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Church Places Apology On Billboard


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Church Places Apology To Gay Community On Billboard Along Billy Graham Parkway in North Carolina

The Missiongathering Christian Church of California has bought billboard space along the Billy Graham Parkway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The billboard is an apology on behalf of Christians to the gay community for all of the hate and un-Christian behavior towards homosexuals in the name of God. The billboard reads as follows:

"Missiongathering Christian Church is sorry for the narrow-minded, judgmental, deceptive, manipulative actions of those who DENIED rights and equality TO so many in the Name of God."

Source.

Wasn't sure whether to post this in snark or chatter, so mods feel free to move it. It'd be nice to see more churches take a stand like this.

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it would have been better if they left out "our hearts are with you Christianity for all" well it can be meant several ways so if they mean everyone not matter what can be christian then that's fine.

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While I guess it's nice of them to apologize, I tend to view things like this with suspicion. I always wonder if they have an ulterior motive, ie: if this is just part of a marketing scheme to entice people to join their church.

"Christianity for All" is unfortunately phrased. I think they mean that Christianity should be welcoming for all, but it could also be interpreted as some sort of wish that the entire world follow their religion.

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Guest Anonymous

It is not a real apology in any sense of the word. It doesn't say "sorry" for anything MissionGathering itself has said or done. It is just an attention-seeking advert saying "The others are doing it wrong, come join us instead".

If the cause of the advert were for the church to support gay marriage/equality more generally, it could just come out and say it: "MissionGathering supports Gay marriage and equal rights for all people, Christian or otherwise". But somehow I don't think that church would say or mean a statement like this.

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It is not a real apology in any sense of the word. It doesn't say "sorry" for anything MissionGathering itself has said or done. It is just an attention-seeking advert saying "The others are doing it wrong, come join us instead".

If the cause of the advert were for the church to support gay marriage/equality more generally, it could just come out and say it: "MissionGathering supports Gay marriage and equal rights for all people, Christian or otherwise". But somehow I don't think that church would say or mean a statement like this.

Yeah, I looked up the church's website. I can't quite make heads or tails of it. It's one of those new-fangled "emerging" churches, definitely evangelical, but not fundie. I can't tell their position on same-sex marriage, if they even have one. Their "what we believe" section is rather vague.

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I know a few Christians who regularly attend pro-gay-rights churches and are that way inclined themselves (the equal rights part is the prevailing opinion where I live, the practising religion part is unusual) and they feel very bad/angry about the Christians who are discriminatory under the name of god...because they are convinced god isn't like that. One of the people I know complained to me very distressed one day about a gay mutual friend of ours who had said he disliked the Christian attitude, and didn't listen when she said her church wasn't like that. So I could imagine someone like her making a genuine apology. I think it would be easier if those people just gave up the religious connection altogether, because it does more harm than good, but obviously that's not going to happen.

There is some promotion in there, but I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing (well, I think pretty much all religion is a bad thing, but you know, as far as religion goes). If people see the ads, realise for the first time they have better views than other churches and then decide to join then I think that's their choice. The wording is very non-specific though, so it might be interpreted to mean more than it is actually saying.

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I'm going to be going to the airport next week, which is on Billy Graham Jerkway, I mean Parkway. I'll see if I can get a picture of it. It should give my gay friends a laugh.

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Guest Anonymous
I'm going to be going to the airport next week, which is on Billy Graham Jerkway, I mean Parkway. I'll see if I can get a picture of it. It should give my gay friends a laugh.

If you donate $50 to help pay for the billboard costs, you can get a free "I am sorry...." t-shirt to wear in the photo..... :P

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I like the overall message, but I definitely agree that this might be more on the side of a marketing gimmick....

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It might be a marketing gimmick. But it also might be marketing as a way to let people who are unhappy with how their current churches are handling the Gay Civil Rights issue know that there are other places out there for them. A lot of emerging churches are full of people who have been burned and hurt by churches and denominations in the past. Emergent churches often just put the emphasis on a few core items. "Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?" might be the only thing that everyone in the church believes in common and that's totally ok. Everything else is up for questioning and SHOULD BE questioned. Baptizing infants or adults? Whichever you believe in. Neither makes you more or less Christian. Republican, Democrat, Libertarian etc? Totally irrelevant. Calvinist or Armenian or somewhere in between? Meh. Communion wine turns into the ACTUAL blood of Christ or just a symbol? Totally doesn't affect how you live in a community with others.

Part of the reason they might not be coming out and saying "We support Gay Marriage" is that they don't want to make "This church believes X" statements other than the very bare bones level of "I believe in Jesus" or however far they take it out. A lot of people involved in the emergent church movement are in a state of discovery and most of all, healing. These churches avoid making statements that will make people feel like "If you don't believe just so, you don't belong." From a marketing standpoint, to make the statement "We support Gay Marriage" might be too much of a move for someone questioning the leadership in their church that says "Gay is an abomination." But a place that says, "We are open to questions here. We don't have all the answers so we won't try to tell you we do. But what we DO have here is Love," can offer a safe space for someone who is pulling away from a religious environment that they no longer feel at peace with.

