‘Let Reason Prevail’ Banner Stolen in Virginia

This is the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “Let Reason Prevail” banner nearby a public Nativity scene in Manassas, Virginia a week before Christmas:

This is the same banner a few days ago:

What’s that? You don’t see it? That’s because it was stolen.

A report was filed with police Dec. 29 after the banner turned up missing. Zip ties attached to the posts were all that were left.

It was permitted to be displayed through Dec. 31.

FFRF is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of the person or persons responsible.

It was the fifth time in December that an FFRF solstice banner was stolen or vandalized. All told, 12 banners were placed.

Right now, there are no leads. (And no plans to install video cameras at future banner sites.)

About Hemant Mehta

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

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5736566 Scott Maddox

    You’d think Atheists & Christians would be smart enough to put holiday displays somewhere with security cameras.

    • Gavin

      Christians don’t need security cameras, did you forget about the whole “all-seeing” part?

    • baal

      I’m not familiar with Christian holiday displays being vandalized with regularity. This could be perception bias on my part, however.

  • thompjs

    Wow those atheists that steal their own signs. Blaze L — where are you?

  • NewDawn2006

    Can we hold the baby Jesus hostage until the banner magically reappears?

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.zamecki.7 Joe Zamecki

    How about posting a guard? A volunteer, that is. If such a banner were posted here in Austin, I’d spend some extra time babysitting it. Leaving it alone, and so vulnerable just seems foolish, imho.

  • busterggi

    If baby Jesus had disappeared instead this would have been the lead story on Faux News for the past week.

  • Bob Carlson

    Manassas is a place long known for cutting things lose and throwing them away.

  • anniewhoo

    And yet, the manger characters seem to be multiplying…

  • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

    “And no plans to install video cameras at future banner sites”

    OK, but seriously now; this is just silly. This is SO predictable that some sort of guard/CCTV/camera trap is an obvious easy win. Someone really does need to at least try it.

  • Kengi

    Would cameras do any good? Was Joe McDonald prosecuted after vandalizing the banner in Pennsylvania while on camera? He even gave a radio interview talking about why he committed the vandalism. It seems like filming any such activity just makes a local hero out of whoever does it.

  • coyotenose

    Geez, the Atheist Banner Rapture is so slow. Can’t God take all the banners to Heaven at once?

  • John L

    I drive through there regularly. It’s a hugely religious area. I’m not a bit surprised. I-81 there is littered w/ many “in-you-face” christianity symbols.

    This one is near the TN border but there’s also one near the WV – Va border as well: http://drivetofive.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/cross1.jpg

    Google this and zoom in: 39.018517,-78.358998 Those 3 crosses on the right. Notice how tall they are. You can see their shadows. They were purposely built so those driving in the west/south bound lanes MUST stare at them from the length of that section. In the summer it’s not bad as the tree’s cover up a lot of it but right now, they stick out like sore thumbs.

    Last Christmas, one guy who lived on some property right beside the interstate put up a large sign w/ xmass lights saying: HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS! facing the highway.

    And they’re pretty ignorant. One trucking company parked a trailer right at their fenceline on the interstate and hung a banner saying: DON’T RE-NIG IN 2012! I wish I was making that up.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Nativity scenes DO get vandalized
    https://www.google.com/search?q=nativity+scene+vandalism

    And it does make the news. It just doesn’t make the news here because this is The Friendly Atheist, not The Friendly Christian. That’s all. We can highlight our issue and work towards fixing it without making ourselves into martyrs.

    • coyotenose

      Hmm, weird. “nativity scene vandalism” has half as many Google results as “atheist sign vandalism”. I would have expected the nativity one to be at least a little higher.

      Obviously some of the difference is due to atheist/secular reposts and discussions, and more owes to the nature of the media, but given the ginormous gap between relative populations and comparative hits, I think it’s clear that nativity vandalism is insignificant or nearly so compared to our issue (which doesn’t invalidate your point, of course.)


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