By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – When he campaigns in southern Florida on Monday, Mitt Romney will have an unwelcome traveling partner: a mobile billboard attacking his religion.
The billboard on wheels, sponsored by American Atheists, attacks the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its treatment of African-Americans and gays, though the church says the attacks are inaccurate.
The billboard, which American Atheists says will follow the Romney campaign for seven days, features two messages on Mormonism: “No Blacks Allowed (until 1978)” and “No Gays Allowed (Current).”
The first line is a reference to the church’s practice of denying lay priesthood to black male members until 1978.
Though the church did not allow black male members to be ordained before that year – when the church head says he received a revelation to reverse the policy – it did allow blacks and members of all racial and ethnic groups to be church members. According to The Second Book of Nephi, a part of Mormon doctrine, “Black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God.”
The billboard’s second line refers to what American Atheists President David Silverman says is the religion's “intolerance” and “bigotry” when it comes to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
But the church denies such categorizations. It accepts gay members, though church doctrine condemning homosexuality has not changed and the church strongly opposes same-sex marriage. Some gay rights activists say the church is subtly growing friendlier toward the LGBT community, including voicing support for some gay rights.
"People are surely free to disagree with us on the facts," Dale Jones, a church spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to CNN. "This group seems not to know that there have been black members of the Church since our earliest history, and there are many faithful gay members of the Church today."
Jones continued: "We would be happy to introduce the (American Atheists president) to any of our millions of members of different ethnicity who would be happy to educate him on our racial diversity."
Silverman denies the billboard, which is costing the group $8,000, is an attack on Romney specifically. A spokeswoman for the Romney campaign said she would not comment on the sign.
“Nobody seems to be talking about the implications of having a very religious Mormon president,” Silverman said. “There are a lot of things about Mormons that people don’t know, including the fact that racism is an important part of their dogma.”
The LDS Church has largely tried to stay out of the politics surrounding the presidential campaign, even though it has received increased attention due to Romney’s candidacy. This billboard, writes Jones, is "obviously" about the "personal politics" of American Atheists.
"We have consistently kept out of the political campaign," Jones wrote. "People can see this (billboard) for what it is."
American Atheists has a long history in using billboards to call out religion and get its message out. During the political conventions in August and September, the group put up billboards attacking Mormonism and Christianity, taking aim at the faith of both presidential candidates.
This mobile billboard, however, is a departure from the standard American Atheist tactic of multiple billboards on multiple religions. According to Silverman, this is because Romney’s faith hasn’t been addressed enough in the 2012 election.
“We all understand the implications of having a Christian president. We do not understand the implications of having a Mormon president,” Silverman said. “We are not taking a position on the election, we are taking a stance on ignorance.”
Gays and Blacks are not attracted to the Mormon church.
No one keeps them out. This is a stupid one sided attack.
I have no problem with the Mormons and have known a few.
None are polygamists; their families are solid. I'm a atheist and
I wish these small group whiney atheists would shut up and
MSM would stop giving them attention. They make me look bad.
Agreed. Leave it alone and just let it go already.
Thanks very much for your post for tolerance, StellaLuna. I know most atheists don't subscribe to the hate-filled and bigoted tactics of American Atheists.
Atheists...STOP BELIEVING IN WHAT WE DON'T BELIEVE IN since....forever.
ROFL. . . I was thinking. . ."Atheism. . . . . no Christians allowed since. . . . EVER!" BWAHAHahahahahaha
You are free to believe whatever nonsense you want. I'm not asking you to shed your inane beliefs, just that you keep them out of my life.
Everyone is encourage to join. Everyone is welcome.
Any Christian who is willing to vote for Romney REALLY needs to do a little bit of research and check into what Mormonism is all about.
Any atheist willing to vote for Obama is just ignorant :)
I won't be voting for him. How are you gonna vote for a guy who subscribes to the same ideas (I will be like the most high) that got Satan kicked out of Heaven? Voting for Romney is essentially a vote for Satan. You can't do it. Won't be voting for Obama either so i'll be sitting this one out.
"Voting for Romney is essentially a vote for Satan."
Funny, I was going to say the same thing about Obama.
As a Mormon, it is exhausting reading about my religion in a twisted and morphed manner, by both the atheists that posted the billboard and the comments by the readers of this forum. It has been maligned misrepresented by taking some basic principles of Mormonism and manipulating them with lies. This is far from accurate and truly slanted into genuine bigotry.
We have enjoyed the company of blacks in our community as well and from the LGBT.community. We have a very diverse leadership from the individual congregations and up. Coming from an interracial family, I have never experience prejudice from within my church. It has always come from the outside. If you watch General Conference and just be still and listen, perhaps you will gain a more clear understanding of what we are about.
Ironically, this atheist group (and news outlet) that "fight against such ignorance" seems to be the most ignorant and least tolerant.
