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Atheists flying ad campaign meets strong resistance
June 30th, 2011
06:41 PM ET

Atheists flying ad campaign meets strong resistance

By Katie Glaeser, CNN

(CNN)–It's a battle of belief - and the right not to believe - in a country founded on freedom.

"I'm a patriotic American. I served my country. I get out there and celebrate the Fourth, too," Blair Scott, who calls himself a proud atheist, proclaimed.

"This America belongs to everyone."

Blair, the communications director for the New Jersey-based American Atheists, said atheists in the United States often feel alienated and face accusations of being anti-American because of their lack of belief in God.

To combat those notions, his group is using Independence Day to say atheists love their country, too.

But the way they're spreading their message might have Americans looking to the sky this Fourth of July and finding something besides fireworks to stir emotion.

Planes with banners that read "God-LESS America" or "Atheism is Patriotic" will be flying over 27 states on Monday. While people might be leery to see the messages overhead, the $23,000 campaign has had a struggle with those who are supposed to bring it to life.

Justin Jaye of Fly Signs Aerial Advertising, who is orchestrating the flights for American Atheists, said out of the 85 people in the country who fly these sign-pulling planes only about 17 have agreed to fly the messages.

"I've been in this business for 20 years and I've never run into so much resistance on people flying," Jaye said. "I've had pilots who are actual atheists who said, 'Justin, I am an atheist and I won't fly it because I can't wear a bulletproof vest.'"

Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, says the reaction to the organization's campaign before it takes off shows how much work the group still needs to do. "This is a clear reminder of why we need to keep fighting because the bigotry against us is so thick that a lot of the pilots are afraid to fly our banners," he said.

Jaye said while some feared for their lives, others feared for their marriages. He had one pilot say his wife would divorce him if he made the flight.

Red Calvert, a pilot and president of Pro-Air Enterprises in Indianapolis, said his reasons to decline the flight were based on his personal beliefs.

"I respect our country and I respect our churches and we've got enough problems in our country without stirring up some more," he said. "If those people want to do something they believe in, fine, just don't include me."

The American Atheists hope to draw attention and spur public discussion through their campaign on Monday.

"It's going to remind people that atheism is at that ballgame and at that beach and at that parade. We are patriotic people," Silverman said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • New Jersey • Religious liberty • United States

soundoff (2,835 Responses)
  1. Enesha Fairluck

    I think the point of the story is more sad than anything. Some pilots fear for their lives and refuse to fly a perfectly non-offensive banner. We are told to suck it up. I suspect, however, if the tables were turned and these same pilots refused to carry a religious message, there would be an almighty uproar. Televangelists would use it as another "fact" showing the end times are nigh. Watch the 700 Club, and they would tut-tut and use their bully pulpit to tell you how these people need saved. Pray for the Godless Heathens, and while your at it get your checkbook out and call us....Fighting the devil is expensive.

    July 4, 2011 at 2:25 am |
  2. SB

    As ridiculous as I think religion is there is one solitary phrase given to us by Christianity that is undeniably true and that I am proud to state as many times as is necessary.

    I DENY THE HOLY SPIRIT.

    It's axiomatic, I know, but still worth saying and repeating. Ironically there is some wisdom in religion after all, but only in the opportunity to deny its truth.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Can you deny something that you do not believe exist?

      I think that phrase can only be used by one who is of Faith.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • Enesha Fairluck

      @Mark: Yes that does seem like a statement only a believer can make, at first glance. However he used the word axiomatic, so I think he understood that;) But in reality I think it's a proper statement that just sounds weird. You can talk about the Holy Spirit as a concept. Saying I deny the holy spirit is actually no more axiomatic than saying I deny your god. Either way the words are used to discuss a concept that religious people may believe in, but which I, and whatever others, do not believe in.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:14 am |
    • SB

      I don't think that's true, Mark. The Bible says..

      "Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin." Mark 3:29

      As I understand it even an atheist like me can still go to heaven if I were to eventually accept Jesus and ask for forgiveness. But denying the holy spirit preempts that. Hence the blasphemy challenge.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Enesha. – To use say that he denies something that is widely held as true, a in the Holy Spirit, God, the such, is to say that in part he has stated that it would have to exist.

      SB. Roll with John 5:24

      See, this is why debates with other Christian types is boring. It becomes a back and forth banter. One gives one verse and the other gives another. Your Mark verse just says you will not be forgiven, mine says you will have everlasting life and “but is passed from death unto life”.

      If you wish to hold on to your Mark, I will hold on to my John and in the end we can just hope for the Father in Heavens mercy. 🙂

      July 4, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  3. Ron

    Atheism is as much a "Religeon or Cult" as any other form of forcing others to serve under your faith. Man's means of controlling other men.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:35 am |
    • neville.O

      Slow down the train here. What atheist is attempting to control people now. The story is about a group of people who feel they are misunderstood and lack the ability to get a fair shake in the public marketplace of ideas. They just want to get the word out that they are patriots and love their country, but are facing discrimination because they don't share the idea of faith. All the other discussion here seems to be efforts to convert.
      I'd love to see the banner flying, not because I'm an atheist but because I'm an American and free speech is one of the greatest liberties we share and can celebrate together.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • SB

      If atheism is a religion or cult designed to control people, then where are the rules? Where are the edicts? Where is the attempt at existentialism and to explain why we're here? It's ridiculous in the extreme to ague that atheism is anything like a religion or a cult. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in god(s), and that's it! That's all atheism is. AtheISTS, on the other hand, have many different approaches toward life from Buddhism to humanism secularism.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      The first time it was reported that a Atheist contacted the ACLU because some kinder-gardener wanted to give out Christmas cards, or that a city had a nativity scene.... Atheist moved swiftly into the desire to control folks. Read some of the post. The pilots said they did not want to fly and you have folks saying that the Atheist right to fly the signs override the pilots right to not fly.

