not flat. Is the Flat Earth group sincere or perpetrating a hoax?
- Analysis of Jude 7 from the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) -- a passage than many believe condems homosexual behavior
- An essay donated by Robert Mount: "My Pursuit of Truth."
Part 1 Part 2
- Atheist car license plates in Connecticut and Michigan
- North Carolina's "freedom to discriminate" law against transgender persons: (in 6 Parts)
- A recommended book selected for 2017-MAY: "How God Became God: What Scholars Are Really Saying About God and the Bible" by Richard M. Smoley
- Links between astronomy, the life stories of Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ) and other deities
- About Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ)
- Registering web sites; Meta tag keywords; Monitoring your site's, acceptance & rating by others & whether it is on or offline: Part 1 Part 2
- About essays on this this web site
"Epiphany: A Christian's Change of Heart & Mind over Same-Sex Marriage," by Michael Coren. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $19.45 plus postage in Hardcover, $14.54 in Kindle format.
Amazon.com book description:
"Michael Coren had a profound spiritual and personal change of heart. Epiphany is about how and why that happened; the reaction from both sides of the fence; and how the Christian doctrine, when studied closely and without bias, heartily supports Michael's findings. As a middle-aged, very white, very straight, very Christian man, he was obliged, first reluctantly and then eagerly, to explore the complex dynamic between faith and homosexuality and to work out a new narrative. The crux of that narrative: God is love.
Honest, brave, and rigorous in its scholarship, Epiphany is a groundbreaking book on one of society's most pressing issues.
This book was released on 2016-APR-26. There are no reviews by Amazon.com customers yet.
There were 35 new and revised essays activated during 2016-JUL:
2016-June's book selection
"Freedom from Religion," by Noel McGivern
Although this book advocates that people abandon religion, it should also be of interest for believers who engage in the proselytizing of others. It should teach you what negative beliefs others have about religion, and make your proselytizing more effective.
Amazon.com book description:
"Why is belief a useless guide to truth? Why do we need to understand the danger of religious identity? Was Moses a ruthless psychopath? What led to the Catholic Church's moral cowardice over the Nazis and child-abusing priests? How harmful have Islamic interpretations been for women in Arab countries? What are the best answers to claims the Bible is inerrant? Are spiritual experiences just products of the mind? Freedom from Religion explores the evidence and makes a powerful case for walking away from religion. It's a guide for those defending non-belief and deeply challenging to those within religion."
Noel McGivern was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1962, and left at the age of 19 for a degree in politics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. A major reason for leaving Belfast was his desire to be free from the religious identities imposed by that divided society. He spent many years seeking the truth at the heart of religion and spirituality, eventually reaching the conclusion that such beliefs are often barriers to human and political progress. He embarked on a study of how religion affects individuals and society. This book, sometimes funny, and at others deeply serious, is the outcome of that.
Average rating by Amazon customers: 4.6 out of 5 stars, which is unusually high for a book on such a religiously controversial topic.
New and revised essays during 2016-JUN:
There were 29 new or updated essays in June including the above recommended book.
2016-May's book selection
"Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family" by Amy Ellis Nutt
Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$16.20 plus postage in Hardcover, or
$13.30 in Kindle format.
Book description by Erin Kodicek:
" 'Why IS it such a big deal to everyone what somebody has in their pants?' Excellent question, posed by an unusually astute transgender girl, the subject of Amy Ellis Nutt’s emotional and illuminating Becoming Nicole. It’s also a little ironic, since Nicole’s story makes a bit of a deal of it, but in a much different way than other stories we’ve been hearing lately, from celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner and television shows like Transparent. Nicole, her twin brother Jonas, mom Kelly, and dad Wayne, are your typical middle class American family. They live next door to you -- are shuttling from work, to Cub Scouts, to softball practice. … They’re also coming to terms with the fact that one of their own has Gender Dysphoria, a medical condition whereby a person does not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. And so Wayne and Kelly Maines discover that they don’t have two sons at all, but a son and a daughter. This is a particularly hard pill for Republican, Air Force veteran, Wayne, to swallow, and his journey from denial to accepting and championing his daughter, is one of the more powerful and moving side narratives in a book chock full of them. That is why I really struggled to write this review, because Becoming Nicole is an important book that imparts important lessons, and the ones that resonate most have nothing to do with what’s in anyone’s pants: Be true to yourself, live an authentic life, exercise compassion. –
Average rating by Amazon customers: 4.4 out of 5 stars. It was selected as Amazon's Best Book of October, 2015; a New York Times notable book; one of People's ten best books of the year; and Men's Journal's one of the best books of the year!
New and revised essays during 2016-MAY:
There were 43 new and updated essays, including the above recommended book.
- A brief list of some genocides in biblical and modern times: Part 1 Part 2
- Tennessee: 2016-JAN to APR: A state law was passed to allow counselors, therapists, and mental health professionals to refuse service to LGBT people, atheists, divorced people, literally anyone, by simply claiming that it violates their "sincerely held religious beliefs." Signed into law in late April. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
- An introduction to climate change, global warming,
- Part 1: Cartoon. Webmaster's note.
- Part 2: A tweet & two quotes. What would happen if/when
the glaciers melt? Why discuss
climate change on a religious web site? An infographic.
- A conflict between a FTM transgender
school teacher and a Roman Catholic School board in Saskatchewan, Canada.
- The root causes and resolutions of three major religious/secular conflicts:
- Two Pagan views, one modern view, one hoax, and one conspiracy theory about the shape of the Earth:
- Part 1: Overview about cosmological beliefs. Ancient Pagan view originating in Sumer.
