Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

LGBT community focuses on feeding neighbors while churches waste money on hateful ads

Memphis, TN, November 1, 2012 — In the last week, an anonymous organization claiming the name "Memphis churches of Christ" placed two full-page advertisements in The Commercial Appeal attacking the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Sources tell us that Memphis churches of Christ paid around $15,000 to place these ads in Sunday's and Tuesday’s newspapers. A group by the same name placed similar anti-LGBT ads over the last eight years.

Jonathan Cole of Tennessee Equality Project observed: “The content of the ads is deeply offensive, but I remain a firm believer in the First Amendment right to free speech. While this group is entitled to say what they want, most people reject the divisiveness of the ad’s message because they support inclusion, fairness, decency, equality and diversity in Memphis. It’s hard to watch churches and other religious organizations spending tithes and church offerings on hateful advertising rather than benefiting their church members or assisting those living in poverty in our city.”

The recent ads moved PFLAG mother Lisa Kurtz-Crume to recall these famous words from Mohandas Gandhi: "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ."

A coalition of LGBT advocacy groups rejects the example set by this anonymous group."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 Will Batts, Executive Director of the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center. “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 call on everyone in the community of Memphis to show their love for their neighbors by making a donation of money or food to the Mid-South Food Bank between now and November 9, 2012.

Make a donation online at

Supporters may also give money or the following needed food items at the Mid-South Food Bank at 239 S. Dudley, Memphis, TN  38104, Mon-Thurs: 8 am - 5:00 pm  Friday: 8 am - Noon: canned meats, including tuna, stews, chicken and dumplings, chili, Spam, soups; Peanut butter; Canned fruits; Canned veggies; Canned 100% fruit juice and any non-perishable item (no glass containers).

The Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center will also accept the above food items between now and Nov. 9 at 892 South Cooper Street in Midtown. The center is open Monday-Friday from 2-9 pm.
Vanessa Rodley of Mid-South Pride encouraged people to participate in the food drive to support their Memphis neighbors: “Hunger can reach anyone and shows no discrimination. What affects one of us can easily affect all of us.”

Advocacy organizations supporting this food drive include

Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center  
Memphis Loves Gays
Mid-South Pride  
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays of Memphis (PFLAG)
Tennessee Equality Project’s Shelby County Committee

Click the above organizations to visit their website.

For more information:
Jonathan Cole - Tennessee Equality Project - 901-301-3306 - 

Will Batts - Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center - 901-278-6422 - 

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