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24 July 2009

Atheist Bilboard: Predict xtian reaction!

And to think, I live south of these folks, and I bet that the locals in this area would get even more irate! And is so fucking predictable! I love the way the author of this particular blog starts off with a parody of the situation. Anyway, here is the write up. Oh, the amusement and irony!

Atheist Billboard Outrages Alabama Christians


Once again, loving Christians are demonstrating just how much more tolerant and respectful they than the militant atheists in their midst. Atheists in Alabama have erected a billboard declaring religion to be the cause for all evils and demanding that it be stamped out while religious believers, despite disagreeing with and objecting to the message, are firmly defending the rights of atheists to express their views just like all other citizens.

No, I'm just kidding — atheists merely put out the mild idea of imagining the absence of religion and Christians are howling with outrage. One company refused to rent them billboard space and, after finding a place for their sign, the atheists are receiving lots of complaints. This is pretty much how it always goes: atheists express something fairly mild and innocuous and Christians throw a fit.

Freethought association member Pat Cleveland of Talladega said she’s gotten about 50 irate calls about the billboard, but that the group’s intentions aren’t hostile. The Talladega Daily Home reported that a petition drive has been started to take it down.

Cleveland, 63, said the calls she’s received are “ugly” and “hateful.”

“They said I ought to be where John Lennon is, burning in hell. I’m sorry if anybody is offended, but I’ve seen billboards that offend me, like ones that say ‘Jesus is Lord’ over Talladega.”

“I’m proud to be an American,” Cleveland said. “I refrain from any religion. I’m a good person. I pay taxes, abide by the law and I’m good to my family. I help people. I believe hands that help are better than hands that pray.”

Source: Tuscaloosa News (via: Friendly Atheist)

So it's disrespectful and intolerant for atheists to suggest that people imagine the absence of religion, but it's perfectly respectable and respectful for Christians to tell atheists that they belong in hell — that they deserve to suffer infinite torment for an infinite length of time simply for daring to believe differently. This is hardly a surprising double-standard since hell is an orthodox Christian doctrine which Christians seem unable to recognize as evil.

The attitude seems to be that since God is responsible for it existing, then it can't be regarded as problematic. If anyone ends up there, it's entirely their own fault and there's nothing morally problematic about telling people that they belong there. Since religion generally and Christianity in particular are the source for all that's good in the world, however, even suggesting that one should imagine their absence might be regarded as an unmitigated evil itself.

The original billboard was supposed to be put up by Lamar Advertising, but they refused:

“It was offensive to me,” said Tom Traylor, general manager of Lamar Advertising in Birmingham. “We have the autonomy to decide what’s in the best interests of our company and what’s offensive. I don’t think it was the kind of message we wanted to stand behind.

“You have to know what area of the country you’re in,” he said. “A heavy percent of our population is Christian. That’s who we cater to.”

Gee, I didn't realize that advertising companies "stand behind" every ad that they place on a billboard. If that's the case, then Lamar Advertising can and must be held legally and morally responsible for ever advertisement they place on every one of their billboards. Tom Traylor has, it seems to me, made his company beholden to whatever ads they run. If some ad turns out to be false, then, doesn't that mean that Lamar Advertising can be held just as legally at fault as the company paying for it?

Tom Traylor's reference to how many Christians are in the local population is interesting. Since the ad says nothing more than "imagine no religion," Traylor is effectively saying that a heavy percentage of the people who would see the sign — and hold his company responsible for renting it — are irrational, unreasonable, and bigoted. What's more, he's identifying those irrational, unreasonable, and bigoted people as being Christian. What does that say about the nature of Christianity in Alabama?

6 comments:

JD Curtis said...

Lamar refused to rent billboard space to WND's "Where's the Birth Certificate?" campaign as well.

Insofar as your "flat-earth" bullshit that you accuse me of, I came across this thread. Check it out at your leisure. Especially the comments below. You wouldthink they were talking about you.

Larian LeQuella said...

*sigh* Are you REALLY that dense? I'm not accusing you of believing that stuff. What I am accusing you of is CITING ONLY sites that support YOUR view. It would be the same of any CRAZY belief that is put forth with no actual evidence. Do you get it, or do I need to draw you some sort of diagram, use monosyllabic words, and maybe find someone to hold your hand as you get walked through it? Or is that even too far a stretch for you.

And again, the voxday site... No agenda there. Notice that I haven't gone to Atheistnow.org or richarddawkins.net, but rather sites that have input from various sides. Just too bad that views based in reality tend to be supported there, as opposed to your fantasy land.

Larian LeQuella said...

I will say, Lamar was wrong in refusing to carry the birther campaign though. I mean, they carry all sorts of other crazy adverts, why not one more?

JD Curtis said...

What did they expect the reaction to be by putting up such a billboard in the middle of the Bible belt? To me the wording on billboard is more critical of religion than of the existance of God. Jesus Christ had a few choice words for the people that considered themselves to be the most religious people of their day by calling them a "generation of vipers"

Larian LeQuella said...

Well, the reaction should have been a respect for Freedom of Speech. Instead they are calling hatefilled veiled threats of death. And that is TOTALLY predictable given all I have ever seen of xtians and other bigots of the same stripes.

I'm a fan of this picture: Imagine no religion

Larian LeQuella said...

Christian Billboard Denies Church/State Separation; No One Outraged?
Friday July 31, 2009
If atheists are going to be lambasted for daring to suggest with a single billboard that they exist, that they are moral, and that people should consider not being religious, how will Christians react to a dozen or more billboards openly declaring that America's secular government be replaced with a theocratic one? Well, there doesn't appear to be any reaction at all — atheists are bad for mentioning their own existence, but it's quite fine for Christians to declare that America should be theocratic.

That's the conclusion I have to draw from Florida where a group previously involved with denying equal rights to gays has now put up a bunch of billboards encouraging readers to deny that America is or should be secular. The billboards advertise a web site which describes church/state separation as a "lie."

For the next six months, they'll be seen a million times a day, said retired businessman Gregg Smith, who rented the ad space for $50,000. The message, as explained on www.noseparation.org, is that "America's government was made only for people who are moral and religious."

"The Judeo-Christian foundation that the Founding Fathers established when America began is the reason that this country has prospered for 200-plus years," said Kemple, president and sole employee of the local Community Issues Council, which paid for the Web site.

"The fact is, for the last 40 years, as anti-God activists have incrementally removed the recognition of God's place in the establishment of our country, we have gone downhill."

Smith, 73, who spends half of the year at his Tampa home, brought the idea to Kemple's attention as a "separate ministry" needing local support. For now, the initiative is just educational, though both men left open the opportunity for future work.

"Has the thought occurred that this may be the beginning of something bigger? Of course," Kemple said. "There is no next step. We'll just see what God ordains."

The billboards showcase quotes from early American leaders like John Adams, James Madison and Benjamin Franklin. Most of the quotes portray a national need for Christian governance.

Others carry the same message but with fictional attribution, as with one billboard citing George Washington for the quote, "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."

Source: St. Petersburg Times

Are other Christians going to protest this billboard with the same intensity as they protest atheist billboards? Are Christians who express so much "concern" over "militant" atheism going to express similar concern over this billboard? Somehow I doubt it — Christians are accustomed to being able to express themselves without censure and with little in the way of objections. Atheists, in contrast, are traditionally expected to just stay quiet. They aren't even supposed to announce their existence, never mind make an argument for their positions.