Want to see what it’s like to be persecuted by your neighbors? Put up an innocuous atheist display.

Want to see what it’s like to be persecuted by your neighbors? Put up an innocuous atheist display. December 22, 2014

The FFRF recently talked in an article about the frequency with which their pro-separation of church/state billboards and other displays are vandalized:

Atheist decorations also have become a target for destruction after their addition to some public forums in recent years as a counter-argument to menorahs and creches, a Wisconsin-based secularist group has said.

“It’s not unusual at all to run into these heavy-handed tactics,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation last Friday.

Of a dozen FFRF displays erected in winter 2012, five were stolen or vandalized, Gaylor said. In 2013, 14 displays were put up, and two were vandalized.

Sure, some teenagers might steal the occasional Jesus from a manger (because they’re looking to make trouble, not because they’re opposed to the message).  But if you put up a billboard that says people can be good without god or that an atheist community exists, it will carry with it tremendous odds that people (likely Christians) will vandalize it.

Right wing Christians often complain that they are persecuted by their neighbors.  Yet they will ignore these instances, for whatever reasons.  It’s as if real persecution of a minority doesn’t really bother them….

Tom Brejcha, a lawyer for the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, which has fought to protect religious displays in public forums, said vandalism of both atheist and religious displays is wrong. But he thinks the atheist displays are an attempt to discourage free speech.

“I think it’s really an attempt to try to get people angry and make it divisive so the public officials involved will suppress people expressing themselves on something that’s important to them,” said Brejcha.

Billboards that threaten people with hell?  Not divisive.  Billboards that say atheists exist, or that say you can be good without god, or say that god doesn’t exist (but convey no penalties, eternal or otherwise, for disagreeing)?  Divisive.  Thanks Thomas More Society.

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