After a slew of complaints, Outfront Media has taken down billboards in Dallas proclaiming that “America is a Christian Nation.”
The billboards were purchased by First Baptist Church of Dallas, pastored by Robert Jeffress, to promote the church’s upcoming “Freedom Sunday.” According to the church’s website, the event is designed to “Celebrate our freedom as Americans and our freedom in Christ with patriotic worship and a special message from Dr. Robert Jeffress, ‘America is a Christian Nation.'”
I want to invite you to join me at First Baptist Dallas for #FreedomSunday on June 24th! We will celebrate our freedom as Americans and our freedom in Christ. I will deliver a special message titled, "America is a Christian Nation." Learn more at https://t.co/r1OsUrmeHH. pic.twitter.com/J5EVDhknZK
— Dr. Robert Jeffress (@robertjeffress) June 3, 2018
After news of “Freedom Sunday” became public, a group called Metroplex Atheists planned a protest. The group explained the reason for the protest on their Facebook page:
Following First Baptist Church of Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress announcement [of] his upcoming sermon series “America is a Christian nation”, Metroplex Atheists, a local partner of American Atheists, will protest at the first Baptist church of Dallas on Sunday, June 24th, from 10-11 AM.
The idea that America is a Christian nation is a myth and spreads an exclusionary false message that creates division in our country. The United States is a free nation founded on a secular Constitution that includes freedom of religion. This embodies unity and diversity for both believers and non-believers.
Not just atheists should be concerned about this as Jeffress has a history of hateful statements about Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Catholics, and Hindus. His narrow definition of “Christianity” seems to only include those he personally judges as politically and religiously worthy.
Not to be outdone, Dallas News columnist Robert Wilonsky chimed in with his opinion too: “Consider this your semi-regular reminder that Jeffress, Fox News’ go-to religious authority, is among this city’s most divisive voices. Nothing he says shocks me anymore.”
Look, I’m no fan of Robert Jeffress, but his claim that “America is a Christian nation” is one of the least shocking things that I’ll hear over the course of my life. Likewise, hearing that an atheist group is planning a protest of the event does not shock me. What’s more, reflecting on it, I probably shouldn’t be shocked that a liberal writer clutches his pearls while feigning a post-shocked state because Jeffress believes that this country is a Christian nation. I mean, Wilonsky is claiming that Jeffress so frequently spews shocking statements that the shocking claim “America is a Christian nation” is no longer shocking.
Wilonsky has clutched his outrage pearls so tightly for so long that he can no longer clutch them. “Nothing [Jeffress] says shocks [Wilonsky] anymore.”
Evangelicals in this country have been wrongly claiming that America is a Christian nation for generations upon generations. Being allowed to be wrong without fear of reprisal has been a characteristic of this country. However, empowered by their increasingly 1984-ish playbook, liberals have sharpened their pitchforks and lit their torches as they embark on their chilling crusade of silencing anyone they disagree with. Frighteningly, it’s working.
It worked this time.
Bowing to the angry chants of the mob, the billboard company told First Baptist Church of Dallas that the billboards were “anger provoking.”
To his credit, Jeffress defended the company’s right to conduct their business the way they see fit. He did add:
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.”
If the left has their way, any expressions that they dislike will be silenced and punished. America may not be a Christian nation, but it’s apparently also not a nation that values the freedom of expression.