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.”
Wake up Athiests. It isn't just mormons saying not to gays. It's just about every religious order out there.
" Wake up Athiests. It isn't just mormons saying not to gays. It's just about every religious order out there. "
True... a majority of the monotheistic religions (christianity, Islam, Judaism) are *especially* intolerant.
However... a "mormon," who "is" against gays being able to marry, have equal rights, believes it's a "sin" -evil, etc... is running for President.
The current President came out and took a bold stand for equality.
See the difference ?
They would rather say yes to gays thatn say yes to someones right to their own beliefs
Looks like athiests are operating like a religion.
Jack3 – by that standard, a local bowling league acts like a religion
You Wrote to Jack 63: " They would rather say yes to gays thatn[sic] say yes to someones right to their own beliefs "
I have no idea what you are talking about here. Please elaborate.
@ jack3 no you have the right to believe what ever you want, but we might mock you for believing in something that has talking snakes, a story about the world flooding and being able to fit all the animals on the planet on one boat, that believes in magic, that believes a person lived in the belly of a whale, and that people coexisted with dinosaurs all without any actual proof.
Are atheists doing the same to Obama? If not, they are Hypocrites. If you believe there is no god, then why do you chose one set of religious beliefs over another? Golden plates, underwear, visions in America... those things are super weird, but parting the Red Sea or someone living in the belly of a whale, now that's normal. Really it's one set of weird beliefs against another set of similarly weird beliefs. But even being an atheist takes "belief."
Yes, they(religious beliefs) all seem to be crazy and insane.
What some are fighting against are the harmful actions that turn into laws that flow from said beliefs. No one has equal rights except hetero's, no stem cell research, 'creationism' as science, etc... etc... etc..
Get the point ?
Multiple religious beliefs can have varying levels of harm or discrimination. As for going after Obama personally, they don't need to. Their criticisms of Christianity in general also criticize Obama's beliefs. It's just hair-splitting on mainline Christianity whether to criticize traditional black-American denominations, or just go after the god of the religion in general. LDS/Mormon is very different than a subset of Christianity (most Christians don't consider it Christianity at all), and therefore since it is not as well known as mainline Christianity (Catholic and Protestant), criticizing particular details (hair-splitting) is still useful on educating others on LDS beliefs – even if done so in a negative way.
" But even being an atheist takes "belief.""
My goodness you're stupid. Being an atheist means not believing in a god. So your saying that not believing "takes belief". That's like saying not eating takes a restaurant or not swimming requires a pool
There is no way this could backfire could it.
Atheist can be so stupid sometimes.....
Well, if I didn't have a reason to vote for Romney before, I have one now. Athiests need to quit whining, grow up, and get a life. Their mean-spirited pettiness is why nobody likes them; they are arrogant and lack self-awareness, which is why they always attack popular causes, and then they can't figure out why they get nothng but flak in response. Their only gripe is about people having religious beliefs period, which legally does nothing to harm them, physically or otherwise. Their 'religious oppression' is purely emotional and thin- skinned, much akin to Lex Luthor becoming Superman's arch-enemy because he caused him to lose his hair. In other words, they're pathetic!
As opposed to what? The thin stew of ad hominem BS you just posted? You don't even get to call the kettle black after that, potboy.
"Their only gripe is about people having religious beliefs period, which legally does nothing to harm them"
That's why so many religious people are working so hard to deny gays and lesbians their civil rights that harms them and their families. Duh!
-–Filing joint income tax returns with the I R S and state taxing authorities.
-–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.
Estate Planning Benefits
-–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
-–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
-–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
-–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.
-–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
-–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
-–Receiving public assistance benefits.
-–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
-–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
-–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
-–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.
-–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
-–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.
-–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
-–Making burial or other final arrangements.
-–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
-–Applying for joint foster care rights.
-–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
-–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.
-–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
-–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.
-–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
-–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
-–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
-–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
-–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
-–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
-–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
-–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
-–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
-–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.
i love how you Christians always in one sentence call atheists mean while you insult them. i am sorry that we think you are silly for believing in creationism.
Swap out Atheists for Christians in your rant, and it still remains valid.