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As someone who is GBLT, I really appreciate this message. I'm not a Christian, but I was raised in a fundie-lite family, and I get what they are saying. It makes me smile and remember there are some good, kind, Christlike people out there.

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I know many Christians who are in favor of gay rights and speak out against inequality and wish that their religion in general accepted gay people, the way Jesus would have. I think it's sad that the religion overall has become so entwined with messages of hate that a church publicly speaking out against the hatred is viewed with suspicion. While one can say it may be a way to try to get people to join their church, it could just as easily deter others, and even result in the mainstream of the religion condemning that specific church. Also "Christianity for all" by groups like this is taken to mean what it does, that Christianity should be inclusive of all people instead of people rejected over their sexuality or anything else.

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I know many Christians who are in favor of gay rights and speak out against inequality and wish that their religion in general accepted gay people, the way Jesus would have.

I guess it's a matter of opinion what people think Jesus would do, assuming that the Jesus character in the Bible is based on a single historical person. I really don't fault Christians either way. Personally, I doubt that a Jewish religious teacher from that time period would have accepted gay people as moral, but I would think the same of almost everyone from that background and that era.

It's one of those instances where the fundies are probably right, but the people who disagree with the fundies are the ones who have a better sense of morality.

I think it's sad that the religion overall has become so entwined with messages of hate that a church publicly speaking out against the hatred is viewed with suspicion.

It's really not that part I'm suspicious about. It's the overall evangelical nature of the church, which is to gain converts. With that in mind, I see marketing campaigns like this as opportunistic. I just don't trust evangelicals because they want the entire world to follow their religion, and I don't think they do much of anything without that ulterior motive.

Of course, it's also possible that this church in fact believes that homosexuality is wrong (or at least is not willing to make a statement either way). There was a church a few years ago that ran around at gay pride parades holding "I'm sorry" signs, but they were not actually of the belief that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality.

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It brought a tear to my heathen eye.

I am sure it is a marketing gimmick in a way--it is a way to bring LGBT people who are estranged from their own church to this one. But if you were a married Christian lesbian with kids, that is good info to know. Also, I like how it shames homophobes. Because they should be shamed, they should be shamed as publicly as they like to shame non-heteronormative people.

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I guess it's a matter of opinion what people think Jesus would do, assuming that the Jesus character in the Bible is based on a single historical person. I really don't fault Christians either way. Personally, I doubt that a Jewish religious teacher from that time period would have accepted gay people as moral, but I would think the same of almost everyone from that background and that era.

It's one of those instances where the fundies are probably right, but the people who disagree with the fundies are the ones who have a better sense of morality.

It's really not that part I'm suspicious about. It's the overall evangelical nature of the church, which is to gain converts. With that in mind, I see marketing campaigns like this as opportunistic. I just don't trust evangelicals because they want the entire world to follow their religion, and I don't think they do much of anything without that ulterior motive.

Of course, it's also possible that this church in fact believes that homosexuality is wrong (or at least is not willing to make a statement either way). There was a church a few years ago that ran around at gay pride parades holding "I'm sorry" signs, but they were not actually of the belief that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality.

The part about rights and equality would suggest that they're pretty liberal re homosexuality.

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The part about rights and equality would suggest that they're pretty liberal re homosexuality.

They certainly might be. I was just going by what Grace said. As an emerging church, they might not want to take a stand to avoid upsetting any of their members. And supporting gay civil rights is, of course, wonderful, but it doesn't mean that they're necessarily of the opinion that homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality, ie: normal and non-sinful.

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They certainly might be. I was just going by what Grace said. As an emerging church, they might not want to take a stand to avoid upsetting any of their members. And supporting gay civil rights is, of course, wonderful, but it doesn't mean that they're necessarily of the opinion that homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality, ie: normal and non-sinful.

I think it really is hard to call. Jay Bakker is a leader in the emergent church and he's always preached a pro-gay rights message.

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If you donate $50 to help pay for the billboard costs, you can get a free "I am sorry...." t-shirt to wear in the photo..... :P

Just in case anyone wanted the link for that, it's here: http://www.givimo.com/c/ncbillboard

From what I've seen, they are an affirming church, do not believe homosexuality is a sin, support gay marriage, and allow gay people to serve in ministry positions regardless of their relationship status.

I do wish some of the local churches could get together and do something like this, because a lot of the local criticism seems to center on the fact that it is from CA, but most of the local (in my area, Charlotte may be different since it's a larger city) gay-friendly/affirming congregations are still pretty small and don't have a lot of money to spend.

The good news is that more churches, and even more individual Christians do seem to be becoming more accepting, and I think all of this stuff has pushed some people here in NC to decide to speak up about it. Some of them are still stuck in the whole "we support gays, but not if they're having sex" view, but that crumbles pretty fast when you really think it through, especially once you get to know gay couples who are in long-term relationships and think about what you're asking.

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