Would Jesus Discriminate?

June 1, 2006 by

Would Jesus discriminate?2,000 yard signs, four newspaper ads, 650 bumper stickers, 720 T-shirts and 25,000 door hangers have appeared in the Indianapolis area, all promoting Jesus Metropolitan Community Church as a part of a $55,000 ad campaign. And the campaign focuses on homosexuality.

“Do you know someone who is homosexual? Would you give your life for that person? Jesus did,” the church’s ad says. …

[Pastor Jeff] Miner said a future ad in a Sunday edition of The Star will show a group of Klansmen around a burning cross with a headline, “Remember a time when a symbol of love was used as a symbol of hate?”

In addition to the campaign, the church is also holding a town hall meeting on homosexuality and the Bible.

However you feel about their position, their campaign and approach is an interesting example.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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31 Responses to “Would Jesus Discriminate?”

  • C. Michael Pilato
    June 1, 2006

    Ah, yet another cheap abuse of an English word that has the unfortunate dual meanings of “to decide with wisdom” and “to treat with special preference or prejudice” (which would rather be a decision lacking wisdom).
    Is there even a prayer that the responses to this post can unanimously avoid the phrase “love the sinner; hate the sin” or its multivarious refactorings?

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  • Peter
    June 1, 2006

    Love the sinner, hate the sin would definetly be the classic line….. oddly enough i don’t see anything about the second 1/2 of the phrase anywhere on their site…….

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    • Syd
      January 14, 2011

      Hi Peter
      I have just come across your artical under the heading “Church Marketing Sucks”
      Although I am not Gay I do defend the Gay rights stand, often among fellow christians
      An argument that is often put up is one you mention “THEY LOVE THE SINNER, BUT HATE THE SIN I note in your artical you talk about the second !/2 of the Phrase, could you please send me the complete Phase?


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  • s. zeilenga
    June 2, 2006

    Yeah, almost makes me want to do a whole marketing campaign for “Go and sin no more” . . .
    I can see the signs now. Hmmm…

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  • Matt L
    June 2, 2006

    They are right, Jesus didn’t discriminate. However…
    I poked around their site, and there are some serious problems. They are rewriting Matthew 8:5-13 to say that the Centurion and his servant were gay lovers. They also rewrite the Bible verses about homosexuality and the sin of Sodom that it was not about homosexuality at all.
    There is even an audio article using the teaser of “What does the Bible say about Transgenderism?”, using the story of Jesus bringing the little girl back to life. Granted I haven’t listened to the audio, but unless that is just an attention-getting headline…
    Their point is true – don’t treat them with anything less that Jesus’ love. However, I wouldn’t recommend attending a church that perverts God word to match their lifestyle – : (

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  • carl
    June 2, 2006

    From their site: http://jesusmcc.org/go/wouldjesus.html
    Under the banner would Jesus discriminate?
    “Instinctively, we all sense that the answer must be a resounding No!”
    and later
    “A classic example is provided in Matthew 8. There, a Roman soldier asked Jesus to heal his “pais.” This is a Greek term often used in ancient times to refer to a servant who was his master’s same-sex partner.”
    Great marketing campaign. Use the scepticism of nonbelievers to come to your meetings. Awful church marketing campaign. Twist the doctrine to meet your needs.
    I know the point of this site is not to debate theology but comment on church marketing so I will stop there.

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  • Roland
    June 2, 2006

    On a tactical level, it’s great marketing, in that the tagline is simple, it’s easy to remember/talk about, and it makes the reader think and therefore hopefully form an opinion.
    It’s horrible marketing at a strategic level, though. The anti-homosexuality (for want of a better term) crowd dominates opinions in the media, the government, and across most all churches.
    From that standpoint, the campaign is wasted money and therefore bad marketing.

