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.”
Hubert, so then if we do not have proof, can we know anything? If we do not know anything....is what we state anything more than conjecture?
We know things based on evidence, not proof. I know that my house will be where I left it because of the evidence of past experiences, it has always been there.
OK Herb, so evidence and proof are not the same thing.
You believe in your imaginary friend without any schred of evidence or proof, right?
All that you need for it to be true is your belief.
Well, what if I said to you that I really really believe that you were responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
You would say, "No I wasn't, where is your proof or evidence?"
I guess in your world I don't need any of those things because I "believe" it to be true, to therefore it must be.
Do I have your argument about right?
d'fcuk are you talking about? No that isn't my argument at all. Please tell me where I said that believing something makes it true? Also, I'm an atheist. Where did you get the Idea that I believe in a god?
P.S. One last thing, If you must shorten my name please use Hue or 'bert not Herb.
Sorry bro, I read your post as a fundie arguement trying to say evidence and proof are meaningless.
Kinda like Fix news does with facts that contradict their ideology.
I vividly remember the brouhaha when JFK ran for president and there were hysterics who ran around predicting that the Vatican would be running the country if Kennedy won. It was complete nonsense of course, just as the BS being spread by Silverman is a crock.
It was nonsense because Jack Kennedy was an atheist. He only masqueraded as a believer to win political races. This would be according to his wife.
Except that the Catholic Church doesn't have a "white horse" prophecy, nor did they ever have an oath of vengeance against the United States as part of their catechism.
I believe the Atheists have a valued point...you idiots...stop looking at the messager
I've found atheists to be a group less susceptible to being manipulated by the usual suspects of politiicians, partisans and hacks of every persuasion because of their healthy level of rational skepticism. I can't think of any other group of Americans who are more objective and well-informed when they express an opinion.
and here's why
Religion and the worship of god(s) requires ignorance to perpetuate.
"People are surely free to disagree with us on the facts," Dale Jones
Ummm...i dont recall any religion ever using facts.
Three words for you: Mountain Meadows Massacre... Look it up.
"We Atheists scare the hell (literally) out of believers. Reality (finite existence) doesn't sit well with them and they certainly don't want anyone challenging what they want to believe."
This guy nailed it. Reality sucks but it's reality :[
Considering the article is wrong and so are you. Bring it on. Mormons are not afraid of atheists because we know there is an after life.
you think you know there is an afterlife. that is the problem. nobody knows. well, facts know there isnt, but who uses those anyway?
Yes, Mormons have a monopoly on knowing THEIR religion is the one true religion. It was told to them by a bunch of old white men surrounded by dozens of teen age wives. Very credible.
Mom, if you had been born and raised in Thailand or Ja.pan or India or Saudi Arabia you'd have the same conviction
But which afterlife?
Jehovah's Witnesses say you can only get to heaven if you're one of them
The Norse believed you'd need to die in battle to please Odin and get Valhalla.
Mormons believe you need to learn secret masonic handshakes, get a new name and learn the passwords to get into the Celestial Kingdom.
There are many visions of "the afterlife". They can't all be right, but they can all be wrong.
I agree. As a Christian (and former atheist) I'm not afraid of them at all.
If the Thumpers really and truly believed in an afterlife then there would be not be all this weeping and wailing at funerals. Imagine if your friend, son, or mother won a multi-million dollar lottery: you'd be happy for them right? Well "heaven" is the bigger than the biggest lottery win, and yet there is this sadness which, according to many customs, goes on for a year or more.
I'll say this for the middle-east nutjobs that blow themselves up in the name of the prophet: they at least put their money where their mouth is. They are believers to the core, unshaken, and willing to die for their faith.
Another thing JC,
If they knew there was a heaven, they would certainly not be promoting that fact to others.
They would not want all the good lots taken as they would want them for themselves and their family.
My question to the fundies is;
In heaven, who will control the remote?
Mormons are not Christians.
Yes they are. Mormons believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world.
Mormons are not Christians
Christians should be called Paulists
Chocolate Easter Bunnies are not made of real chocolate.
Doesn't matter, they are both full of sh it.
Unicorns aren't trolls, but that doesn't make one bit of difference here in reality.
