Atheists Counter Christian Protesters Outside Comic-Con

If you visited Comic-Con in San Diego over the weekend, you may have encountered street preachers near the Civic Center trolley stop. It’s really a perfect spot for them, given all the sinners walking into the convention hall…

On Saturday afternoon, though, Brian Stone and a few of his friends decided to respond to them with signs of their own :)

See if you can guess which ones they are (Hint: Look for the Happy Atheist logo):

Brian tells me the response from the crowd was overwhelmingly positive — people were grateful they were there to counteract the hate-in-the-name-of-Jesus crowd.

He also says he plans to organize a larger counter-protest next year. If you’d be interested in joining him, you’re free to email him directly.

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.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Dear General Heathens,

    Can you be a little more specific in your heatheny-ways. When I send you to hell, to be torture forever, I have to fill-out these form. With people like back-biters, revelers and Masturbators, all I have to do is check of a box and I’m done. With you general heathens, I have to check other, and then write a note. It may not take that much time per individual, but I have 8,293,144,212 of you general heathens to condemn. Just please be a bit more considerate, and be specific when you sin.

    Sincerely
    A loving God.

    • EmpiricalPierce

      I’m pretty sure Yahweh has a massive check box at the top of his list for just being a heathen with no respect for him in general. After all, according to Matthew 12:31-32, Mark 3:29, and Luke 12:10, the only unforgivable sin is blaspheming the holy ghost.

      Apparently, nothing is more evil than failing to stroke Yahweh’s ego properly.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        And what’s more, that only became true (blasphemy as the one unforgivable sin) after Yahweh got nicer in the NT. The OT God, the jealous, angry, vengeful God, doesn’t care nearly so much about what you say about him. Also, that version just kills you dead if you piss him off, not tortures you for eternity.

        • Charles

          I thought the OT God only cared about his chosen people, who were under no obligation to share the “good news”. I don’t recall any attempts in the OT to convert anyone to worship of Yahweh. That’s one of the points that got me thinking it was all a bunch of BS. The OT is just propaganda indented for domestic consumption (by the bronze age Jews) as opposed to propaganda intended to convince outsiders how great Yahweh is. At least that how I see it, BS the bronze age Jews told themselves, made up for themselves.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Pretty much, yeah. In fact, there’s a lot about not mixing with outsiders or marrying your daughters to them. It’s very insular.

      • Jonas

        Is that ego smooth one way, and bumpy the other – like fish scales, or sharp like shark skin ?

    • Gus Snarp

      Dear God,

      Just put me down for blaspheming the Holy Spirit, or taking other gods before you, have your pick.

      Sincerely,

      General Heathen

      p.s. That’s my title, like General Grievous or General Zod. It’s just me, not a plural.

      • katiehippie

        I like General Disarray myself.

        • ShoeUnited

          I’ve always been a fan of General Specific.

    • Marisa Totten

      Gee whilickers, I can’t think of anything I would consider “sin”. I’d have to look through the big black book of no-no’s . . .

      • islandbrewer

        Does it have pictures?

    • islandbrewer

      For me, just check the box that says “Puts cinnamon in coffee drinks.”

      • Pepe

        You heathen!

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

        Check box: Mixes vodka with root-beer.

      • Roger Peritone

        Me, I put spice* in coffee drinks!

        *Genuine Atredies brand spice. You do NOT want to try the competition’s brands, trust us on this!

        • ShoeUnited

          That explains the blue eyes after a cup of morning coffee.

      • allein

        I put cinnamon in hot chocolate. Is that better or worse?

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

      Dear God,

      Have you ever heard of outsourcing?

      Heathen

  • Brian Westley
    • Miss_Beara

      “Support Fiction. Read the Bible.”

      Need to remember that one. :)

    • randomfactor

      This year’s needed more humor. 2010 was better. (The movie, too.)

  • Damon Icke

    No revelry? What a buzzkill. He’s one of those “if you are gonna sing it better be about Christ” kind of christian. My childhood friend’s mom was like that.

    • Monika Jankun-Kelly

      Oh no! I’ve been to birthday parties and weddings! Now I’m hellbound. Can I beg for leniency for always partying sober and without fornication? That probably gets trumped by my atheism and being for marriage equality, doesn’t it? Oh well. Might as well keep reveling. ;p

  • Rachel Warner

    Where’s Santa with his Naught or Nice List ?

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

      how we won the James Randi Million Dollar Paranormal Prize

      Hi Maybus! Ya know dud everybody knows your posts and so far you haven’t been as threatening as you once were, so why don’t you just start using your real name or at least an alias we all can recognize. You don’t need to hide any-more.

    • Michael W Busch

      You continue to violate the terms of your parole.

    • islandbrewer

      Isn’t that a cut screen from Diablo II? Blizzard may want it’s royalties, Mr. Markuze.

    • Matt D

      Weird doesn’t even begin to cover you.

