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Church billboard war sparked by The Gays

IT all began back in April when the Central United Methodist Church, in Toledo, Ohio, erected a  roadside billboard that declared:

Being Gay Is a Gift from God.

This was too much for Toledo’s Church on Strayer, which retaliated last week by putting up NINE billboards bearing the message:

Being Gay is NOT a Gift from God ­- Forgiveness, Love, and Eternal Life Are.

These, according to Strayer’s Rev Tony Scott, have prompted a hostile reaction from The Gays.

I love everyone. There’s nothing on that billboard about hate. I’m getting hate mail from lesbian and gay people, but my point is that I love them too much to let someone believe a lie. I love this city too much to let a lie be sown.

Lynn Braun, chair of Central UMC’s lead team, said she was not surprised by the clash.

I’m somewhat surprised it didn’t happen earlier. We felt it important to express our faith this way. I think people have the right to express their faith the way they see fit, and I think it helps the community to know where churches stand.

UCM recently replaced its original billboard with one that says:

Creating a Space for All God’s Children Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.

Scott, who has been pastor of the 2,500-member mega-church since 1974, said marriage is defined in the biblical book of Genesis and its story of Adam and Eve – and involved divine “plumbing”:

God’s definition of marriage is that he plumbed him and he plumbed her so that the two of them could procreate. Anything relationally between the sexes that does not have that potential, and that opportunity, does not come from God.

The Rev Bill Barnard, UMC’s pastor, said the most surprising thing to him about the Church on Strayer’s billboards was the financial commitment.

My first thought was, ‘Wow, nine billboards! That’s quite an investment.’ We just have one, and that’s an investment for us. They must be really serious about this.

His second reaction, he said, was sadness.

A lot of people talk about the gay lifestyle as if it were a choice, and seem to relate it to behaviors like stealing or something that will be fairly identified as sinful. Well, sexual identity is part of the way we’re put together. It’s not a choice. Whatever scientific resources you consult, that question’s answered.

Scott strongly disagrees.

All behavior is a choice. You choose your behavior. There are no credible tests that I have ever seen that say it’s genetic. Why is it when you find twins where one is straight and one is gay you don’t use the same principle of science? If it’s genetic it would be one way or the other.

Scott added that many people have been “delivered” from homosexuality, both at his church and at Mt. Paran Church of God in Atlanta.

In 30 years of counseling people, he said, he has never met a gay person who was happy with his or her sexual orientation. I’ve never had a gay person look me in the eye in a counseling session and say, ‘I was born gay, God made me gay, and I’m glad I’m gay’.

The Rev. Cheri Holdridge, pastor of the Village Church and former pastor of Central United Methodist, said it’s logical that gay people would be unhappy at the Church on Strayer.

I’m sure there are gay people in his church who are unhappy because they’re being told that they’re choosing to be gay. The American Medical Association says they’re not choosing to be gay, that it’s genetic. We have a difference of opinion on some things. By the way, I have a list of happy gay Christians who would like to make an appointment with Tony Scott.

Dan Rutt, a member of Central United Methodist, said he believes his church’s billboards have achieved the goal of promoting public discussion and dialogue.

We certainly are aware that people disagree. We clearly believe that being gay is a gift from God and obviously other people believe that it is not. I’m pleased to continue the dialogue. But it would be nice to talk face to face instead of billboard to billboard.

23 responses to “Church billboard war sparked by The Gays”

  1. barriejohn says:

    I love everyone. There’s nothing on that billboard about hate. I’m getting hate mail from lesbian and gay people, but my point is that I love them too much to let someone believe a lie. I love this city too much to let a lie be sown.

    Remember Cool Hand Luke?

    “I wish you’d stop being so good to me, Captain”!

    http://youtu.be/l_aVuS7cOIQ

  2. Daz says:

    Dan Rutt, a member of Central United Methodist, said he believes his church’s billboards have achieved the goal of promoting public discussion and dialogue.

    …Or failing that, it’ll bankrupt ’em with all the billboard-rental charges.

    Is it time to start the countdown to Sott being photographed with a rent-boy and a bag of speed? Sing along, now.

  3. Harry says:

    If sexuality was a choice everyone would be bisexual.

  4. Steve says:

    I wish I knew what a ‘gay lifestyle’ was. What a dumb phrase. Would ‘heterosexual lifestyle’ convey anything meaningful about opposite sex lovers?

  5. Barry Duke says:

    I have not met many sets of twins, but the dozen or so gay ones I did get to know over the years each had identical twin brothers who were gay.