Just wondering when the so-called "left-wing media" is going to ask Romney about his religious beliefs. For example, "What are your views about people of color?" "Were you donating money to your church prior to 1978 when the racist views of your church did not permit black people to be part of LDS?" "Do you believe that a woman's role is strictly to bear children as your church states?" "Do you believe that the angel Moroni came from another planet to visit LDS's founder Joseph Smith?" And "Do you really wear 'magic underwear'?"
Your questions are ridiculous and based on false and misleading information.
Wouldn't those questions be more likely to be asked by evangelical Christians rather than liberals? Be honest...you know its true.
Did you not just read the article? Black people have always been able to be members of the church, since it's inception. The LDS church let African Americans into their door long before many other dominations.
Oh yeah – the early Mormons LOVED black people and invited them to join the church so they can learn the TRUTH of who they are.
1. "The Juvenile Instructor" is an LDS tome used to indoctrinate children.
Here is an excerpt from an early edition:
"We will first inquire into the results of the approbation or displeasure of God upon a people, starting with the belief that a black skin is a mark of the curse of Heaven placed upon some portions of mankind. Some, however, will argue that a black skin is not a curse, nor a white skin a blessing. In fact, some have been so foolish as to believe and say that a black skin is a blessing, and that the ne.gro is the finest type of a perfect man that exists on the earth; but to us such teachings are foolishness.
We understand that when God made man in his own image and pronounced him very good, that he made him white. We have no record of any of God's favored servants being of a black race...every angel who ever brought a message of God's mercy to man was beautiful to look upon, clad in the purest white and with a countenance bright as the noonday sun. (Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 3, page 157)
The RCC allows women in the door but they cannot be clergy. The RCC has restrictions on gay believers. How is the RCC's position on these two areas different from the mormon's?
AA could have made a better argument with the many hair-brained statements made in Mormon scripture. Of course, that is the case with most scriptures, human ignorance portrayed as Devine Revelation.
Hey! That divine scripture what read out of a hat. You better respect it otherwise the magical man in the sky won't give you your own world where you can be god too and oppress as many women and blacks as you like.
I have a problem understanding why athiests spend so much time attacking christianity. Okay, so you don't believe in God. Why are you so sinsitive toward those who do. Why does a cross along side a road upset you so much. Why do you care? If you don't believe, then the cross should mean nothing to you and yet you spend time and money (taxpayer's money) suing to have it removed. Makes no sense to me at all.
If you don't/can't/won't understand I don't think I can help you, eventhough it's painfully simple. But your post leads to a question: Why do YOU care what Atheists think?!
Because believers insist on imposing laws on everyone based on their childish silly beliefs. If believers would behave like those who believe in astrology, there wouldn't be a problem.
But Mormonism is not Christianity. It's chock full of easliy disproven falacies and historical errancy.
It's because of the First Amendment. Permitting religious symbols on public land is seen as a tacit endorsement of religion by the government, something that is expressly prohibited by the First Amendment.
@ God's own Landlord - For your information, Christianity is also chock full of fallacies and historical inaccuracies.
Christians represent 70% of the country. Stop acting like you are the one being discriminated against when you are the overwhelming majority in this country. Wear a t-shirt that says "athiest" on it for a day and see how you are treated. Freedom of religion and freedom to enforce your religion on others are two diffrent things. I mean you cant spell "sensitive" yet you seem to have the meaning of life figured out and know all the answers. Give me a break.
And atheists believe in forcing their beliefs and laws on everyone too. So, we are all in the same boat. But certain atheists are more intolerant than those who belong to other religions. Yes, atheism is a religion. Regardless of what you might think.
@ floridamom1 - Your comments must certainly qualify you for some prize awarded for ignorance.
Wayne, it is because you Christians keep making laws hurting the atheists and people who dont believe what you do. remember the 50's when the atheists, socialists and communists were rounded up by McCarthy? Remember when you put "God" on our money in the 50's? remember when you made us swear on the bible in court? shall i go on? leave us alone, and we will do the same. i think that line is written somewhere in your holy book.
Whether or not atheism is a religion is totally irrelevant. Atheists do not say there should be laws because The Babble (unproven fiction) or some god (unproven allegedly supernatural being) says so. It's way past the time for believers to prove their unproven beliefs, or go the way of astrology. There is not a single shred of independent, verifiable, objective or factual evidence for any god. None!!
You fundies just don't get it Lil Wayne.
