United States – A Dallas, Texas billboard claiming America to be a Christian nation was removed after numerous complaints.
Mike Rawlings, the Mayor of Dallas, heavily criticised the billboard. The politician was particularly incensed, saying love, and not hate, binds the city. He said the sign represents a strain of religiosity he does not follow.
The mayor said such comments would never come out of Jesus Christ and insisted that Jesus Christ would be inclusionary and not exclusionary. He said he was brought up with the belief of being proud of oneself without diminishing others.
Prior to its removal, the billboard sat at the exit of Lemmon Avenue. It promoted Christian patriotism and celebrated it.
Robert Jeffress, the Senior Pastor of the mega-church located in the city’s inner areas defended this billboard. He said the removal of the advertisement was blown out of proportion by Mayor Rawlings and the media. Jeffress said Outfront Media, the billboard company, cited a news report for taking down the advertisement.
However, Outfront Media said on June 18 that neither Rawlings nor the media had a role to play in the removal of the ad.
Pastor Jeffress declined to meet the press but informed Fox News that the sermon about being a “Christian nation,” was supposedly named after a quote by John Jay, the Founding Father. The name provided, the pastor surmised is, “simply my recounting the historical evidence for the Christian foundation of our country.”
The media came down heavily on the billboard message. They said such signs do not mirror a metropolis which wants to include all residents.
One editorial said that what Jeffress says does not shock the mainstream American, and another pointed out the pastor even said,
“America is not a church where everyone should be welcomed regardless of race and background.”
Jeffress said Outfront Media called the church authorities after the media outcry to say they were taking down the billboards the next day.
“I want to make it clear: We respect the right of the billboard company not to propagate a message they aren’t comfortable with,” Jeffress said.
Although Outfront Media’s contact says billboards that receive complaints are removed at the advertiser’s cost, the First Baptist Church was given a full refund.
Sources: World Religion News
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