At Religion Dispatches, Peter Montgomery reports on two recent developments, that demonstrate how some Christians are “Breaking out” – that is, breaking from the more customary religious hostility, and coming out publicly in support of LGBT inclusion and equality.
In the first, he discusses the incident in Australia, where PM Kevin Rudd, challenged by a Christian pastor over his support for equal marriage, defended his stance on Christian principles.
As someone has noted in the comments thread,
If you get a chance to see the video, check it out. The smug look on the pastor’s face quickly changes to one of deer-caught-in-the-headlights terror as he realizes he’s been bested.
So – here’s your chance to watch it, right here (followed by the introduction to Montgomery;s reflection):
You wouldn’t normally expect video of the Australian prime minister appearing on a talk show to become an Internet phenomenon, but that’s what has happened this week with an exchange between PM Kevin Rudd and a pastor who questioned Rudd’s support for marriage equality.
The exchange begins with an audience question from a pastor who works for a Christian radio network. He tells the Prime Minister that many people are disillusioned because he has changed his beliefs for political advantage, particularly on marriage. Rudd responds that he came to his decision “through an informed conscience, and a Christian conscience, that it was the right thing to do.” Rudd goes on to say he doesn’t think people choose to be gay. “It is how people are built,” he says, adding that he considers it a “completely ill-founded view” to think of homosexuality as abnormal.
– full report at Religion Dispatches.
The video has been widely reported, and posted. Where Montgomery goes further than most, is in noting that this is not the first time Rudd has defended equal marriage from Christian principles, offering a link and an extensive quote from a long essay the PM wrote back in May (that is, before becoming PM):
Indeed, Rudd described his journey in a long essay published in May, which approaches the marriage question both as an interrogation of his own faith position and from a perspective of church-state separation. The whole thing is worth reading.
The second development he discusses, is the NALT project launched today, which has been widely reported all over the LGBT and religious blogosphere, and which I discussed earlier, at my Queering the Church parent site.
Encouraging more Christians to challenge their friends’ thinking is also the idea behind The NALT Christians Project (www.NotAllLikeThat.org). The project, following the model of Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project, asks Christians to post videos of themselves explaining why their faith calls them to support for LGBT equality. The project has been launched by Christian author John Shore and activists Wayne Besen and Evan Hurst of Truth Wins Out. Cosponsors include Reconciling Ministries Network, Faith in America, The Evangelical Network, GLAD Alliance, Methodists in New Directions, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, Many Voices, and the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists.
An oddity in this report, and also in another at Box Turtle Bulletin, is that although they list the a range of cosponsors, both omit to mention Dignity USA – which clearly features on the main NALT website. I’m speculating here, but it could be that Dignity has joined the project later than the others. If that is the case, expect more to sign on, too. The full list of LGBT affirming or supporting religious groups is far more extensive than those listed above. I’m certain that there will be many more putting there weight behind it, pretty soon.
- Share Your Story – With an Italian Project on Faith and Homosexuality. (queeringthechurch.com)
- Today in Great Steps Forward: The NALT Christians Project (slog.thestranger.com)
- Aussie PM Goes All Jed Bartlet on Anti-Gay Pastor (bilerico.com)
- Christians Voice Support for Gay Marriage (swampland.time.com)
- Australian PM Kevin Rudd Destroys Anti-Gay Pastor on Marriage Equality: VIDEO (towleroad.com)
- Watch Aussie PM’s same-sex smackdown (stuff.co.nz)
- Rudd has his West Wing moment (smh.com.au)
- Your say: Kevin Rudd makes impassioned defence of gay marriage on Q&A (abc.net.au)