David L. Miller is no stranger to using unique ways to promote the gospel. The man behind the controversial "Jesus Tattoo" movement recently announced he will launch a new campaign, "Death Row Jesus," on Wednesday to spread the message that God was treated as the "worse criminal" while on earth.
Last year, Miller's "Little Pencil" organization erected 59 billboards throughout Lubbock, Texas, depicting the image of Jesus Christ clad in tattoos. This time, his campaign will incorporate digital video advertisements that will launch in major cities throughout the U.S.
"When people think about Jesus, they don't think about him being on death row, but if you think about what he did when he was on earth, that's really the experience he had," Miller told Lubbock's NBC affiliate KBCD 11.
He continued, "We communicate very directly that Christ became the worst criminal in history when he took our mistakes on himself. The second message is we are all equally undeserving of God's grace."
In the video, Christ is depicted in an orange prison jumpsuit and beaten to the ground. In a separate portion of the video, Christ is shown dying on a cross while other inmates in prison are being set free.
Miller says the funding for the video advertisements was raised through merchandise sales from the previous campaign, while adding that he is not out to make a profit.
"Corporations spend an enormous amount of money marketing whatever their product is and there is nothing wrong with that," said Miller. "We just think in this case we have a much better product and one that's everlasting, life-changing, and so it's certainly worthy of whatever we invest in it."
Although Miller originally attempted to remain anonymous "so people would focus on the message," he was forced into the spotlight when Lubbock Independent School District denied Miller's request to put a tattooed Jesus advertisement on the Lowrey Field jumbotron during high school football games.
The tattoos were the words "addicted" and "depressed," among other negative descriptions on Jesus' chest and arms, but the message behind them was that Jesus' love can change people despite their labels.
At the time, Miller filed a lawsuit claiming his freedom of speech rights had been violated. He later clarified:
"They initially accepted it and then subsequently rejected the ad. I'm not mad at LISD at all; it's not personal to me. It's really the idea that any time there's some infringement of speech or there's some action that's taken that denies someone's rights, you often see various entities get involved," Miller said.
"But it's interesting that someone's religious speech or their first amendment rights in this case, we believe they've been violated. When it involves religious speech people aren't quick to stand up for it," he continued.
Miller's Little Pencil organization was founded about a year ago. The group's name was inspired by a Mother Teresa quote: "I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.