      Atheism crossed into being a religion long ago and the means to control others even longer ago.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:57 am |
    • SB

      Mark, you're make the same mistake stereotyping atheists (hence atheism) as I've seen my fellow atheists do to Christianity, and as Christians do to Muslims. It would be helpful if you would please stop being part of the problem. Thank you.

      In any case, listen to what you're saying. You're saying atheism is this damnable thing because it's exactly like religion. Which makes religion an equally damnable thing, including your Catholic church. How do you plead?

      July 4, 2011 at 2:08 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Mark From Middle River

      I'm a pilot. Pilots always get to make the decision to fly or not – period! A pilot's decision to fly, or not, has nothing to do with anyone's right to hire a pilot and aircraft to display any message they like (subject to applicable hate laws).

      July 4, 2011 at 2:12 am |
    • Enesha Fairluck

      @Mark: How / When did Atheism become a religion in your mind? A religion has a shared set of beliefs. Other than a NON belief in a god / higher power, what other shared beliefs are there? Where are the weekly meetings that everyone gets dressed up for? An Atheist asks that government money and time not be devoted to a totally religious observance, and that's a crime to you. Pilots are scared to fly a patriotic banner because of fear of reaction, but any reaction to a religious observance on government time and government money is the godless heathens taking pot shots at your religion? Why can't the religious crowd keep THEIR beliefs quiet, as they seem to expect all others to do?

      July 4, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • Ron

      Reality is that Christianity is another hijacked belief system, no more provable than Atheism in this reality. Your choice is to live and let live or to Crusade for the eradication of one another... I choose not to choose, I truly have faith in many "Spiritual" gifts and use them daily with grand amazement at the power gifted to man (many written about in Religious Texts) My place isn't to point out that Jesus was Jewish and the Bible was penned by men. There are many truths to be learned from old "Wisdom and Alchemy"but "Truth" is your own whether you find it within or seek it without (personal confusion is a good place to start). If you truly believe you're here without purpose and choose not to find your own truth, you're blocking the vistas of other eyes (maybe that is Your purpose) I'll leave you with a paraphrased Jesus quote, "These things I can do, you too, are able to do and so much more. Blessings

      July 4, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • Scott

      So by your definition, Communism, Nazism, Republicanism, KKKisum, and HighSchoolisum are all religions?

      July 4, 2011 at 4:47 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>> Enesha. – “Other than a NON belief in a god / higher power,”

      Enesha, most would just take that relationship and their argument would stand. I do like where you say “to you”. Do you know my religious politics? The basis that Atheism is evolving into a religion is becoming clearer every day. That there is a break down between moderate Atheist and Atheist that share emotions and statements with the best of the Taliban and the 700 Club crowd.

      The cause, the principle, and the arduous philosophy of Atheist vs the world would find itself at home with most of the worlds Faiths.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  4. texboyd3

    I find it very interesting that in the article it states that people "feared for their lives" and did not fly these banners. They feared for their lives from retaliation from "christians". These are the people who supposedly follow christ and his teachings, who was by biblical accounts a pacifist and would never have advocated such things. Sounds eerily similar to the muslims when there were cartoons showing muhammad and there were death threats.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      Yeah, well you see, this is where the article is blowing something way out of proportion. They probably got a few nasty letters and got scared. I can assure you that no true Christian would harm anyone. (don't bring up the guy who killed the abortionist because that guy was a murderer and not a true Christian)

      July 4, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Well, he was a Christian. Just that he did not follow that "cast the first stone" part that Jesus said.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • felix the bat

      Its all about MONEY,and the guys @the top r siphoning it off so thy can make a better living,nobody believes that lie wen their on their own DeathBed

      July 4, 2011 at 1:18 am |
    • Spiffy

      @Joe but what about the people who claim that God told them to do horrible things? Can you disprove that? See as long as you have crazy beliefs crazy people will do horrible things and justify it using their religion.

      @felix Do you have any proof or statistics of such things happening? Charles Darwin for one did not recant his atheism at his death.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:25 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >> "See as long as you have crazy beliefs crazy people will do horrible things and justify it using their religion."

      The key is "crazy people". I can point to many Faithful that do good each day and justify their good actions due to their faith.

      "crazy folks are just that crazy...if they do something negative in the name of Religion do we automatically invalidate those who do good in the name of their faith?

      July 4, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Joe Blow From Idaho

      Re: "I can assure you that no true Christian would harm anyone." So, anyone that appeared to be a fine upstanding christian one day and then harms someone, or someone in prison for harming someone else and who magically finds jesus, are not true christians? Very interesting. Does your position of "true christian arbiter" give you the power to declare your buddy Phelps and his christian colleagues "not true christians"?

      July 4, 2011 at 1:56 am |
    • Enesha Fairluck

      @JoeBlow: That just couldn't be less true. I dare say that the amount of blood spilt in the name of Christendom would amaze the hardest of followers. Have you forgotten entirely about the several Crusades? What about the Spanish Inquisition? The Salem Witch Trials? All these things were sanctioned by the religious authorities, some (most?) of them going all the way back to the Holy See and Rome. I submit that Christendom as a whole is rather blood thirsty. Believe or Die!

