A small church in Toledo, Ohio is trying to spread a big message — that "Being gay is a gift from God." Those are the words that grace a massive digital billboard sponsored by the Central United Methodist Church and they're sticking by them. According to an article in ToledoBlade.com:
Toledo Rev. Bill Barnard, Central’s part-time pastor, said the billboard message will be linked to a four-week sermon series, and the overall campaign goal is “to make a leap beyond tolerance.”
“Members of the congregation have experienced places and times where being lesbian or gay was tolerated — kind of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell, I know God forgives you,’” Barnard said. “We’re saying, ‘This is the way God created you. There’s nothing to forgive.’ “
Cue shooting stars, rainbows and Glee-like sing-a longs of Lady Gaga songs, because they're totally embracing the "Born This Way" mantra. United Methodist plans to keep the billboard up for as long as they can afford it — they've already paid $1,500 bucks for a one-month commitment.
This is just the latest LGBT-friendly initiative on behalf of the church. United Methodist has been a member of the Reconciling Ministries Network, a national grass-roots organization of congregations that support LGBT rights, since 1984. While United Methodist is a bit of an anomaly for a Christian institution, it's beyond refreshing to see such vocal support from a typically oppositional force. Way to combat the Pat Robertsons of the world, Toledo!