Atheist Billboards in Columbia, South Carolina Get More Press

The Columbia Coalition of Reason recently put up this digital billboard in two places in anticipation of the big football game between the University of South Carolina and Clemson:

As inoffensive as that is, it caught the eyes of the local ABC affiliate — they say the billboards “strike a nerve” — and they invited spokesperson Dustin Tucker on air to talk about it:

The reporter treated Dustin well and the questions were answered straightforwardly-yet-friendly. It’s very welcoming for any closeted atheist who’s hearing about these billboards for the first time, in any case.

Side note: Redditors are comparing Tucker to singer Michael Buble. Do you see it?



About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    Again…another atheist billboard that implies recognition of a deity. It would have been so much  more effective (and correct) if it had said, “Don ‘t believe in gods?” or “Don’t believe in a god?”
    I don’t understand why these signs continue to be churned out with this error.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Reed/692599362 Paul Reed

      I think it might be better as is. Most people would say that they don’t believe in “a god” or “gods” (and the implied polytheism) but that they do believe in God with a capital G.
      The majority is Christian, after all. It’s just a case of adapting to the audience, I guess.

      • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

        There’s no need to adapt to an audience to the degree you suggest. For that matter, who is the audience? If you go by what the billbaorad states, it intended for closeted atheists.  Do they REALLY need the type of religious-specific consideration you claim they do? I’m not inclined to think that they do.
        Intentional or not, there’s also a secondary audience. Of course, I’m referring to theists. And yes, the majority of them in the U.S. are Christians. Now, if perchance, you were actually interested in positively influencing members of this demographic, might it not be a better idea to go after the general idea of belief in supernatural beings rather than singling out THEIR beloved deity?
        For the very reason you gave, the billboard comes off as being more anti-Christian than pro-atheist.
        And that’s  a bad thing.

        • Anonymous

          On one sense, I think you’re right, but you’re not going to win everyone.  There are plenty of people that would complain that not having the upper case “God” would be a more anti-Christian message.  I think there’s also a point somewhere that you can’t worry too much what people think, because some of them will never be pleased except when you shut up and go away.  They have a double standard where dozens of billboards would have Christian messages, but go ape when there’s a single atheist billboard posted, as if you killed their Jesus.

          • http://thegodlessmonster.com The Godless Monster

            “On one sense, I think you’re right, but you’re not going to win everyone. ”
            Yes, I know. Never once implied that. Also, I’m  sure you’d agree that just because some folks want us to “shut up and go away” doesn’t mean we should stop trying to communicate…right?

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

          The billboards are for everybody.

          • http://thegodlessmonster.com The Godless Monster

            Sure about that? If so, do you think that marketing to everyone by “shotgunning” is a wise tactic? Does it make the most of one’s marketing budget?

    • Kristi

      I think this is way too over thought. Whenever a theist reads this billboard, they are automatically going to think of their god.  No matter if it is capitalized, plural etc.  The target point for (closet or not) atheists is the same meaning.  They are going to think of whichever god is closest (not literally) to their social circle.  I think the ads are right on. It’s meant to be personal, not general.

  • Anonymous

    Strike a nerve? Seems about as offensive as “Don’t believe in Astrology? You are not alone.” would be.

  • littlejohn

    Same eyes, same hair. Has anyone seen these guys in the same room together?

  • TheBlackCat

    What a stident, beliggerent, offensive person.  Can’t he have been calmer and less mean to religious people?

    • http://www.facebook.com/newmodelno115 Dustin Tucker

      I’m an amoral, heartless atheist.  What did you expect?

      • TheBlackCat

        You weren’t kicking puppies.  Come on, how can you be an amoral, heartless atheist if you don’t kick puppies?

        • Dara Harris

          He’s also awesome and doesn’t eat babies :)

  • JoeBuddha

    OT, but is there any way to change the default sorting? I keep getting “popular now” and forgetting about it until I realize the comments are out of order.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Baerg/100000827478206 Jim Baerg

      I reset it to ‘oldest first’ some time ago & for me it stays at oldest first the next time I come to this website.  Maybe you & I have cookies set differently.

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

      I think you need to be logged into a Disqus account to set the default sorting order.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

    How about this one?
    —————————

    Is Nothing Sacred?

                Yes.                                                    

    • http://twitter.com/WCLPeter Rob U

      I don’t know, that sounds like something good ol’ Captain Kirk would throw at the computer just in time to save the day.

      “Is… Nothing… Sacred?”

      No, nothing is sacred.
      Yes, nothing is sacred.

      Nothing implies the absence of something so it can’t be sacred but the question implies that nothing *could* be sacred.  This does not compute, error, error, error.

      Then the thing implodes freeing Spock and McCoy and Scotty manages to fix the transporters just in the nick of time before the explosion gets our heroes.

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

        How many know the wealthy creator of Star Trek was an atheist?
        (You do now) I think ST shunned religious subject matter.

        Agnostic billboard 
        —————————

        Is Nothing Sacred?

                    Maybe

  • Secular Planet

    I’ve never liked the wording of this billboard campaign. “You are not alone” seems to imply “…because God exists and is always with you.”

    How about “You’re not the only one”?

    • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

      You’re on to something…

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

      Even more implied since the background is the sky and the common idea is that God and Heaven are up in the sky among the clouds.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

    He who pays the piper, calls the tune.
    ————————————————
    Kudos to these courageous lads!

  • Anonymous

    Someone should put up a sign that says”Atheist exist”
    Nothing else, just to see if people find it offensive.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

       —————
      |   Atheist      |       would tick them off.
      —————-  

  • http://www.facebook.com/newmodelno115 Dustin Tucker

    Goddammit.

    • Kelley

      SING TO ME MICHAEL. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/LPatrickMitchell Patrick Mitchell

        BUBLE ANGRY BUBLE SMASH.

  • Charles Black

    I’d say the billboard is as offensive as one saying “Don’t believe in Bigfoot? You’re not alone”.
    Oh wait we’re dealing with religious fanatics, not rational people in this case.

  • Dan W

     Wow that was a good interview. The interviewer was quite civil, and I think Dustin represented his local group (and atheists in general) very well. I guess I’ve gotten used to seeing clips of atheists interviewed on Faux News, which are always much more contentious.

    • Dan W

      Also, he totally does look like Michael Buble.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X