Jesus Is Not At All Like That (my video for the NALT Christians Project)

When John Shore invites me to do something, I usually say Yes — even if that something involves leaving my comfort zone hidden behind words on a screen and figuring out how to make and post a video, which I’d avoided doing up until now.

So here’s the video I made for the NALT Christians Project:

And in case you’re not able to watch that video (or were too distracted by nose and chin to pick up on the words), here’s a transcript:

Hi, I’m Fred Clark. I write the Slacktivist blog for, and I’m one of those evangelical Christians — one of those born-again, Bible-believing, Jesus-loving evangelical Christians.

And I don’t believe that being gay is a sin.

Not everyone in my evangelical tribe agrees with that. It goes against some of our tribe’s boundaries.

Tribes are big on boundaries. We like to create them, and police them, and enforce them. And some of the evangelical tribal gatekeepers say that anyone who doesn’t condemn LGBT people is out of bounds, and no longer really an evangelical Christian.

But that’s just dumb. Condemning gay people isn’t what made me an evangelical Christian in the first place, so how could not condemning gay people mean I’ve suddenly stopped being one? I’m an evangelical Christian because Jesus loves me and declares me to be a beloved child of God. Not because I agreed to hate some other group of God’s beloved children, or to deny them their full equality in society and in the church.

The point is, it doesn’t matter what the tribal gatekeepers say about who is and isn’t “really” an evangelical Christian. Because we’re not all like that.

And not because we’ve abandoned our evangelical faith. We’re not all like that because of our evangelical faith — because of Jesus.

The more I learn about Jesus, the closer I grow to Jesus, the more I come to know Jesus, the more I’m compelled to love the people Jesus loves. And that means crossing boundaries, because Jesus didn’t give a withered fig about tribal boundaries. If you’re going to follow Jesus, you’re going to have to cross boundaries because that’s all the guy ever did.

Jesus knew all the religious rules. He knew all the clobber texts about clean and unclean, pure and impure, insider and outsider, us and them. He knew who the clobber texts told him he wasn’t allowed to love.

But then he went out and he loved all the people that the clobber texts told him he wasn’t supposed to love. And he loved all the people that the clobber texts told him he wasn’t allowed to love.

Jesus met the woman at the well and she was nervous, because she saw him as a religious leader and she knew that he knew all those clobber texts. And she knew the way religious leaders liked to use those clobber texts to hurt people like her.

But then she met Jesus. And she went away rejoicing because Jesus was not like that.

And that’s all that really matters. It’ doesn’t matter whether I’m like that. It doesn’t matter what I think, I’m just some guy who writes for the Internet. Who cares what I think?

What matters is that Jesus is not like that. Jesus isn’t at all like that.

And that’s good news. That’s the gospel. That’s the best news there is.


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  • JustoneK

    Fred, I love you, I love reading you here, but Savage is an unrepentant misogynist asshole and I don’t think this is the best idea.

  • Aeryl

    Yes he is, but he has a name so I can’t hold it against people with the right message using that name.

    Imagine how I felt when I saw Savage on Bill Maher, and he said, “Lefties hate Obamacare more than righties, and we hate defending it, because we want single payer.” I’ve been waiting a long time to hear someone say that, so the fact that it was Savage made me throw up in my mouth a bit.

  • JustoneK

    It is something I’ve never been able to grasp. Doesn’t the association influence the message you’re trying to send out here?
    I don’t expect people to be wrong all the time the same way nobody can be right all the time, but there is still…borders. And somewhere Savage crossed a lot of mine.

  • Aeryl

    Sure, but that assumes that everybody feels that way about Savage, and unfortunately most people don’t.

  • Kirala

    On a related note: who the heck is Dan Savage, and what does he have to do with the topic post?
    …is what I thought when I saw the initial comment. I’ve gleaned the answer to the second question and now have the vaguest idea about the first, but there is no way in the universe I’d’ve been looking around this project and thinking, “Huh. Guess they support THAT kind of troublemaker’s style.”

    Which is not to say that one shouldn’t be choosy about project supporters/allies. Just to say that in this particular case, this particular n00b was much more involved with Dan Savage by means of the backlash than the association.

  • Wednesday

    Well, not everyone is aware of what Savage has done/said that demonstrated his sexism. Last I heard, he was an asshole when it came to body weight of all genders, but for whatever reason I hadn’t heard about his misogyny until now. (Probably because I’ve stopped reading as many feminist blogs as I used to.)

  • JustoneK

    What I keep finding out is he’s p much an asshole to a LOT of demographics.

  • Wednesday

    Yeah, now that I’m googling I see he’s got a bad history with trans issues and rape survivors. >_<

    I are disappoint, Dan Savage.

  • JP

    And bisexuals! Don’t forget bisexuals!

    (…Although better to forget us, I suppose, than to promote destructive beliefs about us the way Savage consistently has)

  • Wednesday

    Dammit, I am so sorry, JP, I actually knew previously about his Stupid about bisexuals from my sister, and plum forgot that he had Stupid in that regard until you reminded me. *shakes fist at Dan Savage again for good measure*

  • JP

    ‘Sokay, Wednesday! I wasn’t annoyed at you – just at Dastardly Dan. I think it’s probably quicker to list the groups he hasn’t said terrible stuff about than to list the ones he has.

