Another Atheist Sign Vandalized

The odds of any kind of atheist sign or billboard surviving without being vandalized seems to be about 20%. Wherever they go up, someone is likely to destroy it, paint graffiti on it and even try to set it on fire. The latest instance happened near Chicago:

A sign on display in an Arlington Heights park that expresses views against religion has been vandalized, according to authorities.

For a second year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation installed a sign in North School Park in response to a Nativity scene set up in the same location and is part of the Arlington Heights Park District. The sign reads, in part, “Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

Police said the sign was reported vandalized on Dec. 24. It is believed someone kicked the sign sometime between 4 p.m. on Dec. 20 and 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 22, causing an tear near the center.

Tom Cara, president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Metropolitan Chicago Chapter, said no damage was done to the sign when it was on display in the park last year.

“I was surprised,” he said of this year’s vandalism. “I like to think the Chicago metropolitan area is a very diverse community and very tolerant and very accepting of different viewpoints.”

Surprised? Can he really be that naive? No matter how “diverse” and “tolerant” a community may be, it only takes one or two people to vandalize a sign.

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Look, we can all agree that this terrible act shouldn’t have happened, but if they didn’t want their sign “vandalized” they shouldn’t have put it up in the first place. Why can’t they just put up Nativity scenes outside City Hall like normal people?

  • matty1

    It is believed someone kicked the sign sometime between 4 p.m. on Dec. 20 and 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 22

    That period includes the solstice – therefore this was the work of Pagans not Christians.

    What? I get bored and making up conspiracies is kind of fun, at least I don’t believe them.

  • whheydt

    Hmm… The tightest time frame for when the damage was done is TWO DAYS?

  • raven

    We all know that the xians have their premade excuses ready.

    1. It was a false flag operation.

    2. Atheists do it too.

    3. You can’t prove the vandals were xians.

    4. The vandals weren’t Real Xians.

    They must hand these out on laminated cards once a year in church for the xians. For any xians reading this thread, there you go. You don’t even have to pick one. Use them all.

  • John Hinkle

    Seems like the person who kicked the sign has a hard heart. Should probably have that looked into.

  • raven

    The sign reads, in part, “Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

    1. Sigh. Oh no. Not again!!!

    2. The sign IMO, shows an incredible lack of creativity and imagination.

    3. The holidays are supposed to be fun. Atheism is supposed to be fun or should be any way. An atheist display should be more….seasonal.

    A holiday Tree of Knowledge, an all dinosaur nativity scene, a Satunalia, Solstice, Mithras, Aesir scene, something but a blunt off topic sign.

    Oh well, atheists need a manual for this sort of thing. We are all creating new and reviving old holiday traditions. The unimaginative sign that gets vandalized by xians seems to be one of them.

  • borax

    I used to have a bumper sticker that read,”Jesus said, Ow! My hands.” Then one day I found my sticker and the paint on my bumper scratched all to shit.

  • matty1

    @6 Saturnalia, Mithras and the Aesir are all religious, albeit from faiths that aren’t very popular now. A solstice display though could be good – maybe a series of models of the earth and sun explaining the seasons.

  • raven

    The odds of any kind of atheist sign or billboard surviving without being vandalized seems to be about 20%

    Seems a lot higher than 20%. I don’t know that anyone is counting.

    Billboard Vandalism Gallery | Atheist Billboards

    atheistbillboards. com/ gallery-vandalism/‎

    Gallery of photos of acts of vandalism from atheist advertising campaigns. Click a photo thumbnail to view campaign details.

    There is a gallery of about 20 billboards that have been vandalized. It’s obviously xians because they write stuff on them and/or cross out words.

  • raven

    I used to have a bumper sticker that read,”Jesus said, Ow! My hands.” Then one day I found my sticker and the paint on my bumper scratched all to shit.

    I don’t have a Darwin fish on my car.

    Out here pagans and New Agers outnumber fundie xians by a lot. It doesn’t help. They still vandalize Darwin fish. And they usually try to scratch the paint as much as they can as well.

    And it’s xians. The police actually caught one of them. He was some wild eyed moron who was babbling on about demonic symbols. Religion can bring out the worst in people quite easily.

  • coragyps

    We now have a bench on the courthouse square here in Scurry County that has some message from God on the backrest. In BIG letters. It was put up, with official permission, by a private citizen.

    That makes the square a limited public forum, correct? So I can sponsor a bench with the Flying Spaghetti Monster touching someone with His Noodly Appendage on the diagonal corner of the square, right? I just need the Commissioners’ approval. (as if…..). And after it’s installed, I can park down the street and watch for the thirty minutes it takes for it to get defaced.

  • raven

    Suspicious activity: 9:11 a.m., 1900 block Northwest Ninth Street, Corvallis. A man with a knife was spotted in the parking lot of an office supply business. The witness was sitting in a car in the parking lot when she saw a man get out of his car, walk over to another car and raise a large knife in the air. When the man realized he was being watched, he returned to his vehicle and drove away. Police stopped the man as he was leaving. The man said he was driving by when he noticed a “Jesus fish” with “Darwin” written in the center of it on the back of a parked vehicle.

