Pastor Robert Jeffress, one of Trump’s many crackpot advisers, is not a happy chappie because two billboards erected by his church in Dallas, Texas, have taken down for being ‘anger provoking’.
And there was anger, to be sure. According to this report, the day after the billboards went up, the Dallas Morning News published two articles characterising their content as “hateful” and “divisive.”
Jeffress says the articles were sent to the company that created the billboards, Outfront Media, which then decided to take them down and cancel its contract with First Baptist Dallas.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is quoted in one of the articles as saying:
I don’t mind someone being proud of the Christian tradition in America – it’s obviously there. But one of the strengths of Dallas is our faith-based community [and] it’s the strength that makes us a city of love versus a city of hate.
Then Metroplex Atheists weighed in, saying on Facebook:
Following First Baptist Church of Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress announcement his upcoming sermon series ‘America is a Christian nation’, Metroplex Atheists, a local partner of American Atheists, will protest at the first Baptist church of Dallas on Sunday, June 24th, from 10-11 AM.
The idea that America is a Christian nation is a myth and spreads an exclusionary false message that creates division in our country. The United States is a free nation founded on a secular Constitution that includes freedom of religion. This embodies unity and diversity for both believers and non-believers.
Not just atheists should be concerned about this as Jeffress has a history of hateful statements about Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Catholics, and Hindus. His narrow definition of ‘Christianity’ seems to only include those he personally judges as politically and religiously worthy.
Let’s be very clear: We do not object to the billboard company’s right to refuse to post our message. What we do object to is the city of Dallas, its mayor and any other officials indirectly interfering with our church’s right to publish its own message.
Our question is simply this: Did the city of Dallas directly or indirectly in any way threaten the billboard company? If so, I think that is action that is illegal.
Scott Goldstein, a spokesman from Rawlings’ office, told CBN News Rawlings had “no communication” with Outfront Media.
A Dallas Morning News reporter asked him his opinions about the billboard and he shared his thoughts. That was the extent of it.
The “America is a Christian Nation” sermon is part of the church’s “Freedom Sunday” which Jeffress says is based on Psalm 33:12 – “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”
The gist of my message this coming Sunday is to point out the historical evidence that, in fact, our nation was founded by Orthodox Christians who believed that the future of our nation’s well-being depended upon our adherence to Christian principles.
‘America is a Christian Nation’ did not come from me. It originated from John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, and was also found in two different Supreme Court rulings.
In a Fox News interview, Jeffress said of the Dallas mayor:
He does not have the right to weigh in on this, to disparage our church and to directly or indirectly influence the billboard company. We think Mayor Rawlings has been hostile to First Baptist Dallas.
Jeffress says that another company has offered to put up 20 billboards in the Dallas area. Meanwhile, he says he and First Baptist Dallas are expecting record attendance this Sunday.
I thank Mayor Rawlings and the Dallas Morning News for helping us promote our message.