  • Diona the Lurker

    He’s also said unpleasant things about asexuals.

  • general_apathy

    I went googling. Yikes.

    “With all the minimally sexuals out there making normally sexuals miserable, NSNA, it should be obvious to all regular readers that there’s not exactly a shortage of people who aren’t interested in sex. With that being the case, why would you even contemplate inflicting yourself on a normally sexual person?

    (Emphasis mine.) So basically, if you can’t sexually satisfy your partner, you are a bad person, you should feel bad about yourself, you don’t deserve relationships. :(

  • Rhubarbarian82

    That’s, ah, really not what he’s saying. He’s saying the person should look for relationships with people with compatible sex drives. If you listen to his show, at least once every other show will be a really heartbreaking call from someone with a normal sex drive whose partner has decided to unilaterally end sex in the relationship, but refuses to allow the other person to look for sexual fulfillment outside the relationship. Sexual compatibility is incredibly important, and I think we as a society don’t attach it the weight it deserves.

    That being said, “inflicting yourself on a normally sexual person” is really terrible language.

  • Rick

    He is? Unrepentant from what? How is he a misogynist? And why is he an asshole?

  • JustoneK
  • Bob Loblaw Lobs Law Bomb

    Just FYI, that was not particularly helpful.

  • JustoneK

    Thanks, Rick.

  • Rick

    Whut? I don’t get it… which one of those do you want me to read? All of them? Okay. The first one says that dan isn’t inclusive enough of trans people. Is that what you mean by misogyny? No, it must be the second one about his “bad” advice to a rape-victim. Is that what bugs you? I read the article and all the comments, I don’t really think he’s a rape-apologist, do you? Maybe it’s the third one, where Jezebel complains that a gay man doesn’t like vaginas enough. Yup, that’s misogynistic. JustoneK, can you articulate your beef with Mr. Savage instead of just making me GUESS what your problem is?

  • JustoneK

    You want me to justify my claims to your satisfaction without looking at anything else first. Nah.

  • Nathaniel

    How many posts does he have to look at before he can ask for clarification?

    Is it 10? 20? 100? Inquriing minds want to know.

  • JustoneK

    Apparently it’s zero for him. Must be nice.
    The laundry list of what a basic google turns up isn’t enough for you here or it’s not believable enough?

  • Mark Z.

    Yeah, it’s called making an argument.

  • JustoneK

    Terribly sorry, this is Abuse!

  • JustoneK

    You read the article and all the comments and you _don’t_ think he’s a misogynist. We are on two very different planes, it would seem.
    Jezebel barely counts. It isn’t about a gay man disliking vaginas, it’s about a gay man whittling down a person to just a vagina, which is by no means a unique trait to gays or even to men.
    All of your points you mention here are reason, yes. How they do not seem to make that sense to you is a little scary.

  • Rick

    I agree that some of the quotes and things could be read as misogynistic. Is he that way all the time? Is that him at his core? I don’t know. I certainly don’t think it’s my place to judge him as a person… those words, maybe, but him, no. I do think he’s done a lot of good for people, and apparently Fred thinks so too, or else he wouldn’t have participated in this project.

  • JustoneK

    So he gets a pass despite plenty of public record for what he’s said because of Fred’s (sorta? I have not seen any) endorsement?
    I am iffy about the project. Savage’s involvement makes it even iffier, because of what is so readily available right now and what I am retaining about him over the past coupla years. Fred Clark, here, gets the benefit of my doubt (OH YAY GO ME) for good intent and good action. Dan Savage does not, because of plenty of evidence of neither and plenty of evidence of sheer self-aggrandizing douchenozzlery. And yes, it stings when something that appears evident to me is questioned without so much as a basic google/wikipedia search, because there is always room for me to be wrong, and I am always expecting _to be wrong_.

  • JustoneK

    I am going to leave this here, as it is full of links to direct posts he has made, and I’m going to leave the Savage thread alone, because srsly fuck this noise.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    It seems to me like he’s gotten rather full of himself from being pretty much THE go-to gay/lesbian Dear Abby columnist going back to the 1990s.

  • Matthias

    After looking at the list I have the feeling that he is a gay version of Pat Buchnan. Both are spewing vitriol against “the other”, women, bisexuals, transsexual, people of colour. The only difference is that for Dan Savage gays do (for obvious reasons) not belong to the other category

  • Carstonio

    So frustrating when people like Savage or E.W. Jackson, who have firsthand experiences of living as members of otherized groups, don’t grasp that they’re perpetuating similar otherizing. I might understand if their experiences were so severe that it blunted their feelings for everything and everybody, destroying what empathy they might have had.

  • Adamn

    The more “problematic” links don’t hold up as actually problematic in context.

    The trans parent is being berated for not choosing to prioritize her teenage son’s stability over her own transitioning schedule, when she’s already bringing a number of difficult issues (divorce, gayness, HIV+ status) into the family’s life. He’s not telling the trans woman to not be trans; he’s telling her to wait until she doesn’t have to look after her son, who needs her to be a stable parent.

    The term Savage uses to talk about a transsexual prostitute doesn’t obscure the fact that he excludes gay men from pursuing MTF transsexuals *because the MTFs consider themselves women*, meaning he has the same definition of gender as trans activists do.