We could care less if you believe in god, the tooth fairy, or the boogieman. Go ahead and believe.
What we have a huge issue with is you trying to force your belief on us in the forms of laws, regulations, in medicine, in our schools or anywhere in the public square.
If you want to howl at the moon that is your right, but don't try to drag the rest of us out there with you.
only crosses paid for with tax payer money can be removed using tax money. you can have as many crosses as you want in your front yard.
Interesting, I am attending a seminar on "I don't have enough faith to be an Atheist" lately. Strange, if they do not believe in Christ then it should not matter who attends any church let alone a particular church. It is not a social gathering. While there are social meetings after church, during church it is the worship of Christ, the Father and the Holy Ghost or the Trinity. It also shows the ignorance of these people of the Christian faith altogether. But then if you do not believe what is the problem? I m sure that if any atheist wanted to go to any church of God, Catholic, Jewish, protestant, or whatever denomination that followed the teachings and belief of God, then they would find themselves welcome. They would also find that the church would delight in teaching them the true word. So come one come all of the nonbelievers we are waiting for you with open minds.
I've been to one of those myself! Very cool stuff.
Believe as you wish but keep it out of the public square and all aspects of government. Not everyone shares your belief or your god.
One thing I'm certain you don't have is an open mind!
Here's the thing Choir Boy... When you believe that which is irrational and invalid, you become a danger to others. Like a disease, you may infect others with your irrational dogma.
Ah, no, we would not be welcome.
Once we proclaimed our disbelief, and then started asking for proof of your imaginary friend, we would be asked to leave.
Just like I was asked to leave Sunday school back in my youth when my folks forced me to go.
I found out at an early age that the catholic church does not like their dogma questioned.
And as I got older I have found that ALL religions don't like their dogma questioned. The muslims still kill non believers just like the xtain religions did back in the day.
So you are wrong choir boy, all that unconditional love bull does not apply to those who believe in a different sky fairy, or to ones who don't believe at all.
Which "dogma" are you questioning?
Yes, open minds. You are waiting with open pockets.
If you think it takes faith to be an atheist, then you either don't understand the definition of the word atheist or faith.
Ah, the idiot Topher is back... Which dogma? How about all of if. But you can start with the proposal that any god exists and that The Babble is "his" word.
Gee Toghper, I quess all of it.
Like creationism, the whole trinity thing, jeebus' existence, hell, heaven, god.
Does that clearify anything for you?
Guys, I'm willing to talk about any of that. Which do you want to discuss first?
OK, first talk about the proof you have that any of it is true.
Then talk about why your religion is the correct one out of the countless thousands that have/do exist.
Then talk about why, if your god is so powerful, we have all these horrible things happen to us and to the planet.
Then talk about why, if your god is true, there are so many different versions of it, and in some cases multiple ones.
I guess that would be a good start.
OK, I gotta go to my church now, the gym.
But I will be back Gopher, and will check if you have found any proof of your imaginary friend or have come up with any coherent answers to my questions that don't involve magic or just your word for it.
Dude. Let me know when you get back and we can have a conversation. I'll be happy to discuss any of that with you. Would you like my e-mail?
Had a really good training day.
If you guys are still doing crunchies or ab machines, stop. About the worst thing you can do to your body.
Switch to plank exercises for your core. Amazing.
I don't need your email gopher. Just give us a little synopsis on the peer reviewed proof you have of your god hypothesis.
We, the non believers have been waiting for that since forever.
Dude, are you still around? I'm excited to talk to you about all this.
Just like christianity, only nuttier.
Yeah that's how I always saw it, Judaism-lite
Brigham Young taught Mormons that black people are descended from Cain, and their dark skin is a curse upon their sinful race. He stated clearly, "Any man having one drop of the seed of Cane in him cannot hold the priesthood." Other Mormon preachers and writings refer to dark skin as the Curse of Ham, being a punishment for looking at Ham's dad's genitals.
Now, it's no surprise that Joseph Smith was the only disciple of jesus to take a gunshot to the face. Some have said that the Wizard in Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz was poking fun at Smith transcribing the magic plates from behind his magic curtain, pretending he had the power to save people.
Once again, wrong information, especially that bit about the gunshot to the face. Lies, all of it.
Mormonism, and it's racism, began in the 1820's. The Southern Baptist Convention, founded because they were just sure that their version of god wanted them to own black folks, formed in the 1840's.
