Popular Atheist Facebook Page Removed After Image of a Billboard Criticizing Mormonism Offends People

***Update***: Unrelated to the billboard image below and Facebook’s claim that it violated community standards, I’m hearing from a lot of you about how this particular Facebook page was notorious for posting images/memes without giving proper credit to their creators and claiming them as their own creations. If that’s true, I apologize for giving them any publicity. I’ll do my best to find out more information and speak to the moderators of the page.

***Update 2***: Well, I fucked this one up. I apologize to everyone for publicizing a group that posts images from other sites without giving them credit. Even if Facebook pulled them for the billboard, they should have been pulled for content-stealing a long time ago. Thanks to everyone who sent me emails with evidence of their malfeasance. You can read more about this issue here.

I’ll try to do better next time.

The Atheists and Rational Thinkers group on Facebook had more than 113,000 members (which is pretty damn impressive) and served up a frequent dose of funny memes/screenshots pertaining to religion, but Facebook just removed the group from the site for violating its terms of service.

Specifically, they said one particular image went against the site’s community standards and that’s why the page was taken down.

Which image? This billboard from American Atheists:

It’s completely accurate, by the way — the Mormon church didn’t allow blacks to join church leadership until 1978 and gay people (who want to act on their homosexuality, anyway) sure as hell aren’t welcome there.

It’s also an image that appeared on several websites after American Atheists announced that they would publicize it on a mobile ad truck in the month before the 2012 elections.

Despite all that, Facebook said that image went too far:

It seems to me like religious people were so offended by the content of the entire page — it pokes at their razor-thin sensibilities — that they flagged images all they could until they finally found one that Facebook staffers hastily agreed crossed the line.

The staffers didn’t read the sign carefully enough.

Just to be clear: There’s nothing offensive about that image. It just restates Mormon practices and makes them look bad in the process. Screenshots from the Book of Mormon would’ve achieved the same result.

The moderator of the atheist page, Edward Watson, has appealed the decision. On a makeshift page to keep people updated about the appeal, Watson explains what he wrote in his appeal to Facebook:

I would request you to republish my page; my content did no harm to anyone, my content did not breed hate or intolerance, and my content generally tried to encourage behaviors that I believe will make people’s lives better. People may not always agree with my positions, but I always let people voice their disagreement.

Facebook can still re-publish the page, but if Watson loses on appeal, the page (and the entire backlog of posts and comments) will be deleted for good.

It’s all very reminiscent of MySpace’s takedown of Bryan Pesta‘s 35,000-member-strong “Atheist and Agnostic Group” in 2008:

“My personal profile was deleted as well, and despite weeks of emails to customer service, plus a petition signed by 500 group members, MySpace won’t budge. I think these actions send a clear message to the 30 million godless people in America (and to businesses whose money was spent displaying ads on our group) that we are not welcome on MySpace,” said Pesta.

After the Secular Student Alliance put out a press release about the group, MySpace restored it days later without any comment.

Facebook needs to do the same with Watson’s group — and an apology would be nice, too.

***Update***: I asked Edward about some of the commenters’ criticisms of the page.

He says he posted things about pseudoscience, not as fact, but for the sake of discussion. He also posted about America’s obesity epidemic and rationalizations people offered for eating meat — why? I’m not sure — but none of those were among the reasons cited by Facebook as to why they took down the page.

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.

  • Jimmy

    “I would request you to republish my page; my content did no harm to anyone, my
    content did not breed hate or intolerance, and my content generally
    tried to encourage behaviors that I believe will make people’s lives
    better. People may not always agree with my positions, but I always let
    people voice their disagreement.”

    Except for the fact that his page and his followers bred serious hate and intolerance in their constant attacks against meat-eaters and fat people, deleted dissenting opinions, and spread pseudoscience because it confirmed his bias, this statement is entirely correct.

    • TychaBrahe

      There are pages calling for the death of soldiers, Obama, America, Israel, Jews, and Islam on Facebook. They are reported, and they continue. Yelling at people because they eat meat and fat-shaming sort of pales in comparison.

      • Jimmy

        Sure, there are worse pages in regards to spreading hate and intolerance, I’m just pointing out that the page’s admin is lying.

      • Jennifer Nicole

        You’re right there are other hateful pages, but that doesn’t make any hate more acceptable just because it’s ‘less severe.’

    • friz

      It is not true that the page made constant attacks on meat-eaters. All it did was unapologetically promote the fact that eating meat & other animal products causes harm to animals, the planet & human health.The people who were actually under constant attack on the A&RT page were the admin & the posters who dared to express this view to a very hostile audience of meat-eaters who did not want to take responsibiity for their actions.

