Friday, July 14, 2006

AP Story On "Would Jesus Discriminate?" Campaign

The AP's Ken Kuzmer belatedly picks up on the "Would Jesus Discriminate?" campaign and the dialogue it seeks between gays and Christian fundamentalists. Kuzmer writes:

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.


Anonymous said...

Why did they wait until after the HRO debate here to begin the campaign? It would have been nice if those signs were all over town back then.

Jay said...

AI: I agree about the promotion of Jesus MCC and not the greater campaign. I've had more than a few members of Jesus MCC hit me up on MySpace asking me to put up a sign and then come to church.
JMCC has become very fond of itself over the past year, and is blinded by the fact that a large portion of the gay community is not Christian nor church-going.

Anonymous said...

I live in South Bend. We could have really used that help up here. The religious folks waged war on the gay community up to defeat the gay rights ordinance.

Michael said...

Why do you assume that the Assocated Press reporter who wrote that piece needed to consult your blog for material? I was present before, during, and after the JMCC Town Hall meeting, and saw at least one AP reporter attend the forum and interview participants, both before and after the event. I'm told that at least one reporter spent over an hour interviewing individuals before the event.

I have no reason to believe that the reporter who wrote the article used any sources other than what was observed first-hand by himself or other AP reporters, or obtained from interviews with individuals directly involved with the event.

Advance Indiana said...

Michael--I wouldn't expect you to see it. It would be unusual for an AP reporter to attend an event and then wait an entire month before writing anything about it. I saw television reporters there but no print reporters. BTW--did you see anything wrong with Faith In America posting this blog's post on the Town Hall meeting verbatim and representing it as its own work without any attribution? See It is exactly what was posted here on June 15.

Advance Indiana said...

I'll be nice and give Ken the benefit of the doubt.

Michael said...

I now see that the text of the AI blog post of June 15 has been used verbatim by Faith In America. They should have cited your AI post, but they did not. That's unfortunate.

With regard to the Associated Press article, I certainly agree with your assertion that, "It would be unusual for an AP reporter to attend an event and then wait an entire month before writing anything about it." Yet I believe that is precisely what has happened. I have been looking for this article since the day after the Town Hall Meeting, and have even asked Jeff Miner, pastor of JMCC when he expected to see it in print. He informed me that the AP reporter told him the story would be completed within a week and a half, and publication delayed until "a slow news day."

I myself witnessed the interviews the print reporter held with the conservative Christians present. I'm glad to see the AP article published, but I'm afraid it's too little, too late.

Thanks for staying on top of current events affecting the local community. I read your blog on an almost daily basis. I'm sorry that some are not attributing direct quotes from your blog to you. That's unfair.

Advance Indiana said...

Thank you for your kind compliment Michael.

Anonymous said...

Does it matter if the campaign was a promotion of JesusMCC or the anti-bigotry campaign? It was their money to do with as they pleased. You didn;t give them any money, so why should you have say over how they use it?

Why are we as a community soooo easily tilted to the negative side of things insteadof praiaing all of the volunteers and donors involved in this campaign?

South Bend....if you spent less time worrying about what some church in Indianapolis isn't doing for you, maybe you would have had better results. Obviously, so many in the gay community are anti-Christian, not non-christian, ANTI-Christian, that you should just be thankful JesusMCC isn't wasting it's money so all gays except for them are certainly are making easy examples for them to use about how petty and selfish some can be.

Melissa said...

I am shocked to see that folks think that we are promoting ourselves just for the sake of promotion. When I came to JesusMCC on Dec. 1, 2001, I was on an intentional journey to find a church that was filled w/ the Holy Spirit. I am a transexual woman who has been through a very rough life to say the least. I wasn't wanting to make this my church, but observe the World AIDS Day service. What I encountered was very simple, but has changed my life and even some of my friends lives around me... I found God's Holy Spirit there.... and PEACE .. something that all the drugs, sex, and booze could not give me. I was a performer (female impersonator) at the top local gay bars and I can assure you that as a church, we are not blind to the fact that the gay community is not Christian... but we are working to bring the message of Christ's love to everyone. I am a member and have been going since that night. I am also a transsexual Christian. I am inviting everyone, gay or straight, to MY church to experience the grace and love of Jesus Christ.

philbug said...

To answer a few questions/comments. This was the FIRST campaign of this organisation. Indy is actually a bigger market than the campaign orginally called for. So, Indy was the "test market" for the campaign. No other church or group in the midwest or south that was contacted for this campaign was willing to do all the work/provide the financial backing to do so, except for Jesus MCC. Be assured that this is just the start of the campaign throughout the country.

Anonymous said...

I too attend Jesus MCC, and have decided to become a member in the next couple of months. I am also co-teaching a class there for new people who want to know more about Christ and the church.

I'm not so sure that most gay people in Indianapolis aren't Christian, or are even anti-Christian. I do believe there are many "closet" Christians - people who didn't know that there's a place for them in Christ's church, and who were hurt by the churches they grew up in; so they've stayed away, rather than get bashed yet again.

Jesus MCC began when a group of GLBT people decided to create a church home where everyone would be welcome. It has grown quite a bit as this message has gotten out, and I imagine that it will grow quite a bit more as people grow even more tired of the bar scene.

What an amazing concept for many of us who spent so many years in the bars, and believed the fundamentalists when they told us that God's love and message of healing and grace didn't include us. Here's the Good News... "they" were wrong. The doors are now open to all of us; for those who have been away from the church for so long, and for those who have never known about the God who loves them, I say WELCOME HOME - and thank God for the work of Jesus MCC in hundreds of lives in this community.

By the way... Please don't take this as a message of exclusiveness. While everyone is welcome at Jesus MCC, it is understand that not everyone wants to be a part of it. That's fine. I suggest we continue to find the "things" that we agree on, and move on from there. A house divided cannot stand; there is more that unites us than divides us, and that is how all of us will one day gain the rights and privileges that all members of this society enjoy.

I Wish You Peace -

Kay Olry

Chris said...

You say the "Would Jesus Discriminate" campaign seeks a dialogue with Christian Fundamentalists. The word fundamentalist is swiftly developing worse connotations than the word liberal, but I guess I would consider myself a Christian Funadamentalists though, because to me that simply means that one takes the Bible literally except where it obvioulsy should not be. So, what I am confused about is what do members of JMCC consider themselves? Do you encompass all of the Bible into your beliefs, or do you not take some of it into account?

I read the article on the work of Jusin Cannon. Now I agree that the Bible has been misinterpreted to advocate and promote many evils throughout history, and that is very unfortunate, but in my humble opinion, there are few things more clear than, when you look at the whole Bible, that it does not condone homsexuality. Cannon states that Romans chapter 1 is refering to when "heterosexual" men and women have a same sex partner, and doesn't apply to gays or lesbians, becasue having a same-sex partner is not unnatural to them. I am not saying what is natural to gays and lesbians and what isn't. What I am saying is that this passaoge of the Bible could not be more clear as to its meaning. It is absoluteyly referring to all men and women. Cannon is way off.

Please forgive me for saying so, but twisting this passage around to try and justify homosexuality is just as bad as anyone else twisting scripture to justify thier own cause... I am sorry, but if you truly want a dialogue that's how I, and many others, see it. From one christian to another, it's much more understandable to aruge that some things in the Bible just don't apply anymore than to try and promote an obscure interpretation of it.