A billboard company in California has taken down an ad for an evangelist and refused to allow him to advertise on any more billboards – simply because he is holding a Bible and the image of the holy book “offended” people.
For nearly three decades, world-famous preacher Greg Laurie has been holding evangelistic crusades in Southern California, where he has converted tens of thousands of people to the Christian faith through his teachings.
This year’s SoCal Harvest hopefully will bring more of the same, but when the event takes place, it will not be credited to the Irvine Company, which is the owner of the Southern California mall called Fashion Island.
OneNewsNow reports: Laurie told Janet Mefferd on American Family Radio that he asked to put a billboard up at the shopping center.
“They signed off on the art – they printed it, they installed it and it was up … and it was great,” Laurie recalls. “And I took a few photos of it, and we posted it on social media.”
The ad featured a silhouette of Laurie holding a Bible in his hand – as if preaching – and it did not even have a cross or the word “Bible” on the book … it was just a silhouette.
However, Laurie soon got a call from Irvine Company, reporting they had received some complaints – and requesting that the image of the Bible be removed from the picture. The Christian leader says he made efforts to accommodate the request.
“We immediately gave them a new piece of art, which was totally generic – no image of a Bible,” Laurie recounts. “And then [on] the day of the installation, they came back and said, Well, we’re not going to put that up, and the other one’s coming down – and we’re not going to put up anything. They did refund our money.“
Given his evangelistic outreach’s history, Laurie has no concern that removing a couple of billboards is going to hurt SoCal Harvest much, but he is concerned about what it says about America’s culture at the moment.
“I’m not angry with the Irvine Company,” Laurie assures. “My concern is, ‘So, is this where we’re at in culture now?“
He then pointed to his advocacy of the First Amendment in America.
“I see ads all the time that offend,” Laurie asserted. “I see billboards for things that offend me, but I don’t boycott it and try to stop it – it’s free speech. And now, all of a sudden, I can’t even hold up a Bible, and more to the point – a black book?”