DALLAS — First Baptist Church of Dallas, one of the nation’s largest churches, found itself under attack last week as a New-York-based company canceled its contract with the church and removed billboards it deemed “anger provoking.” This is the message that was so offensive that the billboards were removed just two days after posting: “America Is a Christian Nation.”
The billboards promoted the church’s “June 24, the purpose of which, according to Senior Pastor Robert Jeffress, is to “celebrate freedom as Americans and our freedom in Christ with patriotic worship and a sermon I’ve titled, ‘America is a Christian nation.’” According to Jeffress, “the message will present the historical evidence for the bedrock of faith upon which America was founded.” Students of history will recognize these words “America is a Christian Nation” did not originate with Jeffress but came from the words of both , the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; and , who explicitly described America as a Christian nation in a Supreme Court ruling.” event on the morning of
A day after the billboards were posted, the Dallas Morning News issued two articles critical of First Baptist Dallas and Dr. Jeffress. One of the articles essentially characterized the very idea that America could be termed a Christian nation as hateful and divisive. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, quoted in the article, furthered this characterization. This story was forwarded to the headquarters of the billboard company, Outfront Media, which canceled the contract with the church and removed the billboards the next day. When pressed for a reason for their decision, the billboard company pointed to the Dallas Morning News article and classified the words, “America is a Christian Nation” as “anger provoking,” and even refused the church’s offer to recast the title of the message in the form of a question: “Is America a Christian Nation?”.
When asked to comment, Jeffress said, “We support the right of businesses to refuse service to customers based on religious conviction, but 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. I would not object to someone placing a billboard that said, ‘America is NOT a Christian Nation’ or ‘America is a Muslim Nation.’ 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. Regardless, we will not be deterred as we defend the foundational values of our country. I invite people of all faiths to investigate this truth by joining us at First Baptist Dallas for Freedom Sunday, on June 24, to celebrate with us and hear the message some do not want you to hear, ‘America is a Christian Nation.’”
The ranks of those uniting to suppress this message have grown to include “Metroplex Atheists,” a branch of “American Atheists,” who have announced they will be at First Baptist Dallas on June 24 to protest Jeffress’ sermon.
Dr. Robert Jeffress is the pastor of the 13,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, a best-selling author of 24 books, and a nationally and internationally syndicated TV and radio host. Pathway to Victory, the church’s broadcast ministry, airs daily nationwide on more than 900 radio stations and is broadcast live to 195 countries. Pastor Robert Jeffress’ latest book, A Place Called Heaven: 10 Surprising Truths About Your Eternal Home, is available in bookstores everywhere. He is an evangelical adviser to the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
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