A New York pastor held a kissing contest between married couples during a Sunday service as a way for him to illustrate that God created humans to experience the “fire of romance” and the positive benefits of locking lips.
Pastor Maurice Johnson of Winners Church in Queens began his message on “The Power and Pleasure of Romance” by reading verses from chapter two in Genesis and moved to quoting studies that showed that kissing is good for one’s heart and cholesterol level.
To help matters along, he also referred his congregation to the websites, “The Art of Kissing” and “Learn How to Kiss.”
“This society, especially the religious society, sometimes puts a shame on nakedness, on romance, on love, on kissing … They make it seems as if it should not be talked about in church, something that should not be displayed in our society,” Johnson told his congregation during his sermon earlier this month.
In addition to preparing his message from the Bible, he said that he found studies that show that any society that celebrates marriage, romance, and love is a “free and wholesome society.”
Johnson said he wants to shatter the idea that public displays of affection are wrong.
“God created a desire for every human, every man and every woman, the desire for love and romance and until you are in a relationship with the opposite sex you will never be fully satisfied because God said it is not good for man to be alone,” he said during the sermon. “God wants us to be in a marriage and experience the fire of romance.”
During his message, Johnson asked four married couples to approach the pulpit area and begin kissing as members of the church’s worship band played some R&B tunes, the New York Post reported.
The passionate kissing went on for five minutes and the winning couple was chosen by the loudest applause from the congregation, according to the Post. The winning couple received $50 to spend on a date night.
“Some people were like, ‘It seems strange to do at church,’” Johnson told the Post, “but they thought it was very creative.”
Johnson pointed to the fact that some failed marriages come as the result of spouses looking for a romantic spark, although he added that the action should not be an excuse for failure.
“Romance is central to the human culture and human existence,” he added during the sermon that is available for audio download on the church’s website.
Johnson founded Liberty Christian Center (now known as Winners Church) six years ago. The church’s mission is "to set at liberty those who are captive through the teaching of God's Word and the demonstration of His Spirit."