A series of billboards showing Jesus covered in tattoos has upset many Christians living in the Texas city where the posters have been put up.
The billboards, which show Jesus with the sins of those who have come to him tattooed across his body, have been condemned as blasphemous by some West Lubbock residents.
However, the grassroots group behind the campaign say the posters were meant to spread a positive message and get people talking.
Sins: A controversial Christian campaign has shocked residents in a Texas city
The billboards feature Jesus wearing a crown of thorns and with his arms outstretched. Across his bare chest and arms words such as ‘outcast’, ‘addicted’, ‘jealous’ and ‘hatred’ have been tattooed on his skin.
‘I don’t like the picture. I think it’s very derogatory,’ one resident told ABC News.
Another said: ‘I’m thinking it’s more blasphemous, negative.’
‘I wish them the best’: Inspirational moment man, 27, who was beaten almost to death by five teens forgives his attackers as he slowly recovers from brain injuries
Governor signs law to let California midwives will be able to perform abortions
The poster directs people to the website Jesustattoo.org, where a video shows people coming to Jesus to have their sins cleansed.
During the six-minute video, a woman seen having her tattoo of ‘self righteous’ changed to ‘humbled’ and a boy on crutches having ‘outcast’ changed to ‘accepted’ are among those who visit the tattoo parlor.
Absorbed: The tattoo artist’s back is revealed to show the negative messages appearing on his skin
The video then shows the negative tattoos appearing on the body of Jesus, whose skin had been unblemished at the start of the film.
While some find the poster campaign in poor taste, the pastor of the city’s Southcrest Baptist Church has praised its 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 said.
‘This is perfect because it just draws people in here,’ he added.
The group behind the campaign, who have erected more than 50 billboards across Lubbock in the past nine days, say they are not trying sell anything.
Ashleigh Sawyer, the group’s spokesman, said: ‘The message is a simple one, Jesus’s love is transformative. He loves us unconditionally and no matter what you’ve been marked with, faith in Him and love for others will transform us.’
Message: The group behind the campaign say they are trying to spread a message of hope
She told the Christian Post the group, which is not affiliated with any organization, accepted some may find the images of tattoos on Jesus to be in poor taste, but defended the reasons behind the campaign.
‘We welcome the controversy because we understand that a dialogue on the issue is the best way to spread the message,’ Ms Sawyer said.
The group plans to extend its billboard campaign to other regions.