  • Helanna

    I’m pretty damn positive that there are entire pages on Facebook dedicated to being horribly racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., and they seem fine. But simply pointing out that a church is racist, sexist, and homophobic is crossing the line? Really? I really hope they win the appeal, because this is completely ridiculous.

    • BigDickInYoAss

      It was nothing to do with hate. It had to do with content stealing.

      • It’sMe

        love the name.

  • C Peterson

    While the decision to remove the page is absurd, this serves to highlight the fatal decision to use Facebook in the first place. Anybody with a serious message to get out there needs to do it through their own domain. To allow oneself to be captive to any social networking system is foolish. Use them to direct traffic to your site, if that helps, but have your own site, under your own control!

    The “makeshift page” should be the core of the group. There is no real freedom of expression if people are subject to arbitrary rules by people who have no real connection to their message or motives.

  • Javana

    I am thinking you probably never saw that page (yes page, it wasn’t group but page). It was probably most reported by atheists that got their material stolen by those 2 irrational and dishonest admins. I will not miss this hateful page calling non vegans/vegetarians murderers on daily basis, or they posts full of conspiracies and woo, because they don’t know how and where to do fact checking.
    I do not believe this image was the reason, there are so many other reasons, but they will not tell you, they like to twist the truth.

    • It’sMe

      I just called them out on their theft and about the fact that they haven’t denied it nor have they responded to those questioning them on their “appeal” post and they banned me. They’re throwing out the “woe is me” to people who don’t really know what they’ve been doing. Good thing I posted on an alternate account because with them, I knew they would ban me to try to cover their tracks.

      • Javana

        I saw 3 comments calling them out on this and all are already deleted. They are very cunning and manipulating that way. You better don’t criticize them on your profile, they don’t only delete and ban, they also report it. And not to mention, they also outed admins from atheist pages when they were trying to communicate with them via private message. They took screenshot and posted publicly their names on the page. I don’t think i need to point out how dangerous that is in some countries.

        • GodlessEngineer

          I have heard that it was because of repeated Intellectual Property thefts LIke you guys have mentioned…

          Another set of admins have taken over their original name and are doing the job properly:
          https://www.facebook.com/ActualAaRT

        • Sata Nae

          I saw that as well and I took screenshot, 5 of them, all gone now. I think i will keep watching.

      • Eddrick

        Do note that some people might have photoshopped those images that you posted to remove “trademarks, watermarks, and any other signs of it being made by someone” and posted it online.

        Moreover, you have no right to claim that he (admin of AaRT) must give you royalties or something to that extent. Yes, it is unethical and backstabbing to a certain extent to have the fruits of your labour be siphoned off to someone else, but you have no choice but to accept that you have no legal exertion over him.

    • http://www.asilee.com Asilee

      I’m an admin of a page of which intellectual property was stolen from by AaRT. They would remove trademarks, watermarks, and any other signs of it being made by someone other than AaRT. When confronted, they’ll say, “We found it on google” or like you said, Javana, delete the confrontational comments altogether. They also had the tendency of calling the people who confronted them, “bullies”. That’s absurd, and there was nothing “rational” about AaRT. When they weren’t stealing content, they were aggressively pushing their vegan agenda on people. They’re ridiculous.

      –Admin/Owner of Black Atheists: fb.com/BlackAtheists

      • OnlyLogic

        I’m not affiliated with A&RT in any way (in fact fuck them if they were spreading bullshit) but I swear ya’ll need to get over this equally bullshit intellectual property thing you have. It’s the least rational thing you believe in. No matter what the law says, you don’t own a meme. You don’t own an idea or even a specific implementation of that idea. You can only own material objects, and though I’m not one of them, some philosophers would even question that. If someone can copy something without taking any physical thing of yours or invading your privacy…then they just did that and you need to get over it. And oh by the way…you think you own all the memes on fb’s servers? Think again. As far as I’m aware, you don’t, fb does. Intellectual property law and grievances are a complete scam and the worst thing that’s ever happened to creativity and technological progress. It stifles progress and makes people complacent with the status quo. ie. shitty tv shows, movies, and games. And as I mentioned it’s just plain illogical. If someone actually cares about who made up that funny or intellectually stimulating meme they saw the other day, they will find out and give you props. But if they don’t, they shouldn’t be punished for it. Especially if they want to share it or modify it.

        • ChuckV

          The laws quite clearly you do own original works. That’s the whole point of copyright law. Saying copyright doesn’t matter is all well and good until you are trying to make a living creating art or other intellectual property. If you want to spend your day creating art and giving it away, you are free to do that. Just don’t force everyone else into giving their work away. It’s even worse when all someone wants is recognition as the creator, and someone comes along and erases that.

