A sign saying "Jesus Loves Osama" outside some churches in Australia drew criticism from the prime minister and other religious leaders on Thursday, though they conceded it was probably true according to Christian beliefs.
One sign outside the Central Baptist Church in downtown Sydney also had a smaller footnote saying "Jesus said: `Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.'" Several other churches in the city had similar signs urging prayers for Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida terrorist leader, according to local media.
A photograph of the sign was published in The Daily Telegraph newspaper on Thursday, prompting debate about whether it was a suitable message.
Prime Minister John Howard said something else would have been better. "I understand the Christian motivation of the Baptist church," he told reporters. "But I hope they will understand that a lot of Australians, including many Australian Christians, will think that the prayer priority of the church on this occasion could have been elsewhere."