National Edition

Billboard of tattooed Jesus sparks mixed reaction

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 15 2013 2:30 p.m. MDT

Creators of the jesustattoo.org website are using unconventional methods to share their message.

jesustattoo.org

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A Texas-based billboard image and accompanying video displaying a version of Jesus with tattoos has raised mixed reactions across the Lone Star state, according to ABC News.

The image — which has found it’s a way to 59 billboards across Lubbock, Texas, according to The Christian Post — features Jesus wearing a crown of thorns inked with the words “outcast,” “addicted” and “jealous," among others.

Some residents were upset by the image, but the group that created it said there was to malicious intent. The group said on its website, jesustattoo.org, that its members were “humbled by the love of Jesus. We are not a church. We are not selling anything. We encourage you to tell as many people as possible. That’s it."

Featured prominently on the group's website is a nearly 6-minute video titled “Jesus Tattoo,” where a bearded and shaggy-haired man, who is suggested as being Jesus, enters a tattoo parlor, examines visitors’ tattoos and begins to remove and change the body art from the others in the video.

“He doesn’t want us defined by the marks of our past,” says an off-camera narrator late on the video.

"The message is a simple one, Jesus' love is transformative,” said Ashleigh Sawyer, media relations coordinator for Jesus Tattoo, to The Christian Post. He loves us unconditionally and no matter what you've been marked with, faith in Him and love for others will transform us."

ABC News reported some Christian groups are in full support of the billboard because of its seemingly positive message.

“I thought that it was cleverly done because, basically, it’s a visual of Jesus taking the sins of people and covering them and taking them from an outcast or something and giving them a new start, which is what the gospel is about,” David Wilson, a senior pastor at Southcrest Baptist Church in Lubbock, told ABC News.

But not all reviews have been positive, especially among the population in Lubbock. Some have condemned the billboard and video.

“New billboards depicting Jesus Christ with tattoos all over his body are really (upsetting) some people in Texas,” reported The Vibe.

Lubbock’s local TV station, KEYE TV, reported the image wasn’t receiving positive reviews from some of the city’s citizens, saying that some residents think the image is “blasphemous.”

Conversely, a response from the Catholic League took a positive stance on the video.

“The video shows how Jesus forgives and transforms the life of sinners,” reads the website. “It also shows how Jesus loves those who have been rejected by society, offering them hope. Indeed, the six-minute video shows how the promise of salvation awaits those who follow Jesus. As such, it is a positive and quite moving statement."

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com

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