You must be completely unaware of the violent and oppressive history of the Christian Church, HM8432. You're not alone. How can you believe in things this important without looking into them? Do you simply take for granted everything you were taught when you were seven? Do you read much history? Science? I mean now, now that you're a grown-up. Or is it that everything you need to know you learned kindergarten? That's what it seems like when I read your comments. Superman? Did you know that Superman is just another of so many christ-myths? Or did the prologue of that last Superman movie not hit you over the head hard enough? Do you realize that there are brilliant learned people in the world who devote their entire lives to attaining knowledge? Luckily for people like you, they write books. Look into it.
@HM: everyone let's give HM a round of applause for showing all we evil and mean atheists how sweet and kind the religious are.
Ole Barry flipflop Obama rides again
Remember when Obama was agaisnt gay marraige in the first part of his presidency? Flip flop, flip flop. flip flop
Remenber when Romney ran to France to avoid the Vietnam draft? Coward, Traitor, Coward, Traitor, Coward......
No, I don't.
So let me get this straight. You want a president to form an opinion and stick to it regardless of new information he might acquire? And you don't see any thing wrong with that idea?
He was elected by his position on the issues. To change them midstream is unfair to the ones that elected him.
Obama was elected to be president. This means that we, Americans, selected him to make decisions for the country at the national level. I want the top decision maker in the country to be using the most up to date information, even if that information makes him change a campaign position.
So, then what is the point of even campaigning for office when folks will just change their decision message after they get into office? Any "information" can be twisted and made to justify a change.
Remember that guy Dick Cheney and that company Halliburton?
Romney sux, but attacking his religion is lame.
Well, I'm not voting for Romney. You can feel free to attack Mormonism. But I don't like anyone attacking any candidate for his/her religion. It's not American's game.
That's okay. Just do not attack the Hindu, Muslim,Athiest,Buddist ect. presidents to come.
" But I don't like anyone attacking any candidate for his/her religion."
What a person holds as their "beliefs" is certainly open for questioning and is fair game... especially someone who is running for President of the U.S.
So you'd rather vote for a president tha lies and makes deals behind his country's back such as Obama on Libya and our missle shield with Putin?
seriously? This article made it to the front page?
CNN is in a tailspin...quickly becoming an unreliable news source!
Kolob is a star or planet described in Mormon scripture. Reference to Kolob is found in the Book of Abraham, a work published by Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. According to this work, Kolob is the heavenly body nearest to the throne of God.
"Kolob, signifying the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God.
Kolob is an actual star or planet in this universe that is, or is near, the physical throne of God. According to Joseph Smith, Jr
Really? Don't really care because this isn't an issue. Try again.
dont forget that our sun gets its light from the Kolob star! Also YOU TOO CAN BE GOD! God is just another God in the line of Mormon Gods...you too can be God over your own planet...most believe that God lords over this Universe...not Mormons...the believe they will be God over their OWN PLANET! people need to know this crap!
Yes... and a burning bush or walking on water or raising the dead is totally realistic? You can take any religion in the world and find things that are weird or unexplainable. That's where someone's faith or "belief" system kicks in. Even the atheist has to "believe" that there is no god, so at the core, they're just another weird religion trying to prove that their beliefs are more justified and plausible than someone else's.
“because of their iniquity….the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them” (2 Nephi 5:21).
2 Nephi 26:33 "He (God) inviteth all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile."
So basically, Dave, the Book of Mormon contradicts itself. Given that it's a blatant fraud anyway, you'd think they'd at least manage some internal consistency.
@ Dave – " and all are alike unto God" So, in light of this verse, why couldn't black men be priests until 1978? And why can't women be priests even today?
Mike, why should the Book of Mormon be internally consistent? The Bible certainly isn't.
Atheism at it machinations that are derisive, divisive, distracting, and malicious.
Seriously, imagine the persecutions and meanness if Atheism gained more power over our governance.
Atheism has already expelled our cultural diversity from the public square.
" Atheism has already expelled our cultural diversity from the public square. "
You mean they fight for the separation of *christian lunacy* and government.
The christians are 'not' for cultural diversity. Christians would be just pleased as punch if the Muslim's wanted to put their "star and crescents" everywhere.
It is funny that the people who claim they are the most tolerant in theory (the liberal media and left) and actually the least tolerant in fact.
Give an example on how atheism has "expelled cultural diversity from the public square".
Atheists by and large do not want atheism legislated or running government, we would like people to use reason to come to their conclusions not force. This statement can be easily argued as being more true than yours "religion at it machinations that are derisive, divisive, distracting, and malicious".
