When delegates arrive next week in Cleveland, Ohio, for the Republican Party’s national convention, they will be be confronted by two giant billboards calling on them to stop being so damned religious and homophobic.
According to this report, the first billboard, above, was erected by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and the second by Planting Peace, the non-profit organisation behind The Equality House, a rainbow-coloured abode located across the street from Westboro Baptist Church, in Topeka, Kansas.
The billboard, below, shows an illustration of Donald Trump poised to kiss Texas senator Ted Cruz beside a caption that reads “Love trumps Hate. End homophobia.”
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’.
The proposed GOP platform, which will come up for ratification by delegates at next week’s convention, is one of the most anti-LGBT in history. According to CNN:
It opposes same-sex marriage rights, supports efforts to restrict bathrooms to individuals’ birth gender and protects businesses who refuse services to individuals based on religious objections to gay marriage.
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.
What delegates will NOT be seeing is a pro-Christian message advertising the DVD release of God’s Not Dead 2. That’s because the billboard company, Orange Barrel Media, may have considered the the message it conveys needlessly provocative.
The 32 x 60 foot sign promoting this shitty little abomination of a movie would have been draped down one side of a large building in downtown Cleveland and was to feature a picture of Melissa Joan Hart, who plays a teacher in trouble for invoking scripture in the classroom. Alongside the image of the actress was the text:
I’d rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.
Orange Barrel 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.