Catholic League Puts Up Billboard to Counter Atheists

American Atheists recently put up this billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel:

Now, Bill Donohue and the Catholic League have responded with this billboard on the New York City side of the Lincoln Tunnel:

We decided to counterpunch after a donor came forward seeking to challenge the anti-Christmas statement by American Atheists. Our approach is positive, and services the common good. Theirs is negative, and is designed to sow division. It’s what they do.

So after Christian motorists have had their sensibilities assaulted as they exit New Jersey, they will experience a sense of joy, and satisfaction, as they enter New York City. It’s what we do.

The atheist billboard is far from negative. It’s a call for honesty and an urging for atheists to come out of the closet.

If your sensibilities are “assaulted” by a sign that simply points out that your beliefs are a myth, I don’t know how you get through the day. You might disagree, but that should be the extent of your concern.

Meanwhile, the Catholic League billboard tells Christians nothing they haven’t heard before. Maybe some of them will smile as they see it, but it’s not going to have a long-lasting effect.

One bright side to the new billboard: It will ensure that AA’s president Dave Silverman remains in the media spotlight for another day or two as he gets inundated with interview requests.

So, thanks for that, Bill!

  • JoeBuddha

    Woo-hoo! Tit for tat! You can’t fence if your opponent doesn’t reposte!

  • http://www.lyonlegal.blogspot.com Vincent

    I can actually see why this board would be offensive or “assault the sensibilities” of some.
    To the believer reading it, it sounds like you are saying “you know you’re just living a lie. Admit it.”

    It’s not far from no atheists in fox holes. The insult isn’t that there are no atheists in the military, but that you are deep down being dishonest with yourself.

    I know it wasn’t intended that way, and assault isn’t exactly a good word for it, but to a believer, the “you” does make it negative.

    (not that I’d change it one bit by the way)

  • Bridget

    It doesn’t seem either billboard is offensive to me. People that believe have that right. Just as we have a right not to believe.

  • April

    Of course believers have the right Bridget, but it’s not as if Christians need a billboard advocating for their cause. Most Americans are already Christians. People are not sitting around saying to themselves: What is all this Christmas stuff people keep talking about?

    Atheists, however, are not always aware that there are other atheists out there to commune with.

    The Catholic sign is a direct retort to the atheist billboard (it mimmicks the wording). That makes it rather combative, and turns the atheist cause (letting other atheists know they are not alone) into a battle between Christians and atheists. The only reason the Catholic billboard exists is to highlight some sort of animosity. Is that what Jesus would do?

  • «bønez_brigade»

    Lawl. The angry man with a computer is trying so hard to keep the fairy tale alive.

    A great atheist blogger recently spake thusly:
    “If your faith is so weak that a billboard is going to destroy it, then your faith wasn’t worth keeping in the first place.” — Hemant Mehta

  • Hamilton Jacobi

    As a True Christian, I am pleased to see that Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin are correctly depicted as having the pure white skin of the Master Race. Those divisive historical revisionists with their talk of brown-skinned people in the Middle East always make me feel icky, and you know how I hate to feel icky at Christmastime.

  • cat

    I don’t really find the Catholic League billboard offensive(more than any other catholic thing), but the reasoning behind it certainly is. “Theirs is negative, and is designed to sow division. It’s what they do.” Yes, because that’s what those atheists do, spread negativity and sow division.

  • Dan

    Bill Donohue disagrees with the teaching of the same man he wants us to celebrate in his billboard, Jesus:

    “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” – Matthew 5:39 KJV

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

    *facepalm*

    Still waiting for this guy to just fall over and have a massive coronary on air…

    And I’m praying to Basement Cat that Hamilton Jacobi up there is a Poe.

  • Stephen P

    @Hamilton Jacobi: yes, that’s the first thought that went through my mind as well.

    @WMDKitty: if HJ’s tongue gets any more firmly in his cheek he’s going to need medical attention.

  • http://ottodestruct.com Otto

    I wonder how all the Jewish people in NYC feel about the Catholic billboard being “positive” and for the “common good”?

