Institute for Creation Research Explains Atheist Billboard Vandalism

A lot of atheist billboards have been vandalized over the past year:

Christine Dao at the Institute for Creation Research — there’s a laugh for you — says that vandalism is wrong… but the atheists really brought this on themselves:

While vandalism should not be condoned, these recent events shed light on what some Americans will do when they feel that their freedom of speech is threatened. An atheist spokesman in North Carolina said their message is needed to “let people know we exist and that there’s a community here.”

Yet he failed to mention the concerted effort of atheist groups to stop religious Americans from freely exercising their religion. Not content with having the freedom themselves to worship or not as they see fit, militant atheists increasingly seek to shackle the beliefs of their fellow citizens through their own distorted interpretation of “separation of church and state.”

It is perhaps not surprising that some of those fellow citizens object.

I look forward to Dao’s next posting, where she says that rape is wrong, but if a woman wears revealing clothing, she’s just asking for it.

I don’t know of any atheist organization — certainly no group paying for these billboards — that wants to take away anybody’s religious freedom. Some billboards want to let fellow atheists there are more of us in the community. Some billboards may poke fun at religion, too. But no group is trying to revoke everybody’s right to believe in whatever they want.

Noticeably, when Dao says that atheists are trying to take away that right, she provides a footnote. That footnote goes to this article about the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s victory in the National Day of Prayer case. That decision said that government endorsement of religion/prayer was unconstitutional. It did not take away anybody’s right to celebrate the National Day of Prayer if they wanted to.

Dao doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She’s somehow found a way to make the ICR look bad… which is pretty impressive, considering they embarrass themselves on a regular basis.

  • Will

    Le sigh…stupid ppl annoy me so much.

  • http://secularshawshank.wordpress.com Andy

    It’s also interesting that, as far as vandalism goes, these acts are pretty unimaginative. I mean, you’d think they’d come up with something better than simply scratching out the “don’t” or painting in the words “also lost.” Seriously, if you’re going to take the time to climb your ass all the way up to the billboard, have a plan! I guess they figured The Lord would provide.

  • http://GreensboroAtheists.com Heather

    Somehow, religious people think that equality means that we’re stifling their rights. Reverting to the original US motto or pledge doesn’t infringe on their rights in anyway. It doesn’t stop them from believing, from praying, from going to church, from indoctrinating their children, etc. All we want to do is create a government that sees us all as equal citizens. It’s not uncommon as this was also an argument in the civil rights movement, women’s rights movement, and now for children’s rights and gay rights.. that making these people equal and taking away their ability to be bigoted or abuse takes away their religious freedom. If freedom to practice their religion means taking away other peoples’ rights then what a horrible world that would be created under “religious freedom”. I think they need to reconsider what it means for equality to be against their religious freedoms.

    Heather Spealman
    Greensboro Atheist Organization

  • Sellers_as_Quilty

    Imagine the outcry if a bunch of secular humanists were running around vandalizing religious billboards. You’d have people introducing the terms “hate crime” and “hate speech.”

    That said, I love how most atheists actually greet the news of such vandalism with equanimity: yep, we pretty much expect religious zealots to act like petty babies. Par for the course. In a sense, their vandalism of the signs is an even better advertisement for atheism than the original signs.

  • http://insidemyhead.blogspot.com SeanG

    I always love how articles like Dao’s and Chuck Norris’ from a few days ago are posted without allowing comments. It’s one thing to “preach to the choir” and a whole other level when you can’t run the risk of actually listening.

  • Joe L.

    these recent events shed light on what some Americans will do when they feel that their freedom of speech is threatened.

    wait, i’m confused here…. atheists put up billboards which are subsequently vandalized and fought against where ever they appear, and who is having their freedom of speech threatened?

  • http://zachvoch.blogspot.com Zach Voch

    Stupidity like this makes sense when we understand what “freedom of religion” means to this crowd. Let’s fix the quote to make this clear:

    While vandalism should not be condoned, these recent events shed light on what some Americans will do when they falsely feel, thanks to propagandists like me, that their freedom of speech is threatened. An atheist spokesman in North Carolina said their message is needed to “let people know we exist and that there’s a community here.”

    Yet he failed to mention the concerted effort of atheist groups to stop religious Americans from institutionalizing and forcing their religion on others. Not content with having the freedom themselves to worship or not as they see fit, secularists increasingly seek to preserve the equality and religious liberty of their fellow citizens through their historical and ethical reading of “separation of church and state.”