    His advice to homosexuals to be more receptive to long-term relationships with other homosexuals is excerpted without the context of heteronormative pressure which leads a lot of bi folk into other-sex relationships.

    Savage’s disbelief that a writer was a rape survivor is based on the writer’s misinterpretation of an advice-seeker’s problem as a desire to rape, when in reality it was the advice seeker trying to learn how to fulfill a fantasy he and his wife had agreed to fulfill.

    It’s not really clear who’s supposed to be offended more by Savage’s reworking of “The Miracle Worker;” the original play’s depiction of Keller as unruly comes from Keller’s autobiography, so the story of a disabled child who can’t communicate with able-bodied people isn’t really coming directly from an able-bodied writer’s perspective, much less an ableist one.

    I think the “problematic” thing at the heart of Dan Savage’s public contributions, as far as that blogger’s concerned, is that he wants LGBT identity to be part of society – not an academic ideal, but something that a person can own and have agency over without having the larger society expecting a fundamentally different set of morals from them based on their “other”ness. The blogger, who provides no interpretations of these statements, seems to want Savage to extol total permissiveness for LGBT people, but that’s not what Savage wants. He wants tolerance; that means he wants LGBT people to be everyone’s neighbor, which also means he wants them to be neighborly, and he won’t spare someone an honest opinion based on their sexual preference, gender identity, or anything else people might turn to as an excuse to act like an asshole.

  • Matthias

    I’m sorry but your excuses don’t hold up:

    1. About Transsexuals:
    – He calls them trannies, you don’t use slurs unless you want to hurt the target.
    – He wants that the woman keeps living as a male until the son is adult. I wonder how he would react to the suggestion that a gay man should remain in the closet until his children are adult.
    – He argues that the son needs “stability” which the transexual cannot provide and thus she should remain a man. This is the direct equivalent of the nasty tale that children need “mom and dad” and homosexuals thus cannot be good parents.
    – He suggest that in response to the transexual wanting to undergo sex-change treatment the family should stop talking to her. Given how many homosexuals experience the pain of being kicked out of their home I literally couldn’t believe him even considering such a thing.

    2. About bisexuals:
    – The claim that all bisexuals don’t enter long-term relationships with same-sex partners but only wan them for sex due to social pressures is at best stereotyping …
    – … Since he follows this up by demanding that bisexuals should “fuck” each other and stay clear of anyone else, i.e. demanding segregation, it is however clear bigotry. Imagine if I would argue that blacks are unable to form long term relations, are only in it for sex and should fuck each other but leave white women alone … Everyone would recognise this as the racism it is!

    This also makes your last point about how Dan Savage wants “tolerance” and “neigbourhood” for LGTB people ridiculous. If you demand that bisexuals segregate themselves from everyone else you are most certainly no advocating tolerance.

  • Adamn

    He’s not telling the trans woman to not be open about her identity, he’s telling her that to get surgery – and thus put the family through the experience of having a parent undergo a fairly serious surgical procedure – can wait until she doesn’t have a kid to take care of. And a trans parent who doesn’t care about taking care of her or his responsibilities as a parent by putting off the surgery until they don’t have an obligation to take care of a growing teenager is screwing up their relationship with their family. A kid who finds out she or he’s transgender and gets disowned for it is in a different position; they’re not raising someone, providing room and board for them, and their responsibility at that time is to learn how to be themselves while still being part of a family. The family wouldn’t be rejecting the trans mom because she’s trying to be herself; they’d be rejecting her because she’s choosing to put her needs ahead of a family member who depends on her, which isn’t what a good mom or dad does, cis or trans.

    He’s not saying bisexuals only choose long-term partners because of social pressure, but it is a factor, and a lot of bisexuals do wind up with other-gender partners. And he’s not saying bisexuals shouldn’t be in any sort of relationship with homosexuals, but rather that homosexuals should be aware that in the long term, they’re less likely that another homosexual is going to leave them for someone of the other gender than they would be with a bisexual, and that part of that is the social pressure of heteronormativity.

  • Matthias

    Okay so the woman can come out as a transexual but has to remain in a male body. So I suppose the equivalent would be that a gay man can come out but must not engage in any same-sex relationship. Still horrible.

    And he is saying that bisexuals shouldn’t be in any form of relationship with homosexuals: “No, there are definitely some people who should fool around with bisexual men: OTHER BISEXUAL MEN. Go fuck each other.”

    If that is not bigotry then nothing is.

  • Ross

    The whole idea that a closeted transexual pretending to a gender they don’t perceive themselves as would provide “stability” that transitioning would not strikes me as really shockingly shortsighted for — well for anyone really.

  • Eric Boersma

    it’s about a gay man whittling down a person to just a vagina

    To paraphrase The Daily Show: it must really suck to have the entirety of your personality whittled down to just your genitals. That guy’s a real dick.

  • Frank McCormick

    I might be wasting my “breath” here. But… I see a lot of discussion of what Dan is like from differing persons that objects to something he said. I suggest that to understand what Dan Savage believes, and more importantly, his character, you should listen to what HE says. There are times in which he makes statements that appear mistaken and, from my experience, he immediately responds to his critics with either a correction or a reasoned response to why he believes he is correct. He DOES come across as abrasive to some when he plainly states his beliefs, and, even more so, when he directly states plain facts. To match some of the language in this sub-thread, a failure to kiss up is not the same thing as being an asshole .

