Pro-LGBT Christians Launch ‘Not All Like That’ Campaign

If you’ve ever assumed that all Christians harbor animosity toward LGBT people, this organization has a message for you.

Inspired by Dan Savage‘s youth-oriented It Gets Better Project, a group of Christians have launched The Not All Like That (NALT) Christians Project, a campaign where “Christians proclaim their belief in full equality.” Savage himself helped develop the campaign, along with pastor and writer John Shore and Truth Wins Out leaders Wayne Besen and Evan Hurst.

Here’s their mission statement, in their own words:

The purpose of the NALT Christians Project 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.

Like It Gets Better, the campaign will use a video-sharing platform to spread a simple message: Not all Christians are anti-gay. The campaign launched Monday with around 30 videos, mostly from allies. Here’s one example from fellow blogger Fred Clark:

YouTube Preview Image

Besen and Hurst’s organization, Truth Wins Out, already aims to fight anti-LGBT religious extremism, but the NALT campaign takes their mission a step further.

Frustrated that many people think Christians who oppose homosexuality and gay marriage like Tony Perkins, Maggie Gallagher and Pat Robertson speak for all Bible followers, [Besen and Hurst] reached out to Savage to see how they might create a platform like It Gets Better to help affirming Christians speak up. “People feel they have to make a choice between their faith and their sexuality, and for some people that is devastating,” Besen says. “Actually you don’t have to make a choice.”

According to TIME Magazine, young people (particularly young evangelicals) are a target audience for the project, which aims to counter the widespread image of anti-LGBT sermons resonating from evangelical churches. Besen told TIME that NALT wants to show young people how to be a Christian and also be supportive of LGBT people — through the words of Christians who have gone through the process themselves.

Supporters of the project now include Auburn Theological Seminary, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, Methodists in New Directions, and The Evangelical Network. Young evangelicals are one of NALT’s main target audiences. “Young people are very uncomfortable when they see these finger-wagging evangelicals who don’t seem to have much in common with the Jesus they believe in,” Besen explains.

TIME also raises the valid concern that it’s hard to tell just how many “NALT Christians” are out there, noting that the campaign’s true test will be to see how many of these supporters participate by recording a video of their own. But Shore seems confident in the project’s ability to unite unlikely allies for a greater good:

If you’re an LGBT-affirming Christian, there is a seat waiting for you in the orchestra of The NALT Christians Project. If you’re a Christian who either believes that God condemns homosexuality, or has not yet decided where you stand on the gay issue, please give our NALT Christians song a listen. It is a song — it is a movement — inspired by Christ’s Great Commandment that all of his followers — that all of us — love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

I wholly agree with the project’s founders that this campaign is direly needed, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. For this to truly take off, NALT must find a way to invite youth themselves into the conversation. It’s one thing to hear from assorted faces on a screen about how not all Christians hate LGBT people; it’s something else entirely to be able to share your experiences with faith-based bigotry, or faith-based acceptance, and allow members of a religious community to respond and react. Once we listen to those who have been hurt by intolerance rooted in religion, that’s when change will start to happen.

It also seems that young LGBT people who aren’t Christians might not feel so at ease with some of these messages (looking at you, “inspired by Christ’s Great Commandment”), even if they, too, are targets of anti-LGBT religious extremism. If NALT wants to succeed, it should make its content more digestible to those youth who aren’t Christian, but who may need to hear the same messages.

That said, it’s always a positive thing to add to the list of resources for LGBT youth from religious communities (whether they still belong to those communities or not), because these individuals are so often marginalized by their friends and families just for being themselves. Once this campaign figures out how to talk with youth rather than talk at youth, it will have the potential to do great things.

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at gaywrites.org.

  • 3lemenope

    Moderate Christians belatedly learn the only way to not be grouped in with their loud obnoxious co-religionists is to raise their voice in opposition. When you’re silent, someone else is *always* speaking for you.

  • Sami Hawkins

    “not all like that”
    Just the majority. And I wonder if these are going to actually be accepting of LBGT people or if it’s the “Well you’re an evil hellbound sinner, but at least I think you should be able to marry!” type of ‘acceptance’.