          • Chuck Thom

            You should read the contract you agreed to when you signed up for Facebook. You don’t own anything you post to Facebook. Still, people should give credit where it’s due.

            • ChuckV

              The contract might say that Facebook owns it, but the contract clearly does not say it becomes public domain.

          • OnlyLogic

            “It’s even worse when all someone wants is recognition as the creator, and someone comes along and erases that.”

            No, that is your ego who wants attention for making something creative talking. I explained that what the law says about this doesn’t actually matter in this case. Especially because the RIAA and MPAA pretty much wrote it. If someone wants to make money doing art they need to find creative ways to do so. Kickstarter or Flattr come to mind.

            “Just don’t force everyone else into giving their work away.”

            This is just so wrong it hurts. First of all, record labels rarely actually give their artist’s work away. Second of all, file sharing doesn’t force them to and nor would they be forced to if all copyright laws were abolished. Those who give it away first are usually those who already bought it. After that initial one, they give it away after having copied it from someone who already copied it and so on and so forth. By converting a song or movie into an mp3/mp4 or any replicable medium you risk others being able to copy and share it. It’s a fact. To create laws to stop it doesn’t work and isn’t logical because you can’t logically own an idea as I mentioned. Remember…logically…not legally. Two different things in this case.

            • ChuckV

              Maybe it is my ego. So what. Having the ability to copy someone else’s work does not make it OK.

              We can and do decide who owns an idea. That’s the whole point of copyright and patents. Ideas don’t always come for free. Sometimes they are the result of work. Copyrights and patents are the way we recognize that work.

              • JOkoth

                Exactly. Intellectual effort of creators should be acknowledged by giving credit where it’s due. Malicious removal of the creator’s name for purposes of claiming the work as one’s own is ridiculous(and one of the reasons AaRT will never hold appeal to me).

      • √π

        You want fucking royalties or something?

        • JOkoth

          You want some maturity or something?

          • √π

            That was almost as good as saying “I know you are but, what am I?” Good job finding the most useless thing to say though. Bravo.

      • Eddrick

        Do note that some people might have photoshopped those images that you posted to remove “trademarks, watermarks, and any other signs of it being made by someone” and posted it online.

        Moreover, you have no right to claim that he (admin of AaRT) must give you royalties or something to that extent. Yes, it is unethical and backstabbing to a certain extent to have the fruits of your labour be siphoned off to someone else, but you have no choice but to accept that you have no legal exertion over him.

        The vegan stuff (I don’t believe it myself) that they post are not exactly aggressive, especially when you can just scroll past, unless you are just as bigoted as many religious people are to not accept and respect other people’s point of view, culture and legitimate scientific findings.

    • Vukota Pecota

      I do not recall seeing non vegans being called murderers on a daily basis. What I do recall seeing is the following argument played out ad nauseam:

      Vegan: Eating meat is wrong.
      Meat eater: It’s found in nature.
      Vegan: So is pedophilia and murder.
      Meat eater: You’re saying meat eaters are as bad as child molesting murderers!

      Even though I’m a vegan, I fully understand why a meat eater would get annoyed at all the vegan posts. I’m sure it’s not what they were expecting when signing up for an atheist page. What I didn’t understand was all the constant bitching about it. Don’t like it? Just unlike and go. It’s a free page and no one is forcing you to read it. It got to the point where it sounded like some meat eaters wanted to see vegan posts just so everyone could hear them bitch.

      • Joel Adkins

        The problem wasn’t really with the vegan posts, the problem was that the admins would make them feel like shit for not sharing the same lifestyle choice as them (something not all that dissimilar to what theists do to their followers). Actually I can recall them comparing non-vegans to murderers and in one case, they said that feeding meat to a child was “child abuse.” Free speech, all for it; bullying non-vegans, I don’t advocate.

        • Guest

          Vegans bullying? Where do I sign up for some of this fun? I find it hard to believe that any vegan could possibly make me feel like shit for eating meat. But I’d love to engage these fools.

      • Me

        I understand. I just left a comment basically saying “I don’t think this applies to all or even most atheists and rational thinkers” and then I unliked the page. I still respected them after that, but since I didn’t like their attitude, I unliked the page and didn’t go back.

      • krissie

        I had “liked” their page,,,but for a VERY VERY short time.

        I myself am a meat-eater…What I did NOT like was the page inciting arguments and bluntly, seeing some people getting extremely p.o.’d. My ears and eyes don’t bleed whenI read/hear things as I’m not a delicate wallflower, but the comments between members, to other mods, mods to then page/group members were just terrible, and that’s being kind about how their behavior actually was.

        The other reason why I “unliked” the page was because of them NOT leaving watermarks on, or if other website’s addresses were on the pics (usually on the bottom) were deleted–and a LOT of it was obvious-either due to awful photoshopping, or a most awful “cropping” job.

