The NALT Christians Project is excited to debut videos today from several leading Christian figures, each of whom have, in their own way, been fighting the fight for LGBT equality and full inclusion in the church. Each of their stories is different, but they all have a common theme — that Christians are Not All Like That.
Jay Bakker is the son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, a woman Jay acknowledges was a gay icon. As a pastor, Jay became an ally long before it was popular or even acceptable, and has been speaking out ever since:
Bishop Gene Robinson was the first openly gay Episcopal bishop. As such, his consecration brought threats to him and to his family, but he has emerged victorious, as a living example of the fact that one does not need to choose between faith and authenticity:
Dr. Mel White used to be a ghostwriter for such Religious Right figures as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Billy Graham. He is an openly gay clergyman and he explains that those figures who taught him, for whom he used to work, are dangerous people indeed. Fortunately, he explains that Christians are decidedly Not All Like That:
Ray Boltz was a contemporary Christian artist for twenty-five years, until he finally came out as a gay man. Ray explains that, at that time, many Christians responded by sending him Bible verses, but that he believes that choosing to love, after Christ’s example, is of much more importance than regurgitating Bible verses. He points out, of course, that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. After his message, he shares a song for the NALT Project, “I Will Choose To Love.”
Randy Roberts Potts is the grandson of televangelist Oral Roberts, and is living proof of the stark difference between the “love” exhibited by so many on the Religious Right and the kind of love that is authentic and puts all family first. Though much of his family continues to reject him, he is a happily married gay man with children, and he shares that, though he was exposed to some of the worst cruelty on the Religious Right, he knows firsthand that Christians are Not All Like That:
Justin Lee is the founder of the Gay Christian Network, which seeks to provide a place of nurturing and growth for LGBT Christians, many of whom find their way there after being rejected by their own families and churches. In his video, he reminds people that Jesus taught that Christians would be known for their love, rather than for being jerks:
Finally, here is the first NALT Sunday video! What is NALT Sunday? It’s a day when a church, any church, can get together and choose to make videos, as a congregation, individually, or both, to proclaim that they are an open, affirming place of worship, and that, as a congregation, they are Not All Like That. This is the Missiongathering Christian Church in San Diego, which is, as you will see, a diverse, beautiful group of people. Their pastor Colby Martin made one of the first NALT videos, and now his entire church has followed suit. The second NALT Sunday Church video is being edited as we speak, and will be up in the next couple days. If you have a church, Sunday School class, Bible Study or any other cohort of Christians who are Not All Like That, click here to find out how to throw a NALT Sunday of your own!