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  • Gene Mason
    June 2, 2006

    This site was so disturbing to me theologically I just could not get past it to even think about the merits of the campaign itself. Frankly, Jesus does “discriminate” when He says, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me…” Jesus draws clear lines, folks.
    He loved sinners, no doubt–but He also pointed out their sin, called it sin, and dealt with it as sin.
    I recently read Thom Rainer’s book “Surprising Insights About the Unchurched,” where his research suggests that the unchurched–people we want to reach–were attracted in part (as adults) by the firmness and foundation of our theology. I think it is possible to love the sinner but hate the sin. This campaign at the surface level at least seems to condone the sin. I think outside of a community that might want to have that sin condoned, it repels rather than attracts.
    Frankly the language of their site suggests to some degree this “church” is writing behavior that is referred to as “depraved” in Romans into their theology. I agree with several of the previous posts–twisted doctrine. I’m concerned these folks are attempting to speak for the God I serve.
    I realize that my beliefs on individual issues like this are not the focus of this website, but I just want to go on record is being really bothered by this open perversion of God’s Word.

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  • carl
    June 5, 2006

    It’s horrible marketing at a strategic level, though. The anti-homosexuality (for want of a better term) crowd dominates opinions in the media,
    Roland – Have you turned on a tv or watched a movie in the last 5 years? I might have to disagree with you on this one.

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  • Rev. Yates
    June 10, 2006

    Have checked out the marketing campaign and find it to be very interesting and love based. It offers so many people an option to find God without being condemned because they are simply different than their neighbors. Isn’t that really what Jesus did?
    Excellent marketing campaign!

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  • Gene Mason
    June 11, 2006

    Rev. Yates, though I certainly agree that “God is love,” I would caution that there is more to God than love. He is also just, true, consistent and puts His own glory above everything else. He also clearly condemns homosexuality in scripture. I’m troubled that you do not find this campaign, and their entire website for that matter, in direction opposition to what God clearly outlines in His Word. What, exactly, is excellent about this campaign?

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  • David
    June 12, 2006

    I think that the campaign is very good. It compares to the UCC “God is still speaking” commercials. It shows that Jesus loves EVERYONE… an area where mainstream Christianity has failed, for the most part.
    What the mainstream churches do not understand is that sexual orientain IS NOT a choice. Gay Christians feel that they have been exiled from their churches of childhood and MCC (and UCC)
    provide a place to feel at home.
    I am not going to try to debate the issues of homosexuality and the Bible here, however, I will say that there is not one instance in scripture where Jesus condemns homosexulity. His silence on the subject speaks volumes.
    Homosexuality is neither a sin or a sickness. However, irrational homophobia is a sin.

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  • Rev. Terri
    June 12, 2006

    Great Marketing Campaign. Not only does it get peoples attention to another kind of church that practices inclusivity vs exclusivity, it is also a public service. Young people who have been told they are depraved for their sexuality will see that there is another CHRISTIAN point of view.

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  • Rev. Karla
    June 12, 2006

    This is an EXCELLENT marketing strategy and campaign; and the message is EXCELLENT!
    Isn’t it great that in this country religious and spiritual diversity is possible? Those who disagree and go elsewhere and those who have limited options, are able to find a place that communicates a biblically-based message about God and God’s love!

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  • Michael
    June 12, 2006

    Good or great marketing campaign? Blech, loaded adjectives. Let’s go with effective marketing campaign. Asks a question most laypeople would say “no” to (and agreeably so) and then seeks to connect the person with someone in their life that’s a homosexual that they would want Jesus to include.
    Much like the mormon ‘family’ TV spots in the 80’s and 90’s, the marketing approach is effective for communicating and recruiting.
    I’d give them an ‘A’ in marketing to their audience and fence-sitters and a ‘F’ in theology and doctrine. But the failing grade perhaps could launch the birth of a sister site, Church Theology Sucks?
    By the way, Reverends Thelma and Louise enthusiastic approval seems to be equal to asking Coke executives in the 80s whether they loved the ‘New Coke’ product/campaign (with the penultimate identical end times result IMHO…)

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  • Matt
    June 15, 2006

    Whole bunch of reverends chiming in with the same message. Anyone want to guess where all the Reverends are employed?
    I know we want to keep it all on marketing, but this is a “church” site, so I’ll have to point out to David that although Jesus specifically didn’t talk about homosexuality, he covered all the law in Matt 5:18 by saying none of it will pass – we just don’t put the hope of our eternal salvation in it.
    The big problem is that we seem to have different definitions of love. The UCC believes that with love, you must approve of what they do. I read I Corinthians a few times and can’t find that anywhere in there.
    But to bring it back to Marketing, I would say bad marketing because the twisting of the truth (that being the word of God) is disingenuine. Dishonest marketing will always be exposed by God’s truth over time.