      Re: No real christian would hurt anyone.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • Auntie Mabel

      Spiffy, I understood Charles Darwin to have been a Christian and a naturalist. And that he was said to be very bewildered at how so many people reacted so negatively about his book.
      He was just talking about some observations he saw in the variations of species in a scientific way. Birds with different beaks, or was that someone else? Anyway, he was a Christian as far as I've read. But maybe the Smithsonian got it wrong. They had an article on Darwin and his book and how his research uncovered some mutations. It was not a book against religion. It was a book on his research.
      Just wanted to put that out there. Thanks.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:21 am |
    • Jeff Williams

      """I can assure you that no true Christian would harm anyone."""

      And a Muslim would assure you that no true Muslim would harm anyone.

      And yet......

      Do you see my point?

      It doesn't really matter what you think a true Christian (or Muslim) is if the underlying motivation behind the violence is Christian or Islamic mythology.

      July 4, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  5. brad

    I'm not terribly orthodox in my religious veiws, and nobody but me would be interested in them. But this blog is a good place for an insomniac to spend his night.
    Science is truly wonderful. Because we have the proper intrumentation, we can detect events light years out in space. Because of other instruments, we can detect the smallest microbes. Science gathers data, puzzles over it, discusses it. It's called scientific method. Similarly, the atheist detects no divine being and therefore rejects the idea of the supernatural. I suspect that if the atheist had another insstrument he could detect God. This instrument is called a soul. The atheist denies having a soul, and I agree with him. But some people do possess this instrument – the soul – and do in fact detect God. The soul gathers information, organizes it, puzzles over it, discusses it. This is called "theology". Nature is great at producing bodies, but apparently a soul is harder to come by. I concede to the atheist that he has no soul. He lives until he dies and that's it. I think it's harder to live as an atheist. They admit that any meaning is purely relative – not Ultimate. In absolute terms, then, a person is as irrelevant alive as he is dead. BUt those of us who do have souls too often neglect, abuse, or destroy the instrument by which we learn about God. In my next life, I want to be a glass of beer.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      What you say is not biblical. The bible is quite clear that the only way to heaven is through Jesus and that nonbelievers will burn in hel.l where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth for eternity

      July 4, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • Spiffy

      Sounds like a great religion.

      Also what is with Christians saying that people of have free will to chose God. According to them it is either believe in God or face eternal suffering. Doesn't sound like much of a choice.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • SB

      There is no objective definition for the soul. You might find some people who agree with your definition, but many will not, and there's no way to test which concept correct. And that's the problem with religion. Gods, the soul, the holy spirit, chakra, chi, etc.. are all plastic, moldable, concepts. They're popular because they conform, not because they're true. And they conform so well that to a great many people spiritual concepts are inseparable from reality. They just simply cannot distinguish between what's real and what isn't. So what is the true difference between an atheist and a theist? It isn't the possession of a soul. It's that an atheist separates fact from fiction fully where as the theist does not.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Spiffy- If you do not believe in God and his judgment then you should be safe in your mind to not believe there is a “lake of Fire.”

      July 4, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Spiffy

      I do not believe in hell. I am just trying to better understand Christian dogma from perhaps a normal non-theologian Christian.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      SB – What you are speaking of is interpretation of the scripture or the text. Words like conformed to you has always been interpretation to us. The wold thing is that in the end, for Christians, its the Faith that Jesus was brought here to forgive us of our sins but in the basics of all of the understanding is a Faith that there is a God. . If you are Muslim, Jewish, Sikh … it all still comes down to that.

      Think of it as asking someone how to get from Richmond to New York City. Ask folks and you might find multiple highways and small country roads... but they all still get you to the Big Apple. We consider it real but everyone is often stuck that their way is the only way. Doesn't mean that NYC is not there and the same that it does not mean that God is not as well.

      Lastly between Atheist and Agnostics ...doesn't sound like those not of Faith are not set on a single belief as well.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      What do you want to discuss. Just as society is made up of individual paths and views I am not sure what we can give you, but I am open to discuss. 🙂

      July 4, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • Auntie Mabel

      Dear Mark, are you open to arguments or did you just want to answer questions?
      And would you answer the hard questions that no other Christian seems able to answer?

      July 4, 2011 at 4:29 am |
    • Ted M.

      -Mark from Middle River-
      I'm glad to see you are open to discussion. What would you like to talk about?

      July 4, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  6. Chris

    I'm rather shocked by the people here that say "religion is good because it provides morals" or "if you're atheist where does your sense of morals come from?"

    If you help out another person, it should be because you know they need it, or because you know it's the right thing to do - NOT because you believe you'll be punished by a higher power if you don't.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      Chris, I don't think you are getting it. The question is about standards, not about punishments. Those who do not look to God use arbitrary man-made standards that are changeable and fleeting. But standards based on God are eternal and give life. That is the essential difference. One standard is objective and eternal while the other is relative and subject to the whims of man.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • doughnuts

      Joe, that's just plain silly. Society's values and mores are constantly changing, even those supposedly based on "God's word."

      July 4, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Joe Blow In Idaho

      Joe, if your standards/values/rules are so great, and religion is such a strong motivational force, why do so many believers get abortions?

