Tennessee Gay Groups Battle Church’s Anti-LGBT Ad With Food Drive

Rather than let a nasty full-page ad in a local paper spark an in-kind retaliation, a group of Memphis LGBT organizations are banding together for a charity food drive.

A spot paid for by a group calling itself the Memphis churches of Christ appeared in Sunday and Tuesday’s edition of The Commercial Appeal. Though made to look like a regular article, it quoted Bible verses and offered readers “a grim reminder of God’s hatred of the sin of homosexuality.”

Reportedly $15,000 was spent on the advertisement. That’s $15,000 that could have gone to housing the homeless, feeding the hungry and helping the sick—you know, things churches are supposed to do.

“It’s hard to watch churches and other religious organizations spending tithes and church offerings on hateful advertising rather than benefit their church members or assist those living in poverty in our city.” said the Tennessee Equality Project‘s Jonathan Cole.

Even local clergy are upset they’ve been swept up in this controversy: “On behalf of Memphis-area Churches of Christ, I’d like to say the following: disregard anyone claiming to speak for Churches of Christ,” said Highland Christian Church minister Chris Altrock. “…We have no formal superstructure, no official bishops, representatives or the like.  For one person or group to claim to speak for Churches of Christ is a bit like me claiming to speak for Memphis when I vote next Tuesday.”

Altrock added, “if I were going to take a page out in the Commercial Appeal, I’d probably speak of the transforming love of Jesus for all.”

But rather than waste money on a counter-ad, area advocacy groups decided to start a food drive benefiting the Mid-South Food Bank. “Our organizations have criticized churches who spend money to demean us by suggesting that they focus on caring for the poor and feeding the hungry,” said Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center director Will Batts. “In response to recent attacks on our community, we’re putting our money where our mouths are and the mouths of those who go hungry. We shall meet hatred with love for our friends and neighbors.”

We’re not big on turning the other cheek, but in this instance we have to commend these righteous gays. They’re more “Christian” than those who would seek to dehumanize them.

Despite issuing a statement defending his right to publish the ad, Commerical Appeal editor Chris Peck is reportedly pulling future editions of the spot until those responsible for it clearly identify themselves.

In the meantime, the drive runs through November 9 and items can be dropped off at the Mid-South Food Bank, 239 South Dudley Street in Memphis. If you’re not local, donations can still be made online, even after the current campaign ends.



Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #advertising #anti-gaydiscrimination #chrisaltrock stories and more


  • 2eo

    This is how you beat them. By bringing attention to the poverty they force on billions and how people are better without the jackboot of religion weighing them down. They revel in suffering and hate.

    The religious who push their suffering on others are the worst people of all. They are too a man murderers, pillagers and the worst of humanity.

  • Daniel-Reader

    Working on Sunday is punishable by death according to the bible, no exceptions, but these churches paid money to have the newspaper work on Sunday – talk about staggering hypocrisy. The churches also probably pay their pastors to work on Sunday too. Jesus never took a paycheck. Jesus said hypocrites and pharisees can never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Sad these religious leaders have been corrupted by money, which Jesus specifically warned against when he condemned merchants for ruining churches. These churches need to end the hypocrisy if anyone is supposed to believe they are actually Christians.

  • Ste

    @Daniel-Reader: Sunday isn’t the Sabbath. Saturday is. And Christians aren’t under the Old Covenant laws. However, your general point of hypocrisy in the church is duly noted.

  • Daniel-Reader

    Actually Saturday is Sabbath for Jews, Sunday is Sabbath for Christians, and the death penalty for working on the Sabbath is enforcement of the Second Commandment, keeping the Sabbath holy, and Christians are still bound to uphold the Commandments.

  • GreenmanTN

    “Despite issuing a statement defending his right to publish the ad, Commerical Appeal editor Chris Peck….”

    Oh? I wonder if he would have posted an advertisement (posing as a new article) titled “The Truth About Jews” or “The Truth About Blacks”? I seriously doubt it.

  • Scott Johansen

    It’s amusing (and disturbing) to me some members of our community (usually those who want to desperately be accepted by their ultra religious family) will go out of their way to lecture the gay community about how “not all of religion is bad”….Uhhh, yeah! a lot of it is! A LOT of homophobia in society is as a DIRECT result of religion. Millions of Christians have started a war against us. They truly want to see us destroyed, yet we’re told to accept Christianity and dare not speak ill of it? I SURE AS HECK WILL! If

    I close with this: If Christianity were targeting people of different races as much as it is gays, not one person would step up and defend Christianity or members of it and say “Oh, it’s just so wrong to paint all of the Church as bad, even though many members of it call for the death and burning of hell of black people” but since the churches hate today is directed at us gays, we’re told to never speak in generalizations against organized religion and Christianity. WHY NOT? They have literally been responsible for killing millions upon millions of gay people from the start of history. What we need to do is the exact opposite. Inform people on all the destructive elements of the Church and ask them to challenge it more often. Not sheepishly sit and nod to the pulpit.

  • Reality101

    Can you imagine if the gay community attacked the religious community in such hostile manners. Protested outside their funerals. Protested with signs about them burning in their death as they left Church. Voted on their equality and civil rights. Every single member of our community would be judged for it. It really baffles me that LGBT don’t call out religion more often, and expose the hypocritical elements of the church and the church ilk. I personally feel we’ve been too soft in our approach. We need to be more vocal and expressing the fact that a religion has never and should never dictate lives. Religion is mostly just false fairy tales, which a person has every right to adopt in their own miserable lives, but this whole notion of bending backwards to appease religious people has gotten out of hand. And as another poster noted, has cost way too many gay lives. For some reason, we’ve always been told throughout time that we must obey and never question religion and religious folk…….why not?