You guys will say anything.
Your religion was founded by a con man who based it on a web of lies so precarious a modern third grader would see through them. The golden plates (in a three ring binder, har) that hardly anyone ever saw which then vanished entirely? Convenient, very convenient.
Spare us the doubletalk about religious intolerance. Letting your faith lie and get away with it is NOT intolerance.
All religion is twisted and morphed.
That you're unwilling to acknowledge the racist past of your church is a pretty standard response to a disquieting fact. It's what religious bodies do: hide truth. The Mormon church has many bizarre beliefs (are the ancient Jews REALLY the ancestors of today's Indians?) But trying to deny facts is a revisionist distortion of history.
even though i am no longer a member of the mormon church, i agree with Sana. the people who are posting negative comments and rants have absolutely no idea what the church stands for or against.
I feel so bad that all these people try to belittle you because of your beliefs. I sure hope it make you people feel good about your selves. Ever think that someone that is part of a church and has been so for a while would know more than you about it. It is like a janitor telling a rocket scientist his math is wrong.
No one is belittling anyone. They are merely pointing out facts. You may not like the church’s past, but it is what it is.
You don't have to part of the church to know its history. You don’t have to part of the church to know that its founder was a liar and a fraud, and his translations that make up some the core doctrine have been proven to be completely fallacious.
Do some research of your own. Don’t let your ties (or past ties) to the church shield you from the truth.
What a load of crap. Growing up non mormon in Utah was horrible. The mormon community's unaccepting and intolerant stance towards groups of people with different beliefs is rivaled only by those communities ruled by the Taliban. A Utah community recently tried to pass a law banning the use of city parks on Sunday because they found the noise of a largely hispanic soccer league disruptive to their day of prayer. The church never has and never will respect the separation of church and state.
Think of Mormonism as a 19th century precursor to Scientology.
That or Jehovah's Witnesses, though I would say that Mormonism is less malicious.
Here's what the Book of Mormon says about black skin:
"And he [the Mormon god] had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them." [Book of Mormon, 2 Nephin 5:21]
Mormons won't usually tell you about that verse. Instead they will try and mislead people by quoting the Book of Mormon, where it says that all are alike unto god. The problem is, the Book of Mormon has Romnesia - it lacks self consistency (just one reason it's a well-known fraud).
While it's true that the Book of Mormon invites black people to come to god, it also says that those black people will become white if they accept the Mormon god. Here's an exact quote:
"And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites; And their acurse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;" [Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 2:14-15]
Ever wonder why Romney is such a pathalogical liar? It's because he was raised in the Mormon Church. The Mormon Church has a long an ignoble tradition of "lying for the Lord" (Google that term). Basically, it means that lying is okay, if lying serves a greater purpose. Mormons are among the most honst/trustworthy people until they think that a "greater purpose" is involved. Once that happens, they will lie like there's no tomorrow. This includes lying about their doctrines and their history.
In Romney's case, he thinks god has chosen him to save the US from the Black "socialist" President. Make no mistake about it - Romney will tell any lie he thinks is necessary in order to achieve the "greater good" of being elected president.
Great Post. Thanks!
The verse you quoted about the people becoming was what happened to one group of people in the Book of Mormon. No where and never did the church say that people would change skin color. Anyone can misquote scripture just like journalists misquote people to hype up stories.
Wow. . . . Are you saying people. . . like Romney. . . can become indoctrinated?? GASP!
I mean. . . . . Like hearing your pastor or spiritual leading say things like "Not God bless American. . . . But God DA m N America."
Yeah. . . I guess you're right, people CAN become indoctrinated.
Great post – very informative. We have heard nothing about his Mormonism (surprise, surprise) but we all know that he is a hypocrite and a liar. As my grandfather used to say, "the biggest hyocrites are found in church." Have cast my vote for Obama obviously. Thanks.
The LDS church president had a 'vision' about allowing blacks to hold priesthood when the NAACP was about ready to file a discrimination suit in federal court. It's funny how these guys 'have visions' when it's convenient for them.
Another good example is when they declared their members could now drink cola soft drinks. They didn't bother to share the fact the church had just bought massive amounts of shares in Coke or Pepsi.
What good what a suit do them? No court in the United States could make them have colored priests nor would anyone win a dime because of it. The case would have been tossed out. I am not saying support their views. The direct opposite. But the suit would have brought bad press, but they would never have lost the suit. Just like women couldn't sue the Catholic church for not letting them be priests. Freedom of religion trumps.
