You will see there a backlash from some members of the gay community, lashing out against those of faith, that seems to coalesce around the idea "how dare you speak to me?"
Here's one such tweet:
Dear Straight "Allies": when you tell Queer people how to feel about something straight folks (like #NALT) are doing, you're doing it wrong.I don't think they were telling you how to feel, they were telling you--and other Chrisians-- what THEY feel. And then,
Having a christian tell me they "accept" me means NOTHING to me. And frankly, why should it? #NALTAnd I find this to be quite annoying, with its focus on knee-jerk identity politics. Fine, it means nothing to you, snarky tweeting pereson, but it may mean quite a lot to other people. Other gay people. And, other Christians. Let alone, gay Christians.
I got news for ya, people: we do not win equality without the support of straight allies. And we have not won equality in any state that has had a vote without the support of people of faith. So when those people of faith step up, and put their own faces on the line, to speak not just to the LGBT community but also fellow Christians, I say more power to 'em. We need all the help we can get, and having a litmus test for progressive bona fides is just infuriating.
One vivid response by an HIV-positive man who lived through the plague years nails the self-satisfaction of the snarky young activists:
I am furious at the too-cool 20-somethings in the LGBTQ Christian community (and I almost can't use the word "community" for the first time in my life) who think NALT to be pretentious, insincere, presumptuous, etc. etc. ….
I'm furious at their lack of wisdom (or willingness) on the part of those in our community to acknowledge the fact that they have just slapped the face of these people who are going to take a boat load of shit from their own congregations, friends, and families to perform the simple act of letting people know that they're loved, unconditionally…..
As I am listening to and watching the kind eyes in these videos, all that I can do is to hold back tears of gratitude. And fear isn't anywhere to be found. I see... I see, almost a plea of remorse and empathy in their eyes. My heart hurts for the kindness that I see….
I for one love you for coming to a place of loving all of God's children without condition. I love you for not playing God, and for your bravery. I love the fact that I've lived to see this day. That I've survived the horrors to hear a message of love where there once was nothing but silence.The reactionary left wing that tries to define what THE response should be, often within its own little echo chamber. A purity cult. I definitely would not pass muster there.
While they insult the good efforts of the #NALT campaign, they also took down someone else this week, an African bishop James Tengatenga who was to be head of a program at Dartmouth college. Yes, indeed, the Bishop had had a history of negative comments about LGBT people. But (like a certain President), he had evolved to an explicit support for LGBT rights, in the context of a place and a culture where how to advocate for LGBT people is not the same as here. But his job was rescinded because there is apparently no nuance possible.
The Rev. Albert Ogle, who is an out gay Episcopal priest who works extensively in Africa on LGBT issues, writes,
The Dartmouth saga is the most recent example of American Christian liberalism paying more attention to the symbols of LGBT equality and inclusion rather than actually in the business of forming new moral paradigms for the 21st century.
Most liberal institutions in the USA including academia and the faith community have not taken the time or spent the resources needed to understand global homophobia. We are not paying attention to our own collusion in building up a new faith-based industry supported even by funding from the American taxpayer. Dartmouth’s response is only another example that we are really not listening and are prepared to throw good and resourceful people like James Tengatenga under the bus to protect some public persona that we are somehow more inclusive than we really are. Image trumps substance. The Rev. Kapya Kaoma, who was deeply shocked by this sad melodrama, expressed the delineation of battle zones simply as: “America is right. Africa is wrong.”Ogle and other leaders active for social justice in Africa (including Abp Desmond Tutu) have written a letter decrying the firing of Bishop James, and the failure of American activists to recognize the cultural differences and boundaries of building rights in Africa.
To me, these are partnered issues, because there is an unwillingness to look beyond a certain pattern of "acceptable" activism, and rejection of potential allies for a lack of sufficient "purity". Which really, is no different than some on the other side of the ideological spectrum.