Colorado church fights to keep ‘Jesus’ bus bench ads

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Twenty signs with the name – Jesus – across bus benches are spread all over Colorado Springs.

But Charis Christian Center’s senior pastor and founding pastor, Lawson Perdue, said a sole complaint about his advertisements may stop him from using the name Jesus.

“They told us that if we didn’t change our graphics, our contract wouldn’t be renewed and they would take all of our signs down on July 10th,” Perdue said.

The ad reads “Jesus is lord”.

Over the past three years, similar signs were used reading, “celebrate Jesus” and “experience Jesus”.

“They said, if we allow you to use the name of Jesus, then we must allow hate messaging,” Perdue said.

Perdue says this isn’t about his church. He’s calling this a fight for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

“This includes Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Charismatics. This includes many people and this is about our personal fate in Jesus Christ,” Perdue said.

Perdue says he contacted the Alliance Defending Freedom, a non-profit who agreed to take their case.

“We got a call this morning by the head of transit. And he said this is not his decision, this is not the mayor’s decision. And so, this is coming from somebody within Mountain Metro Transit,” Perdue said.

According to Perdue, the church has paid the city thousands for their ads over the years.

The contract for the church’s bus benches ads are up July 10th.

Here is Mountain Metro Transit’s full statement:

“The City of Colorado Springs is carefully reviewing the advertising policies of Mountain Metro Transit in light of the advertising by Pastor Lawson Perdue of the Charis Christian Center. The City takes First Amendment issues very seriously, and strives to fully comply with Constitutional Law. This commitment requires that advertisements and policies are regularly reviewed for content and legality. Mountain Metro Transit recognizes that it acted hastily in asking Pastor Perdue to change his messaging. The city attorney’s office is working diligently to ensure that the advertising policies comply with the law. During this review, no action will be taken and Mountain Metro Transit will continue Pastor Perdue’s advertisement as they currently appear.”

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