Atheist Banner in Illinois Vandalized the Same Day an Article About It Appears in Local Paper

This year, just like last year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation chapter in Chicago put up a sign at North School Park in Arlington Heights reminding passersby that they should let reason prevail:

The Daily Herald even reported on the sign yesterday:

The Nativity scene, paid for by Jim Finnegan, chairman of the Illinois Nativity Scene Committee, sits next to a sign from the Freedom From Religion Foundation reading, in part, “Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

The two displays were approved by the Arlington Heights Park District under its new policy for petitioners, including that they must clearly post that the displays are not paid for or supported by the park district.

“To me that’s intolerant and demeaning to put next to a holy symbol,” Gregory Novak, said of the anti-religion sign.

No less “demeaning” than a faith that condemns all non-believers to suffer for all of eternity.

In any case, I can only assume that Christian love was in full bloom because, by the end of last night, the atheist banner had been ripped up:

Group President Tom Cara wrote in an email to members last night:

Apparently someone felt their right to freedom of speech and religious expression was to take a knife to the center of our message.

The banner was supposed to come down this Sunday — so a replacement banner wouldn’t even be worthwhile at this point. But maybe that’s okay. Let the ripped sign be a symbol of what atheists have to put up with on a regular basis.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • David Evans

    I’ve always felt that that last line:

    “Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

    is unnecessarily provocative. Several of my friends are Quakers, and they have some of the free-est minds and softest hearts of anyone I know.

  • dandaman

    and yet, they’re quaker

  • ZenDruid

    And yet, they’d be the first to turn away from externally imposed hierarchical dogma.

  • ShhhImReading

    Exactly. “and yet, they’re Quaker.”

    They may be religious, but even some religious folk out there are decent. When we picture our ideal society with religious here and non religious there, both working toward the same goal, the Quakers will likely be some of our closest allies.

  • David Evans

    Yes, and I’m atheist. I and they have both made up our minds on certain questions. So?

  • Greg G.

    The Quakers excommunicated one of my ancestors and notified the authorities so he would be drafted to fight in the Revolutionary War. They also erased his name from many of the records of the day. I wonder what he did to piss them off that much?

  • ZenDruid

    Your ancestor was in good company: Nathanael Greene was a lapsed Quaker because he fought, and he was also the only general other than Washington who went the whole distance in the Revolution.

    The Quakers were leaned on by both sides: “Either you’re with us or against us.” That was a classic demonstration of pacifists in a tight place. Nobody trusted them back then.

  • Greg G.

    I have ancestors from North Carolina with the given name Green. I assume their fathers fought under Greene.

  • Heaven Kincaid

    The more pertinent point here is that some religious person proved the sign’s point by destroying it. I’m pretty sure that your Quaker friends wouldn’t have done such a thing, no matter how provocative the sign might have been because they respect others.

    In any case, the sign doesn’t claim that it hardens all hearts, simply that it does so in most cases. The person who destroyed this was so angry, egotistical, and closed minded that he/she thought a sign about including outsiders into the holiday season was more infringing on his/her rights and offensive than the act of destroying the sign would be. If an atheist had done this to a Christian display there’d be a nationwide shit storm and people would be grabbing their metaphorical pitchforks.

  • David Evans

    “In any case, the sign doesn’t claim that it hardens all hearts, simply that it does so in most cases”

    That’s a tolerant interpretation, but I’m not sure it’s a likely one in context.

  • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

    The sign says –

    Religion is but myth & superstition that hardens hearts & enslaves minds.

    It does not say –

    Religion is but myth & superstition that hardens all hearts & enslaves all minds.

    The interpretation is accurate.

    .

  • Jeff

    You are being optimistic that the pitchforks would be metaphorical.

  • Artor

    I’m generally in favor of Quakers, and all of them I’ve known have been exemplary people, but my sister tried to join a circle of “Friends,” and they were just as rabidly right-wing as evangelical Fox-watching rednecks can be. Steven Weinberg said it best. “…But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

  • Castilliano

    What they need is a sign that says:
    “Religion is but myth & superstition that makes angry people commit vandalism.”

  • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

    Religion – Gods showing their love through threats of violence.

    .

  • Justin Tanaka

    I would donate to this campaign

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

    i’m a little buzzed right now, having just finished my Festivus dinner with wine and rich foods. but i’d like to see a banner that somehow incorporates the idea that “freedom to believe includes atheism” and “how long will it take before this is destroyed by “loving’ believers?”

  • Jeff

    Only as long as it takes the folks putting up the banner to turn their backs…

    Happy Festivus.

  • Nemo

    Noone took a knife to that. Anyone who knows anything about fabric can tell you that that is a simple puncture. Some ass hat probably kicked the sign. Lets not imply that some deadly, sinister intent was at work here. Remember people – reason.

  • Guest

    Ya, I think it might have been the spontaneous emission of ass-hattery.

  • John

    False flag operation.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Oh c’mon, that’s not vandalism. That’s proving the point.

  • Heaven Kincaid

    They need a nativity scene committee?…

  • Keyra

    Not condoning vandalism, as atheists have a right to opinion; saying there are no gods, no devils, etc. is their idea of “reason”?

  • baal

    If you’re trying to live in the objective reality, then it’s the hight of reason to note that no supernatural anything is the right explainaintion for anything. Physics, chemistry and such provide the actual explainations.