  • etseq

    Its a losing battle – once the internet social justice warriors start a meme they will flood blog comments about it until people just give up arguing with them

  • Ross

    Says the douchebag who has been spamming the everloving fuck out of blog comments with snide contentless attacks on anyone who dares speak ill of your beloved Dan Savage?

  • etseq

    Someone needs to wash your mouth out with soap…obviously, I’ve touched a nerve with you. Why are you so emotionally invested in hating someone? Chill out dude…life is short.

  • AnonymousSam

    Piss off, Wayne. Grown-ups are talking here.

  • Ross

    Dude. I was here already. You came to us, we didn’t come to you. You’re the one who seems to be havign an exisitential crisis over the fact that anyone would dare to suggest that your icon is anything less than a total saint.

    Also, that whole thing where you freak out at the use of profanity? That’s textbook fundie bullshit. We’ve heard it from the forced-birther,s from the raving homophobes, from the guy who wants to deny medical treatment to the mentally ill, and from you.

  • Eric Boersma

    To make it clear: I don’t mean to defend Savage. I know very little of hi beyond having read an article or two that he’s written; I wasn’t aware that people thought he was a blazing misogynist until reading the comment thread on this post. I did some searching yesterday evening to try to find out what he actually said that got people all worked up, and it seemed nearly impossible to do so for all the noise people were making about him being a misogynist, with nobody actually providing quotes or video or audio or anything (that I could find).

    I was simply commenting on the fact that we get pissed off about men calling women “vaginas” but the idea that one might call a man a “dick” is widely accepted and nobody bats an eye. Yes, I understand that the context is dramatically different, but there’s definitely an existing double standard, and it’s humorous.

  • Gaudior

    Yeah, strong agreement with Frank, here. Dan Savage has been talking about sexuality and gender for three of the decades during which those topics have undergone the most change and rethinking ever. Combine that with his persona of being irreverent and snarky, and he’s said a lot of really offensive, stupid things. But he’s also changed his views tremendously on all the issues people are discussing here, most notably on issues involving trans*, bisexuality, and women’s bodies and rights. I agree that it’s worth calling out people when they mess up, but it’s a problem when we don’t notice that that calling people out has worked— that because we called someone out on their behavior, they’ve actually changed. People spent a long time yelling at Dan Savage about what he was doing wrong, and it was effective. If we don’t acknowledge that it can be effective, then what’s the point of calling people out on things in the first place?

  • dpolicar

    If we don’t acknowledge that it can be effective, then what’s the point of calling people out on things in the first place?

    It calls attention to the person being called out as a potential enemy of the tribe.

    Against outsiders this can be a genuine defense against external threat. For example, if the person is a non-obvious genuine threat, being called out robs them of protective camouflage and the element of surprise.

    Against in-group members this is primarily a way of enforcing compliance with group norms… encouraging people to “get right with the group,” as the phrase once went… by the implied threat of exclusion.

    Of course, performing such services for the good of the group typically also raises the in-group status of the people doing the calling out, as it should.

    Which means that, inevitably, low-cost analogs of it will be co-opted as a signal by status-seekers, and distinguishing genuine champions of the group’s interests from mere status-seekers becomes important.

    (Yes, I realize you meant it as a rhetorical question. But it’s a good question just the same.)

  • The_L1985

    I think NALT is a good idea in spite of Savage’s involvement. Just because the person who came up with a name (and nothing else) for the NALT movement happens to be a douchebag, doesn’t mean that NALT itself is somehow tainted by his extremely peripheral involvement.

  • Brad Ellison

    Yeah, that’s where I am. Savage is an asshole, but even assholes can get stuff right now and again, and It Gets Better has been a really positive thing despite its genesis. I think this falls into the same category.

  • Ross

    Assholes: they serve a useful function, even if a lot of what comes out of them is shit.

  • etseq

    He actually isnt but that doesnt matter – once you have pissed off the internet social justice warriors there is no redemption. Luckily, only people in comment blogs care about SJW

  • Michael Pullmann

    Stopped clocks and all. Just because someone’s a jerk doesn’t mean they can’t have a good idea.

  • Verna

    NALT is tainted by its bad theology. Having Dan Savage be a part of it fits perfectly. The blind leading the blind.

  • etseq

    Because thats all that matters – attacking dan savage. Trolls of the world unite!

  • Ross

    You know, a lot like the Franklin Graham defenders we get, and the Whichever Republican Got Caught Fucking The Help defenders we get, you came here to defend Dan Savage, and you only seem to be making him look worse. Are all his defenders giant assholes like you?

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I mostly enjoy listening to his podcast, though I find it occasionally triggering for personal reasons and need to pause it for a while to let that pass. On the whole, I find the good information to far outweigh the bad. I also find advice columns a guilty pleasure and enjoy learning about offbeat fetishes/sex acts/etc, so the podcast scratches both of those itches quite nicely.

    I’m really not invested enough to spend several posts defending the guy, though. If people find him off-putting, that’s their prerogative.

    So to answer your question: I hope not!

  • Mr. Heartland

    Ha! Fred very much has the style of a man who came of age in the late 80’s/early 90s. Someone who hasn’t been here before could guess his age pretty accurately just on that. Though he does look good and healthy. :-)

  • Sue White

    I doubt I could guess it, he looks younger than I pictured him. :-D

  • Oswald Carnes

    I always picture people who are smarter than I am as older than I am. Turns out this is no longer the case.