    • Tainda

      That’s what worries me

    • Carly Sturgeon

      There are Christians who don’t believe there is a hell for ‘sinners’ to go to. I was one of them while I was a believer. I totally accepted LBGT for who they were and always believed anyone should be able to love/marry whomever they wanted.

      EDIT: I do get what you’re saying, though. Just thought I’d add my $.02 to the conversation. :)

      • JT Rager

        I agree, there are actually a large amount of Christians who think like this, including my former self when I was a believer. It obviously depends on the church, but in my experience with many Lutheran, Catholic, and Presbyterian congregations I joined the concept of going to hell for something was not pressed upon at all.

  • closetatheist

    Is it just me or is the name of this project incredibly confusing? If you threw it into a conversation people wouldn’t know it was a name and I had to read it a few times just to make sure I had it right. And not all like what? its vague and doesn’t portray their stance at all. Maybe “We’re not all haters” would be better or “Not all anti gays” or “Hey, Jesus was a man and we love him so man on man love can’t be wrong!” But again, these just emphasize what they’re NOT supporting and doesn’t explain what they’re for.

    • UWIR

      If it’s a written conversation, then capitalization should show that it’s a name. If it’s an oral conversation, proper prosody, plus including the word “project”, should make it clear. And it’s a bit odd that you’re criticizing it both for both not being descriptive enough, and for not being name-like enough.

  • Carla

    Normally I’d swing by to say, “Stop hating on the people who are trying to do something right!” But this time, I’m more inclined to accuse them of trying to make themselves feel better and look good, rather than actually trying to help the LGBT community achieve equality and feel accepted. This project strikes me as more self-serving PR than outreach. If they were really interested in the LGBT person and not themselves, the project would be called something like “Jesus Loves You, Too” not “I’m a Good Person Despite My Religion, Really!”

    • 3lemenope

      I think you’re right, and it doesn’t matter. A moderate Christian’s primary motivation for participating is likely, these days, to be publicly broadcasting “I totally am not like *those* Christians there, I’m a good person!” Which is not a bad motivation, even if it doesn’t exactly scale the rarefied peaks of radical self-abnegating altruism. But by doing so, they deprive those self-same assholish Christians of cover, of being able to retreat to (even the illusion of a) silent approving majority. That’s a good thing, because it radically speeds the death of that opinion’s social acceptability.

      • Bitter Lizard

        It’s the same as when being pro-gay marriage slipped over 50% in the polls and suddenly all those politicians “evolved” on the issue last year. A good thing? Sure. But I’m not giving any of those shameless opportunists a pat on the back for only taking the ethical position when it’s self-serving to do so. I think it’s valuable to promote the idea that it’s more noble to be ethical for its own sake than it is to only be ethical when it suits your own selfish agenda.

        • 3lemenope

          Sure. Giving them credit is absolutely optional, seeing as how it doesn’t really qualify for Profiles in Courage. For my part, saying a kind word about the effort has more to do with keeping tactical gains than in making them feel good.

      • Carla

        Don’t get me wrong– I’m thrilled they’re doing anything at all. Better than nothing, or something negative. But this one just gets under my skin for some reason…..

    • Bitter Lizard

      Based on what I read above, it sounds like some Christians looked at the numbers and realized that younger generations are becoming more hostile or indifferent to Christianity as they become more accepting of LGBT people. The goal of this campaign seems to be more about marketing Christianity to a younger demographic than helping LGBT people. If they had done this fifteen years ago when being pro-gay rights wasn’t the majority position, I’d give them their due. How convenient that they waited until it was in their own best interest.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Agreed. This kind of thing bugs the crap out of me. I’m constantly hearing from angry Christians, Republicans, and other members of anti-gay groups who are outraged that anyone would think that they were anti-gay. They just belong to, financially support and endorse organizations that are. They disagree with their party on gay rights but instead of telling the party, they tell me. Actually they attack me because how dare I assume that they are anti gay because the donate to and vote for anti-gay poltiicians or continue to belong to and support an anti-gay church. If they would spend 1/100th the time speaking to their own church or political party or other groups about gay issues instead of yelling at people like me who aren’t buying it, they might accomplish something. Personally I’m not impressed and in most cases, I don’t believe them anyway.