        In the end, I’m NOT surprised, and kind of glad to see they’re NOT around any longer. The kind of behavior that page exhibited…well, fifth-graders gossiping and fighting during recess don’t act like that.

        • Vukota Pecota

          I think the main problem of discussing veganism is that it’s an issue that people on both sides are very passionate about. And when you have these passions very little actual “rational” discussion takes place. It’s basically one side calling the other “monsters” and the other shouting back “wackos.”

          Some people are not going to like this comparison, but mentioning that you’re vegan gets some people very defensive in the same way saying you’re atheist gets Christians on the defensive. On the flip side, I can see how some meat eaters perceive vegans as “religious” as they try and convert people to their side.

          If there was one thing that the topic of veganism highlighted it was this: just because we agree there’s no god does not mean we agree on anything else!

      • Javana

        How about this one then, they are back to their old style on their new page.
        https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=407255736047829

  • A3Kr0n

    If they close down the page Edward will go somewhere else, and Facebook will become a part of the ever shrinking sphere of ignorance religion now enjoys.

  • John

    I bet you never saw the page before! If you did, you’d know that this page steals content and forges other pages’ work. If this page was any good you would have seen all atheism pages on facebook supporting them and giving them a hand. They are actually rude and utter bigots.

  • wvsasha

    I thought this particular page had new admins – that was announced a couple of days ago. If so / sounds like FB waited a few days too long. This particular image was perfectly fine.

    • It’sMe

      You might be thinking about the page that has the same name. They simply took the ” ‘s ” off the end of their name after this page got shut down.

  • the moother

    Rape jokes and rape threats… still available on Facebook.

  • the moother

    I’m guessing that an Atheist group cannot point out the fact that Mohammed raping a 9 year old Aisha is a crime.

    But muslims celebrating the marriage of a 9 year old Aisha to Mohammed is a freedom of religion issue.

  • About to plagiarize this page

    From his own post on this

    “We didn’t just have a problem with religious people who were offended by our content, we were singled out by the admins of other atheist pages who didn’t like the fact that we didn’t want to play by the same rules as them when posting images from other places on Facebook or the Internet.”

    https://www.facebook.com/atheistsrationalthinkers/posts/404873109619425

    Removing watermarks and cutting out links to original content creators was what got his page unpublished, not religious peoples complaints about a particular post. Possible that didn’t help him none. But seriously, do some damned research before writing a blogpost, oh and I hope someone steals your work and not only don’t credit you, but pass it off as their own. See how you like those who ‘didn’t want to play by the same rules’.

    • It’sMe

      I commented on that post and quoted that same paragraph, I got banned. lol, I asked them if the part of the quote about them not playing by the same rules meant they were admitting to stealing content.

    • alphaomega

      do the people who had their stuff stolen by AaRT also credit the person who took the original photographs (like the one of Jeffrey Dahmer for instance)?

      • It’sMe

        People know they didn’t take that and other photos, that’s a given. It’s no different than finding a picture of a butterfly, saving it and using it as your avatar, but we know that person probably didn’t take the butterfly picture or painting or whatever and we know they aren’t trying to act as if they did. The AaRT page however, deliberately took watermarks and other page names off of photos they saw on other pages and attached their name to it, they also copied text word-for-word as if they wrote it instead of just “sharing”, which would have been so much easier. Why go through so much trouble if?

  • Jonathon

    I reached out to A&RT when they had just started reposting others images and as nicely as I could – tried to explain how not to upset other image creators. As someone who has made or fixed hundreds of images (to share) for atheists, I did not at all appreciate A&RT calling people bullies for exposing A&RT’s many lies about stealing content. I know that many other people also nicely asked them to share or put links for content that had a page name, A&RT usually banned such requesters. It was very obvious to me that Edward only cared about getting page likes for his page.

    • Javana

      Absolutely, that page was one of the biggest Like Farms and spammers on Facebook, .

    • JOkoth

      Very true. Much as he’s going through what any atheist admin goes through because of reporting, the page’s admin was guilty of stealing content. I unliked the page after being labeled a murderer for consuming meat. If that’s the “rational thinker” bit of the name, I’ll pass. Shame on that Edward. Good riddance to a silly page.

  • Javana

    As an atheist– damn i am glad that page is gone, they really gave the name atheists and “rational thinkers” bad name. Facebook don’t owe them any apology, they actually got something right for once. That picture may have been reported and removed by automatic process, but that is not the reason many people wished they were gone. Just because someone is atheist i will not stand on their side if they are dishonest assholes. They got what they deserved.

    • Travis Myers

      “dishonest assholes”

      Which part of the image is dishonest?

