A handful of Colorado Springs bus stops stirred up controversy recently after Mountain Metro Transit almost banned certain advertising on the bus stop benches. The benches in question say "Jesus is Lord" in large white letters.
In light of the debate, we took to the streets to see what people had to say about the stops in their communities.
Juan works at a tattoo shop near the "Jesus is Lord" bus stop on Colorado and 21st in Old Colorado City. He asked that we not use his last name. He's worked at the shop for six years, and he's never liked the bus stop outside his workplace.
"I just thought it was goofy, that 'Jesus' on a bus stop," he said. "There's no reason to advertise Jesus when everybody already knows who he is."
The advertisements were purchased by Pastor Lawson Perdue, who leads the Charis Christian Center near Garden of the Gods road. When the Mountain Metro Transit system told him they may not renew his advertising contract, he said in a statement on his Facebook page that his first amendment rights were being infringed upon.
We visited three different "Jesus is Lord" bus stops: the one in Old Colorado City, one on West Garden of the Gods road, and one on Centennial Boulevard. We talked to people at each bus stop, and, unlike Juan, most didn't mind them.
Garret Thorpe works at Corepower Yoga across the street from the "Jesus is Lord" bus stop on Garden of the Gods Road. Before we talked, he hadn't noticed it.
Now that he knows it exists, Thorpe says the advertising doesn't bother him.
"I'm fine with it," Thorpe says. "I'm not Christian, I'm not Muslim, I'm not any religion, but I feel Jesus' thought was love and kindness, and I'm definitely for that."
Norma Martinez moved to Colorado Springs from New Mexico about 30 years ago. She lives down the street from the "Jesus is Lord" bus stop in Old Colorado City. We found her cleaning windows outside her home.
She hadn't noticed the stop either. But she says there's a lot of negativity in her neighborhood, and, as a Catholic, she's glad to see that message.
"To me that's maybe giving some people a little bit of hope to where they believe in Jesus," she says.
In an official statement, Mountain Metro Transit System admits it "acted hastily in asking Pastor Perdue to change his advertising." It also says the Jesus is Lord benches will continue to be permitted.
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