  • icecreamassassin

    Because of these pictures, I am now familiar with http://officialstreetpreachers.com/.
    It is *gold*. Highly recommend it.

    • Gus Snarp

      Wow. That’s just. Something. Really. Something. It’s hard to believe that’s not satire. And yet, the depth to which they’d have gone if it were….

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Reminds me of one of my favorite street preacher moments http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TUYGb2_65Y

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

        The haters hatin’ on the haters. Got infinite regression? Or would that be infinite aggression?

      • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

        Why didn’t they just throw down? Much better form of conflict resolution than screaming over traffic.

    • Mario Strada

      Love sites with “Enter” buttons. Enter where? I am already on your bloody site. If you have something to say, say it. Don’t make me click more.

  • Michael W Busch

    Pedantry: Einstein was probably not the source of that quote. It traces back to a piece in the 1940s, where it was attributed to an unspecified “great astronomer”, but may have been invented by the author (Frederick S. Perls) – and it could be traced back to a similar sentiment expressed by the 19th century novelist Gustave Flaubert. Wikiquote has a discussion: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein#Disputed

    Also, I never quite understood the point of protesting conventions like this. Who is the intended audience for the religious protestors? That for the counter-protest is obvious.

    • tomtallis

      In their “minds” they’re not protesting, they’re “witnessing,” obeying the “great commission.” Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer cherce.

      • Michael W Busch

        Except the Great Commission was supposed to be “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”.

        Standing with a sign saying “You’re all going to hell” doesn’t qualify.

        • randomfactor

          Read a comment earlier this morning to the effect that they call their mythology “truth” and their hatred “love.” Makes me think that the place they call “hell” is probably the more desirable real-estate. (Like “Iceland” and “Greenland.”)

      • Pseudonym

        OK, but why Comic-Con, of all possible places you could “witness”?

        (Personally, if I was protesting Comic-Con, I’d be protesting the lack of emphasis on actual comics. Or GOD HATES BAD COSPLAY.)

  • Timmah

    I just got back from Comic-Con. As always one of the best parts outside the con is watching how people get sick of the “Jesus People” as we call them and start staging an opposing rally. At one point while waiting to cross the street by the Petco Park pedestrian bridge, one of them said on their megaphone “Only Jesus can save you!” and without thinking I yelled back “Jesus is as imaginary as Aquaman!”

    I think its funny because in a lot of situations where they have signs up in the area of a large event like this people just politely ignore them. But not comic con. Oh no no no. After waiting in lines for hours, wading thru huge crowds and walking like 10 miles a day going from point A to B, we are totally looking for someone to take our nerd rage out on. :)

    • phantomreader42

      Someone should stand next to the “Only Jesus can save you” guy with a “This Looks Like a Job For (insert any fitting superhero)”. Maybe several.
      And a line of people with “The Doctor Died For Us”, one for each regeneration. :P

      • Timmah

        Hah, that gives me an idea for a sign with all the Doctors on it that says “Jesus died for you once, the Doctor has died for you ELEVEN times!”

        • Jonas

          Eleven times And Counting!

        • toth

          Ten times.

          • toth

            Unless 11 has died already (I haven’t seen this past series finale yet)

            • Izlude Hyral

              He will be dying in the season finale for season 8, which is currently undergoing.

              • toth

                I thought so. I knew he was on his way out, I just didn’t think we were on 12 just yet.

                • Izlude Hyral

                  Looks like he’s not actually dying, they’re just going back to an older doctor. John Hurt should give us a pretty good performance!

  • Thalfon

    I’d just like to point out that, while the atheists’ signs are indeed plain, they are much better graphically designed than the opposition’s. Since we often end up with flak for poor graphic design, I figured that was worth noting. :P

    • UWIR

      So, atheists get flak for not having good flacks?

  • Jennifer Anker

    I sadly missed the counter-protesting. If I am able to go again next year, maybe I can stand out and help. >.> Disney’s Belle is educated enough, right? :D

  • UWIR

    The Hebrews 9:27 sign saying that atheists are going to hell is interesting. If you believe in [this person's interpretation of] the Bible, then you’ll believe that atheists are going to hell, but if you believe in the Bible, then you’re not an atheist, so it doesn’t apply to you. If you are an atheist, then you don’t believe in the Bible, so the Bible saying that you’re going to hell isn’t going to affect you. So what’s the point of this statement? “If you don’t believe this statement, you will go to hell”. If I believe the statement, then I don’t believe that I’m going to hell. And if I don’t believe the statement, I don’t believe I’m going to hell. The only way the statement would cause me to worry is if I believe the statement, but I don’t believe that I believe it.

    Maybe the counter-protesters should hold up signs saying “You will go to hell if and only if you believe this sign”. Anyone who believes the sign will believe that they are going to hell… but if you don’t believe the sign, then you believe you will go to hell.

