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Indianapolis to Receive Pro-gay Message from Jesus

A new campaign from Jesus Metropolitan Community Church of Indianapolis, with help from Faith In America and Metropolitan Community Churches this week began blanketing the Indianapolis area with billboards challenging Christian assumptions about homosexuality.

FaithinamericaAccording to Faith in America, the five billboards (pictured) direct viewers to a website that provides support for the claims made on each.

Said Rev. Jimmy Creech, Executive Director of Faith In America: "In the past, many Christians misused the Bible to support slavery, oppose equal rights for women, and oppose interracial marriage. They went so far as to accuse people on the other side of being unbiblical. The same thing is happening again with respect to same-gender relationships. It has to stop."

Added Pastor Jeff Miner of Jesus Metropolitan Community Church: "Right now, most people think this is a debate between people who love the Bible – conservative Christians – and people who want to throw out the Bible – godless homosexuals. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our Church welcomes hundreds of devout gay Christians who love the Bible deeply. Our goal is to rescue the Bible from misinterpretations driven by cultural prejudice, so its true message of grace, hope, and peace can come through."

The Indiana legislature recently killed a proposed ban on same-sex marriage despite dogged efforts by religious and "pro-family" conservatives (including Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy) to pass it.

The billboard campaign is slated to remain up for a month.

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Comments

  1. So, if it was ok to be in a loving same-sex relationship in Biblical times, when and why did both Jews and Christians begin to frown upon homosexuality?

    Posted by: borut | Apr 17, 2007 5:46:43 PM


  2. Mike B, I totally agree with you there my friend.

    I am not, by any means, a "typical" Christian. I have explained my personal version of "Christianity" here many times. It's actually quite scientific. Trust me, it would get me a one way ticket to hell in most "Christian" churches.

    You could just as well call me a Gandhian, or a M.L.King Juniorian, or a Mother Teresaian. I am a follower of all the great phylosophers who emphasised love, compassion, peace, justice and inclusion.

    I don't believe in ANY of the hocus pocus of ANY religion, including Christianity. Water to wine? story. Virgin birth? story. Raised from the dead? story.

    I believe the Bible is a book of stories, not the inspired word of God.

    When those stories inspire me to be a kinder, gentler, more compassionate, more peaceful, more just and more inclusive person, then I consider them inspired. When they don't I have no use for them. I don't worry myself with any story or verse that doesn't encourage me to be at least one of those things.

    Some would say that that makes me a heretic and some would say that I'm bending scripture to fit my own purposes. I say, if it makes me a better person, and it doesn't hurt anyone else, so what? It's worked well for me so far and I'm cool with that.

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 17, 2007 5:50:00 PM


  3. As a gay male raised in a fundamentalist family and endured many years in fundamentalist college and graduate schools (of theology), I can ASSURE you that those verses will NEVER convince an inerrantist fundamentalist of anything pro-gay. While I applaud the intent of the Indianapolis church, I think attempting to engage in 'prooftexting' will lead nowhere. When rational, liberal people of faith show the fundamental problems that underpin the fundamentalist approach toward the Bible then and only then will the bankruptcy of their position be made clear.

    You can't put this fire out by throwing more fire on it. In this case, you'll only get burned.

    Posted by: Parker | Apr 17, 2007 6:05:18 PM


  4. I agree that the pro-gay quotes are not all that convincing (though I thought the Ruth and Naomi one was quite beautiful) but they do drive home the point that those well-worn verses 'against' homosexuality have little to nothing to say about modern understandings and experiences of sexuality. To say that the Book of Romans presents a New Testament condemnation of homosexual behavior is to take on board the assumption that all non-procreative sex (hetersexual included) is a willful consequence of pagan idolatry, and that all these (homosexual?) idol-worshippers are also downright comfortable with maliciousness, murder, and deceit. Perhaps this view made sense to Paul, who was introducing a new religion opposed to the cultural juggernaut of Roman paganism, but it hardly makes sense today post-Constantine, post-Stonewall, post-Foucault and post-Gene Robinson. Roman idolatry isn't really commonplace these days, Christianity is the most popular religion in the States, and homosexual love and sex still happen every day. The very fact that gay Christians exist and want to posit their own hazy Biblical justifcations for cultural norms is proof positive for me that the old justifications are simply out of date.

    Posted by: GBM | Apr 17, 2007 6:46:17 PM


  5. ZEKE, if I understand correctly, you don't let the Bible tell you what's right and what's wrong, you just use your conscience to determine which teaching in the Scripture are good and which are bad. So how does the Bible make you a better person than you already are?