  • yesteray

    Never was.

  • The_L1985

    Yeah. I’m sitting here thinking, “45? With a daughter who finished high school? Did he use a time machine and make this video in the 90’s or something?”

  • Kagi Soracia

    He must have the same kind of genes as my mother, who had seven children, all of whom are out of high school, and still looks like she’s about 35, 40 at most.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    He most certainly does! :)

  • Aeryl

    Fred, that is an absolutely beautiful piece, I can’t wait to share it with my Baptist boss.

  • Trevor

    How dare you look and sound completely differently from how I’ve been imagining you for the past 10 years!

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Well, it turns out that Fred sounds like a guy from Pennsylvania (so that’s no surprise at all), but I’ll admit I was picturing somebody who looked older. Maybe I expected all that time with The Worst Books In The World to cause premature aging. The actual words of the video, though – definitely you, Fred.

  • flat

    well he is diferent than I expected, but well I think that matters for everyone here at slacktivist.

  • Deird

    Does he have a specific Pennsylvanian accent?

    *is clueless about US accents that aren’t New York, Alabama, or Boston*

  • Invisible Neutrino

    He sounds like he’s from the North (US-wise), which to my ears sounds much like the way Barack Obama speaks.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    I grew up mostly in Pennsylvania, so what I really mean is that he sounds normal! But then, my kids – who grew up in South Jersey – say that I have a Pennsylvania accent. (What the details of a “Pennsylvania accent” are, I don’t know; I don’t hear it. I’d explain if I could.)

  • Kirala

    Caveat: I can be slightly accent-deaf. For example, I can’t tell the difference between an Aussie and a Kiwi accent. (Sorry, Deird!)

    But to this North Carolinian-child-of-Midwestern-Americans, Fred has no accent. Or rather, a regionally-neutral USA accent.

    (Looking good, Fred! Brave of you to expose yourself to irrelevant discussion of your accent to make the video!)

  • Deird

    Truthfully, Aussie and Kiwi accents aren’t that dissimilar. It’s pretty much just a slight change in the way the vowels are done…

  • JP

    Not sure how the Aussies would react to that assertion; but I’m pretty sure every Kiwi who read that just flinched.

  • Deird

    I am an Aussie, and I didn’t flinch.

    I agree that the accents are, to our ears, very different. But, from the perspective of someone with a US accent, Aussie and Kiwi accents are extremely similar.

  • JP

    I haven’t been close to too many Aussies (which is why I wasn’t sure how they’d see it – thanks for clarifying you’re one!), but for a USian I’ve known an unusual number of New Zealanders, and without exception, all of them have got quite defensive when asked if they were from Australia on the basis of their accent. They’ve also all been keen to point out the differences in the accent. One of them told me that the Kiwi accent is closer to British English, while the Australian accent is closer to US English; ever since he mentioned that to me, I can hear what he meant. (Although there are some Kiwi vowels that honestly don’t sound like anyplace else to me.)

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s all good – and certainly more interesting than the generic, Pacific Northwest US accent I inherited!

  • Deird

    The thing about Kiwi vowels is that they did a double vowel-shift, rather than the single vowel-shift done by the rest of the English speaking world.

    (Vowel-shift: the long “a” should be an “AHH” sound, not an “AY” sound; long “e” should be “AY”, not “EE”; long “i” should be “EE”, not “EYE”, and so on. We all shifted so that our long vowels no longer connect properly to our short ones – and then, New Zealand shifted again so that their vowels connect up again. So, their long “a” being “AY”, their short “a” is now an “EH” sound; their long “e” being “EE”, their short “e” is now “IH”, and so on.)

  • Invisible Neutrino

    One other thing I’ve noticed is that even people from Washington and Oregon have noticeably different accents than British Columbians. The main thing seems to be in the lengthening of vowels which doesn’t happen as much in Canadian English.

    (That being said having been around British people a lot in the last decade, I’ve noticed some interesting similarities in some word pronunciations of people in the Appalachian states (Kentucky and thereabouts) with British English.

  • dr ngo

    When I lived in Australia, I was told that a New Zealander was just an Aussie who had had elocution lessons.

  • Mr. Heartland

    Call it mid-Atlantic or Bowash south of NYC maybe. I’ve heard lots of similar-sounding voices from the Baltimore-Wilmington De area as well as Philly. Pittsburghers speak with more of a Great Lakes bark.

  • AnonaMiss

    He’s got a mild country Northwest Territories accent, yeah. For example, the ij diphthong beginning every use of “evangelical”, which in a central midwestern accent would be shorter and approach “eh”. (As opposed to a north-central midwestern accent, which would also have the long ij, but would go into Sven and Olie territory.)

  • Kenneth Raymond

    I was expecting Fred to look kind of like some of my father’s friends. It turns out he looks a lot more like one of my older brother’s friends. This should probably give me some further perspective on the fact I’ve technically been an adult for more than a decade now.

    Also I’d say I imagined his voice as a bit deeper, but really I’d just been assigning him one of my stock mental voices for unidentified speakers. It’s probably going to reassert itself soon.