    Of course, on the other end of the stick, it seems like the Catholic League has decided to start their celebration early, with the Airing of Grievances. Happy Festivus!

  • Heidi

    Out of curiosity, what is the general consensus from Jews on Jesus? Do they think he never existed at all, or do they just not think he was the Messiah?

  • Gordon

    Wait, so we are the grinches trying to steal Christmas… by saying it should be for everyone (secular)

    and they are the heroic defenders of Christmas by saying that if you dont think it is all about Jesus you can sod off?

    Stop stealing Christmas you christians!

  • Hamilton Jacobi

    I am also pleased to see that the producers of this excellent billboard had the discretion to cover Our Lord’s nether regions with a blanket. As we all know, He has the Biggest Tallywhacker in the History of the Universe (yes, even as a baby — for who else could possibly be greater than the Lord?), but it would not do to frighten the youngsters by exposing them to this Truth too early.

    WMDKitty, I am not a supporter of Mr. Poe. His writings are far from Christian, to say the least, and his drunkenness did not set a good example for the children. However, I cannot deny that he was gifted with a keen insight into the true nature of basement cats.

  • ScottDogg

    Theirs is negative, and is designed to sow division.

    Um… isn’t that what Jesus came here to do?

    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.- Matthew 10:34-36Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.- Luke 12:51-53

    I’d certainly call that negative.
    And besides, “Jesus” does not rhyme with “season”! :P

  • Richard Wade

    Theirs is negative, and is designed to sow division. It’s what they do.

    Oh yeah. This said by Bill Donohue, world famous for uniting people. Renowned for being inclusive, embracing and welcoming.

    …as long as you spend all your time kissing Catholic ass, especially his, and never, ever question the knowledge, wisdom, or morals of any Catholic cleric from Father O’Irishcliche to Il Papa Infallibile.

    There’s so much irony my monitor is rusting.

  • Deepak Shetty

    Im curious if everyone who thought the Atheist ad was offensive also thinks that the Catholic ad is offensive? (for the purpose of this question leave aside the effectiveness of either)

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Ha, even their advert, advertised the AA billboard. Brilliant.

  • MIhangel apYrs

    according to biblical readings, wasn’t Christ born in March? In 3BC?

    Xmas is a steal of the Yule, birth of Mithra, and Saturnalia, nothing to do with the birth of Christ, so the Xians are actually celebrating at LEAST 3 pagan festivals

  • http://littlelioness.net Fiona

    I like it. It makes me scoff and go “*cough*bulllshit*cough*” yuou know, just a little!

  • MIhangel apYrs

    PS

    happy khannukah

  • Stephen P

    @MIhangel: there are two completely different biblical nativity stories. Matthew places the birth at the time of Herod, who died in 4 B.C. Luke has it at the time of the census of Quirinius, which was in 6 A.D. Matthew and Luke independently invented nativity stories to deal with the problem that Mark had said Jesus came from Galilee, but the Jews were expecting a Messiah to be born in Bethlehem in Judea. See John chapter 7.

    Whatever else may or may not be true in the New Testament, the nativity stories are definitely myths.

  • Valhar2000

    Catholic League Puts Up Billboard to Counter Atheists!

    Atheists don’t give a fuck.

  • MIDVALCRE

    I’d like to point out the new billboard says “It’s Real” and failed to take a further counter stance saying “It’s TRUE”. I wonder if even they are starting to falter in their claims to it NOT being a myth.
    What a sandbox response though.
    “IS NOT!”?
    Is this the best they can come up with? We’ve been duped. First by their claims of truth, and now by their claims they have some sort of defense of their claims.

  • Cortex

    Well, I’m glad to see atheists don’t have the corny signage market cornered.

    Anyone else think it looks vaguely like a cereal box?

  • http://Religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    I read:

    “You know it’s real. All non-Christians will burn in hell.”