    The man said he considered this to be a demonic symbol and intended to pull it off of the car with the knife but decided to leave when he was spotted by the witness. Police warned the man about his behavior and took no further action.

    He wasn’t a Real Xian and besides it was a false flag operation.

  • DonDueed

    I used to have a bumper sticker that read,”Jesus said, Ow! My hands.” Then one day I found my sticker and the paint on my bumper scratched all to shit.

    You could cover that up with another sticker. Maybe, “You will know they are Christians by their violence”.

  • raven

    And after it’s installed, I can park down the street and watch for the thirty minutes it takes for it to get defaced.

    Sure.

    And install a video camera or trail camera somewhere. They make very small video cameras these days, ones that fit in your palm. It will make a nice Youtube video.

  • Michael Heath

    The sign reads, in part, “Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

    I’d be interested in understanding whether these two atheist sub-populations largely overlap:

    1) The people who put up negative message during the holidays like the one noted above.

    2) A distinct sup-population that gets accused of being MRAs in a pejorative manner*, and whose behavior is pointed at when other atheists promote the suppression of speech.

    I don’t know much about the brouhaha referenced in this comment post’s #2, mostly because the both the accusers and the targets are repeatedly untrustworthy and Ed rarely posts about it. But it seems the group being criticized @ my #2 would be the very type of numbskulls to put up these sorts of self-defeating messages.

    *I don’t know much about MRAs, either the people, their attributes, or their goals, so perhaps the term can’t be used in a neutral manner but only in a pejorative one.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    It will be interesting to see how long until this sign in Salt Lake City gets vandalized. It advertises the American Atheist convention in SLC later this year, and for an AA sign is actually pretty good.

  • Wylann

    If you have a secure place to hide it, with power, there are some very nice apps that essentially make your smartphone into a security camera (using motion sensing). The one I have can even be set to email you the pics it takes just in case.

  • Sastra

    “I was surprised,” he said of this year’s vandalism. “I like to think the Chicago metropolitan area is a very diverse community and very tolerant and very accepting of different viewpoints.”

    Surprised? Can he really be that naive? No matter how “diverse” and “tolerant” a community may be, it only takes one or two people to vandalize a sign.

    Cara’s “surprised” reaction to the press might be a deliberate strategy rather than naive. One way to get support is to act as if everyone is already on your side, as you are on theirs, and evidence to the contrary is unexpected and unwelcome to both. Rather like a teacher catching a cheater and saying “but this class is so honest! I’ve never met so many children with such good character, and so eager to learn. You must be so embarrassed.” Assuming the class isn’t hardened, it can actually work. People often want to live up to a good opinion — or pretend to. Then it’s habit.

    “Framing.” 😉

  • Sastra

    raven #9 wrote:

    Seems a lot higher than 20%. I don’t know that anyone is counting.

    Me neither, but I think you interpreted that statistic backwards. Only 20% of the signs are left alone and NOT vandalized. Somehow I don’t think you’re arguing that no, the problem doesn’t seem as bad as that.

  • freemage

    Gregory @16: That sign is pitch-perfect, in my opinion; an excellent example of what atheist advertising should look like. The article was interesting, too–especially the bit about the girl in the ad being the couple’s niece, whom they have custody of (she’s an ex-Mormon, while her immediate family still are members of the Church; I’m wondering if she left voluntarily or was kicked out).

  • whheydt

    As regards bumper sticker and Darwin Fish…

    A friend of my daughter had a Darwin Fish on her car. It disappeared and the paint was damaged. She replaced the Darwin Fish…repeat about 3 more times. Then she caught one of her neighbors prying one off. After a discussion about payment for damage and ceasing the activity went nowhere, she sued the neighbor in Small Claims Court. The judge was ready to laugh it off, when she got up and said, “First Amendment rights.” At that point the judge took it seriously, admonished the neighbor and ordered her to pay for the damage, replacement Darwin Fish and the cost of repairs to the car and court costs. (In California, the limit is Small Claims is $5000, last time I checked.)

    As regards camera monitoring…

    1. Raspberry Pi. $35

    2. Raspberry Pi camera module. $25

    3. Find an article on the Raspberry Pi Foundation web site (raspberrypi.org) for examples of how to build a weatherproof enclosure for a Pi and camera.

    Far cheaper than risking a smartphone. If you added a GPS module, you could even have the Pi report back to you if it gets moved.

  • MarcusC

    The signs in Sacramento, CA seem to be doing well. No reports of damage from the FB group. Maybe because there are so many of them, the vandals don’t know where to start.

    http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/19499-ffrf-sponsors-%E2%80%9Cnon-sacramental%E2%80%9D-billboard-blitz-in-sacramento

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    @MarcusC #22 – Those are some excellent billboards.

  • Michael Heath

    Gregory in Seattle writes:

    It will be interesting to see how long until this sign in Salt Lake City gets vandalized.

    Is there a red neck element within Mormonism? I ask because I assume there’s not and that Mormon’s and the culture they influence would be less likely to vandalize atheist rhetoric.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1531393070 danrobinson

    I have some gay themed magnets on my car and so far all I’ve had is tires punctured. I won’t put atheist stuff on there as much as I’d like to because I can’t afford a new car.

  • jnorris

    If tearing the sign a bit is all Jesus could do, then they need a new god.