‘Atheism is Patriotic’ Banner Will Fly Over New York City Tomorrow Night

Last year, when American Atheists paid for flyover banners across the country on Independence Day, some pilots refused to fly planes with the evil, scary message “Atheism Is Patriotic – atheists.org.”

This year, that doesn’t seem to be a problem, and the banner will fly over New York City:

Teresa MacBain, Public Relations Director, stated, “As a pastor I often reminded my congregants that ‘God’s law was higher than man’s law.’ What that really meant was that the people should take orders from the church, above our civil government. Atheism, being the absence of any religious beliefs, implies that human law alone is supreme over humanity. Here in America, the highest law is in Washington DC, not some fictional heaven. That’s patriotic.

Wow, Teresa MacBain is off to a strong start already :)

Even if you think the sign is contentious, keep in mind this is all about getting publicity for American Atheists. They want reporters to ask them about the sign so they can get their message out to the people who may be on the fence about their religious views. They’re also not insinuating that religious people are not patriotic, even though I’m sure religious groups will be quick to jump to that conclusion.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    “They’re also not insinuating that religious people are not patriotic,
    even though I’m sure religious groups will be quick to jump to that
    conclusion.”

    Frankly, why should we care? The religious narrative in the U.S. has always EXPLICITLY excluded atheists from being “real, patriotic Americans,” often going so far as to accuse atheists of being fascists, communists, morally bankrupt, inhuman and worse.

    The Religious Right can go collectively fuck itself.

    • http://profiles.google.com/kelvins273 Kevin Smith

       If this is the reaction of religious people, it’ll be a nice example of projection. After all, when theists say that religious people are moral/patriotic/whatever, the implicit message is almost always that atheists aren’t. That’s why they can’t imagine claiming a positive quality for themselves without implying that others lack that quality.

  • Michael

    Needs a semi colon.  

  • http://twitter.com/Buffy2q Buffy

    Someone on WorldNutDaily is already threatening to shoot the banner if he sees it.  Christian Love at its best.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Patrick/100000027906887 Adam Patrick

      Definition of “love” from the fukndie Christian dictionary: “Being an asshole to anyone to disagrees with me”

    • Tom

      Shoot the banner?  As in discharge a firearm almost directly upward, at an aircraft, dragging a target a bullet would pass straight through and then proceed to fall back to earth at almost the same speed, as it flew over a heavily populated area, that just happened to be ground zero to an event that effectively drove much of the nation insane and massively sensitized it to anything even vaguely resembling illegality involving aircraft, all in the name of patriotism, on independence day?

      Some people really aren’t accustomed to thought.

  • Pseudonym

    I hope she wasn’t implying that people should take orders from civil government.

  • allein

    Hmm…my ‘local’ news is NYC; I wonder what are the odds of seeing this while I’m at my parents’ house for dinner, along with my uncle, who once told me “evolution is impossible” when he saw I was reading a Dawkins book. Could be interesting… ;)

  • Tom

    Is patriotism inherently a good thing?

  • Methodissed

    Patriotism is the notion that whatever country you happen to be born in is the best country in the world. This banner says that we are slaves to our passions just like everyone else (doesn’t that make you proud?)

    Further, to make a claim that atheists are [insert stupid claim here] is both arrogant and ignorant. ATHEISM – A = Without, Theism = god belief. Add any other attributes and you’re just making shit up.

    I wish that American Atheists would stop pretending to speak for me. I’m NOT patriotic and I don’t want to be affiliated with their lame ass attempts to gain media attention.

    • ReadsInTrees

      I thought patriotism is love, support, and defense of one’s country. I’m pretty sure you can be patriotic without thinking your country is the best country in the world. 

      Furthermore, American Atheists are a specific organization…they only speak for you if you’re affiliated with them. And, read carefully, the banner does not say “Atheists are patriotic” is says “Atheism is patriotic.” If you read the original article about this banner, the reasoning behind the motto is explained:

      Teresa MacBain, Public Relations Director, stated, “As a pastor I often reminded my congregants that ‘God’s law was higher than man’s law.’ What that really meant was that the people should take orders from the church, above our civil government. Atheism, being the absence of any religious beliefs, implies that human law alone is supreme over humanity. Here in America, the highest law is in Washington DC, not some fictional heaven. That’s patriotic.“

      American Atheists do not speak for you if you don’t want them to…they speak for American Atheists and the members thereof. So, how about you stop your lame ass attitude of being offended by every little thing. Relax.

      • Methodissed

        @ReadsinTree – “…they only speak for you if you’re affiliated with them.”

        That’s nonsense. They are making a grand sweeping statement that “atheism is
        patriotic,” so yes, they are pretending to speak for me. As I noted earlier,
        there is no patriotism inherent to atheism (A=without, THEISM=god belief).

        @ReadsinTree – “If you read the original article about this banner, the
        reasoning behind the motto is explained”

        Their billboard has a bullshit sound bite that doesn’t reference the article
        (people wouldn’t read it anyway). So, in reference to my concern, it doesn’t
        matter what the article says.

        @ReadsinTree – “So, how about you stop your lame ass attitude of being
        offended by every little thing. Relax.”

        This is not a little thing, and I have every right to object when a group pretends
        to represent the entire atheist community. They don’t represent me, and people
        reading the billboard have no way of knowing that.

  • Rwlawoffice

    Frankly her explanation about why Christians believe that God’s law is above man’s law is wrong.  It has nothing to do with following orders from your church. It is an understanding that just like our declaration of independence says, we all have inalienable rights endowed by our creator.  Not a church or a government.

  • HughInAz

    Why are comments closed on the post that shows the banner flying over NYC? I wanted to ask why the plane is being chased by a squad of fighter jets.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Whoops! Fixed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1829112656 Pav Sterry

    Atheists can be more patriotic than theists.  We aren’t putting “God” first! We can put country first:)


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