“‘Utahn’ does not mean ‘Mormon,’” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “There are many Utahns who want nothing to do with Mormonism, and this is especially true when it comes to creating laws, which must serve everyone. While the ‘elders’ joke referring to Latter-day Saints missionaries is supposed to be cute of course, the message is a real one: The assumption that Utahns are Mormon, specifically the encroachment of Mormon values into law, is dangerous and unconstitutional. This is especially clear in the recent and ongoing struggle for Utah’s LGBT population to gain equal rights for marriage.”“This is one of the reasons we chose Salt Lake City for our 2014 National Convention, and one of the conversations we want to energize between religious people and the atheist community,” Silverman said. “All citizens, young and old — and not just the sizable atheist population of Utah — deserve laws based on secular principles, and a society that understands that this is beneficial to everyone.”
As is often the case, the wording of the billboards could be misinterpreted to suggest “all” of Utah’s students and elders are atheists, but a generous reader would know better.
It’s worth noting these are not stock photos; they’re actual atheists living in Utah.
“It’s important to me to appear on this billboard because growing up, I didn’t know there were other people out there who felt the same way I do,” said Melanie Hall, one of the atheist students who posed for the billboard. “I grew up here in Salt Lake County and it’s cool to see that there are others who think the same things. I want to let others know that they’re not alone.”
Both billboards are in Salt Lake City and will be up through the rest of the month.