'We're gonna have to kill him'

The Rev. Vern Streeter holds a mailer that reads "We're gonna have to kill Him" Friday at Harvest Church in the Billings Heights. The church had planned to mail out 38,000 of the flyers until the United States Postal Service said no.

BRONTE WITTPENN, Gazette Staff

There's a part two to the "We're gonna have to kill Him," campaign launched by Harvest Church in mid-March that provoked some heated comments.

The Billings Heights church tried to send a flyer through the mail to alert people about its sermon series leading up to Easter. The United States Postal Service refused to mail the piece, which contained little information other than the sentence — an indirect reference to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ — and a website.

Instead, it was distributed as a newspaper insert, which caused an immediate reaction, said Leann Bennett, communications director for the church.

Planned from the beginning was a part two to the campaign, which will begin this coming week and continue unfolding next weekend. The sentence on the flyer is amended to say "We're gonna have to believe Him."

It is a continuation of the outreach, Bennett said, not a reaction to the initial outcry.

"There's been a lot of controversy on Facebook, both people defending our right to insert this because we're paying for it, and for freedom of speech, and angry people reaching out to us and leaving us angry messages, writing angry letters," Bennett said.

Some people called the church to make their unhappiness known, she said. They maxed out the voice mail of the pastor who was on call that weekend.

Altogether, the church got about 40 negative responses, Bennett said.

In addition to the second insert, the new wording will be seen on a billboard on the corner of First Avenue North and North 13th Street, and a banner on North Broadway.

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General Assignment and Health Care Reporter

General assignment and healthcare reporter at The Billings Gazette.