City orders 'Jesus is Lord' ads removed after receiving one complaint, says it invites hate messaging

The 'Jesus is Lord' ad as displayed on a bus stop bench.(Screenshot/KKTV 11 News video)

After receiving just one complaint from a resident, the City of Colorado Springs in Colorado told a church that it had to remove the word "Jesus" from its advertisements.

The Charis Christian Center has been running its "Jesus is Lord" ads for three years on transit benches all over the city.

"It's a nice way to get the word out; we believe that Jesus is a very positive message of faith," said Pastor Lawson Perdue, according to KKTV 11 News.

But the Colorado Springs City Transit Division thinks differently as it informed Perdue that the 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.

Later, the city transit office backtracked, saying the ads will be subjected to a review for the time being instead of banning them outright.

"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," according to CBS Denver.

It admitted "that it acted hastily in asking Pastor Perdue to change his messaging."

The division is now making a "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 division said the city attorney's office is working 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," the Transit Division said.

In a Facebook post, Perdue said the issue is not about not allowing the church to advertise but to bar them from advertising "Jesus."

He said it's an attack on the First Amendment rights, freedoms enjoyed by U.S. citizens and "on all who call on the name of Jesus: including, but not limited to: Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, and Charismatics."