The Freedom From Religion Foundation has been putting this billboard up across the country:
The “Imagine No Religion” is hardly offensive… it doesn’t attack or mock a particular faith. It merely suggests the thought of life without religion using the words of John Lennon.
But when the Alabama Freethought Association helped put that billboard up in Birmingham, Alabama, all hell broke loose.
First, it was rejected by Lamar advertising.
“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.”
The billboard did eventually find a home with Bentley Advertising. (Yay!)
Then, the “irate” phone calls and nasty insults began.
I love that the article in The Tuscaloosa News quotes FFRF member Pat Cleveland. She runs the annual Lake Hypatia Advance, is incredibly pleasant, and is impossible to dislike. (Unless, apparently, you’re a Christian who hates billboards.)
She proves why she’s awesome in the article:
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.”
The Christians in Alabama have shown that they can’t handle a simple billboard. If they want to take on a nice lady, they’re going to lose that battle, too.
Can we get atheist bus in Birmingham soon? Give these Christian enough rope, and they just might hang themselves…
(Thanks to Benjamin for the link!)