GLBT Christian billboards from WhyWouldWe.orgGay-positive Jesus images are in the national news lately, thanks to billboards in the Dallas-Forth Worth area asking, “Would Jesus discriminate?” MSNBC, the Advocate, and other major news media covered these wonderfully effective billboards, which were posted by five local Metropolitan Community Churches in Texas. They send a strong message by putting a traditional portrait of Jesus with a simple statement based on GLBT understanding of the Bible. “Jesus affirmed a gay couple. Matthew 8:5-13,” states one billboard. It refers to Jesus’ healing a Roman soldier’s servant -- actually his gay lover according to progressive Bible scholars. “The early church welcomed a gay man. Acts 8:26-40,” says another billboard, based on the Ethiopian eunuch who was first Gentile convert to Christianity. Then the billboards ask, “Would Jesus Discriminate?” The question is a play on a phrase that is popular with evangelical Christians: What would Jesus do? (often abbreviated WWJD) “Our viewpoint is that discrimination was not a part of Jesus’ message, nor is it part of the best of any Christian church’s ministry,” says the campaign’s website, WhyWouldWe.org. “This campaign seeks to educate people through active dialog and friendly discussion.” The billboards are part of a larger Would Jesus Discriminate project sponsored by Metropolitan Community Churches at the national level. More billboards (shown below) were posted in the Indianapolis area in 2006. They include the following powerful messages: “Jesus said some are born gay. Matthew 19:10-12.” Jesus used an ancient term for GLBT people when he declared that some people are “eunuchs who have been so from birth.” “Ruth loved Naomi as Adam loved Eve. Genesis 2:24, Ruth 1:14.” The same Hebrew word for love was used for both couples. “Jonathan loved David more than women. II Samuel 1:26.” When Jonathan died, his friend David declared, “Your love to me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women.” The following three “Would Jesus Discriminate” websites offer detailed info on these Scriptures and other Biblical evidence affirming GLBT people and their relationships: WhyWouldWe.org WouldJesusDiscriminate.com WouldJesusDiscriminate.org These billboards are so inspiring that I had to post five of them. (I especially love the classic lesbian picture on the Ruth and Naomi billboard!) They also remind me of the debate about art versus advertising or propaganda. Critics have accused GLBT Christian art of being billboards, not true art. For example, a church leader declined to endorse my book “Art That Dares” because, as he wrote, “I felt like too much of the collection was agenda-driven more than necessarily good art…. The art which is most subversive is when the message is in the art itself, and not so much a billboard effect that often sets up opposition and dualistic thinking. Great art is precisely not dualistic but inviting into a much bigger arena where transcendence can speak.” Compare for yourself the billboards of the “Would Jesus discriminate?” campaign with the GLBT Christian art in “Art That Dares” on our gallery page. The difference is obvious. I celebrate our art AND our billboards. The “Would Jesus Discriminate?” billboards may be stirring some opposition, but they’re also making a positive impact. “Individuals who have seen the billboards… reached out to us to say that they have been struggling with coming out issues and the billboards gave them information and hope,” says Rev. Nancy Wilson, MCC Moderator.