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 $8,000, is an attack on Romney specifically. A spokeswoman for the Romney campaign said she would not comment on the sign.
“Nobody seems to be talking about the implications of having a very religious Mormon president,” Silverman said. “There are a lot of things about Mormons that people don’t know, including the fact that racism is an important part of their dogma.”
The LDS Church has largely tried to stay out of the politics surrounding the presidential campaign, even though it has received increased attention due to Romney’s candidacy. This billboard, writes Jones, is "obviously" about the "personal politics" of American Atheists.
"We have consistently kept out of the political campaign," Jones wrote. "People can see this (billboard) for what it is."
American Atheists has a long history in using billboards to call out religion and get its message out. During the political conventions in August and September, the group put up billboards attacking Mormonism and Christianity, taking aim at the faith of both presidential candidates.
This mobile billboard, however, is a departure from the standard American Atheist tactic of multiple billboards on multiple religions. According to Silverman, this is because Romney’s faith hasn’t been addressed enough in the 2012 election.
“We all understand the implications of having a Christian president. We do not understand the implications of having a Mormon president,” Silverman said. “We are not taking a position on the election, we are taking a stance on ignorance.”
Of course I'm laughing because I just got my meds here in the psych ward and I'm just high as a kite! You know that everyone has a problem with me because I know I am Jesus Christ!
evil doppleganger! LOL!
Evil what? If you're that mental why are you on here?
I heard that L Ron Hubbard's "Battelfield Earth" is Mitt Romneys favorite novel, can anyone confirm?
I've always wondered if there is a relationship between LDS and Co$.
Yes, it is Mittens favorite book...or one of them. And yes, both cults are mega rich corporations...I'd say they have a lot in common, including their deep need for secrecy.
Finally, a thread bashing Mormons. I've been waiting for this for a long time – I can't believe that this retard has gotten as far as he has, what with belonging to the most ridiculous religion in the world and all. As much as I'd love to spend the day mocking and belittling Mormons, I'll just ask one simple question. How in the thousand hells is someone who is forbidden by his religion to watch "R" rated movies supposed to be our commander in chief? That's all I want to know.
Of all the idiotic arguments in the world, that is the one you choose?! ROFLMAO!
Vote for Obama. Vote for justice, accountability, a man who says what he means and does what he says. Vote for what is decent and right for America, all of America. Vote for the man who will stand up for women's rights, for equal rights, for equal pay, and the chance for a good life for all Americans, not just the wealthy. Vote for the future, for technology and education and a decent world for our children. If you think deeply and unselfishly you will see Obama is not only the better choice, but that he is truly special. You likely won't see the likes of a statesman of Obama's caliber again in your lifetime. In their own time most of the great presidents from both parties have been tested by events, and many faced a challenging path to election– Lincoln, Jefferson, FDR, Kennedy. Obama will be compared by history to such men. Look at his steady hand in foreign policy. Getting the job done with Bin Laden. Ending wars successfully rather than starting them recklessly. Effective and respected when working with world leaders. Look at his courage in taking the difficult path with healthcare—so badly in need of change. Look at his foresight in moving America towards clean energy, and away from dependency on foreign oil, and environmental damage from fossil fuels. Take the long view, the unselfish view, the righteous and patriotic view. Vote for Obama.
I'd rather have a Mormon for my President, than a Muslim.
Then it's an easy election for you, as there are no Muslims running this year. Congrats.
I'm an idiot.
Obama says the sermon on the mount is the wrong way to dictate policy. He is no Christian.
Ryan is a hypocrite. He say that the debt is an abomination but he voted for the majority of it!
Ummm....how should our government be run according the the sermon on the mount anymore than what the Buddha taught or what Allah taught or what Winnie the Pooh taught? Seriously? Anybody need to move to the Middle East where they can be a theocrat instead of living in a free country?
excuse me james, where is your proof that obama is a muslim. Maybe you should get your facts together before you start sharing your ignorance with the world. I'm so tired of republicans alike claiming this man is a muslim and not a us citizen. he showed his birth certificate what more do you want. Your ignorance disgusts me, maybe instead of trolling cnn blogs you should invest in some much needed educational courses
Ok, I've been caught. I am a pathological liar, but I can't help it, and besides, the mormon church pays me to post on here, because I'm one of the few that can respond really fast with a lot of confusing things to mislead people.
