Lubbock, TX – A billboard depicting a tattooed Jesus Christ has some religious Texas residents on edge, despite the fact that the website behind the advertisement offers a message of faith.
The billboard, hosted by the website Jesustattoo.org, is posted along a West Lubbock highway, and has believers up in arms. So much so, that some have demanded the billboard be taken down over its potentially blasphemous content.
“I don’t like the picture. I think it’s very derogatory,” a local told CBS affiliate KEYE-TV. “I’m thinking it’s more blasphemous, negative,” said another.
The website shows a video (below) which portrays Jesus Christ as a tattoo artist who allows several individuals to approach him to reveal their “sinful” markings. For instance, one woman has a tattoo reading “self righteous” on her chest while a disabled boy has one reading “outcast” scrawled on his.
Some have defended the tattooed Jesus billboard, arguing that the website offers a faith-affirming and encouraging message. David Wilson, a senior pastor at Southcrest Baptist Church in Lubbock, complimented the Jesus Tattoo group for their clever ministry strategy.
“I thought that it was cleverly done because, basically, it’s a visual of Jesus taking the sins of people and covering them and taking them from an outcast or something and giving them a new start, which is what the gospel is about,” he said.
If people can get past the initial shock, Wilson said, they’ll find a very uplifting message.
“I looked it up, and I said … this is perfect because it just draws people in here,” he said.
A rep for the group said that controversy was the idea, and that they wanted to get people talking.
“The message is a simple one, Jesus’s love is transformative. He loves us unconditionally and no matter what you’ve been marked with, faith in Him and love for others will transform us,” said Ashleigh Sawyer, the groups spokesperson.
“We welcome the controversy because we understand that a dialogue on the issue is the best way to spread the message,” she said.
You can watch the video behind the Tattooed Jesus billboard below, and let us know what you think of the controversy in the comments.