Religion in Society

Atheist Billboard Outside NYC Replaced With Christian One

| by American Atheists

By Blair Scott

Before going any further, I would like to point out that our lease simply ran out. We only rented the billboard for a month. There is no foul play here or discrimination. Lamar kept our billboard up for the designated time per our contract.

Have you heard the news? The “controversial” American Atheists billboard has been replaced by a Christian billboard!

Controversial? What?

The latest CNN Religion Blog headline says, “God Is’ billboard replaces controversial Lincoln Tunnel atheist billboard.” I wonder why it doesn’t read, “Controversial atheist billboard at Lincoln Tunnel replaced by controversial Christian billboard.”

If our billboard was “an attack of Christianity,” is not the Christian billboard “an attack on secularism?” Where is the article by any of the media outlets talking about this controversial billboard that attacks secularists? Where is the article talking about how controversial the new billboard in Missouri is that shows a bloody fetus and tells women who have received an abortion that they’re going to Hell?

There are hundreds of thousands (if not a million or so) Christian billboards around the United States. Some of them are just advertisements for a church, but others are very “in your face” and some are blatantly offensive. There are billboards that equate atheists to terrorists and others that say atheists are un-American or that atheists hate America.

Did we generate a calling campaign to get those billboards taken down? Nope. Did we start a boycott effort against the billboard company? Nope. Did we vandalize those billboards? Nope. Did we put out a press release saying how offended we were or feign being offended? Nope.

But let the atheists put up one billboard and, pardon the expression, all hell breaks loose. Did the fetus billboard get national attention? Did the “Why do Atheists Hate America?” billboard get national attention? Don’t get me wrong, we’re glad the billboard got national attention because that allowed more closeted atheists to hear about us and know that they are not alone, but the reality is that it should have never received any more press attention than a billboard across the street that said, “God Is Real.”

And thanks to our billboard, the companies that own the signs around the Lincoln Tunnel have made a lot of money in this down economy. The Catholic League felt compelled to respond and they spent a lot of money on a billboard and now a Christian church that replaced our billboard (so desperate they had to get it up the day after ours came down) made Lamar a lot of money.

More power to the Catholic League and the Christian church for exercising their First Amendment Rights! The best test for Freedom of Speech is allowing the speech that you detest the most to be said: a lesson the Catholic League could learn.

The best part about the new CNN Religion Blog is the way it ends: “We sent the Catholic League a thank-you letter.” It was, as one of our Facebook friends noted, the exclamation point to the blog entry.