      July 4, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • Chris

      I'm not seeing how having morals that change and aren't set in stone is a bad thing. Being gay is wrong because God says so? Then I guess it's totally fine for me to go out and buy a couple of slaves because, hey, what do you know, the Bible says there's nothing wrong with it. Just because it "worked" back when the Bible was written does not mean it works perfectly in modern day.

      Yes it's true that many atheists have different takes on what is/isn't moral, but people interpret the Bible a large number of ways so I fail to see how that's any different.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @HotAirAce

      I will take you at your word that what you say is true even though you have produced no study from a disinterested third party to support it. That is all the more reason to outlaw abortion. Look, Christians are sinful people just like everyone else. And especially young Christians who would be the ones most likely to get an abortion. The difference is that the Christian fights against sin rather than embracing sin like, for example, the so.domites who embrace sin and want our Christian society to accept the unacceptable.

      This is why we need an amendment establishing the United States as a Christian nation once and for all. As part of this amendment we can outlaw abortion once and for all.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Joe Blow In Idaho

      If your all powerful sky daddy can't stop his cult members from having abortions, why do you think a change in the law will make a difference?

      July 4, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @HotAirAce
      I take offense at your continuing referring to my God as a "sky daddy" and that Christianity as a cult. You know as well as I do that cult is a pejorative word.

      As far as the law goes, if it is outlawed as part of a const.itutional amendment then states could take any action against it as needed, including trying everyone involved for capital murder. Then they would face God and pay for their sins.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • LinCA

      @Joe Blow from Idaho

      From Dictionary.com:
      cult –noun
      1. a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
      2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
      3. the object of such devotion.

      Seems to fit. Cult it is.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:25 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Joe Blow From Idaho

      I really (REALLY!) don't care if you take offense 'cause you see from *my* perspective all of religion is offensive, so how about you quit believeing and I'll quit referring to your manmade imaginary friend (who seems to have you way too concerned about what consenting adults do...) as your sky daddy.

      That being said, you didn't answer my question about *why* you think a change in the abortion law will control your fellow cultists any better than your sky daddy does today. Lots of blah blah blah about your fellow believers being sinners, but nothing about *why* a law would have more effect on the behaviour of believers than a moral absolute in your book of tribal mythology. Are believers really more afraid of the law than they are of their imaginary friend?

      Here's a few facts about abortion for you:

      •Nearly half of all pregnancies to American women are unintended; four in 10 of these end in abortion.

      •About half of American women have experienced an unintended pregnancy, and at current rates about one-third will have had an abortion by age 45.

      •Overall unintended pregnancy rates have been stable over the past decade, yet unintended pregnancy increased by 29% among poor women while decreasing 20% among higher-income women.

      •Some 1.21 million abortions were performed in 2008, down from 1.31 million abortions in 2000.

      •Nine in 10 abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

      •A broad cross section of U.S. women have abortions:
      ◦58% of women having abortions are in their 20s;
      ◦61% have one or more children;
      ◦56% are unmarried and are not cohabiting;
      ◦69% are economically disadvantaged;
      ◦72% report a religious affiliation.

      Re: young christians having abortions, *why*, given their superior upbringing, do they ignore their parents and their god, misbehave and resort to abortion?

      If believers REALLY believed, wouldn't the number of abortions for believers be much much closer to zero? And you're going to achieve this with a change in the law?

      July 4, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • beelzebubba

      It's good to remember that while many cult leaders claim morals come from religion, the rules that the ten commandments copied existed long before they were 'miraculously revealed.' A religious leader who sweeps that fact under the rug is either telling porkies (and violating the rules he claims to promote) or is ignorant... but I wouldn't recommend questioning such a leader... cults don't permit questioning their authorities.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • Scott Hicks

      Chris, the problem with what you are saying is this: if there is no moral Law-Giver, then what we consider good & bad is all relative, based on how we feel at certain points in our life. In fact, if there is no God, then what stops me from taking power, changing the laws regarding murder, and kill anyone who threatens me? After all, I am the most powerful human at that point, and if there is no God, then I make the rules.
      Having a fear of a higher authority greater then us is a superb way of keeping civilizations in line. Without it, there would be chaos, and an endless game of "king of the mountain"

      July 4, 2011 at 2:26 am |
    • Auntie Mabel

      Dear Scott Hicks, that's why we have laws. No religion needed, thank you.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:34 am |
  7. Shada

    As a Christian I just don't care. I don't care about banners, billboards, or advertisements that promote Atheism. Nothing I read on a sign is going to make me change my beliefs. Under free speech Atheists have a right to say whatever they want. In the same vein, I do not want anymore flap about graduation speeches, or saying Merry Christmas. It is perfectly fair for you all to have your free speech rights, just not at the expense of mine.

    I'm sure there will be some justification about why it's okay for you to say what you want but not me...smh.

    July 3, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      Nothing you read on a billboard will make you change your mind, but what about the children? Children are very impressionable. And there are a number of elements in society today, radical atheists among them, that want to corrupt our children and destroy our families.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:07 am |
    • Chris

      And that's all we're asking for. We don't need others to change their beliefs, just for them to let us have ours (or more accurately, our lack of one) without being treated differently because of it.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • Dave

      Couldn't have said it better myself!

