So what gives with the MCC Church and their recent anti-homophobia campaign? Church volunteers posted signs in public rights of way and then screamed discrimination when towns and cities rightfully asked that they be removed as they would any other illegal postings. And, we’re told by at least one source, church leaders were reminded in advance that such postings were illegal and might result in a backlash, but they went forward anyway.
While this newspaper does not and never would support discrimination, we find the MCC’s double-standard difficult to deal with, but somewhat sadly, we feel, typical of a church which we feel in many ways is as intolerant of others’ points of view as many they criticise for being inflexible and unresponsive to gay and lesbian needs.
The Word seems as much or more concerned about the manner in which Jesus MCC attempts to bring folks over to its side and its efforts to speak for the GLBT community as a whole as it does its illegal placement of yard signs in public rights of way. Illustrative of this The Word explains is:
. . . from witnessing and attempts at proslytizing by church members to those who are happily not religious or who have chosen (or been born) into a non-Christian religion, to suggesting that some of the MCC’s leadership speak for many in the general gay and lesbian community who might not agree with parts or all of their message, especially as it relates to their brand of Christianity.The Word, despite its criticism, emphasizes that it "support[s] the church's message and oppose[s] any sort of homophobia."
It saddens us when anyone tries to speak for us gays as a group, because just as this newspaper does not have that right, nor do we expect it, neither do any of the often self-appointed "leaders" who step forward and throw themselves in front of TV cameras and call daily newspapers pretending to talk for you and me.
As far as the current hooha and the MCC Church—nothing against their beliefs, but we feel that any attempt to convince outsiders that they speak for you or me any more than local rights groups, rabbis, or mainline Christian leadership do is wrong —regardless of whether or not they feel they have a unique relationship with a higher power.
It should be pointed out that, while locally people associate the "Would Jesus Discriminate?" campaign with Jesus MCC, the campaign is actually the brainchild of Mitch Gold, a North Carolina furniture maker who is Jewish. He founded the "Faith In America" campaign to help educate the country about the harm brought about by religion-based bigotry against the GLBT community based upon fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible by relating past efforts using similar Biblical pleas to discriminate against African-Americans, women, Jews and other minority groups.
UPDATE: After posting this item, AI noticed that the Faith In America website used our June 15, 2006 post on the Jesus MCC Town Hall Meeting verbatim on its press room site. AI doesn't object to their use of it, but it would have been nice if the organization had asked first and then attributed it to AI rather than commit a copyright violation.