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Sep 28 2010

How one Christian responded to the "It Gets Better" project

Did you come here hoping this was one of those times a Christian defies negative stereotypes and welcomes gays with open arms?

Well, sorry to disappoint you.

A couple days ago I mentioned Dan Savage’s wonderful It Gets Better project, which aims to reach suicidal gay teens via YouTube since many can’t get help anywhere else. I can hardly watch the videos without getting choked up. But here’s a video this Christian decided to upload as a response, named the Lot Project:

A partial transcript for those who are too enraged to watch to completion:

“Billy Lucus, who hanged himself, obviously because he was gay, and unable to endure the guilt that the words of others prompted in him. This was indeed a tragedy, but not anywhere near the tragedy that Billy will discover in eternity when he faces the wrath of God upon rebellious and unrepentant sinners. Then, he will realize that his sin could not be atoned for by his own death, and he will realize that people like Dan Savage who encourage sin are deceivers. He will see them for what they are, the blind leading the blind. And he will realize that he has fallen into that ditch that the blind leading the blind inevitably fall into: that’s eternal destruction and misery. Sadly, it’s too late for Billy. For those who are viewing this video, however, their remains the opportunity of turning from sin to the obedience of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Now, before someone jumps in here screaming about how I’m a horrible person for assuming all Christians are this hateful, delusional, and ignorant – save your breath. I know. Plenty of Christians are wonderful people, pro-gay rights, and even gay themselves. This by no means represents every single Christian on the planet.

But you know what? If you want us to think those good, loving, caring Christians outnumber the awful ones, maybe you should put forth just a *tad* bit more effort in making that obvious, since this version of Christianity seems pretty common to me.

And no, hollering that this man isn’t a “true” Christian doesn’t help your argument.

58 comments

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  1. 1
    Three Ninjas

    Sometimes I just wish people would respect each other’s beliefs, live and let live. Then I see garbage like this, and I’m reminded why I speak out, even if it costs me facebook friends and twitter followers. Thanks for posting this.

  2. 2
    Kaoru

    The fact of the matter is, some people cannot help but believe, for one reason or another (my guess is a deep seated sense of inferiority), that acceptance is a zero-sum game, and in order for their paradigm to be correct, all others must be incorrect.Or, as John Fugalsang tweeted earlier today (yesterday?), “Fundamentalist Christians don’t think they’re better than you. They just think God thinks they’re better than you.” Honestly, fundamentalists in general think this regardless of what they’re fundamentally believing, because to them there has to be a favorite, and they’re it. God can no more have two “favorites,” than you can have two bests. Which I think it’s ironic that a supposedly omnipotent being is limited by human logic, but that’s just me.

  3. 3
    Amy Elizabeth Yergen

    This guy is a fucking asshole and I feel sorry for him. How sad it must feel to be so full of hate.

  4. 4
    LS

    I had something really funny to say…but I can’t be funny about this. I’m feeling a lot of impotent rage right now.

  5. 5
    Gus Gatto

    I’m an atheist; have been for forty-five years. Be fair to the deluded man. If it’s a transcript then the error must be yours: it is “there”, not “their,” in the last sentence.

  6. 6
    Gordon

    Comments disabled on that video… not suprising.

  7. 7
    Natja

    I dug out my old login just to complain about hate speech…….You tube might not think it crossed the line but I am still smarting!!!!*spew*

  8. 8
    Shan Kight

    I ended up in a verbal dustup with some inlaws after posting the link to the It Gets Better Project to my facebook. I was actually a bit surprised. One of them I knew had recently found religion (Behind the fridge!). The other is mostly just an opinionated older curmudgeon. The issues were complex. I figured out that religion was not the key issue. Turns out they were a bit offended at the idea that gays are asking for, or getting “special treatment.” They had both suffered severely at the hands of bullies and thugs, and wondered where was their project? While trying to untangle the ideas that they had about gays wanting special treatment was probably unresolved, I did admit they had a point. Many people are still targets for vicious bullying for no good reason. Sometimes it’s the obese kid. Sometimes it’s the girl who developed too fast. Often it’s the socially awkward kid who may be mentally too much, or not enough for his peers. Or the kid from another culture. And let’s not forget the kids of a different, or no religion. I just want to reach out and hug all of those kids, and tell them it’ll get better.