What about the excuse of getting out of the Vietnam War draft by Mormon Men? I understand that not all Mormon Man took advantage of that "Loophole" to serve their country but Willard Mitt Romney certainly did and went to France instead. There are pictures of WMR at the beach in France writing "I love Ann" on the sand while thousand of American Man were dying and serving their country. He is from the same group of Hippocratic Republicans Man who sponsored the "Swift Boat attack" on Senator Kerry who DID served with honor in Vietnam. One of the Rich guys who sponsored those vicious attacks about Kerry is one of the main donors to Liar Willard. Are Mormons allowed to get away with misrepresenting the truth and tell truth??? Willard Mitt Romney in a flip-flopper , he has no integrity. it is either a personality disorder or a memory problem. His own wife admits that her biggest concern is his mental health while on the job due to the stress. This just reminds me of Regan: we do not need another patient with Alzheimer's Disease in the White House. Oh, HELP US GOD!!!!
I believe the word you are looking for is hypocritical not hippocratic. they are not interchangeable nor do they have any similar meanings at all.
OK, I got the message on Mormons, their not Christians. How many Presidents have said that they were Christians do you believe actually walked the talk and were real christians?
I am not voting for the next Pope and the church and gov't are as separate in the USA more than in any other country.
Romney seems a morale man, well educated and an experienced buisness man. That's what I am looking for in a President. I'll speak with God at home and church to guide this country and protect my family. I don't need the President of the USA to do that for me. I need him to get us out of debt and create jobs for our future.
I appreciate your primary concern, Darryl, but the U.S. is in complete denial about what it takes to do that. We have become the quick-fix nation and it does nothing but spin us in a circle. We need planning and long-term vision. Romney basic economic plan has already been proven faulty in the past.
When Santorum or Rick Perry was the nominee it was all about social issues for the Republicans, we heard a never ending drumbeat about abortion, prayer in schools , teaching creationism etc. As soon as it looked like Romney , a MORMON BISHOP,was the candidate suddenly religion is hardly on the radar.
do some research. mormons are ALL christians and they ARE a denomination of christianity. for the record, i am NOT voting for romney. he has not earned any trust whatsoever.
Interesting...the billboard spells out the ignorance of the group that created it. A gay person isn't defined by their s3xual activity, but their preference. If a hom0s3xual person were to profess Christianity as their faith, yet were to continue engaging in s3xual relationships with a person of the same gender, then the Christian faith would recognize them as living in sin. So now AA wants to blast gays who profess a faith, and live up to it? Such hypocrites.
Well there are gullible people in any group. Atheists just want people to get a bit smarter.
I've never understood the christian church's fascination with celibacy. Why do Christians believe celibacy to be a virtue?
Wait... wouldn't it be the gays who practice a religion to be the hypocrits in this case?
NightOps: Gay is a choice just as much as eye color is a choice. To cling to the silly notion that gay is a choice of lifestyle is absurd, but then again, so is believing in sin.
Romney tries to stay away from discussing LDS beliefs because if true Christians understood LDS beliefs they would see how convoluted LDS beliefs are, and no Christian would ever consider voting for him. Most Christians don't understand that the LDS 'cult' believes that ALL Christian denominations are an abomination and their teachers are corrupt.
The so called "prophet" of the LDS 'cult' Joseph Smith was nothing more than a shyster who lied continuously. Today, when any of Smith's writings are proved incorrect the 'cult' simply change his wording so that it appears correct, then they defend the change. There's not much difference in the LDS 'cult' defending Smith's change than 'team Romney' defending his 'flip-flops'.
The LDS Church has a philosophy called Lying For The Lord. The philosophy is that it is OK to lie so that the LDS Church is seen in the best possible light and whenever it is necessary to defend the church.
Mitt Romney liked this philosophy so much, he came up with his own philosophy called Lying For Mitt. The Lying For Mitt philosophy is that it is OK for he and his supporters to lie if it increases his chances of being elected POTUS.
If you don't believe Lying For The Lord is an LDS philosophy, just Google the term.
I think this is your tactic more than it is the LDS church.
Hmmm...also sounds like another very powerful religious group to me.
Dead on...... the facts Hurt and Mitt needs to be hurt because what he stands for well destroy America. He can not and will not separate his faith from the way he well run this country and that in it's self make's him a very dangerous man........
Obama 2012 the only clean choice..
Cult members are instruct by their leaders to lie for their cult. Some member simply go with the motions and have no idea of their core believes. some either denying they ever that those doctrines even existed or suppressing/avoiding them in order to perpetuate the belief system of the cult. Theocratic Warfare in action.
@ Dave...... Absurd post:
Well, if a group like this is attacking Romney, I know I am on the right side of the equation when voting for him.
Well, if you're Christian, Diane, I hope you realize that Mormons have redefined your Jesus Christ in a very significant way.
Isin't it amzaing how much time and money atheist spend fighting against someone they say doesn't exist?
a lot of what they fight for is the preservation of separation of church and state
no we fight against the idiots who believe in this nonsense. Much the same way you spend your time fighting against Islam.
