Read story by Chris Johnson in The Washington Blade.
Tomorrow, social conservatives will gather at the Omni Shoreham Hotel for the Values Voter Summit. We are here today to articulate a starkly different vision of America. One that embraces traditional values, but rejects valueless traditions such as sexism and homophobia.
A vision that is inclusive, rather than exclusive. Diverse, not divisive.
One where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are loved, and not loathed; accepted, not rejected; celebrated, instead of shunned. And most important, are regarded as full and equal citizens under the law.
In 1979, Rev. Jerry Falwell founded his Moral Majority. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Ralph Reed, who headed Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, led this movement. Today, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and those at the Values Voter Summit lead the Religious Right.
I ask you: Are politics in America more civil, more humane, dare I say, more Christ-like, since the infusion of the Religious Right? The answer is clear. Washington is angrier, more dysfunctional, and more fractured than ever. It’s time for a change.
We must create this change to protect LGBT youth from damaging ideas that will spew forth from the Values Voter Summit. We know what happens when we don’t protect gay teenagers. They are humiliated, bullied, discarded, and rejected by their own families – often with dire consequences. San Francisco State researcher Caitlin Ryan found that LGBT teens who experienced negative feedback from their family were 8 times more likely to have attempted suicide, 6 times as vulnerable to severe depression, and 3 times more likely to use drugs.
The direct mail from the Family Research Council, is a direct assault on LGBT people and their families. They have earned their designation as an official Southern Poverty Law Center hate group.
And, words have consequences. The FBI’s uniform crime statistics report on hate crimes shows that of the 6,216 hate crimes documented in 2011, which are the most recent numbers currently available, 20.8 percent were attributed to sexual orientation.
These attacks must stop. These immoral campaigns to demonize LGBT people must end.
Tomorrow is also National Coming Out Day. And NALT Christians are coming out of the closet. NALT stands for Not All Like That – meaning that many Christians do not share the anti-gay views that will be on display at the Values Voter Summit.
Over the years, I have met many wonderful people of faith who support equality. They have fought with me on the front lines and have been noble and reliable allies.
However, for every mainstream Christian supporter in the trenches, there are thousands who have not yet openly joined our fight for fairness. They are Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. And they live in every region of this country.
The NALT Christians Project is an innovative new web platform that hopes to help change this dynamic by getting our silent supporters off of the sidelines.
Let’s be clear: The Values Voter Summit represents one specific viewpoint. It does not, however, represent all people of faith. Today we will hear from Christians who embraced their religion, but reject the unholy notion they must be anti-gay to be Christian.
Now I’m going to introduce you to….
The Very Rev. Gary Hall, Dean, Washington National Cathedral
Brent Childers, Executive Director, Faith In America
Michael Keegan, President, People for the American Way (PFAW)
Frank Schaeffer, author, “Sex, Mom, & God”
John and Catherine Shore, Co-Founders, The NALT Christians Project and author of
“Unfair: Christians and the LGBTQ Question”
Andy Lang, Executive Director, United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns
Vivian Taylor, Executive Director, Integrity USA