  • Emcee, cubed

    Funny, he looks exactly like how I’ve imagined him for 10 years. Well, actually for 15 years. Which is about how long it’s been since I’ve seen him in person. And he doesn’t look like he’s aged very much. I might have to hate him for that. Nah.

  • Ross

    Even more than I am thunderstruck by what Fred turns out to look like (I had this image in my head that I think in retrospect was a stock photo he attached to an article years ago), I’m shocked by how it turns out you pronounce “Patheos”.

  • Nicole Resweber


  • DStecks

    Of all the things I expected him to look like, “exactly like my dad” was not one of them.

  • Jerry

    Your video and what you said was AWESOME. Thank you so much.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Very well-said. Could I ask that at some point you embed the text of your speech into the Youtube video as subtitles? Youtube’s voice recognition system is………

    Shall we say

    Much less than ideal.

    I wear hearing aids and as such I often don’t quite catch what someone said and having to flip back and forth to a transcript doesn’t help very much. (I like to watch videos in full screen)

  • skyblue

    Beautiful! I hope this takes off the way It Gets Better did, it’s got the potential to do some serious good.

  • Nicole Resweber

    I like this video. I’m less sure about the project…

    From Jon Shore’s introduction: The NALT Christians Project is like a massive orchestra consisting of players who simply walk in, take a seat, and begin adding to a symphony so insanely beautiful that to hear any isolated strain within it—any solo instrument, any solitary voice—is to be heartened and uplifted, no matter who you are.

    Shouldn’t Christians who really want to help be, I dunno, LISTENING to the symphony, not creating it? “Not All Like That” is such an obvious derailing tactic in every other context, it just seems like a bad place to start “reaching out” from.

    Also Dan Savage.

  • JustoneK

    We wanna be good allies where are our damn cookies?

  • Nicole Resweber

    That’s what it feels like, and frankly, why it surprised me to see Fred as its poster child.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    That being said I think the theme of it fits with a phrase I often like to say:

    “You shall not side with the great against the powerless”.

    Those who have the wherewithal and the social capital to side with the great – and would find it in their best interests to do so – and refuse to in order to side with the powerless…

    Frankly, they’re just as needed as those among the powerless who can best rally those without power to stick together against the forces of those who would keep society divided and conquered in the name of preserving institutions of power which serve to purposely de-voice those who are considered socially out of the norm.

    (Repeats what I said on the other NALT thread)

    Qualifications? I happen to be a QUILTBAG person kthxbai.

  • Nicole Resweber

    I do think this is an important point. And I if my doubts prove ill-founded, believe me, I will be more than happy to eat my words.

    I would LOVE nothing more than for this to serve as a rallying cry for people with social capital to side with those without. I fear that this will become a shibboleth for a certain group to pat each other on the back for “being inclusive” without having to actually interact with or listen to QUILTBAG people.

  • The_L1985

    I don’t see it as “gimme a cookie,” myself. I see it as, “If you’re on the fence about this issue, you don’t have to be anymore. If you’re a GLBT Christian, you don’t have to hate yourself for that. Love one another.”
    Plus, what’s stopping GLBT Christians from joining the NALT movement and running with it?

  • JustoneK

    You don’t think that’s what’s going to happen with it tho? That is what I’m hung up on. Because it is a very frequent pattern – look at us, we are inclusive and loving, except for you we never liked you, rinse and repeat.

  • The_L1985

    I guess I’m just stupidly optimistic, then. *shrugs*

  • JustoneK

    I am very much Pessimistic, make no mistake bout that. :P

    And I have the horror of believing it’s the most rational way to be.

  • Kagi Soracia

    I was wondering about that. Being an LGBT christian myself, I might consider doing it if so, though my horror of making a video of myself as opposed to hiding behind the printed page is assuredly higher than Fred’s.

  • The_L1985

    …but aren’t some of the NALT Christians also GLBT?

    As for the Dan Savage thing, see my comment below. I agree that Savage is an asshole, but that isn’t enough to make NALT a bad thing in and of itself.

    Hitler loved dogs, but that doesn’t make all dogs tainted just because a really horrible person liked them!

  • Nicole Resweber

    I’m sure they are. But to borrow from what I said on the last post, if NALT, like It Gets Better, is directed to members of the LGBTQ community, worst name ever.

    If it’s supposed to be directed inwards, to Christians Like That, it still doesn’t really capture the challenge that YOU, dear viewer, don’t have to be Like That.

    I think there COULD be a way to do that, I’m just not sure that a Savage-branded self-congratulatory campaign is that challenge.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Another thing to keep in mind –

    You know how people fulminate and fume about how every Muslim everywhere totally needs to disavow any extremist sect?

    This is Fred voluntarily doing the same thing vis-a-vis Christianity even though the majority of people here would actually make the distinction between what Fred believes and what people like Pat Robertson believe.

  • Kagi Soracia

    That is a good point. I can respect that.

  • Nicole Resweber

    I personally don’t really think they need to, but that’s a fair point.

  • Mark Z.

    Also an obvious derailing tactic: bringing up Dan Savage.

    Also an obvious derailing tactic: complaining about derailing tactics.

    “Derailing” is only a bad thing if you have an interest in keeping the conversation on rails.

  • Nicole Resweber

    Not really bringing him up when he’s one of the people spearheading this, but okay.

