Evangelical Campaign Says Gays are Made in the Image of God and Therefore Deserve Respect

Imago Dei, a new campaign from Focus on the Family and other evangelical groups claims to push respect for gays even though several leaders who have signed on lead organizations who have fought tirelessly in the courts to demean gay people and seek to exclude them from marriage.

TIME reports:

DalyThe leader behind the movement, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Jr., president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Coalition, says the goal is to change the narrative of evangelical engagement in the public square, especially when it comes to traditional culture war issues. Other heavy hitters have joined him. President of Focus on the Family Jim Daly (pictured), televangelist James Robison, producer of The Bible Series Roma Downey and her husband, Survivor producer Mark Burnett, and vice president of the Liberty University Mat Staver have all signed on. The launch of the website was pegged to Martin Luther King Day as a reminder that the Biblical message and justice go hand in hand.

The Imago Dei signers are not making a political statement about hot-button issues like gay marriage. But the Imago Dei campaign does mark the first time, Daly says, that Focus on the Family—a group that opposes gay marriage—has publically stated that gays are created in God’s image alongside straight individuals. “People have said love the sinner, hate the sin,” Daly explains. “So often I think that has fallen woefully short, and it certainly appears like we are hating the sinner as well as the sin. And that is the difference—you’ve got to recalibrate and say I know you are made in God’s image, and therefore you deserve my respect.”

Says the campaign on its website: "For the image of God exists in all human beings: black and white; rich and poor; straight and gay; conservative and liberal; victim and perpetrator; citizen and undocumented; believer and unbeliever."

Good As You's Jeremy Hooper notes, in the comment thread on the article:

Under the marriage section of its site, Focus on the Family continues to run the claim that homosexuality is a "particularly evil lie of Satan," in a piece penned by its senior researcher.