After numerous complaints and one “serious threat,” according to the real estate company sponsoring him, a Christian evangelist was forced to pull down billboards advertising an upcoming outreach in Southern California.
Greg Laurie was shown on the billboards, which were posted at Fashion Island in Orange County, holding a Bible, advertising his upcoming "Harvest" outreach, according to the Christian Broadcasting Network.
Laurie and Harvest Crusade had contracted the Irvine Company to publicize Laurie’s program which is scheduled for August 17-19 at Angel Stadium; tens of thousands of people are expected to fill the stadium. But the Irvine Company started receiving complaints, prompting them to alter the image and remove the Bible, which was interesting because the Bible had no cross, religious symbols or even the word “Bible” inscribed on it.
Even that was not enough; the company ultimately removed all the advertisements and billboards for the crusade.
John Collins, Harvest Executive Director told CBN News, "There was nothing overtly religious about it. We changed it to a more simplified ad that simply said 'Harvest,' giving the dates and some of the musical artists that are going to be with us. Then they came back and said they just wanted the ads completely removed and they refunded us.”
He added, "We're certainly not upset with The Irvine Company. Obviously, they're catching heat for allowing us to run these ads. We feel it is just unfortunate that people are complaining. It's sad that our culture is at this degree of intolerance. ... There's such intolerance against Christianity that we aren't allowed to state that or to publicly advertise this event. That's amazing."
The crusade usually attracts between 90,000 and 100,000 people.
Collins concluded, "There's many positive things that occur throughout the weekend and we're just mystified that we can't advertise this event.”
Laurie wrote on his blog:
If you look closely at the book I am holding up, it does not say “Bible.” There is no cross on it. Yet, the image of someone holding a book up is now offensive to some. (It is indeed a Bible.) … Everybody needs to just relax a little bit. I see images on billboards and displays in stores that I find offensive all the time. I do not complain or boycott. I just think as Christians we ought to have “equal time” and a voice in the marketplace.