    Derailing discussions aside, “we’re not all like that!” is a phrase that legitimately makes many people feel uncomfortable and unheard. Seems like an poor choice of rallying cry for a message of inclusivity.

  • Michael Pullmann

    Unless they’re trying to change its meaning and context so that it becomes associated with inclusion and self-examination instead of defensiveness and self-exculpation.
    A daunting task, but if the meaning of literally can change to “figuratively”, then anything’s possible.

  • Kenneth Raymond

    I don’t know, I read it as an actual response to the “vocal minority of haters” problem Christianity has. A lot of us complain about if it’s such a minority, why aren’t any others speaking up and refusing to enable them? Well… that’s what this is. Turns out if you want people to speak up and refute the haters, they’ve got to speak up to do it.

    This is pretty much what a lot of people have been requesting for a long time as a basic, good-faith effort to help demonstrate there really is more to American Christianity than the hate and exclusion. If it goes well, hopefully it could be used to delegitimize the standing narrative of how news media’s chosen handful of haters really speak for Christianity, and we can get some more supportive religious voices in the public sphere pulling for equal rights.

    And this is what it’s about, after all – the public sphere. The one that consists of everyone’s voices. It turns out that listening and silently enabling both involve silence and the important way to tell the difference is once the listeners stand up and demonstrate what they have learned. At some point those who have been listening to the symphony should also help create it once more.

    Fred has, by this point, long earned the benefit of the doubt from me on this topic so I’m willing to give it to him and by extension the project. “Dan Savage,” yes, but Savage isn’t always wrong either and this is a thing that can (and should) grow bigger than him.

  • Nicole Resweber

    This is a very good point. As I said elsewhere, I would love nothing more than for my doubts to be unfounded. And if people like Fred are the ones getting involved, then I’m hopeful they will be.

  • Deird

    Part of the problem is that there are Christians out there who don’t want to help. And they won’t listen to LGBT people. But they might listen to other Christians.
    Hence the videos.

  • Sue White

    Well, I don’t know anything about Dan Savage, but as far as I can tell the project isn’t about him. I gather he’s been a jerk, but they’re not all like that.
    As for me, I just want to see more Slacktivist videos!

  • Ivkra

    Speaking as an LGBT Christian who walked away from the church after it became clear my whole self was no longer welcome there, it is so damn beautiful to see projects like this. For years – this would’ve been the fourth, I think – Slacktivist was where I went instead of church.

    It’s been kinda sucky to be an queer Christian for a long, long, long time – I’m only catching the tail end of the era at worst, and I know how lucky this generation is.

    To have a bunch of Christians – yes, straight Christians included – come out and look you in the eyes (figuratively speaking) and say “God doesn’t hate you, I don’t hate you, and your sexual orientation is not a sin,” is a sort of – I don’t know, not closure. Healing, maybe. Bridging a gap. Telling us that we no longer have to seek God alone, that we are actually welcome in the church is… it’s water in the desert. [minor edits, sorry.]

  • Kagi Soracia

    This. I grew up believing that every Christian everywhere was going to hate me if I was gay, and that being gay and being a Christian were incompatible. Slacktivist is where I first learned that they were, in fact, not all like that – the entire idea of there being progressive christians was a revelation to me. I had given up on faith at that point, because I was told I had to choose. Fred is the reason I started thinking I didn’t have to choose. And for a long time, I didn’t have any corroborating evidence. Having multiple, visible statements from people who already have voices out there would have made a huge difference.

  • Nicole Resweber

    Inasmuch as it is this for people, I can support it. My doubts about where the project falls short do not stop me from wishing that it can be a force for good.

  • Ivkra

    Yeah, that’s fair. It’s just that this is almost exactly what I was complaining about on some post, weeks ago, that talked about a “Quiet, and mostly underground” movement where churches started accepting LGBTQ folks. Like… that’s great, and all, but how the hell are the LGBTQ Christians supposed to know y’all are out there, if you’re all doing your affirming quietly and underground?

    Step out into the light! Shout that you don’t think our sexuality is a sin! Because looking at it from here, it kinda looked (looks?) like a lot of churches go quietly because they’re afraid of the backlash if they shout from the rooftops.

    And, lo and behold, out comes a campaign inviting Christians who’re about Love and not bigotry/judgement to step out into the light and shout. You’re right – it could, if done wrong, turn into an Ally Chorus Who Doesn’t Do Anything. But I don’t think it will – and honestly, even if it does turn into just a chorus of “Hey, we’re here, we don’t think you’re awful sinners, and you’re welcome in our churches,” that’s a big step in its own right.

  • AnonymousSam

    Tangentially related, I was talking about the pushback Macklemore has been receiving about the success on his video Same Love, and the person I was commenting on put it this way: When straight people stand up for us, it helps show that we’re not just a fringe movement with no relevance or power outside of our own numbers.

  • Ivkra

    Ehhhhh. A lot of the push back on that isn’t “How dare you, a straight guy, support LGBTQ rights?!” It’s “Why does this straight white rapper get a whole fuckton of credit for this one song, when POC artists and queer artists have been doing the same thing with no recognition for years? Why is he brave, but they’re thugs?”

  • AnonymousSam

    I’ve seen a lot of shots directed toward him personally, as if he could (or should) limit how popular the song became. I wish others had his success too, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a powerful song and an even better video. Anyone who can make it through the whole thing without tearing up is apparently made of stone.