    Posted by: borut | Apr 17, 2007 7:26:52 PM


  6. Borut, I appreciate the question. I think I may have given the wrong impression with my earlier comment.

    How does the Bible make me a better person? It doesn't, and I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I think it does.

    What I intended to say was that certain passages in the Bible inspire me, just as some passages in the Qur'an inspire me, and some of the writings of Gandhi, Buddha, Krishna, MLK Jr. etc. inspire me to be a better person.

    As long as I treat people with love, respect, compassion and fairness, why should it matter where my inspiration comes from?

    Upon further reflection, I have to agree with those who have said that the intentions of the billboard campaign are good but it will probably cause more harm than good because it will just inflame the fundamentalist while having no real affect on people who are already gay positive.

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 17, 2007 8:55:29 PM


  7. Go to www.choosejesusrightnow.com & click on BUMPER STICKERS.

    Posted by: Karen Finley | Apr 18, 2007 8:14:46 AM


  8. "there are other scriptures which are, without a doubt, very much anti-gay." -- Actually it's hard to find passages which in the original and in context are "without a doubt" anti-gay. See Boswell. The interpretations he gives are much better-founded than the fundamentalists' assumptions that their English translations interpreted by modern Americans allow them to know "the truth."

    "So, if it was ok to be in a loving same-sex relationship in Biblical times, when and why did both Jews and Christians begin to frown upon homosexuality?"

    Again: read Boswell. We incorrectly assume that history is only progress from some repressive past towards liberation. There have been times when Christians were less fixated on homosexuality as sin than many are today. There were gay cardinals who wrote love poetry to men, there were gay popes, there were same-sex union ceremonies. In times of economic hardship or plague, people looked around for scapegoats: witches, heretics, sodomites, jews, knights templar... Things can go the other way, which is why we should never rest on our laurels in claiming our rights.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Apr 18, 2007 9:47:09 AM


  9. Here Here KevinVT!

    Excellent post my friend!

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 18, 2007 9:51:19 AM


  10. If you look at the evidence (or actually, the lack thereof), it's pretty clear that Jesus probably never even existed.. even as a mere mortal.

    Again, religion is the poison in our blood.

    Posted by: JLS | Apr 18, 2007 9:52:23 AM


  11. "When those stories inspire me to be a kinder, gentler, more compassionate, more peaceful, more just and more inclusive person, then I consider them inspired."

    I think we're very much alike in that respect, Zeke. As a person raised in a Baptist home, I had to ask myself why I was gay when the Bible (word of God) said that gay was wrong. Had God made a mistake? Actually it started much sooner than that (Were the dinosaurs left off the ark?)

    When I let go of my belief that the Bible is the word of God and accepted that it's a book full of stories written by men, that's when I was "Freed" from the fundamentalist mindset and free to find inspiration in what I choose, whether it's the Bible or "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

    "We incorrectly assume that history is only progress from some repressive past towards liberation."

    So true. One only need look at the politics of Mitt Romney to drive that point home.

    Posted by: mark m | Apr 18, 2007 10:17:25 AM


  12. I am tired of hearing about anyone's religion! I really am tired of religious crazies trying to dominate our government.
    Religion used to be a part of a person's
    personal journey; today it's becoming a
    political force much like Hitler's politics
    in the 1930's. I am from Indianapolis and
    I have met Pastor Jeff and am familar with
    the MCC church and they are all wonderful, well-meaning people; but I have to say that when someone tries debating verses out of an
    ancient book which has be re-interpreted
    thousands of times to the whims of people with a particular agenda to push, it is meaningless in the realities of the world!
    Keep church and state seperate and we'll all be fine; this is what the founding father's of our country thought anyway - that is until the religious nuts manage to re-write that!!

    Posted by: Greg | Apr 18, 2007 11:23:17 AM


  13. JLS, I realize that as well but that doesn't make the stories about him less inpirational to me.

    Christ's divinity, or even his existance, isn't really important to me.

    I realize that the characters in Aesop's fables weren't real either but that doesn't mean that I can't see the morals of the stories.

    Once again, if I'm good person who treats others with kindness and respect, and I don't push my beliefs on others, why should I be chastized for my beliefs or for the sources of my inspiration?

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 18, 2007 12:20:38 PM


  14. Mark M, that probably explains why I relate to your comments and agree with them more consistantly than I do with anyone else who comments on Towleroad. We seem to have very similar pasts and very similar opinions on things; even though I think you are much more articulate in expressing yourself than I am.

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 18, 2007 12:36:47 PM


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