    Real positive…

  • http://shadowgm.diaryland.com Bob

    “Spare me the tolerance lesson.”
    – Bill Donohue, during one of his usual red-faced shouting matches on cable TV.

    ‘Nuff said.

  • JohnMcD

    I’m just having fun imagining a billboard flame war. The third billboard could be “But we can ALL agree THIS is TRUE” and the image is a priest using a bible to shove a young boy’s face into his crotch.

  • Jordan

    What a gorgeous nordic baby!

  • jose

    He’s right on the atheist billboard being negative. It is, because it doesn’t say what you like about your own position, but what you don’t like about the other’s position. Whether or not the billboard is convenient or effective is another story we can talk about.

    I’ve seen a lot of positive atheist billboards lately, like the “you’re not alone” ones or the ones with atheists saying what they do in Sunday morning. I like these better. Sure these have also been received with contempt and outrage but that doesn’t mean anything: a given approach is positive or negative regardless of its effect on people.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    Shouldn’t the pasty-white baby have a halo?

  • http://everydayatheist.wordpress.com Everyday Atheist

    Catholics are so bad at these “counterpunch” billboards. When the Coalition of Reason put up the “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone” billboard here in Philly, some rich Catholic put up one with a picture of White JC with the Sacred Flaming Heart of Doom that just said “Say one Hail Mary.” Ooooh, snap!

  • Stephen P

    @Jose: are we reading the same billboard? The one I see says “Celebrate reason”. Seems clearly positive to me.

  • cypressgreen

    The first thing I noticed is how plastic the holy family looks. And this:

    We decided to counterpunch

    Counterpunch? That says a lot. Dan points out that Jesus said to turn the other cheek. Bill Donohue wants to punch us. Not just that, he has such a persecution complex that he thinks we were punching him.

  • billybee

    Damn…that is one big new born. OUCHEY !

  • http://www.youtube.com/aajoeyjo Joe Zamecki

    The Catholic League’s billboard message is the nicest thing that Bill Donohue’s said in our general direction.

    It looks like an ad for Campbell’s Soup, almost.

    We really should send Bill a lot of thank yous, for all the free publicity. A Christian loudmouth hasn’t given us this much free publicity since William J. Murray took out full page ads in the newspapers in the towns American Atheists had its conventions in. His ads were aimed directly at conventioneers, and it always added to the size of our conventions. He alerted Atheists about the conventions. Then he stopped. Maybe he wised up…lol

  • Ubi Dubium

    Yup, there’s Joseph standing there, doing nothing while Mary takes care of the diaper changing! Not much of a merry xmas for her, is it?

    I don’t see the catholic billboard as offensive in any way. A billboard from them is the right way to respond to our billboard, instead of responding with frothing tirades. And it’s message is just deluded and kind of sad. As a “counterpunch”, they missed.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

    @Hamilton Jacobi — “Nevermore.”

    Why yes, “The Raven” is one of my favorite poems…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 muggle

    “The Black Cat” is one of my favorite Poe stories. I even have an excellent computer game based on it. Not sure just why I’m thinking about that. Guess I’m just a big fan of Poe. ;), Hamilton.

    lol, am I the only one who looked at that shield and at first thought why does he have an upside down cross before realizing that was a sword? But, hmmm, bad artwork or does he realize what it so closely resembles? (muggle shakes herself) Uh, sorry. Residues of influence from the fundie nutjob mother. I know what she’d think Donohue was. Especially because he’s Catholic. I wonder if it even occurs to him that there’s people out there who’d perceive him as …. (drum roll please) …. THE ANTICHRIST!!!

    Both signs are bad and negative and mildly offensive because the you know is condescending and snotty and implies you’re some kind of idiot if you don’t know since any moron would. Apparently, however, per a FB friend who’s something or other in American Atheists, on my newsfeed last night their sign is indeed having the desired affect: they’re getting lots of new members and letters from closet Atheists and, yep, hate mail from the Christers, of course.

    So it appears it’s more effective than it seems.