      • Javana

        As i said, this image and their atheist posts was NOT the reason other atheists had problem with them. And i do not believe it was the reason for Facebook to shoot the page down either. Read other comments.

  • Baby_Raptor

    So anti-gay pages asking people to “Like” pictures promoting the death penalty for gays is just fine, but pointing out that religions can be bigots gets you erased?

  • GodlessEngineer

    Another set of Admins have taken over the name so they have to use that convoluted name for their page.

    https://www.facebook.com/ActualAaRT

    • ChristianEngineer

      Strange.

  • Matt Bowyer

    That page had vegan crap coming out the wazoo. It drove me away. It’s actually been brought back with new admins that have promised not to do that.

  • DougI

    Facts are offensive, that’s why we don’t see any Mormon sites shut down.

  • Irminsul

    Sorry to do this, but the top graphic is NOT accurate. The Mormons did not “disallow” Blacks until 1978. What wasn’t allowed was membership in their priesthood by Blacks. Joining as a general practicing member of that church if you are Black was fine.

    I’m not defending that practice by the LDS church by the way, just making sure you don’t put out misinformation that makes you look less than informed and then dings your credibility.

    • It’sMe

      It is however fact that they believed people with dark skin were automatically destined for hell.

    • McFidget

      Check the asterisk, granted it’s small print but it says ” *refers to church leadership”.

    • Green_Sapphire

      Clarification: Pretty much every Mormon young man, at the age of 12, is accepted into the priesthood. This is not like in other Christian denominations where only a few become priests. So when Blacks were not allowed into the priesthood, this meant that they had essentially second-class status for their entire life after the age of 12 in the church.

      • Franklin Bacon

        Pecularly, young men who are no more than boys wear their titles on badges, stating that they are “Elder”. This is the ministry.

  • Sata Nae

    Oh wow, you are being manipulated Friendly Atheist.
    That page even stole your blog content, posted it on Fb and put their own name on it, I was baned for linking to the original post. The ART page was also spreading lies about other atheist pages and reposting private messages from atheist admins. Please check this out and reconsider if you really want to support people like this.

    • It’sMe

      Do you have a time and date of when they took the blog content, maybe I can find it and post it for you.

  • Jamie Carter

    They rarely had anything about atheism on the page and their food stuff was annoying using bad science as truth and opinion as fact they mislead their followers. Also if you were an Atheist but not a vegan you were made very aware you were not welcome to post and would face ridicule.

  • Antonio Valladares

    No this is not accurate. The page was characterized by anti-scientific vegan propaganda, which the majority of their readers found annoying. They were consistently fat shaming overweight/obese people, including children. I called them out on this regularly and they wouldn’t engage me. They were not only clueless on the science of obesity, but they were bigoted.

    In fact, they inspired this blog post I put up today since it was them who used the image of children and shamed them:
    http://healthyurbankitchen.com/blog/fat-shaming-and-obese-children/

    They apparently vic’d memes from other pages and put their logo on it. They were atheist true, but they were hardly rational and definitely not scientific on their diet ideology.

    • Jeff Schmidt

      That may all be true. . . but I’m still profoundly uncomfortable with Facebook “disappearing people” on the Internet, just because they aren’t liked. I’d much rather see a facebook where all the assholes are free to say whatever they want, and the rest of us are free to choose whether to ignore/block them.

      • B-Lar

        Normally I would agree, but if a page is virulently plagaristic, and shuts down criticism by deletion, then readers don’t have a chance to decide with all the facts at their disposal…
        Those that do not subscribe to fair play shouldn’t have the benefit of fair play.

        • Jeff Schmidt

          Well, a lot of this gets to the question of deletion and blocking. I think that Facebook mostly errs by so much deletion of content (though, to a certain extent, they are in something of a legal tight spot, because they do have legal obligations to remove certain types of content, like child porn, or copyright violation), but in general, if someone gets blocked, instead of all their posts disappearing, they should only be prevented from making further posts in the future – old posts and comments shouldn’t just “disappear” because someone was blocked.

          • B-Lar

            Strong accord. Your “disappearing” comment’s context is now completely visible to me.

    • Elizabeth Jaggers

      What propaganda was posted? Curious. From what I saw it was footage of factory farms, health and environmental statistics about the costs of meat-eating, and the page’s meat-eating fans became upset about it. (Veganism, to note, isn’t a “diet” ideology).

      I didn’t see anything fat-shaming, but if that was the case, I agree that it should be called out and thank you for doing so.

  • Bradley Gawthrop

    The billboard is actually wrong on both points. Membership in the LDS church was not denied to black people, priesthood was. Similarly, a practicing homosexual can be a member of the LDS church, they’ll just be considered to be living in sin. In this sense, they would be treated no differently from a heterosexual who was sexually active and not married. I grew up in the LDS church before becoming an atheist, and many of their positions and beliefs are indefensibly silly, as a result, they do not require misrepresentation to be revealed as such.

