A Southern California mall has forced evangelist Greg Laurie to remove billboards advertising the upcoming Harvest outreach, claiming they had received numerous complaints and a “serious threat.”
The billboards were promoting the upcoming SoCal Harvest Crusade and portrayed Laurie holding a Bible. The Aug. 17 to 19 crusade is expected to draw tens of thousands of people to Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, CA, contracted the Irvine Company to advertise the crusade, which included large billboards promoting the event at Fashion Island, an outdoor mall in Orange County.
The promotional displays featured Laurie holding a Bible along with photographs of MercyMe, Phil Wickham and other Christian musicians.
After insisting that the religious imagery on the ads caused the complaints, Harvest revised the billboards and resubmitted the artwork without the image of the Bible.
The Irvine Company decided that the changes were not enough to resolve the situation and pulled all the advertisements and billboards for the crusade.
“There was nothing overtly religious about it,” John Collins, Harvest Executive Director told CBN News.
According to Collins the Bible in Laurie’s hand did not have a cross, religious symbols or even the word “Bible” on 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 said.
“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,” Collins told CBN News. “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.”
— CNJ staff report