Bill Donahue: the gift that keeps on crying.

The new American Atheists billboard has drawn the ire of Bill Donahue, which means it has achieved a score of at least .00000001 on the offensiveness scale.

Hanukkah is currently being celebrated, but fortunately for Jews they are not being attacked by David Silverman. No, like other haters in the atheist community, the president of American Atheists saves his vitriol for Christians.

Well, I don’t know if Silverman has saved his vitriol for Christians.  He did, after all, start and promote the #IslamIsBarbaric hashtag on twitter.  What I suspect is happening here is that he is using a picture of the most popular religious myth in America to drive the point home.  He may also be allocating his attention appropriately to which religion is putting forth the greatest effort to impose itself on others in the US.  That is not Jews.  It is Christians.

Silverman’s latest assault is a huge billboard in New York’s Times Square.

Assault!  It’s an assault!  It’s kind of like marching into churches across America with baseball bats and guns drawn…except it’s saying “that’s not true” and nothing more.  When “love” and “burning nonbelievers for eternity” strike you as the same thing, I can understand how making that distinction would be difficult.

The message is neither new nor particularly offensive: “Keep the merry! Dump the myth!” What is offensive is the photo below a picture of Santa—it depicts Jesus with a Crown of Thorns on the Cross [click here].

Yup.  Right along with Santa…because they’re both myths.  Actually, what’s offensive to me is the implicit assertion that we need the myth in order to be merry (which Donahue has outright said about Christmas in the past).

This year Silverman wanted to make a big splash, so he decided to draw blood.

The horror.  Yes, Silverman wanted to really take his game to the next level by saying “Christianity isn’t true” for the very first time.  Good catch, Bill.

Last year Silverman’s billboard outside the Lincoln Tunnel featured a picture of a statue of the Roman god Neptune, a classical portrait of Jesus, a depiction of Santa, and a guy in a devil’s mask.

Wait…this year Silverman wanted to “draw blood” by pointing his disdain at Christianity…but he was already doing this last year (and the year before…and the year before…)?  Donahue acts like Dave suddenly changed gears to go after the poor, poor Christians.

It shows what he is made of. He and his supporters do not want to be left alone…

Really?  Because it seems to me that we want the Catholic church out of the marital decisions of others, out of women’s healthcare, etc.  It’s not like we’re making a secret of this.  We want the Catholic church out of the lives of those who don’t adopt it voluntarily.  But the Catholic church is trying to force its way into the lives of people who don’t want it via legislation, and so now we’re pushing back and Bill Donahue wants to act like we’re the aggressors.  This is kind of like the bully trying to steal our lunch money and then crying to the teacher that we told him to stop.

…they want to inflame the passions of those with whom they disagree.

We want to say that those people are wrong…you know, like the Catholic church and the Catholic League say of us all the time.  If that “inflames their passions”, well, tough shit.

Unlike Christians who do not provoke, harass or otherwise mock atheists…

Someone missed the reality train.  Not only do Christians provoke us with attempts to impose their religion on everybody by rule of law, they also mock us, and they damn well harass us with threats of eternal torment if we don’t kowtow to their beliefs.

We say “Christianity is a myth and that humanity is better than believing in myths.”  Christians (including Catholics) say that we are going to burn for all eternity.  In Donahue’s eyes the former is “an attack” that “draws blood”, but the latter is not even tantamount to harassment.  This is like the bully saying he and his goons are going to beat us up after school and then acting all flabbergasted when the he gets in trouble for harassing others (and then throwing a tantrum, because it’s Bill Donahue).

Silverman and his ilk want nothing more than to stick it to Christians at Christmastime. It’s who they are.

That’s why American Atheists doesn’t do this the rest of the year.  Wait a minute…

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • baal

    a picture of a statue of the Roman god Neptune, a classical portrait of Jesus, a depiction of Santa, and a guy in a devil’s mask.

    Points off for failed parallel structure Bill. That was a certified representation of Satan! No guys in devil’s masks were hanging out on the billboards.

  • Glodson

    Is Silverman holding the billboard up and slapping people with it as they come out of Mass?

    • Loqi

      It’s not quite as good as a literally slapping the face of Jesus (thank you, Rick Scarborough), but it will have to do.

      • Glodson

        I just would hope that Donahue wouldn’t irresponsibly throw around violent imagery to martyr himself with good cause. I mean, it isn’t like he is sticking up for a religion that merry threatens dissenters with hell, fought wars, institutionalized brutal torture and executions for heresy and actively covered up years of sexual abuse. Right?

  • Charlie

    Teacher says everytime Bill Donohue cries an angel gets his wings

    • John Horstman

      I always wondered why the ACLU wasn’t all over Zuzu’s teacher for pushing religion in a (presumably public, given the limited means of the Bailey family) school.

  • iknklast

    I recently read a statement from a Christian that atheists celebrate their holiday on April 1, so we should leave Christmas alone. That, of course, is NOT mocking or deriding non-believers. It’s just pointing out a basic truth…or so I’m told.

    Of course, even if it were true, so what? We don’t force others to celebrate April 1…though I would say our favorite day is in February…Darwin Day. And all we do is put up displays in libraries, and try to get the president to issue a Darwin Day proclamation, which doesn’t happen.

    My sister was so strange thsi year that she bought a card that said Happy Holidays on it, and then felt compelled to handwrite Merry Christmas, just in case I had hidden inside a bubble and didn’t know what holiday she was referring to…or so I would realize SHE isn’t going to fight a war on Christmas, because SHE knows the “reason for the season” (so do I – axial tilt).

    • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      Wait, atheists celebrate a holiday on April 1?

      Why wasn’t I notified by the Evil Atheist Conspiracy? Alright, so I have a small backlog of puppies I need to throw in the woodchipper (we all have to do our part), but I’m up to date with my dues!

      • Cubist

        April Fool’s Day, of course. Because only a fool wouldn’t believe in God, amirite? Huh? Huh? Amirite?

    • John Horstman

      Yeah, where the fuck did the idea that April Fool’s Day is an atheist holiday come from? It’s a prankster’s holiday; are True Christians™ never pranksters?

  • The Schwa

    “Unlike Christians who do not provoke, harass or otherwise mock atheists…”
    100% true. Just ask Jessica Ahlquist.

  • emptyknight

    The April Fool’s Day thing is from a joke/urban legend — one of those smug things posted and reposted on facebook by conservative christians around the holidays.