A Sad Day For America – American Atheists Forced To Remove Religious Billboards From Charlotte

Posted by Phil Ferguson on August 24th, 2012 – 25 Comments – Posted in Uncategorized

I hope we can get more details soon.  My concern is that this action will only encourage those that make the threats.  Let us put up more billboards and put video equipment in place so we can catch those that do property damage.

If there are threats to people the police and FBI should be involved.

Here is the news from American Atheists.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS REMOVES RELIGIOUS BILLBOARDS FROM CHARLOTTE

Large Volume of Threats by Email, Phone Ends Campaign to Question Faith in Politics

Cranford, NJ – American Atheists announced today that the billboards the organization had placed in Charlotte, NC, ahead of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, criticizing Christianity and Mormonism would be coming down weeks early.

“It is with regret that we tell our members and all of those who treasure free speech and the separation of religion and government that American Atheists and Adams Outdoor Advertising have mutually agreed to remove the billboards immediately,” said Amanda Knief, American Atheists’ Managing Director.

“No subject, no idea should be above scrutiny—and this includes religion in all forms,” Ms. Knief said. “We are saddened that by choosing to express our rights as atheists through questioning the religious beliefs of the men who want to be our president that our fellow citizens have responded with vitriol, threats, and hate speech against our staff, volunteers, and Adams Outdoor Advertising.”

Teresa MacBain, American Atheists’ Public Relations Director said, “It saddens me to think that our country is not a safe place for all people to publicly question religious belief. How can we grow as a nation when such censorship exists from our own citizens?”

Here are the full billboards.  Spread them around since they are coming down.

 

 

  1. Phil says:

    @Larry
    Your comment has been removed. I welcome you comments but do not want you to use the blog as a method of promoting your other activities. Please resubmit you comment with out links and phone numbers. Thank you.

  2. Trigger says:

    If you can’t get your way with reason and logic then use intimidation, hate, and violence.

    I think the absolute saddest part is that *everyone* should embrace criticism. The most difficult lesson I have had to learn as a college student is that criticism is the most useful tool you have for improving yourself.

    The ability to separate yourself from your ideas, your beliefs, and criticize them or have them criticized without taking it personally is the only way we can change, grow, and become a better society.

    The fact that people can’t even recognize *why* their religion is being criticized and that they can only respond with socially maladjusted responses is disheartening.

    • Grimli93 says:

      Thanks. What you said is impressive. I have not heard anyone (theist or atheist) use that much common sense in a long time. That being said, I don’t believe either way (for or against the idea of a god) I just believe in kindness and honor being the right way to lead one’s life. Lastly, have a great day, Trigger.

  3. ashley says:

    PRAISE GOD !! WE HATE THE SIN NOT THE SINNER :)

    • Chippy says:

      Yeah! The invisible sky man will love me soooooo much if I arbitrarily hate someone else’s actions!

  4. Rob says:

    Utterly shameful. Freedom of speech is dead.

  5. Jakob says:

    I see. So organized religions such as Christianity and Mormonism can leave their billboards all over town begging you to join, but Atheists can’t. Well I can see why that’s fair.

  6. Alex says:

    While I recognize that everybody should have a right to promote their beliefs, I feel like American Athiest could’ve seen this one coming. If they wanted to promote the religion, they could’ve taken a much different and less offensive approach. If there’s one thing we should have learned from the internet is insulting other religions does not help convert anybody. At all. Hopefully they take a more intellectual approach next time they try something like this.

    • eleanor says:

      I don’t think anyone should ‘promote’ their beliefs. That ‘promotion’ leads to trespassing, having to call police to remove people from your property, and worse things the farther from the United States you get.
      Your faith should be private, or within your church, temple, circle, or home. Your faith should be within you, and show with your actions, not be shown by trying to force everyone to believe what your pastor, Rabbi, high preistess, or whatever you call your spiritual leader, tells you is what’s right to believe.
      I get so sick of people talking about their religion like it’s the only one to follow, like they know the secrets to the universe and the afterlife. HOW THE F*** DO WE KNOW??? we’re not dead, and we’re not omniscient. All we can do is make sense out of chaos our own way and hope it helps us be a good person.
      I’m also sick of religions telling people that they don’t have to try to do good works, or be good people, because all that’s needed is giving your life to a god and you’re forgiven everything. How does that help our society?

    • Mike says:

      “Promote the religion?” By definition, atheism is not a religion. Theists often label it as such because it is easier for them to understand the concept in those familiar terms.

    • tvvsradio says:

      Being an Atheist is NOT a religion, I wish people would get this right.

    • Greg Laden says:

      Alex, Atheism isn’t a religion and the billboards were not promoting, they were critiquing. Also, have you ever noticed that if an Atheists speaks quietly it is heard as shouting by non-Atheists? Why is that?

  7. Peena Buddha says:

    This is just a publicity stunt by American Atheist to get attention so they can say they are being threatened and discriminated against. They may have received emails and phone calls in opposition to their signs with maybe a hand full being of a “threatening” nature but not to the extent that they need to pull the billboards. American Atheist is known for being antagonistic in nature and pulling stunts like this to get in the news for promotional purposes. AA, if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out. You know why they are removing it from Charlotte and nowhere else? Because that is where the Democratic National Convention is being held, it’s where the Billy Graham Evangelical Association is headquartered and because NC passed an amendment this past Spring prohibiting same-sex marriage. These are all points they can use in trying to demonstrate that residents in and around Charlotte are infringing on their freedom of speech because they are atheists and are intimidating the atheist community to be silent. No they aren’t. YOU made the decision to remove the billboards. Quit whining about religion all the time, no one cares anymore.

