David Badash

What Would Jesus Do?

Filed By David Badash | August 14, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Media, The Movement
Tags: God, religious right, The Great Nationwide Kiss-In

How is it possible that so-called "Christian" and "Family" organizations are planning to protest an event that was created to celebrate and affirm the right of all couples to share simple acts of affection - like a kiss?

That's right. The Religious Right is "warning" people about The Great Nationwide Kiss-In, and telling families to avoid accidentally bumping into Kiss-Ins! God forbid children see same-sex couples actually kiss! Worse, a group called "God Has a Better Way," sent an email to its followers inviting them to protest, stating, in part:

"We have decided to drop in on this "kiss-in" and declare the good news, preach repentance and faith, minister to those in need, reach out to everyone who will hear, shine the light in the midst of darkness, and worship the Lord together. Can you join us?"

And then there's The Illinois Family Institute, a "Christian" organization that "is an independent 501c(3) non-profit ministry dedicated to upholding and re-affirming marriage, family, life and liberty in Illinois." This week they wrote, in "Radical Gay Activists Plan 'Great Nationwide Kiss-In Events:'"

"What we hope is that the public would recover both a proper understanding of the immorality of homosexual acts and the courage to voice that belief, so that public disapproval will be strong enough to persuade homosexuals to voluntarily restrict their kissing to private venues. Many adults do not care to witness obscene and inappropriate kissing, and their children shouldn't have to."

Not only that, but in that same piece, The Illinois Family Institute compared same-sex kissing - kissing! - first to NAMBLA, then to incest, then to an orgy.

Here's what they said,

"An adult kissing a pre-pubescent child or a high school-age adolescent in a sexual or romantic manner is both obscene and inappropriate despite the protestations of the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) to the contrary.

Romantic or sexual kissing between two consenting adults who are in love and who are closely related by blood is both obscene and inappropriate despite the protestations of defenders of incest to the contrary.

Romantic or sexual kissing among "multi-partner" unions, like those profiled in a recent Newsweek article, are both obscene and inappropriate despite the protests of polyamorists to the contrary.

Romantic or sexual kissing between two people of the same biological sex is both obscene and inappropriate despite the voluble, vigorous, and often vitriolic protests of homosexuals to the contrary."

The Great Nationwide Kiss-In has been an incredible success. On Saturday, at exactly 2:00 PM EDT, The Great Nationwide Kiss-In will take place in 50 cities, across 31 states and territories, plus Canada. Thousands of people - gay, straight, bisexual, and transgender - will show up at parks, city halls, and other public spaces, and kiss the one they love.

We started The Great Nationwide Kiss-In, just four weeks ago, to have couples - gay and straight - gather in public and share a kiss with their loved one, to demonstrate that ALL people have the right to kiss the one they love, without fear of intimidation or incarceration. Because, as you know by now, same-sex couples have been harassed, detained, and even arrested, after kissing in public. And that is unacceptable.

Together with my friends Wilow Witte, the co-founder of Join The Impact, and fellow writer David Mailloux, of DYM-SUM, we crafted an event that specifically was designed to be a celebration, not a protest. And we made the conscious decision to NOT hold any of these Kiss-Ins near any house of worship, and especially to avoid Christian churches and Mormon temples, despite the fact that one recent event - in which all charges were dropped - involved the Mormon church pressing charges against a same-sex couple who was arrested after kissing on their property.

I have asked the more than four thousand people who signed up to participate in The Great Nationwide Kiss-In to turn the other cheek. I have asked everyone to ignore anyone who feels it is their religious obligation to protest an event that was created to help remind people that everyone has the right to demonstrate simple affection for their loved one.

There are people of faith and religious groups who support the rights of gay men and lesbians to form honest, legal, and loving families. I hope that these other so-called "Christian" groups, those that are so mired in hate and fear, those who choose to waste their time protesting simple acts of love, rather than ministering to those truly in need, those who choose lies over truth, I ask them to look inward, and upward, and ask, "What would Jesus do?"

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It's funny I came out 5 years ago, lived a totally faithful heterosexual life in NYC for many, many years. I'm lucky I guess because I show PDA with my boyfriend whenever I want and rarely get an eyebrow raised, but than again I'm really not looking because in my mind I really don't see any difference between kissing my ex-wife or current boyfriend. Hell when you wait 25 years you pretty much don't care (one of the only benefits, BTW). I know, I know but liberating all the same.

