Evangelist Greg Laurie said that he wants to “redouble” his efforts after SoCal Harvest organizers were told by the Irvine Company that a series of advertising banners at Fashion Island in Newport Beach needed to be removed.
The banners had depicted Laurie holding a Bible in context of promoting the 3-day evangelistic event “provoked complaints and one serious threat” therefore mandating removal, CBN News reported Monday.
“This only makes me want to redouble our efforts to proclaim the life-changing Gospel, which is found of course in the Bible,” stated Laurie via an email to TogetherLA from Harvest. “The Gospel gives us hope for this life and the afterlife. More people need to hear it!”
The arrangement to have the the large banners at the iconic outdoor mall in Orange County was contracted between Harvest Crusades and the Irvine Company, according to CBN. The annual Harvest event led by Laurie and well known worship artists is held at Angel Stadium and scheduled for August 17-19.
The Irvine Company received “multiple complaints, including a ‘serious threat,'” claiming it was the religious imagery on the ads that was the root of the issue, according to CBN. The Irvine Company reportedly requested that the billboards be modified. It was reported that Harvest complied with the request and resubmitted new ad artwork without the image of the Bible. “Ultimately however, the changes were not enough to resolve the situation as the Irvine Company’s decided to completely remove all the advertisements and billboards for the crusade,” CBN reported.
John Collins, Harvest Executive Director said there was nothing overtly religious about the promotional banners. The ads used for the Fashion Island did not contain images of a cross or religious symbols.
“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 explained to CBN.
“We’re certainly not upset with The Irvine Company. Obviously they’re catching heat for allowing us to run these ads,” Collins said. “We feel it is just unfortunate that people are complaining. 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.”