    There’s an interesting piece on twins and genetics here:
    http://www.thetech.org/genetics/ask.php?id=155

  6. Tony says:

    God was a plumber? Too many jokes concerning U-bends and stopcocks come to mind….

  7. Stuart H. says:

    I could take the religulous a little bit more seriously if they’d at least accept that religion is a lifestyle choice, and about as ‘natural’ as a cross-dresssing twonk in red Prada slippers.
    Also, that ‘Experience the truth’ line in Scott’s whine-back poster reminds me of the Jack Nicholson character’s come-back when asked for the truth in a film where he’s facing a court martial (sorry, just can’t remember the title now)
    ‘You can’t HANDLE the truth!!’

  8. tony e says:

    ‘Being Gay is NOT a Gift from God’, but, obviously, stupidity is.

  9. AgentCormac says:

    Aren’t we missing the point here?

    There is no such thing as god – ergo, there can be no such thing as a ‘gift from god’ or ‘not a gift from god’. It seems to me like a completely meaningless and futile argument on both sides.

  10. Lucy says:

    Who gives a monkey’s why some people find same sex people sexy and some find opposite sex people sexy? Or indeed both or neither at different times in a life. If I were gay I would find it very trying to have to ‘prove it was genetic’. What does it matter? (Rhetorical question only, I am aware of how much it matters to some….)

    and good point, @stuart H I would like to find the religious stupidity gene…I might find it easier to be compassionate

  11. uzza says:

    he plumbed him and he plumbed her …
    Doesn’t that make God bisexual?

  12. D. Austin says:

    Dogma is a gift from God

  13. JohnMWhite says:

    Inflexibility, cruelty and hatred based on being unable to see past one’s own prejudiced interpretation of a bronze-age storybook is a gift from god, D. Austin? Geez, I hope you got a gift receipt.

  14. John E says:

    I’m straight and didn’t choose to be – just am. I’m pretty sure most straight people would say the same thing. If being gay is a choice, I would would have chosen – at some point in my life – to be attracted to the opposite sex. I’m a normal guy & can’t imagine how a person “chooses” to be straight.

  15. Winto says:

    If I was part of a church were it had been taught to me from a young age for years and I was gay I too would tell Tony Scott I wasnt happy being gay. its his fault. hes making these people unhappy.

    If he had, from the beginning, told people it was ok to be gay and to embrace it they would look him in the eye and tell him they were happy.

    this guy is dangerous, behaviour is a choice? you can change peoples sexuality? how someone like that can simply say he and the medical association have a differing opinion is idiotic. yes they use fact, science and evidence you use an old book.

  16. elainek123 says:

    The religious bigots have to have something to go up in arms about. What does itmatter if you are straight or gay. I am straight and I am certainly gay-and bright-and have a sense of humor.

  17. Anon says:

    Only sexuality which leads to procreation is valid? Tough shit if you’re infertile or past the menopause then.

    And the ‘plumbing’ terminology? This from an adult who expects to be taken seriously?

  18. AngieRS says:

    Oh yes, Gays choose to be Gay. Isn’t it obvious? They choose to risk physical harm from people who a problem with their own sexuality and at one time they chose to suffer physical harm from the establishment whose favourite tool of choice was electricity. They choose to risk going out to some dark and dangerous cottage because it’s the only way they can find sexual gratification and the company of their own gender. They also choose to risk mental illness, sometimes culminating in suicide, by kneeling to the pressure of society and marrying a person of the opposite sex.
    Yes, they choose all that just so they can be Gay. I don’t think so.

  19. Daz says:

    Lucy

    The religious gene is being worked on, though it seems they’ve only isolated the Christian variety at the moment.

  20. Robster says:

    These idiots are feeling threatened by the rapidly growing public acceptance of “alternate” lifetyles. It’s good that the bigoted hate espoused by these “religious Leaders” is being recognised for what it is. Increasingly, religous dogma is being seen as a major cause of hate, justifying it because of belief in an invisible, silent sky fairy just makes those espousing same as idiots, but we knew that anyway.

  21. Daz says:

    AngieRS, comments pointing that out always remind me of Alan Turing, and always bring a lump to my throat.

  22. r4i 3d says:

    justifying it because of belief in an invisible, silent sky fairy just makes those espousing same as idiots, but we knew that anyway.

  23. jay says:

    hmmm I read that second billboard as

    Experience…. Saturday
    the Truth ….. Sunday

    sounds like the description of many ‘lost weekends’