    It is perhaps not surprising that theocrats and propagandists like myself object.

  • http://mythicsushi.wordpress.com mythicsushi

    The counterintuitive nature of this vandalism is somewhat laughable. The only freedom of speech that is being infringed here is that of the atheist billboards.

    Basically what that person from the “Institute for Creation Research” said is that “Well, yeah, it’s wrong, but you asked for it.” Maybe that quote should be included on the next atheist billboard; it’s a great illustration of religious hypocrisy.

  • Parse

    Exactly what Andy said.
    In practically every thread about an atheist billboard being vandalized, some ‘defender of the faith’ will link to the “Submit to GodZILLA” and “God Listens TO SLAYER” graffitis. If you’re going to go through the effort and risk the jail time, at least try to make us laugh. Otherwise, the statement that’s made isn’t “Ignore the stupid message,” but rather “I refuse to let anything exist that disagrees with me.”

    Note to fundies: The next time you deface a “Are you good without God?”, turn it into “Are you good without GodZILLA?” and draw him in that blank space. It’ll still get replaced, but it’ll be funnier than “Still lost”.

    (And yes, I do condemn all such vandalism; at least I can be amused by something while still considering it wrong. )

  • http://www.unitedcor.org Fred Edwords

    Put simply, some think we are stifling their freedom of speech if we try to interfere with their efforts to use the government megaphone to preach their doctrines louder or preach to captive audiences. But see how they’d sing a different tune if atheists or Wiccans or Muslims were to do the same thing.

  • http://www.martiananthropologist.com Martian Anthropologist

    As someone else said… I’ve been imagining the outcry from the Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks of the world if atheists were vandalizing christian billboards.

    Just think: I could add the words “nobody” or “shit” to the JESUS SAVES billboards on highway 65 where I live!

  • http://secularshawshank.wordpress.com Andy

    Yes, apparently Christian vandalism—much like Christian rock, Christian comedians, Christian novels, and Christian parties—sucks. Even their humor is humorless.

    Obviously there is a wrong way to vandalize something. They would have done better to farm the job out, hire some satanists or graffitti artists to really give those billboards a good once-over. At a glance, some of the signs hardly look vandalized at all. Lazy bones.

  • Liz

    I’m pretty sure the “God Listens to Slayer” billboard was put up that way, not graffiti’d. 700 WLW is a news and sports station, not religious AFAIK.

  • http://www.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    Classic abuser behavior. “See what you made me do? If you’d just stop that I wouldn’t have to do this to you.”

    Yeah. If we’d only sit back and quietly let the government use our tax money to erect monuments to Christianity in public buildings, push Christianity in public schools, print religious slogans on our money, etc, the Christians wouldn’t be forced to vandalize our signs. It’s only because we’re so horrible to those poor, maligned, innocent Christians that they can’t help but engage in criminal behavior towards us and our property.

  • jose

    “I don’t know of any atheist organization — certainly no group paying for these billboards — that wants to take away anybody’s religious freedom.”

    Probably she thinks that teaching young earth stupidity, I mean creationism, in science classroom is part of her religious freedom, too.

  • http://www.banalleakge.com martymankins

    Most other comments here already stated some great points. I think the idea here is that often allowed in Modern Christiandom is that it’s ok to break the law if you are doing God’s work. The rationalization of illegal efforts for this purpose helps them sleep at night, while giving them an excuse to give the vandal a pass.

    Jesus must be so proud.

  • http://allusiveatheist.blogspot.com T Ray

    Why is it that propaganda sites don’t allow comments?

    I realize there is a financial cost for including and storing reader comments. But is the ICR strapped for cash? Super frugal? Or is it merely that scrutiny and debate are too detrimental to their cause?

    What really is perhaps not surprising is that some people of faith can justify any action in the service of their beliefs.

  • Oliver

    Bigots always try to stop smaller groups trying to join into the conversation by saying that they are trying to take over the country.

    For example “defending marriage” by stopping gays from getting married then labelling anyone who disagrees “far left gay activists”

  • http://chaoskeptic.blogspot.com Iason Ouabache

    I think the idea here is that often allowed in Modern Christiandom is that it’s ok to break the law if you are doing God’s work. The rationalization of illegal efforts for this purpose helps them sleep at night, while giving them an excuse to give the vandal a pass.

    Or they’ll say that the people commit the crime weren’t “True Christians” in the first place. Apparently Christians can never do wrong.

    But is the ICR strapped for cash?

