American Atheists Billboards Go After Presidential Candidates’ Faith

American Atheists just put up two new billboards that go after President Obama‘s Christianity and Mitt Romney‘s Mormonism (though they never mention the candidates by name):

The billboards will be located in Charlotte, NC, where the Democratic National Convention will be held, September 3 – 6, 2012. All companies contacted in Tampa, Florida, where the Republican National Convention will be held, refused to display the billboard focusing on Mormonism.

Mr. Silverman said, “The election of our leaders in the United States is one of the most important decisions that we as citizens make. Allowing our judgment to be clouded by sheer silliness is unacceptable. We want to show the people of our country the foolishness of mixing religion with politics.”

Teresa MacBain, Public Relations Director stated, “Our great country was founded on the secular ideals of the Constitution. Allowing religion to be the litmus test of our candidates undermines the very core of our freedoms.” Ms. MacBain continued, “Article VI of the Constitution states, ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification’ for those desiring public office. How can we disregard our governing principles so blatantly?”

***Edit***: Here’s video of AA’s press conference this morning:

The billboards will be up for a month at a cost of about $15,000.

You just know people are going to say that Teresa’s statements are hypocritical: “If there’s no religious test for public office, why are you attacking their religion?!”

But we’re talking about different things.

Yes, there’s no religious test for public office. American Atheists isn’t suggesting (and would never suggest) that candidates shouldn’t be allowed to run if they’re religious.

What AA is saying is that when it comes to deciding who to vote for, we ought to have some sense of what’s going on in these candidates’ minds. And if they believe in a religion that requires acceptance of the kind nonsense mentioned on the billboards, do we trust them to make good decisions in other areas?

The billboards are easy to counter, though (if the candidates — and anyone else — dare to address them at all).

Christians would just say that their God is a loving God, Jesus is the path to him, the differences between sects are not as important as the big picture of accepting Christ, and some Christians use the Bible to promote hate but they’re not True ChristiansTM. Obama, especially, can now say that he supports marriage equality, so where’s this hate you speak of?

(I’m not saying I buy any of that, but it’s pretty easy to spin.)

Mormons may have a tougher time rebutting the billboard mostly because people don’t know a lot about the faith. Suggesting their God lives in outer space may be accurate, but it just “feels” like a cheap shot — I mean, it’s not like the Christian God lives on Earth, either. Also, the baptizing of dead people (like Anne Frank and Gandhi) was done by fringe Mormon groups and was later denounced by LDS officials.

Instead of addressing those things, though, I suspect most Mormon spokespeople will just deflect the content by playing the victim card:

Terryl Givens, a Mormon professor at the University of Richmond, called American Atheists “petty and vindictive.”

“If this example of adolescent silliness is what atheists mean by being reasonable, then neither Mormons nor other Christians have much to worry about,” he said of the billboards. “When atheists organize to serve the poor and needy of the world, they will be taken more seriously.”

Actually, we do serve the poor and needy. But notice how Givens bypasses the content on the billboard entirely. You’re gonna see a lot of that.

I’ll admit this: To suggest Romney and Obama believe in everything these billboards say is unfair. Obama is no friend to the Religious Right (they’d love to see him lose the election) and even Romney seems to take the GOP platform more seriously than his own holy book.

I think it would’ve been just as controversial — but easier to defend — if AA put out a billboard that said “The Mormon Church didn’t accept black people until 1978” or “Mormons raised $22,000,000 to fight marriage equality.”

But remember: These billboards are rarely nuanced criticisms of religious belief. They’re designed to get people talking and to get publicity for AA. On those counts, these will be successful.

A couple other criticisms AA should expect:

There’s the implication that Mormons aren’t Christian — which is why two billboards are needed — but many Christians believe that, so I’m not very concerned about that one.

There’s also the issue of the Mormon underwear on the billboard, which seems like a low blow to me. It’s like criticizing Jews for believing in God and including a picture of a yarmulke. (Like, Really? That’s the part you have a problem with?)

This is the frustrating thing about atheist billboards. They’re easy to criticize and the atheist critics, at least, tend to be ones who aren’t putting up better billboards of their own. But AA doesn’t mind that. They want people talking about what Mormons and Christians actually believe because they know most people in both faiths will just try and distance themselves from what their holy books actually say.

That’s the point. Both candidates have sidestepped talking about their religious faith and the media has let them do it. It’s as if asking these candidates what they really believe about the nature of God would be rude. It’s not rude. It’s informative. I’d much rather know where Mitt Romney agrees and disagrees with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than what’s in his tax returns. He shouldn’t be allowed to get brownie points for saying he’s a devout man without explaining what his religious beliefs are.

At least with Obama, we’ve seen instances where good policy (marriage equality, supporting safe and legal abortion, promoting contraception in Obamacare) trumps what many religious leaders want him to do. Obama may be a Christian, but I don’t worry that he looks to the Bible or Focus on the Family for guidance.

I don’t think Romney looks to the Book of Mormon, either. But we deserve to know what’s going on in his mind.

That’s not a “religious test.” That’s a judgment call.

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/NoHookerNoPeace Police State

    I think the magic underwear thing illustrates perfectly how ridiculous and nonsensical Mormonism actually is. Mormons believe that the holy garment will protect them from fire, bullets,
    knives and other assaults if the person wearing the garments have kept all of
    their “temple covenants”. Last I checked Jews don’t make such claims about the Yarmulke. 

    • MegaZeusThor

      Remember in World War II, instead of building tanks and planes, they sent over Momons with their magic underwear? Me neither.

      It’s funny how religious people can live in both mental worlds simultaneously. Part of them knows that training and equipment are what’s going to make the difference.

  • Nordog

    Yeah, this will work out well for the atheists.

    • Coyotenose

       It will work out terribly, but still better than your trolling does for you.

      Angry much?

      • Nordog6561

        Apparently not as angry as you.

        lol

        • Drew M.

           Ooooh. Which of you is the mild mannered reporter and which of you is the superhero?

  • http://twitter.com/NoHookerNoPeace Police State

    I think the magic underwear perfectly illustrates the ridiculousness of the LDS religion. Mormons believe that the holy garment will protect them from fire, bullets, knives and other assaults if the person wearing the garments have kept all of their “temple covenants”. Last I checked Jews don’t make the same claims for the Yarmulke.

  • Lamocla

    Most republican think Obama is a Muslim so I guess both billboard attacks Romney/Ryan ticket.

  • MegaZeusThor

    My God don’t live in outer-space! He lives on Mount Olympus, where I like it, dagnabbit!

    (As for religious spin – when your deities are made up, it not that hard to make them be whatever you want them to be.)

    It would be nice though if political leaders stopped sound like religious leaders. Let’s hear about real issues and real options (and consequences of those choices.)

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

    For a presidential candidacy in modern times, you shouldn’t have to answer questions about your religious faith. If that’s the kind of thing the American people need to understand your character and judgement, you’re just not qualified enough. The only candidates that have a possibility to win are the ones that have held public office, have governed in some way that has left a strong record. If you’re one of these candidates with a strong record, you shouldn’t have to answer questions about your religious faith. Your judgement and character should be able to be determined sufficiently by your record in office. If they have a record of deciding on issued with secular reason and logic, I don’t really care what, who or how you worship in your personal time. And none of us should. The people running government aren’t infallible and perfect. They make mistakes and can do stupid things.

    • AxeGrrl

      For a presidential candidacy in modern times, you shouldn’t have to answer questions about your religious faith.

      In general, I agree with your sentiment, but I’m sorry, if there’s a question of whether or not one’s religious beliefs will affect how
      they run the country
      , people should definitely be allowed to question the candidate about it.

      The boys on the ‘Reasonable Doubts’ podcast did an episode featuring former Mormons (Ep #99 ‘Formons’) who raised a couple of interesting questions regarding Mitt Romney’s Mormonism and questions about potential conflict of his ‘interests’ (specifically in regard to some of the oaths Mormons at his level must take). Very interesting ep……

      Can you imagine if a Scientologist were running for president?  Do you think there’d be a little red velvet rope of ‘respect’ around his/her religious beliefs that would prevent him/her from answering questions about how their faith would inform their decisions as president? 

      If a candidate followed the lead of JFK, who made a specific statement to declare that his duty to the American people was more important to him than his duty to the Pope and/or his Catholicism, then I’d see no need to ask them any more questions on the matter……but if any citizen has any sincere questions/concerns, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be allowed to ask them.

      When you’re handing over the keys to your car, you have every right to question
      the person about how they intend to drive it.

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

        but I’m sorry, if there’s a question of whether or not one’s religious beliefs will affect how they run the country, people should definitely be allowed to question the candidate about it.

        And their religious beliefs effects how they run government, it will show in their record. Actions speak louder than words. How they answer that question isn’t important. What’s important is how they’ve behaved in their past political positions.

        As I said, these people aren’t infallible, and we shouldn’t hold them up as so. If their personal life is filled with illogical fallacious philosophy, it doesn’t matter as long as they keep that out of their governing duties. If, for example, they’ve made illogical statements about how they’ve voted on bills in the past (religious or otherwise), that should be a cause for concern. But if all their illogical crap has only been observed in their personal life, let it go.

        • AxeGrrl

          Again, in general, I agree.  But when someone like Mike Huckabee says something like “that’s what we need to do, is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards” I don’t CARE if such an attitude ‘shows in his past record’ or not, if he’s making a statement like that, suggesting some future intent, then people are sure as hell justified in asking him about it.

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

            Mike Huckabee is a TV political pundit. In the grand scheme of things he doesn’t matter (anymore).

            When Huckabee asked if Romney would sign a personhood amendment, and Romney said “Absolutely”, THAT is  significant. THAT is what matters. That’s a statement not of just Romney’s personal beliefs, but his political intention.

            • AxeGrrl

              Well, of course Huckabee’s comment doesn’t matter now, it mattered when he was a presidential candidate (which was precisely when he made the statement).

              And that’s not just a ‘statement of his personal beliefs, but his political intention, just as the example you’ve given.

              If any candidate makes comments about how he would change the consitution to ‘more fit’ his own religious beliefs, of course that’s something that should be addressed, questioned and critiqued.

