Cleveland Billboards Call Out GOP’s Homophobia and Religious Discrimination July 15, 2016

Cleveland Billboards Call Out GOP’s Homophobia and Religious Discrimination

When Republicans gather for their convention in Cleveland next week, they might be (un)pleasantly surprised by their surroundings.

Two organizations have put up billboards in Cleveland that attack the GOP’s homophobia and its refusal to separate church and state — and one of them displays an, uh, intimate moment between two Republican men.

The first billboard, erected by the Freedom from Religion Foundation and which we’ve already covered on this site, shows a picture of Ronald Reagan in front of an American flag pattern and reads “We establish no religion in this country… Church and state are, and must remain, separate.”

The second, from the pro-LGBT organization Planting Peace, which owns the Equality House across the street from Westboro Baptist Church, shows an illustration of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz about to kiss. The cheeky caption reads “Love Trumps Hate. End Homophobia.”

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In this report, Aaron Jackson, President of Planting Peace, said the billboard is a direct response to the Republican party and the messages of hate it sends to marginalised groups — particularly the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

What Donald, Ted and the Republican party either fail to realize, or realize and just don’t seem to care about, is that their words and actions toward our LGBT family — especially LGBT children — have meaning and impact. LGBT children hear these messages telling them they are nothing but second class citizens and are left feeling broken or ‘less than’.

As you may recall, the GOP’s proposed platform is the most socially conservative of all time, calling for politics to be governed by “God-given, natural rights,” suggesting the Bible be taught in public schools, condemning same-sex couples and families, and advocating for ex-gay conversion therapy for minors.

Jackson said:

When children are dying because of negative messages, then it’s time to change the message. Planting Peace calls for the immediate change in the Republican party platform with regard to our LGBT family and LGBT rights. Never again shall a negative, hateful message be uttered in the name of ‘religious freedom.’ We are calling for action that brings full, fundamental rights to the LGBT community, and a narrative that empowers LGBT people to live and love freely.

Planting Peace has sponsored other political billboards in the past, many calling out political bigotry surrounding rights for LGBT individuals. The organisation previously sponsored a billboard in North Carolina blasting the anti-queer House Bill 2, another in Mississippi in response to the state’s “religious liberty” legislation and a third in the hometown of anti-same sex marriage clerk Kim Davis.

Also worth noting is that a billboard for the DVD release of God’s Not Dead 2, another terrible, preachy Christian movie, was rejected by the billboard company and therefore will not be displayed in Cleveland. It would have featured a picture of Melissa Joan Hart alongside the message “I’d rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.”

Orange Barrel [Media] told Pure Flix, the distributor, it didn’t like the “judged by God” message, calling it “too political” and “way too incendiary,” according to emails obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. On another occasion, insiders said the billboard company complained that even the title of the film was considered problematic.

Unfortunately for Congressional Republicans, their fear of judgment by God has no place in the legislative process. Welcome to Cleveland, GOP. There’s no hiding your bigotry anymore.

(via The Freethinker)


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