The day before yesterday the Not All Like That (NALT) Christians Project launched like a space shuttle. It’s already been written about by TIME, The American Prospect, The Advocate, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post and others.
Which means that in the last two days I’ve done … I dunno, six interviews. (And this Monday morning will be discussing The NALT Christians Project on MSNBC [!].) Throw in the fact that since Tuesday I’ve been at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, Resort and Synapse-Frying Universe (the view from my window of which I just snapped the photo below, because holy cow have I quickly learned how to use my iPhone), and I’m having myself quite the week.
One of the things I’ve been asked a couple of times now is the question that a radio host yesterday put to me in this way (and I’ll let you know when that show is airing): “John, what’s your dog in this fight? You’re not gay. Why do you care so much about the issue of LGBT people and the church?”
I care for two reasons. First, I care because I’m a normal, moral human being, and it’s flat-out wrong for a majority population to victimize a minority population. Everyone with a conscience is morally obligated to defend anyone who is being persecuted and bullied. Defending the unjustly victimized is what it means to be a moral person.
Secondly, I am a Christian. And that makes me loyal to the Bible. And I’m tired of the Christian right forever claiming that LGBT-affirming Christians are less biblical than they are: that while they are being true to the word of God, Christians who don’t see in the Bible anything at all having to do with LGBT people today are somehow playing loosey-goosey with that hallowed, vital text. Lifting from their context six brief moments out of the Bible’s 31,000 passages and claiming that they represent the mind of God and the will and purpose of Jesus Christ is like holding up a carnival goldfish in a baggy and claiming it represents the ocean.
I want Paul back, basically. I’m tired of that inspired genius being turned into a thug cut loose to beat up gay people.
A very core reason I wanted to do The NALT Christians Project is because my heart is so heavy with the great number of Christians who are just now in the process of discernment on the gay issue, good people who are struggling with their belief that their natural love and compassion is at odds with what the Bible is telling them about LGBT people. On the one hand, they have Jesus explicitly commanding them to love their neighbors as they love themselves; on the other hand, they have Paul, whom they have been (wrongly) taught to believe is telling them that gay people—just because they’re gay—are an offense to God.
So they’re stuck between those two opposing forces.
Whenever I’m stuck trying to figure something out, the one thing I almost always need is more information. For Christians trying to figure out the proper relationship between Christianity and gay people, The NALT Christians Project is offered as critical additional information. It is incontrovertible proof that it is possible to be a deep, true, entirely biblical Christian, and hold that there is nothing at all inherently sinful or immoral about same-sex relationships.
All but those who’ve abandoned reason now understand that being gay isn’t a choice. What The NALT Christians project proves is that deciding to be an anti-gay Christian is a choice. And it’s most certainly the wrong choice, because any choice that leads to the hardening of one’s heart is always the wrong choice.
If you’re a NALT Christian, do not fail to make a NALT Christians video. Never think that yours won’t make a difference. Every single video is like a drop of water that’s filling a bucket needed to wash away the false Christianity that for too long had been doing too many people entirely too much harm.