  • Justin

    Isn’t the catholic league fairly (read: filthy stinking) rich?(I’m not American). Shouldn’t they be able to afford a graphic designer?

    Seriously, their sign stinks.

  • Claudia

    This is probably the least douchy thing I’ve ever seen come out of Bill in his basement with his laptop The Catholic League.

    Hey Bill, you want good publicity for Catholics? Spend a little of that cash for lawyers that represent the victims of Catholic priests. Show the world that you give more of a shit about the children of Catholics than the heirarchy. Oh but wait, you don’t. My bad.

  • Jonas

    @Heidi: “Out of curiosity, what is the general consensus from Jews on Jesus? Do they think he never existed at all, or do they just not think he was the Messiah?”

    It depends. In general Jews do not think Jesus was the Messiah. I’ve read some sites which innumerate the things which The Messiah was supposed to fulfill, but Jesus failed to do.
    — The Christian ‘Excuse’ seems to be he will at the Second Coming.

    Generally that seems to be the basis for rejecting the ‘Jews For Jesus’ movement. — Most see them as Evangelical Christians.

    Google Search “jews can’t be for jesus” for details.

  • Jonas

    NECN picked up the story, this morning. —
    And Bill Donahue was interviewed.

    http://tinyurl.com/24uh7nx

    Typical Donahue Ad-Hominum insults. — around 1:00 to 1:07 insulting us for believing in the Big Bang, and Evolution. — Ah Bill –
    — The Pope said it’s Ok to Believe in Evolution.

  • Robert W.

    this is not directed at all those who commented here, just those that claim the atheist sign is not offensive but the Catholic one is

    For those folks who profess that they are here just representing the “truth” your self deception is amazing.

    To claim that the atheist billboard is not offensive nor is it meant to be is just silly. When you make a claim to millions of people that what they believe and hold dear is a myth, that claim is designed to offend and its obvious as such. It is arrogant and condescending.

    Then to dodge that offense and try and claim that the real message was directed at closet atheists is ridiculous. That could have easily been done with a sign that didn’t attack those that believe.

    Then you follow that up with comments about the Catholic sign being offensive when it says the same message from a believers view point.

    If you are holding yourselves out to be the torchbearers of the truth at least be honest with yourselves and consistent.

    To those of you that find both signs either offensive or not offensive, I applaud you on your equal treatment and consistency.

  • http://www.stumpanatheist.com Rev. Ryan Benson

    Call me the Devil’s advocate, but I think the billboard is a dumb idea…if our goal is to welcome doubters and closeted atheists, maybe we should take a lesson from Pope Julius 1:

    http://stumpanatheist.com/my-gems/item/52-the-war-on-christmas-im-a-traitor

  • Jonas

    @Robert W.: “When you make a claim to millions of people that what they believe and hold dear is a myth, that claim is designed to offend and its obvious as such. It is arrogant and condescending.”

    I have to say, I’ve seen a lot of ‘Bad Interviews’ lately, and I think Dave Silverman blew it in his, (on NECN). As you point out, to claim ‘We Know God is a Myth’ can be just as offensive to a believer, as ‘We know Jesus is the only true path’ is to a non-Christian. At the very least specify the Biblical God. Compare Jehovah and Santa, not equate them.

    I seriously wish these official spokespeople would look up the difference between ‘believe’ and ‘know.’ They are not the same words, nor are they interchangeable. As an educated man, Silverman could have spoke to so much:

    – Differing accounts of the
    Nativity/Birth Story
    – The timing of Jesus’s Birth
    – The similarity to Pagan myths,
    Saturnalia,Mithra etc.

    Instead he comes off as “I’m right, your wrong” and implies your beliefs are silly. — Yes Bill Donahue goes further in his idiocy, by belittling showing a complete ignorance of cosmology, and physical anthropology, and repeats the same insulting tripe “We don’t believe in anything”, “We stand for nothing” etc. But Donohue’s ignorance doesn’t excuse Silverman’s bad interview skills.

  • Richard P.

