Bil Browning

Cuz you gotta have faith, faith, faith

Filed By Bil Browning | May 14, 2007 1:53 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Christian beliefs, election 2008, Faith In America, homophobic behavior, JMCC, racism, religion, spirituality

Remember the billboards that have sprung up all over Indianapolis we were talking about recently? They're gay positive and quote the Bible. The signs are the result of a lot of hard work by Indy's Jesus Metropolitan Community Church and Faith In America.

Faith In America has launched another campaign that's targeting the heartland. This time the group is advertising in five cities: Ames, Iowa; Reno, Nevada; Greenville, South Carolina; Manchester, New Hampshire; and Colorado Springs, Colorado. All five states have early primaries or caucuses in the presidential elections and none of them are being spared any of the hard hitting ads the group is becoming famous for.

If you live in Indianapolis, you might remember similar ads from last year. When JMCC ran billboards last year, they followed up with an ad blitz in the Indianapolis Star. Faith in America paid for the newspaper ads last year to test market them for the rest of the nation. The ads are edgy, focused and make a direct point. They are, quite simply, wonderful.

You can see an example of the advertising in the ad strip on the bottom right. Click the link and check out the site and see how you can help support the group. You can see all of the ads on the site. Remember, it's not very often that you see positive religious messages about our community... Whether or not you're a Christian, you have to admire the fortitude and admirable intentions of the organization. To quote from their press release:

A simple history lesson shows that unfortunately, certain religious teachings also have been used to justify human slavery, racial segregation, oppression of women and discrimination against homosexual men and women.

We as Americans can see clearly how religious teachings have been used in the United States to justify prejudice and discrimination against minorities.

It is difficult to imagine that less than 30 years ago in over 15 states one of today's leading conservative Supreme Court Justices, Clarence Thomas, a black man, could have been charged with a felony for marrying his current wife, a white woman.

For the vast majority of Americans, this kind of discrimination, often justified with misguided religious teachings, would be unthinkable today.

Faith In America asks a simple question:

Is using religious teachings to deny equal rights to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people any less wrong than using religious teaching to discriminate against people of color, against equality for women or against people of different cultures wanting to marry?

History has a way of imparting simple truths.

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Have you heard of or seen the movie God & Gays: Bridging the Gap? It's really good and even funny in parts. They are on DVD at and showing in Indy and a bunch of other places for Pride. The movie is comprehensive and great for the movable middle as well as those who struggle or still carry around pain from the past due to religion. I'll be going to their conference in August too. They have Bishop Spong, Mel White and a whole bunch of folks. Check 'em out.

A. J. Lopp | May 18, 2007 12:55 PM

Although I very much support this campaign, I also see major problems with it.

For example, putting a message such as "Jesus said some are born gay" on a billboard requires a large footnote and a complete explanation. Yes, such explanations are already all over the Internet, but some people are incredibly lazy, and others are quick to yell "Lies!" --- as the vandalism in Indianapolis showed.

Faith in Action should supply --- and include on the billboards --- a reference to where its own Biblical explanations can be found. Maybe they could add to the billboards that require further explaining an Internet URL where the whole explanation is presented. I think that not doing this is potentially inviting criticism, because dogma --- especially religious dogma --- dies hard.