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Atheist group removes billboards targeting presidential candidates' religious faith
American Atheists says it took down billboards critical of the candidates' religions in Charlotte, North Carolina, after threats.
August 27th, 2012
09:55 AM ET

Atheist group removes billboards targeting presidential candidates' religious faith

By Dan Gilgoff and Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – An atheist group that raised a pair of billboards taking aim at the presidential candidates’ religion at the site of next month’s Democratic National Convention has pulled the signs after what the group called a “large volume of threats.”

The billboards, sponsored by American Atheists, took aim at Mormonism and Christianity and went up this month in Charlotte, North Carolina, which will play host to the Democratic convention.

Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and President Barack Obama is also a Christian.

The billboard targeting Christianity featured an image of Jesus Christ on toast and this description of the faith: "Sadistic God; Useless Savior, 30,000+ Versions of ‘Truth,’ Promotes Hates, Calls it ‘Love.’ ”

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The billboard targeting Mormonism lambasted and, Mormons would say, distorted specific Mormon doctrines: "God is a Space Alien, Baptizes Dead People, Big Money, Big Bigotry.”

The Mormon billboard featured a man in white underwear, a reference to special Mormon garments.

American Atheists said the billboards provoked a “large volume of threats” by phone and e-mail and that the group reported the threats to police.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

“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,” Amanda Knief, American Atheists’ managing director, said in a statement last week.

“No subject, no idea should be above scrutiny and this includes religion in all forms,” 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.”

American Atheists had wanted to put the anti-Mormon billboard in Tampa, Florida, to coincide with this week's Republican National Convention.

When no billboard company in the city would lease the group space for such a sign, American Atheists President David Silverman said the organization decided to focus solely on the Democrats in Charlotte.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Politics

soundoff (1,780 Responses)
  1. J.W

    Nobody told them that they had to take them down. They were just wimps.

    August 27, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Mary

      Maybe they realized that they were actually exemplifying the exact behavior and dogma that drove them to become atheists in the first place.....

      August 27, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  2. Jay

    Atheists. Still too scared to attack Islam.

    August 27, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • ME II

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/01/atheist-group-targets-muslims-jews-with-myth-billboards-in-arabic-and-hebrew/

      August 27, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • IslandAtheist

      It's all the same desert dogma.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Islam – I spit on your Quran. Your religion is made up junk by salesmen and politicians just like all other religions. True.

      There you go Jay – I do feel better.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Xdoc

      @Jay: Magical unicorns with wings don't exist! Mohamed was just high on opium. Feel better?

      August 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • sam stone

      They have attacked Islam, Bee-Jay

      August 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • 24shamsky

      So what's your point? That Christians can be just as adept as Muslims at using force and intimidation to silence any criticism of their belief system?

      Well, the signs are down now, so congratulations. Mission accomplished.

      August 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Bob

      Jay just got so PWNED.

      August 27, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Jay

      @ save the world and slap some sense into a christard today! & Xdoc.

      That was nice, now roll-over and play dead. LOL!

      August 28, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  3. 24shamsky

    @Wade: The operative word here is "public." I don't ask public schools to "belittle" any system of belief, but neither are religious teachings appropriate in a public school setting. I have no problem permitting people to understand positions of all viewpoints, but that's what churches and parochial schools are for. If you want to teach creationism as a valid alternative to evolution, then go right ahead - but either do it in a private, religious school or home-school your children. But I will not allow you to use my tax dollars to foist your religous teachings upon my children in a public sphere. That's why we have the separation of church and state in this country, and if you can't accept that, then you need to find yourself another place to live.

    August 27, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • James

      Springer's show to dumb down America worked. Proof why the atheist fools got roped in.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • markusp

      Precisely right! The persons that believe "creationism" or "intelligent design" should be taught in a public school science curriculum should necessarily be wary of actually getting their way. States, such as TN, that now promote any form of biblical origin of humans, might have to also present even wilder theories about human existence. But like Christopher Hitchens said, "That which can be asserted without evidence, can also be dismissed without evidence."

      August 27, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!
      James/HeaventSent/truth be told/(Carrie's mama)

      repeats her idiocy with the Jerry Springer remark.

      Which is really dumb on her part because on Springer, you would be more likely to have Christians that other Christians would say "they are not really Christians". (something we hear all too much because it is a stupid conflicted religion made up by politicians and salesmen long ago just like all other religions)

      August 27, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • 24shamsky

      @James: I've never paid much attention to Jerry Springer. Judging from what I've seen of his program, however, I'd hazard a guess that the vast majority of his viewers are good, God-fearin' folks from the heartland like yourself.

