Good Hope, Alabama is a small town with small town values. In Cullman County you can’t legally buy beer. Daystar Church, which had grown dramatically under pastor Jerry Lawson, ran up against the sensibilities of this conservative north Alabama community by focusing a month-long series on sex. To advertise this series the church put on a blue billboard along highway 69 a drawing of a bride and groom with the web address “GreatSexGodsWay.com.” Let me repeat that slowly!
City Hall had a few complaints about the church’s sexy signs from a handful of people. Pastor Lawson said that people were missing the point. He wanted parents to talk to their children about sex before they learned too much immorality from TV or playground buddies. He said the sermons were more than a marketing technique for the church. The church needed to be out front on the topic of sex because even kids’ TV shows depict illicit relationships and homosexuality.
One of the ironies of the controversial series, which coincided with Valentine’s Day, was that the sermons were as straight-laced as they get. The series taught that God intends sex to be enjoyed solely within a heterosexual marriage, and that anything else—adultery, pornography, homosexuality, even ‘sexual arousal’ outside of marriage—is sin.
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