Not All Like That

Yesterday, I heard about something called The Not All Like That Christians Project. It’s a website where Christians can upload videos of themselves telling gay folks that we’re not all like Tony Perkins, Bryan Fischer and the others who say ugly things about LGBT folks. It’s done with the best of intentions, but I have a problem with it.

For me, the whole thing carries an overtone of whining. It’s like my friend, Hugh Hollowell said “NALT… is oppressors talking to the oppressed, saying “We are not the oppressors, it is those other people who are the real oppressors.” Hell, it’s right there in the origins of the name: many times Savage has read the riot act to Christians for how they have treated LGBT folks and often their reaction is, “We’re not all like that!” Here’s the thing, though: we good, progressive Christians can say we’re not all like that as much as we want, but we don’t get to decide how others perceive Christians. That’s for the people we interact with to decide.

I may not be the biggest fan of the NALT project, but Denny Burk is working hard at changing that. Burk, a professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College (affiliated with the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) wrote a piece about the project saying that the people involved are not only false teachers, they aren’t even Christians. In a little over 700 words, Burk succeeded in doing something the founders of NALT couldn’t have done with a million: he made like what they’re doing.

He does that by first invoking the persecution theme, claiming the website singles out Christianity and that LGBT advocates seek “the total redefinition of Christianity” and that “the redefinition that they propose is really one that destroys it altogether.” Then, he goes after progressive Christians who have the temerity to disagree with his version of orthodoxy (which is, of course, the right version), saying that, by affirming our LGBT brothers and sisters, we aren’t Christians because we don’t follow the teachings of Christ. While he does quote Jesus here, he doesn’t quote him saying homosexuality and transgender is a sin. Mostly, because no such words exist. He goes on to say that “Christianity is incompatible with homosexuality” and that scriptures concerning it are unambiguous. Maybe, if you cherry pick them and have zero regard for the historical context and the original translation. I’m no biblical scholar, but I’m smart enough to know that these passages are anything but clear. He finishes up by playing the guilt card, telling LGBT people that we are all broken sinners (even though the implication is that gays are waaaay more broken than us straight people), saying that Jesus died on the cross for them and urging them to deny the person that God made them to be. Well, isn’t that special?

I’m still not a big fan of the NALT project, but it’s better than the smug, condescending words Burk gives us in response. Besides, there’s the possibility of something good coming from NALT. Burk’s brand of Christianity is just more of the same, old bankrupt crap we’ve heard for far too long.