      As for the pro-gay Christian denominations. Thanks. The Quakers made a pro-gay rights statement in 1950. That is not a misprint. If you want people to know you aren’t like the Catholics and Baptists and Mormons, then you are the only ones who can get that message out. Some do and this looks like an attempt at that. Kudos.

      • 3lemenope

        Quakers usually seem to be ahead of the curve, in my experience. An anomaly, like Unitarian-Universalism, of a Western religious tradition that doesn’t suck.

  • Rev. Achron Timeless

    From the start this has an issue. “Not all”. Umm, shouldn’t they be arguing that “NONE” of them are like that and those who do act like that are not really part of the church?

    See, as long as the converse is “Some Christians Are Like That, and we still count them as christians with open arms because we’re using the same totally infallible book to base our opposite views upon”… well, this is doomed.

    • tyler

      wait isn’t this just No True Christian (TM)… but in reverse?

      • Rev. Achron Timeless

        More or less. As was said earlier, this is nothing but self promotion. At least it will be unless someone actually grabs hold of the True Christian(tm) brand and starts drawing a line in the sand. This “Not All…” campaign is worthless otherwise. The desired out come is “Not All of us act like that, so you have to be nice to all of us.”

        Here’s how it works with other stuff:
        Not all hippies smoke pot.
        Not all CEOs treat their employees as disposable cogs in the machine.
        Not all neo-nazis dislike jews.
        Not all doctors are just in it for the money.
        etc. etc.

        The overwhelming response should be “And your point is?”.

        • 3lemenope

          The overwhelming response should be “And your point is?”

          “It is wrong to treat a group of people as faceless and endlessly interchangeable.”

          Or some point like that.

  • Michaela Samuels

    This is an effort to rebrand Christianity to fit their strain of interpretation. I would argue that the loyalty to Christianity is wholly unnecessary, but I do think this is at least an admirable effort to show acceptance, appreciation, and gratitude for typically marginalized sects of society. I know a few gay Christians who cling to this message.

    I’d say it’s overall a positive thing. I appreciate this campaign a hell of a lot more than the idiots clamoring about their giant cross being nixed due to zoning violations.

  • Anna

    Doesn’t sound like a bad development, but I think it would help if more of the so-called progressive denominations jumped on board. In the vast majority of cases, their official positions are not completely affirming and/or supportive of the LGBT community. It’s the rare denomination that actually promotes full equality.

  • Anna

    Also, I wonder how many of these “Not All Like That” Christians attend anti-gay churches. Sure, they might speak out against homophobia when they encounter it, but they still give money and time and energy to institutions with anti-gay teachings. Can you really be an ally if you support a church that says homosexuality is wrong?

    • Michaela Samuels

      This is a great point, as I have many LGBT-friendly Christian friends who do not make this distinction. One foot on each side of the line is loyalty to no one.

    • eric

      Ideally, your point would be part of the message. One way this effort could be valuable to everyone would be if the videos help LGBT-friendly Christians find churches that are LGBT-friendly and that do outreach that helps support LGBT rights.
      Not having watched any, I’m unwilling at this point to render judgement (i.e., maybe a lot of the videos already do that)

    • AtalantaBethulia

      The church I attend is fully affirming. There are multiple denominations that are. At the bottom of the NALT home page there is a growing list of sponsoring organizations that represent multiple denominations that are fully affirming.

      Here’s a resource that may be helpful in finding fully affirming religious communities and speaks to how many there are.

      http://gaychurch.org/

      • Anna

        It’s great that there are some, but I wonder about the “multiple denominations” claim.

        http://gaychurch.org/affirming-church-directory/affirming-denominations/

        A lot of those are offshoots, splintered off from the official denomination. You’re not going to find the major, well-known denominations there. For example, Dignity is a gay Catholic group, but those gay Catholics aren’t welcome to join the clergy or obtain sacramental marriage within the Catholic church itself. Many of the groups listed are ones that are working to promote change within the larger denomination, not denominations unto themselves.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          As with Judaism and Islam, Christianity has liberal, moderate, conservative (and extremist) wings. I can’t speak knowledgeably about Catholicism, but within Protestantism most denominations have conservative and liberal branches that are officially part of the denomination (not splinters). Other progressive denominations like the United Church of Christ are not divided; they are more universally of one voice.