Both groups held these views for a long long time. The Mormons recanted in the 1970's, and the SBC finally apologized in the 1990's.
There is no way you can justify that one group is less wrong than the other.
Sound the alarm there's an atheist billboard!!
Meanwhile we have:
Bibles in every motel room
"God" on our money
Prayer before public events
Christian cable networks 24/7
Discounts on insurance for being christian
Churches every 6 blocks in every city over 100,000
Christian bookstores in every town over 12,000
"God" in the Pledge of Allegiance
Christian billboards along the highway advertising Vacation Bible School and “repent or go to He.ll”
Federally recognized Christian holiday
Religious organizations are tax free
75% of the population claims to be Christian
National day of prayer
"God" in the National Anthem
Weekday Christian Education for elementary students.
The christian taliban is hard at work
We Atheists scare the hell (literally) out of believers. Reality (finite existence) doesn't sit well with them and they certainly don't want anyone challenging what they want to believe.
As all us atheists know very well, "this is a christian country!"
They, the fundies, can't stand anyone or anything questioning that, as they don't have any proof to back up their claim it is a xtian country.
And they don't have any proof to back up their god hypothesis either.
But it won't stop them from doing everything they can to make the rest of us go along with them.
Sad to say, but this billboard will only help Rmoney.
It will be hailed as yet another "attack" on religion.
YOU KNOW-THERE ARE PLENTY OF GODLESS COUNTRIES-WHY DONT YOU GO TO ONE???
Love it or leave it, right?
You know, there are countries that believe even stronger in sky fairy myths then this one, why don't you move to one?
don't forget the latest. Christian Mingle, a dating service. if you get a date its gods will, if you don't it's gods will. no company responsibility that way. how devious can you be? 9 – 11 – 1857, the first 9-11 anti-American terror act.
What would you expect from atheists? They have no fear of lying. Blacks were not allowed into the PRIESTHOOD until 1978. They have always been allowed to be members. Gays are allowed to be members as well, though many remain in the closet, like they do in most faiths.
" Gays are allowed to be members as well, though many remain in the closet, like they do in most faiths"
Yeah, gays are allowed as long as they stay in the closet.
But magic underwear is just fine.
Take the first five letters of Moroni, and you have Mormonisn in a nutshell.
Why did it take a "revelation" in 1978? Wasn't slavery outlawed back in 1862? Would the church still ban blacks from priesthood if a revelation never came? Wouldn't it have been more Christ-like to do it because it was the RIGHT thing today rather than being directed to do so by a revelation? What does that say about the church? And maybe someone should have shared that revelation with the Southern Baptist Convention sooner.
So what if Blacks were allowed to attend? They were not allowed to hold the priesthood and THAT! is very important to the backbone of the church. Not being a priesthood holder would prevent them from being able to attend the Temple.
Sure, you can be gay, but it's considered a sin and a gay persons cross to bear and should not be acted upon. Spindoctor it all you want.
Your comments are wrong. There are many gays in the LDS faith that are out of the closet and many of them go to BYU.
and as members if they were worthy they got to go to a white mans planet and be his servant for eternity. did that part get changed?
So hubert, if there is no evidence that something exists, it therefore must not exist? Based limited information?
Correct. If there is no evidence for something, how could it possibly exist? There is no evidence for the existence of purple elephants, therefore purple elephants do not exist.
You would need to present an unbiased source of information saying that thing exists first, meaning you'd need reason to believe in gods other than other people telling you they are real, since people are very obviously prone to manipulating the truth. Without evidence, there is no cause to believe, especially not in stories that we know would break the very laws of physics. (I don't really need a science experiment to tell me that snakes or donkeys can't speak, but the majority of the US population believes that they can.)
No advertising is ever accurate, but it's intended to provoke a larger discussion of facts. I wonder if the Mormon church will be open to discussing all of the facts about their history.
Mario, the Mormon church spends a great deal of time talking about their history. You just want it to be your wrong and misinformed view of history you want them to talk about. Let's talk about this.....if God tells you to do something, do you ignore him and do what you want because you think he is wrong? Hmmmmmmm. Well, maybe you do, but some people are actually interested in knowing what the will of God is and in doing it. Make your own choice, it's up to you. But, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Tooth Fairy 2012!
"It" borrowed not "I".
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.