The decision to ban a billboard promoting a new faith-based movie near the upcoming Republican National Convention in Cleveland, while allowing an atheist group to place a large sign near the "Welcome to Cleveland" sign that greets nominees shows the "dangerous place" the United States is in, the Rev. Franklin Graham said Saturday.
"They said God is 'too incendiary,'" Graham, the evangelist son of the Rev. Billy Graham, posted on his Facebook page
, commenting on a story from Breitbart News
about the decision on his post. "That's the message a billboard company in Cleveland, Ohio, is sending just days before the city will host the Republican National Convention."
According to The Hollywood Reporter,
a local billboard company, Orange Barrel, told Pure Flix, the film's distributor, that the language on the billboard promoting the faith-based "God's Not Dead 2" was too "incendiary" and the advertisement could not go up."
The ad features a picture of the movie's star, Melissa Joan Hart, who acts as a teacher in the movie who is in trouble for invoking scripture in her classroom, and the slogan "I'd rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God."
Pure Flix had paid Orange Barrel $64,100 to drape the billboard over the side of one of Cleveland's downtown buildings.
But while the movie ad was nixed, the atheist group, Freedom from Religion Foundation, has been permitted to erect a large billboard near the city's welcome sign.
The group's billboard shows late the President Ronald Reagan and quotes him saying "we establish no religion in this country," taken from a speech he made to a Jewish temple in 1984.
The quote is one that is often posted in connection with Reagan, but actually, the president went on in the address to comment that "at the same time that our Constitution prohibits state establishment of religion, it protects the free exercise of all religions. And walking this fine line requires government to be strictly neutral. And government should not make it more difficult for Christians, Jews, Muslims, or other believing people to practice their faith."
Meanwhile, Graham ridiculed the decision to ban the sign on Saturday, asking if its slogan sounds "scandalous to you."
"The message sent by the billboard company is clear — It's okay to question, challenge, and even block Christians from the public square," said Graham. "This is just another sign (pun intended) of the dangerous place we are at as a nation."
Graham is asking followers to join him in prayer at noon Monday, live on Facebook through his page, at noon Eastern Standard Time before the Republican National Convention, and again on the following Monday when the Democratic National Convention opens.
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