We are so glad you prefaced that statement saying you are a pathological liar.
I guess I've made the big time now with some troll impersonating me. That's like, so junior-high. Truly pathetic, and a true validation of what a mean-spirited, bigoted loser you truly are.
I have tried to post comments three times now on this article, each has not been posted. CNN – censored news network.
look for embedded forbidden word like t.it in const.itution
Good for this organization. Mormonism is not accepting of gay people as I know from many gay ex-Mormons and would-still-be-Mormons in my community. Jones is spinning and CNN is repeating it. Conservative religions do a lot of horrible things under the claim of free speech, but usually don't recognize that those who criticize religious intolerance deserve the right to free speech also.
Atheist obviously don't understand God's will!
"Atheist obviously don't understand God's will!"
Very true!. It is difficult to understand the will of a (likely) non-existent being.
Just like "Citizens United" and All the Super-PAC lies, it's "Free Speech". So while we have the Supreme "Court" we're stuck with, shut up and deal with it.
Every single American should read John Krakauers's "Under the Banner of Heaven" before voting for a Mormon. This so-called "church" has done a wonderful job of convincing the American public that it's simply another Christian faith – which it's not. It's history is very short and full of outrageous, grossly dishonest, murderous, and anti-American behavior.
One hears a lot of whining these days from religious people about how they are being persecuted, rights taken away, etc. What a joke. The reality is, they've become so thin-skinned that they can't take any criticism. Question someone's faith and you're likely to be labeled a bigot – or worse. This is religion's effort to shut down any sort of sensible debate. Faith is something untouchable, even if its ridiculous, absurd, and totally unprovable.
Mormonism deserves INTENSE scrutiny from the voter. Of course the Mormon church paints itself with broad, lily white brushstrokes, but look for answers and information anywhere outside of their propaganda machine and you'll get a very different picture of the church. Talk to ex-Mormons and you'll be shocked. Read the history of the church, the REAL history (you know, the one that explains how Native Americans were turned brown by an angry God and therefore it was ok to kill them), not the church's revisionist history.
And while the Mormon church may claim to have gay members, how many of them are out? How many of them are well-adjusted members of society, not repressed, destructive closet cases? Being a Gay Mormon is kind of like being a Jewish Nazi. You have to REALLLLLLLY hate yourself.
I agree 110%. Before anyone votes for Romney, they should peruse The Mormon Handbook of Instruction 2006 (like on Wikipedia) and see that not only gays are condemned; but, unmarried women are too. A single woman has "sinned against God" and will not enter celestial heaven. If you are a female in the Moron church, the only way you can enter heaven is via your husband. Imagine growing up under that kind of pressure?!
robbyx, you obviously have an agenda against the mormon faith. The book you mention is not a serious and honest acount of anything that resembles the truth. This book may appeal to the gullible who rise to such bait like trout to a fly hook, but serious readers who want to understand Latter-day Saints and their beliefs won't find the truth there. I know, maybe actually read the Book of Mormon with an honest heart.
UT2VA: Who needs history and fact when you have the Book of Mormon, right? Krakauer is a well-respected journalist. The Book of Mormon was dreamed up by a convicted felon during his stint in jail for fraud. I have nothing against Mormons in particular. I have a lot against stupidity in general. Mormon, one "m" too many.
UT2...so "Under The Banner of Heaven" is not a REAL book with any honest research or facts, but your Book of Mormon, written by a convicted criminal is? How thrilling it must be to have the power to say something like that.
Mormons are SO quick to cry about agendas against them....Why? Because you're told that only Gods chosen people will be persecuted the most. So to be chosen of God, you have to suffer the most and to do that, you have to believe that everyone is out to get you. So basically you're one big neurotic religion based on self-martryism. WOW! That's real healthy.
Gee a religious organization which believes that sodomy is a sin does not want to admit people who practice it on a regular basis...how strange this must be to liberals.
Though I am a sodomite myself, I just had to voice how unfair the mormons are to people like me and I thought my first post might not have come across as sarcastic, which is how I meant it to be. I love me a big....in my butt!
Hey, Sodomites pay taxes, they should get equal rights. Besides, you don't go to Sodom for the beaches, you go to Sodom for the Sodomy!!
