By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com September 04 2013 8:00 AM ET
While Pat Robertson claims gay men spread HIV through special rings and other antigay Christian fundamentalists cloak their hateful views in the guise of “protecting traditional marriage,” a new organization seeks to make clear that Christians are not all like that.
Indeed, the group is called the Not All Like That Christians Project, which is taking a cue from the It Gets Better Project, with a website where supporters — in this case, Christians who support LGBT equality — can upload videos sending that message.
The project is the brainchild of Wayne Besen, Evan Hurst, and John Shore. Besen and Hurst are, respectively, executive director and associate director of Truth Wins Out, an organization that counters the “ex-gay movement, and Shore is a straight Christian columnist and blogger who has long advocated for full acceptance of LGBT people.
“It’s been a longtime frustration of mine that the Pat Robertsons of the world have dominated this debate and defined Christianity for so many people,” says Besen. “In reality, that’s just one very vocal strain of Christianity.” The number of Christians speaking up for LGBT equality has increased in recent years, and this project provides another platform for their voices, he says.
Hurst, Besen says, came up with the idea of an It Gets Better–style video campaign. It Gets Better, created in 2010 by journalist Dan Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, offers online videos letting young people suffering through antigay bullying that there’s hope beyond their school days and that they can lead happy, successful, out-of-the-closet adult lives. It has become a huge campaign, with many ordinary Americans plus entertainers, athletes, business leaders, and politicians — even President Obama — contributing videos.
Hurst had been to a talk by Savage, who noted he often hears from Christians who say they’re “not all like that,” with “that” meaning antigay fundamentalists, and he was inspired. Hurst soon asked his friend Shore, whom Savage has called “America’s preeminent nondouchey Christian,” to join the effort, and Shore did so enthusiastically. “It became increasingly apparent to me that gay-affirming Christians needed a platform,” Shore says.
Savage also has been deeply involved with the Not All Like That effort, offering valuable input and contributing one of the first videos (watch below) to NotAllLikeThat.org, which went live today. The site launched with about 30 videos, and it offers a “Submit” page with detailed instructions on how to create and send in your own video. Besen, Hurst, and Shore, naturally, hope for many contributions.
“I would like to encourage Christians to come here and lend their voice to this song, which is sweeter than what’s usually being played in the Christian choir,” says Shore.