June 27, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Pastor has his say on billboard, our readers have theirs online

Gazette readers took to their keyboards and smart phones Friday in response to a front-page story about a controversial billboard on Interstate 71.

The sign reads, “Homosexuality is a sin, but Christ can set you free.” The billboard is on Interstate 71 at the edge of the Southwest Baptist Church property line in Brunswick Hills Township.

Within the first hour the story appeared on The Gazette’s Facebook page, nearly 40 comments were posted.

“I like to see diversity, which includes this billboard,” Hannah Crouch wrote. “We all have our own opinions. If people don’t like it, they can look away.”

Reader Bryan Hausman said the billboard is an example of free speech.

“That said, I’d like to see another sign that says ‘Medina County: Some use Christ as a cover for their narrow-minded, self-righteous bigotry. Most of us do not. Welcome,’ “ he wrote.

Tracey Miller, a Medina resident, took personal offense to the message outlined by the church.

“Wow, I don’t remember reading anywhere in the Bible that Christ said it’s OK to judge and bully others,” she said. “I’m as straight as you can be and am still offended by this sign.”

Joanne Walton, of Cleveland, seemed to think Southwest Baptist Church simply is seeking attention.

“They did this before, they made the news, then they quieted down for awhile,” she wrote. “Now they must be craving the spotlight again, so up goes another controversial sign. Ignore it, and them!”

By 6 p.m., the story had received more than 65 comments, many debating religion and gay marriage.

The story also was posted to the Facebook page of The Gazette’s sister publication, The Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria, which recorded more than 115 comments by Friday evening.

Contact reporter Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazette.com.