      July 4, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • doughnuts

      Yes, Joe. Children are impressionable, so stop lying to them about this God and Jesus silliness. It can damage them for life.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Believers are very fortunate that children are impressionable else religion would die out faster than it already is. The facts are that people believe what they believe based almost entirely on where they are born and almost no one converts to another religion. There is nothing magic about any particular religion that causes it to grow or shrink – the number of adherents is largely driven by geography and birth rates, with an increase in atheism (agnosticism if you prefer) as we throw off the shackles of centuries of religious influence.

      As David J correctly says, most children are born as atheists and are indoctrinated into their parent's cult at a very early age, and to such a degree that it is almost impossible for them to be de-programmed.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      With the Mormon and Muslim's growing by leaps and bounds. Add to that the evangelicals.

      Maybe the Catholic church might be in decline but we are growing more and more.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • HotAirAce

      A place to start looking at growth/decline of religions and non-believers:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claims_to_be_the_fastest-growing_religion

      My summary is that Wicca is the fastest growing by percentage, most believer cults are growing because of birth rates with the LDS growing faster than most and the "Nones" are making huge gains in several countries including the USA.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”growing because of birth rates with the LDS growing faster”

      And I said: “With the Mormon and Muslim's growing by leaps and bounds. ”

      Well, it looks like yall' Atheist need to get ..busy 🙂

      Or all hope of seeing women's legs will be gone...lol

      July 4, 2011 at 1:50 am |
    • HotAirAce

      As the article says, getting reliable numbers about religion is hard...

      Islam appears to be the fastest growth mainstream relgion worldwide, driven by birth rates.
      In the USA, LDS is the fastest growing religion, but the "Nones" may be the fastest growing group ('cause not believing is NOT a religion!).

      I'm not overly concernd about LDS and legs, based admittedly on limited interactions with LDS folks. I've been to 3 LDS weddings (at LDS facilities conducted by LDS leaders) and in all 3 cases the people getting married lived together before getting married and LDS elders asked the non-believers where the real party (with alcohol) was going to be ('casue they wanted to attend). But I'm sure someone in here will declare that these were not really LDS... Or that they're a cult and not really christians...

      July 4, 2011 at 2:08 am |
  8. The Globalizer

    I'm an atheist and these ads are really, really not necessary. I'd like there to be more civility in the religious discourse but you don't get to that by waving your own beliefs in peoples' faces.

    July 3, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      Well said! Wow, tonight there actually are some very reasonable atheists on the boards.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Joe Blow From Idaho

      Hey Joe, any chance he was referring to you (too) when he was talking about waving beliefs...

      July 3, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • brad

      I agree about the civility part. I've been as bad as anyone about lapsing into non-civility. But I'm starting to think that humanity has evolved into a freak. Other species struggle against each other to survive. We humans struggle against each other over completely abstract concepts. How did that happen?

      July 3, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • doughnuts

      I've always said, "Treat your religion like your penis: Don't wave it around in public, and don't shove it down children's throats."

      July 4, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Scott

      Nice Idea; but, most of the dedicated religious types take civility in an opponent as a sign of weakness and just encourages more virulent attacks.

      July 4, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  9. Joe Blow from Idaho

    It's clear to me that the atheists on this board and the ones flying the banners are not mere atheists. They have an ax to grind with religion, and in particular, Christianity. Just look at people here bringing up the crusades or the Spanish Inquisition as if it affected them personally. To me this says that these atheists were rejected either by a religion or by its teachings and are doing all they can to lash out.

    But the Good News is that God loves you even in your disbelief. Renounce sin and walk back into His waiting arms.

    July 3, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • SB

      Wishful thinking, Joe Blow.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @SB

      It may be wishful thinking, but I just want to let everyone know that there is an out, that they don't have to suffer the consequences of their sin.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • Nodack

      People were rejected by a religion and so they have an axe to grind? Really? I don't think there is such a thing as a religion rejecting somebody. I'm agnostic and I am a little bummed that so many people believe in man made cults. To each his own I guess. I'm just as American as any one of you so practice whatever religion you happen to feel like practicing There are hundreds to choose from. I hear there is a blue light special happening at KMart on Bhudist statues.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Nacho1

      It is true that we have religious freedom in this country...........but it is NOT based on the right to NOT believe...........the reason this country was settled was for religious freedom as with other reasons but keep in mind it was based on the freedom of YOUR religion and not on atheism. The pilgrims came here so they could worship GOD more openly without criticism and this country was also based and created on the belief of GOD..............even our currency states "In God We Trust"..............it is NOT based on "In God We Do Not Believe"............atheists have a tendency to TWIST the reason WHY this country was settled and refuse to acknowledge the TRUE reason. This is another reason until recent years thanks to Madelyn O'Hara we DID pledge allegiance to the flag and said the Lord's Prayer before every school day. Atheism and Muslim and Islamic beliefs are another reason this country is now floundering. The country was created on the premise of Christianity and we Christians will ALWAYS outnumber the atheists and non-Christians.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @Nodack

      Yes, they can be thrown from their church or denied communion or what not. But the biggest rejection is the self-rejection when their conscience convicts them, and they know they can no longer be a part of the faith and continue to live a life of sin.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • DoodleSheep

      Go joe blow yourself.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @DoodleSheep

      Wow, that was really an insightful comment. Did you think that up all by yourself or did you have help?

      July 3, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • Paco the Avenger

      @Nacho1, I swear you religious people must've failed history. The US was NOT founded as a christian nation. "Atheism and Muslim and Islamic" are NOT the reason the nation is floundering. It's ALL religions that cause this nation contribute to the downfall of nations. Christianity, Islam, Judaism; all are based on modifications of Greek and Roman mythology. Accept the truth and your life will improve.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @Paco the Avenger wrote "Christianity, Islam, Judaism; all are based on modifications of Greek and Roman mythology. Accept the truth and your life will improve."