- Part 2: Revised Pagan Greek view, which was generally accepted by the early Christian Church, with a couple of exceptions.
- Part 3: Greek Pagan cosmology (Cont'd). Modern view of the solar system. The big lie: that the church taught a flat earth during the Middle Ages.
- Part 4: The flat earth belief is reborn as a modern-day conspiracy theory. Two proofs that it is not valid.
- Part 5: Five more proofs that the flat earth belief is false.
- Civil Unions bill in Italy awaits the Prime Minister's signature.
- "Bathroom bills:" Who gets to use a women's public washroom and who gets to use a men's room.
- Two conflicts involving public washrooms or dressing rooms: 2011: An incident at Macy's in TX. 2015: A student
- President Barack Obama issues a proclamation for Mother's Day that recognizes transgender mothers
- About the child ritual abuse hoax of the 1980's and 1990's:
- A progressive Christian and non-Christian viewpoint of the atonement Part 1 Part 2.
- Gods, Goddesses and other deities: Background material. Differentiating
among Theists, Agnostics, and Atheists.
- Analysis of the Exodus version of the Ten Commandments:
- Atheism: Belief in no God, or no belief in God. Quotations and an overview
- "NeWFism," a proposed biblically-based new religion An essay donated by Alton C. Thompson.
- Misc. links to other web sites that deal with various topics: Part 1 Part 2
- Harold Camping predicted the rapture and world end for 2011. Neither happend but Rapture Party Day lives on
- Religious data from the UK showing a gradual slide from belief in Christianity into secularism:
- Comments by delegates to the United Methodist Church's 2012 conference. Webmaster's comments. 2016 conference
decides to "punt" on the LGBT issue
- Atheism: Belief in no God, or no belief in God. Quotations and an overview
- Major events and current status of gay marriage in Canada Part 1: 2001 to 2005-MAY; Part 2: 2005-JUN to now.
- Adam and Eve's original sin and the concept of the Atonement in Christianity
2016-April's book selection:
"Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics," by Mark A Smith
Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
Available for U.S.$18.51 plus postage in Hardcover, or $10.96 in Kindle format.
Average rating in reviews by 4 Amazon customers: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
A group of editorial reviews:
David Campbell, University of Notre Dame: "A beautifully written and richly substantive book that convincingly explodes conventional wisdom. On an array of issues, from slavery to divorce, homosexuality, and women’s rights, Smith’s exhaustive research clearly shows that the doctrines of America’s major religious traditions have shifted to conform with contemporary societal norms. Readers will learn much from this book—even those who already consider themselves familiar with one or more of the issues it explores."
Alan Wolfe, Boston College: "Far from holding fast to traditions and principles, religion, like everything else, changes to meet the times. Smith adds to our understanding of America's presumed culture wars by showing how often this has happened in our history."
Chicago Tribune 2015-SEP-14: "Smith show[s], over and over again, on issue after issue, that religious leaders have changed their tune on almost every subject to accommodate more sweeping changes taking place in broader American society. . . . Smith is after something bigger than just thumbing his nose at those who claim to have The Answer. Instead, [he] wants Americans to take a step back from the culture wars. He wants us to realize that, despite apocalyptic pronouncements that Americans are more polarized than ever before, we actually agree on quite a bit."
Catholic Library World 2015-DEC-30: "Has culture driven changes to the Christian faith and adjusted its tenets? Smith argues that this is the case. ... His arguments and critique of Christianity will arouse discussion in many contexts."
About the Author:
Mark A. Smith is professor of political science and adjunct professor of comparative religions at the University of Washington. He is the author of two [other] books: "The Right Talk: How Conservatives Transformed the Great Society into the Economic Society" and "American Business and Political Power: Public Opinion, Elections, and Democracy,"
New and revised essays during 2015-APR:
There were 15 new and updated essays during April including the above recommended book. This is significantly reduced from our normal output of one new or updated essay a day because a great deal of our time was committed to income tax preparation this month:
- A three part essay donated by John A. Dixon: One writer's beliefs about homosexuality: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
- A revamp of our main menu on Islam
- Quotes on various aspects of religion, written by
authors with names
with the letter H to P
- 2016-APR The LGBT community takes new initiatives to overcome discrimination against the trans community
- North Carolina: City of Charlotte amends human rights law to include protection for transgender community; State kills the ordinance.
- "Divorce and the LDS Church" describes divorce in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the main Mormon church.
- This web site has a special feature that we have never seen on another religious web site: an errata section in which we record errors which we have found or have been told about via emails from site visitors, and have since corrected.
- The Hindu menu and two of its associated essays have been updated. One deals with the number of Hindus in the U.S., Canada & the rest of the world. The other deals with the larger than normal ratio of boy to girl children in India which appears to be caused by sex-selective abortions and, to a lesser degree, the abandonment of girl newborns.
- Analysis of an article in Aljazeera Magazine, a Muslim periodical, in opposiion to gay marriage, with readers'comments. Part 1 Part 2
- The RU-486 "abortion pill" becomes available in Canada.
- Climate change & other environmental concerns:
- Part 1: Cartoon. Webmaster's note. Scientists' warnings. Variation in CO2 levels. Why do we discuss this topic here?
- Part 2: A tweet & two quotes. What would happen when
the galciers melt? Why discuss
climate change on a
religious web site? An infographic.
- More environmental concerns and climate change: "Christians,
Republicans' & Democrats'