Mockup of the Bus Stop Bible Studies’ ad, since deleted from the organization’s website.
A large, electric-blue banner featuring an oddly tattooed youth and the question: “Does God care if I’m gay?” has been voluntarily removed by the Christian group behind the campaign after a flood of public complaints.
Bus Stop Bible Studies, whose stated mission is to put “God on every bus” in Canada, unveiled the ad on March 18 as part of an ongoing campaign featuring panels with twenty different “God questions” and a link to a website offering a corresponding answer to each. After receiving a number of complaints about the “Does God care…?” poster, the TTC sent the offending ad to its advertising review committee to evaluate whether the panels should remain posted. But, says TTC Director of Communications Brad Ross, “That point is moot now that Bus Stop Bible Studies has voluntarily decided to remove the ads.”
One of Bus Stop Bible Studies’ other ads on a streetcar. Photo by Justin Stayshyn.
Also removed: enough homophobic rhetoric from the organization’s website to make your head spin. Still preserved by Google’s cache, the site originally read, in part:
Why am I homosexual? Is there more than one reason for being homosexual?
Reason 1 – The fall of mankind. Death and decay came into the world when Adam sinned. Adam and Eve were created in perfection, “in the image of God”. As much as any other ‘imperfection’ can be found in creation, that is physical, mental or spiritual in nature, these imperfections are a result of the death and decay that came into the world many thousands of years ago ‘through one man’. In this case the responsibility for being homosexual cannot be directly blamed on the individual. [....]
Reason 2 – Refusing to know God. In Paul’s Letter to the Romans he explains how God will show his displeasure “…as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth.” that is those who have chosen to go against Him. The consequence of this is that “Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either—women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.” [....]
Are my responsibilities as a homosexual any different from heterosexuals?
We know from passages throughout Scripture that God hates homosexual acts BUT no more than any other sinful act. Some individuals seem to place homosexual acts in a special class – God does not. Sin is sin.
Homosexual activity is no better or worse than heterosexuals engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage. The Bible refers to these people as fornicators. [....]
Does God ‘heal’ homosexuals?
There is no evidence in Scripture that God ‘heals’ homosexuals any more or any less than any other ‘imperfection’.
Is AIDS God’s punishment against homosexuals?
No! Punishment is only effective if the one receiving the punishment is specifically aware that he or she is being punished. Someone who ends up in jail as a consequence of a robbery will know full well why he or she is going to prison because the judge will explicitly make the details known.
BUT, there are consequences to engaging in homosexual activity:
There is an old saying, “As you sow, so shall you reap.” In all things there are consequences for our actions; some for good and some for bad. Engaging in practices God specifically warns us against, whether heterosexual or homosexual, has consequences. It is unfortunate that one’s selfish freewill choices not only impact you but may impact those around you. A blood transfusion from an infected drug user or someone infected with AIDS (not necessarily a homosexual) because of sexual activity outside of a lifelong monogamous relationship, can lead to an innocent person’s death, i.e. the haemophiliac child who receives the AIDS virus through the infected blood.
God gave us the Ten Commandments, not as some omnipotent spoilsport who doesn’t want us to have any fun, but out of his deep and abiding love for us, to warn us against those things that which are inevitably harmful to our well-being. What parent will not caution their child in love, “Don’t touch that or you will get hurt!”? Ironically, AIDS is one disease that is 100% preventable – but this requires selfless, not selfish, living.
While Torontoist could not reach the group’s president, David Harrison, for comment, Ross said that Bus Stop Bible Studies’ request to remove the ads was made sometime between Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. As reported in the Star on Wednesday, the original content of the website was replaced yesterday with an apologetic dispatch that “It seems that the whole message of God’s justice and grace was being misinterpreted,” in addition to a note from the question’s alleged creator explaining that he “does not endorse or agree with the response” provided by Bus Stop Bible Studies, but “understand[s] the answer’s origin.”
According to Ross, it will take advertising agency CBS Outdoor a few days to completely remove the “Does God care if I’m gay?” ads from the vehicles. The other ads from Bus Stop Bible Studies’ question-and-answer campaign, however, will continue to be displayed on buses and streetcars citywide until November. We’re sure Ashley Madison thinks that’s fair.