      Right and we believe in a magic man in the sky, etc., etc. We've heard it all before from you.

      My response to you is: Accept the Truth and you will live.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @Paco

      When I said "from you" I meant from you atheists, not you personally.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • doughnuts

      The good news is that God doesn't exist. Renounce your delusion, and live like a rational human.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @doughnuts

      Just remember those words when you are burning in the lake of fire.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • doughnuts

      "The only real sine lies in hurting other people unnecessarily. Hurting yourself isn't sinful, it's just stupid."

      –Robert Anson Heinlein

      July 4, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • LinCA

      @Joe Blow from Idaho

      You said "Just remember those words when you are burning in the lake of fire."

      If there is a god and he is just, I will go to heaven (you, I'm not so sure of). If on the other hand, your god is in charge, I will gladly flip him the bird and take an eternity in hell over having to spend a day in heaven with that monster and his followers.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:28 am |
    • Scott

      Hey Joe: Just wanted to let you know I found my way out and so no longer have to suffer the consequences of religion

      July 4, 2011 at 7:51 am |
  10. Chris

    This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. The Separation of Church and State was meant to protect religion from government, not government from religion. The only protection the government has from religion is no Theocracy or endorsement of religion but everything else goes. So quit telling us what we can and can't say in politics because we are Christians and we know our rights.

    July 3, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • SB

      This nation was founded on shared values of all faiths and peoples. Thomas Jefferson disagrees with you on what separation of church and state means. Though he never used that term he was quite clear that America was founded as a secular nation. He elucidated on this in his autobiography while describing the failed efforts of Christian groups to insert the words "Jesus Christ" into legislation.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Nacho1

      Well said Chris..............onward Christian soldiers..........that will always be our theme.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • texboyd3

      People really need to read correct history books not just those advocated by Fox news. Nearly all of our founding fathers were Diests and wanted to protect the government from religious intrusion and influence as much as protect religious freedom if not more so. Thomas Jefferson had a bible where he cut out all instances of the word god. Benjamin Franklin was a a great statesman but a "godly" man he was not. and the list goes on and on. Religious people have been listening too much to Michelle Bachmann and her revisionist history. Most people today are too uninformed to realize that so many of the things like "in god we trust" on the currency and "under god" were put in place this century as we have have become more and more zealous as a nation. The idea that one has to be a christian to be a "real" American is ludicrous.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • Auntie Mabel

      This country was born as a place where no church would be king over us. The First Amendment reflects that.
      That's why religion has no place in how we run this country. You want your religion to be king, but then you violate the rights of those with different religions. We don't work like that here. If you think you need a theocracy to fix everything, I suggest you go start your own somewhere else.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:42 am |
  11. jgnewman

    The last thing we as a nation needs is something more to divide us. Our country was founded on freedom to worship as we please. I don't think that was ever intended to divide, but to unify us in common ground.

    July 3, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • doughnuts

      Our nation was founded in response to an overbearing English government. The Plymouth colony was founded because the Puritans weren't allowed to force other Englishmen to worship the way they did. They formed their colony to practice their repressive faith, and to try and force it on the Native Americans.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • Auntie Mabel

      doughnuts, that was that colony and not our nation. Our nation declared it's independence in 1776 and finished the Const-tution some years after that. That is why we are celebrating today. We are independent of a religious king who did nothing but oppress us with his tyranny. That tyranny was because of the monarchy being controlled by the Church of England and because we had no representation in the English Parliament. We had no one to represent us. All the colonies were treated very badly. We are now free of Parliament and the Church of England.
      Or would you rather go back to living under the thumb of one politico-religious organization? The English monarchy doesn't do much anymore. The Church of England is fast losing their oppressive ways as they lose their grip on the British.
      The USA is independent of church-kings now and I mean to see that it stays that way.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:51 am |
    • Auntie Mabel

      Sorry, doughnuts, I wasn't reading your post very clearly.

      July 4, 2011 at 6:19 am |
  12. Amber

    I am atheist and live in the bible belt. I choose not to share my beliefs or non-beliefs with those I am not close to and I prefer others don't share theirs with me. One of the beauties of this country is that we have the right to freedom of speech, but sometimes I think the freedom of silence should be exercised. I don't share my beliefs with strangers because they are mine and I don't need anyone arguing them and respect the beliefs of others, therefore have no intention to change anyone's mind about his/her spirituality. I don't need an add campaign to justify my love for my country and I don't need to justify my reason for not believing in God.

    July 3, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • jim

      what religion do you think President Obama is?

      July 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Tony

      Well said, Amber, well said. I feel and believe EXACTLY the way you do. Who am I to spread that? To each their own is what I say. Just be kind to one another and I think you will be checked off as a good person with any religion when you pass.