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

                 I agree. But I don’t think we should be dissecting every corner of their personal beliefs. We shouldn’t need to.

                I’d much rather know where Mitt Romney agrees and disagrees with The
                Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than what’s in his tax
                returns.

                Exactly where Romney agrees and disagrees with his church is of no concern to me. All we should be concern about are the parts where Romney has, pledged to, or suggests using his political power to legislate the beliefs of his church.

  • Dan

    It’s really disappointing to see so many fellow atheists, including some people at AA, not understand what the ‘no religious test’ clause in the US Constitution means. It means the government can’t impose a religious test for office, not that individuals or groups of voters can’t have a personal religious test on who to vote for. If I as an individual only wanted to vote for Buddhist I would have a right to do that and not violate the Constitution in any way (although it would be dumb). It is only violates the Constitution when the government imposes the religious test; I wish secular people would understand that. It doesn’t help our case when we make elementary errors about the Constitution.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

      I don’t see this as violating the “no religious test” clause or proposing that the government do so.  I see this as making an issue of the faith they propose to use while governing, which they have done and will continue to do.  Why can there be a no religious test clause but not a “not use your religion in governing” clause?

      That said, I don’t care for these particular billboards.  They seem more like at attack than a position statement, and I prefer our secular and/or atheistic billboards to be stating our position rather than attacking religious believes.  These come off a little intolerant for my taste.

      • Dan

         Of course these ads don’t violate the ‘no religious test’ clause. Please read my post again. My whole point is that the no religious test clause only applies to the actions of the government, not to individuals or non-governmental groups. The spokesperson for American Atheists is the one who seem to think that the ‘no religious test’ clause applies to individual voters, not just the government, which is a mistaken view I see all to often from atheists who don’t seem to understand the Constitution.

    • Coyotenose

       When politicians have to express religious belief in order to have a chance at election, and have to make frequent reference to that belief to enjoy support, it is a de facto religious litmus test perpetrated by and on the citizenry, in violation of the spirit of the Constitution.

      That’s usually (not always) what is meant when you see secularists complaining about the religious test clause.

      • Dan

        That clause clearly is talking about the government not having a religious test, not citizens. However dumb it may be, it is clearly constitutional for groups, reporters, or individuals to have a religious test for who they will endorse, cover, or vote for. Please actually read the Constituion before making claims about it, this issue is a bad example of fellow atheists misrepresenting the Constituion because it fits into what they want to be true.

        • Wintermute472002

           Nothing in Coyote’s post is incorrect. While it is perfectly constitutional for individuals to apply a religious test to candidates, it certainly violates the spirit of the constitution.

          • Nordog6561

            Actually, that’s not true.  The letter and the “spirit” of the U. S. Constitution is to limit the powers of the national government, NOT limit the rights of the people.

            This is particularly apparent when one reflects that the part of the U. S. Constitution that speaks to the point of a religious test, or more specifically, prohibits a religous test for office, specifically prohibits a religious test for qualification for office.

            It certainly does not preclude religious, or non religious, people from voting as they see fit.

            One must qualify for office to be on the ballot.  Qualification for office does not guarantee election to office.

            As seems the case so often these days, there appears to be a need to reaffirm the distinctions between country and governement, and between government and the people.

        • Dan

          Crap, so many iPhone errors in my post.

  • Luther

    In 2008 there were two religion debates. A Science debate would be much better. But in fairness there should be a religion debate this time. 

    I can guess why there is none.

  • 1000 Needles

    I appreciate everything American Atheists does. Really, I do. But it’s time for them to find a new graphic designer.

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

       I would agree, but they’re getting better. At least there’s some nice grunge themed detail to the background. Much better than the usual ugly solid colour.

    • http://twitter.com/ylaenna M. Elaine

      You can’t always blame it on the graphics person, who may not necessarily be the designer. Sometimes the management/execs/PTB have a concept in mind. Sometimes they may even have “designed” it in Word or PowerPoint (*dies a little inside*) and just has the Art Department “clean it up.” And if we’re really lucky, they will micro-tweak it to oblivion right down to the perfect shade of bright red.

      Signed,
      Photoshop Operator

      • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

        But in that case the designer isn’t really the person from the graphics department. It’s the management clown with the bright idea. So actually using the graphics department’s talent and getting the heck out of their way while they do their job *would* be getting a new designer. lol.

  • Ashley Will

    Sorry but I am annoyed by this. As long as politicians keep their religious beliefs completely private, that is fine by me. I want to know how they will change the economy and social issues. Religion may have an influence on them but it is possible to have a wall between the two as I have seen occur. 

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/XKEAP7EXF6VEPBK23OYML742TM Bob Dennis

      Do you actually think Romney/Ryan have a wall between their religion and soocial issues?
      To me the ‘religious test’ means that a president must not be of a specific religion. He/she can still be asked about it. As soon as one brings up ‘their god’, do we not have a right to more details?

      • AxeGrrl

        To me the ‘religious test’ means that a president must not be of a specific religion. He/she can still be asked about it. As soon as one brings up ‘their god’, do we not have a right to more details?

        Bingo.

      • Nordog6561

        Of course we have that rigtht.

        I just don’t think it’s reasonable for some to become apoplectic over a U. S. politician’s appeal to the Declaration of Independence to make the point that human rights are in their very essence, not subject to positive law

        • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

          Unless they’re being voted on, amirite?

          • Nordog6561

            Are you right?  By virtue, or by what mechanism does a vote change the essense of a right?

            Do you hold that rights, by their nature, are products of votes (as opposed to rights being upheld or infringed by votes).

            In short, my question is, what is the source of human rights, in your opinion?

            People?
            Governments?
            Nature?

    • edgar ayala

      Romney said that it didn’t matter who was president of the U.S, as long as it was a person of faith. Obama has stated that his faith directs his decisions. Both are for war interestingly enough.

    • LesterBallard

      So, the candidates can spout off about their beliefs, say things like Ryan does about rights only coming from god and nature, but they can’t be asked about their beliefs, and those beliefs can’t be criticized?

      • Pseudonym

        Absolutely, they can be criticised. If the had been quotes from Ryan (or the equivalent on any side of politics) with a caption like “Get religion out of politics”, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.  No average (or even highly intelligent) person driving down the street
        glancing at one of these billboards could possibly infer that these
        billboards are criticising statements by Romney, Ryan, or anyone else.

        If the billboards even hinted that they were about the use of religion in political discourse, or that America is a secular pluralist democracy, or separation of church and state, or anything even remotely close to this, most would agree that it was a valid point being made, even if they objected to the tone or graphic design.

        FWIW, this is how I felt about the “Exit En Mass” campaign. That was a very well-done campaign. Whatever you thought about the way that particular campaign was presented, its point was completely clear from the campaign materials themselves.

        • Ashley Will

           I agree.

    • http://njbartlett.myopenid.com/ Neil Bartlett

       Politicians in the US do NOT keep their religious beliefs private, and this is exactly the point. Every time they say “God bless America” they invite us to ask exactly what they mean by that. If they did keep it to themselves — as European politicians largely do — then they would indeed be entitled to not be asked about it.

    • Margaret Whitestone

       But they don’t.  They trumpet their beliefs constantly, and they use them as the basis for very oppressive laws against women and GLBTQ people, and to stick their religion into government in direct violation of the Constitution. 

  • http://www.atheists.org/ American Atheists

    It seems there is some confusion as to our intentions with this billboard campaign. Our goal is to point out the silliness of religion in politics. We think the future of the United States is serious business, and its leadership should not be based upon the influences of religion in our political system. Take Rep. Paul Ryan’s comments, for example. Ryan stated, “Our rights come from nature and god, NOT from government.” Is this the type of leadership we need in our country? How does he choose which god? What would our rights be under Ryan’s god? The Bible doesn’t give equal rights to women, gays, or those who are not a part of their tribe. The Bible promotes theocracy, not democracy. There isn’t a system of checks and balances, trial by jury, or even racial equality in the Bible. Is this what we want? NO! We are a pluralistic nation. Our intention with this billboards is to show the absolute foolishness of allowing religion to be the litmus test of our policies and government. The framers of the Constitution knew this very well, which is why they ignored their own religious beliefs to create a secular document devoid of religion. At American Atheists, we take a bold stand for equal rights, as we work to protect the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. –American Atheists

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

      I couldn’t possibly agree with you more.  I want a completely secular government as well.  I just don’t like the negative, attacking wording of these specific billboards and feel they will work at cross purposes.

      • Felicitas

         Where in the world do you get the idea that you get to have whatever kind of government you want, in this nation? If you’re an American citizen, you get the US Government. What are you thinking?

        You really need to take a look at our Constitution and our First Amendment. (Bill of Rights). Your profound ignorance of our Founding documents should embarrass you. Your opinion on the matter is utterly worthless,simply because it’s based on the totally mistaken notion that you get to decide what our laws are. You don’t! You can’t make anything at all happen, based on what you think our laws should be. Do you understand that? I mean, you can get yourself arrested, yes, there’s that. Or you can campaign to change our laws (a very long, hard, arduous but sometimes worthy effort). But really. Educate yourself. Then form an opinion based on some sort of fact! Good grief.

    • Marco Conti

      Any chance we can put this post on a billboard?

    • Nordog

      Which God?  Why, the God of the Declaration of Independence.

      It bears noting that invoking that God in the way that the DoI does basically boils down to making the fundamental distinction that our rights do not come from another person, whether that person is a king, a judge, a congress, or a church leader.

      Do you disagree with that notion?  You seem to in your posting here.

      Also, you seem to suggest that Ryan, by turning to the DoI, telegraphs a desire for theocracy.  Is that what you think?

      In any event, a vast majority of Americans are Christians.  Every last one of them is flawed in some regard or other.  Yet they hold dear their faith in God and love for Jesus.

      If you think putting up billboards that say that the Christian God is a sadist and that Jesus is useless is somehow a good thing for you, well, good luck with that.

      A vast majority of Americans, even the non-Christian ones and the non-Mormon ones, heck, even some atheist ones, realize that you’re peddling hate and bigotry.

      Stop the H8.  Start with yourself.

