Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Billboards show gay-friendly Jesus

GLBT Christian billboards from
Gay-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, “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: 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.
GLBT Christian billboards from and


Pastor Scott said...

I think this is great. And Il like the appropriation of scriptures that are clearly open to interpretation. It's high time progressives own the book that guides our faith.

My only regret -- selfish and carnal as it is -- is that David is depicted so frumpy. Why not something closer to Michaelangelo's hottie David. There's nothing more divine that a beautiful man.

In any event, BRAVO MCC. You make us all proud.Not in a seven deadly sins sort of way, but just in the good, warm and fuzzy way.

pastor scott

Anonymous said...

I just love the billboards, and it is so positive-- all the bible quotes that reveal the gay and lesbian poople of the bible, and how Jesus supported them!

We had the Ruth and Naomi passage read out loud at our Holy Union ceremony in MCC! Just love this!!

curtisls7 said...

We just had the same Billboards up again in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with considerably less media attention for some reason.

Jeff said...

Great idea, but horrible mis-representation of scripture. The direct translation of the Hebrew phrases were equivalent to *eunuch*, not gay lover. There was no such thing as "gay lover" during the OT or the NT. Eunuchs were trusted servants -- trusted because they *typically* lacked the male genitalia (but not always). All of the verses are twisted WAY out of proportion.

However, the truth behind the statements remains. Not only *should* we not discriminate, we are called NOT to discriminate. It IS another form of hatred, and Jesus certainly would NOT be in favor of that. After all, He loved the outcasts, unloved, and ostracized.

Jeff said...

The Bible verses used in these messages are tremendously twisted out of proportion.

Regardless, we are *commanded* not to discriminate. It's not even a suggestion, it is a COMMAND. Jesus loved the unlovable, the ostracized, the outcast...who are we to ignore this?

Kittredge Cherry said...

Jeff, the term “eunuch” probably included a variety of sexual minorities that today would be called LGBT or queer. I recently wrote a longer piece about the meaning of the Biblical word translated as “eunuch,” including a list of books with detailed research from scholars on the subject. You can check it out at this link:

Bryon said...

The scripture in Matthew 8:5-13 refers to a man in a position of power asking Jesus to heal his servant. Nothing in any translation or context refers to his servant being his lover. A servant is the same as a butler in this regard. I would love to see an in-depth study into how the creator of that billboard concluded that this was a gay couple.