Evangelist Franklin Graham has expressed frustration over the fact that "it's okay for everyone else to have freedom of speech except Christians" after a Colorado pastor was forced to remove his church's Jesus-related ads on public transit benches.
For the past three years, Charis Christian Center in west Colorado Springs has advertised on transit benches in the city, using various Jesus-related campaigns, such as "Jesus is Lord," "Celebrate Jesus," and "Experience Jesus."
However, on Tuesday, church pastor Lawson Perdue was told by Mountain Metro Transit after his contract expires on July 10 his advertisements will no longer be allowed to include Jesus because one person complained about the advertisements.
The agency reportedly told the church that if the name Jesus was allowed, hate messages would have to be allowed.
"Don't we have the freedom of speech in the United States of America?" Perdue asked during an interview with the Colorado Gazette. "Isn't that a Constitutional right?"
He added, "There's a lot of messages in the city that I'm opposed to personally, but I don't complain, because this is the United States of America."
In a Facebook post shared on Monday, Graham, the head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, pointed out America's double standard when it comes to Christianity and secular viewpoints.
"It seems it's okay for everyone else to have freedom of speech except Christians," he fumed. "What would you do if this happened in your town? Pray for Christians enduring discrimination right here in the United States, and let Pastor Perdue know that you're praying for him in the comments below."
Graham, who is touring all 50 state capitals this year to hold prayer rallies to encourage Christians to get involved in the political process and pray for America, warned that this country is in "serious trouble" and urged citizens to join him at upcoming events.
"The Bible says, 'every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father' (Philippians 2:11)," he concluded. "Everyone-complainers and skeptics included-will one day declare Jesus is Lord."
Meanwhile, Pastor Perdue said he has contacted the mayor's office and City Council for support, and he hopes the city changes its policy. He told the outlet he has reached out to Alliance Defending Freedom, a faith-based legal organization, for help.
"We believe that Jesus is a very positive message of faith, and we want to share that around our community," he said.