      Go figure.

      August 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  4. Bill Deacon

    Great way to continue the publicity stunt "We were threatened by evil Christians!"

    August 27, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • TR6

      That’s right Bill. Because we all know that Christians have never threatened anyone. They would never suggest such things as rounding up all gays and putting them behind an electric fence, shooting doctors or bombing abortion clinics

      August 27, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Huebert

      I wouldn't call Christians "evil" just horribly deluded.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • J.W

      The kids that did the Columbine shooting were atheists. They shot a girl who said she believed in God.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • sam stone

      "believe or god is going to get you" is the christian mantra. how is that NOT a threat, billy boy?

      August 27, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Huebert

      @JW

      That is an often repeated lie.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Figures Billy's a conspiracy theorist who thinks Obama was born overseas.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • J.W

      Oh yeah thats right we are supposed to assume that they are Christians since they are murderers.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Simran

      @JW,
      I guess the Mr Wade of Wisconsin shooting was an atheist too??? Was he?

      August 27, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • J.W

      I don't know. They never said anything about his beliefs.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • J.W

      But of course everyone assumed he was Christian as well.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  5. Alicea

    It is true that those messages are very direct, but our opinions are very direct. We are opposing the age old ideals that have ruled over the world for the past 100s of years. Yes, for some, thinking rationally and using reason can be scary. The flaws of religion are obvious, but are chosen to be overlooked. The church and its messages are thrown in my face countless times a day by many different sources. Separation of church and state is not being upheld to the standards it should be and we all should be worried... not just the Atheists. The bible means nothing to me, why am i being governed by it? If Christianity and Mormonism were not effecting my life directly, i could careless about what other people believe. However, society and its social laws are being heavily influenced by religion and I am not okay with this.

    August 27, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • SciGuy73

      I'm with you Alicea

      August 27, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • James

      Alicea = atheists prove that Springer's show of dumbing down America worked to perfection. PT Barnum would have been proud of Jerry.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Simran

      James,
      You seem to have taken a great fancy to Springer's show! Do you secretly like that stuff???

      August 27, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Alicea

      Although an issue, i believe the problem's source is a little more complex.

      August 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  6. SciGuy73

    "Keep thy religion to thyself" - George Carlin

    August 27, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Karen

      RIP George Carlin. Brilliant, funny man.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • 24shamsky

      Sigh. We've never needed a voice of sanity like Carlin's more than we do right now.

      RIP, my friend. You are missed.

      August 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  7. Al

    The irony here is that some atheist groups treat their cause as, well, a religion. What's the difference between joining this atheists group and joining a church? That's the part I find weird (and I'm all for separation of church and state).

    August 27, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • SciGuy73

      Perhaps googling the definition of 'religion' would help clear this up for you.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Huebert

      What's the difference between joining this atheists group and joining a church?

      For one atheist groups have no dogma, nor do they claim to have the whole universe figured out. That is a pretty stark contrast from most churches

      August 27, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Karen

      Atheism is no more a religion than not collecting stamps is a hobby.
      Atheism is no more a religion than bald is a hair color.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      @ Huebert... also, you don't have to join anything to be an atheist. And you don't have to congregate, have regular meetings.... Atheism is a simple statement – a disbelief that there is a god or gods.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • James

      Karen – atheists worship Jerry Springer and his dumbing down of America. You fools are so easy.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What IS it with you idiots and Jerry Springer? You fundies must watch him all the time-HS is always yapping about his show.
      I think I watched about 10 minutes of his crap back in the early 90s. That was sufficient.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • ME II

      @Al,

      No worship service.
      No expectation of supernatural reward or retribution.
      No blaming or praising some unevidenced being for the state of the world or events therein.
      No doctrine to be followed.
      No rituals to follow to prove one's worthiness.
      No special clothing, haricut, symbols, etc. to show one's beliefs to the rest of the world.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      James/HeaventSent/truth be told/(Carrie's mama)

      repeats her idiocy with the Jerry Springer remark.

      Which is really dumb on her part because on Springer, you would be more likely to have Christians that other Christians would say "they are not really Christians". (something we hear all too much because it is a stupid conflicted religion made up by politicians and salesmen long ago just like all other religions)

      August 27, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Jim

      Thanks for proving you watch the show.

      August 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  8. stevie68a

    People who pray to "jesus", and their prayer gets answered. have their belief justified. Now if they try praying to Ronald
    McDonald, they'll get the same result!
    Religion is a delusion. "jesus" is imaginary, "jesus" is imaginary. Shout it from the rooftops!

