Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Billboards Promoting Tolerance Defaced

Two of nearly 20 billboards which the Faith In America organization erected in Indianapolis have been defaced by vandals. The Star's Robert King reports:
A billboard on Kentucky Avenue carried the original message “The early church welcomed a gay man” but had the word “man” sprayed with black paint, [Rev. Jeff] Miner said. It has been repaired. Another at 10th Street and Mitthoeffer Road had the words “Lie, lie, lie” spray painted in red over the original message “Jesus affirmed a gay couple.” “I think it shows the lengths some people will go to suppress ideas rather than have a dialogue,” Miner said.

Several church leaders in the city say the ad campaign is built on false statements and distorted readings of scripture. But Rev. Andy Hunt of Body of Christ Community Church said vandalism is always a wrong response. “It ignites passions whenever someone brings a lie against the god you worship,” Hunt said. “But we can’t go down to their level.”
What Rev. Hunt fails to understand is that by preaching intolerance towards gays and lesbians he is only encouraging this kind of response to any theological interpretation of the Bible which differs from his. By calling Rev. Miner and others who support this interpretation of the Bible liars, Rev. Hunt is failing to practice the principles taught by his own religion.


Anonymous said...

I was fascinated by this photo of the billboard. I am Buddhist by faith but I looked up the Matthew chapter and verse and there is absoutely no way that any sane person can interpret it into meaning that any gay person was mentioned or involved. Before you posted this photo, did you look up the verse?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Yes, and here it is explained:

So the centurion approaches Jesus and bows before him. “Rabbi, my . . . ,” the word gets caught in his throat. This is it — the moment of truth. Either Jesus will turn away in disgust, or something wonderful will happen. So, the centurion clears his throat and speaks again. “Rabbi, my pais — yes, my pais lies at home sick unto death.” Then he pauses and waits for a second that must have seemed like an eternity. The crowd of good, God-fearing people surrounding Jesus probably became tense. This was like a gay man asking a televangelist to heal his lover. What would Jesus do?

Without hesitation, Jesus says, “Then I will come and heal him.”

It’s that simple! Jesus didn’t say, “Are you kidding? I’m not going to heal your pais so you can go on living in sin!” Nor did he say, “Well, it shouldn’t surprise you that your pais is sick; this is God’s judgment on your relationship.”

Instead, Jesus’ words are simple, clear, and liberating for all who have worried about what God thinks of gay relationships. “I will come and heal him.”

At this point, the centurion says there is no need for Jesus to travel to his home. He has faith that Jesus’ word is sufficient. Jesus then turns to the good people standing around him — those who were already dumbfounded that he was willing to heal this man’s male lover. To them, Jesus says in verse 10 of Matthew’s account, “I have not found faith this great anywhere in Israel.” In other words, Jesus holds up this gay centurion as an example of the type of faith others should aspire to.

Jesus didn’t just tolerate this gay centurion. He said he was an example of faith — someone we all should strive to be like.

Then, just so the good, God-fearing people wouldn’t miss his point, Jesus speaks again in verse 11: “I tell you, many will come from the east and the west [i.e., beyond the borders of Israel] to find a seat in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs [i.e., those considered likely to inherit heaven] will be thrown into outer darkness.” By this statement Jesus affirmed that many others like this gay centurion — those who come from beyond the assumed boundaries of God’s grace — are going to be admitted to the kingdom of heaven. And he also warned that many who think themselves the most likely to be admitted will be left out.

In this story, Jesus restores a gay relationship by a miracle of healing and then holds up a gay man as an example of faith for all to follow. So consider carefully: Who is Lord — Jesus or cultural prejudice?

Anonymous said...

AI, where people are getting hung up is on the translation of "pais". They are strictly interepreting it to mean "servant" as I did before I googled.

I found that in the language of the time it had different meanings depending on the context in which it was used one of which was "his masters male lover".

I actually get it now.

Just out of curiosity which version of the bible are you using?

Anonymous said...

The words that they use to degrade people of different belief, are the same that they use to fortify their own. Humanism should come above this nonsense.

tjefferson said...

Altogether now, to the tune of Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus!:

Sling mud, throw rocks for Jesus,
ye vandals for the cross,
The fags must never marry,
Our unions we pangloss.

From victory to victory,
James Dodson is our steed,
till every foe is vanquished,
and Eric's gov'nor indeed.


Will said...

There was a widespread homosexual culture within the Roman army. In later, Byzantine years, pairs of military men are venerated as saints and have little identity outside of their being a couple.

Astonishingly, the Greek Orthodox Church continues to venerate, for example, Saints Polyeuct and Niarchos on the one hand, and to condem homosexual love on the other. Denial on a massive scale.