When defining 'divisive' helps First Baptist Church

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
 | 
Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

First Baptist's "Christian Nation" billboardIt's not quite loaves and the fishes but a prominent Dallas church saw an ad campaign increase tenfold despite opposition over its message.

First Baptist Church and its pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, were renting two billboards in the city to publicize a June 24, patriotic-themed Sunday sermon.

Apparently the sermon's suggestion that "America is a Christian nation" troubled a local newspaper columnist, and the June 7 op-ed caught the attention of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.  

"The billboards were already put up," Jeffress tells OneNewsNow, "and then The Dallas Morning News did a very critical article about these billboards saying that the words 'America is a Christian Nation' are divisive and hateful."

Despite the loss of two billboards, Jeffress reports that a second company has come forward and offered space on 20 billboards across the city.

Jeffress says he supports the legal right of company OutFront Media to control their own billboards but he objects to the mayor's comments which likely influenced the business decision.

A follow-up story by The Dallas Morning News reports that OutFront Media denied Rawlins and the op-ed influenced its decision, but a spokesman confirmed the company made its decision a day after the column published and after it received a flood of complaints about the "divisive" message.  

The columnist described Jeffress as one of the city's "most divisive voices" and Mayor Rawlings told the newspaper that Dallas is a city of love, not hate.

Jeffress, meanwhile, tells OneNewsNow he has yet to see The Dallas Morning News complain about billboards promoting strip clubs or a Christmas-themed billboard, paid from by an atheist group, mocking the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ.

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