          • Anna

            Which groups on that list are part of the official denomination? There’s MCC (that’s a gay church, founded by gay people, so full equality is no surprise). Most of the others just seem to be tiny offshoots not endorsed by the main organization.

            The United Church of Christ is arguably the most liberal large denomination, and they’ve taken a strong official stand for marriage equality, but even there not all member churches are fully affirming.

            Churches in the UCC can sanctify same-sex unions.[29] The resolution “In support of equal marriage rights for all”, supported by an estimated 80% of the UCC’s 2005 general synod delegates, made the United Church of Christ the first major Christian deliberative body in the U.S. to make a statement of support for “equal marriage rights for all people, regardless of gender,” and is hitherto the largest Christian denominational entity in the U.S. supporting same-sex marriage.[30] This resolution (and the sanctification of same-sex marriages), however, is not supported by some congregations.[30] Of particular note, the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Puerto Rico, a long-standing conference within the UCC, voted by a 3–1 margin to withdraw its affiliation with the UCC over the same-sex marriage issue.[31] And the Biblical Witness Fellowship, a conservative evangelical organization that is a small but vocal voice within the denomination, accepts only heterosexual marriage.[32]

            As far as I know, they haven’t enforced the official position of equality with those who are dissenting. My question would be why they haven’t kicked those people out and made it mandatory that churches identifying as UCC perform same-sex marriages.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      You can’t.

      I’ve given this a lot of thought beginning with the 2004 election. I would never belong to an organization that believed women were entitled to fewer rights than men, ethnic minorities entitled to fewer rights than white, etc. Why should I give people a pass for saying they aren’t anti-gay but still attending the Catholic or Baptist church or supporting anti-gay political candidates. I would never support people who demonized my friends for votes, but people claim to be my friend while voting against my rights? I have more respect for myself and for my friends than that.

      • Anna

        That’s my impression, but then I did think of some the most progressive Democratic politicians, the ones on the front lines defending marriage equality and reproductive rights. Many of them are Catholic, so there’s a bit of a conundrum there. They are staunch in their support for liberal causes, yet they also attend (and presumably give money to) a horrifically anti-gay, anti-woman organization.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    They’re not all like that:

    Catholic in remission from cancer gives credit to modern medicine and his doctors for his health

    “I credit all the years of medical research and the training of all the
    doctors going to school — all that definitely cured me,” he said. “But
    God was behind it, helping me go through the treatment. Medical science
    is phenomenal. It would have been a death sentence 30 years ago, but in
    less than a year, I am back on my feet.”

    “Every time people see cancer and the pope, they assume it’s a
    miraculous healing,” he said. “Chemo helped me fight the cancer.
    Make-A-Wish helped me fight the chemo. Knowing the pope was in my future
    helped me get through that, and in a small, non-miraculous way, helped
    cure my cancer.”

    Not all the credit, but it’s way better than usual.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      I saw “Catholic in remission from cancer gives credit to modern medicine and his doctors for his health” and immediately assumed that it was an article from The Onion. How sad is that?

      • UWIR

        No, the Onion version would be “Cancer patient in remission from Catholicism gives credit to modern medicine and doctors”.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Well played, Clerk. Well played.

  • Bitter Lizard

    The important thing is that they’ve finally found a way to make it all about them. Now liberal Christians can do what fundamentalists have been doing all along: take prejudice against LGBT people, and spin it into a story about prejudice against Christians. You poor, poor oppressive hegemonic majority you.

    • CottonBlimp

      Wish I had more upvotes.

      There’s a repulsive tone to these sort of outreach videos, where it seems like they want showers of accolades just for doing nothing, just because other Christians are so much worse. If you’re really an ally, then actually try to change the standard for how gay people are treated – don’t exploit the shitty standard to try to look good.

    • Matt Bowyer

      Yeah, it’s only persecution if it’s happening to them.

  • Erin K

    Lacking a greater commitment to outreach to LGBT youth, and to actively and effectively combating the ways in which they are oppressed by Christian hegemony, this strikes me as pretty self-serving. I believe that most folks are perfectly aware that “not all Christians are like that” – if for no other reason than that self-proclaimed moderate Christians literally will not shut up about it ever – so the real question is whether this project will feature Christians working to achieve justice for the LGBT community, or merely feature Christians congratulating one another for not *actively* opposing it. I really do hope it’s the former, but I suspect it will be primarily the latter.