      • onamission5

        The constitution makes two mentions of any sort of possible deities by that I can find. It says, “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God…” and then it says ” endowed by their Creator…”

        Note that it does not say “the christian god” or “god of xyz faith/denomination/religion.” It says nature’s god and creator, which leaves the use of that word god up to hefty interpretation. You want it to mean your god who you believe is also a creator? Fine, then that’s what it means to you, but that’s not what it actually says by any means, so don’t expect the rest of us to fall into lock step. Some pagans might interpret that to mean the Green Man who is reborn each spring. Other faiths might say it’s Vishnu. Still other people, also tax paying, law abiding americans, may believe that nature’s god and the creator refer to Mother Nature, or something else, and that our rights are innate just because we are sentient beings, not something granted by kings or despots, be they earthly or “heavenly.”

        The DoI by no means specifies that the US should be under christian rule, or that no religious belief should ever be questioned by anyone. Even harshly.

        • Nordog6561

          “The constitution makes two mentions of any sort of possible deities by that I can find. It says, “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God…” and then it says ” endowed by their Creator…” Note that it does not say “the christian god” or “god of xyz faith/denomination/religion.” It says nature’s god and creator, which leaves the use of that word god up to hefty interpretation.”

          Well, actually, it’s the Declaration, not the U.S. Constitution, to which you refer.  But your point, applied to the Declaration is, of course, correct.  The wide latitude of interpretation was intentional.  But it was never meant to mean “men” or “governments” which is my main point here.

          “You want it to mean your god who you believe is also a creator? Fine, then that’s what it means to you, but that’s not what it actually says by any means, so don’t expect the rest of us to fall into lock step.”

          On this point I have no such expectations.

          “Some pagans might interpret that to mean the Green Man who is reborn each spring. Other faiths might say it’s Vishnu. Still other people, also tax paying, law abiding americans, may believe that nature’s god and the creator refer to Mother Nature, or something else, and that our rights are innate just because we are sentient beings, not something granted by kings or despots, be they earthly or “heavenly.””Exactly.”The DoI by no means specifies that the US should be under christian rule, or that no religious belief should ever be questioned by anyone. Even harshly.”

          Of course.

          I can’t help thinking that in your mind you’ve attributed to me certain positions on this subject that I simply do not hold.Just sayin’.

          • Randomfactor

             The DOI and the Constitution are two very different documents.  The Declaration is a sales pitch, crafted to garner support for independence and phrased in such a way as to appeal to believers and nonbelievers alike.

            The Constitution is a working plan for government, and it DELIBERATELY leaves out any mention of gods.  Those who wrote it could’ve easily included gods.  They chose not to.

            • Nordog6561

              Two very different documents?  Of course.  I though I made that clear in the post to which you just responded.

              Sales pitch?  Hardly.  The founders were going to do what they did whether or not anyone bought the idea.

              The Declaration is the primary founding document of the country.  The Consitution is the structuring document of the government.

              The Declaration was not invalidated by the ratification of the Constitution.

              But don’t worry, the DoI does not carry the weight of statutory law, and I’m not arguing that it does.  You are free to ignore it to your heart’s content.

              • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                The DOI is hardly the primary founding document. In many respects, it’s not a founding document at all. It’s a piece of demagoguery, designed to rile up Americans one way, and the British king another way.

                It’s not something to place much weight on when assessing the views of the founding fathers when it comes to actual ideas about governance.

                The DOI can’t be invalidated by anything, of course, because it was never validated in the first place.

                • Nordog6561

                  Well, I hope we can at least agree that it founded a declaration of independence, even if we disagree on what the delcaration and that independence amount to.

                  Again, that is hardly my concern here.  Rather, I think the important issue is whence we consider the origin of our human rights.

                  I side with the text of the DoI on that question, regardless whether the DoI is referring to God, god, Nature, nature, or whathaveyou.

                  I reject the notion that our rights, in any realy ontological sense, come from another person, or a collection or persons.  I reject that our rights come from people or governments.

                  I would be very interested to know what you think on that subject, and why.

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  The reference to natural rights found in the DOI was placed there for one reason, and one reason only: to challenge the idea that rights could be granted by a king. The notion that there was such a thing as natural rights was a novel and inflammatory product of the Age of Reason, a challenge to monarchs.

                  Despite the claim, the founders abandoned the concept in the Constitution and were careful to explicitly define what rights people actually had, without referring to them as “natural” or given by any sort of creator. What we call “rights” in the U.S. today were all created and granted by men.

                  As a rational person, I can take no position except that rights don’t exist at all, and are nothing more than privileges defined by the strong. That is the view supported by all of history. There isn’t a shred of evidence to suggest that any rights are innate, that any rights come from anyplace other than the minds (and swords) of men. Point me to some evidence otherwise, and I’ll reconsider that position. But so far, I’ve seen none at all.

                • Nordog6561

                  Thanks for the straightforward response.

                  Quite aside from legal rights, what of what is morally right?  Does that have a source, or is it arbitrary and too simply a product of the strong?

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  I consider the moral concepts of “right” and “wrong” to be societal definitions, generally arrived at by some sort of unconscious consensus.

                  Again, the concept of any absolute morality is supported by no objective evidence I’m aware of, so I’m unable to accept it as likely.

              • Felicitas

                 Psst. You and the other guy forgot the First Amendment. It’s “to the Constitution.” Part
                of the whole. Don’t be embarrassed. Just read a bit more and get
                informed.And while you’re at it, check out The Federalist Papers. You might not all sounds so uninformed. Our schools have failed you folks.

            • Felicitas

               Psst. You forgot the First Amendment. It’s “to the Constitution.” Part of the whole. Don’t be embarrassed. Just read a bit more and get informed.

        • Coyotenose

          Agreed, onamission5. You don’t seem to be familiar with nordog, so you’ve attributed to him the position that he is NOT a sorry, lying, projecting troll. The sleazeball isn’t worth a well thought-out post anymore; he’s proven that he simply doesn’t care.

          Even when he apes at intelligent response, it’s just snotty and pedantic. There’s really nothing left to do but mock him for being too angry to quit trying to impress anyone.

        • Felicitas

           You had us at “that I can find”. Nothing after that counts for anything.

          Do your homework. There are many many comments by our Founders that show irrefutably that they believed in God and they went to great lengths to clearly draft protections against religious persecution, discrimination or prohibition. What God did they believe in? (and those who did not – what God did they not believe in, and why were they also concerned about protecting “religious freedom”?

          These are profoundly important questions. The answers are pretty simple and easy to find, but I’m not doing your work for you. Where did you go to school? Did you study any civics at all? Do you know what the First Amendment says?

          Please consider educating yourself before posting such meaningless, uninformed thought. You only make yourself look tragically ignorant (uniformed). I’m sure you can learn these things quickly, and come up with more useful, logical and informed comments that might somehow have some sort of positive effect on someone somewhere. Good luck with that.

    • gds

      AA is towing the line between “promoting conversation” and trolling. 
      It’s pretty clear that the billboards are intended to be offensive, and
      to me it really highlights the reason people can get so annoyed with
      atheists: they tend to be contrarian (arising from some sort of
      superiority complex), and, frankly, juvenile.  This is no way to initiate a civilized discourse on the role of religion in politics.  It’s disingenuous to say
      that these were meant to start a rational discussion when the conversation starter is unabashed
      ridicule.  The messages it more clearly conveys are a) scorn for silly religious beliefs, b) belief that atheist’s religious beliefs are more valid than any other religious belief, and c) that advertising through controversy is more important to this organization than actual progress. 

      And here’s where the superiority complex comes in- Hermant believes it’s a judgement call- as if he can judge who is most rational based on their religious belief.  Actually, if any of you atheists think about it, you have exactly the same amount of evidence that there is no god as the faithful have that there is one: zero.  That is to say, both of your positions are silly, dogmatic, and indicative of trouble with rational thought.  I could make fun of your “religion” with a billboard too, but it would serve no purpose.

      The “silliness of religion in politics” is clear to most people here, but this relationship solely exists because of the religious vote: religion is important to some voters whether you like it or not.  If you want to change the role of religion in politics, you have to start by appealing to, and not offending, the religious voter, discussing important issues like the separation of church and state rationally.  However, rational argument requires keeping the snark and the disrespectful images to yourselves. 
       

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

        It’s irrelevant if we have evidence for no god, which is a silly statement to make to begin with.  We are not using our assertion that there is no god to pass laws to discriminate against people.  We wish to make laws based on reason, integrity, and honesty.  They are using the god, for which you state they have no evidence, to do just that.

        And atheism is not a religion.  Gee willikers.

        • gds

          Actually I disagree: to the extent that atheism is a belief system that’s founded on a particular belief about the existence of god, I see no difference.  Both are dogmatic and illogical.  But it doesn’t matter- both sides wish to use their positions to change the law.  Reason, integrity, and honesty?  According to whom?  You’re abhorred that they want to use god to discriminate, and they’re upset that you want to use a nonexistence of god to do anything you wish that’s against their morals.

          You would likely vote for an atheist candidate, so, what’s the difference?  I’ll tell you: the difference is in numbers, and that’s it.  Stop being offensive and people will take you seriously.

          • onamission5

            We’re not trying to change the law. We are trying to get the government to uphold the constitution.

            • gds

              Well, if you’re trying to do that, you’re failing miserably by not even being on topic.  And making enemies along the way.

            • Pseudonym

              None of the words “government”, “uphold”  or “constitution”, or any synonyms thereof, or any references to them at all, appear anywhere in the billboards.

              The closest they come is the words “Big Money”, which could be interpreted as a comment on the corporate lobby system, but even that would be a stretch.

          • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

            I don’t think the word “dogmatic” means what you think it means. Because you can’t apply the real word to atheism in any way.

            • gds

              Heidi, I don’t think the word “atheist” means what you think it means.

            • Pseudonym

              You’re correct about that, but to be fair, most people don’t know what the word “dogmatic” means.

          • AxeGrrl

            Actually I disagree: to the extent that atheism is a belief system that’s founded on a particular belief about the existence of god, I see no difference

            This is precisely where you’re wrong.  When a theist presents his/her ‘case’ for believing in a god and the person listening says “that doesn’t convince me”, how, exactly does that reply constitute a “belief system“?

            Atheism is merely one LACK of belief, and one stance on one issue does not a “belief system” make.