    • Will

      didn’t read the text at the bottom of the image? that’s okay! Post anyway!

      • Bradley Gawthrop

        I did, actually. On the first point “church leadership” it’s defensible, I suppose, but pretty deceptive language. On the second point it’s simply wrong. Membership is simply not denied to sexually active homosexuals. It’s a mis-statement of fact. That leaves aside the fact that, on a billboard, nobody is going to read the fine print anyways, leaving only the massively misleading GIANT text above it. We’re better than this.

      • Bradley Gawthrop

        The impression 99 out of 100 people will take away from this billboard is incorrect, and that’s how the creators of the billboard wanted it. It’s misleading, and intentionally so. Again, plenty of ways to point out the silliness of the mormon church without cheap tricks.

        • Will

          first, I assume when it was posted to facebook the image was alot larger, so not as deceptive. secondly, to quote someone else

          Green_Sapphire

          Irminsul

          20 hours ago

          Clarification: Pretty much every
          Mormon young man, at the age of 12, is accepted into the priesthood.
          This is not like in other Christian denominations where only a few
          become priests. So when Blacks were not allowed into the priesthood,
          this meant that they had essentially second-class status for their
          entire life after the age of 12 in the church.

          third, if you are seen as disgusting and immoral and living a life of sin and destined for hell, you’re not really a member, are you?

          • Bradley Gawthrop

            The image in question was originally for a road-side billboard, as I understand it, which is going to be read quickly. Totally deceptive. Mormon lads do indeed get the priesthood young (I did, when I was a member) so that point holds water, but again, it’s not what the billboard implies. As for the third point, mormons don’t believe in hell in the sense you’re probably thinking of. Would a sexually active homosexual feel very welcome? probably not. but being a member means something specific. Homosexual sex is not, in and of itself, any threat to one’s official membership in the LDS church. Don’t get me wrong, the situation in mormonism is bad, and in my view morally indefensible – I’m not defending mormonism. But a casual reading of the billboard would lead to an impression of mormonism that is not accurate, and the creators of the billboard clearly intended that to be the case. I think that’s very poor form, and that kind of disingenuous distortion is a very dangerous habit for atheists to be in.

            • Will

              You can’t maintain to be a member when they won’t truly accept who you are..

  • LesterBallard

    What’s Facebook?

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

    i’m sorry, but FB is stupid. it’s even more stupid than blog comments, and gosh they can get silly. data mining, bullshit “rules” that apply sometimes but then not, drama, time that sinks like a pit to hell in terms of waste… the thing that really makes me laugh at it is how it is the world’s largest data mining enterprise. not that other systems don’t do that, but still. you are the product, not the other way around. the ‘get rich on FB’ crowd really amuse me. you do realize you’re all selling your crap to each other, as they try to sell it to you in the same way. FB wars are especially amusing to this old timer. in the olde days we just did it with text. now? oooh, look. autotune and pics with your insults and cat photos. meh, i’ll stick to good old fashioned blogging, thank you. i really don’t care about who has been banned from FB, today/again/whatever.

    • Guest

      You’re whole rant is unnecessary since you end it with;
      i really don’t care about who has been banned from FB, today/again/whatever.

      Aren’t you just so special. So everyone that uses FB is stupid and everyone that blogs is superior to everyone that doesn’t. Just wanted to make sure I got the gist of your rant. I’m also betting that a bigger waste of time would be reading what you blog about. Especially given your propensity for poor grammar. SMH

  • Sirluke

    140k atheist page ruined by militant vegans

    • Elizabeth Jaggers

      Did you read this article? Look up there at the top. See the title?

      The page wasn’t for “atheism”. It was for atheism and RATIONAL THINKING.

      • Will

        I always forget that vegans don’t consider other people to be rational.

      • Joy Lynskey

        There was nothing rational about that page. It fair fit the description of just the opposite.

  • Me

    I had liked this page once, but I found I did not the attitude of many of the things posted, particularly when the page took a very strong stand against meat eating and said some untrue things about meat eaters. Despite my personal appreciation for the topic– I would like to see factory farming end and meat to be a weekly treat if that— I felt that it was wrong of the page to take such avid stances on various issues that are not the same between all atheists and rational thinkers.But that is just my opinion. Also, that is still no excuse to take down a legitimate poster such as the mormonism poster. That is simply ridiculous.