    • Bitter Lizard

      if for no other reason than that self-proclaimed moderate Christians literally will not shut up about it ever

      This was phrased so perfectly that I laughed.

  • A3Kr0n

    Nobody in my family is against LGBT, and I’m the only non-Christian. My sister even mentioned it at dinner last Labor Day. She told her son that if he was gay it was OK. I’m not sure how that came up in conversation, but it did. He’s about eight years old.

  • Smiles

    This kind of movement may as well say, “I don’t care if you believe the bible…I don’t care if you follow it, so long as we agree on Jesus.” They are taking “cherry-picking” to a whole new level, and it is intellectually dishonest.

  • the moother

    Look, I’d hate to say there’s anything bad about religious people doing the Right Thing™, but I can’t resist pointing out hypocrisy:

    there is nothing anti-biblical or at all inherently sinful about being gay

    O’rly? Besides the old testament declaring it an abomination (whatever that means), the new testament also lets it be known that it’s unnatural (no, it’s not) or immoral or lecherous or shameful or FOR SINNERS (KJV Timothy 1:9-10) or whatever the melted religious brain declares it.

    Look, while you’re doing good by dropping the stupidity of homophobia, why don’t you take the next step and drop the stupidity of religion. m’kay?

    • 3lemenope

      Baby steps.

    • KMR

      The pro-gay Christians base their belief that homosexual relationships are perfectly fine in God’s eyes to scripture. Their argument goes beyond just the simple reading of the English translations but more to an in-depth study of the cultures and times in which the Biblical authors were writing (namely Paul). It’s a good argument if you study it in depth. Of course no one can know for sure if it’s valid but it has quite a bit of scholarship behind it.

      • the moother

        This is called “jumping through hoops”… And all sects of all cults do it to justify just about everything, all the time.

        Frankly, there is no reason to waste any time or brain-power to twist religion to get it to say what we want it to say… There is far more enlightenment to be had through secular learning which, although it is not always right, is mostly more enlightening.

        And, YOU GET TO READ MORE THAN ONE BOOK!

      • CottonBlimp

        They’re not arguments at all, they’re “feelings”. They think Jesus is an overall good guy, and they project their own ideas of what it means to be a good guy with a total *absence* of concern of historical context.

        For example, the guy in this video says that Jesus didn’t believe in tribalism. It’s complete bullshit! He’s the leader of the tribe of Israel, God’s best and most favorite tribe. He’s not the King of the World, he’s the King of the Jews, going as far as to denigrate a Canaanite woman for asking for his help, calling her a dog unworthy of the gifts God intended for His children, the Jews.

        Liberal Christians are placed in a position of attempting to justify the contradictions between modern morality and their bloodstained religion, and they just make up whatever garbage they can to wish away the contradictions. It’s textbook cognitive dissonance.

        • KMR

          No the argument is not based on feelings. I will agree that some liberal interpretations of Biblical scripture is shaky (never heard a good argument explaining away the blatant genocide ordered by God in the OT for example) but the pro-gay one is good. Have you studied it?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            The blatant genocide is explained as not ordered by God so much as ancient people writing the story of how they understand their relationship with God relative to their lives.

            • Anna

              It seems like liberal Christians believe the good stories really happened, and all the bad or obviously ridiculous stories are simply metaphors or something the writers got wrong.

              • KMR

                Yep. Some of their arguments in my opinion have weight. A lot don’t. Either way I find them mostly extraordinarily kind and respectful of everyone which in my opinion does much to benefit society at large. Some people need the idea of God to be happy. I’m okay with that as long as this idea doesn’t affect their voting patterns.

              • AtalantaBethulia

                They believe many of the good stories are metaphors too.

                • Anna

                  I’ve never heard any of them mention that. In particular, they talk about Jesus like they are convinced the stories about him are true. There may be some who don’t believe Jesus performed miracles or rose from the dead, but I haven’t come across them yet.