        • Felicitas

            The level of ignorance of our Constitution and bill of Rights (the
          First one in particular) is really making my head spin around on my
          neck. It is abysmal! (all of these comments, not just yours). Why does
          anyone think the First Amendment says “Government shall make NO LAW
          concerning the ESTABLISHMENT of RELIGION (2 and a half centuries ago,
          the first clause of the first amendment mentions RELIGION! GET
          IT?)…NOR (make any law) concerning the FREE EXERCISE THEREOF. Period,
          or maybe semi-colon – end of the clause.

          Religion has always been a recognized, accepted and important part of
          our country’s laws, our traditions and our lives. It always will be.

          What we are guaranteed is protection from government coming in and
          telling us what we may or may not believe, including the belief that God
          does not exist, nor stopping us from freely expressing our beliefs, as
          long as we don’t break other laws, such as harming persons or property.

          There’s no “separati0n clause. Nowhere! Why don’t people know this? The
          only separation is against government infringing on our total religious
          freedom. That freedom exists because religion exists!

          What these billboards prove is that atheists today are so utterly
          ignorant of the above, that they believe (yes, it’s almost a religious
          fervor, recently) that they have the right and responsibility to trash,
          defame, slander and misrepresent all religion. And to demand that those
          who believe and want to serve in public office explain what they believe
          and why. Back to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, guys. March right
          back there, sit down and read, and don’t raise your hand to comment
          until you have clue on the subject!!!! Arrgh (yes, I’m a retired
          teacher, and I’m very disgusted at the obviously abysmal education and lack of civics lessons you received in our ever-worsening public schools).

          God bless you all. You need it more than I ever realized. READ!!!!

          • http://twitter.com/chanceofrainne Rainne Cassidy

            If you’re going to suggest that people read, then I suggest YOU do so first.  Here is the ACTUAL first section of the First Amendment:

            “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

            Please note that it does not, as you claimed, say “concerning” an establishment of religion or “regarding” the free exercise of religion.  It says, specifically, RESPECTING and PROHIBITING.

            Now, what does this mean in standard English usage today?

            The first part means that Congress will not make any laws having anything to do with setting up a state religion.  The second part means that Congress will not make any laws that  stop individuals from worshiping as they choose.

            Now, here’s where it gets tricky.  Let’s consider that second part very carefully.  Suppose the Nugganites believe that Crocs are an abomination unto Nuggan.  Croc-wearing is a sign of moral dissolution and no Nugganite would ever wear Crocs.

            That’s fine.  I proudly support the right of all Nugganites to shun Crocs unto eternity.  And the Constitution gives them the right to have Nugganite churches, pray to Nuggan, and shun Crocs forever.

            However.

            The Constitution does NOT give Nugganite teachers the right to tell their students that Crocs are an abomination, and to punish any student who comes to class wearing Crocs.  The Constitution does NOT give Nugganite politicians the right to try to pass laws having Crocs banned and inflicting jail terms on anyone who wears or owns Crocs.  And the Constitution doesn’t give Christians the right to demand that the laws reflect their beliefs and that their beliefs be taught as facts in public schools.

            Now do you get it?  THAT is what the First Amendment is about.

      • Coyotenose

         I’m sure you can name a lot of instances where being respectful and deferential to those in power and who were abusing that power won the day for social change.

        The argument that there is as much evidence that God exists as that he doesn’t is old hat for us. You’re going to have to read a LOT more and try harder if you want to advance a pro-religion claim that isn’t obviously fallacious. In this case, the whole thing is dismantled by three words: Burden of Proof.

        And no, there’s nothing silly, dogmatic, or irrational about the concept of the burden of proof. To be consistent, you’d have to agree with me when I claim that you can’t know there isn’t an invisible leprechaun behind you right now, eating your hair and simultaneously replacing it with faerie-hair that is identical to the original.

        If you think I’m wrong about that, you’re being silly, dogmatic, and irrational.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rhoades/100000175617377 Scott Rhoades

           There is a big difference between being civil and being deferential. You can be unwavering in your ideals, not giving an inch on your stance, and still be civil.

          • Felicitas

             I would think so. But I’m finding this does not hold true for  modern-day atheists. They appear to be going out of their minds. Those guys filing a lawsuit against a crossbeam from the 9/11 rubble are reporting in their lawsuit that they’re suffering terribly, physically, from “headaches and dyspepsia”, because Christians are allowed to enjoy the peace they get from this symbol of the God who loves them so much and brings them healing from such a horrid slaughter of family and friends.
            This is “not fair!” Atheists have no such source of comfort, peace, and even joy. So neither should Christians. They’ve brought a lawsuit to put a stop to it!

            This is so insane, I’m developing a whole new compassion for atheists, and am determined to pray more for them. They NEED our loving, amazing God, and they don’t even know it yet. But where there’s life, there’s hope…

        • gds

          Coyotenose, do you really think these billboards will precipitate social change?  Despite what you’ve made up in your mind, agents of social change do not act like rebellious teenagers.  My argument isn’t “pro-religion,” in fact it’s anti-religion and anti anyone who thinks they know something that they cannot possibly know.  Burden of proof?  Use those three words and prove to me that god doesn’t exist.  Nobody’s talking about something as banal as a leprechaun eating my hair (?), they’re talking about a being that is so magnificent and omnipotent that it is incomprehensible to the human mind.  We know next to nothing about the universe, let alone our own world, and for anyone to say they know anything on the subject one way or the other is an absolute absurdity.  You do not know.  Period.  So why take a stance?

          • Dietrich

            “You can’t prove god doesn’t exist”.  What a tired argument.  The burden of proof is on the one making the positive existence claim, which is why atheists don’t have to prove that there is no god.

            Atheists simply claim that theists have not provided enough evidence for the existence of any gods.  That said, the universe appears to operate exactly as it would if there is no god, which would seem to make the existence of god irrelevant.

            • Felicitas

               How abysmally illogical and silly! I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. GOD is the one who has proven Himself to me! You are under no obigation to believe it. Who said you were? What, in God’s name, is your beef?

              Quoting myself from an earlier post to someone else who has the upside down notion that I’m supposed to prove something to you that you choose not to believe:

              The burden of proof is on the non-believer. Please! Prove to me that I don’t
              know God, enjoy His presence, His love, His peace, His miraculous
              intervention in my life. You’ll have as much success as I would have in
              proving that you don’t love, for instance, your baby, if you have one.
              You could spent your days going “goo goo, coochy coohcy”, smiles out to
              there, feeding changing, holding, rocking and being totally blissed out
              by your little baby. and I could come along and say “Prove to me that
              you love this baby and are full of peace and joy and excitement because
              of this awesome new love you’re experiencing. I’m just not buyin’ it.” 
              You would just look at me from your stupor of happiness, shake your
              head, and say “Prove to me that I don’t. And prove it to my kid, too.”

              That’s how that works. Atheists are fighting such an abysmally losing
              battle, because of this reality. God is real, and you can never prove
              He’s not. Try! Okay. Now try again. And again. NEVER can you prove that
              God does NOT exist, just because you haven’t decided to meet Him yet.

              We’re perfectly respecting of your right to believe whatever you want
              to, except that our compassion does hate to see you miss out on
              anything this good. I sorta feel this way when young people tell me they
              never want to have any children. They have no idea what they’re going
              to miss out on. I speak as mother of three and grandma of two. They have
              no idea whatsoever. I just nod and say, “Oh. Yeah. Well.” And sorta
              feel happy that they won’t be subjecting any children to their dearth of
              ability to know things that are not provable by scientific means. Yet
              if they went ahead and HAD that baby? I assure the vast majority of them
              would freak out when they thought “We almost missed out on this. This
              is the best thing that’s ever happened to us.” (I know a few of these
              couples, actually).

              Well, Jesus Christ is way way better than a child,
              and children are absolutely AWESOME!That’s why one of His names is “indescribable”. We have no words big enough.

              So let me know when you’ve proved beyond the shadow of doubt that I don’t know and love God and He doesn’t know and love me.Meanwhile, I’m baskin’ in the glory, the love, the sweet presence, the healing (of a lot of things, actually) and the endless blessings. Ahh. Glory to God for ALL good things. 

              Still waiting….did you prove it yet?…..

          • Felicitas

             It is just so hard for me to believe that you don’t comprehend that the burden of proof is on the non-believer. Prove to me that I don’t know God, enjoy His presence, His love, His peace, His miraculous intervention in my life. You’ll have as much success as I would have in proving that you don’t love, for instance, your baby, if you have one. You could spent your days going “goo goo, coochy coohcy”, smiles out to there, feeding changing, holding, rocking and being totally blissed out by your little baby. and I could come along and say “Prove to me that you love this baby and are full of peace and joy and excitement because of this awesome new love you’re experiencing. I’m just not buyin’ it.”  You would just look at me from your stupor of happiness, shake your head, and say “Prove to me that I don’t. And prove it to my kid, too.”

            That’s how that works. Atheists are fighting such an abysmally losing battle, because of this reality. God is real, and you can never prove He’s not. Try! Okay. Not try again. And again. NEVER can you prove that God does NOT exist, just because you haven’t decided to meet Him yet.

            We’re perfectly respecting of your right to believe whatever you want to, except that our compassion does hate to see you miss out on anything this good. I sorta feel this way when young people tell me they never want to have any children. They have no idea what they’re going to miss out on. I speak as mother of three and grandma of two. They have no idea whatsoever. I just nod and say, “Oh. Yeah. Well.” And sorta feel happy that they won’t be subjecting any children to their dearth of ability to know things that are not provable by scientific means. Yet if they went ahead and HAD that baby? I assure the vast majority of them would freak out when they thought “We almost missed out on this. This is the best thing that’s ever happened to us.” (I know a few of these couples, actually). Well, Jesus Christ is way way better than a child, and children are AWESOME!

            So let us know when you’ve proved beyond the shadow of doubt that I don’t know and love God and He doesn’t know and love me.

            • http://twitter.com/chanceofrainne Rainne Cassidy

              Prove to me that Zeus doesn’t exist.  Prove to me that Thor doesn’t exist.  Prove to me that Ishtar, Tiamat, Ahura Mazda, Coyote Woman, Vishnu, Krishna, Amaterasu, Baal, Quetzalcoatl, Kinich Ahau, Cerridwen, Pangu, Orunmila, and Atibon Legba don’t exist.