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  • Nicki
    June 16, 2006

    Evidently, it wasn’t that bad of marketing if it got all of you talking, now is it?

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  • Matt
    June 16, 2006

    Evidently, it wasn’t that bad of marketing if it got all of you talking, now is it?

    Not really, this is a website for marketing talking heads. We discuss things whether it is worthwhile or not. Getting our attention doesn’t really require that much effort or creativity.
    If this were a website about computers, golf, what is going on in a particular town, or anything else I’d be more impressed. Since I haven’t seen it anywhere else on the web, and Internet Marketing is my trade, I still say “bad marketing”.
    As for the sin issue, David commented that anyone who does not approve of homosexuality is an “irrational homophobe”. It seems more like those who are crying out for acceptance are actually the least tolerant of us all.

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  • Jason
    June 16, 2006

    I would say effective marketing. This campaign has raised the awareness of this issue to the entire population of Indianapolis. From billboards, to print stories, heavy coverage on the TOP25 Market Television stations. Regardless of the morality, humanity, correctness of the message…it has worked to meet the needs of this particular client. If you feel so strongly against the message..then use this VERY EFFECTIVE media campaign to advertise your church’s thoughts.

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  • Phil
    June 16, 2006

    Anyone notice that all the comments supporting this campaign have different names, but all use a key phrase with all caps?
    They also seem to be all over this post even though it is well buried in the site archives.
    Conclusion – Looks like we have a staffer/member spamming this blog with fake names and repetitive posts. Dude (or dudette), mix up your writing style.

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  • kevin
    June 17, 2006

    Phil, I think what’s more likely is that a number of like-minded people are expressing their opinion.
    And I checked the IP addresses of comments on this post just to be sure, and the only comment with an IP that matched a previous comment (with different names/e-mails) was yours.

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  • Matt
    June 17, 2006

    Kevin, classy move not to “bust” Phil before the whole story is in.
    For the record, there are several users on one computer owned by COTC. Besides calling people “dude”, Phil doesn’t always think before typing : (

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  • Jason
    June 19, 2006

    Phil, Dude, if you think there is only one person that believes in the crazy gay lifestyle, you are wrong. Expect many different psoting and email addresses because there are many people who believe this stuff.

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  • Gus X
    July 3, 2006

    This campaign is rather flakey from a marketing standpoint – It seems to address an issue that should rather be addressed from the faithful preaching of the word of God..
    Homosexuality is a sin, Yes .
    True love is to accept the person but to help them strive to conquer that sin – much like any other sin.
    It’s really not that hard to read scripture and ascertain this standpoint . However through the workings of modernism turned relativism you can plainly notice how the church has lost its God given task and started loosing focus of the goal.
    Sad day here in America.
    Pray that God would bless this marketing campaign to turn Homosexuals who are ENSLAVED in sin to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ – on the terms set out for us in the whole of scripture.
    Pray that God would bless this marketing campaign to end the hate that Christianity has so often shown to the Homosexual.
    Pray that true love , that is – the True message of the Gospel upheld through the ages may be proclaimed and shown in churches today. Not some Psuedo “love everyone – God Accepts everyone and they don’t have to change ” mentality.

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  • Jason
    July 11, 2006

    Who said “God Loves Everybody”? Gus you take the lazy way out bye sloughing off everything this campaign is saying bye not actually bothering to study what they are saying as well as making light of it bye proclaiming you know exactly what God meant in every passage of the Bible. Even TRUE biblical scholars are debating this issue.

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  • Terri
    July 21, 2006

    The campaign is not just about the church. It is about GLBT issues and discrimination. There is a lot more out there to discuss. Unfortunately, Discrimination in the U.S. goes beyond the four walls of any church and the pages of anyone’s misread Bible. Our legislative bodies and government halls our overflowing with bigotry and bias. This is just an eyeopener for those who have been sleeping.

