Atheist Billboard Gets a Response

***Update***: I need to clear up a mistake I unfortunately helped spread. The billboard was moved from its first location to a new one (as contracted). The plans still have it going to a third location. The billboard was not “taken down.” The company simply put up a response in the first location after the FFRF sign was moved.

I’ll change the relevant parts of the posting below to reflect that.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation had signed a contract with Kegerreis Outdoor Advertising LLC to put a billboard in the Chambersburg, Pennsylvania area, rotating about three different locations.

This is the billboard that was up:

imaginenoreligionbillboard.jpg

Now, that billboard has been taken down moved. The original location now has a billboard that reads like this:

ingodwetrustbillboard.jpg

If you can’t read it, the fine print says “The previous sign posted at this location does not reflect the values or morals of our company. Thank you.”

I’m not sure what was so offensive about the FFRF’s bilboard. It merely posed a hypothetical.

And who would be so ignorant as to see a billboard promoting something and assume the billboard company was tacitly endorsing the product (or ripping down another)? (“That billboard is for Sprint?! The company must hate Verizon…”)

What was the reason for the takedown response?

Dusky A. Chilcote, senior account executive for Kegerreis Outdoor Advertising, Chambersburg, said the sign was posted Monday as the older sign, with the words, “Imagine No Religion,” was being removed.

“We received only a couple of negative calls about the (first sign),” Chilcote said on Monday. “We were concerned about the impact of how people see our company.”

Chilcote, a Christian, said she was personally hurt by the deception of the sponsor, who allegedly led her to believe the sign was presented by a local church.

She said in December that the sponsor of the billboard had contacted her and said “their desire was that people would have the freedom to walk into any church they choose.”

I asked FFRF’s co-presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor if that statement was accurate. I am awaiting a response.

***UPDATE***: Annie Laurie responded and said this:

I have no idea how or why she could make an assumption that our group was a church! How could we, with our name? I have to assume she is either making things up because she felt she had to cover herself from criticism, or she was so religious she couldn’t believe a group like ours existed. One can only speculate.

(Thanks to Ben for the link!)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://www.altoonaatheist.com Altoona Atheist

    Someone call the ACLU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Alexandre

    I do understand the company though. They received complaints about it and THAT is what is wrong here. Christian have way too much power, influence and support from everyone like politicians and the justice.

    It almost makes you wanna quit fighting, but that just won’t ever happen.

  • Syckls

    The real problem here is that roughly 75% of this country is Christian. Of those people, a very sizable portion have shown a consistent history of boycotting anything and everything that shows a hint of blasphemy or of somehow being opposed to Christianity. When these people decide to boycott, the moderates are in a position where they can either maintain their virtues of equality and free speech or feel like they’re doing something good for God by joining the boycott. This amounts to businesses losing a large fraction of their sales, and forces them to appease the boycotters. What can the non-believing population do about this? Well, we could hope that someday they behave like we do every time we see another of those billboards signed by God, i.e. averting our eyes and grudgingly accepting their business, thereby allowing the billboard to stay up, while still maintaining our virtues of equality and free speech. Or, we could act like maniacs and possibly alienate a few people by vocally boycotting the business, and watch as the business loses a very small fraction of their sales and does nothing to gain them back. Furthermore, the business will probably regain their lost sales twice over by the fundies who want to do something good for God by patronizing the business that those evil atheists hate so much. There’s really nothing we can do but wait until non-believers make up a sufficiently large portion of the country, and that’s probably not going to happen in any of our lifetimes.

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  • JustLoveEm

    “There’s really nothing we can do but wait until non-believers make up a sufficiently large portion of the country, and that’s probably not going to happen in any of our lifetimes.”

    Thank God for that.

  • Rader

    The constitution gives us all a “Freedom of Religion”. I want to know when the people of this country will READ the Constitution, and realize IT DOES NOT give you the right to not be offended. Free Speech, Free Religion, Right to keep and bear arms. Nothing about right to not be offended!

  • Rigirl

    I hope that someday, people will become more rational thinkers, instead of basing so much on BELIEF. I love the small stores that sell things of different religions, including christianity. Cause when people walk into those stores, you know what you’re getting into and there is no reason to boycott it, it’s there and hopefully thriving because it is serving a large number of people.

  • noname

    i think rader is right because the constitutoin does gives us freedom of speech which means we can esspesrr our feelings

  • c k

    “I’m not sure what was so offensive about the FFRF’s bilboard. It merely posed a hypothetical. ”

    I do not think you really believe this is not meant to be offensive. The purpose of this board is to cause offense in others and provoke them to question their religion.

    On my own note – From my experience I believe atheist persons see religious people as less intelligent and often want to offend them.

    Lack of an ability to communicate (which includes LISTENING and COMPREHENDING of both parts) between religious and atheists is the cause for our dysfunctions. There is a compromise that can be achieved.

    Believing in God myself, I can see how atheist can view religious people as well, idiots. I know several! They refuse to listen or accept scientific facts of how things work. If they could perceive science as the study of how God created things to work they would be more understanding.

    As far as atheists, I think they have been bludgeoned with ‘religion’ so much they refuse to let themselves believe or they just see the idiots and don’t want to be categorized with them. It is not incomprehensible for there to be a higher power that created us.

  • Darrick

    just a quick note….
    i’m pro-jesus but anti church.
    as such, my sincere apologies for any blathering christians have fired toward any of you.
    my best friend, who currently questions all things religious, has been the best of influences when it came to search for truth…
    nothing beats science and psychology, except for truth. and that is what i believe all honest people seek.
    i hope it is found by all, whether that is thru atheism, spirituality or wii games.
    experiences have taught me things that i cannot brush away. reasonable doubt cannot overcome.
    just keep being honest with yourselves, and as the “anti-pot” commercials encourage, live ” above the influence”. thanks for the chance to share my heart:)

  • MoonliteSonata

    Good gods, you’d think John Lennon had never coined the phrase before, the way people have reacted to this.
    I didn’t see anything offensive in the phrase, then or now. Religion- ALL RELIGIONS- has been the single most violent institution(s) ever created by mankind throughout our history, wasting more lives on the futile attempt to press the faith of the week on others than any political war ever did, and I for one would love to see it go by the wayside in favor of true spirituality, or lack thereof.
    Christians can sit and spew anger over what Muslims in certain parts of the world are doing now, but just a few hundred years ago, members of their own faith were torturing and killing tens of thousands across the world, too, for the same reason- Heresy. I suspect a few would like to take the members of this particular organization and “reeducate” them, even now in this so-called enlightened age.
    And really…So what if the FFRF meant to “offend”? Offense is a subjective thing, and can only be quantified by the so-called victim. I cannot be offended, because I CHOOSE not to take offense. If you choose to be offended, then it’s your problem- Not the FFRF’s, not mine, not the billboard company’s.

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  • Scotzur

    “I do not think you really believe this is not meant to be offensive. The purpose of this board is to cause offense in others and provoke them to question their religion.”

    Perhaps the person you were responding to should have phrased it “It is no more offensive than religious billboards aimed at questioning atheists lack of faith”.

    I can see where one would be offended, but eh….big deal…

    “It is not incomprehensible for there to be a higher power that created us.”
    Certainly not. I myself being an atheist never argue that there COULDN’T be a higher power. Instead, I proclaim that I am a “show me” type of person, and refuse to believe in a higher power based on faith alone; evidence is required.

    If one would like to adhere to the basic principles of the scientific method, the burden of proof rests on the proposer of an idea, not the dissenters.