    August 27, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Huebert

      Jesus may have been real. His magic powers are not.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • SciGuy73

      Jesus is most definately real. He lives up the street from me, I saw him the other day. Jesus Gonzalez is most certainly alive and well.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Jesus

      De nada SciGuy

      August 27, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  9. Reality

    Expressing my freedom of speech and liberty from all forms of religion:

    The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (references used are available upon request)

    August 27, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • what's wrong here

      Is any of this information scientifically verified by a source other than the bible? Yes, I thought not.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      Actually Reality. Paul did not 'reason' in that, he explained. And his writings to the Corinthians were just that – to Corinth, who, at the time, were dealing with one of many offshoots of early Christianity that took a version of the gnostic bent, and were teaching that Jesus hadn't really died on the cross – Docetism – which is an early church heresy in which the belief was that Jesus never had a physical body.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Reality

      1 Corinthians 15: 12-18

      "12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied."

      For reviews of said passages, see Professor/ Father Raymond Brown's study guide, "An Introduction to the New Testament", (876 pages), pp. 511-540. Docetism is not mentioned. See also Professor JD Crossan's studies especially in his book, "In Search of Paul", pp. 341-344.

      See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/1corinthians.html

      August 27, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  10. Jeff

    mocking, derisive ,judgemental and condescending. How come it is unacceptable when it comes from the christian right, yet it is supposed to be allowed when coming from "enllightend" atheists??? How is this differnt than: Atheisim: "Narcisistic Know it alls, whom beilieve with supreme arrogance that they have the enitre universive figured out in the 3 pounds of graymatter above there neck."

    August 27, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Jeff' contains instances of the ad hominem fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      August 27, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • ME II

      If you want to put up a billboard that states that, go right ahead. I don't think you'll get too many threats of violence from atheists. You may get a lot of arguments countering your statements, but not many threats, I don't think.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Simran

      No violence from me, I will just laugh it off, rather i will find it pretty amusing.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Fred Kratz

      Jeff- Why would you believe that someone who is not religious "has things all figured out"? It is quite the contrary. It's the search for understanding that drives discovery, as it has since humans developed speech. There are literally millions of human lifetimes of research and scientific discovery aggregated and available to anyone who is interested. As this basis expands, people will learn not only more about the physical world in which we live, but about each other. Religion does not and cannot occupy human understanding alone since it was born at a time and in a place when few people knew much about the world in which they found themselves. And fortunately, most of us no longer live in a world where religion makes you an offer you can't refuse.

      August 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • 24shamsky

      You've got it exactly backwards: it's religious folks who think that they've got everything figured out. God, after all, is the ultimate deus ex machina, a convenient if not entirely plausible explanation for all of the mysteries of the universe. Agnostics and atheists, on the other hand, question the existence of God precisely because they're unwilling to make assumptions about how the world works in the absence of empirical evidence. As for your sign proposal, it's pretty telling that you can't respond to criticisms of your belief system (as opposed to criticism of you personally) with anything more substantive than "atheists suck." If that's really the best defense of your position that you can muster, then I don't think that non-believers would have much of a problem with your little sign, which would be far more likely to provoke laughter from atheists than death threats.

      August 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  11. Captain

    Typical of all religioins in the world. We are the ONLY ones who are right! ALL the rest of you are wrong – always hve been and always will be. If you don't like it, we will trash, destroy, humliate, or kill you and/or your family (depending on the particular religious beliefs of the so-called offended).

    August 27, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  12. Much Ado About Nothing

    Welcome to reality American Atheists Inc, you funny little 501 (c) (3) tax exempt.

    You stir a hornet's nest of ppl you proclaim as irrational, and OMG are shocked and saddened when Ta-Da, they DO act irrational?

    Your rabid need to "witness" to the unconverted is just as pathetic as any other evangelical fundamentalist sect out there.

    August 27, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Karen

      Again, read:

      Atheism is no more a religion than not collecting stamps is a hobby.
      Atheism is no more a religion than bald is a hair color.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • ME II

      "You stir a hornet's nest of ppl you proclaim as irrational, and OMG are shocked and saddened when Ta-Da, they DO act irrational?"

      So, you agree that the religious are irrational?

      August 27, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      In actuality, each and every one of these billboards has caused an influx of donations to the cause.

      So... win.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  13. LAIBACH

    Americans are so fickle, myopic, and knee-jerk moronic, to begin with. What did they expect?

    August 27, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Karen

      Actually, thanks to CNN, these atheists' good cause of ridding America of idiotic delusions got great visibility from this episode.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  14. Wade

    So, let me get this straight atheists.....you get up in arms anytime a religious group puts up a sign, but you expect to be able to put up your signs without response? Being the logical, forward-thinkers you are, you'd think you would have seen this coming.

