Religious ads cause controversy
Ads planted all around Colorado Springs are causing some controversy. They say “Jesus is Lord” with the name of the church that bought the ad space. It's big, it's bold, and now the city of Colorado Springs says: it's breaking the rules.
When we asked the city when, or if, they were planning to take any down, they told us “it’s being reviewed.” They said none of the ads have been taken down as of yet.
A look at the advertisements, and you’ll realize you've probably seen them around town. Lawson Perdue is the pastor of Charis Christian Center in Colorado Springs.
He said for three years they've had this same advertisement on city buses and bus benches.
"It's a nice way to get the word out; we believe that Jesus is a very positive message of faith," Perdue said.
Earlier this week, he said the Colorado Springs City Transit Division told him his ads had to go.
"I asked them why we could no longer use the name of Jesus. They said it’s because, ‘If you use the name of Jesus, we must allow hate messaging,’" Perdue said.
According to the Transit Division, it was a recent complaint about the ads that put the current advertising policy under review.
In a written statement, they said, “a recent citizen complaint about certain advertising on bus benches has caused City Transit staff to undertake careful review of both the advertising and Transit’s current advertising policy in relation to the requirements of the 1st Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The Establishment Clause prohibits the endorsement of a specific religion or its tenets. Transit is working with the Office of the City Attorney concerning the matter and Transit’s advertising policy going forward.”
Lawson said he was told there's no problem if he uses the name of his church, just not the name Jesus.
Perdue said he's ready and willing to fight this. He said they've already talked to a national law firm who has agreed to take their case.