Statement From The NALT Christians Project On ‘Duck Dynasty’ Patriarch’s Homophobia And Racism
The co-founders of the NALT Christians Project released the following statement in response to the media firestorm around homophobic and racist comments made by Phil Robertson, patriarch of the “Duck Dynasty” family in the name of Christianity:
Controversy arose this week after DuckDynasty patriarch Phil Robertson made homophobic and racist comments in an interview with GQ. He couched his comments in religious language, which has led many conservative Christians to believe that, in protesting his words, and in A&E’s subsequent suspension, Robertson’s First Amendment rights and freedom of religion are being infringed upon. As is usual in these debates, the real loser is Christianity itself. Millions of Christians around the world affirm the dignity and equality of LGBT people, and their voices go unheard when public figures like Phil Robertson and his supporters in the right-wing media claim that their discriminatory beliefs represent Christianity. As the NALT Christians Project and a growing grassroots movement of loving, supportive Christians shows, this is not the case. Robertson was suspended because he made hateful comments about minorities, not because he’s a Christian. He and others who couch racist and anti-gay bias in religious language do not own Christianity, nor do they even speak for a majority of Christians. To those whose faith leads them to show love rather than hatred, we encourage you to make your voice heard by making a NALT Christians video, sharing the message with your families and churches and getting involved in the growing chorus of Christians who are Not All Like That.
John Shore, Wayne Besen and Evan Hurst, co-founders of the NALT Christians Project
Love this NALT video! And what a strong point this good-hearted woman makes about how, back in the day, her interracial marriage would have been illegal, the same as gay marriage is in so many states today.
On October 26, 2013, First Congregational Church in Memphis celebrated 150 years of service, fellowship, worship and love in the Memphis area. True to the diverse nature of the church, the music ranged from classical to gospel, high church to traditional African dance, and all points between. During the service’s litany, the congregants created a video for the NALT Christians Project, where they proclaimed (and not for the first time either) that they are 100% open and affirming, that they support the LGBT community wholeheartedly, and that Christians are Not All Like That.
If your church agrees with First Congo — that’s the church’s nickname — then you should host a NALT Sunday! (Or Wednesday. Or really whatever day works best for you.) The concept is simple. Talk to the people who run your church’s services about including something like what First Congo did in your service. Or you can simply set up a time where people in your church can make their own personal NALT Christians Project videos. OR you can do both! (First Congo members will be doing individual videos in a few weeks.)
From this pastor in Oregon: "I know many good Christians who are struggling with the conflict of knowing lesbian and gay co-workers, family, friends, and trying to reconcile the lives they see with the condemning teachings they have received. I pray for these people . I look forward to the day when a deeper engagement with scriptures frees them to just go with the good news of Jesus that overrides all the fears and judgmentalism of Jesus’ day, and our day, and all days.”
"I’m not speaking to Christians with this video, and I’m not trying to convince LGBTQ people of how great I think Jesus is. I don’t want this to come off as, ‘Hey, look how great Christianity actually is. You had it wrong. Take a second look and come be a Christian.’ All I have to say is that every day, there are fewer and fewer Christians who are against you, and more and more people who are on your side, and that is something to feel hopeful about.”
This is Pastor Tony Hutson, speaking at the North Valley Baptist Church Pastors’ and Workers’ Conference in Santa Clara, California, and he has a message for you:
When Pastor Tony goes to the hospital, he is always affirmed in his completely Biblical belief (citation needed) that blue is for boys and pink is for girls, because those are the colors of the cribs he sees. He has never seen a “rainbow crib for the little sodomite baby.” When he says this, his congregation starts hootin’ and hollerin’ like they’ve heard somethin’ funny. Then he starts actin’ all effeminate-like, which pleases his congregation, who hold dear the commandment to make juvenile jokes about gay men when at all possible.
Hutson also explains that he’s never wanted to marry a woman wearing steel-toed boots, a metal lunchbox and a hardhat, obviously referring to the famous Lunchbox Lesbians we have long treasured in the LGBT community. Also, the pastor wants some Chick-Fil-A.
Look, it’s easy — too easy — to laugh at this, but the fact is that this is a man with a congregation of people who respect him, and with closeted LGBT kids in the pews, and those poor kids are having to hear this man’s ignorant hatred week-in, week-out. Not only that, he’s actually mocking them from the pulpit. When we talk about how this sort of rhetoric falls directly under the category of “bullying,” this is a prime example.
So, watch the video and if it makes you laugh, great. Then, if you’re a Christian who supports LGBT equality, make a video for the NALT Christians Project, because the kids in that guy’s congregation and so many others need to hear alternate voices. If you’re not a Christian, but you know Christians who are Not All Like That, push them to speak up. That’s how we retake control of this conversation.
More and more evangelicals, particularly young ones, are opening up to the idea that gays and lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, and intersexed persons can have full-fledged citizenship status in our country, and can be full participating leadership members in the church. This is a growing movement. Progressive Christianity is growing, and it is the future of Christianity in America, in North America, in the West, and hopefully all around the globe. … We’re not all like that. In fact, the future wave of Christianity is people who are open, who are accepting, who see the Bible as a theological document—not a historic document, not a scientific document, not a rulebook for living.
Tony was fighting for full LGBT rights back when doing so really cost him something in terms of his career. But he never stopped speaking the truth; he never diluted his message; he never let the pressure to conform outweigh his convictions. It’s because of people like Tony that we can look out at the world and see that while, yes, there’s still a great deal of work to be done, things have gotten better.
Tony’s Amazon author page is here. His blog, always a good read, is Theoblogy.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks for The NALT Christians Project. I grew up attending a Baptist church in southern Louisiana, and as a result of this upbringing I’ve always had an internal conflict with who I am and what I have been taught about who God wants me to be.
Lately, I have felt so lost and alone. I have friends who accept me for who I am, and for the most part my family does as well… but this has not always been the case. I am filled with doubt and self-loathing as to who I am and who I am supposed to be.This has caused me to sabotage myself at every turn. At 38 years old I am alone, educated but unemployed, and afraid. For the longest time I’ve felt unworthy of Jesus’ salvation and this has caused my life to spiral out of control.
This project and the words of encouragement have rekindled a spark of hope that I thought had burned out long ago. Every day is a struggle. A struggle to rebuild myself and build a future for myself. I’ve tried to do this without God’s love and guidance and it just is not working.
Although I don’t know what the future holds for me, it seems so dark and scary. I now realize I don’t have to face it alone. God is there to help me through and he always has been.Thank you for renewing my faith in people and thank you for helping me rebuild the spiritual relationship with God I’ve missed for such a long time.
We’ve received many such letters. This is why it’s so important for any and all LGBT-affirming Christians to make a NALT video. Your video doesn’t have to be anything fancy; it doesn’t have to be lengthy. But when you reach out via your NALT video—when you share that you are a Christian who believes there is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay or transgender—you can be certain that you are helping to heal someone somewhere.