    • allein

      It’s the flip side of a sentiment you sometimes see here, “believing doesn’t make it true.”

      “Not believing it doesn’t make it untrue so you are still going to hell whether you believe it or not. So there.”

      • UWIR

        There’s something called “Moore’s Paradox”, which consists of the statement “It’s raining but I don’t believe that it is raining”. This is considered paradoxical because implicit in the statement “It’s raining” is the statement “I believe it’s raining”. Similarly, when someone says “It’s raining”, they are implicitly expressing an expectation that you will accept their word that it’s raining. It makes no sense to make an assertion with no expectation at all that the hearer might come to believe the assertion. If someone says “If you don’t believe this, you’ll go to hell”, they are implicitly asserting that they believe that you might not believe it (otherwise, why are they bothering to mention this fact), but they are also asserting that they believe that you will believe it (otherwise, why are they bothering to tell you it?). So that’s paradoxical. The response “Not believing it doesn’t make it untrue” doesn’t address this; the fact that I don’t believe whatever random crap someone puts on a sign doesn’t make it untrue, but it does make putting random crap on a sign useless. By putting someone on a sign, they are implicitly asserting that they expect people to believe whatever random crap someone puts on a sign, which conflicts with their implicit expectation that there are people who don’t believe.

  • Timmah

    BTW in the interest of correctness and completeness as I take Comic Con VERY seriously… ;)

    - It’s not the civic center, its the San Diego Convention Center

    - Their main camp was actually across the street at the front of the Gaslamp Quarter. Which is not only where the trolly station is, but that is where all the restaurants/bars/hotels are. If you wanted to go get something to eat outside of convention food, you had to walk thru them.

    - They were not just there. As I mentioned in another post they actually took up to camping the pedestrian bridge next to Petco Park that crosses the train tracks/harbor drive to get to the convention center. A lot of the shuttle buses dropped you off at Petco so it was another high traffic area.

    - Very early Friday they were on the opposite side of Harbor drive walking up and down with signs and a big cross and a megaphone preaching VERY loudly. Loud enough that you could hear it clearly from the front of the convention center. That didn’t last very long, I’m guessing the SDPD told them to stop as there are a few high rise condos there where people live not to mention all the hotels and it was a major noise nuisance. They never pulled that again.

    - A couple of the retailers got in on the act too with their own signs and yelling how they wanted to save us…. money on comic books. =D

  • DougI

    If someone is having fun then fundies feel persecuted because they are never invited to the cool parties.

  • bickle2

    These people are dangerous, and one or two of them usually gets arrested. They believe they don’t have to obey the Old Testament, and if you have fun playing with them, you know, with actual Bible, telling them to start murdering their sassy children and the crowds surrounding them as their god commands, they start calling you a child molester over their little bullhorn

    Their sect is some kind of relation to Kirk Cameron’s Way of the Master, they tried the whole “have you ever stolen/lusted blah blah blah” script on me. After they started up the child molestor business, I went into “My children, Jor-El sent his only begotten son to Earth, where he died for our sins against Doomsday and rose on the third issue!!” until I finally had to leave for my next meeting. Wish I could have been there this year to play with them with these nice folks

  • Robster

    This looks like some sort of christian X men squad that waits on standby ’till they’re needed to quell an outbreak of reasoned sanity. They monitor all the radios, watch the internet for news (or porn), keep an eye on the telly and are ready a-la Ghostbusters, to pounce, to spread the news of the magic baby jew that died 2000 years ago and of which there’s no record. Hmmm, sounds productive.

  • Aguz

    The only thing I would protest about at ComicCon is that the most important panels aren’t about comic books anymore.

  • NickDB

    As a foreigner the religious in the States always puzzle me, currently in South Africa our churches have gotten together to support the human rights movement, unions, atheist groups, biker groups etc to protest a toll system that is plagued by corruption and will most likely destroy the economy.

    Do your churches / religious really have nothing better to do than protest a comic-con? No soup kitchens need volunteers? no old age homes need help? no schools need a new coat of paint? Are 1st world countries so perfect that a comic-con is the biggest issue they can think of?

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      No, their priorities are just that skewed.

    • RebeccaSparks

      There is also a lot of good work and humanitarian work done by churches in the US, but usually it’s off topic for this blog and “Local Xian soup kitchen serves food to local homeless for 15 years without screwing up” is not a really newsworthy.
      The majority of high-profile picketing is done by the Westboro cult. It is tiny in relation to the amount of press that they get-mostly by protesting events like funerals or conventions with such hateful signs. I think in a way they made Christian picketing more popular. You used to get Christian fundie protesters outside of abortion clinics or gay pride parades, but now they show up at much less contested venues.

  • J.R. Robbins

    My favorite God Hates Fags parody sign is “Zod hates Jor-el.”

  • Rachel Warner

    If I want to be saved, I’ll wear a seat-belt .


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