Would Jesus discriminate?"
The question has been popping up on billboards, yard signs and in newspaper ads around conservative central Indiana lately in a new, Bible-based appeal for acceptance of gays and lesbians. It's a campaign organized by a predominantly gay and lesbian denomination _ Metropolitan Community Churches _ and a Jewish gay activist.
Organizers say the effort is the first in a planned series of campaigns across the country aimed at getting people to take a fresh look at the social justice passages in the Bible.
"Jesus taught us to love everyone, even our enemies and those who are different from us, not destroy and mistreat them," said one ad published in The Indianapolis Star.
"We want the dialogue to take place in every city that we operate, in some way," said Rev. Cindi Love, executive director of MCC, which has congregations in 240 cities.
Christians with conservative theological views believe gay relationships violate Scripture. They insist their outlook is based not on prejudice, but on the Bible and 2,000 years of Christian teaching.
Liberals see the primary values of the Bible as being love and inclusiveness, with long-term gay relationships left unaddressed.
While some are willing to start a dialogue, the discussion around Indianapolis hasn't always been friendly.
An independent Baptist congregation along a major thoroughfare posted the message "God Discriminated at Sodom" on its sign board. A Christian conservative group, the American Family Association of Indiana, distributed radio ads saying, "Not only did Jesus discriminate; he is going to discriminate again."
It's nice to see Kuzmer picking up on the issue. The Town Hall meeting which the story is based upon was held a month ago. Kuzmer's story is very similar to AI's post on the Town Hall meeting from June 15, 2006.
On this subject, it is disappointing that the Faith In America campaign spent so much money in the Indianapolis market and not one dime in South Bend where the campaign could have been useful in the recent unsuccessful effort to pass a human rights ordinance there to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination. Unfortunately, the campaign's focus here in Indiana seems to have become more about promoting the Jesus MCC church than about advancing gay civil rights.