  9. 9
    loreleion

    For one thing, I think gay kids face much more bullying and ostracism than pretty much any other group. But the main thing, in my mind, is that gay kids often don’t have support at home, either. That may also be true for those who have lost their faith, but in my experience as a trans atheist, it’s much easier to “closet” or not talk about your lack of belief than to not be who you are.It’s probably impossible to get accurate data on this, but I’m fairly confident that the proportion of queer kids who commit suicide is higher than any other subgroup. That’s why they need to know: It gets better.

  10. 10
    Elerena

    You’re doing better than I am, then. I can’t even bring myself to muster up my usual rage- I’m stuck at a thin line between crying and vomiting.

  11. 11
    Stephanie Briggs

    *chokes on morning coffee*

  12. 12
    Shan Kight

    I don’t think it’s productive to go down the who’s had it worse track. I’m not now saying the It Gets Better project is wrong, bad, useless, or anything of the sort. It’s an awesome project, and should be supported. My only point was that there are also other kids who could benefit from a little, “It Gets Better.”

  13. 13
    Laura

    I am at the point where I really want to believe the best in people, and I think that most Christians are, in their own way, good people. But then something like this comes along to challenge that notion. I know they believe they’re doing the right thing, but it honestly floors me how they can completely ignore so much pain for dogma. It’s inhumane; completely devoid of empathy and compassion. And we’re supposed to take them seriously, that God is full of love and compassion and mercy, and knowing him will change our lives? Ha.

  14. 14
    EdenBunny

    The christian doth protest too strongly…

  15. 15
    Amanda Justice

    We do speak out. Thing is, the media doesn’t care. They care about the idiots, like that jerk.Kind of like the Muslims who’ve spoken out against terrorism. Again and again… but no one feels like covering it. It’s not good press. It doesn’t get readers.Outrage does.

  16. 16
    Holytape

    I never understood why Christians would willing refer to the Lot story, because while it is a warning against homosexuality, it also puts their religion and their God in a very bad light. Remember, that Lot was willing to have his two daughters raped, in order to protect two angels who really should have been able to protect themselves. Also, God punishes Lot’s wife for turning around to look at her former home by killing her — an act which must have been a mind-fuck for Lot, because now he has to worship and praise the deity who killed his wife. And to top it all off, the story ends with the two daughters getting Lot drunk and then having sex with him, and conceiving bastard children through incest. So the score card for the story of Lot is – Homosexuality 0; Rape, murder, and incest 3.

  17. 17
    loreleion

    Yeah, but the majority of Christians haven’t read any of that, but they do know Sodom was naughty.

  18. 18
    Holytape

    Then again the other anti-gay story in the bible Judges 19 is even more messed up and twisted.

  19. 19
    Berlzebub

    Then get outraged. Tell the idiots exactly what you think about their bigotted and narrow-minded views.

  20. 20
    Terri

    It is true that not all Christians are bitter hateful racists, but the numbers seem to be awfully high. While I feel like asking them if this is how their God wants them to act, I also feel that maybe that is why they go to church and I don’t….I don’t have these issues to work out.

  21. 21
    Mike O'Brien

    So a goofy looking dude who thinks he has an insight into God’s writing has a platform to spew hate and ignorance across the internet, again.

  22. 22
    ICD F-something

    “Dan Savage’s wonderful It Gets Better project, which aims to reach suicidal gay teens via YouTube since many can’t get help anywhere else”I’m sorry to be rude, but there’s no way you meant to say that: it’s stupid. It’s horrible that mental healthcare will sometimes be medieval still and think of homosexuality as an illness, but it will fairly reliably actually prevent suicides.Telling suicidal teens that they (or many of them) “can’t get help anywhere else” is as irresponsible as telling a person who’s having a stroke not to go to hospital because they might not be able to help there.It Gets Better is important, and it is a wonderful project indeed started as a reaction to suicides, but that’s not what it is about (I know this because Dan Savage is pretty close to being my personal hero, and I know he’s not stupid): it’s about catching kids much earlier than that, hopefully to prevent them from becoming mentally ill (but if they do, it’s still not their faul they’re mentally ill: it’s the bullies’ fault).If you’re suicidal, whether you’re a teen or gay or not, seek help. Don’t seek help on youtube, find a doctor. Call 9-1-1 if that’s the fastest way to get one, tell them “I’m suicidal” and it becomes their problem. If someone tells you they’re suicidal, go find them a doctor. Don’t point them to a youtube video.(I can’t even begin to comment on that Christian. The one good thing is that medical schools are beginning to understand people like that shouldn’t be anywhere near anyone’s health care.)Suicidality is a health crisis every bit as serious as a stroke or a heart attack, and as with those, it’s important not to go with home remedies or good intentions: it might seem like the right idea to tell a suicidal person that life is wonderful and worth living, and all they hear might be “you’re defective for not seeing this”. A suicidal person may promise you not to commit suicide and that very promise can make them feel so guilty it actually makes suicide more likely – Catholic teaching on suicide changed partly because the “even thinking about it is a grave sin” rule made people too ashamed to seek help.If that sounds complicated, I think that’s mostly because mental illness just isn’t given enough space compared to physical illness: we all understand that exercise helps prevent heart attacks, but if someone is actively having a heart attack, the last thing you want to do is strain them; similarly, social intervention is great for cheering up people who might be feeling a bit down and alienated, but for people who are actively suicidal, only a person with a medical degree will know what is safe to say (often, nothing).

