My dog in the fight for LGBT equality

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.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • Bob Jones

    This is wonderful. I’ve always thought the golden rule was a good idea and I’m glad that more and more Christians these days seem to support applying it to the lgbt community. And before anyone blasts me about my reference to the golden rule and trying to point out to me that the golden rule does not promote allowing others to commit “sin”, please just answer me one thing: If you loved someone and wanted to marry them and there was no scientific or objective evidence that marrying them would harm society but there was some scientific and objective scientific evidence that demonstrated that allowing you to marry would likely make you healthier and therefore more of an asset to your community, then would you like to be denied the right to marry that person? Turns out that there is no evidence that homosexual or heterosexual civil unions hurt society and choosing not to embrace them causes psychological distress and actually promotes casual sex meaning more spread of STDs. Contrast that with pedophilia which amounts to rape (as children have not yet gone through puberty and thus are unable to have sex) incest (which leads to higher rates of disease) polygamy (which leads to higher rates of unstable relationships due to the increased chance of a dysfunctional relationship developing between two people due to the greater number of relationships involved with each additional person) and all the other forms of relationships that objectivity and science say are bad for society. Basically, you wouldn’t want to be held to someone else’s moral code when applying the golden rule, right? But you’d be comfortable with a set of objective guidelines based on society’s welfare, right? So then, if those two statements are conceded, then denying rights to lgbt couples that they would want (like marrying the person they love in a civil marriage, being protected from getting fired for your perceived sexual orientation, not letting people get away with killing you because of your perceived sexual orientation and panicking, etc.) is breaking the golden rule.

  • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

    Well said!

  • pennyhammack

    The lady who writes our complex newsletter wrote an edition claiming that basically the LGBT community wasn’t Christian and they were all going to hell. I responded, telling her that not all Christians believed that way and that I, although heterosexual, had every sympathy for the LGBT community. She responded by saying telling me that you have to believe the “whole” bible and not take verses out of context – then gave me a list of very out of context verses to prove her point.

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

    Hello John, I certainly believe it is a good thing that committed lifelong relationships between homosexuals are recognized by both society and the Church:
    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/on-the-sinfulness-of-homsexuality-von-der-sundigkeit-der-homosexualitat-deutschunten/

    That said I am sure this should not have the priority in the American society.

    The victims of the not yet optimal and unjust healthcare system and those of the war on drugs pursued by Obama are far more suffering than gay people not yet able to legally marry each other.

    And frankly speaking it is far easier to challenge societal norms about heterosexuality which are already crumbling than the capitalist dogma that the market should always be as free as possible and the state ought not to intervene.

    Lovely greetings from Europe.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com

  • Sven2547

    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.

    Agreed 100%.

    A line I frequently from the anti-equality crowd is that same-sex marriage is ‘cowtowing to 2% of the population’, as if the fact that they’re a minority somehow justifies having their liberties abridged!


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