    The way joseph is standing their looking down, You would almost think he is there sizing up little jesus for the roasting pan.

    Sure looks tasty, maybe a little oregano and some lemon.
    Kinda makes my mouth water.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    I think both billboards are fine. I don’t mind a competing group issuing a “rebuttal” of this nature. It sure beats the usual vandalism or censorship.

    From an atheist perspective, it seems like a win-win for us. We get additional publicity, and it makes the Catholic League look insecure. We know we got under their skin if they felt so threatened they shelled out a lot of money to respond with a billboard of their own.

  • jose

    The way joseph is standing their looking down, You would almost think he is there sizing up little jesus for the roasting pan.

    Here is my version of the billboard. Anyone with a lot of money to put it up?

  • http://reanhouse.blogspot.com Sarah

    Anyone else think of the Wendy’s jingle when they saw the Catholic billboard?

  • Fentwin

    The main thing I learned from this billboard is that the baby Jesus had blonde hair, and his parents were Europeans.

  • Richard P.

    @jose

    Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about.

    You almost see the drool.

  • Richard P.

    You just have to email that to donahue. Might just give him the heart attack everyone is waiting for, or send it to the billboard company tell them you need the billboard updated. It needed something more in line with church tradition.

  • mj

    It has been so thoroughly debunked that I doubt even Donohue could believe the traditional xmas story is literally true. That’s probably why he’s pissed about our billboard – it makes him look at himself as the dishonest bastard he is.

  • Secular Stu

    So after Christian motorists have had their sensibilities assaulted as they exit New Jersey, they will experience a sense of joy, and satisfaction, as they enter New York City.

    So they’ll feel the same way they normally do on that commute. (Oooh… ZING NJ!)

  • Anonymous

    Hey! New billboards in Nashville, ripping off the AA’s design! Apparently the Rapture is imminent.

    http://www.tennessean.com/article/20101201/NEWS06/12010350/Nashville%2Bbillboards%2Bclaim%2BJesus%2Bwill%2Breturn%2BMay%2B21%2B%2B2011

    “Fans of Family Radio Inc., a nationwide Christian network, paid for the billboards. Family Radio’s founder, Harold Camping, predicted the May date for the Rapture.”

    “The Rapture is going to be a great day for God’s people but awful for everyone else,” said Allison Warden, 29, who orchestrated Nashville’s billboard campaign.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 muggle

    Can’t wait for 5/22/11, Anonymous. Of course, they probably don’t have enough sense for their faces to be red.

  • Peter Mahoney

    Bill Donahue and his Catholic League have screwed up with their nativity scene caption: “You Know It’s Real: This Season Celebrate Jesus.”

    It would be like a magician who kept saying “I really really DID make that elephant disappear, I really really did. You know I really really did it, right?” The more the magician or conman (Donahue) wastes his breath saying how REAL something is, the more and more people stop and question its validity.

    If they (C.L.) have allowed the debate to focus on whether the Christ story is REAL or not, they are bumbling (at the moment). Religion is mostly built upon NOT thinking too hard about whether it is real. Great that the Catholic League spends THEIR money on billboards focusing on whether Christ is REAL!

    Heartfelt THANK YOU to American Atheists for doing a GREAT job.

    Many, many people KNOW these are myths but don’t know they can really admit it, even to themselves (I was that way for decades).

  • «bønez_brigade»

    @Anonymous and muggle,
    I like this Nashville billboard, and I hope it stays up until May so it’s more difficult for them to sweep that claim under the proverbial rug.

    Interestingly, they cut the baby Jesus out of theirs — which means they literally took the “Christ” out of their own [version of someone else's] Christmas ad.

  • sven

    @Robert W
    I don’t think a lot of atheist will be offended by the catholic add. It has a high entertainment value.

    Then to dodge that offense and try and claim that the real message was directed at closet atheists is ridiculous. That could have easily been done with a sign that didn’t attack those that believe.

    Untill now ALL atheists signs were reason for some theist to feel offended. Even the most neutral once have been vandalized.
    Would you consider the possibility that a lot of theists might be a little bit to eager to FEEL offended?