  23. 23
    Azkyroth

    Apparently someone hasn’t noticed the extent to which mental health care has been systematically dismantled in this country over the last several decades and the absolute SHIT that passes for mental health coverage on most insurance plans.

  24. 24
    Rhacodactylus

    One of the things I find most offensive about this is the response from the Christan community to videos of this type. If an atheist was saying equivalent things, the string of profanities and denouncements coming out of my mouth would be nearly unending, yet peoples first impulse is to defend the faith that helps endorse this man’s bigotry. It’s the endorsers and apologists who are really deplorable.

  25. 25
    Gus Snarp

    I feel sorry for this guy. He’s spent his whole life denying his homosexuality and pretending to be something he’s not, all because he’s afraid of an eternity of torture that won’t happen in a place that doesn’t exist. It’s so wonderful to realize that there’s really “no hell below us, above us only sky.”

  26. 26
    J. Random

    Did you notice that at least two of the *positive* submissions to the It Gets Better project are explicitly Christian as well…?

  27. 27
    J. Random

    I am frustrated that this guy gets the attention, when there’s at least two gay-positive and explicitly Christian videos already posted to the It Gets Better channel.

  28. 28
    Keith

    To quote Moe Szyslak, “Gah! I’m choking on my own rage here. ” And as someone pointed out earlier, this fella disabled commenting on his video, so I can’t direct the monumental string of creative profanities rattling around in my brain at the target it deserves. And then I made the mistake of checking out the link this jerk-ass provided in the video; It’s pretty much more of the same. A lot more. They even have an absolutely ridiculous article on how the adoption of the rainbow as a symbol for diversity and gay rights is a perversion of god’s covenant with Noah or some other nutty bananas crap. And they have the audacity on their main page to claim that they are a ministry serving the GLBT community. If, as a straight dude, I’m filled to the eyeballs with seething, white-hot rage at that, I can only imagine what it would mean to anyone at whom the garbage was actually directed. Every day, I’m happier and happier I let go of religion once and for all.

  29. 29
    Timyang19

    Am I alone in saying that I was sorely tempted to punch this guy after I got past his second sentence? Then I realized this guy wasn’t worth bruising my knuckles over.He’s a pathetic man, and somehow after reading his venom that I actually feel sorry for him.

  30. 30
    Three Ninjas

    If they’re so sure theirs is the only right answer, why do they take such pains to isolate themselves from opposing ideas?

  31. 31
    Georgia Sam

    I didn’t make it all the way through that video, but it was as much from boredom as from annoyance. That guy is a terrible speaker, & the production values suck, too. Even people who share his ignorant worldview will find that kind of crap unwatchable.

  32. 32
    gypsylibrarian

    I could not even make it through the whole thing. It is despicable to say the least. And even though, at least in this country (the US), he has the right to say it, I still want to punch his lights out as well as punch the lights out of those defending him (who are likely worse than he is). Just when I think I can just let life go by and try not to be outraged, this comes along. If nothing else, makes me glad I am a heathen.

  33. 33
    Sarah Certa

    This is absolutely terrible. I just vented my outrage in my own blog post, but I am still full of disgust. Thanks for posting, Jen.

  34. 34
    ICD F-something

    There’s a time to be angry about shitty healthcare (may I suggest election day?) and there’s a time you have to rely on it, because it’s still better than nothing.Any situation that has “suicidal” in it is of the latter type: “suicidal” doesn’t go with “youtube”, it goes with “emergency”.It’s pretty much that one word I’m objecting to: it’s a wonderful project to reach gay teens and let them know it gets better; but if the teens are acually suicidal, it’s not only too little, too late, it’s also, at least potentially, the wrong thing to do.

