A human rights nonprofit organization is fighting hate in Mississippi with the perfect weapon — humor, in the form of a hilarious billboard.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1523 on Friday, titled the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” which allows business and religious organizations to discriminate based on sexual orientation.
The comprehensive law permits people with religious objections to refuse wedding services to same-sex or transgender couples. It also encourages employers to cite religion to determine work place policies on grooming, dress code, bathroom access and locker room privilege.
The anti-LGBT bill has stirred a lot of controversy in its wake from homosexual as well as human rights communities, including Planting Peace, which advocates for LGBT rights and is involved in a number of humanitarian and environmental causes.
The organization, in an attempt to ridicule the highly prejudiced legislature, erected a Jesus-bearing poster in Jackson, which depicts a simple and humorous message: “Guys, I said I hate figs and to love thy neighbor.”
“In Matthew 21: 18-22, Jesus literally curses a fig tree. But we don’t see a lot of 'God Hates Figs' protests or cries for stronger legislation regulating figs,” Planting Peace's statement reads. “It’s heartbreaking to see in this day and age groups are still fighting so hard to restrict basic human rights of others based on claims of religious freedom. We want to be sure the opposing voice is heard.”
The billboard sign is a clear reference to the golden rule of treating others as one would like to be treated and has called the out the religion-toting governor as a hypocrite by implying the bill runs counter to Christianity’s most fundamental teachings.
Planting Peace also owns a rainbow-painted house known as “Equality House” directly across from the headquarters of Westboro Baptist Church, a known hate group. Last June, the civil rights organization performed a mock gay wedding between Gandalf and Dumbledore in front of the house, in response to a cyberbattle between Harry Potter author JK Rowling and the Westboro group.
Meanwhile, the state of Mississippi has made no bones about the fact that it does not tolerate anyone who is different from its ideal version. Their “Confederate Heritage Month” is proof of the fact that Mississippi is not just anti-gay but racist as well.
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Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Jason Miczek / Reuters