  • John

    ***Update***: I asked Edward about some of the commenters’ criticisms of the page.

    He says he posted things about pseudoscience, not as fact, but for the sake of discussion. He also posted about America’s obesity epidemic and rationalizations people offered for eating meat — why? I’m not sure — but none of those were among the reasons cited by Facebook as to why they took down the page.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA SERIOUSLY??? They were the worst “atheism” (vegan) page on facebook! Ask yourself one thing: Why are you the only one helping them? Answer: Because you’re the only one who didn’t actually check the content of their page! Try to get more informed next time.

  • Che

    I am one of the atheist page admins that reported AART page for stealing memes. They stole over 2 dozen (I finally gave up counting) from my page. They would cut off the name of my page and put their page name on my memes, then post it as if they made it. This went on for many months. I wrote to the admins twice and I posted several times on their page asking them to give credit to my page for my work- they were rude, insulting, and flippant. After several months of this, I simply gave up. I stopped going to their page and just ignored it. I know of at least 8 admins that they stole from who reported them to FB. I am glad that FB took their page down. No one should feel sorry for these people.

    • Che

      my page is Evidence of Harm by Religion

      • Chrissy

        I get your page in my newsfeed on FB and used to get AaRT until they banned me. I have seen posts on their page taken directly from yours. I don’t blame anyone for trying to get rid of that page – they were all about bullying anyone who didn’t agree exactly with what they were saying. I got banned basically for commenting that they seemed to be as pushy and confronting about veganism as a lot of religious people are about pushing their religion on people. I’ve seen many memes etc on their page that I had seen maybe only an hour or so earlier on another page and, like you and others have said, the original page names and watermarks etc had been removed. Pull them up on ANYTHING and they get so butthurt – I’m glad they are no longer there!

        By the way, I love your page. I’ve learnt a lot from reading your posts!

        • matthew elmes

          The only difference is that veganism is based on both logic, science, and a basic code of ethics that virtually all atheists on that page would attest to having.

    • Franklin Bacon

      Lucky they want to steal your material. There was a time not long ago, when atheists couldn’t pay publishers or anyone else to get their message out. Now, why do you complain that your materials are making the rounds? Is it because it feeds your ego or that it makes you money?

  • Guest

    While “this particular Facebook page was notorious for posting images/memes without giving proper credit” may or may not be true, isn’t it a little fishy that this page only got taken down AFTER they posted THAT image? Not trying to be that guy, but come on.

    • Javana

      But that’s what they are saying and they are notorious liars, i am sure that image have very little to do with it. It’s more likely that they just reached too many reports all together and Facebook does delete pages in that case, there is a limit. Wouldn’t be so strange that they had too many reports and complains, as they managed to piss off people on all sides. I am sure this page was most reported by atheists and actually rationally thinking people, more than the religious. They just know how to play this to win some publicity, they are good on that.

  • Guest
  • ria13

    I mean, I enjoyed the page, but it wasn’t one of the best atheist pages; and it also too often became a place of self-righteousness for the more fierce vegans and vegetarians. I’m all for learning the perks of those diets, but not to get bashed in the process for not choosing them >.<

    • Guest

      One word. Bacon.

  • Guest

    This seems to me to be another example of Christian privilege which is defined as

    “a system of advantage which are bestowed upon Christians in some societies. This privilege arises out of the presumption of Christian belief as a social norm,
    leading to the exclusion of the irreligious and members of other
    religions through institutional discrimination as well as through
    neglect of outsider’s cultural and religious practice and heritage.”

    (Wikipedia)

  • CHIZ

    I agree with your sentiment, Hement, but I think your comments and this web site would appear more professional if you didn’t use vulgar language to express yourself.

  • Anon

    Don’t beat yourself up too much. It is the internet and almost nobody gives a shit about being original or giving credit where it is due.

  • Javana

    Love your “***Update 2***” !
    <3

  • Jim

    ” this particular Facebook page was notorious for posting images/memes without giving proper credit to their creators and claiming them as their own creations”

    This describes most Facebook pages.

  • John Dillinger

    I’m glad that page is gone.. they were not Rational Thinkers,

  • Gus Snarp

    I’ve seen the RDF’s Facebook page post unattributed content, too. They seem to have stopped. But really, that shit has to stop all over the Internet, and Facebook seems to be a wretched hive of that sort of scum and villainy. None of which justifies taking down the page based on that billboard supposedly offending people. I can see how it would, but there’s much more offensive content in the paid ads, if you ask me.

  • Mark

    I stopped following A&RT when they started saying that you aren’t an atheist unless you don’t eat meat. Stuff like that doesn’t make much sense and frankly, I didn’t need my news feed to be filled with thousands of dead animal corpses that they post daily.
    Screw A&RT.

  • Crystal

    I seriously doubt that the page was deleted due to one image about the Mormons. I’ve seen several images that speak of Mormonism on FB and the pages are still there. I think after so many reports of copyright infringement FB automatically deletes a page.

