Sunday, September 15, 2013

The "Not All Like That" Christians Project

Dan Savage, outspoken and at times strategically abrasive advocate for LGBT people, has spoken often since launching the "It Gets Better" project (with his husband, Terry Miller) about their experiences involving progressive Christians --- generally supportive, but also very quiet.

Christian leaders on the right --- ranging from the likes of the late Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps with his "God hates fags" ministry and their successors among Protestants to U.S. Roman Catholic bishops at the more orthodox end of the church --- seem to have hijacked the church's end of public conversation about LGBT issues. 

While thoughtful people know that these guys do not speak for Christians in general --- including many members of more conservative denominations,  certainly not Catholics --- that fact seems increasingly to be lost among younger people of all sexual orientations. Misperceptions of the church as bigoted and largely irrelevant contribute to an accelerating drain of young people from the it.

Savage coined the term "not-all-like-that" (NALT) Christians to describe those who contacted him or came up to visit after public presentations to say (quietly) that they, and others, were not all like that --- "... all those quiet, timid, and cowardly NALT Christians out there who ... have allowed their conservative co-religionists to hijack Christianity."

So last week, The NALT Christians Project, subtitled "Christians proclaiming their belief in full LGBT equality," launched with Savage's blessing, co-sponsored by Christian writer and straight ally John Shore and Truth Wins Out, a non-profit that fights anti-gay religious extremism.

The project aims to provide a platform for brief self-produced videos --- as the It Gets Better Project continues to do. In this instance, the goal "is to give LGBT-affirming Christians a means of proclaiming to the world — and especially to young gay people — their belief and conviction that there is nothing anti-biblical or at all inherently sinful about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender."

Several of the initial videos were produced by Episcopal priests and lay people as well as United Methodists, Presbyterians and others. It's an interesting mix. And hopefully it will turn out to be an effective and expanding one.

The video that introduces the project, and this post, features Savage. The main NALT Christians Project Web page is here.

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