    Well, they definitely aren’t spending any money on research.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jalyth Tizzle

    For anyone who reads it: how is this being spun in the MSM? Do they even mention it?

  • Will

    My mother has threatened to splash toilet water on us for not putting the seat down, but this has not made her think more conservatively l

  • Dan W

    That is an epic fail attempt to defend vandalism by Christians. Who’s freedom of speech is being threatened here? It’s certainly not the Christians, who make up the majority in America. I’m not surprised the ICR is defending the idiots who’ve vandalized these billboards. Nor am I surprised that they, like so many other Christians in the U.S., are crying persecution for not being allowed to force their beliefs on everyone. I’ve come to expect this sort of stupidity from the religious.

    I’m sure these Christians would be freaking out if it were their idiotic billboards being vandalized. It’s pretty pathetic that they can’t seem to figure out how stupid they’re acting. They also don’t realize that vandalizing atheist billboards helps us by bringing more attention to our efforts, and shows them for the bigoted morons that they are.

    Oh, and might I add the ICR is supporting people who break the law! Vandalism is still illegal, even if you think your imaginary deity’s on your side.

  • http://secularshawshank.wordpress.com Andy

    …the idea here is that often allowed in Modern Christiandom is that it’s ok to break the law if you are doing God’s work. The rationalization of illegal efforts for this purpose helps them sleep at night, while giving them an excuse to give the vandal a pass.

    Exactly. That’s why I think the claim “Without God, everything is permitted” gets it exactly backward. It’s only when you believe in an omnipotent God that anything is permitted. Human solidarity, the golden rule, and everything else goes right out the window when one thinks she is doing “God’s will.”

  • ASD

    Why do the religious jump to conclusions?

    Unlike them, we do not wish to crush the expression of other forms of worship. We atheists simply want to be recognised as a legitimate group, and to be able to reach out to those of us who have nobody to talk to or hang out with. We’re cool with the religious existing – well, I am – and we don’t want to get rid of them. All we want is to say to other atheists, ‘you are not alone. There’s others like you out here. You’re not crazy.’

  • RPJ

    These theists believe that it is their god-given right to bully, to marginalize, and to persecute others. They believe that forcing you to adhere to their what they want is normal, is that status quo. Thus, in their mind, any suggestion that they are not to be overlords, or should be equal to other people and other beliefs, is an attack on their rights. They believe they have the right to oppress, because they are superior. Restricting their god-ordained “freedom” to take away others’ freedom an attack.

    Let’s be clear: they believe that they are better, their “freedom” is more important than anyone else’s freedom, and they have no interest in true equality: they are invested in the “equal” status quo of a slave owner – slave relationship.

    Pointing out that atheists merely trying not to be oppressed is in no way oppressing them falls as flat to their ears as a slave telling his owner that he is only trying to have equal status.

  • Dan W

    Andy said: “Yes, apparently Christian vandalism—much like Christian rock, Christian comedians, Christian novels, and Christian parties—sucks. Even their humor is humorless.”

    I have to agree with this. All these things just lack imagination, they have little thought behind them, and they’re not exciting or funny. I’ve yet to hear a comedian who does stand-up specifically for (often evangelical) Christian audiences who is funny. Christian music is always the same “oh Lord, we love you so much blah blah blah”, and so on. The more amusing, exciting, intelligent, and imaginative songs, comedians, novels, etc. are the ones that aren’t made to appeal to the religious. For examples, check out this link showing atheist and theist comedians. http://www.asylum.co.uk/2009/05/29/atheists-or-believers-whos-funnier
    I found the atheist comedians far funnier.

  • http://www.godispretend.net God is Pretend

    I expect that kind of nonsense from someone who works at an institute that somehow “researches” the creation, a nonexistant and thoroughly unresearchable event.

    Her standards of evidence and logic must immediately be called into question once her professional association to such an idiotic organization are known.

  • Aaron

    I would love to see a a billboard for an atheist organization that said “Atheists support freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Anyone who vandalizes this billboard doesn’t.” and then left a nice blank space to receive spray paint.

  • fritzy

    While vandalism should not be condoned, these recent events shed light on what some Americans will do when they feel that their freedom of speech is threatened.

    Ms Dao you have absolutely mastered the art of double-speak. Bravo!

    Not content with having the freedom themselves to worship or not as they see fit, militant atheists increasingly seek to shackle the beliefs of their fellow citizens through their own distorted interpretation of “separation of church and state.”

    The fact that she sees it necessary to put the phrase “seperation of church and state” in quotes illustrates that she has nothing but contempt for such a concept.

