Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Godless Wednesday: Atheists Cave To Violent Threats

The billboard pictured above has been withdrawn by the sponsors, American Atheists, due to violent threats. The point of the billboard was to raise attention at the sites of the Democratic (Charlotte, NC) and Republican (Tamp, FL) presidential conventions that both of the major party candidates are adherents of religion (Mitt Romney, Mormonism and Barack Obama, Islam Christianity).

The sponsoring organization made a statement last week explaining its decision to remove the billboards from Charlotte and Tampa.
“It is with regret that we tell our members and all of those who treasure free speech and the separation of religion and government that American Atheists and Adams Outdoor Advertising have mutually agreed to remove the billboards immediately,” said Amanda Knief, American Atheists’ Managing Director. 
“No subject, no idea should be above scrutiny—and this includes religion in all forms,” Ms. Knief said. “We are saddened that by choosing to express our rights as atheists through questioning the religious beliefs of the men who want to be our president that our fellow citizens have responded with vitriol, threats, and hate speech against our staff, volunteers, and Adams Outdoor Advertising.”
Teresa MacBain, American Atheists’ Public Relations Director said, "It saddens me to think that our country is not a safe place for all people to publicly question religious belief. How can we grow as a nation when such censorship exists from our own citizens?"
Despite the incorrect use of  the word "censorship," (no Government action was involved in the stifling of the organization's free speech so describing what happened as censorship is not accurate), I understand where the American Atheists are coming from. Religious people generally respond quite negatively when their privileged status in American society is demonstrated and challenged, usually to the detriment of the challenger, not the challenged.

What do you think, Gentle Readers, should the billboards have been removed?

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