A few years ago, Dan Savage kickstarted the “It Gets Better” campaign, and it seemed to really take off. Celebrities, regular folks and everyone in between were posting “It Gets Better” videos on YouTube and it got a lot of exposure I think…according to their website, 571,388 people have taken the It Gets Better Pledge. I thought it was a good campaign when it first launched, I figured that was good news to some who needed to hear it. And it’s quite possible that it was a big help to some kids, and others, out there who might have been struggling.
But the fact remains: kids still get bullied, young kids still commit suicide over cyber-bullying because of their sexual orientation, and it has not gotten better for everyone.
Now, that’s a pretty cynical read of a viral video campaign, and like I said, I do think that it probably did do a lot of good; but it does cause me to hold back a bit from getting super jazzed about the NALT Christians Project. And there are others who are encouraging folks to at least think a bit more about the nuances of such a campaign.
For those who haven’t heard about the NALT Christians Project yet…here is a brief video of Dan Savage (one who is offering his political leverage for the project):
What I learned recently was that not all gays are huge fans of Dan Savage. Now, I’m not too familiar with what the issues are, but he has been accused of being biphobic and apparently doesn’t have a lot of respect within the trans community. And so some are a bit suspect of Savage.
But I guess I’m just more cynical about how effective a campaign like this could be. The idea is to get a bunch of Christians to essentially put up videos saying “Yah, we’re not all like that.” And I get that. I’ve said that before. In fact, that was my whole point of interacting with some high schoolers on a Facebook page recently. So the point is that hopefully by a tidal wave of Christians finally coming out as allies, the media might not focus on the über-conservative/fundamentalist caricatures of Christianity (the Tony Perkins and Pat Robertson type), and might realize that there are a variety of Christian perspectives on sexuality, and that there is an increasing number who are NALT Christians, those who are fully Christian, and fully LGBT affirming…?
My guess is that no matter how many Christians come out as NALT Christians, the media outlets will still want to interview people like Tony Perkins and Pat Robertson because…they are Tony Perkins and Pat Robertson. They cause controversy. They probably help keep ratings and viewership up with networks. They are the names that people either really love or really hate. Who wants to choose a nice-looking moderate/liberal protestant who loves everyone (gays included) when they can bring in someone more fiery like Tony Perkins to piss off some views and rally together the more conservative ones?
Okay. Like I said earlier, this is quite cynical. Does this mean I won’t be making a NALT Christians video? I have some friends who are planning on making one in our presbytery and I’ll probably take part. I do think it’s important that people know that not all Christians are like that. Do I think it will make a huge difference if we all make videos and upload them to YouTube? I don’t know.
Do I think that we all need to step up, have more one-on-one conversations with our non-LGBT-affirming friends and family members? You bet.
Do I think those of us who are a part of denominations who still have a lot of work to do in our full acceptance of LGBT persons, should get to work and help make full-inclusion a reality? You bet.
Do I think that even our churches that identify with More Light or Covenant Network still have a lot more work to do in living out that identity that we claim? You bet.
So, we still have a lot of work to do, for sure. And maybe that work starts by more people coming out and making videos for this NALT Christians Project…maybe.