The city of Colorado Springs said Monday it is reviewing the advertising policies of Mountain Metro Transit after a local pastor was told his advertisements on bus benches in Colorado Springs would be barred if they use the name Jesus.
Mountain Metro Transit recognizes that it acted "hastily" in dealing with the pastor and his advertisements, the city said.
The city attorney is working to ensure the advertisements comply with the law and no action regarding the advertisements will take place until the attorney finishes his review, the city said.
Lawson Perdue, a pastor at Charis Christian Center in west Colorado Springs for 15 years, said he was told if the name Jesus was allowed, hate messages would have to be allowed, too.
The city issued the following statement on Monday:
"The City of Colorado Springs is carefully reviewing the advertising policies of Mountain Metro Transit in light of the advertising by Pastor Lawson Perdue of the Charis Christian Center. The City takes First Amendment issues very seriously, and strives to fully comply with Constitutional Law. This commitment requires that advertisements and policies are regularly reviewed for content and legality. Mountain Metro Transit recognizes that it acted hastily in asking Pastor Perdue to change his messaging. The city attorney's office is working diligently to ensure that the advertising policies comply with the law. During this review, no action will be taken and Mountain Metro Transit will continue Pastor Perdue's advertisement as they currently appear."
Perdue said his church has been advertising on transit benches in the city for the past three years, using various Jesus-related campaigns. Two years ago benches said "Celebrate Jesus," last year benches said "Experience Jesus," and now benches say "Jesus is Lord."
Last week 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. Perdue said his church has ads on 20 benches with the "Jesus is Lord" campaign on them. He said he planned to renew his contract with Jesus in future advertisements as well.