A theologically conservative church based in the Cleveland, Ohio, area has denounced a flier distributed at Cleveland State University that called on LGBT students to kill themselves.
Earlier this month, a flier that states "Follow your fellow f------" and lists LGBT suicide statistics was distributed at CSU's campus. The school's president, Ronald Berkman, garnered controversy for claiming that it was protected by the First Amendment.
Cleveland Baptist Church Senior Pastor Kevin Folger, whose congregation often visits the campus to evangelize, denounced the message of the flier.
In an interview with The Christian Post on Monday, Pastor Folger described the flier as "disturbing" and counterproductive in witnessing to the LGBT community.
"Trying to have a relationship with someone so that you are given the opportunity to communicate the love of Christ and the gospel of Jesus Christ is a better way than just putting inflammatory information out there," said Folger.
While opposed to the flier's content, Folger also told CP that he believed the handout was still protected by the freedom of speech.
Founded in August 1958, Cleveland Baptist Church describes itself as "an independent, fundamental and premillennial Baptist church" that uses "the King James Version of the Bible in all of our Sunday school classes and from the pulpit."
"What our community, our city and our world needs is Jesus Christ. We believe that tomorrow's future begins with the teaching and training of today's youth," notes its website.
"Our desire is for each child to know Christ personally and to increase that relationship through a deeper understanding of God's Word."
Cleveland Baptist Church's condemnation of the flier was echoed by the theologically liberal United Church of Christ denomination, which is based in Cleveland.
In an advertisement released in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Monday, the UCC leadership expressed their commitment "to the dismantling of all forms of hatred because hate is antithetical to the gospel of Jesus the Christ."
"It is appalling to believe the moral fiber of our society has eroded to such depths that anyone would even conceive of such graphics, much less post them in public space at a university," stated the UCC.
"Yet our country's rising acceptance of intolerance of difference in legislation, political rhetoric, and public protest creates a breeding ground for such acts of cowardice."