I absolutely like the "kiss-in" concept. I could not agree more that it should and most definitely be part of a societal norm, at some point it will be.

The organizations/churches know that the train has left the station and yes it will be arriving in their town soon.

Bottom line: get aboard or move out of the way and I mean that in the most loving and respectful way.

Jesus would kiss another guy just to make the point.

Here's an interesting quote from the man himself, "Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man."

Yup, I think Jesus would be lockin' lips along with everyone else!

twinkie1cat | August 15, 2009 1:31 AM

I had not thought about that verse as an affirmation of relationships before. Maybe that is why open and accepting churches are growing.

This is one Christian who loves the peaceful and loving nature of this "kiss-in." I know there are millions like me watching you. May there be lots of media coverage!

Regan DuCasse | August 14, 2009 8:49 PM

In a world where violence is used when a conflict arises...a kiss-in is a refreshing and MUCH needed show of exactly how a situation can and should be resolved.
The couple who got arrested were doing what ALL people should be doing.
Showing care, love, affection and closeness.
A kiss, like hand holding...nurtures the soul, and communicates even more.

Kudos to those who promoted this for another creative, peaceful and cheer inducing way to answer unfairness and hostility in the world.

IFI evidently has no answers for unfairness or hostility in the world, their damned selves!

twinkie1cat | August 15, 2009 1:51 AM

I hate when these right wing religious groups are called "Christian". They are as far from the walk of Jesus as Satan himself. They also hinder and even blaspheme the Holy Spirit when they offer salvation based on "cleaning" yourself up and changing to either abstinence or heterosexual activity, even going so far as to say that a person cannot be gay and saved. Jesus said WHOSOEVER COMES TO ME....

I believe the Illinois Family Institute was one of the anti gay groups affiliated with American Family Association (Donald Wildmon's group) and Focus on the Family (James Dobson's group) that was officially declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

We really need a word other than "Christian" for these groups when referring to them in the progressive press. Soiling the name of Christ is not Christian and it gives a bad name to real Christians and causes confusion in those who do not know enough yet to tell real Christians from fakes and haters. In short form I would call these groups "religious" or "religion based" or, when being derisive, "talibangelists". Usually I use the phrase "right wing politico-religionists" when they are trying to call conservative politics Christian. But I am deeply troubled by the word "Christian" being used to describe hate groups. The KKK also calls itself "Christian". A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. Following him is not religion (humankind reaching out to God) but relationship, (God reaching out to humankind). Jesus was not conservative although he was an observant Jew. He upset the status quo and got the Pharisee's panties in a big old wad. That is why they wanted to kill him. Jesus was radical left!

In response to "What would Jesus do?", Jesus would
be at this kiss-in.

I was raised in the Church of the Brethren which,
along with the Mennonites and Quakers, is one of the historic peace churches. The Jesus of my childhood is loving, extremely caring and there for everyone.

twinkie1cat | August 16, 2009 11:17 PM

Sounds like the churches you listed actually practiced Chrisitanity. After Katrina the Mennonites were also immediately fixing houses in Hattiesburg MS and came to the shelter and sang for the residents. This was immediate, before FEMA or anyone was doing anything.

Home | Mennonite Disaster Service
Volunteer network responding to those affected by disasters in Canada and the United States. History, FAQ, projects, programs, and news.
www.mds.mennonite.net/ - Cached - Similar

John Shields John Shields | August 15, 2009 9:55 AM

David, you have done an incredible job of 'conceptualizing' the Kiss-in as a proactive "event," turning the other cheek when people complain, and making this a celebration of love.

Not a protest, nor an act of defiance - but a simple moment in time to show our affection for those we love. Clear and concise communication, both to our loved ones - as well as the world at large.

I know how much a "labor of love" this has been for you, so you better plan on spending some quality time after that kiss of yours today...

And I'm betting the Mormon boys that knock on people's doors ALL the time will be taking today off.

Congrats on the Kiss-In. Next time one is done "in front of" "places of worship" if that is what you can call Mormon Churches and any others that spew hate, let me know. KnowThyNeighbor was very successful in 2005 when we led a statewide protest against churches in Massachusetts who were collecting signatures on "marriage Protection Sunday." Protest churches for specific attacks against our community are effective when they are protested by people living in the respective town. EXTREMELY effective.

"What would Jesus do?"

I think we know that from history. He would have the guts to protest in front of and inside of the churches. Like he was known to do...