      July 3, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      While I am a Christian, I respect you for what you have written.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • Nacho1

      Amber...........you have your rights......however just read this with an open mind.............when you wake in the morning look at EVERY different type of grass...every blade of grass......every tree that is different........every insect that is different........we humans drive cars....wear clothing..........COOK our own food..........we fly airplanes..........we ski...........we go to the moon and beyond.......we build castles and tall buildings.........look at every animal on earth that is precious to us including your own pets......they do NOT have the capabilities we have..........they do NOT have the thought processes we have............they were not meant to..........not meant to drive cars....wear clothing....cook food.....build buildings and roads......we are kind of special and this world and universe as it is was VERY strictly and CAREFULLY created by a force or power greater than us............GOD may not look as we believe he looks but HE does exist.........the earth and the mannerisms and everything around us is too well thought out..........it was PLANNED......it did not just happen but yet nobody will know the truth till you leave this life.......because......NOBODY.....NO scientist.....NO individual can explain how the Big Bang happened in a huge void that cannot be determined as to what or who created this huge void......exactly WHEN was the beginning.........science will NEVER know..............GOD may just be a disciplined and powerful energy capable of CREATION but that means also HE does exist in whatever form. I am a Christian.....I don't WANT to die yet because I have much to do BUT I am NOT afraid to die. When you truly believe..........you are unafraid.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • Void

      I'm an Atheist as well, but I find these to be necessary tests to gauge hostility toward the atheist community. So far we can confidently observe that we haven't gained much more acceptance since the days when we infidels would be burned at the stake. Sure, we're allowed to live and breathe among the faithful, but if we even dare make mention of our lack of belief and why we think the way we do we are met with scorn and alienation. We're met with much worse when we can confidently and effectively back our arguments for atheism.

      Confrontation scares these people; the theist community is easily startled and react to fear and confusion with anger and suppression. Even on these comment boards, when an atheist decides to offer his or her views the most common reply is something to the effect of "If you don't believe you don't belong here". They don't want us to speak out, they want us silent so that they can live in the fantasy world in which everyone follows the same religion as they do. And that's not only morally wrong, it's statistically wrong as well. I say enough, break our silence. Closet atheists need to know there is a growing community that is here for them, and they can stand up and tell the world that they don't believe in fairy tales. We don't need to live in a world where dissent is silenced. We don't need to and I, for one, refuse to. I do not believe in god. I will not "shut up" while the void is filled with preaching and prayer.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • Lindsey

      @Nacho1
      You said "it did not just happen but yet nobody will know the truth till you leave this life.......because......NOBODY.....NO scientist.....NO individual can explain how the Big Bang happened in a huge void that cannot be determined as to what or who created this huge void......exactly WHEN was the beginning.........science will NEVER know.............."

      All your trying to do is prove that the Big Bang Theory could be wrong. That is true. It COULD be wrong. But remember: God COULD not be real. Heaven MIGHT not exist. Stop trying to make all of the other religions look like what they believe is a stab in the dark, when yours is the same thing. All your religion is is assuming that there is a God. There is NO factual proof. You were right however in saying that no one will ever know until they die. So you should stop shoving your beliefs down people's throat because maybe, JUST MAYBE you could be wrong too.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • Scott

      Amen

      July 4, 2011 at 7:56 am |
  13. john

    pretty ironic, an atheist has the right to free speech and feedom of non-belief because this country was founded with the acknowledgement that God is the Creator and the giver of the gifts,
    an atheist would not exist in another country for there is no freedom to choose what you believe in or not, in another country the citizens is told what, how, who, when, where of every aspect of life

    Quit infringing upon the rights of others to express their rights also

    July 3, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • doughnuts

      Everything you said is wrong.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • Scott

      Christians certainly didn't make the consti-tution. If they did, they violated the 10 commandments because they allow people to worship other gods, build craven idols and in fact take the lords name in vain. It also allows people to commit adultery, to covet neighbors goods and not keep holy the day of the sabbath. So, Christians created the consti-tuiton in direct violation of what they have been told to do. Yeah, that's believable. Our country was founded on "Christian Values"?... What values? Oh, you must mean slavery, and the genocidal ethnic cleansing of over 5 million Native Americans? This includes those tribes, that in a "loving Christian gesture of Jesus love and compassion", were given wool blankets intentionally infected with smallpox which wiped out entire villages. I call bs on those Christians that claim any sort of moral or historic "high ground"

      July 4, 2011 at 8:01 am |
  14. jim

    this is the best comment board ever! Now, lets all sing kumbaya and have some hot dogs and enjoy the fireworks.

    July 3, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • Nacho1

      Jim..................I will bring the hot dogs........you bring the COLD beer!

      July 3, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
  15. CAPTAINACARS

    I am an Atheist and I dont like this campaign. One of the things I cant stand about religous people is how they talk about it and throw it in the worlds face. Now we are being hipocrits, just like the religous nuts of the world. Dont try to sell me on your religion and I wont try to sell you on my lack of religion. This banner towing campaign is stupid and it wont work. Religous people have made up their mind and I have made up mine and none of us are changing it any time soon.

    July 3, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  16. JeramieH

    I'm a atheist, and there's no need for this. We don't want religious folks pushing their beliefs on us, so we shouldn't be pushing our beliefs on them. This will only stir resentment.

    July 3, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • RPR

      Based on what I've seen... We already have a whole lot of resentment just because we don't believe.

      I look at this campaign like an information dissemination campaign to let closet atheists know that they are not alone and that there is support out there. Also to let politicians know we are not a silent segment (second only to Catholics in size).

      July 4, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  17. bob

    Michael:

    Yes, the religious folk should tremble in fear of this ad campaign. It's persecution, is what it is. The atheists are taking over! Oh nooooo! Why is it that it's the religious people who are so afraid of everything? Atheists, pagans, and bears, oh my! And taxes. I forgot taxes.