  • http://Ifthereisanobjective(onetrue)morality,howdoweknowthatwhatiswritteninthebiblecapturesit?Thebiblemightbewayoff. Robert W.

    Sven,

    Would you consider the possibility that a lot of theists might be a little bit to eager to FEEL offended?

    I am sure there are theists that are thinned skinned and easily offended.

    But looking to be offended? I would say that characteristic is more prevalent among atheists such as those that get “offended” by the pledge, slogans on money, nativity scenes, banners in schools, moments of silence etc. all because they are personally “offended” by what they perceive to be violations of church and state. Or they get personally “offended” by teachings of a religion that they don’t even subscribe to even if it doesn’t effect them.

  • sven

    I would say that characteristic is more prevalent among atheists such as those that get “offended” by the pledge, slogans on money, nativity scenes, banners in schools, moments of silence etc. all because they are personally “offended” by what they perceive to be violations of church and state

    I consider pushing the mention of a god into the pledge and on the money a lot more aggressive than putting up an add. Just switch god for allah, than you know what I mean.

    Nativity scenes where everybody has the same right to display, I don’t see anyone complaining but the chistians.

    Banners in schools.. if everybody gets the same rights, it’s the christians that feel their rights are being taken away. Just switch a christian banner for a hindu banner, then you know what I mean.

    Moments of silence.. again, no atheist feels offended. Or do you mean ‘Moments of prayer’? Just switch a christian prayer for a satanic prayer, then you know what I mean.

    The problem is that the concept of equal rights seems so offensive to theists. Where for an atheist it is only natural.

  • http://Ifthereisanobjective(onetrue)morality,howdoweknowthatwhatiswritteninthebiblecapturesit?Thebiblemightbewayoff. Robert W.

    Sven,

    I would think you may have a valid point except that the reason given for the lawsuits and complaints by atheists against all of those issues is that they were offended

  • sven

    @Robert W
    Offended like in ‘fighting for equal rights’?
    Or offended like in ‘fighting for privileges’?

  • http://Ifthereisanobjective(onetrue)morality,howdoweknowthatwhatiswritteninthebiblecapturesit?Thebiblemightbewayoff. Robert W.

    Sven,

    no like, ” i am offended everytime I look at the money and see “in God we trust” or I’m offended that my children have to stand for a pledge that includes the phrase “under God” or I’m offended that i have to drive by the county courthouse and see a statute of the ten commandments.

    That kind of personal offense

  • sven

    Robert W
    You mean, “offended to see government time and tax money being misused to favour one religion.”
    And to you that is equal to “offended that atheist put up adds”?

  • heironymous

    Robert W -

    You don’t get it. As an atheist, I’m not offended by the cheesy “counterpunch” billboard in the least. We’re constantly bombarded with churches and nativity scenes and stupid bumper stickers. (I’ll put the Christ back in Christmas if you put the Thor back in Thursday)

    Christians are free to display their beliefs however they wish on their own property. People of other faiths have the same rights. Even we lowly atheists have the same rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
    The government isn’t supposed to advocate a religion. That’s what ACLU lawsuits to keep prayer out of school, to get God out of the pledge of allegiance and to keep the ten commandments off public courtyards are all about.

  • Robert W.

    Heironymous,

    I get it.

    The government isn’t supposed to advocate a religion. That’s what ACLU lawsuits to keep prayer out of school, to get God out of the pledge of allegiance and to keep the ten commandments off public courtyards are all about.

    Don’t disagree with that , however the lawsuits all start with an atheist who was offended and thus they claim standing to being the suit.

  • sven

    Don’t disagree with that , however the lawsuits all start with an atheist who was offended and thus they claim standing to being the suit.

    Maybe that’s because denying equal treatment IS offensive.

  • Cameron

    Merry Christ Christmas Christ! :)

  • Brian Macker

    Someone should redo that one poster keeping the white parents but substituting a black baby. LOL.

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