A local pastor said he was told his advertisements on bus benches in Colorado Springs would be disallowed if they use the name Jesus.

Lawson Perdue, a pastor at Charis Christian Center in west Colorado Springs for 15 years, said he was told if the name Jesus was allowed, hate messages would have to be allowed, too.

Perdue said his church has been advertising on transit benches in the city for the past three years, using various Jesus-related campaigns. Two years ago benches said “Celebrate Jesus,” last year benches said “Experience Jesus,” and now benches say “Jesus is Lord.”

On Tuesday, Perdue was told by Mountain Metro Transit after his contract expires on July 10 his advertisements will no longer be allowed to include Jesus because one person complained about the advertisements.

Perdue said his church has ads on 20 benches with the “Jesus is Lord” campaign on them. He said he planned to renew his contract with Jesus in future advertisements as well.

“Don’t we have the freedom of speech in the United States of America?” Perdue said Friday. “Isn’t that a Constitutional right?”

Mountain Metro Transit said in a statement, Mountain Metro Transit said its advertising policy is being reviewed in relation to the First Amendment.

Spokeswoman Vicki McCann said Mountain Metro Transit is working with the city attorney’s office to determine if the advertising policy will be changed.

Perdue said he has contacted the mayor’s office and City Council for support, and he hopes the city changes its policy. Perdue said he has reached out to Alliance Defending Freedom, a faith-based legal organization, for help.

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