I’m not a big fan of the billboards that American Atheists have up in Times Square. I think they’re needlessly aggressive and serve no good purpose. But NY State Sen. Andrew Lanza thinks they’re exactly the kind of thing that led to the Holocaust. I wish I were making this up.
Senator Lanza said, “Just as millions of Americans are preparing to celebrate Christmas, this intolerant and hateful group deliberately ridicules the solemn beliefs of millions of New Yorkers.”
“Not only do the people behind this group not believe in God but they obviously don’t believe in decency, civility and kindness to fellow human kind either. This is part of a continued “War on Christmas” and also upon the belief and value system of millions of Christian, Jewish and Muslim people who have faith in God. Religious persecution of the kind that similarly lead to the Holocaust began with small evil baby steps of ridicule and hatred of the religious beliefs of others.”
“While it is not surprising to me that people who do not believe in God are hateful and malicious, I would have hoped that the people who own this billboard, those who live in Manhattan and around Times Square and the community’s political leaders would have decried this hate speech as something not to be tolerated or allowed.”“I am calling upon all decent people to send a message loud and clear that there is no room in our society for religious hatred or persecution. To send this message, people should boycott and stay away from Times Square and all those affiliated with hatred of this kind. If you agree, sign onto my petition calling for the immediate withdrawal of this advertisement which will be forwarded to the NYC Mayors Office, the NYC Council, the Attorney General’s office and the Times Square merchant community.”
Feeling a bit melodramatic, are we? There’s this pesky thing called the First Amendment. And you think a sign that you disagree with is “persecution”? Get a fucking grip. Oh, he’s also “calling for the revocation of the American Atheists’ 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status because he doesn’t believe that tax dollars should be used to spew religious hatred.” Yeah, good luck with that. You’d have to revoke the tax-exempt status of half the churches and nearly all the Christian right organizations at the same time.