Right wing conservative so-called “Christians” are famous for putting their messages up on billboards in the Midwest, especially Ohio. Drive down almost any highway and you’ll eventually find billboards reading: “HELL IS REAL“, “JESUS SAVES“, The 10 Commandments and numerous anti-abortion misives.
But the small and welcoming Central United Methodist Church of Toledo posted a roadside billboard in April that said, “Being Gay Is a Gift from God,” that pushed an area mega-church, The Church on Strayer to the tipping point which caused them to go out and buy 9 Billboards to counter act United Methodists welcoming pro-gay message with ones that read “Being Gay is NOT a Gift from God — Forgiveness, Love, and Eternal Life Are.”
Lynn Braun, chairwoman of the Central United Methodist lead team, said she was not surprised that Strayer would counter its accepting message. “I’m somewhat surprised it didn’t happen earlier,” she said. “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.”
Rev. Tony Scott of the Church on Strayer states that “All behavior is a choice,” and that he ” love this city too much to let a lie be sown.” as the reason that his church invested 10’s of thousands dollars on the billboards and is surprised by the complaints that he is getting from the LGBT community.
The Rev. Bill Barnard, Central’s United Methodist 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! They must be really serious about this.” Barnard said.
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,” Mr. Barnard said. “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.”
The Church on Strayer (Anti-Gay Billboards) – 419.866.2094
Central United Methodist (Pro Gay Billboard) – (419) 241-7729