NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — A real estate developer in Southern California has removed a billboard containing a Bible and preaching imagery from outside a shopping mall after reportedly receiving a number of complaints, as well as a threat, in objection to the religious nature of the sign.
Harvest Christian Fellowship, led by Greg Laurie, had recently contacted the Irvine Company, which owns the upscale Newport Beach shopping mall known as Fashion Island, to advertise for the upcoming annual Harvest Crusade. Irvine Company is owned by Howard Bren, an Episcopalian who is stated to be the richest real estate developer in the United States.
The advertisement simply read “SoCal Harvest, Greg Laurie” and included the date, location, names of musicians appearing and the web address for the event. It also featured an image of Laurie raising a Bible in the air while preaching into a microphone.
However, the Irvine Company soon contacted the Harvest Crusade to advise that there had been multiple complaints and even a threat over the advertisement, which was featured on a billboard near the parking garage. A smaller banner was also displayed at the Irvine Spectrum shopping center.
According to reports, the Irvine Company requested that the advertisements be altered, and Laurie’s staff complied, sending a revised design that did not include the Bible in the graphic. The Irvine Company, however, decided to take the billboard and banner down altogether and refund Harvest’s money.
“We changed it to a more simplified ad that
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