  35. 35
    Annie

    I listened to the whole thing, but after the first paragraph I just heard, “blah, blah, blah…” The two things I did catch in the speaker’s opening comments were:”And speaking from God’s viewpoint,…” Are Christians allowed to do that? And if so, which viewpoint should they take? Seeing that their god is quite manic, is he looking through the lens of the loving god or the spiteful god who wants to crush it’s followers to prove it’s power? Also, the speaker said “it” in “It gets better” refers to homosexuality. I thought the “it” refers to life in general? I don’t agree with the argument that this is just one isolated whacky Christian… this guy’s views and misconceptions about sexuality are probably reinforced every Sunday morning from the pulpit.We should make a call out to all religious groups to denounce members of their group who behave in such ways. Denounce this guy and his homophobic views, denounce the priest who molests the very children put under his spiritual care, denounce the extremists who kill in the name of Allah…. we got a whole lot of denouncing to do…

  36. 36
    BrandyM

    I agree. As “the fat kid,” there was a lot of information about eating disorders and such while I was growing up, but it didn’t matter one bit. Kids are mean and horrible to other kids who are different, which they learn from their own parents. Regardless of whether a child is made fun of and bullied because he/she is gay, overweight, of a different ethnic or national background, very mature and intelligent or not, or handicapped in some way, it still hurts the same way.

  37. 37
    jen

    we try. they don’t listen. a whole number of us condemned the moron in florida who wanted to burn the qura’n and guess who cnn paid attention to? the moron.

  38. 38
    Chad5161

    “hollering that this man isn’t a “true” Christian doesn’t help your argument.”The issues is not Christians calling others “unchristian”. the issue is atheists blame christianity for bad behavior. that is a *fallacy*. “No true scottsman” does not apply in this situation. Sorry.I’m not saying the man in the video isn’t a Christian, because he is. BUT if he is making an action that is CLEARLY laid out as a sin in Christianity, he will be doing* something that IS unchristian. Therefore, you will be having a fallacious arguement if you blame his “christianity” for doing something bad. It’s like if you are a member of a pool, and you break the rules, you might still be a member, but you still did something that was AGAINST the pool’s rules that are CLEARLY laid out on the “warning” sign.

  39. 39
    LS

    I’m interested, actually. Could you link me to a few christian blogs which focus on decrying Christians who give Christianity a bad name? Or, at least, who spend a significant amount of their time writing about that?

  40. 40
    loreleion

    Except that this pool’s rules say gays should be put to death. Sure, most pool members rightly ignore that one these days, but it’s still posted on the wall.

  41. 41
    n0b0dy

    Spoken like someone who’s never contemplated suicide.I have contemplated suicide. Lots. I even had a plan back in the day. And I never felt like I could tell a health professional because every time you see someone in the system they make you sign a waver and they explain in great detail that everything you say is confidential UNLESS you talk about suicide or abuse. Wouldn’t you know, those were my 2 problems. So I never felt able to talk to a healthcare professional about either issue until just now when I found someone who works off the radar. Kids need to hear from people with some empathy. The odds of finding real help in the system are desperately low.

  42. 42
    Lee Gibson

    “But you know what? If you want us to think those good, loving, caring Christians outnumber the awful ones, maybe you should put forth just a *tad* bit more effort in making that obvious, since this version of Christianity seems pretty common to me.”Really? Is that your scientific opinion? Collective accountability and selection bias?It seems common because you expect it to seem common, and horrible people get publicity. Like you’ve given him.I’m a believer. I thought Dan’s video was fantastic. I oppose bigots, in all forms.What is it that you expect of me?

  43. 43
    Lee Gibson

    That doesn’t validate the preconception, so it doesn’t count.

  44. 44
    Lee Gibson

    My Christian faith has nothing to do with this guy’s bigotry, any more than some guy with a suicide belt speaks for all of Islam.Wait, I think I got lost in my simile and wound up as the wacko with the suicide belt…

  45. 45
    Lee Gibson

    I need you to walk me through that.One video by one person who claims to be Christian, and all other Christians are somehow accountable for his opinions?Why is that true with Christians when it’s not true of other groups?

  46. 46
    splodie

    An unfortunate turn of phrase by Jen, I think.The kid who wants to get help has to have his/her parent’s consent. If the parent is unaware of the kid’s homosexuality or hostile about it that consent may not happen. When I was raising a bipolar child in the 1990s/early zeroes there wasn’t any source of mental health help that my son could access without my explicit consent. My son could be sent to the ER from the school if he threatened to kill himself, but the mechanisms in place to keep him in treatment without my consent in my state are non-existent.I don’t think the It Gets Better Project is intended to intervene with suicidal kids. It’s intended to provide reassurance to kids who are persecuted for their sexual orientation. A suicidal kid needs immediate intervention, to be sure. Maybe, though, a few kids can be stopped from getting to that point by hearing that it will, in fact, get better.