                • AtalantaBethulia

                  They exist. A couple famous and well-written ones – both theologians – are John (Jack) Shelby Spong and Marcus Borg.

                  Some examples:

                  Creation: not literal, a creation myth
                  Crossing the Red Sea: not as literal as it may seem
                  Noah and the Flood: not worldwide, similar to other flood myths
                  Sin nature: Selfishness/Ego
                  Human Nature: not sinful but more like Taoism: yin and yang or Native American Spirituality: two wolves
                  Virgin birth: not so much
                  Divinity of Jesus: incarnation of Divine love, not literally God
                  Resurrection: not from the dead, metaphorical rebirth
                  Jesus appearing to Paul: not literal, mystical encounter
                  Revelation/Apocalyptic beliefs: refer to events in the past, not the future

                • Anna

                  Sure, but people like Spong and Borg are on the far, far left fringe of Christianity. The vast majority of Christian denominations don’t accept claims like that, even ones identifying as progressive.

                • AtalantaBethulia

                  So there are fewer of them than others.

                  It is true that Evangelical Protestantism is the largest Protestant faction. Liberal Christians who are not gay bigots exist, who do not take the bible literally exist, and they are trying to reclaim the public image of Christianity from those who have been thought to be the only (bad) represtentatives of the faith.

                  Liberal and Moderate Christians are speaking out against hate and injustice. This is a good thing. No?

                • Anna

                  It’s absolutely a good thing. I just wish there were more of them! When you look at the actual numbers, it’s depressing. The most progressive denominations are not only few in number, they’re also dwindling, losing their members to secularism (yay for my side, LOL), but also problematically losing them to more conservative denominations.

            • KMR

              Yeah I’ve heard that one. It stinks because if you can’t trust those obviously straight forward accounts of historical happenings what makes you think the gospels are trustworthy in their straight forward accounts of historical happenings. Not to mention the measuring stick for determining the accuracy of those events is non-existent. The reasoning is that a God of love couldn’t have ordered that and therefore didn’t. Anyway, I do believe this is an argument based on “feelings” thus I have little respect for it.

              • Anna

                That’s very much my problem with it. I remain utterly baffled by the liberal Christian process of determining what’s true and what isn’t. They agree with atheists that talking snakes are a ridiculous myth, yet somehow angels are not a ridiculous myth? Making a man out of clay is ridiculous, yet a deity impregnating a girl is not ridiculous? How have they arrived at these conclusions?

                • KMR

                  Yeah it can be pretty frustrating when talking with them. I have found most uncommonly intelligent and extremely well versed in their theology. Their logic breaks down though for whatever reason in some key areas. But I have never met one who was “mean”. My favorite people in the world are liberal Christians. I truly hope that conservative evangelical Christianity goes the way of the dinosaur but it will bother me tremendously if the progressive sects of Christianity go with them. I consider them great assets since as a whole they make the same positive contributions to society as their conservative counterparts but lack the judgment and unneeded condemnation.

                • Anna

                  In a way, I find it harder talking with them than with the more conservative believers. Everything is so fuzzy and vague and slippery. It’s more moral and humane, but it makes even less sense.

                  I don’t think liberal Christianity is necessarily harmful (although only the most liberal of the liberal have done away with all harmful elements), but at best it seems to me like a colossal waste of time. If people have to have religion, I prefer this form, but I’d still like to see these denominations die out as well.

                • KMR

                  I don’t have a positive view of humanity because I don’t see much evidence that most people (religious or not) truly desire to place society’s needs above their own. I wonder what would happen if religion were to die off completely since the fear of eternal punishment or the desire for eternal reward (depending on the faith tradition) does serve as a powerful motivator to be less selfish. But then I base my viewpoint on limited experience solely gained in mostly one area of this country. I could easily be wrong.
                  At any rate, people who give fuzzy answers don’t bother me as long as they’re nice and are welcoming of respectful, critical feedback. I also like mystery so the progressive Christians are right up my alley.

                • Anna

                  Well, I imagine it would be like Scandinavia. A secure, economically-stable society can naturally lose its religion (and the carrot and stick of heaven/hell) without sacrificing quality of life. Religion tends to thrive in places without adequate government or social structures.