    I guess it sucks when the shoe is on the other foot and people are preventing you from espousing what you believe, huh?

    August 27, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • ME II

      So, as a Christian (i assume) you are okay with the threats of violence directed towards these people from supposedly religious followers?

      Ironic that the "peaceful religions" forced this removal by threats of violence.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Karen

      Wade,what makes you think that they didn't see it coming?

      And thanks to CNN, these atheists' good cause of ridding America of idiotic delusions got great visibility from this episode.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      No.

      Only when it's done on public grounds with public tax payer money.

      On your own private property, or commercial property you've paid for with your own (or donated) money. Have at it.

      On the other hand, the religious wingnuts get royally bent out of shape to see a paid for commercial billboard like these.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • J.W

      Id like to see some of these supposed threats.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • ME II

      @J.W,
      I wouldn't mind seeing some either. Not sure if the following is accurate but,

      "Knief said that if Adams had not been involved, American Atheists would have kept the billboards in place."
      Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/08/24/3777680/outcry-causes-atheist-funded-billboards.html#storylink=cpy

      August 27, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • ME II

      p.s. Adams refers to Adams Outdoor Advertising, I think.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Simran

      @Wade,
      Maybe that was the plan right from the start. The atheists knew that Christians will get offended and they did it anyway. I guess they did get a lot of limelight for it. What better way to get your message delivered than to create a controversy around it??? And of course they knew that the one's offended would be stupid enough to start threatening them!

      August 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Scott

      Wade So, let me get this straight atheists.....you get up in arms anytime a religious group puts up a sign, but you expect to be able to put up your signs without response?

      No atheists don’t care who puts up a sign or what it says… On private property. That’s freedom of speech, guaranteed by the const1tution

      We do object to religious views being posted on public property like the 10 commandments on court house walls… That’s separation of church and state, also guaranteed by the const1tution

      But you probably can’t understand the difference since you’re a Christian

      August 27, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • 24shamsky

      Oh, I'm pretty sure they knew exactly what was coming. And thanks to the nutbags who phoned in the death threats, they've now garnered far more publicity for themselves than they would have if the signs had just been left alone in the first place.

      All in all, a brilliant troll.

      August 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  15. Daniel

    I liked the sign...I live in the south and there is a church on the interstate that has the biggest crosses I have ever seen in the world...and their is a church here that has a big, I mean really big, Statue of Liberty holding a cross and the bible.....that is really scary....Oh well, life is impermanent...I wont see it one day...

    August 27, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  16. Reality

    Its big irony that Christian Churches can put up any bill boards against Islam and Atheists but others can not do it against them, this is called American way of freedom of expression.

    August 27, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Reality

      Said comments were not made by the original Reality.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Reality

      I wish the day soon arrives when the Muslims also put up their billboards. I will personally donate.

      August 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Reality

      What are the Muslims going to put on said billboards:

      To be honest, they would have to feature the following:

      As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

      o 24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am EDT
      BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi'ite Muslim office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate.

      The bombing on a Shi'ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country's fractious Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions."

      25) BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:27am EDT

      (Reuters) – A suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

      August 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  17. keefer

    a loss for free speech......the religious bullies resemble extremist muslims more and more all the time.....soon you won't be able to portray Jesus in a cartoon without being assassinated. Sad day for the US.

    August 27, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Wade

      Uh, perhaps you should learn what free speech is. People complaining about what you say is not a limitation on your free speech.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • ME II

      @Wade,
      It wasn't "complaints" is was "large volume of threats".

      "American Atheists said the billboards provoked a 'large volume of threats' by phone and e-mail and that the group reported the threats to police." – from the article.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Karen

      Wade, perhaps you should read the article before commenting.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • SPA Knight

      I thought the article said that it was aethist.org that decided to take the billboards down. They were legally protected to post their so called free speech but lacked the courage to stand by their convictions. Welcome to the big leagues.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • ME II

      @SPAKnight,
      So, are you condoning threats of violence against free speech?

      Seems it might have been about the billboard company too, not just AA.

      "Knief said that if Adams had not been involved, American Atheists would have kept the billboards in place."
      Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/08/24/3777680/outcry-causes-atheist-funded-billboards.html#storylink=cpy

      August 27, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • SPA Knight

      ME II – I don't condone threats of violence on anyone but it's a reality that exists in the public square when views are expressed. Taking out the billboard ads was motivated by an effort to attack Mormons and Christians faiths. Why do it and then complain about the colateral consequences? It's not as if the billboards were simply promoting atheism on it's own merits. If it were, I would respect their efforts to simply state what they stand for rather than attacking other fellow Americans.