  • Keyra

    What you call “objective reality” is naturalism. Saying and believing that there is no God is subjective, an opinion. Nothing “objective” about it.

  • baal

    Please see other’s comments on Russel’s teapot, the FSM and the dragon in my garage. Reality is not an ‘ism’.

  • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

    Please provide evidence to support your opinion that there are Gods.

    .

  • Lokis_Child

    The Elder Edda says it, I believe it, that ends it. 😉

  • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

    Odin be praised. There is proof.

    :-)

  • Keyra

    It’s reasonable to state your opinion on the matter and admit it’s your own view, rather than pretend you’re “in the know” (because the objective reality of the situation is, that no one human being knows the answer to every single question in the universe).

  • Jeff

    Lack of an answer is significantly different than not questioning. I am “in the know”, because of all reason, science, experimentation, and observation has yet to present any god. Because we have yet to discover the answer to some of the most perplexing problems of the universe does not default to “god did it”. Remember, we have spent much of human history proving religious beliefs wrong (Earth centered universe, Joshua stopping the sun in the sky, a chariot pulls the sun god ra across the sky, cell theory) only to have the religious “powers that be” jail or kill those who did not believe.

    You regularly throw out illogical comments in an effort to support your belief. So be it, this is an open blog and you have a right to. However, not one of them is supportable, and you usually flee rather than engage in a logical argument to at least attempt to support your comments.

    That being said….it is Christmas Eve. I sincerely wish you and your family a Merry Christmas. I hope you are safe and happy with family and friends. Many times we seem to forget that even those who may disagree with us are, like us, simply trying to make it though life.

  • Keyra

    Ah, but “God didn’t do it” is any better? Btw nobody “proved” that Joshua didn’t stop the sun in the sky by God’s power, as we weren’t there to not see it happen. How are my comments “illogical”? Mostly I point out that not all believers are the same as alot of assholes who say they’re Christian but really aren’t Christ-like, and that their actions don’t reflect on Christianity as a whole. And having a life rather than spending all day on an atheist site, especially when responses are overflowing, is hardly “fleeing”. I stick around sometimes but when I have more important things to do, I log off. Plus, I only respond to rational and (at least somewhat) reasonable comments, rather than condescending ones and when I’m ganged-up on.

    And Merry Christmas to you and your family as well. “Many times we seem to forget that even those who may disagree with us are, like us, simply trying to make it though life.”, ditto

  • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

    Ah, but “God didn’t do it” is any better?

    Which God?

    Why assume a supernatural explanation for anything?

    Traffic is heavy – Why did the Gods do that?

    Once we start using supernatural explanations, rather than reason, where do we stop being unreasonable?

    .

  • Sue Blue

    Prove that Joshua DID stop the sun in the sky, since you weren’t there to see it either.

    Oh, and BTW – that we’re here having this Christmas discussion is proof that the preposterous Joshua tale never happened. A sudden deceleration of the earth’s rotation necessary to make the sun appear not to move (you do know that the sun does not revolve around earth, don’t you?) would have caused tidal forces that would have destroyed it.

    Next you’ll be making claims about the equally ridiculous Noachian Flood. Remember, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

  • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

    While no one human being knows the answer to every single question in the universe, that has nothing to do with whether superstition is reasonable.

    .

  • Intelligent Donkey

    I’d rather have questions without answers, than answers that can’t be questioned.

  • DavidMHart

    What would you say to someone who, when asked how some phenomenon operated, always invoked fairies or vampires as part of their explanation?

    Please understand that unless you can provide evidence for the existence of gods that is as strong as the sort of evidence you would need to see in order to be persuaded that fairies or vampires (or indeed, other gods apart from the Christian one) actually existed, the default position is that gods, like fairies and vampires, are mythical, existing only in the imagination of those who believe in them.

    Of course, if at some point we discover good evidence for the existence of gods, then you can talk about integrating them into the rational worldview. Until then, please don’t pretend that it is any less reasonable to believe in them than any other mythical claims.

  • Sue Blue

    Objective reality has shown no evidence of any supernatural beings. No telescope or space mission has revealed any kind of God, fluttering angels or giant turtles holding the world up on their backs. All the objective evidence we have points to evolution by natural selection as the cause for all the diversity of life as we know it, and nothing but Newtonian, Einsteinian, and quantum physics being “responsible” for the universe as we know it. It is not rational to deny evidence and claim that Gods must exist simply because science has not answered every question in the universe yet. It does not follow that science CAN’T answer every question at some point in the future. Also, even if some problem or question is unresolved by science, it does not mean that the only other option is supernatural intervention. That is the definition of the false dichotomy logical fallacy.

  • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

    Yes, reason – the antidote to the superstitions of Gods, Devils, Heaven, Hell, . . . .

    .

  • Chas Swedberg

    The “reason” comes from evaluating the evidence and arguments for the claim there is a god and find them not compelling to support that opinion.

  • newavocation

    They are just doing their gods work. Nice god.

  • $925105

    Another fundy spreading his Xian love and holiday cheer.

  • Sue Blue

    I’d like to see a sign put up right next to the atheist sign with an arrow pointing to the damage and saying “Christ-like love and Christmas spirit on display right here.”

  • Katwise

    I took the photo of the vandalized banner; it was clearly cut with some sort of sharp blade. I will not make any assumption regarding who damaged the banner.

  • Katerina

    That’s that good ole “christian love” for ya! :)