    There’s no basis that this is a religious vs atheism issue at all. It’s simply a copy right and image theft issue.

  • It’sMe

    Lol, and they still have this blog posted on their FB page, even with the updates made.

  • It’sMe

    I’m reading the “read more about this issue here” link in Update 2 and other pages were outing them in long before now. The note (made in November) is proof alone but goodness gracious there are more links in the comments too.

  • Joy Lynskey

    This article is so full of shit I’m sure someone’s anus is bleeding. This is not why AART came down and they damned well know it. I personally warned them several times to straighten the hell up on some ignorant and repetitive crap they were doing and they refused to listen. This page was set for deletion on Feb 22, 2013 and it only stayed up as long as it did because some people actually tried to give a shit about the message more than the idiots yelling it. However, that positive ideology ran out over the next nearly 6 months of constant drama, horking loads of reports from people tired of their shit, and AART admins not giving any f*cks about how they were damaging the atheists community on facebook with their particular brand of crazy. Had they listed to some very basic rules that were nothing more than common, human decency, they’d still have a facebook mod fighting for their right to their brand of crazy. As it sits, several hours per week managing their idiots was finally enough after half a year. Tough titty, grow up and be the socially responsible humans you claim to be or I can assure you, you’re going to continue to have this same problem. Build it back on up to 100K and increase those reports again. The problem with AART, is that around 70% of their reports come from other atheists, not even the traditional conservative butthurt like most atheists pages get. That should tell you something.

  • Lisa Febre

    As a vegan, I like to read lively debates on the subject – and there
    truly are some very respectful conversations going on on FB and the
    internet in general. But the exchanges on this page made me very uncomfortable 1)
    to be vegan and 2) because of the disrespect of nonvegans.

    I, being the only vegan in my family, have learned that it’s not about insults or making people feel bad, it’s just living your own life and being left alone. If someone wants to be vegan, they’ll seek your advice, and if they don’t, then stay out of it.

    They gave vegans a bad name. We’re not all like that. Seriously. You have to believe us!! Some of us truly strive for not harming anyone: people or animals, in actions AND in words.

    The tone & timbre of A&RT was just an all-out brawl of trolls.

  • jaysen07

    Hi Richard, just wanted to say thank you for your blog. It’s rare to see someone admit they jumped the gun a little such as in this case, but it shows that you’re willing to see both sides of a story… I wish more journalism was that way rather than the opinionated bull# that many rant about. Keep up the good work!

  • Rockin’Rob

    What they’re ‘offended by’ is the fact that their own racist, bigoted hypocrisy is proof of their lack of morality and inability to refute cold, hard facts, that prove their silly superstition wrong.

  • √π

    AaRT is atheist… but not rational and doesn’t think much. Moved on long ago due to bullshit postings.

  • Charles Carter

    I like a few atheist pages and groups on facebook. This is one of those I decided to unlike. It is true that they steal content. They also post a lot of vegan propaganda and misinformation. Though I am not vegan or vegetarian, I would have been fine with an atheist vegan page, but the overall tone and delivery on this page was just too unprofessional and shoddy. Not to mention the fact they are unrepentant plagiarists and very hostile to polite criticism. All of these are red flags to me. I wouldn’t doubt if it’s a like farm that some naive teenagers sold for a pittance to some half-assed ad agency.

  • Franklin Bacon

    Why all the hate against this unscientific atheist page? With the advent of A+, atheists must have become accustomed to pseudo-psychology by now. There’s the radfem, the inevitable dogmatic, codified “Humanism” and environmental claims that have dominated the scene.

    • B-Lar

      don’t forget the liquid faecal matter that trickles down your chin and neck while you talk.

  • Kyle

    Well this does not surprise me in the least, I for one am glad to see the page shut down, someone who compares rape and murder to eating meat does not deserve to run a page with Rational Thinking in its title. Initially I was never bothered about the Vegan posts, they posted the benefits of the lifestyle which was fine, but when they started to call non vegans murderers, comparing them to child molesters and rapists, and after witnessing on more than one occasion members wishing death on non vegans, that was the last straw for me. Sure the people who defended meat eating wre not entirely innocent, but completely justified. The admins on that page were just ridiculous, they knew the vegan topic would divide their page members but carried on with the topic because that’s when the page would be most active and receive more likes.

  • pico

    Free speech. .. not any more!

  • William Fonseca Mayorga

    they were all about vegan crap anyway lol

  • Liz

    They were far from rational thinkers. Very far.

  • Ann Onymous

    From the musical “The Book of Mormon”, in a song about Mormon beliefs:
    “I believe that in 1978 God changed his mind about black people! (Black people!)”


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