Church Responds to Atheist Billboard in Kentucky

A few days ago, the Bluegrass Coalition of Reason in Kentucky put up their first billboard:

And, just like that, the Lafayette Church of the Nazarene has put up a weak message of their own in response:

We believe in God. Join the right club!

What?! A church that believes in God?! I’m shocked, I tell you…

The purpose of the atheist billboard is to capture the attention of people who don’t know there are other atheists like them in the area. Everyone knows there are Bible-thumpers every few feet, so I don’t know what they’ll really accomplish.

Kudos to the church for capitalizing on the free publicity, but they missed the entire point.

Also, the pastor gave one hell of an awkward interview in this TV news segment:

The Church’s Pastor says he wasn’t offended by the billboard, but others might have been.

Pastor Jared Henry says, “Yeah, probably God. He was probably offended by it. There are other people who, I’m sure, were offended. I think it was kind of a…the Bible says, Proverbs says a fool says in his heart there is no God.”

I guess God was offended by the fact that atheists exist. How *dare* all of you bully Him like that.

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.

  • John

    That isn’t Proverbs, it’s Psalms 14…

  • Sindigo

    Well, if a bunch of Atheists putting up a billboard is going to offend the almighty than one would think one of his priests misquoting his magical instruction book is going to get him really pissed.

  • Einmaliger

    I actually found the church sign quite funny. I don’t agree, but still it made me laugh.

  • DougI

    At least the billboard company pays taxes and didn’t need the taxpayer to subsidize the message.

  • John Small Berries

    Also Psalms 53, which is just a blatant plagiarism of 14.

    Strange how they love to quote that verse, but always forget about
    that other one.

  • Richard Wigton

     I found the church sign amusing too.  As if people don’t know that people who attend church believe in God.  “What? I don’t believe it! Really?”

  • Glasofruix

    I don’t know putting a “we believe in gawd, join us” sign in the US is a lot like putting a sign that says “We have curry, come and get some” in front of a restaurant in India…

  • treedweller

    Team Church. They didn’t deface the billboard or protest it. They didn’t demand their sign go up in front of city hall. they just put their own message on their own sign on their own property. Wish more Christians would respond to us is way.

  • treedweller

    *this way

  • Jayelle

    Ah, I know what they’re accomplishing. Telling atheists they aren’t welcome and are wrong. That’s their main objective.

    I’d think that any God worth worshipping would be more upset by people killing in his name, and would be annoyed that some of his worshippers think he’s as petty as they are.

    I seriously wish that Christians like that could at least say “I’m offended” without trying to hide behind God’s robes.

  • Gary

     And said they were right and atheists are wrong.  Lovely.

  • Guest

    That is shocking.  Almost as shocking as atheist groups who don’t believe in God (though with the recent Pew Research polls that find almost a quarter of atheists praying, and a whopping 6% of atheists who believe in a personal God, perhaps there is reason to clarify the subject!).

  • treedweller

    Does it surprise you that they believe this? Does it harm you when they claim it publicly? Let morons be morons, fools be fools, and believers be believers, I say. Easier to sort them out as I go about my daily life. And allowing them to do so is what makes this country great.

  • Blaphemous_Kansan

    Agreed.  Now if only my tax $ didn’t pay for their rebuttal then we’d be made in the shade!

    As I trek the beautiful Kansas countryside from my socially liberal oasis of a home to my hometown (which can be called ‘stereotypical’ Kansas for the purposes of discussion here), the only unpleasant sights lie on a stretch of road 3 miles long inhabited by 5 churches.   On any given day no less than two of them will have hate-filled messages of fire and brimstone directed at people like me and, more recently, at females who dare to have control over their reproductive organs.
    Free speech is wonderful.  The ability to express one’s opinion is wonderful, but no one else gets, or should get, a tax break on their hate speech.

  • Cat’s Staff

    The problem with the pastor declaring that “[God] was probably offended by it” is that there will be people who think it’s their job to take things into their own hands and defend their god from offense.  It’s no different than an Imam saying that something someone said or wrote offends Allah or Mohammad…next thing you know people are breaking things and killing people.

  • quattrone

    I don’t think that was an awkward interview.  Uninformed yes, not necessarily awkward.

  • TychaBrahe

    The complete and utter right to say that some other person is wrong is the entire basis of the First Amendment and our concept of liberty.  Don’t knock it.

  • The Other Weirdo

    How did that line go?

    “A fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ A wise man says it out loud.”

