Jansing and Co | March 16, 2012
>> led to rising questions over how extreme and divided the nation has become. and here's another instance. civil rights activists are outraged over this billboard. obviously it has a disturbing picture. and the line slaves obey your masters. and it was put up in a very racially diverse neighborhood in harris burg, pennsylvania. by an atheist group, that claims that the purpose of this is to show how evil the bible is. joe watkins is not only a former aide to president bush , but he's also pastor of the christ evangelical lutheran church in philadelphia. joe, good to see you. good morning.
>> good to see you, always, chris.
>> we should say the billboard was torn down after one day. now the pennsylvania human relations commission is investigating. one of the quotes was, if this had been detroit there would have been a riot. what's your reaction when you see this?
>> it's very hurtful. very mean spirited. this was written in ad 62. the institution of slavery well predated u.s. slavery. as far back as 1762 bc it was already an established institution. and the text they're talking about was men to tell people to put on the whole armor. to put on the armor of christ . to put on love and forgiveness and all the things associated with christ .
>> they say they want to draw attention to the state designation of 2012 as the year of the bible. the man behind the billboard tells us, and i'm quoting here. being a former ordained minister , it was versions like this that drove me to atheism.
>> they have the right to say what they believe. in this particular case it's very hurtful and very offensive to lots of people. lots of people living in the 21st century , hearing that and seeing that slant on the bible. the verse was meant to draw people to a higher good. to understand who christ is and to set their hearts and minds and things above, not on things on earth. he wrote it while he himself was almost a slave. he was a prisoner in prison. unjustly in prison. he wrote it saying i'm obeying my captors, the people imprisoning me. i want you, as christian people to have that mind, that kind of heart. it's unfortunate that anybody would take this verse out of context and use it to hurt people. especially people of color .
>> joe, i want to ask you the same question. and obviously this con textually very different. i think it's part of the larger narrative about where we are as a country and the the divisions and the kind of ways we treat each other. this is an atheist group planning more billboards. i don't know what they're going to look like. but they are very upset about this being the year of the bible. where do you put this, sort of the in the general conversation about where we are as a country?
>> it's a great point that you raise, chris. we are so divided as a country. unfortunately in politics today. they're so often driven by negative. by finding what divides us. by highlighting the bad things about the other person running for office. and that's a sad, sad reality. we don't celebrate the things that draw us together. we don't call people to look to the greater good or follow their angels. if people running for office did that, we would have a less divisive.