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Holy Terror: Lies the Christian Right Tells Us to Deny Gay Equality Reprint Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1936833092
ISBN-10: 1936833093
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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Holy Terror (published in hardcover under the title Religion Gone Bad)

"Mel White is one of the great prophetic voices of our time. His voice is a unique and important one in American Christianity. I have been enriched and blessed by it."

Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America

"Mel White, the gay ghostwriter for both Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, lays bare in this book, as only an insider can do, the fierce anti-homosexual agenda of organized religion from the Vatican to the American television preachers. White paints a frightening picture of what they mean when they call for ‘making America a Christian nation.’ He issues a challenging wake up call both to those who are traditional Christians as well as to those who hold deeply human values. A consciousness-raising, must-read book."

John Shelby Spong, author of The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible's Texts of Hate in Search of the God of Love

"In this meticulously researched book, Mel White documents how Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, James Kennedy and other fundamentalist leaders are working to install a theocratic government in the United States. Essential reading for anyone concerned about the health of the church and the future of our nation."

Jack Rogers, Moderator of the 213th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Professor of Theology Emeritus at San Francisco Theological Seminary

"Mel White reveals the frightening plan of fundamentalist Christians to ‘reconstruct’ American democracy into a theocracy, a plan that is currently supported by the White House and many in Congress. No one writes about this subject with more credibility and urgency, because Mel White has known and worked with the ‘stars’ of the Christian Right, knows them to be unrelenting in their goal of making this a ‘Christian Nation’ and recognizes the cultural and political signs of their growing success."

Jimmy Creech, United Methodist pastor tried and defrocked for marrying a gay couple; Executive Director, Faith In America, Inc.

"A devastating and documented account of what happens when fanatical religion and fascistic politics hook up in a semi-secret affair that gives birth to spiritual, and sometimes physical, terrorism. Written by an insider who knows his truth from direct personal experience as well as methodical research, it should be read by all Christians who care about the credibility of their faith and by all Americans who care about the freedom of their country from the domination of religion gone rancid."

The Rev. Paul W. Egertson, Ph.D., Bishop Emeritus, Southwest California Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Senior Lecturer in Religion, California Lutheran University

"Mel White possesses unparalleled insight into the workings of the Anti-Gay Industry and its plan to create an American theocracy. Religion Gone Bad demonstrates why all Americans, secular and religious, gay and straight, must stand together to resist the attacks of the religious right on the humanity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people."

Matt Foreman, Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"Mel just nails it. He doesn't mince word or waste time. He uses his complex relationships with the movers and shakers of Christian fundamentalism to reveal what ails American Christianity. There is a spiritual maturity and authority in this book, as Mel builds his case relentlessly. This is the book we have been waiting for, and I predict will have many imitators."

The Rev Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches

"I am profoundly grateful to Mel White for this insider’s book about the fundamentalists’ war on homosexuals. It is amazing to me how a so-called Christian group can change the Christian message of love into a message of hate. Mel also explains how this war against gays also is also a war against our American government, an attempt to change our democracy into a theocracy, and thus threatens not just gays but all of us. I hope this book will alert the public before it is too late."

John J. McNeill, author of The Church and the Homosexual

"Mel White's Religion Gone Bad reads like a page-turning whodunit. His careful recounting of the rise of fundamentalism in America is both chilling and enormously instructive. While religious progressives have been sitting around hoping that everyone would play fair with other faithful people, the fundamentalists have been planning and implementing a strategy for taking over the Christian church and the government. Religion Gone Bad is a wake up call to religious progressives to take back the Bible and stop being fearful of telling the story of our own salvation at the hands of an all-loving, all-merciful and inclusive God."

The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire

About the Author

During the past twenty five years, the Rev. Dr. Mel White and his partner, Gary Nixon, have traveled across the country, speaking on university campuses, teaching the "soul force" principles of Gandhi and King, organizing people of faith to do justice, and confronting religious leaders whose anti-gay rhetoric White believes, "leads to the suffering and death of God's lesbian and gay children."

In 1997, in Atlanta, Georgia, Mel received the ACLU's National Civil Liberties Award for his efforts to apply the "soul force" principles of relentless nonviolent resistance to the struggle for justice for sexual minorities. In 1994 Simon and Schuster published Mel's autobiography Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay And Christian In America.

Much has happened to Mel and Gary since Mel's best selling autobiography was released. On February 15, 1995, Mel was arrested for "trespassing" at Pat Robertson's CBN Broadcast Center. The story of his arrest, the 22 day prison fast, and the "little victory" that followed, made news across the nation.

For 30 years, Dr. White had served the evangelical Christian community as a pastor, seminary professor, best-selling author, prize-winning filmmaker, communication consultant and ghost writer to its most famous and powerful leaders. From the beginning the media pictured Mel as an employee of these leaders on the "religious right." Although Mel did not work with nor write speeches for these leaders. he was hired by national publishers to write books -- primarily "autobiographies" -- for his ghost-writing clients including Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, and Pat Robertson. Looking back Mel wishes he had never been a ghost writer "but at the same time," he adds, "it proves that God has a marvelous sense of humor. Seeing these leaders up close and personal gave me a priceless opportunity that would later be a real advantage."