                  I live in a fairly secular, extremely liberal area, so life without religion seems more normal to me. There’s no “church culture” to speak of here, but no lack of opportunity for community and charitable involvement.

                  I don’t have much contact with liberal Christians who are heavily involved in their churches. They don’t bother me, but I have little tolerance for supernaturalism and woo, so if that’s what they were primarily interested in, I can’t imagine we’d find much to talk about, LOL. Most of my theist friends aren’t very religious.

                • KMR

                  ” A secure, economically-stable society can naturally lose its religion (and the carrot and stick of heaven/hell) without sacrificing quality of life”
                  I don’t think the United States qualifies as one of these places for a wide variety of reasons (although perhaps some parts do). But it’s nice to know there are some countries that do quite well without religion.

                • Anna

                  Well, I don’t see why not. A largely secular society doesn’t have to be super rich. There are certainly problems in America (especially for those who struggle economically), but overall our infrastructure is strong. Some regions are a lot more secular than others. What’s really holding us back is the evangelical stranglehold on the country’s Bible Belt, along with their influence on poorer and more rural areas. There’s no reason the South has to be more religious than the Pacific Northwest. The demographics just seem to have worked out that way.

          • CottonBlimp

            There’s not just one.

            They all hinge on the fact that earlier translations of the Bible don’t specifically reference what we would call “homosexuality” – a concept that didn’t exist at the time. I know a lot of Paul is specifically talking about pederastic relationships and temple boys. Allegedly, this proves something, because obviously anti-gay bigots have always been able to distinguish between consensual gay relationships and pedophilia.

            • KMR

              It’s been a while since I explored the subject at depth and I actually became pro-gay way before I became agnostic due to the arguments. Anyway yeah there are a few although the one talking about the temple prostitution rampant during the time I found most convincing. Either way I don’t find the liberals position on gay marriage offensive. I’m glad they’re making their points known, some have become active allies of the LGBT community, and in my opinion they should be encouraged and welcomed.

    • UWIR

      While I agree with you on this point, I’m rather confused by your textual interpretation standards. You, in a previous discussion, disputed that one of your statements meant what it clearly meant, and your explanation for why it did not mean that was that if your statement did mean that, then your statement would be false, and it somehow follows that your statement did not mean that. Thus, you appeared to be asserting a general principle that if a particular reading leads to one concluding that the text is false, then the text does not mean that. For instance, if a person were to say “All birds can fly”, one cannot disprove that statement by noting that penguins can fly; if “all birds” were to include penguins, the statement would be false, so it somehow follows that “all birds” does not include penguins. So, if “homosexuality is a sin” is false, then, by your textual analysis standards, the Bible cannot possibly mean “homosexuality is a sin”.

      • the moother

        Sin doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing.

  • Leum

    This campaign needs to be clearer in its wording. I commented about this on Fred Clark’s blog, and I’ll just quote myself here:

    A decade ago, a Christian who said “It’s not a sin to be gay” was clearly speaking out against the belief that having sex with someone of the same sex was not a sin. This is no longer the case. Almost every Christian denomination has jumped on the “it’s not a sin to be gay” bandwagon. And most of them are lying.

    They’ve decided, you see, that being gay simply means experiencing what they call “same-sex attraction.” And they’re perfectly happy to say that experiencing temptation isn’t a sin. However, dig down deep enough, and you’ll discover that they still believe giving into the temptation is a sin. They still teach their queer kids that if they have sex with someone of the same sex and don’t repent, God will damn them to Hell.

    Because of this, Christians who wish to be queer-positive need to do more than say “It’s not a sin to be gay.” You need to be explicit, you need to be crude. You have to say, baldly, that having sex with someone of the same sex is not a sin. Anything less will be met by people like me, who have been burned by apparently queer-positive Christians one time too many, with distrust at best, hostility at worst.

    • eric

      Many of the contributors might believe that sex (with anyone) before marriage is a sin. But with that caveat, you’re right, they need to be explicit that they are supporting same sex sex as not-a-sin, not just same sex attraction as not-a-sin.

      • Rev. Achron Timeless

        So it could be ok if you live in one of the right states and get married, but otherwise always condemned?

