COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The city of Colorado Springs and a local church are in a battle over using the word “Jesus” on city advertisements.
Pastor Lawson Perdue and Charis Christian Center have been advertising their “Jesus campaign” on dozens of bus benches throughout the city for three years. They were told last week if they want to continue advertising they could no longer use the word “Jesus.”
“I was very upset,” Perdue said. “That’s bigger than my church, that’s bigger than me.”
The church’s contract with Mountain Metro Transit, the department in charge of selling advertisements for the city, expires on July 10.
Perdue was told if his church was allowed to use the word Jesus, then the Mountain Metro Transit would also have to allow hate messaging. He added that he has received countless messages from people of all beliefs, and even a non-profit legal team willing to help in the fight.
“Some people stopped by today and said we’re agnostic, we’re atheists but we’re upset about this because this is about the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans,” Perdue said.
The city released a statement Monday.
“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.”
In the meantime, the ads will stay. Whether or not you’ll see them in the future is still up in the air.
“I’ll fight all the way to the Supreme Court if that’s what it takes,” Perdue said. “I don’t like to fight. I didn’t start this one, but I’ll finish it.”