              What?  You can’t?  You can’t prove that THEY don’t exist, but yet you claim that your God is the one true and only god ever ever ever?!

              And don’t tell me that they are disproved by your belief in your god, either, because I *know* that Osiris died for my sins and rose again.

        • Felicitas

          And you lose every argument by calling people stupid, banal names as your closing argument. You’re in….what…fourth grade, right? Shouldn’t you be in bed by now?

          Heads up: the burden of proof is on the non-believer. We believe. We have to prove nothing. We’re enjoying a lovely, amazing relationship with a very real, invisible, immortal all-wise and all loving God. You can’t see Him and don’t know Him. That is your sad state of affairs. We pray you meet Him one day before you lose your last chance to, but it’s still your choice.

          OH…and please let us know when you’ve come up with definitive proof that we do not know Him and are not enjoying His peace, love, joy, healing, and – oh yeah – LIFE!

      • Felicitas

         The level of ignorance of our Constitution and bill of Rights (the First one in particular) is really making my head spin around on my neck. It is abysmal! (all of these comments, not just yours). Why does anyone think the First Amendment says “Government shall make NO LAW concerning the ESTABLISHMENT of RELIGION (2 and a half centuries ago, the first clause of the first amendment mentions RELIGION! GET IT?)…NOR (make any law) concerning the FREE EXERCISE THEREOF. Period, or maybe semi-colon – end of the clause.

        Religion has always been a recognized, accepted and important part of our country’s laws, our traditions and our lives. It always will be.

        What we are guaranteed is protection from government coming in and telling us what we may or may not believe, including the belief that God does not exist, nor stopping us from freely expressing our beliefs, as long as we don’t break other laws, such as harming persons or property.

        There’s no “separati0n clause. Nowhere! Why don’t people know this? The only separation is against government infringing on our total religious freedom. That freedom exists because religion exists!

        What these billboards prove is that atheists today are so utterly ignorant of the above, that they believe (yes, it’s almost a religious fervor, recently) that they have the right and responsibility to trash, defame, slander and misrepresent all religion. And to demand that those who believe and want to serve in public office explain what they believe and why. Back to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, guys. March right back there, sit down and read, and don’t raise your hand to comment until you have clue on the subject!!!! Arrgh (yes, I’m a retired teacher, and I’m very disgusted at the obviously abysmal education and lack of civics lessons you received in our ever-worsening public schools).

        God bless you all. You need it more than I ever realized. READ!!!!

      • http://twitter.com/chanceofrainne Rainne Cassidy

        You don’t have any evidence for no Invisible Pink Unicorn, either.  Nor do you have evidence that proves the Flying Spaghetti Monster isn’t real.  You can’t prove that there isn’t a Bigfoot, or a Loch Ness Monster, and you can’t prove that aliens didn’t build the pyramids.

        So does that mean I should also believe in all of those things?

    • http://twitter.com/KevinSagui Kevin Sagui

      You’re goal may have been to point out the silliness of religion in politics, but your billboards don’t do that, they waive a giant middle finger at Christians.  While I suppose that can be satisfying on a visceral level, and what they say is true, that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve utterly failed to get your purported  message across.  The blame for that does not lie with those who don’t interpret your billboards the way you want them to.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rhoades/100000175617377 Scott Rhoades

      We can be unwavering about our values and ideals and still be civil. Attacking believers because you hate their belief is like hating cancer patients because you hate cancer. Such attacks just make believers double-down on their belief. It’s counterproductive and just doesn’t make any sense. It seems like AA loves rhetoric more than effectiveness. Since we are talking about being reasonable, how about a reasonable scientific approach to communication, which means not using tactics that are proven to fail. Hiring a real ad agency instead of dreaming these billboards up yourself might be a good start.

      • Felicitas

         Wow. Finally.A post that makes sense. Thank you.

        They are fighting such a losing battle. I am so full of the presence of God’s love and forgiveness, and am patiently waiting for someone who desperately needs to prove that I’m NOT in relationship with God to come up with their irrefutable proof.

        So far, no takers.

    • Richard Hughes

      Bold stand my pasty white atheist ass. The only way you could have been more aggressively inflammatory if you’d driven up to them and thrown shit on their cars as you passed.

    • http://deiseach.livejournal.com/ Deiseach

      I believe that my rights come from my nature as a human being, not from any government.  I do not accept that a government can curtail or take away my rights, and I don’t think they can grant me rights (because those rights already exist; the state merely recognises them).

      Otherwise, you are saying that by a legislative decision, a government can indeed say some people are property and take away the right to liberty.

    • Felicitas

       Excuse me? You may go directly to the nearest copy of the Constitution of the United States, and read it. Then read the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Then sit down and be quiet. You clearly have never done so, and have no idea what you are talking about! You don’t know what country you’re living in, if you don’t know these basic, simple founding facts of our nation. Good grief. Are all atheists THIS ignorant? It’s shocking, I’ll tell you that much!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

    Was supposed to be a reply… moved to reply.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    My main complaint is that these further the mistaken belief that atheists are anti-religion. In that sense, campaigns like this can backfire, and end up being counterproductive towards the broader community (using the term lightly) of atheists.

    The same signs from FFRF would be great; from an organization that appears to represent atheists, not so much.

  • Py

    “Atheism: Simply Assholes”

    That would be a more accurate tag line for these billboards.

    • http://njbartlett.myopenid.com/ Neil Bartlett

      You mean, you couldn’t actually find fault with the argument… so you call us assholes for telling you what you don’t want to hear.

      • Nordog

        For the record, the billboards offer no argument, just assertions.

        Regarless whether or not the assertions are true, and regardless whether or not Py wants to here them, they are a demonstration of someone being an asshole.

        It is what it is.

        • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          It is not being an asshole to make an assertion, even one that many people will disagree with. And a billboard is hardly the place to present an argument! Billboards are for advertising, and this is an advertisement, pure and simple. Get people’s attention, hopefully make them think, hopefully make them explore further.

          • Nordog6561

            I just wanted to note that your post here, and my post to which you just responded, are not mutually exclusive.

          • http://twitter.com/chanceofrainne Rainne Cassidy

            I disagree.  All advertisements are, in essence, an argument that you should buy X product for A, B, and/or C reasons.  Billboards are advertisements; therefore, billboards are also arguments of the nature stated.

            And yes, a billboard is the PERFECT place for presenting a simple argument like “We don’t need the Religious Wrong running our country even farther into the ground than it already is.”  Short, simple, and guaranteed to get attention, but has the benefit of actually being LESS offensive than the AA billboards pictured in the article.

            When you slap people’s hot buttons like these billboards do, they don’t think. They just react.  That’s called backlash.

      • TiltedHorizon

         There was an argument? I saw a word followed by a ‘silly’ definition. This will push people away from the discussion, not draw them in.

        • Felicitas

          There’s nothing to discuss, really. See our First Amendment, Bill of Rights. The only thing to discuss is the fact that atheists are so ragingly infuriated that we have a relationship with a very real and present God, and that you don’t happen to be able to experience Him yet(that’s your free choice, and I respect it).

          These billboards do nothing at all to hurt “religion”; they simply expose the mindlessness of the atheist. I mean, they are not thinking well at all! Why? Because of the simple yet profound fact that you cannot prove that God does not exist! Why? Because He is not subject to scientific provability. You can’t prove Him one way or the other, really.

          The Spirit is non-physical. He proves His existence spiritually, to those who open their spirits to Him. You have to ask, you have to invite, and you have to allow Him access. And when Jesus Christ (Emmanuel – “God with us”)…comes in, YOU KNOW IT. You are changed forever, in the very best ways. Not at all perfect, or even close to it. But inside, you are now in contact with the all-wise, all-knowing, all-loving GOD. No one will ever convince you otherwise. The only reason you try to tell others about Him is because GOD IS THE GREATEST EXPERIENCE AVAILABLE TO MANKIND, and love for mankind makes you want to share the goodness!

          Have you really, really pondered this fact? You cannot prove that God does not exist! All you can do is ignore, and pretend He’s not there!

          The onus is on the atheist to prove that God does not exist. It cannot be done.

          These billboards deter discussion,because they are largely erroneous in statement of the beliefs they pretend to address, and because they obviously seek only to ridicule, defame, slander and mock people who choose to believe in whatever they believe in.

          As you atheists will find out, hate destroys only itself in the end. It can’t touch our relationship with our loving God.

          I mean look at those folks so upset about a metal crossbeam at Ground Zero – they’re having “dyspepsia and headaches!” as a result of this cross-like structure from the rubble being enjoyed by those who see significance in a cross shape. They’re literally (or claiming in their lawsuit anyway) that they are being made physically sick by a cross! (in movies, it’s the vampires who respond this way to the cross….hmm…oh. nevermind…) They seem unable to bear the thought that we are able to enjoy and be blessed by the sight of a cross of any kind or size, in any setting. Is it jealousy? One person interviewed actually said it was unfair “because we don’t believe in any symbol or any god, so we can’t enjoy having a symbol or worshiping a god. It’s not fair!” Oh. My Goodness. This is really what it is, isn’t it?

          I never felt more sorry for atheists in my life. Way back, they were content to laugh at us sillies for believing in invisible beings. Now they know it’s more than that , and it’s killing them (enough tummy aches and headaches could eventually do that – stress is debilitating, y’know) because they don’t have access to the same joy, love, peace, forgiveness and awesome power of prayer that we believers have. “It’s not fair that you have all that good stuff and we don’t. But we refuse to believe in it!”

          Oh good grief. Well, our numbers are growing, so better buy stock in Advil or something. :  (

          • TiltedHorizon

            “The only thing to discuss is the fact that atheists are so ragingly infuriated that we have a relationship with a very real and present God”

            Yep. That must be it. Which must mean you are ‘infuriated’ with the relationships others hold with a “very real and present” Allah and Vishnu or a child’s relationships with a “very real and present” Santa. When proof is not required then any assertion, no matter how ridiculous qualifies to be fact; including a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

            BTW. As a 9/11 survivor, who is an atheist, I don’t mind if you want to call the 9/11 crossbeam a cross. I pass it by everyday on the way to work, without suffering any dyspepsia or headaches. If people want to ignore the actual fact, that this sole crossbeam is one a many which did not survive, then so be it.

