September 4, 2013 at 9:06 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
New project to highlight pro-LGBT Christians
Dan Savage, gay news, Washington Blade

Dan Savage in the debut video for the NALT Christian Project. (Screenshot via YouTube)

A new project inspired by the popular “It Gets Better” campaign aims to give a voice to pro-LGBT Christians who proclaim they’re “Not All Like That,” referring to the anti-gay rhetoric espoused by some conservative Christians.

The effort, dubbed the NALT Christians Project, debuted on Wednesday and will allow Christians to post videos on its website to express support for LGBT people and refute anti-LGBT rhetoric. It’s similar to the “It Gets Better” project, which enabled LGBT people and public figures to tell LGBT youth their lives will improve.

Dan Savage, an LGBT advocate who founded the “It Gets Better” project, created the premiere video for the NALT Christian Project and called on Christians to create videos to demonstrate they’re “not all like that” in terms of holding anti-LGBT views.

“If you don’t speak up, then know that your silence allows the Tony Perkins’ and Pat Robertsons’ of this world to speak for you, and to continue doing real harm not just to young LGBT people, but also to Christianity itself,” Savage says in his video.

Savage says he came up with the term “NALT” after hearing from Christians who told him they’re “not all like that” to distinguish themselves from anti-LGBT leaders who call themselves Christians.

“I heard that so often that I started thinking of the Christians who said that as NALTs, ‘not-all-like-that’ Christians,” Savage says. “Christians who support us on LGBT civil rights. I used the phrase a few times on my blog and in podcasts — and it stuck.”

The initiative was created by Christian author John Shore as well as Wayne Besen and Evan Hurst, activists associated with Truth Wins Out, an organization dedicated to countering widely discredited “ex-gay” sexual orientation conversion therapy.

Besen said he doesn’t think of the project as a shift in his work at Truth Wins Out because he’s always considered the “ex-gay” industry as broader strategy to undermine LGBT people.

“The ‘ex-gay’ industry thrives by exploiting religious guilt and shame to recruit new clients to its programs,” Besen said. “They deliberately contrive a conflict in the hearts and minds of many LGBT people, where they are made to falsely believe they have to choose between their faith and their sexuality. The NALT Chrisitans Project says that no such choice has to be made, and that there are many supportive Christians who will love LGBT people exactly as they are.”

Co-sponsors of the project include: Reconciling Ministries Network, Faith in America, The Evangelical Network, GLAD Alliance, Methodists in New Directions, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, Many Voices and the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists.

As of Wednesday morning, the NALT Christian Project already had 24 videos featuring Christians from around the world, including Presbyterian Minister Mary Lynn Tobin of the Covenant Network.

“I can’t tell how many times over the years I had a giant button that said, ‘I’m a Christian, and we’re not all like that,'” Tobin said. “It drives me crazy that a knock off of Christianity has become an instrument of the right-wing political agenda and become labeled as the real thing by the media. No wonder so many people are hostile to Christianity. I would be, too.”

In another video, Pentecostal Bishop Carlton Pearson said he came to support LGBT people after a long period of soul-searching in which he concluded homosexuality “is not going away.”

“It’s now time for the church — particularly the African-American church — to wake up to the fact that the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ mentality has run its course, and to open up and embrace,” Pearson says. “Because what you fight, you invite, you ignite, and what you resist, persists.”

The website also features a page set up on The Bible with the headline “The Bible does NOT condemn homosexuality” that disputes the notion that the Bible is a rulebook.

“Whenever a specific biblical injunction is found to be incongruous with contemporary mores, a reshaping of the conception of that injunction is not only widely accepted by Christians, it’s encouraged, as long as the new thinking is understood to be in keeping with overriding timeless biblical moral principles,” the website says. “This is why Christian women no longer feel morally constrained to follow Paul’s directives to leave their hair uncut, to keep their heads covered in church, or to always remain quiet in church.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Congratulations Evan Hurst for getting this going.

  • I grew up in the Catholic Church feeling that LGBT was sinful. In my late 40's, I went back to college and was working at the University. A young woman came up to my desk with a button: "I'm lesbian and proud of it," I wondered why she was proud of it. The lesbian women invited straight women to a meeting to help us understand them. I was the only straight woman who appeared. I listened to many stories of how women discovered they were lesbian and it made a great difference to me. I never judged them again and had a lot of compassion. Today, I sign many petitions for equal marriage, etc. God Loves every one of us, regardless of sexual orientation. Our hearts are what matter: how we Love and treat each other. That's the bottom line. Peace and Love, Sarah Tiers.

  • Peter Ngu September 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm
    I have an LGBT friend that is a devoted catholic. I love her dearly, but I can’t support the same-sex practice. God doesn’t make mistakes in the creation of us. He gives us choices in how we live our lives, as long as we follow certain boundaries and guidance. Let look back to the Garden of Eve. He created a man in His own image. He saw that he was lonely, so He took a rib from the man and created a woman as a companion and a mate. He gave them all in the garden except for the fruits from the tree in the middle of the garden. Due to their weaknesses, they disobeyed God’s wish and let the evil snake tempted them into eating the forbidden fruit. What happened there after we all know…Because of His fatherly love for us, He couldn’t watched His children perished forever, He sent down His only Son to pay for the very sin that Adam and Eve had committed and open the Heavenly gate to let us in to be with Him eternally. He will send His Son again in the near future to judge us for how we had lived our lives. “Eternal” is forever. This life is only a seconds compare to eternal. So let me ask you all good people who are practicing same-sex lifestyle, do you really want to live forever in shame in the eternal fire just so you can have moments of forbidden pleasures?

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