First Baptist Church of Dallas was forced to take down two billboards advertising his upcoming sermon, “America is a Christian Nation.” Pastor Robert Jeffress says the day after the billboards went up, the Dallas Morning News published two articles characterizing their content as “hateful” and “divisive.” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings was quoted in one of the articles.
Jeffress says the articles were sent to the company that created the billboards, Outfront Media, which ended up taking them down and canceling its contract with First Baptist Dallas. The company pointed to the Dallas Morning News articles and classified the advertisements as “anger-provoking.”
Now, Jeffress is questioning Rawlings and the city of Dallas.
“Let’s be very clear: We do not object to the billboard company’s right to refuse to post our message,” Jeffress said. “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,” Jeffress added.
Scott Goldstein, a spokesman from Rawlings’ office, said 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,” Goldstein said.
Outfront Media denied there was any link between the mayor’s remarks and the revocation, saying that it pulled its approval after a flood of complaints about the “divisive” message.
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,” Jeffress said. “The message will present the historical evidence for the bedrock of faith upon which America was founded.”
“The reason those on the Left do not want people to hear my message is that they know the historical evidence is on my side that America was founded on the principles of the Christian faith,” Jeffress said. “We will not be deterred as we defend the foundational values of our country.”
“It should greatly concern people of any faith when those in the press or government proactively seek to defeat, censor or silence any religious message with which they disagree,” Jeffress said.
“‘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,” he went on.
More billboards to go up
Since cutting ties with Outfront Media, Jeffress revealed they have contracted with another company to put up 20 digital billboards in the Dallas area.
Meanwhile, Jeffress 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,” he said.
- CBN and other wire services