  • Vini Marques

    To be fair, our billboard wasn’t any masterpiece either.

  • Gus Snarp

    The real news is that a church demonstrated a sense of humor!

  • Kari Lynn

    Atheists don’t believe in God. Please post a link.

    K. Thx. Bye.

  • David

    Poor pastor (and how young to be a ‘senior pastor) really didn’t seem to know what he was refuting.

    Remins me of Hitch – ‘paraphrasing ‘You don’t seem to have read any of the counter arguments to you case’

  • rhodent

     My guess is that he’s referring to this, at least for the “almost a quarter of atheists pray” bit:

    Of course, that doesn’t say that almost a quarter of atheists pray; it says that almost a quarter of Americans with no religious affiiation pray. 

    I’m not sure where he’s getting the 6% of atheists believe in a personal god thing, though.

  • MargueriteF

    Yay for the church. We spoke; they spoke. Everyone’s had their say, and no one vandalized anything. It’s a nice thing to see, really.

  • Ubi Dubium

     I think it’s more likely that 6% of atheists like to deliberately mess up surveys. 

  • Alexandra

    I really didn’t get the point of atheist billboards, besides that they’re fun and useful, until I was driving to LA last week.  From the highway I saw at least 5 different “JESUS IS WIN!” kind of signs during the 40 mile drive.  It made me crazy.  Just one atheist one would have made my day.

  • curtcameron

    Yeah, that was also my first thought when I read what he said. I know the pastor’s book better than he does.

    I see that line from Psalms quoted a lot, but I’d like to hear one of  them defend the second part of that verse, which says that “fools” who say there is no God are corrupt and incapable of doing any good.

  • Chris Leithiser

     I feel certain that particular club HAS members who don’t believe in god but are there for the social aspects.  And they’re our target audience.

  • Richard Wade

    Yeah, probably God. He was probably offended by it.

    I have never understood this whole thing about God being offended by anything.

    Human beings are offended by things that they are not mature enough to emotionally adjust to. So a one-year-old is extremely, devastatingly offended when he can’t have the candy he sees in the market, the six-year-old is very offended when he has to eat his vegetables, the ten-year-old is somewhat offended when he can’t watch the movie past his bedtime, the 17-year-old is slightly offended when the girl won’t go out with him, and so forth.

    But the All-Knowing, All-Seeing, All-Loving, Ultimately Wise Expander of Infinite Universes gets offended, annoyed, downright pissed off when a puny, carbon-based, ex-tree dweller with a hypertrophied frontal lobe isn’t convinced that He exists because He’s done such a good job of hiding Himself. That’s a bigger disparity between stimulus and reaction than the one-year-old shows.

    Maybe Christians actually believe in Zeus, who is essentially a human being with tremendous powers, and because he has always had such power, he’s just a nasty, ill-tempered, overgrown one-year-old.

  • makarios

    Ya, it’s the same as when I put down in a high-school survey that I’d done more than 5,000 hits of LSD. In reality, it was less.  I think.

  • woodwindsrock

    The response on the church sign doesn’t bother me at all. But he mentions that some people might have been offended by that atheist billboard. An billboard which merely says “Don’t Believe in God?” How in the world is that offensive?

  • woodwindsrock

     But it was far from ‘offensive’.

  • Chakolate

     It’s “A wise man shouts it from the rooftops”, I think.

  • Chakolate

    I think you’re being too harsh, Hemant.  It’s the mildest possible response, it shows just a tiny bit of humor (okay, it’s Christian humor, but still) and it’s inviting to all. 

    If all responses to atheist billboards were so reasonable, we wouldn’t get a fraction of the press we get now. 

  • wmdkitty

    They kept it classy, and I can appreciate that while simultaneously disagreeing with their message.

  • wmdkitty

    Well if God is offended, He can come down and tell us himself!

    BTW, I like your username.

  • Robyman4

    Yeah, yeah, and almost every last person in that church believes in God and says it’s unquestionably right to do so because of their parents. You see, their mom and dad are of course wiser and more knowledgeable than ALL the parents of EVERY other faith concerning the most significant question the human race has ever asked (you know, the one that concerns the fate of your immortal soul), and thus told them all they needed to know – oh wait, excuse me, to believe. That absolute certainty certainly explains why they call themselves the community of believers, and do not refer to themselves as a community of knowers or truthers or some similar notion, not that I’ve ever heard in 36 years… Soooo, just using their own label against them ;-)