        That’s the multi-pronged approach to that little dodge. “Oh, we’re against all premarital sex, which is why we don’t let them marry. That way we can still wave our book around and threaten them with torture.”

        • Leum

          The NALT website does, if you look hard enough, endorse sacramental same-sex marriage (i.e. that Christian churches should perform and recognize same-sex marriages). But if NALT want to be good allies, they need to have that endorsement front and center, not buried.

          There’s also a case to be made that saying gay non-marital sex is a sin is still a problem, but for now I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that.

  • viaten

    “We’re not all like that.” True enough. (I’m glad they didn’t go as far as “They’re not true Christians”.) If it gets more people thinking and talking it’s in the right direction. I’ll take it. I’d expect people like them to be much more understanding of the atheist position, I would hope. For atheists, it seems it’s always “We’re not at all like what you’re afraid we are.”

  • invivoMark

    They’re not all like that. Their favorite book is, though.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ trivialknot

    Let me just say that in comparison to this NALT campaign, The Marin Foundation’s lukewarm and non-committal attempt to build bridges between the LGBT and Christian communities is completely laughable.

    I’m glad NALT is raising the standard, and look forward to the next campaign which will make NALT laughable.

  • ZenDruid

    We refer to secular Jews often enough vis-a-vis the Frummern, so why not ‘secular Christians’ for those folks who might celebrate Xmas and Easter, but otherwise think in terms of a larger cultural picture? My point here is to have a pigeonhole for precisely this type of Christian, while excluding what I call the ‘OT / Leviticus Christians’.

  • http://bit.ly/glUAR7 Calladus

    I’m so glad a Christian group has planned to update their holy text. When are they planning to re-write the bible to remove condemnation of homosexuality?

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com/ Ani J. Sharmin

    It seems like a nice step to take. I liked the It Gets Better Project (though I have my disagreements with Dan Savage), because it encouraged keeping up hope for a better future. After it was first started, I listened to Rebecca Drysdale’s song/music video many, many times.

    The NALT Project would maybe be helpful/hopeful to those who are LGBT and want to remain Christian. I’m not really the target audience. I already know that not all Christians are like that (because, as was pointed out by Erin K below “self-proclaimed moderate Christians literally will not shut up about it ever”). But maybe that’s something based on experience, and there may be LGBT people who grew up in an overwhelmingly conservative Christian area, and they haven’t heard Christians say that.

    Personally, I don’t really believe the Christian-God-supports-equal-rights arguments, because of the stuff in the Bible. However, when I did believe in God (not of any religion), I found great comfort in the belief that God loved me, even though I was afraid to tell others about my sexual orientation and didn’t know what they’d think of me. I’d suggest that a God-loves-you type message may be hopeful in these videos, if targeted to LGBT Christians, rather than a not-all-like-that message, focusing more on the give-them-hope objective (like It Gets Better), rather than trying to improve Christianity’s image.

  • UWIR

    While I appreciate people opposing bigotry, I find the foundation for this effort to be quite flimsy. A plain reading of the Bible does quite clearly show that it opposes homosexuality. I guess these NATL people are so deep in their tendency to confuse what they want to be true with what is true that they’ve convinced themselves that Christianity is a wonderful ideology that promotes love, opposing homosexuality doesn’t promote love, so this somehow means that Christianity must not oppose homosexuality. As comforting as it is to learn that someone who follows a religion that opposes homosexuality has decided to simply pretend that part of the religion doesn’t exist, it would be even more comforting if they were to just not follow the religion in the first place.

  • Nancy Shrew

    I was actually just thinking about this this evening: How nearly every time someone shares their bad experiences with Christians, men, white people, etc., someone feels the need to pipe up with “But not all [insert group] are like that!”. It really rings hollow after a while and frankly, so does this.

  • Katherine Hompes

    Of course not all Christians are like that. Still, I find it far easier to be a bisexual atheist…

  • Aka

    In the words of Jesus.” why do you call me Lord Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
    The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin. you can not call yourself a follower of Christ and embrace the Homosexual lifestyle. before you start calling me a bigot and a hater I do NOT hate homosexuals. I just know where that lifestyle will send you.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Same place eating shrimp and wearing mixed fabrics will send you, probably. Since they’re all abominations before the Lord and all that.


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