  • Ray

    “Despite issuing a statement defending his right to publish the ad…..”

    It always amuses me when people trot out the “I have a right to…” argument. And, granted, in this case the publisher is simply selling ad space.

    But the right to publish, or the right to speak or write in general, is not and was never the issue. People in America are entitled to speak or write whatever ugliness they wish. Instead of defending their “right to be hateful” they need to defend the hate itself. And we need to stop allowing the hateful to steer the discussion toward their “right to speak”, and force them back on track to defend what they are saying. If we are the ones being targeted it is up to us to frame the discussion where it actually belong.

  • kw

    @Ste: Yo talk about the “Old covenant laws” but find me a christian who does not still follow the 10 commandments. And Jesus said that he did not come to change the law. It’s only christians, uncomfortable with the contradiction between god of love, and utter bastard in the old testament, who draw this distinction to try to rationalise their continued membership of this ridiculous cult.

  • Freddie27

    @Daniel-Reader: The death penalty for working on the Sabbath is mentioned only in the Old Testament, not the New. The Sabbath in the Old Testament was a Saturday, and is a Sunday only in the New Testament. Further, Jesus fulfilling the prophecy ended the Old Covenant and the Jewish laws, such as not working on the Sabbath and not eating pork, are no longer compulsory.

  • kw

    @Freddie27: Matthew 5:17 Jesus said “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”

    There is no “new covenant”. It’s the same exact bigotry wrapped up in a PC veneer of fluffy love.

    Why do you think that Revelations finishes with the same apocalyptic vision of the end times? Its all threats and hatred, but repackaged, for people who even 2000 years ago, were becoming sophisticated enough to recognise the irreconcilability of a god of love who did all the things attributed to him in the old testament.

  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    Certainly this is major-league offensive.

    Minor league offensive: Queerty’s on-going assault on my brain — FFS Queerty, it is either “Groups Battle” or “Group Battles” — NEVER, dolts, is it “Groups Battles”.

  • Reality101

    @Freddie27: Blah blah blah! You’re part of a cult. No water was turned to wine and no virgin gave birth to a child. And the world didn’t just muster up in days. Read a Science book and please stop talking about fairy tales as though they are a matter of fact.

  • petensfo

    Scott Johansen & Reality 101.. two really good comments that I will incorporate into my discussions about religious intolerance. I agree completely that ‘churches’ should no longer be given a pass for their bigotry, and church members for their ambivalent responses. I so often hear that the parish is not the hierarchy and that we’re all nice people, etc, etc. It’s insufferable.

    Who retains their membership at a club that would not allow blacks or jews? No one. They need to find a different church.

    I don’t know what you both are up to in your daily lives, but each of you needs a larger voice in our struggle for equality.

  • kw

    @petensfo: I’m truly horrified to see that Romney is now running neck and neck with Oama. It’s a matter of global humiliation that the most militarily poerful nation on earth is seriously considering electing a man who believes that Joseph Smith was telling the truth, and that he will inherit his own planet when he dies. It’s truly terrifying to see such stupidity with its finger on the button.

  • Memguy

    I am a former member of this organization and was actually surprised to see this as they normally are not into the political scene. Not sure of their motives but just want to make a point here. I am so sick of organized churches harping on this one issue trying to blame homosexuality on the fall of the world, the family and every other cause they can think of. I would love all of us to start holdiing them accountable for the entire Bible and come back on one key issue you never hear them talk about. Our divorce rate in this country is insane. Single parents after divorce, deadbeat parents that abandon kids afer divorce, illegitimate kids, etc. In reality, this probably is the cause of what they say is the fall of the American family. We cant have kids in reality. Look at the school system where so many kids do not have both parents working together to ensure their children are mo itored and held a accountable, involved with their activities and how divorce or illegitimacy impacts a childs growing up years to bring them to adulthood to become a responsible member of society. I challenge the gay community to respond to this type of situation with something like “ok, when you and the rest of these groups will ban and attack those that are divorced for any other reason then adultery, those that have premarital sex, publish ads that say things like “Are you divorced?” “Was it for adultery” “if not and you are remarried then yiu are living in adultery and causing your new husband or wife to commit adultery!” Or premarital sex is wrong and could lead to illegitimacy. Things like this. Rally and call them on their hypocrisy and make THEM accountable for something that is CLEAR as you can get istraight out of Jesus’ mouth. He clearly states the ONlY acceptable reason for divorce is adultery. Tell them when they starti preaching this, putting ads to this affect they might not look so hypocritical. But we all know they wont ever do this because it might offend some of those that put those checks in the basket each Sunday and cause them to leave the organization. Bottom line – Jesus says that “on that day there will be many who say to Him “but Lord, didnt we prophesy in your name, do, that in your name, etc etc?” Jesus says “depart from Me, I never knew you.” I dont think He will be talking to murderers, rapists, child molesters, robbers, and others of that sort. Maybe He will be talking to those truly do not see themselves for their own hypocrisy. Again , dont come back in anger at them. Hold them accountable for ALL of God’s Word. How many members of their flock are living in adultery? And they openly accept them as card carrying members!!! Its sad but almost hysterical they so cannot see themselves. Hmmm, is it possible they really do NOT know Jesus? I rest my case.

Comments are closed.