    July 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • doughnuts

      It's because the religious folks know that they are 99.9% atheist themselves. Look at any book on mythology, and you'll see hundreds of "gods" that nobody believes in, anymore.
      They see that and know deep down that it is only a matter of time before their deity joins the ranks of the unbelieved-in.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • RPR

      Dog nuts...
      Agreed, People who believe do so because it makes them comfortable. If something does not fit... stoning their mother or brother, killing their daughter for indiscretions... they overlook it or rationalize it or rewrite/reinterpret their bible, so that they don't have to deal with the unsavory parts. Just proves the human origins to religions.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  18. Michael

    He's right. This country belongs to everyone. However, ad campaigns calling for a God-Free America doesn't exactly send the message about 'everyone," does it?

    July 3, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • RPR

      Interesting... I did not see it as a call for a godless America, but a call for less god in America.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:06 am |
  19. Humor in every corner

    Oooooooooooh, john threatens me with death this week and thinks everyone else is angry! john is magic, God is his hitman.

    My ghost will post again in one week to tell john, who is not angry, all about how God killed me because john, who is not angry wanted him to.

    Delicious! Another great laugh from john!

    July 3, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • John

      Wrong john. I just checked in to see whats going on and saw your post. Lots of people named john in the world. And if you are referring to my post about seeing god this week is wasnt a threat about death. Sorry if thats how you interpreted it, i meant something amazing and good is going to happen. But i can see you are still the same angry person you were yesterday.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • Humor in every corner

      Oh goody! God is going to reveal himself to me alone, just because John (who said I was talking to the wrong John when I was talking to him about the post he wrote post) said so!

      Remember you said that "I can prove God exists. For you only. This week you will find out why. And when it happens you will know." That's a tall order! Does God always obey your commands? The proof that has been awaited for millenia is going to finally come, and it's just for me, and you know about it. That's really spiffy!

      Would you like to share with the others here how that proof is going to come, and how you know about it, and why it will only happen to me? Do share – these good people deserve to know!

      Angry: the perennial Christian lie about atheists. I apparently spend a lot of time laughing when I am angry!

      July 3, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Nacho1

      Humor..............you were probably talking to your "John" in your bathroom...........do you normally talk to inanimate objects? Do they answer you? I am a psychologist whom is writing a book on unusual behavior and I would like your permission to have a meeting and talk with you...........

      July 3, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • Humor in every corner

      So nacho, you are saying my toilet wrote those posts? It is one of those Japanese ones with all the buttons that no one can figure out. I guess I accidentally pressed the "post bizarre Christian comments and call yourself John" button.

      That would explain the shitty content of John's posts.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • john

      humor. i never said anything about you dying. were you replying to the post i did yesterday? you are really bizarre, and your sarcasm is hitting an 11 on the attention scale there. i was really hoping something good would come into your life this week that would be undeniable that it was gods love at work in your life. but you interpreted it as me wishing you dead. have you ever been diagnosed as mentally ill? im being serious. well, goodnight and take care. dont stress out so much, this stuff is just a cnn blog. take it easy dude.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:09 am |
  20. Muneef

    "Ni Allah ni maitre" ("Neither God nor master") was set to be shown on Sunday (June 26th)
    Several dozen protesters forced their way into the screening of a film on atheism in Tunisia, Secularism, If God Wills. 
    http://allafrica.com/stories/201107010950.html

    July 3, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • Pete Halloran

      Thanks for showing an example of the ongoing oppression non-believers face from religious people.

      July 3, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Odessa

      Atheism and secularism are filthy, cancerous ideologies but the West only protect them favoring them over religions.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • SB

      Odessa, secularism is the only reason that anyone can freely practice their religion. Middle eastern theocracies allow other religions to exist, but that's just it.. they allow it (and not without conditions). Theocracy destroys freedom. Secularism is defined by it.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • Odessa

      SB, secularism is like communism. It's logic may sound okay, but because of humanity's evil nature, it does not work. Secularism promotes the worst toxication upon everyone in its sphere. Society needs sane morality, not just freedom. Freedom of hedonists is a horror to many. Besides, secularists heavily oppress the religious. The present immoral West proved secularism does not work. It destroys the character of children. Secular nation is not worth dying for defense.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:17 am |
    • Muneef

      Odessa..

      Quotes from the Holy Quran;

      You Shall Not Bear False Witness

      [4:135] O you who believe, you shall be absolutely equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses, even against yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether the accused is rich or poor, GOD takes care of both. Therefore, do not be biased by your personal wishes. If you deviate or disregard (this commandment), then GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.

      [4:136] O you who believe, you shall believe in GOD and His messenger, and the scripture He has revealed through His messenger, and the scripture He has revealed before that. Anyone who refuses to believe in GOD, and His angels, and His scriptures, and His messengers, and the Last Day, has indeed strayed far astray.

      [4:137] Surely, those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe, then disbelieve, then plunge deeper into disbelief, GOD will not forgive them, nor will He guide them in any way.

      [4:138] Inform the hypocrites that they have incurred painful retribution.

      [4:139] They are the ones who ally themselves with disbelievers instead of believers. Are they seeking dignity with them? All dignity belongs with GOD alone.

      [4:140] He has instructed you in the scripture that: if you hear GOD's revelations being mocked and ridiculed, you shall not sit with them, unless they delve into another subject. Otherwise, you will be as guilty as they are. GOD will gather the hypocrites and the disbelievers together in Hell.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.