  8. greg says:

    As an ardent atheist, I’m not a fan of these billboards. I think it should be done in a way that is less aggressive.

    • tvvsradio says:

      “less aggressive” ?? It’s not aggressive for churches to tell people on billboards or their signs that you will burn in hell for not believing? I think it’s crap the boards have to come down.

  9. Zach says:

    Yeah, I agree with the others; this seems like a blatant attempt at baiting otherwise peaceful Christians by AA.

    I want to join the organization, but I will hold off until they organize themselves in a respectable and mature manner.

    The other billboards “Are you good without God? Millions are!” In my opinion are much more tasteful and less provoking than these. At least provide direct hateful quotes from the Bible to justify any positions displayed on billboards.

  10. evildave says:

    Slap the billboards on the sides of rental trucks and drive around the conventions.

  11. Darrel says:

    “American Atheists and Adams Outdoor Advertising have mutually agreed to remove the billboards immediately,”>>

    I highly suspect this is the AA’s backtracking out of a *major* blunder. Anyone who read the comments on their forum could see (as far as I could tell) everyone was against these billboards.

    I did a little test at our last freethinker meeting (45 people). I put the billboards up on the screen, explained that they were going to be put up around the time of the Demo convention and simply asked what people thought. Many of our members are members of AA, and our group is probably about 90% atheist. Many very outspoken.

    They hated them. No one would defend them. They were disgusted and embarrassed. One person said they “liked them” but understood they were going to backfire. Some of our members wrote letters vowing quit AA (I’ll include one below). I bet AA got buried in negative feedback.

    Everything in those billboards may be true. I’ve posted stuff far harsher than that on our freethinker forum. But context matters and it is hard to imagine a more completely counter-productive and tasteless campaign than putting those billboards in everyone’s face on the side of the road.

    D.
    —————–
    The real reason AA pulled the billboards:

    “I have just received a request to renew my membership in American Atheists but have chosen not to renew. The proposed new AA billboard is offensive and derisive and employs the same model of hatred and moral superiority of fundamental religionists – a model we abhor as thinking human beings. Rolling this out at the start of the Democratic Convention is a sure way to seriously injure President Obama’s chances at re-election. His was the first Presidential Inauguration speech I know of that specifically included “nonbelievers.” That alone was a memorable breakthrough for those of us who do not choose to be affiliated with organized religion and have chosen, instead, the path of critical thinking. Though technically speaking you make some of the same points most of us make when observing fundamental radical religion, the tone of the ad is, at best insulting and at the very least, almost threatening. Millions of people in this country share a genuine, benign faith in a Supreme Being, a code of conduct for their lives, a need for common fellowship, an avenue for offering each other support and a hope for the future. Though we decry the hypocrisy that often pervades the expression of that faith in more radical circles, we serve no purpose in publicly mocking them in this manner. As a marketing tool for the non-religious it is unacceptable and will surely back-fire. Setting our course back at a time when we are slowly making progress is counter-intuitive. In light of recent, tragic events, do we dare incite more pointless hatred? As champions of free thought, scientific knowlege, and humanist principles, we demean ourselves as well with such an ad. The political conventions should be about issues that concern us all as a nation of free men and women, not partisan constituencies. Please quell the stridency and work toward compromise and understanding so that those of us who espouse reason can stand above the fray as we work for full inclusion in a free society. This billboard is definitely not who we are.” –LF

  12. notJoining says:

    It seems to me as, evidenced by the billboards, that your intention is to provoke, not attract followers. I think these billboards in particular do a disservice to atheists generally. If you truly are enlightened then you might reflect on your purpose and methodology.

  13. David Franks says:

    I believe that these billboards were ill-advised– not in their message, but in their tone. If the intention was to start a food fight in the middle-school cafeteria, then they were appropriate. However, if they were intended to engender useful dialogue about the subject of religion in politics, they failed, whether or not they ever saw the light of day.

    I am glad they are down. Free speech is not a requirement to say stupid things, or intelligent things in a stupid way. We can do better.

  14. irene says:

    Duh, who didn’t know that this would backfire and not produce the desired results? I guess atheists are not very insightful.

    Seriously, they are high and mighty when they want to express their free speech but intimidate and sue others for expressing theirs,
    Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, go to Washington and check out the references to God on the monuments. Get over it. You have freedom of religion, you don’t have the right to push your views on anybody else.
    We are not changing America for you

  15. Jim n says:

    Hmm, it’s been 2 days since the last comment so I guess this thread is dead. What the heck. When the four horsemen published the phrase militant atheist abounded. When Malcom X came out MLK requested less castigation.

    Yet, suddenly atheism is full with young people and enthusiasm when it was once a nursing home for over50 males.

    Maybe we need some aggressive counterbullshit to wake the somnambulistic elders. I remember when the Berkeley intellectuals whined that the youth should rebel with their votes and not disrupt campus with sitins and draft card and bra burnings.

    We should be burning tires in the streets. This isn’t a soft issue. The very fate of the planet is at stake. As long as we allow “god did it” and “god will choose” we allow them to torch this planet and damn us all to hell.

    Yeah, grandma is a sweet old thing and we should offend the crap out of her. It’s not pretty the reality of our demise because we daren’t offend.

    Insult, offend, demand justice!!!

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