  • flat

    off topic I just placed comment number 900 at slacktivist and now I place comment 901.

  • banancat

    I’ll be more impressed when you get over 9,000. (Sorry, is that still A Thing?)

  • Geo X


  • Kenneth Raymond

    aagh no why did you put that thought in my mind?!

  • Kagi Soracia

    oh my god I can’t unsee it now.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    I don’t see the resemblance. O.o

  • RJ (TO)

    Lol, I thought the same thing, only minus the icy detachment in the eyes.

  • Oswald Carnes

    That’s so offensive I wouldn’t even say it to Paul Ryan.

  • Anon

    Haha, I was going to say the same. For everyone who seems injured by this, it’s quite a compliment – Paul Ryan is almost universally regarded as an exceptionally handsome man. It’s his words and deeds that are a problem, and a deficiency that our Fred does not share.

    … But if you could, Fred, do avoid the muscle shirts and backwards baseball caps.

  • Ruby_Tea

    Hi, Fred!

    Hi, Fred’s giant stack of Left Behind books stacked neatly behind him! :D

  • Quicumque

    I find the griping about Dan Savage quite inexplicable.

    I’ve been listening to his podcast for 3 years now, and can’t for the life of me imagine what constitutes “misogyny” (let alone “unrepentant misogyny”) on his part.

    In fact, calling him a misogynist seems to me to empty the term of meaning.

    I can imagine that that delicate souls might find his swearing too much to bear, and thus deem him an “asshole.” But in my view, he uses swearing to good and calculated effect (in much the same way that Martin Luther did).

    If Dan Savage is anything, he’s a moralist. The role of public moralist always has its dangers and temptations, but in his case, I think he’s negotiated them pretty well.

  • JustoneK

    The fuck? A moralist. Right. Who told a rape victim she was making it up and then compared her continuing to read his blog to rape.

  • Ross

    Here’s a helpful tip: If you find yourself about to say “I don’t see why people get upset about X. I examined X but did not ask any of the people who get upset about it, and working from first principles, I see nothing worthy of offense. I guess that it’s just Y (where Y is some thing that, were it the case, would imply that the people who are upset are being oversensitive), because some people sure are oversensitive. My enlightened awareness sees that Y is not really a problem, and therefore the people who are upset over X should just get over it,” then what you need to do is to stop and go ask the people who are upset why it bothers them.

    It will help you avoid looking like an asshole.

    Try to ask in a way that isn’t condescending or proceeds from the assumption that the people you’re asking are being irrational or need to justify themselves to you before their upset counts as valid.

  • etseq

    Chill dude – you have some anger issues. Who made you king of the internet?

  • chrisalgoo

    That’ll preach.

  • Leum

    Fred, I sent a letter to NALT, but I also want to address a similar one to you.

    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.

    Thank you.

  • RJ (TO)

    Funny…I’ve read his brilliantly articulate views on tribalism before and always picked up on a very (justifiably) angry, disgusted tone in his written words. Now hearing and seeing him express those very same views on video he comes across more like an all around nice guy who just wants you to “get it”.

  • Carstonio

    Fred has far more patience with homophobes than I do, I would fantasize about getting in their faces and snarling, “What the hell is wrong with you? You have no right to tell other people who they shouldn’t love or marry, so just shut the hell up.”

  • Eric Boersma

    Two things: I care what you say. A lot of other people do, too.

    Secondly, I would so watch a periodical video that you put out if you ever decided to go in that direction. Every one.

  • Armando Ortega Cisneros

    Thank you for your kind words. Thank you, handsome.

  • Gil

    Fred if you had a podcast I would subscribe to it in a SECOND

  • Ross

    Ever since Fred’s article on Night Vale, I’ve been hearing about it like everywhere, having never heard of it even once beforehand.

    Ironically, I was expecting Fred’s voice to be a lot more NPR and a lot less Art Bell.

  • Brad Ellison

    That’ll preach.

  • thing1

    Yay, Fred! This made me feel loved and happy deep in my lesbian Christian heart. :)

  • Kagi Soracia

    Thank you. I wish there were more like you.

  • Becky B.

    Hi Fred, I was nervous about this project because of the negative and comparative nature implied by the name (which I still wish would be changed). Your video reassured me. It was beautiful, inclusive (in both directions), grace-filled and Jesus-embodied. Thank you.

  • LL

    Aw … how lovely.

    And yeah, this is what non-colossal-asshole Christians should be doing. If you want to convince the rest of us that you’re not like Dolan or those insane Westboro idiots or the numerous stupid Republican politicians or Pat Robertson or LaJenkins, you all need to come out. And, you know, vote.

  • Morilore

    …wait, pa-THAY-os dot com? That’s how it’s pronounced? Really??

  • Invisible Neutrino

    I had the notion it was pronounced like that, but I can see why it might be pa-THEE-os instead, the spelling gives no indication of the way to say it.

  • Will Wildman

    Everything I’ve seen about NALT so far is lining up with my perception of John Shore as a man who likes to talk a lot more than he likes to listen. Regardless, I hope it does good things.

    To my total lack of surprise, Fred’s video avoids any of the pitfalls I see with the broader NALT and is instead just really good and gets right to what the point should be. Cheers, Fred.