Will Romney address the Mormonism CULT issue? Let's demand that he does. Isn't Mormonisn really a CULT by definition?
Yes... and actually one could classify almost all religions as a "cult," by definition.
...and the Black Power folks want him and all white candidates to explain "white Privilege". A few feminist would want both Oba and Rom to explain the male subjugation.
Folks, feel that their "gotcha" is the ultimate "gotcha" that will bring down those in opposition. If I were Rom I would be pushing Rev Wright and posting over and over in commercials.
Why do people feel that a professional politicians, such as Rom and Oba, can be taken down by a simple issue. Do you think that Oba and Rom do not have a answer already vetted and designed to nullify most negative issues they might face?
Your demanding that Rom address something is the same as if me and you are facing Tom Brady and we come up with the "original" idea .... hey lets Blitz Brady.... he will never have a response .... "
All religions are by definition. No difference at all.
Yes, you're right in that the candidates most certainly will have vetted responses to pretty much anything that can be thrown at them.
And... it doesn't meant that those questions shouldn't be asked and addressed in the public square.
I enjoy, after the debates, going on and reading the non-fox news, non-msnbc, etc... fact checkers to see who lied when.
It's actually very interesting and does go to informing who I will vote for.
Who exactly is Joseph Smith in the Mormon CULT? Does he take the place of Jesus Christ? Do Mormons really believe in the christian bible as we know it? Americans need answers to these questions as we debate electing a Mormon CULT LEADER to be our president.
Yes, Mormons accept the Bible as the word of God.
First of all, we are no more a cult than the Lutheran or Methodist or any other faith. Speaking of bigotry, intolerance, and ignorance there's been a whole lot of that directed at Mormons, and the cult reference is one of them.
Joseph Smith's role is no different than that of Moses' or or Isaiah's or Peter's. He was a witness of Christ who led Christ's church. We do not worship Joseph Smith, but, like the Christian world follows the writings of Moses and Peter and Paul, we also follow the writings of Joseph Smith and the 15 prophets that have come after him.
Romney will be no more influenced by our prophet than Reagan was by the Pope. He is most certainly not racist, nor should any member of the church be.
Max- Mormonism is not a cult. Joseph Smith was the prophet of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The official church name is The Church of JESUS CHRIST (not Joseph Smith) of Latter Day Saints. The church deeply studies and believes the King James version of the Bible. go to mormon.org for more information. Everything you ever would want to know about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints and its members can be found on that site. Its 2012, If you choose not to genuinely learn about it then you are the instigator of your own ignorance.
Joseph Smith is the founder of Mormonism. He doesn't replace Jesus in the Mormon faith. Mormon's do believe in the Bible. They also believe in the Book of Mormon as another religious testament of Christ. Mormons do believe in Christ, but Christians typically disagree with the Mormon's stance on Christ. You can view Mormonism as a Christian faith with some additional weird twists and turns.
As far as a cult, aren't all Christian religions cults? Is it a stretch to believe that Christ went 40 days without food, fended off the devil, walked on water, etc., and not believe that a 14 year old boy saw God, found and translated an ancient text with seer stones, or that Catholics invoke stigmata? All religious voodoo is suspect. If you truly want to be a Christian, align yourself not with a religion, but with what Christ taught about kindness and love.
Also, Romney's not going to address these questions. If you have them, research them.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, let me answer those questions for you. We believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior and our God. Joseph Smith was just a man like unto all other men who were called to be prophets throughout time such as Noah, Abraham or Moses. We hold him in no higher regard than we do other prophets. And we believe the Bible to be the word of God, (we most commonly use the King James Version).
First up, people should stop referring to this religion as a cult. All religions are cults then. Next, Smith was their first prophet. he in no way, takes the place of Jesus. Anyone that says so is lying to you. Next, they do accept the Holy Bible. But only the King James Version of it.
"We believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior and our God. Joseph Smith was just a man like unto all other men who were called to be prophets throughout time such as Noah, Abraham or Moses. We hold him in no higher regard than we do other prophets."
You are either using "theocratic warfare" or you know nothing about your faith.
