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Jesus loves Osama

Of course he does. What's the problem?

Outreach Media, a subsidiary of the non-denominational FEVA Ministries, produces a monthly series of colourful signs with attention-grabbing Christian messages, which it syndicates to churches around the country (mostly in Sydney, though I saw one in Newcastle recently).

Some examples of their handiwork, including a very clever Telstra parody, can be seen on their website. Last month, the theme, timed to coincide with the Ashes, was "Would you worship Jesus if he scored 10,000 Test runs?"

February's theme: "Jesus Loves Osama", together with a quote from Jesus' sermon on the mount:

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44)

Confronting? Yes, for a split second. Correct? Absolutely. Time for a media beat-up? You betcha!

John Howard, who defended people's right to say ridiculous things the other day, exercised that right himself yesterday, condemning the Baptist Church for praying for Osama bin Laden, saying their priorities should be elsewhere.

Or, as Associated Press called him in an article published worldwide, John Major.

The final word, however, needs to go to a Sydney religious icon - the Reverend Fred Nile, retired Methodist clergyman and current member of the NSW Upper House for the Christian Democrat Party (recently deregistered at national level). Nile, wearing his Christianity on his sleeve, told Australian Associated Press:

"I think it should be more something like, 'Jesus wants Bin Laden brought to justice'"

Fiery Fred also said that saying "Jesus Loves Osama" was like saying Jesus Loves Hitler or Jesus Loves Pol Pot.

Yes it is, Fred. He does love them. Don't you understand that? He even loves you!