}It's got punchy copy, for sure. But a billboard in Oregon is lacking in the subtlety department and, more important, in public supporters.
"The Pope is the Antichrist," it blares. "Free proof: www.anti-christ666.com." Catholics are distraught, of course, and are reaming Larry Weathers, a local barber, for placing the ad and Outdoor Media Dimensions in Medford for hosting it.
"This is not my fight. This is God's battle—it began 6,000 years ago," Weathers told WorldNet Daily. (Weathers is a member of a splinter group of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which has a history of anti-papal rhetoric.)
Steve Croft, a salesman for Outdoor Media, initially explained the company's thinking this way: "Just because we have an ad for George W. Bush for president doesn't mean we endorse him."
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has been planning an ad with the line "Outdoor Media Dimensions sponsors anti-Catholicism." That, along with hundreds of angry calls, is evidently taking its toll on Outdoor Media, which plans to honor Weathers' contract until May but then will wash its hands of him.
A weary receptionist at the company tells Shoptalk that the ad "merely reflects the opinion of Larry Weathers. It was a poor management decision on our behalf [to run it], and we apologize."