            As for this “power of prayer” you speak of, if such claptrap actual worked, I would be one of the dead, myself and all the others who voted on the wrong belief, and all the “True Christians” would be pointing to our bodies saying:”Told you so”. Since I am not dead, seems your god likes me more than thousands who were not as lucky.

          • http://twitter.com/chanceofrainne Rainne Cassidy


            The onus is on the atheist to prove that God does not exist. ”

            Sorry, but no.  The religious are the ones making extraordinary claims (A supernatural man! You can’t see him, hear him, or touch him, but he talks to you in your heart!), therefore, the onus is on the religious to prove that God exists.  

      • David F

        Yeah, it is always great for a hated minority (us) to make a highly inflamitory, yet very vauge argument on a bilboard.

    • Glasofruix

      Oh my, did the vile atheists huwt youw feewings? I assure you, that was completely intentionnal.

      • Nordog

        Do we know whether or not Py is an atheist?

      • Pseudonym

        Assuming that Py is an atheist (which seems more likely), it’s probably that the stupid atheists hurt his cause.

    • http://twitter.com/FictionFaith Faith in Fiction

      Actually, I happen to agree with you.

      http://faithorfiction.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/atheist-group-unveils-new-anti-religion-billboards/

      And, I’m as far from religious as you can get….

    • Edmond

      I have to agree.  The stated goal of these billboards is to “get people talking”, but isn’t there a way to encourage that talk to be thoughtful and cooperative?  Do we have to deliberately engineer it so that the talk is about how vicious and negative atheists are?  I know we’re NOT really vicious or negative (as a group), but such accusations are all that these billboards will inspire.  These promote division, they don’t build bridges.

      WE’RE supposed to be the more rational, reasonable, intelligent side.  I KNOW it’s possible to put up a message which DOES point out the more ludicrous contradictions of religion (as these do), but which reaches its audience and makes them THINK, rather than make them immediately throw up a wall of resistance.

  • Guest

    Personally, I like the ones that say “Atheism: Where a bunch of biological life forms with advanced cranial capacity called human beings invent illusions of morality and purpose to cope with the fact that they are otherwise no more valuable than a garden slug, and in the meantime living a life imposing entirely subjective values (again, illusions as we all know, meant to give us warm and fuzzy feelings of being worth more than a garden slug), on everything and everyone around them, in the hopes of avoiding the truth of ultimately being nothing with more value than a garden slug.”  If that could be put on a bumper sticker, I think we’d have something.

    • AxeGrrl

      invent illusions of morality and purpose…..

      (sigh) not this tiresome, vacuous canard again.

      Just because human beings create morality and purpose doesn’t mean they’re illusory, dear.  It just means that they weren’t ‘given’ to us by some speculative entity whose existence no one can substantiate.

      We’re meaningful to each other and we value each other ~ there’s nothing illusory about that.

      The sad thing is that to you and yours, unless there’s some ‘outside’ thing to value us, then us valuing each other is utterly worthless to you.  Very sad indeed…..

      • Guest

        Sure they are.  Because they could all change tomorrow.  And if they do change, upon what grounds will you say they are wrong?  If 500 years from now humanity has concluded Hitler was a great guy, would they be right?  Wrong?  If wrong, why?  Because we in the 21st century say so?  And meaningful?  What’s meaningful?  Define.  Value each other?  No we don’t.  Sometimes we do.  When is it right to do so or wrong?  Is any value placed on any person always right? Why or why not? 

        No, the sad thing (or perhaps the great thing) is that atheism avoids like the plague the logical implications of its foundational beliefs.  Atheists may speak a ‘Cosmos is all that ever will be’ philosophy, but when it comes to real living, they invoke completely unverifiable notions of right and wrong and ought to beat your most devoted bible thumping religious believer.

        • Piet Puk

          Atheists may speak a ‘Cosmos is all that ever will be’ philosophy, but
          when it comes to real living, they invoke completely unverifiable
          notions of right and wrong and ought to beat your most devoted bible
          thumping religious believer.

          Any examples of that?

          • Guest

            Examples of atheists who say the Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be?  Or those who use such unverifiable terms as meaningful, right, wrong, good, bad, ought, and other such fluff terms with no real substance?

            • Piet Puk

              The last part.

              • Guest

                Read the above comments.  Why they’re dropping terms like meaningful and good and right like nickels and dimes as if those words have any real meaning beyond what makes us feel warm and fuzzy and helps us, for the time being that is, pass on our DNA.

                • Piet Puk

                  I´ve read them and my conclusion is that you are again doing your very best to avoid understanding them. It is a byproduct of your delusion.

                • Guest

                  No, I’m merely asking where you get an actual according to Hoyle definition of meaningful or right or ought.  You are assuming something means something as if it is as clear as the sun.  Why?  Where did that come from?  Will it change?  What will that mean if it does?  If not, what are its origins?   

                • Piet

                   You are not making any sense.

            • Piet Puk

              The last part.

        • matt

          Logical implications that atheists avoid? Do tell.

          • Guest

            The fact that we are all just biological life forms and everything beyond the material universe are just fanciful illusions meant to give us a sense of meaning while we pass on our DNA before dying and rotting in the ground.  If that’s the case, and we are hip and enlightened enough to get rid of such silly inventions as religion, then why not get rid of any silly invention that we concoct to make sense of our otherwise senseless and meaningless existence?  And once we go there, of course, then it gets ugly.  Again, thank goodness most atheists don’t go there, to the logical implications of their basic premise.

            • Piet Puk

              Wow, you are really losing it, aren’t you?

              • Guest

                If I got an answer that dealt with the issue at hand, I might say you’re right.

                • Piet Puk

                  Poor you, and your grasp of reality was already shaky to begin with.
                  I would suggest less religion for you, but that would be as useless as advising a junky to stop using heroin.

                • Guest

                  In other words, ‘there is no way we can answer that with logic and consistency, so we’ll have to resort to a childish dismissal in case we start actually thinking about the implications of atheism’s inability to answer that question.’  OK.  That’s a good enough answer for me.

                • Piet

                   No, childish is believing in a invisible sky-daddy.

            • Earl G.


              The fact that we are all just biological life forms and everything beyond the material universe are just fanciful illusions meant to give us a sense of meaning while we pass on our DNA before dying and rotting in the ground. ”
              Part of passing on our DNA successfully before we rot in the ground involves morality – social contracts, reciprocal altruism, familial love, etc.  Humans didn’t make these things up.  Animals all the world over are doing them too.  These things have tangible, beneficial results.  Now, religion on the other hand?  That is a made-up pack of lies used to control and abuse people.  Kind of a big difference there.  

              • Guest

                And if humanity comes to the point where those things are not needed, we will easily be able to discard this invented notion of morality.  Sure they have tangible, beneficial results.  Religion says nothing less.  Oh, and read the Bible and you’ll see looking at animals for examples didn’t just pop up in modern times.  But that doesn’t prove anything about morality one way or another.  Religion says it comes from God, you say it comes from convenience.  The difference is, like anything based solely on convenience, when such notions of morality are no longer needed, they can be discarded.  Which brings me back to my question: If humans down the road come to the notion that Hitler was really a swell guy, then you’re saying at that point Hitler would then be a swell guy, or if not, why not?

                • Coyotenose

                   Because Hitler caused vastly more harm than good, and the good he did cause was not even a result of the harm he did. It’s a central tenet of Humanism, and of the basic empathy that MOST humans are born with and can grasp.

                  Misinformed opinions by a majority do not and will not change that fact. Just like a misinformed, ignorant majority claiming that a random man claiming to be God and getting himself killed in near-anonymity somehow made everything magical does not make it true.

                  You really should read about a subject and try to understand it before hammering away with it. While you’re at it, try reading “1984″ and see if you can actually figure out how revising history doesn’t actually magically change what has occurred.

                • Guest

                  No, he didn’t do more harm unless you can prove that redefining what is a human and acting on that definition is objectively wrong and harmful.  If it is not, that means if cultures in the future decide they can redefine what is and isn’t a human, and see Hitler as quite the visionary, then how can you say they are wrong?  What unmovable value can you appeal to?  The best for humanity?  Define that?  Best described by who?  What happens if tomorrow the world calls wrong something you think is right?  Maybe they conclude gays shouldn’t adopt children.  Will they be wrong, too?  Are we at the zenith of moral evolution?  What basis do you even make such claims as ‘fact’? 

                  And if you do say it is objectively wrong, then think on abortion.  Why, an entire generation of possible tax payers doesn’t exist right now, does that mean that abortions are bad?  Some say that’s tremendous harm to society and humanity as a whole (at least to the countries in question).  If they are wrong, why are they wrong but you are right about Hitler?  You can’t just say the equivalent of ‘duh, of course he’s like bad dude.’ 

                  You, like everyone on this thread, are starting with an assumed infallible set of morals with a confidence that would shame a fundamentalist Christian.  Got back a step and say how you can say abortion good, Hitler bad, and no matter what the numbers, it will always be that way and everyone else who ever says otherwise in the past or future will be wrong.  You have to validate that, you can’t just say it as if it’s obviously a fact.  Especially not when all morality is simply a tool people use as they evolve over time.  

                • matt

                   So…You’re saying God gave us morals via the bible then? Funny, no other species on this planet needs a holy book from god to be able to get along.

        • AxeGrrl

          How on earth do you get from “could change tomorrow” to “illusory”?

          Sorry, but you’re not making any sense on this ‘main point’ of yours.

    • Coyotenose

       Existentialism is more an issue for the religious, I think. They have waaaay more illusions to help them cope. I find satisfaction in knowing that I am potentially at least as limitless as the universe itself. Hell, I can casually impress upon a stone something that will be recognizable tens of millions of years from now, if I do it right.