1. To mormons, jesus was just michael the archangel disguise as human.
2. Mormons hold Smith as high as jesus. For Mormons he was a savior not a prophet.
Doctrine Over Person means allowing the cult’s teachings to take front and center stage over everything else you have experienced in your life. Doctrine Over Person is taking many of the experiences you’ve had and either denying they ever existed or suppressing/avoiding them in order to perpetuate the belief system of the cult. In other words, even if you know something is NOT the way it is presented by the cult, you skew your value and belief system in order to align with the cult’s doctrine.
You have the audacity to tell a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints what his Church teaches? Really? Your information, while factually incorrect, shows you have an astounding capacity for ignorance.
Freedom of religion does not mean freedom to impose your religion on others.
Tell that to the atheist that are imposing their own social doctrine and expelling the diversity of cultures from the public square.
Mike: As an atheist myself, if I saw any, I certainly would.
@mike b: so how exactly are we atheists "expelling the diversity of cultures"?
1) universal health care for all, yeah that's evil.
2) equal rights regardless of se-xual orientation? yeah that's those evil atheists.
3) prefering scienctific achievement over religious obedience? yup there's those devils.
4) fair pay for females in the work place? yeah you got us atheists again.
5) permitting females to deside what to do with their own bodies? that's wrong we should repent.
6) having sympothy for the terminally ill suffering daily with an non-curible disease. yeah that us evil atheists.
seeing we atheists are committing such evil actions as equality and freedom of choice for females, what are you doing to stop us? lmfao
atheist.org – An organization of Benevolence?
Seriously, people turn to religion to learn forbearance to deal with the asinine meanness of atheist and those that deny their stewardship of goodwill to others.
No they don't. People turn to religion because they were raised to believe it and because they're afraid a guy in red tights will spend eternity poking them in the butt with a pitchfork if they're don't knuckle under. Your "forebearance" for your intellectual and moral betters is amusing at best.
Mike D – You obviously are in denial. People change their affiliations over a lifetime. How do you think Atheism is growing its numbers. This is another way that atheist shames people into converting to their anti-social doctrine.
Did you read that before you posted it? It makes no sense at all. It is atheists who turn away from the superstitions.
Atheism is growing in this country and around the world because people are better educated and informed than at any point in human history. There is still a long, long way to go, but I do hold out some hope that our species will eventually excise the intellectual sinkhole that is religion.
itsallaloadofbollocks – Then you are in denial. Denial of your own meanness and actively engaged in the efforts to deny the liberties of others.
Mike D – Atheism is growing because there is an acceptance of people who are self absorbed and selfish.
B, that combination of blinders and Kool-Aid is really rather fetching on you.
@mike b: atheism is growing because we have more unbiased access to information now. people can view scienctific findings almost as fast as they are discovered.
hell what can i say, religion exists in the past and always wants to keep us there; science looks to the furture and gives us hope for better things. religion has nothing to contribute to today's world.
Romney is MOBILIZING the 6 million plus eligible MORMON voters – Ya'll better wake up! The Mormons are a sleeper cell and have been commanded to attack the polls in two weeks – Even the missionaries over seas will be able to VOTE! LOOK OUT!
Doesn't Harry Reid have something to say about that?
The Mormon church is political neutral in terms of candidates and parties. Even if they were active, the Mormon numbers are insignificant for the election.
Buddy, LDS members are on a whole more politically active than most other groups. They'll probably be voting in the same numbers as they did 4 years ago, and there's 15 million members, still not very big compared to America's 300,000,000 citizens.
Yep, overseas Mormons do get to vote, just like any US citizen that's overseas – amazing, it's any expatriate's right as a citizen. Mind blown? Also, Mormons make up a percent or two of the U.S. population. This is a sleeper cell of enormous proportion – watch the hell out.
Having sat in a Mormon "church" while the leadership told the people WHO to vote for, I can't believe you can say the Mormon church is politically neutral with a straight face. As for bigotry, try living in Utah or Idaho as a nonMormon. Discrimination is alive and well...just think how a Romney administration will be–it's a great thing IF you are one of his believers. Otherwise, expect deals in secret and discrimination that will be hard for anyone to prove but will be apparent from the the results.
Will Romney address the Mormonism CULT issue? Let's demad that he does.
WAKE UP AMERICA.......Romney is not good for the country. Remember this one of his highest Monmon friends said this
"Romney wins it will be like kingdow on earth at the white house". So what is this saying. Wake Up......there is a plan.
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