A billboard along I-71 in Brunswick has rekindled an old debate. It was put up by a church, and says 'Homosexuality is a sin.'
It is impossible to miss - a massive billboard in the backyard of the Southwest Baptist Church. A backyard that faces a busy stretch of I-71. Thousands of cars pass by every day. Pastor Greg Davis says the message is not one of hate.
"It is not a hateful message at all," Pastor Davis said. "We feel that silence on the issue is probably the most hateful thing you can do."
No doubt silence won't follow the sign going up. A year ago, an identical one went up and was vandalized by someone with a blade.
"It even grieves us even to see many young people who are being persuaded that way," the Pastor said.
"You use the word persuaded," said Reporter Paul Orlousky.
"Yes," replied Pastor Davis.
"All right, well some would say, well, I was born that way," said Orlousky.
"We disagree," Pastor Davis replied. "It is not a civil rights issue, it is not a birth issue, it is a choice and a choice God can give victory over."
The pastor says there are too many influences on young people pushing them away from traditional church values. He blames the movies, media and others. He promises to talk to anyone in a civil manner, and will pray with those who he describes as struggling with homosexuality. But is there something else going on?
There is not a temple, mosque, or church of any denomination that can operate without funding. No doubt the billboard is generating a lot of interest. But the pastor says the bottom line here is not the bottom line.
He says no. His congregation is growing and planning an expansion but doesn't attribute it to the homosexuality stand or an anti-abortion one he put up during the summer.
"We don't hate people, we just feel the lifestyle is destructive," he said.
Whether the sign encourages the constructive conversation the pastor wants or more destruction remains to be seen.
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730 North Summit Street