From NALT’s co-founders
From NALT Christians Project co-founder John Shore:
In case you’re not familiar with the phenomenal It Gets Better Project, this is from the “About” page of its website:
In September 2010, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner Terry Miller to inspire hope for young people facing harassment. In response to a number of students taking their own lives after being bullied in school, they wanted to create a personal way for supporters everywhere to tell LGBT youth that, yes, it does indeed get better.
The It Gets Better Project™ has become a worldwide movement, inspiring more than 50,000 user-created videos viewed more than 50 million times. To date, the project has received submissions from celebrities, organizations, activists, politicians and media personalities, including President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Lambert, Anne Hathaway, Colin Farrell, Matthew Morrison of “Glee”, Joe Jonas, Joel Madden, Ke$ha, Sarah Silverman, Tim Gunn, Ellen DeGeneres, Suze Orman, the staffs of The Gap, Google, Facebook, Pixar, the Broadway community, and many more. But, as it says on the IGB website, “Every video changes a life. It doesn’t matter who makes it.”
Two months after Dan and his husband Terry made the video that launched the It Gets Better Project, on his blog Dan was asked this question by a reader:
What is the biggest barrier to the acceptance of gay marriage in the U.S.?
To which Dan in part answered:
[The problem is] all those quiet, timid, and cowardly NALT Christians out there who support marriage equality but have allowed their conservative co-religionists to hijack Christianity. (“NALT” stands for “not all like that,” the phrase you hear from liberal Christians whenever you [complain] about conservative Christians, i.e., “We’re not all like that!” Yes, yes, NALTs—we know. You’re not all like that. Don’t tell us. Tell Tony Perkins, tell the pope, tell Maggie Gallagher, et al.)
Ouch. If you’re an LGBT-affirming Christian, that hurts.
But Dan was right. For much too long now, anti-LGBT Christians have used the Bible and the pulpit to bully, malign, and shame LGBT people. And not enough LGBT-affirming Christians have stood up to boldly and clearly say how terribly wrong that is—to say that’s not what Christianity is, that the Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality, that “Christian” leaders like Tony Perkins and Maggie Gallagher do not speak for us.
It’s time for us true NALT Christians—the ones who genuinely aren’t like that—to speak up and be heard, to affirm LGBT people as loudly and clearly as anti-LGBT Christians condemn them. We must stand up for young LGBT people, who are so vulnerable to being bullied into feelings of worthlessness and despair. We must eradicate the culturally inculcated moral underpinnings that serves to support such bullying. And we must bring to the fore a renewed Christianity that, instead of standing for anti-gay bigotry, stands for the integrity and love that Jesus Christ himself so radically stood for.
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. This is the infinitely rich music that LGBT-affirming Christians have been yearning to make and hear ever since anti-gay Christian “leaders” bullied their way onto center stage, ordered the spotlight shined upon themselves, and began their braying chorus of sour, over-amped, painfully off-key bigotry.
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.
Co-Founder, NALT Christians Project
From NALT Christians Project co-founder Wayne Besen:
From NALT Christians Project co-founder Evan Hurst:
Several years ago, I went with a group of friends to see Dan Savage speak at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. During the Q and A session, Dan got a question that was really more a statement of protest. A Christian student stood up and felt compelled to explain to Dan and the rest of us gathered that “Christians are not all like that!”: not all anti-education, not all anti-woman, not all anti-science—and most importantly, not all anti-gay.
It’s a statement that Dan has heard for so many years that he coined a name for the people who say it: he calls them NALT Christians, which stands for “Not All Like That!” Christians.
Dan has built quite a reputation for himself over the years as a commentator who isn’t afraid to call out anti-LGBT Christians for their toxic words and deeds, with absolutely no sugar-coating. In my tenure with Truth Wins Out, I’ve also been known to be fairly, ahem, straightforward in my dealings with anti-LGBT Christians—enough so that I have also dealt with many Christian readers telling me, “We’re not all like that!”
Well, the fact is that, like Dan, I too am aware that not all Christians are anti-LGBT. Whereas Dan was raised Catholic and still considers himself a cultural Catholic, I was raised all manners of Protestant in the South, with my most formative years spent in the conservative wing of the Presbyterian church. I have known my share of Religious Right types who would make Tony Perkins proud. But at the same time, I have known countless Christian people of all stripes who absolutely cringe when they see what anti-LGBT Christians are doing to their faith and its reputation. Indeed, many people like that graduated with me from a conservative Christian high school in Memphis. I count many Christian people in my circle of family and close friends, and I would say that, in many ways, I still consider myself “culturally” Protestant, if there is such a thing. Old habits die hard—and I’m a sucker for brilliant choral music, I suppose.
After Dan’s talk that night, I was driving down the road, when suddenly the simplest idea hit me. What if there was a video project, a la It Gets Better, where Christians could speak with one voice, telling anti-LGBT Christian leaders, in no uncertain terms, that they do not speak for Christians. What if we could somehow change the tone of “We’re not all like that,” from one of protest and a feeling of being misunderstood, into a declarative statement that would echo through American society and government? I called TWO founder Wayne Besen that night, and he agreed that it was a fantastic idea. Soon after I contacted my friend John Shore, one of the greatest progressive Christian writers and activists we have, and now … well, here we are!
So, if you’re a Christian who loves your faith and also wholeheartedly accepts your LGBT brothers and sisters—or if you’re a Christians who is LGBT, or who simply wants to know that Christians are Not All Like That—then this is your place. Upload your video and tell us your story. Tell us about your faith journey. If you’ve changed your mind on the LGBT issue, tell us how that came about. If your congregation is open and affirming, make a video with your whole church!
The purpose of this project is two-fold. Of course, your collective voices will stand as a simple counter-argument to anti-LGBT voices who claim to be speaking on your behalf as they incite hatred and animosity toward the LGBT community. But as we developed this project, we realized that your videos will reach another important audience: Christians who happen to be LGBT, who may be teens or young adults suffering in the closet, having been led to believe that they have to deny their true selves in order to grow in their faith, find peace and, ultimately, salvation. They need to hear that there are Christians in the church down the road, and Christians on the other side of the country, who are Not All Like That.
Just as the It Gets Better Project allows LGBT adults to speak to LGBT kids, assuring them that there’s a beautiful future ahead for them if they hang in there, the NALT Christians Project gives affirming Christians a place to tell LGBT kids that there’s a place for them, in their communities, in their faith, in their church, and in the world.
Add your voice to this choir.
Co-Founder, NALT Christians Project
Associate Director, Truth Wins Out