      August 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • logtaads

      Nothing wrong with a little passion. You can say and write whatever you want. However, you have to understand that there are consequences for everything.

      Some people aren't going to like your rants and that is that.

      August 28, 2012 at 7:10 am |
  18. what's wrong here

    Why is it that atheists are supposed to respect religious beliefs, but christians do not respect our lack of belief? Indeed, I can't think of a situation where an atheist threatened a christian for their religious views.

    August 27, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • jsmith89

      We mock them. We laugh at them. We ask them questions that they can't answer cause they are unbelievably stupid. But I never threaten them.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:06 am |
  19. R.C.

    I consider myself to be a Christian and a supporter of free speech; people, organizations, etc. should be allowed to say what they believe. However, I wonder if this is what you would consider hate speech? I'm honestly not sure if in this regard what they are doing is legal or illegal, but frankly, it is a bit of a turnoff to be that direct to people regarding their own beliefs. I mean, I don't go around shoving my beliefs down people's throats; I keep it to myself. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this atheist group seems almost as bad as the groups they are against.

    August 27, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Daniel

      I am not an atheist, but definitely not a Christian. I dont harp on others doling out what I think they should believe nor to I listen to those that want to force me to join a cult. I do think it is a bit extreme for what these atheists are doing. But, their are christian groups that basically do the same. I do agree with your point, and find it hard to understand why they are so big on this. For the atheist although, your beliefs come from experience (if you are intelligent), and your perception of the world. Atheist really need only stay around and wait until those with common sense and discernment realize truth. It is a very very profound relief to really see what it is that you are supposed to believe...

      August 27, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Karen

      The billboard is not equivalent to the threats of violence that were made against the billboard posters, and can hardly be considered threatening. However, if you find it so, perhaps you should take a closer look at your beliefs, which are in fact utterly absurd.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  20. Janie

    I think the reason for the negative response is the fact that they are attacking people's belief in a mean spirited way. Had it just said something intellectual or science based rather than a childish and mean message – it would have been largely accepted by everyone. Their whole point was to anger people – they succeeded. But in doing so, their point now isn't plastered to billboards.

    August 27, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Karen

      Yeah, Janie, I mean, now, it's plastered all over CNN to a huge, distributed audience instead of a minor local drive-by one.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Max

      I agree with Janie. An intelligent Christian does not have a problem with a debate between and atheist and a Christian. We all have the right to search and study and come up with our own conclusions. I am a Christian – and I listen to both sides. There is a sign in our town that says "Religion and Politics Don't Mix". I see nothing wrong with that sign. However, the sign that the atheists wanted to put up was vitriolic and hateful. An intelligent person is not vitriolic and hateful. I don't think Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins would be vitriolic and hateful. Their belief is sincere. Some of the things that the atheists have heard taught in religion probably do seem not possible. There are even some Bible Scholars that have problems with some literal interpretations. Try reading one of Marcus Borg's books sometime, and Christianity may not seem so weird to you. It is important for Christians to respect people who do not believe like they do – but, also important for atheists to respect others that have a different philosophy. If we can not do that, we can never get along in this world!
      Yes, atrocities have been committed by Christians (i.e. Crusades, Inquisition, etc.). But, Christian people done some very good things in our society, also. Please don't throw out the whole box of apples, just because there are some rotten one it the box.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Max

      I agree with Janie. An intelligent Christian does not have a problem with a debate between and atheist and a Christian. We all have the right to search and study and come up with our own conclusions. I am a Christian – and I listen to both sides. There is a sign in our town that says "Religion and Politics Don't Mix". I see nothing wrong with that sign. However, the sign that the atheists wanted to put up was vitriolic and hateful. An intelligent person is not vitriolic and hateful. I don't think Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins would be vitriolic and hateful. Their belief is sincere. Some of the things that the atheists have heard taught in religion probably do seem not possible. There are even some Bible Scholars that have problems with some literal interpretations. Try reading one of Marcus Borg's books sometime, and Christianity may not seem so weird to you. It is important for Christians to respect people who do not believe like they do – but, also important for atheists to respect others that have a different philosophy. If we can not do that, we can never get along in this world!
      Yes, atrocities have been committed by Christians (i.e. Crusades, Inquisition, etc.). But, Christian people have done some very good things in our society, also. Please don't throw out the whole box of apples, just because there are some rotten one it the box.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:19 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.