They fight against ignorance. No one is denying that you exist.
@margaret: How is the faith of Romney any different than the faith of any other President? The US has a deep history of being concerned with the religion that their President ascribes to.
@NightOps: It's pretty obvious that the right is trying to push the envelope on the separation issue. And Ryan – omg, based on his own words, it's pretty obvious he can't separate his faith from his public service.
Anyone voting for a Mormon cultist cannot call themselves Christian and will face God's wrath!
Looks like there's gonna be a lot of fundi's gettin' some rath after this election, then. Glad to know some stil hold to their convictions. Funny how quite they've been since the primaries.
So what do we learn from all this? Religion is a poison of the human mind. It is brainwashing at it paramount. No religion practices what they preach, there is always exceptions to every rule. This love the sinner hate the sin nonsence is exactly that, nonsence. What truly has religion contributed to the betterment of mankind. Let's see, war, death, destruction, bigotry, hypocrytism, pedophelia just to name a few. You can be a good or a better human being without religion dictating to what you can feel, think or look at. Their ways only confuse any normal human thoughts or behaviors. What the hell, no one can ever follow what is expected of them according to religious teachings. we are all damned no matter what we do, so we might as well enjoy ourselves.
Mormonisn is the biggest attack on the Christian religion!
Have you ever been to a Mormon church?
Look for the U-tube video of a Mormon service then ask that question again.........
No need to look at a u tube video, I've been to many Mormon services. Some of the sermon's that I remember were about love, compassion, and the sacrifice of Jesus. Additionally I'm not a Mormon I'm an atheist. My step father was Mormon and my mother and I occasionally went to church with him.
It is The Economy, Mr. President. Your Economy, Mr. President. You built that.
actually it's the remnants of a destroyed republican economy that the President is fixing.
That's bull. 8 years of Bush built that.
Having a little trouble with your memory? The current economy is still recovering from the Bush economy - the economy built by Republicon fiscal policies that Romney wants to continue.
YES...and the economy is rising...anyone in the stock market can affirm that. and .jobs are on the rise...
some jobs will never come back...due to technology and our sourcing to China...which all contribute to the unemployment rate..
which MR nor god can reinstate in the days of yore....that generation of jobs are GONE...TO CHINA FOREVER...under the guise of CAPITALISM....like in Bain ..GE..NIKI...steel..clothing..sports equip...etc..the list is endless
NO...Paul Ryan and the Ryan family business built that with their LUCRATIVE...MONSTROUS..multi billion GOVT contracts that yield multi millions..
YES..they had help...the loath BIG GOVT help....and BTW...they sucked from the benevolent public trough of BIG GOVT when PR and his mother and siblings gorged from the food stamps and welfare system... what hypocrites
Well Bob, you may be off topic and look a little off the mark to. Let me help you with the hammer swing. The mantra of the RNC should have been WE BROKE THIS and the DNC's should have been STILL TRYIN' TO FIX IT. .
"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, page 110.)
So out of curiosity, how do you explain genome evidence which proves the migration theory (out of Africa), and that we all are genetically linked to Africa, and ALL our ancestors had more melanine in their skin to protect from the sun (i.e. they were "black")? In fact "jesus" (the man) would have been one of those sand skin terrorist looking people, being that he lived the middle-east.
I think he was trying to priove what a biggot Brigham Young was hiding behind scripture to support it. Used man's own words. That's ok, though, right? I mean the "propeht" said God changed his mind about Black people in 1978.........I guess he lifted the curse or something..........;-)
The scary thing is that Mormons have, in their short history (relative to mainstream Christianity), had to revise some of their core tenets that were just weird – thing multiple wife thing, then the black thing – and they've always done it, not solely from a reevaluation of those tenets, but more from an immediate political need. This is why I don't trust then. So we shouldn't be so surprised that Mitt flip-flops with such ease. (And there are still plenty of weird tenets in the "religion" that Christians should be wary of.) I think atheists are just point this out. Everyone should be wary of Mormonism, which is still an extremist "religion".
trust "them", not "then"
"pointing" not "point"
And, technically, Mormonism is NOT a denomination of Christianity..but rather of Judaism.
Then so would Islam be. I borrowed heavily from Christianity and Judaisim.
"We all understand the implications of having a Christian president. We do not understand the implications of having a Mormon president,” Silverman said.
Could you imagine voting for an atheist if that was all you knew about him or her?
We know a lot about Romney. He's the man!
What would you need to know about an atheist in the office? He would make decisions based on rational thought instead of praying to a non-existent god. He would make judgement based on the information on hand, not the rambling contradictory scribbles of uneducated men from 2000 years ago and perverted through massive editing by the church in the 20 centuries since then.
Gee the possibilities of a reasonable decision are just mind tingling!
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.