  47. 47
    Rhino_of_Steel

    Not a Christian myself, but check out Slacktivist (http://slacktivist.typepad.com… for a fair bit of that.

  48. 48
    Rhino_of_Steel

    Penny Arcade did a brief message to all the dorks out there. I think both there comic (http://www.penny-arcade.com/co… and newspost (http://www.penny-arcade.com/20… speak quite well to the same idea. I definitely would have appreciated it when I was the lone geek in highschool.

  49. 49
    lomifeh

    The problem is the vast majority of what you hear is stuff like in this guys video. How many videos praising thigs like “It Gets Better” do you see or hear about? Maybe that is what is expected, a little more public reactions. If this guy doesn’t represent christianity do something about it, don’t just post on a blog comment saying it.

  50. 50
    Amanda Justice

    Johnshore.com is one. Specifically his recent “The Curse of Crappy Christians” post, but any of his will do.

  51. 51
    JM

    Christianity has evangelism as one if its goals. Some religions don’t. So, if I respect your religion, I wouldn’t be able to try to convert you to mine. Plus, it seems that the monotheist religions are worse than others about thinking that theirs is the only true religion, coming, I think, from having only one god who must be the only one in your life. Judaism may be the only major monotheistic religion not trying to convert others. That’s why I considered it safe to send my kid to a Jewish camp! She came home and wanted to be Jewish, but I was pretty certain that they wouldn’t try to convert her.

  52. 52
    Nathan Sparks

    All this video proves is that Youtube needs to implement an IQ test prior to allowing users to upload anything.

  53. 53
    Lee Gibson

    “what you hear is stuff like in this guys video”The vast majority of the stuff you choose to hear is stuff like this guy’s video?”How many videos praising thigs like “It Gets Better” do you see or hear about?”I dunno, seems like there were a heck of a lot of videos praising It Gets Better in the It Gets Better group, including a couple from Christians. (And one I watched from that Muslim kid.)What is the something you think I should do? Find him and beat him up? Engage in some sort of public relations campaign so that you acknowledge that not all Christians are small minded morons?No thanks. I’ll live my life, and believe as I choose, and defy bigotry wherever I see it.Like here.

  54. 54
    kalin

    Wouldn’t that kinda kill their business model?

  55. 55
    kalin

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…Here’s another crazy one too, about an Asst. Attorney General online stalking a college kid for being gay. It seems like these guys wouldn’t have the motivation to do this kind of thing if they didn’t feel as though the majority of Christians were backing them up.

  56. 56
    ICD F-something

    The problem you describe is real: mental health professionals will not let a patient announce their suicide and then watch them leave. It’s a specific ethical dilemma they’ve thought about a lot, and the consensus opinion is that it’s best to inform patients that confidentiality does not apply to that case, because that allows them to be both honest and live with their conscience.There are exceptions: there are those who will promise you not to tell anyone about your suicide plans, and then do, because they think breaking a promise is better than letting you die, and there are those who will let you die rather than break a promise. Most people in the second category, for what it’s worth, are Catholic priests – the “Seal of Confession” is absolute, mostly because the Catholic church doesn’t believe death is all that important a matter.However, I must point out that, to me, “real help” means preventing deaths, not guarding some sort of absolute confidentiality. Letting someone talk about their imminent suicide without stopping them isn’t help.

  57. 57
    Pratchettgaiman

    I also used to struggle with this, although for a slightly different problem. My friends tried to encourage me to seek professional help, which in my depressed mind made it seem like they were trying to foist my problem off on someone else, when I just wanted the people I cared about to care about me. There is no one solution for this kind of problem.

  58. 58
    Pratchettgaiman

    There are large sections of the Episcopalian, Methodist, Congregational, Presbyterian, and various other mainline Christian churches that are explicitly pro-gay (this is discounting Unitarianism, which doesn’t really count as Christianity any more, or the Metropolitan Church, which got its start as an explicitly gay church, or the massive amounts of lay Catholics who do things like the group in Minnesota who returned those anti-gay DVDs back to their bishop in disgust). There are accepting and affirming congregations out there, and they’re not that hard to find. The religious left does exist, we’re just drowned out by 30 years of received knowledge that conservatives are religious and liberals are not. But we are trying.

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