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  • Derrill
    December 14, 2006

    Having been raised in the Hate of the Moral Christian Reitch. And now a released Nazerene preacher’s kid, I praise God there is an attempt to reach others in the dark places. Hate is so easy to throw around,in the name of God ;there being too few Christians brave enough to exude God’s love and unconditional forgiveness. You may wish to judge my spelling, my life, and my walk with God, remember dear believer “Judge thee not let ye yourself be judged……..ten fold?” After you pray are you up to the judgement ?
    In the Love of the Great I Am.
    Derrill R. Wilson

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  • Eve
    April 29, 2007

    I just noticed these signs all over Indy. Having been raised a fundamental baptist while being a closet lesbian…I am very interested in what they’re opinion is but not open to adjusting the word of God either. It has me intrigued at the very least. I read the whole book of Ruth and the story of Jonathan and David during church tonight. I’m not convinced by their chosen examples of Biblical evidence at all. Yet I’m not convinced that I’m bound for Hell because I love the same sex. It’s not about religious marketing or church promotion. It comes down to a personal relationship with Jesus that no one can judge or fully understand.

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  • Chris Lee
    May 11, 2007

    Okay, I am posting a year after most on this site. Although I believe that their choices of lifestyle are sinful, I must acept them as my brother and sister.
    We all sin and fall short the glory of God. None of us are perfect, not one.
    All sin is the same in the eyes of God. God cannot be a part of sin, which is why he looked away from Christ on the cross, and Christ cried out, feelilng separate from his father for the first time in enternity…”Father, why hast thou forsaken me?!”
    The scriptures say that we will be surprise when we get to heaven at who else has made it. God judges each of us individually on how our lives matched that of Christ’s example. If only those that we “thought” were going to get there are the ones there in heaven…. where is the surprise?

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  • Kirk
    May 4, 2008

    I have to type the word “frustrate” to be able to post here. How amazing is the Holy Spirit????
    I disagree with the “Marketing Heads” here about what this site is supposed to be about. “To Frustrate (there’s that word again), educate, and motivate the church with uncompromising clarity the Truth of Jesus Christ.”
    Now why would someone want to frustrate you? Jesus often answered a question with a question.
    I have read almost all of the articles on the wouldjesusdiscriminate site and I have to say after many years of studying the bible, having SOOOOOO many friends who simply had a different sexual orientation who were also friendly to Jesus but not friendly to the church, that this marketing campaign will probably go world wide, not just Indianapolis.
    Ever hear of a Hermaphrodite? Gawd they must be sinners, God even struck them down with the physical aspects of their sin before they were even born!!!!!!
    Get real people. I am betting that there may only be one or two errors in the articles written, but the scholarship given to treat the subject should definitely be commended for actually identifying all the places in the bible where we “all” get that “homophobe” experience and don’t know what to do with it.
    I know for a fact that due to my “upbringing” I was socialized to believe that homosexuality was a sin. Heck it is even “written” in the bible (translated)…..
    But the article that convinced me the most to think differently after 38 years was the story of Sodom’s sin on the ‘site’ in question. Just one read of that with all the references and you will see that homosexuality IN FACT is never condemned in the bible at all, ever, anywhere. You may trust your translation, but I sir, frustrate you to search for the real truth.
    As for the hermaphrodite: JOHN 9:2,41

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  • Mark
    September 16, 2009

    I just saw one of these ads for the first time the other day in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, so I guess the campaign is still working, growing. I don’t think it is super effective since I haven’t heard about it before today. And, I browse a lot and have never heard of it.
    I don’t agree with the ad. I browsed their site some, and their reasonings are stretching, and that is putting it mildly. An eloquent debater can prove anything. For every biblical issue, whether controversial or not, there are educated people on both sides. So, fancy words do not persuade me.
    There is no sin anymore. Anything you want to do, you can do. Then, all you have to do is believe in Jesus or some other simplistic action or lack thereof. And, you are okay. This is not the message from the scriptures. There is so much more than simply accepting Christ as your personal savior. Yes, we need to recognize Jesus’ role in God’s purpose, but that is just one of the first steps.
    Of course, as the world get more depraved, more and more will be accepted. Thus, unfortunately, this ad campaign will probably keep growing. This just reaffirms in my mind that we are living in the last days of this wicked old world. The Apostle Paul said that men would get worse near the end. What was once in the closet is out for good. Ugh!

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