Mel's latest book, Religion Gone Bad: Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right is an expose of the fundamentalist Christian war being waged against sexual and gender minorities. Across this country," Mel explains, "our gay brothers and lesbian sisters are the victims of a tidal wave of intolerance, discrimination, and violent crime flowing directly out of the anti-gay rhetoric of the radical right. We people of faith, gay and straight alike, must take our stand to end the suffering."

After Dr. White's 22 day fast in the Virginia Beach City Jail, Pat Robertson visited him in jail, heard White's plea and went on the air to say clearly that he "abhorred the growing violence against gay and lesbian people." "Pat Robertson is not our enemy,' White said later. "He is a victim of misinformation like we all have been. In the spirit of Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. we must go on believing that Pat and the others can change."

Dr. White has dedicated his life to a ministry of change. "Until this nation accepts God's gay and lesbian children as full members of the human family," White explains, "we must go on telling that truth in love, whatever it costs us."


Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Magnus Books; Reprint edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936833093
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936833092
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,608,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The Rev. Dr. Mel White has been a Christian minister, author, and filmmaker all his adult life. Raised as an Evangelical Christian, taught that homosexuality was a sin, Mel fought to overcome his own homosexual orientation for decades in all ways available to him: prayer, psychotherapy, exorcism, electric shock, marriage and family.

That struggle and his halting, poignant steps to understand and accept his homosexuality, reconcile it with his Christian faith, and express his sexuality respectfully and responsibly, are described in his book Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America, published in 1994. His latest book, Religion Gone Bad: Hidden Dangers from the Christian Right (2006) tells the tragic true story of the war fundamentalists have been waging against gays and lesbians. (Re-released in 2010 as HOLY TERROR: Lies the Christian Rights Tells us to Deny Gay Equality).

In 1993, Mel White came out publicly when he was installed as dean at the Dallas Cathedral of Hope a Metropolitan Community Church (UFMCC). He announced during his first sermon, "I am gay. I am proud. And God loves me without reservation." In 1996, Mel was appointed Minister of Justice for the Metropolitan Community Church with more than 350 congregations across the U.S. and around the world.

Mel White founded Soulforce Inc. in 1998 with his partner, Gary Nixon. Mel was dismayed by the increasing confrontational tone on both sides the issue and the hateful words and actions that increased the divide. Inspired by the nonviolence movements of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., White developed a program based on their principles. These principles were called satyagraha or "soul force" by Gandhi, who based many of them on the teachings of Jesus. White adapted the "soul force" principles to guide his struggle to end the religion-based suffering of lesbian and gay people.

For the past 25 years, Mel has traveled across the country recruiting, training and mobilizing a new generation of "take it to the streets" activists. He has worked tirelessly to bring hope and healing to those impacted by injustice and to help cut off that injustice at its source.
During those years "on the front lines" Mel was harassed, threatened, arrested, tried and jailed. In 1997, the Rev. Dr. Mel White was awarded the ACLU's National Civil Liberties Award for his efforts to apply the "soul force" principles of Gandhi and King to the struggle for justice for sexual minorities.

With his experience in theology, communications and the media, White was uniquely qualified to start Soulforce. He did graduate work in communications and film at University of Southern California, received his doctorate at Fuller Theological Seminary and taught there for over a decade. During this time he also worked as a senior pastor in Pasadena, California.

Mel has produced, written, and directed 53 documentary films and television specials, focusing on stories that inspire and inform the struggle to be human. He is also an author; among his 16 books (nine bestsellers), he wrote about the Philippines' Ninoy and Corazon Aquino ("Aquino"), the Jonestown tragedy ("Deceived"), David Rothenberg, the child burned by his father ("David") and Bible stories not for children, ("Lust: The Other Side of Love.")

In addition, he ghost wrote for Fundamentalist Christian leaders including Billy Graham ("Approaching Hoofbeats"), Pat Robertson ("America's Date with Destiny"), Jim Bakker, and Jerry Falwell ("If I Should Die Before I Wake" and "Strength for the Journey").

In 2010, Mel retired from Soulforce and moved to Long Beach, California. Although Mel plans to spend the next ten years speaking and writing, he also plans to find a warm beach where ("at least occasionally") he can walk his dog Allie and meditate on these past fulfilling but frenetic years as a Christian leader and civil-rights activist.

You've seen Mel's story on:
60 Minutes, Larry King Live, PBS, NPR, Fresh Air, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, Dallas Morning News, Oregonian, Austin Statesmen,
and the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Intelligence Report"


