American Atheist billboards rejected with an obvious lie.

I wish I had more time to delve into this.  But here’s the story: American Atheists wants to put up billboards in Salt Lake City to announce its annual conference next year.

They were shot down with the following excuse:

In a statement to The Salt Lake Tribune, YESCO wrote: “We believe that our medium is an effective outlet for free speech. However, we balance that with a strong commitment to adhere to community standards and to ensure that the messages we advertise are not offensive toward any business, group or individual. … In rare instances, we reject advertisements that we find to be misleading, deceptive or offensive to the moral standards of the community.”

Reagan Outdoor Advertising didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Misleading, deceptive, or offensive to the moral standards of the community.  Well to hell with that!  Here at WWJTD we are bold!  We’ll post things that make the stomachs of other adults turn inside out.  Brace yourself and cover the eyes of any women and children (or men who aren’t lumberjacks), because here are the billboards that were proposed:

I asked Dave Muscato if versions without the watermark existed, he replied: “Unfortunately no; these are mock-ups and we used stock photos. The idea was to get approval for the design, then take photos of actual, local Utah atheists to be featured on the billboards, to replace the stock photos. We already had many people interested in volunteering, too!”

Are you fucking kidding me?

Nothing about these billboards is misleading.  There are atheist students and atheist families in Utah (I know some of them).

There is nothing deceptive about the billboards.

That only leaves one option: YESCO must have found them offensive to the moral standards of the community.  I can only wonder what about them is offensive to the moral standards of the community.  Since the billboards don’t lie, perhaps they offend some moral standard that says the citizens of Utah must ignore facts they don’t like.  If that’s the case, why are these billboards more offensive than the people at YESCO who seem to have such low opinions of the denizens of Utah?

If there is any dishonesty at play, it’s on the part of YESCO (which claims to oppose dishonesty) in their assessment of these billboards – a dishonesty that allows them a conveniently smooth path to discriminate, so long as you can live with your conscience.  With the help of Jesus, it seems they can square dishonesty with their morality just fine.

Patheos Atheist LogoLike What Would JT Do? and Patheos Atheist on Facebook!

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.