      It may all be a game to help pass the time, but that’s more than “Heaven” has ever offered. An end to all pain? That’s nothing but brainwashing and loss of self, which is a worse death than nonexistence. As Mark Twain said about having already been dead before…

      • Guest

        I don’t know.  As an agnostic, I often got the feeling I was shoving things in the cupboard and not wanting to deal with the logical implications of my own stated beliefs about the question of religion.  I think many do use religion as a sort of cop out.  But many don’t, and religions are often, in fact, radically different.  Take traditional Judaism.  That is certainly not some pie-in-the-sky set of illusions to help them cope.  Look at the ancient Hebrews even more so.  Heck, look at some traditions like the Calvinist tradition of Protestantism.  Sometimes a big problem in atheist debates is the idea that all religions are alike, say the same thing, and therefore anyone who is religious must have the same reasons. 

        • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          Are you an agnostic atheist or an agnostic theist?

  • Sindigo

    Am I missing the part where these billboards target the intersection of religion and politics somehow? As far as I can see, they’re just offensive. It’s like AA just stuck /r/atheism with a marginally better Photoshop job on a poster.

    • Pseudonym

      That was my first thought, too. Under normal circumstances,  I would chalk this up as yet another AA campaign where the intention behind the campaign is nowhere to be seen on the campaign materials themselves. That’s not really news, given that it happens almost every month.

      But this comment from Hemant annoyed the crap out of me:

      That’s the point. Both candidates have sidestepped talking about their religious faith and the media has let them do it.
      It’s as if asking these candidates what they really believe about the
      nature of God would be rude. It’s not rude. It’s informative.

      In any other country in the English-speaking the world, it would be considered beyond rude. The religious beliefs of candidates are a non-issue unless the candidates themselves make it an issue. As Alastair Campbell famously said of Tony Blair, “we don’t do God”.I’m not American, and therefore I find it astounding that any rational person would complain the media are separating church and state! I could understand if the complaint was that they are only separating church and state selectively. But the intent seems to be to make religion an issue in the upcoming elections. That’s goes beyond mere rude, right into ignominity.

      • bandm

        Also from an outsiders perspective, to me it seems that the Presidential candidates must declare their religion, and get brownie points for being a “Good Christian”, but that is where it is left. If you’re going to get brownie points for something, it should be examined. Blair didn’t do God at all.

        • Pseudonym

          That’s a fair and valid point. This is something else which the AA could take on, but seemingly chooses not to (in favour of intelligence-free insults).

      • Sindigo

        For the record, I’m in the UK so maybe this isn’t my fight but these days with the internet being what it is….

        I agree. These billboards are rude and unproductive. When theists say they hate it when atheists try to jam atheism down people’s throats, this  is exactly what they mean.

        How am we supposed to defend atheists and atheism when people pull stunts like this? Where’s our moral high ground? It’s okay when the guys on Reddit do it, it’s okay when we get a bit arsey on here; we’re just idiots with too much free time and an internet connection. But AA have set themselves up as an organisation which is supposed to represent us. When they pull crap like this is makes us all look bad.

        American Atheists, rethink these billboards for the sake of the rest of us. Please.

  • Matthew_F

    Wow.  These billboards are not going to do any good getting religious America to accept that we are not a dangerous threat to their way of life. There seem to me to be many less obtuse ways of chipping away at the fallacies of these two religions that don’t include language that will just anger people.

    We should be initiating reflection, not instigating reactions.

    • newavocation

      Matthew, just how effective do you think women would have been if they just  served a nice dinner to their husbands and politely talked to them about getting the right to vote? Nobody gives you rights.  If you don’t have them you need to take them.

      • Pseudonym

        How much longer would it have taken for women to successfully claim their right to vote if the discourse had been at the intellectual level of these billboards?

      • Matthew_F

        From my experience, husbands and wives who spend all their time exchanging cheap shots over dinner with one another usually end up divorced and bitter.

        Of course, atheists and christians don’t have the luxury of a divorce.  Whether we like it or not,  we’ve gotta live with each other for the rest of our lives.

  • Marco Conti

    The problem I have with both billboards is that they require a certain level of sophistication and knowledge to understand them. 
    Presumably they are designed to strike a chord in religious viewers, but I am positive that most of those supposed to be riled up by either billboard don’t fully know the references and meanings behind them.

    That’s not to say that I disagree with the statements therein, but most Christians and Mormons are going to get very upset at them without really understanding why beyond a very superficial level.

    I believe we have to try harder to communicate not so much that religion is irrational, that simply is not true for a large slice of the population and to them is a foreign concept, but that we want it out of the political discourse. Especially that we do not want any politician that believes is some sort of divine guidance. 

  • http://twitter.com/NewfieMikeReid NewfieMikeReid

    “Also, the baptizing of dead people (like Anne Frank and Gandhi) was done by fringe Mormon groups..”

    Ya, Mitt’s not an asshole who would disrespect a person’s beliefs and  do anything ‘fringe’ like that.. http://gawker.com/5879888/

  • TiltedHorizon

    I enjoy the “I am an atheist/agnostic” campaigns, they present a positive message about nonbelievers by humanizing it, the message lessens the stigma and serves to remind theists that we are not the evil, baby eating, unethical, heathens their faith declares us to be. I’d love to see more like these.

    Unfortunately these billboards do the exact opposite, they openly mock faith while trying to assert atheism is “Simply Reasonable”. Ugh. Seems the American Atheists have failed to speak for me yet again.  Is it really that hard to promote atheism without stooping to insults?

  • Randomfactor

    “Also, the baptizing of dead people (like Anne Frank and Gandhi) was done by fringe Mormon groups and was later denounced by LDS officials.”

    Then why, pray tell, were the databases which revealed this had been happened locked so nobody in the outside world could tell whether it continued?  The Mormons have got a lot to hide, and they are doing their best to hide it.

  • TheAmazingAgnostic

    I am not happy with these billboards at all………

    They do not give out any specifics as to why Christianity (and Mormonism) are wrong; they simply make broad accusations that most theologians (and even “average” religious people) would be able to refute.

    Finally, the image of the “magic Mormon underwear” on the anti-Mormonism billboard is a juvenile inside joke that’s been popular in the atheist community for a while. It was funny the first time I heard it, but by the second time, it became stale.

    • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ trivialknot

       Not to mention that most people wouldn’t even know that it’s a reference to magic underwear.

  • Margaret Whitestone

    They’re brazen and they’ll definitely have people protesting, whining and so on.  They can always dish it out but they can’t take it. 

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    Not a fan of these billboards. People aren’t going to give up their belief system because a billboard said negative things about their religion. In order for people to become atheists, they have to be convinced that their religion is wrong and that the supernatural does not exist. Calling the biblical deity “sadistic” and Jesus “useless” doesn’t help, at least not without a lot of follow-up discussion.

  • J Comeau

    “When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.” — Winston Churchill.

    As an atheist, I think these billboards will backfire. They are too rude.

    If they had any value, they could have been posted on this website without comment, aside from the locations and dates of public appearance. The fact that they needed paragraphs of explanation reinforces that they fail as billboards.

  • Anon

    I’ve crossed American Atheists of the list of secular/atheist organizations that I would join or support. They have absolutely zero tact. They are complete failures at public relations. These kinds of juvenile insults can serve only to make people who are already members feel superior. There’s nothing persuasive or even thought-provoking. Mud slinging will only shut down discourse.

    Fail. 

  • Littleboybrew

    I have to say, I don’t really find these messages compelling in any way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1750067184 Marek Minecki

    We can do better…

  • Nordog6561

    “Again, the concept of any absolute morality is supported by no objective evidence I’m aware of, so I’m unable to accept it as likely.”

    Thanks again for the straight response.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=639378446 Bridget Gaudette

    My blog addresses this: The Closeted Atheist & The Billboard http://emilyhasbooks.com/the-closeted-atheist-the-billboard/

  • GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    OK, despite the overall response to the contrary, I’ll stand up for American Atheists. 

    I am a member of this and MANY other secular organizations (FFRF, American United, Center for Inquiry, JREF, Secular Student Alliance, etc). I love them all, and send money to them, subscribe to their magazines, etc. 

    American Atheists is on the forefront of boldly challenging the politeness and undue respect given to religions that have not earned such respect. 

    Is AA’s tone more aggressive than most 
    of us atheists are in our day-to-day lives? Yes. 
    Are their ads more “in your face” than most of us atheists are in our day-to-day lives? Yes. 
    Might some people (maybe even many people) respond to the ads by thinking “wow, that’s offensive. Atheists are jerks!” Yes. What do you expect from a group started by Madalyn O’Hair?  

    BUT…. media coverage will help get the message out that people are openly questioning the validity of religion(s),  (perhaps some feeling that this is even obnoxiously questioning religion, but I don’t find the ads obnoxious). 

    Research on “CONFORMITY” shows that all it takes is for ONE voice to be heard challenging the conformity, and it psychologically gives FREEDOM for others to question authority/conformity/dogma. 

    Many folks found Hitchens abrasive. Dawkins shrill. So what? Their messages got heard. 

    When even atheists buy into religion’s taboo that it is unacceptable to directly challenge religion and point out it’s silliness, then we perpetuate the taboo. We would let mythology keep us quiet. 

    When the status quo is so silent in challenging obvious bat-shit-crazy mythology, even a critical whisper can appear like a scream. A guy in suit at a podium with a billboard display is a whisper. Why are we so warped that it appears like a scream? 

    Break the silence. Break the spell. Break the taboo of religions trying to be beyond open critique. The emperor has no clothes, and AA will call it out as such. 

  • Oldaughd

    As an atheist and an anti-theist, I’m extremely disappointed with these billboards. They don’t do anything to further the humanist cause. All they do is make fun of Christianity and Mormons.

    Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot that worth being made fun of, but not like this, not on the public stage. All it does is push people away, and closes civil lines of discourse. They are not even promoting anything.

    Trying to make everyone feel dumb for their religious believes is not going help any cause atheists support unless that cause is making every last non-atheist think we’re all complete assholes.

    The owners of these billboards should take them down.

  • Mjoyw2008

    As a christian I find these posters more offensive than any religious monument an atheist might come across.

    • GodVlogger (on YouTube)

      umm, ok. Some religious billboards say that I will burn in hell for all eternity. You think that mocking magic underwear is more offensive. Go figure. 