1. Religion Gone Bad: Hidden Dangers from the Christian Right (2007)
HOLY TERROR: Lies the Christian Right Tells Us to Deny Gay Equality (2010)
2. Stranger at the Gate: To be Gay and Christian in America (1994)
3. Compassionate Capitalist (1993)
4. Standing on the Promises: W.A. Criswell (1990)
5. Aquino: The Story of Ninoy and Cory Aquino (1989)
6. A Gift of Hope: Tony Melendez Story (1989)
7. Strength for the Journey: Jerry Falwell (1987)
8. If I Should Die Before I Wake (1986)
9. America's Dates with Destiny: Pat Robertson (1986)
10. David: The David Rothenberg Story (1985)
11. Approaching Hoofbeats (1983)
12. Mike Douglas: When the Going Gets Touch (1983)
13. Margaret of Molokai: Last Person to leave "Leper Island" (1981)
14. Deceived: The Jonestown Tragedy (1979)
15. Tested by Fire (1979)
16. Lust, the Other Side of Love: Bible Stories not for Children (1978)
17. In the Presence of My Enemies (1973)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was looking forward to reading Mel White's Holy Terror, because: 1) White is perhaps one of the most "connected" evangelicals that has come out of the closet, and 2) there aren't a lot of evangelicals who discuss Christian positions on gay equality. However, I was very disappointed in the book.

White was a very popular Christian ghost writer. Chances are if you've read books by well-known televangelists sometime over the last 30 years, you've actually been reading a lot of Mel White's words. What puzzles me, then, is how this book was so poorly written. For example, it is often redundant. Even when repetitious phrases are intended to show nuances, those subtleties often escape a first and even a second reading. The book also meanders. His style seems to be part autobiography, part analysis, and part diatribe, but he does not develop these arenas consistently; I found myself constantly trying to figure out how the present paragraph related to the one before, and often felt that there wasn't a clear objective to the chapter. This redundancy and wandering style made it a wearying book to read, and I was glad (and exhausted) when it ended.

Most disturbing was the sense of confusion I was left with by the end of the book. White started off sounding angry, and he seemed to stay that way. I am not saying that White shouldn't feel very angry that as a gay evangelical he feels he is being shot at by all sides, and especially that almost all of his long-time Christian friends quickly abandoned him when he told them he was a homosexual. His anger, however, often made him act like the very same persons he was angry about in the book.

Exemplary of this kind of anger is the chapter entitled, "Fascism: the Politics of Fundamentalism.
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Education, engagement and encouragement between the Christian Church and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christian community is what I do. I talk with, listen to, read and follow seemingly otherwise kind and Jesus-esque people but, when the topic switches to the gay community, some become machines motivated by fear and unleashed in ignorance. Why? And how, on this one topic, do some Christians neglect the clear Biblical mandates to care for the poor and the outcast and turn all their negative energy onto the GLBT community?

"Holy Terror: Lies the Christian Right Tells to Deny Gay Equality", by Mel White, is a treasure map to the answer. For thirty years, the Rev. Dr. Mel White served the evangelical Christian community as a pastor, seminary professor and ghostwriter to powerful and famous leaders, including Billy Graham, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. His autobiography Stranger at the Gate (1994) is a book I recommend often.

I picked up "Holy Terror" and did not put it down until I finished the last page. I could summarize it all in a few words:

Church, you got played.

The Evangelical and Baptists denominations have been so severely shifted off the course of the Gospel -- love and serve -- and have drilled down on the "dangerous" gay community set to destroy our families, churches and even country. I have worked intimately in the GLBT community for almost a decade and none of that fear-filled message resonates with me. Many Christians have become so consumed with thwarting the `radical gay agenda' that they neglect the poor and needy and lose any ability to attract people to our Beautiful Savior. Who can we "thank" for this diversion and inoculation of deception and ignorance?
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Recently I purchased a book by Mel White: Religion Gone Bad, (2006) Before reading that book I purchased Holy Terror also by Mel White, (2006) They are the same book, the first is hard cover, the second softbound. The latter is listed on this sight with a copyright date of 2012 but inside the book the copyright is 2006. They are essentially the same book, word for word, except for the preface. There is nothing to indicate that one is simply a reprint of the original. I feel I have been decieved. The content is interesting, well written, similar in style to Mel White's first book: Stranger at the Gate. Reader beware. Don't pay twice for the same thing.
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The issue of gay equality had divided the nation politically and socially. And when you look at the church, the Christian community is divided on this issue. Some denominations and faith communities are firmly opposed to gay marriage, and the homosexual lifestyle based on their reading of the Biblical text. Other congregations describe themselves as welcome and affirming. There is not a lot of middle ground with each side accusing the other of failing to be faithful to the words of Jesus.

I first heard of Mel White when I read Philip Yancey's What's So Amazing About Grace? Mel White was Yancey's writer/minister friend who had ghost written for much of the Religious Right before he came out as a practicing homosexual ( White describes his own coming out story in his own book, Stranger At the Gate). In Holy Terror, White takes aim at Christian fundamentalism and their anti-gay agenda. He discusses his relationship with his former friends in the religious right (Francis Schaeffer, W.A. Crisswell, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson) and others who have rallied against gay marriage and gay equality (Jim Dobson and D. James Kennedy). and the `secret meeting' (Glen Eyrie)where conservative Christians laid out a strategy to defeat homosexuality in a cultural war. He also lays out the `heresies of fundamentalism,' namely the idolatry of the bible nation and family and the tendency of conservative Christians to use authoritarian and fascist means to achieve their goals. Lastly White discusses a strategy for progressives to advance their values in the public sphere.

This book was first published in 2006 (Magnus Books edition was released this year).
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