Australia PM questions Jesus Loves Osama sign

[Ad] Planning a vacation or trip? Book activities and Skip-The-Line tickets here.

Many Australians will question the priority of churches which have posted signs saying “Jesus loves Osama”, Prime Minister John Howard says.

Several churches, including Baptist churches, in inner-Sydney have the message on signs which also feature a Bible extract saying, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”.

“I understand the Christian motivation of the Baptist church,” Mr Howard told reporters today.

“But I hope they will understand that a lot of Australians, including many Australian Christians, will think that the prayer priority of the church on this occasion could have been elsewhere.”

The head of the Anglican church in New South Wales has said “there is a truth” to a Baptist parish’s billboard declaration that “Jesus loves Osama”, but love does not necessarily translate to approval.

The Central Baptist Church on George St in Sydney’s CBD yesterday defended the sign – outside its front doors and facing the street – and said it was designed to convey that Jesus Christ taught the importance of loving everyone.

The billboard also includes a quote from the Gospel Book of Matthew: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” It is reported that several other inner city churches have placed similar messages on their billboards.

Archbishop Peter Jensen, the head of the Anglican church, has said “there is a truth” in the parish’s message, but stressed that did not mean Jesus Christ approved of bin Laden or terrorist acts.

He has also said he would understand if people were offended by the billboard.

“I’m hesitant about it frankly, it’s a bit misleading,” Dr Jensen has said on Southern Cross radio.

“If I were a relative of one of the victims of Osama’s activities, I might take affront at this.”

Dr Jensen has said Jesus Christ did preach universal love, but there is a difference between love and approval.

“There is a truth in it (the message of the billboard),” he said.

“(But) what we’ve got to say is, Jesus doesn’t approve of Osama. It makes it sounds like, ‘Oh, Osama’s doing the right thing’,” he said.

Prime Minister John Howard has said churches displaying such a message might have their priorities askew.

“I understand the Christian motivation of the Baptist church,” Mr Howard has said.

“But I hope they will understand that a lot of Australians, including many Australian Christians, will think that the prayer priority of the church on this occasion could have been elsewhere.”

Compassion

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the parish, Hy Lam, said the billboard was merely intended to spread a Biblical message of peace and compassion.

“Osama is the head of terrorism. We are saying that Jesus Christ loves everyone in the world, even this man,” she said.

“The Bible says God loves everyone – even Osama bin Laden is included in that. All we are doing is sharing the gospel.”

Baptist Church spokeswoman Anne Cameron tried to distance herself from the sign, saying: “They are responsible for their own signage and it’s usually not that controversial.”

• Original title: Church hit over Osama

Possibly Related Products

Source

(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
AAP, via News.com.au, Australia
Feb. 1, 2007
www.news.com.au

More About This Subject

This post was last updated: Feb. 1, 2007