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      Something is only offensive if you choose to take offense. In this case, if you find it offensive when somebody criticizes your beliefs, it tells me that you are very insecure in those beliefs.

      I’m an atheist, and no religious monument has ever offended me in the slightest.

      • Py

         There is no criticism of beliefs in those billboards, only mocking. There is a big difference.

        • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          Of course there is criticism of beliefs! Mockery is an powerful and effective argument technique, and there’s nothing wrong with using it… although the wise debater knows when and when not to do so.

          That it’s mockery does nothing to change my point. The only person offended when his beliefs are mocked is a person who is not secure in those beliefs in the first place.

          • Nordog6561

            “That it’s mockery does nothing to change my point. The only person offended when his beliefs are mocked is a person who is not secure in those beliefs in the first place. ”

            Yeah, I don’t think that’s correct in a universal sense.

            Certainly it is correct in many, if not most cases, but it doesn’t allow for taking offense at the nature of the behavior itself as an affront to the individual.

            But then one could just as easily argue that mockery is the sign of not having an argument.  Of course that could be the case in many instances, but not necessarily so.

            In any event, I think “being offended” and high dudgeon have been raised to an art form of sorts.

            • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              Mockery is not automatically a sign of not having an argument. It has been used effectively by some of the greatest debaters of all time. It is merely another tool for convincing people, and like all tools, may be used well or not.

              It should not be possible to take offense at any verbal attack if you are secure in your beliefs… unless you actually respect the the attacker.

              • Nordog6561

                I still maintain that abject rudeness can be a cause of offense even for one secure in their position on a particular issue.

                There are many things that should not be.

                Again, I see that we are not really in contradiction here.

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  Of course, there’s nothing rude about the content of the signs. They are simple statements of fact.

                • Nordog6561

                  LOL Now that’s funny.

          • Pseudonym

            The only person offended when his beliefs are mocked is a person who is not secure in those beliefs in the first place.

            That’s not true. The other person offended is the person who laments what just happened to supposedly rational public debate.

            • Nordog6561

              We should just go ahead and formalize this and call it the “Insecurity Offense” fallacy.

  • Joe

    I think it works. Im not atheist but atheists are finally biting back and showing they arent invisible. Religious people will talk about the billboards. Some will just be offended and call them stupid while others will talk to others and debate about it. Im sure some Christian will do a “in your face” moment to any atheists they know at which point the atheist will (hopefully) correct them and debate their faith. 

  • http://deiseach.livejournal.com/ Deiseach

    Not an expert by any means, but I think the Mormon billboard is incorrect.  It’s Scientologists that believe in space aliens; Mormons have a doctrine something like an early form of transhumanism, deriving from the King Follett Discourse (a sermon given by Joseph Smith after the funeral of an elder) where he explained the doctrine of how God was an exalted man and that men could become gods in their own right.

    If one of the points demonstrating how “simply reasonable” you are is flat wrong, that undermines the argument (never mind the silly joke about underwear).  I think this might actually backfire, in that most people who are Christians and who think Mormons are wrong would see the billboard mocking Christianity as well, and decide “Huh – maybe the Mormons aren’t that bad, if they and we are being tarred with the same brush!”

  • Renna

    At first I thought this was a completely terrible idea. Attacking religion in the most dickish, straw-man way possible is not going to get people to worry about the candidates’ religious beliefs, and it’s sure as hell not going to be beneficial to atheists, who are already a hated minority, and don’t need the rest of America to be even more encouraged to think that they are all insufferable assholes.

    But then I realized that AA’s sole aim here must just be to get a larger membership for themselves. Sure, the rest of America will hate atheists a little bit more every time they see those billboards, and sure this contributes absolutely nothing REMOTELY legitimate to any debate. But some atheists of the douchebag persuasion will love it, and I guess want to join AA, so they can then help publicize the atheists-are-insufferable-assholes point of view with even greater fervour!!

    Why are we supporting this organization exactly?

  • The_L1985

    Those billboards are far more anti-theist than atheist. I am no longer Christian, but I still feel dirty just for looking at them.

    Someone has apparently forgotten that rank-and-file Christians and Mormons exist. And that they’re, you know, people.

  • Charles Céleste Hutchins

    If you’re going to put up crap like this, can you make it clearer that you’re only speaking for your own small group of atheists and not all of us? I suddenly have massive empathy for mainstream Christians when fundamentalists start saying nutty things.

    Aside from being smug and annoying, what are you hoping to accomplish in a country where around 90% of people define themselves as vaguely Christian?  I hope the smugness is worth the ill will you’re engendering. Again, maybe you could change you name to “A Group of Insufferably Smug American Atheists” to distinguish yourself from the rest of us.

  • http://profiles.google.com/fader2011 Alex Harman

    American Atheists’ idea of PR for atheism tends to make me want to use a different label for my own disbelief in gods and the supernatural in general.  Using such simplistic arguments, and implicitly equating the important strikes against a religion (i.e. funding bigotry) with the trivial ones (naming the planet where God supposedly lives) is the hallmark of a troll.  As Fred Clark observed in linking to this post, these billboards are reminiscent of some of Christian Piatt’s collection of Church Sign Epic Fails.

  • Felicitas

    You say at the end of this, “But we deserve to know what’s going on in his mind.That’s not a “religious test.” That’s a judgment call.”

    Really? Talk about disingenuous.

    I’m afraid this piece of yours is about as abysmally anti-believer-in-God as the whole atheist attack on people who believe in a Creator God that can’t be seen with the human eye. Well, we do, and the 1st Amendment of our Bill of Rights assures us the right to, without govt. interference at all. (Refresher course: “Government shall make NO LAW concerning the establishment of religion, nor the free exercise thereof.” First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, Constitution of the United States of America. (try reading it)

    So what does this mean and how does it apply to these stupid billboards and those who showed their idiocy by putting them up?

    1)
    Govt has no right to interfere in any way with us freely exercising our religious beliefs as long as they don’t include harming others physically. It has no right to decide who can believe what, nor where and how they can express that belief.

    2)
    We don’t have to explain “what’s going on in our minds”, even if we’re running for president of the united states. Look where that got us with Obama. Who the heck knows what HE believes? (But you can tell  a lot by his actions and words, and it’s getting creepier by the hour. Every other President we’ve elected had a lifelong track record of religious belief, and no one had to wonder anything. With Obama, he says one thing and does another, but government still has no power to say “Hey, you told us you were a Christian, but you do a lot of things that sure don’t measure up to that description!” Too bad. He gets to believe what he wants, and we all get to decide if he lied and needs to find a new job in Nov.

    3)
     Atheists have the protected right to believe whatever they want to CONCERNING RELIGION. If they believe there is no God at all, they have the government’s blessing to believe thus. End of story, right? Uh…nope. They think it’s their right and mission (oops, that sounds terribly religious, doesn’t it!) …to get all the rest of us to stop believing in our God.

    What astounding ignorance of the law this shows, much less awareness of the reality that we believe because we KNOW our God. We relate to Him, and He relates to us. We are not obliged to prove it to anyone (i.e. scientifically) and this is what really drives them over the edge of sanity. How are they ever going to get us to stop believing in God if our law says that no one can stop us believing what we believe? They can’t. They won’t ever succeed. Remember, Christendom has always been washed in a sea of blood. The blood of martyrs. True martyrs who allowed themselves to be tortured and killed rather than say “Okay, I don’t believe in Christ any more.”

     That cannot legally happen in the United States of America. Not legally, anyway, despite the enraged gunman who tried to wipe out a bunch of Christians in their work place last week. At least we all still agree that was illegal.

    It really makes me laugh (in a sad, compassionate way) to see these atheists railing against us believers with such hatred, spending tens of thousands of dollars of their own money in mindless, ignorant, rude, stupid and erroneous attacks against us. If they could get away with burning us at the stake, they’d be doing it. That’s clear.

    The religion of Christ is to love our enemies; forgive them; pray for them and bless them. I’d say atheists DO believe; they believe it’s their purpose to hate us, and all but kill us. For 2000 years this has been going on, and there are more Christians in the world today than ever before. Our numbers are growing, because we believe in a God who every person can know personally. Once you meet Him, you’ll never be without Him again – now or after death.

    To close: Romney won the right to run for POTUS. He is free to believe whatever he chooses to, and is obliged to explain it to no one. The precedent for this has been well set by BHO.

    Anyone who wants to study Mormonism to find out more about it is free to do so, and also to vote privately and freely in the upcoming election. If Romney’s religious beliefs offend you and you don’t think he can run the country better than BHO, don’t vote for him. You have that right.

    There really is no problem, no issue, and no chance that these atheist jokers will succeed in doing anything but causing Christians everywhere to pray for them more than ever. They’re going to run into God in all sorts of ways as a result of our prayers, it’s going to be quite humbling for them when they do, and realize what they’ve been doing. I personally pray it happens sooner than later, cuz they are SO wasting their lives now, mindlessly and hatefull slandering the only true loving, forgiving, blessing and all-powerful God of all.
     

  • LOVE NOT HATE

    So it’s just Romney and Christians you wan to insult. Obama, Islam, and the Muslims are Okay with you guys? Thanks for showing your support of candidates I will definitely vote for the opposite.

  • GOD is real

    Believe it or not God is real and you won’t like it when you meet him, he won’t tolerate this type of insult, and I dare say he has much more power than you give Him credit for.

  • Lori

    Atheist needs to stand together on this election.
    Which is the better of two evils ?
    Muslim Obama or Mormon Romney?
    I say Romney

  • Lori

    If u haven’t seen 2016 – suggest you see it.
    It is a documentary, mostly in Obama’s own words.
    Eye opening experience. A must see movie for 
    blacks and whites, young and old and anyone who
    cares about the future of America.

  • Chasbro77

    …And here we go again. Their organized efforts to take over websites have resulted in what? Atheists talking to one another, for the most part. Hardly an effective means of spreading the disease, if you (or a 6-year-old) think about it. Their intolerance compels them to run off everyone else – or at least make a serious, serious attempt. “Democratic” websites cannot stand up to their sock-puppet tactics, and they think “Great – easy win!” Okay, you “win”. You ban or run off all the decent folk. What have you got? What did you start with? You already had your own atheist clubhouse. 


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