Church for gays launches ad blitz

$55,000 campaign asks: Would Jesus discriminate?

How would Jesus treat gays and lesbians? Would he accept them as they are, or condemn them as sinners?

Whether you’re interested in engaging in the debate or not, a local gay and lesbian church’s in-your-face advertising campaign could make it a difficult topic to avoid over the next few weeks.

Especially with 2,000 yard signs, which began popping up in the metro area over the weekend, an ad in Sunday’s Indianapolis Star (with three more planned), 650 bumper stickers, 720 T-shirts and soon 25,000 door hangers — all courtesy of volunteers from the Jesus Metropolitan Community Church.

The $55,000 campaign asks: Would Jesus discriminate? And it comes while Indiana lawmakers are being asked to prohibit same-sex couples from adopting children.

“Do you know someone who is homosexual? Would you give your life for that person? Jesus did,” the church’s ad says.

Pastor Jeff Miner, who heads the church, which was founded in 1990 by 18 gay Christians, believes some people are using Scriptures today in the same way the Bible was used to support slavery, oppose women’s suffrage and to defend laws against interracial marriage.

“We want to help other Christians connect the dots between past acts of discrimination and what is happening today,” said Miner.

Some conservatives welcome that debate but say Miner is wrong. Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute said it was, in fact, dedicated Christians who ended slavery and have fought for many social justice issues throughout history.

“The Bible is misused all the time, and I think the good pastor is misusing it as well,” said Smith.

Both sides of the debate on homosexuality quote the Bible to support their argument.

“Look at the example of Jesus,” Miner said. “Jesus defended social and religious outcasts. That was one of his trademarks. Yet many in today’s church seem to specialize in beating up on those who are different. What’s wrong with this picture?”

“Christ was very clear,” countered Miller. “Any sexual relations outside of one man and one woman in marriage is condemned by the Bible. Christ discriminated against lots of things. We understand right and wrong. And we need to understand what the Bible says — and it in no way endorses homosexual behavior.”

Jesus Metropolitan Community Church is working with national groups Faith In America — a group organized to fight discrimination against gays and lesbians — and Metropolitan Community Churches worldwide, in sponsoring what it calls the 30-day “prophetic action” to spark conversations across the nation.

Their first newspaper ad was run Sunday, a day when nearly 300,000 people were in town for the Indianapolis 500. Miner said a future ad in a Sunday edition of The Star will show a group of Klansmen around a burning cross with a headline, “Remember a time when a symbol of love was used as a symbol of hate?” The subtext: “The Bible shouldn’t be misused to justify discrimination against any group, including gay people.”

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
The Indianapolis Star, USA
May 31, 2006
Dan McFreely

Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday May 31, 2006.
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