Atheist Billboard Quoting John F. Kennedy Goes Up in Lubbock, Texas

The Freedom From Religion Foundation just put up this billboard in Lubbock, Texas:

That billboard will be up for six months and the story behind why it’s up there is great:

The billboard reads: “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute — John F. Kennedy.” The billboard quotes JFK’s famous speech as a presidential candidate before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on Sept. 12, 1960.

“The deterioration of respect for this constitutional principle since that speech is breathtaking,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president.

The billboard was donated by FFRF member Michael Zargarov of Houston. Zargarov kindly gave FFRF the space after selling a pair of chairs from the movie, “The Ten Commandments.” The buyer just happened to own a local billboard company and offered Zargarov the space as payment for one of the chairs, valued at $10,000.

“It was very generous of Michael to think of FFRF when it came time to select a billboard design,” Gaylor added.

If anyone wants to offer me billboard space, I’d be happy to do your math homework for you.

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.

  • Joe Zamecki

    Score! That’s a great way to make a billboard happen. FFRF rocks again.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, orphan

    man, where were you when i was flunking calc? dammit, kids have it so easy today with these here internet thingees. anything you need, at your fingertips. 

  • ruth

    Great billboard!   We need more like this, how about:  

    Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.-Thomas Jeffersonor:Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.-Thomas Jefferson

  • Gregory Lynn

    I’d have thought that in Lubbock they’d have gone with a quote from someone other than a liberal Democrat from Massachusetts.

    Aren’t there some pretty good Reagan quotes that would fit on a billboard?

    Lubbock might be more receptive to Reagan than Kennedy.

    Not that I expect them to be all that receptive.

  • http://chronosynclasticinfundibulum.wordpress.com/ Salo

    Having gone to college in Lubbock, I have a reasonably good idea of the outrage this will generate…definitely popcorn worthy!

    Given the community’s combination of religiosity and an almost pathological need to conform, I think that this billboard will be something of a shock to them. Aside from being crazy conservative, I noticed that most people there work *very* hard to put up the facade of the perfect citizen. Part of that is that no one ever seemed to talk about anything “unpleasant” in their own lives. In fact, I got the impression that the only time people expressed displeasure was when they were puppeting the generic displeasure of the GOP against things not in their “perfect” community (aside from those “liberal college kids who weren’t really members of the community anyways”).

    That atheists exist in their “wholesome community” will come as something of a shock to them, and the fact that we/they are so “uppity” about it even more so.

    • Jonathan

      Lubbock is its own little bubble or reality.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

      Been through there myself; I don’t imagine they’ll give a gol-durn what a Democrat Papist said.

  • http://twitter.com/Buffy2q Buffy

    That should make Rick Santorum barf.

  • Simon

    This one I do like.  Extra points for a quote that was made in Texas.

  • Ken

    I will not be surprised if this billboard isn’t removed before six months are up.  It is funny to reflect that once it was necessary for a President to declare this separation of church and state in order to run.  

    Y’know, I do miss the 60s and 70s, before my generation got older and started turning to God for immortality.  Such a sad turn of events.

  • Sindigo


    That billboard will be up for six months”

    Not a chance

  • Thop

    How about a billboard quoting Barry Goldwater on what it means “To Be  A Conservative”:?:

    Barry Goldwater

    Congressional Record, 15 Sept. 1981, page 20589-20590,

    “And the religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy.
    They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternative.
    The great decisions of government cannot be dictated by the concerns of religious factions.  This was true in the days of Madison and it is just as true today
    We have succeeded for 205 years in keeping the affairs of state separate from the uncompromising idealism of religious groups and we must not stop now.
    To retreat from that separation would violate the principles of conservatism and the values upon which the framers built this democratic republic.”

    http://archive.org/stream/congressionalrec127funit#page/n659/mode/1up

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=768733798 Annie Blanchard

      Priceless.  I am making a jpg out of that and sharing it on facebook, since I can’t afford a poster!

    • Thop

       I meant to add this Goldwater quote from the same Senate speech:

      “I am warning
      them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to
      dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of
      conservatism.”

      Goldwater would be run out the GOP today.  Not really, he already knew what was happening to the GOP back in 1981 when he made his speech in the Senate, and he was already relegated to the fringe of the GOP and considered a “traitor” by many at the time he died in 1998.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cstotland Cary Stotland

      Kind of hard to get that on a billboard.. ;-)

  • kullervo

    A Kennedy quote in Texas? Really? Whose winning idea was that? Is Texas rife with Kennedy admirers?

    • Mmaxum2002

       Lee Harvey Oswald wasn’t a fan of JFK

  • Helga Withem

    The JFK bill board is perfect. I would love to see one at 156th and Bob Boozer Drive in Omaha, NE. Separation of church and state is a must. We should learn & take a look at countries where religion rules. One word discribes the outcome “Disaster”.

  • Nathan

    I was back home for my sister’s wedding last week and saw this billboard. It made me smile.

    Granted, I saw it at 75mph while driving, and thought, “did I just see that?”

    But it made me smile… Even better, I was listening to SGU when I saw it. :-)

  • Michael Hillier

    Kennedy’s comment was made to placate the people who were worried that as a Catholic he would be calling the pope for advice. I don’t think it had anything to do with Atheism? I could be wrong.


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