    And the fact that she tacitly approves of childish tactics taken against those with whom she disagrees illustrates her true nature and intellect. It doesn’t help that she heads up a foundation charged with researching something that can’t be researched. She may as well revisit the question of how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. What does her institute do, read the first two chapters of Genesis over and over?

    Actually, my only guess is they truly do conduct research–on how to more effectivly lie to children to spread their message of creationism. The ends, after all, justify the means.

  • Alt+3

    I can’t believe this woman can sit with a straight face (I assume from the text, a nice :| would be helpful) and say atheists are threatening her freedom of speech when she is still free to preach a scientifically bunk falsehood.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    Andy,

    It’s only when you believe in an omnipotent God that anything is permitted. Human solidarity, the golden rule, and everything else goes right out the window when one thinks she is doing “God’s will.”

    I agree, and I blogged about that back in January. If you think God is on your side, you will never think it’s possible to do something wrong that can’t be forgiven in an instant.

  • blueridgelady

    this is the same backwards anti-thinking that concludes that letting gays marry somehow negates your marriage. A pro-atheist billboard does not mean that Christians don’t have free speech. How utterly ridiculous.

  • Guy Allen

    Aaron said:

    “Atheists support freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Anyone who vandalizes this billboard doesn’t.”

    No, no, no, Aaron. It should read:

    Atheists believe in freedom of religion and freedom of speech. And that it why we’ve left room for your opinion here:”

    Blank space.

  • Citizen Z

    Imagine the outcry if a bunch of secular humanists were running around vandalizing religious billboards.

    With Christian billboards like this, it’s not like we need to. I had no idea the Bible was so… ahead of its time.

  • fritzy

    Mike and Andy:

    Jeff Sharlet talks about that very thing in his book, “The Family.” The good folk on c-street literally believe they can get away with anything, up to and including murder because they are Gods new “chosen ones” and will be forgiven regardless. They are neo-Calvinists, and they have power and quite frankly they scare the shit out of me (and I don’t scare easily.)

    Citizen Z:

    I’m sure the organization that put up that billboard would say that they are not intending to mislead anyone and that it is understood that the word “America” was changed from “your land” by the purchasers of the advertising space in order to spoonfeed to the less conceptual thinkers out there. I don’t have that kind of faith in the common person anymore and I’m sure there are plenty of Christians (of the non-biblically literate, “America is the new Israel” type) who would take that billboard at face value and think the Bible mentioned America by name. Sigh.

  • ckitching

    Clearly, some atheists must’ve vandalized this Answers in Genesis billboard while it was up, right? Or how about Ray Comfort’s anti-atheist billboard (with a URL that is practically a veiled threat)? How about these other two anti-atheist billboards that call all atheists traitors, did they get vandalized?

    I don’t think Christians gets to claim they have had their free speech rights tramped on here because atheist billboards with analogous messages would never get approved. Next time someone complains about how ‘intolerant’ these secularist billboards are, remember these ones.

  • plutosdad

    Those billboards ckitching linked to, I can only think “wtf?” The first yeah don’t even need to say anything it’s so revolting. But the 2nd one doesn’t make much sense either.

    The atheist billboards don’t attack christians, or say “theists: a person who believes x”. The atheist billboards are more like christian billboards that already existed, “feeling bad? call us” etc. These new “christian” billboards are nothing but nasty. Especially the “thanks to the FFRF for the inspiration.” Just more evidence they see our very existence as a threat.

  • brent

    admit it.

    “also lost” was a good hack.

  • Greg

    brent: given that I looked at the graffiti and couldn’t work out what it was trying to say, I’m going to have to say…

    No, it wasn’t.

    Maybe it’s some kind of ‘Christian speak’ but it makes as much sense to me as adding any two random words on the end of it.

  • Deon Barnard

    Will all these friendly atheists commenting above please tell me why Richard Dawkins and his horsemen is attacking Christianity and all religion so ferociously and pledge and predict that all religion will eventually die out. Well my friends, the world have tried it for thousands of years, the Bible is still the bestseller in the world and now that DNA-studies and Information Theory have hit the final nail in the evolution coffin – with what will atheists try to fool themselves and the world now – there are thousands of scientists in many countries putting their names on the line and pointing out the “just so” stories of evolution is after all just stories. Before you attack again, browse the net; its not too difficult to find out who and of what standing they are. By the way, I don’t support vandalism of any kind either.

  • robbie

    Those Christian billboards make me feel like we are being suppressed by the moral duties the community of the church wants to get in our heads.

