Everyone knows how Lady Gaga feels about being gay. Repetitive and upbeat, she declares no matter "gay, straight or bi, lesbian or transgender life, you're on the right track baby. You were born to survive," in her new single. This is a message that could save the life of LGBT youth everywhere, a demographic known to be prone to harassment, derogation and suicide however, it may not be reaching the youth that need it most:Ã LGBT Christian youth.
Though generally the message of God and the Bible tends to be one of love and forgiveness, this does not prove to be true in regard to the LGBT community. Taught not that they were born that way but rather that something happened that tainted them. Whether it was molestation at a young age or a deficit in a strong same-sex role model, homosexuality is a condition that one finds themselves in. It is an affliction similar to bulimia or constant profanity, a sin to be separated from the sinner while they are coached through gay conversion therapy and back to God.
Christians prescribing to this ideology claim that while they discourage homosexuality, the never said it was wrong, God did. They are merely following the word of God. The most important thing to notice, the youth are not taught to accept themselves but rather are taught to strive to divorce part of their identity from the other. To leave their homosexual self behind and cling to the part of them is Christian. This would denote that they are taught it is impossible to be both gay and Christian.
This conservative ideology is by no means an outlier. Repeated by politicians like Christine O'Donnell and by mega-churches like Wasilla Bible Church in Alaska (and the church of choice of Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin), it is almost considerate to be a moderate viewpoint despite the extreme consequences of it.
The gay rights movement also has not been silent on this issue. As Evan Hurst, author of Truth Wins Out, accurately pointed out, it is not the happy and successful homosexuals this movement preys on, but the vulnerable, young and abused homosexuals.
However, it is not a contemporary ideology. Last year the Pride flag flew from the Space Needle in Seattle and more states allowed homosexuals to get married or at least rejected a ban on letting them do so in the future. It is clear that the next generation of Americans has not just begun to accept homosexuality; they have begun to celebrate it.
The gay rights, or in this case gay affirmation, movement has not be lost on the Christian community. A new project was started in 2002 that should give hope to the LGBT community and its allies. Called The Naming Project, it was started in 2002 by Jay Weisner, among others. This project teaches youth how to reconcile their gay identity and Christian identity so as to feel accepted and loved by a God who loves them. This project teaches an underserved community something that many would deny them, a chance to love themselves as they are.
The Naming Project has also turned the horrific idea of summer camps designed to reprogram gay youth into a positive and uplifting experience meant to build community. The Naming Project offers a camp designed to help LGBT youth understand themselves as children of God, "there is a dream that every youth (whether g/l/b/t or allied) should know a place of acceptance and the abundant love of God."
Seen on Lisa Ling's "Our America", this is a movement that is gathering steam and now has the support of the ULC Ministries. With the belief that "we are all children of the same universe", there is no notion of hierarchy. This is to say that in the eyes of the ULC Ministries, all are equal and deserving of love. For more information on the Naming Project, or for ideas of how to get involved, please visit www.thenamingproject.org.