The church sign lacked both originality and insight:

“God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve” and “Marriage is between a man and a woman.”

It is the sign’s thoughtless sarcasm, not just its antigay sentiment, that raised debate in Clinton, Ill.

Senior pastor Roger Cox defended the sign at First Baptist Church, saying it was “biblically based” and that “people should love the person but hate the sin.” But where does Cox find support, in the Bible or in any definition of love, for a public, flippant declaration that “Steve” was not made by God? Cox does not say.

There are respectful and freedom-loving methods to express opposition to homosexual behavior, and then there are insulting, threatening and theocratic methods. This particular church chose the latter approach. A truly hospitable approach to issues around sexual orientation, marriage, and American freedoms would have required quite a bit more effort, thought — and inclusion. Not sloganeering.

Beyond the debated concern over Illinois church’s incivility, there is the issue of constitutional liberties. It comes as no surprise to me that, while First Baptist would amend the U.S. constitution to discriminate against gay Americans, none of the gay-tolerant people quoted for the news article appear to have called for censorship against the church.

Thanks to Rev. Ralph of Okeechobee, Fla., for the heads-up.

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