Promoting Sexual by Design, Part I: Vandalism & hate mail...
(NOTE FROM JAKE MENTZEL: The following post was written by Jason Chen with some additions from me. Jason is a Clearnote Pastors College Student and just started his second year as an intern with Clearnote Campus Fellowship. He is in charge of outreach efforts on the campus of IU and was primarily responsible for the marketing and promotion of Sexual by Design.)
On February 18th during a Clearnote Campus Fellowship (CNCF) leadership meeting I got the job of marketing Doug Wilson's "Sexual by Design" lecture series. We developed a marketing campaign including posters, fliers, chalk advertisements, and press releases. A request was submitted to the Clearnote design team for promotional materials (posters, fliers, and a website banner) and a theme was developed. Seventeen bus posters, three-hundred vertical posters, and four thousand fliers were printed.
Next we put together a chalking campaign to lead our marketing efforts. Students chalked messages advertising the event across campus sidewalks for three weeks prior to the event. The first message was simple and straightforward and only meant to pique students' interest. We chalked male and female biological signs with a plus sign between them and the question "Find out why, 4/13." We included the CNCF website www.jesusatiu.com.
Opposition began immediately...
Before the end of our first day of chalking students were seen erasing our chalk with water and there were confrontations in which our students were accused of chalking hateful messages. Think about what the students chalked! That text was hate speech?
Beyond erasing our messages students chalked protest messages next to ours. One consisted of a large rainbow with the message, "Why discriminate? Love everyone!" One of our poster ads was defaced with a pentagram and another had the male and female symbols altered into androgynous symbols. Within one day almost every one of our messages had been defaced or erased entirely.
Immediately, we began receiving email and Facebook messages accusing us of hatred and bigotry. Here are a couple examples:
I would just like to say how disgusted I am with your sidewalk art around campus. YOU are the reason for homophobia, and YOU are why so many homosexual kids feel the need to kill themselves. You disgust me.
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I just have a comment on the chalk signs I've been seeing around campus. I don't understand how you expect to spread a message of love via spreading hate. In the words of Gandhi, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
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I became really good friends and (especially my freshman year) was involved in IUCCC/CRU. I really hope people look hard at what the guest lecturer is talking about. He is talking about condemning those for a choice they did not make. Homosexuality is not something that should be so openly condemned. It is not something that can be fixed (without unethical psychological scarring, which at that point is not full-proof). It takes a lot of nerve to think you are better than somebody because of who they love.
I have a feeling that some sort of protest will happen, and it will certainly be peaceful. Even though I'm not homosexual, I know people who are, and they are just like us. There is not a single thing different about them.
God loves everybody from every walk of life, as long as they live in his name. I have a strong feeling there are a lot of homosexual Christians, and they love God, and God loves them back!
At this point we still hadn't hung up our posters, yet. We hadn't handed out fliers. We hadn't sent out a press release. All we had done was put the chalk messages you see above on sidewalks around campus. And the hatred we received in response—what hypocrisy! Needless to say, we knew we hit a nerve, and we hadn't even really begun promoting things yet...