    The Atheist billboards tell me that I am free to believe in whatever I want (even if I believe in nothing).

    My believes are simple. I believe what I see, I don’t believe what I hear, I believe everything that I can understand and that has been proven by someone who is willing to explain in such a way that everyone can understand (creationism has indeed been a target of atheism, but everyone knew that day would come :D)

  • Tom

    There’s something dreadfully wrong with the person to whom atheism is so important that they create a website or organization devoted to their atheism. What these people are practicing isn’t a disbelief in God but instead a hatred for those who don’t believe as they do.

    Atheists are making a bad name for themselves. They practice their hatred for the religious, try to make secular a religious holiday (how selfish — go celebrate your own holiday if you want and leave ours alone), and then act victimized when people fight back.

    I haven’t an ounce of respect for an atheist. They have no souls, only hate.

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Tom,
    I would like to help you to understand atheists better, if you have the courtesy and the courage to hear me out. With sincere respect, I’ll make some changes in your own statement for an illustration:

    “There’s something dreadfully wrong with the person to whom atheism religion is so important that they create a website or organization devoted to their atheism religion. What these people are practicing isn’t a disbelief belief in God but instead a hatred for those who don’t believe as they do.”

    If I were to make such a statement, you would be right to think that I don’t know what I am talking about, because I don’t know who I am talking about. For me to make such unfair and ill-informed remarks could only mean that I did not closely and personally know anyone who is religious or believes in God. Fortunately I know many, so I don’t assume such blanket negative things about them. I can take them as individuals. Most are very nice, and a few are difficult.

    It is apparent that you don’t actually know any atheists on a close and personal basis. If you did know several, you would know that they are very diverse in their views and attitudes toward religious people. I know many, many atheists very well.

    A few atheists are angry at theists and do not behave well toward them. Most atheists simply want to be treated with simple respect, and they do all that they can to treat others with simple respect. Unfortunately, not all but many religious people feel threatened just by atheists’ existence. They don’t even have to do or say anything for those religious people to say they’re “offended.”

    The three blue sky billboards above are examples of this. They are not addressed to any believers at all. In these billboards, the atheists are calling out to each other, saying that hey they’re here, and they’re good people, and here’s contact info if others want some company.

    But some religious people say that’s “offensive” to them. It’s clear that the only offense is that atheists exist. Such hatred toward a group of people without any cause at all is naked bigotry.

    This intolerance and eagerness to hate atheists does not reflect well on Christian principles of showing love to those who are different. It does not show any interest in following the example of brotherhood and good will that Jesus wanted people to practice. A good measure of how well Christians have adopted the most important teachings of Jesus is in how they treat people who are not convinced of their beliefs. Sadly, not all, but many Christians show only intolerance and hostility, and give nothing but a quick dismissal.

    If a holiday that is important to you is becoming too secular for your liking, it is up to you to celebrate it the way you think is proper. If you try to blame others, you are simply scapegoating and not taking responsibility for the quality of how you observe your own holiday. No one is trying to spoil it or take it away from you, and nobody can. Your holiday is inside of you.

    Tom, if you disapprove of hatred, then the first thing you should do is to clean it out of your own heart. Your anger and hatred for atheists is from not knowing any, and probably from listening to others who may want to scapegoat atheists for their own selfish ends. Don’t just accept the bigotry of others without question and make it your own. Find out for yourself if someone is really deserving of your loathing and condemnation. If you give yourself a chance to actually get to know a few atheists, you might be pleasantly surprised.

    I am willing to talk with you and to answer any of your questions. I will always remain respectful and honest with you. I have no interest in getting you to change any belief you may have in religion or God. I am only interested in helping you to see that I and other atheists are not evil, hateful people. We want what everyone else wants: to be happy and safe, to enjoy our families and friends, to be treated fairly and with simple courtesy, and to contribute to our community.

    I think that you will find that we share so much more in our humanity that our differences in beliefs does not have to result in any hatred between us at all.

    Please consider responding to my open hand and heart.

  • Kelly Lane

    Yea … uh … My opening line for this Atheist would have been along the lines of ..

    1. - You judge gay people which is a sin NO DIFFERENT THAN BEING GAY …..

    2. – Your Pastors are congregats are getting caught BEING GAY,  MORE THAN GAY PEOPLE ARE COMPFORTABLE WITH!

    3.  LOTS  and LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of ass raping kids..

    ….Then on to rich people and how jesus hated their guts)


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