Just before we took off for Labor Day, but after Pat Robertson accused gay men in San Francisco of wearing rings to cut and infect unsuspecting people with AIDS, I wondered if prominent Christians would ever tell the insufferable bigot to stuff it. They are. And more need to join them.
Rev. Susan Russell, an Episcopal priest from California and a past-president of Integrity USA, directly took me up on my challenge in a blog post on Monday. “Good people of deep faith can and do read the Bible and come to a variety of conclusions on a variety of issues,” Russell wrote on the Huffington Post. “But when the Pat Robertsons among us step over the line from respectful disagreement to incendiary diatribe — projecting onto God their own sexism, homophobia and ignorance — if we don’t speak out in rebuttal then shame on us.” She added later, “[W]e abdicate our responsibility as witnesses to God’s inclusive love every time we don’t stand up, speak up and offer an alternative to the toxic perversion of the core Christian values of love, justice and compassion.”
Then on Wednesday, the NALT Christians Project was launched by John Shore, Wayne Besen and Evan Hurst. NALT stands for “not all like that” and was taken from a phrase adopted by columnist Dan Savage. He explains in a video on the site that progressive Christians appalled by the hatred anti-gay hatred spewed by their more vocal brethren would often say to him that they are “not all like that.” So, Savage nicknamed them “NALT Christians.” And now they have a place to go to make their views and support known.
Right now, there are 20 videos at notalllikethat.org. One from the Rev. Dr. Louis Shockley, senior pastor of the Asbury United Methodist Church here in Washington, was especially resonant considering the inappropriate eulogy I sat through last month. “The role and the mission of the church of Jesus Christ is to expand the opportunity for all of God’s children to be embraced and embodied by the love, the grace and the mercy of the Holy Spirit,” he says directly into the camera. “So we like to believe that our mission here is to love all of God’s children, without exception, without distinction and without any type of segregation or movement that alienates.”
In the same way the gay community and allies rallied around the It Gets Better Project (another Savage innovation) to help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth endure the bullying they suffer, NALT Christians must rally around this new endeavor. The Pat Robertsons of the world will continue to control the conversation until they are drowned out by those who embody the true meaning of God’s love.
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