Why does everyone accept the fact that the "facts" are in number 10 font on a BILLBOARD?!?!
cgil, are you saying that you want gay people in your ward? Are you saying that Blacks could hold the priesthood before 1978? I think you know that you aren't because you know that what's on that billboard is based on absolute FACT. Nice try.
I do not believe in any religion or religious teaching that preaches hatred, ignorance, and intolerance. I am a Christian and from that faith have learned that Jesus wants us to love and accept all people–not to shamelessly use religion as justification for intolerance. Personally, I have only known one mormon and she was completely prejudiced against me and ostracized me because she was Mormon and said according to her teachings, Mormons believe black people have the curse of Cain.
"I do not believe in any religion or religious teaching that preaches hatred, ignorance, and intolerance. I am a Christian."
Really? Judging a whole religion on ONE person? Maybe I should do the same. One of the people I knew was Christian and murdered his wife and kids....sound logical to you?!
You're right cnnresponse...many people I've know have had the exact same experience with the mormons. It's sad because they put their commercials on tv making them look so sweet and nice, and yet you can tell from posts on here that they are nasty, mean, cruel people that can't handle their religion being questioned.
Actually, all the Mormons I know (and I know a lot by now), are nice, kind, friendly people who are very family centric. I'm sure the bigots here would say otherwise.
This is exactly what the church teaches. How did Native Americans get to America? Ask a Mormon and you'll get a very entertaining answer. Why is their skin dark? Again, the Mormons have an answer for that too! The Mormon church was FOUNDED on racism. Any person of color who joins this church hates himself.
To my doppelganger, actually I do not believe temple garments are automatic protection against Satan. If that were the case there would be no need, for continual repentance, which Latter-Day-Saints continue to do throughout our lives. The temple garments are an internal reminder of covenants or agreements made with God and not with Joseph Smith.
Garsh rocket, SO glad you know some friendly mormons...could help that you're one yourself. I find it interesting however that SOOOOO many people differ with your experience. Could be because they are NOT mormon and everyone knows that if a mormon can't convert you, then you are allocated to either the lowest kingdom (isn't it Telestial? Yes, mormons have 3 different heavens, did anyone else know that? Not very christian...) or Outer Darkness. So why should mormons be nice to non-mormons? Oh, right, because they have to act like the actors in their expensive TV commercials.
Ah, and Kev, you seem to have ignored the part about your freaky, creepy ritual that goes along with your temple garments...instead you just blather on about how you repent and that you love yourself a Jesus instead of Joseph. Really? I mean, you know that leaving out half to most of the truth still makes it a lie don't you?
I'm Catholic, actually. Everything I've said here has been from my own personal experience interacting with them and from my relationships with them. I love my in-laws a lot. They've been very kind to me. And I'm very proud of my nieces and nephews. They're all very good and kind people.
LOL rocket...wow, you're a mess. So you argue with people and go on about how wonderful mormons are and then you claim to be a catholic. Right. Whatever. Why anybody has wasted their time arguing with you is beyond me. Who cares how nice mormons are to you? THEY ARE YOUR FREAKING FAMILY! I sure as heck haven't had any friendly mormons in my life...in fact, they are the nastiest people I know!
"LOL rocket...wow, you're a mess." I am, how so? Lovely wife, beatiful new twins, a red convertible, a good job, so far so good.
"So you argue with people and go on about how wonderful mormons are and then you claim to be a catholic. Right."
Well, I am Catholic.
"Whatever. Why anybody has wasted their time arguing with you is beyond me." So why are you arguing with me. That said, why anyone would go so far out of their way to profess their bigotry online is beyond me as well, so I guess we're even.
"Who cares how nice mormons are to you?"
I brought it up to refute claims to the contrary, that Mormons are mean, nasty people. I've never met a single Mormon who I would characterize that way. Quite the opposite, in fact.
"THEY ARE YOUR FREAKING FAMILY!"
Yup, and I'm proud and grateful for them. I love them all.
"I sure as heck haven't had any friendly mormons in my life...in fact, they are the nastiest people I know!"
Sorry to hear that. How many Mormons do you know? How do you know them?
A fairy tale created in ancient times==Religion
A fairy tale created within the last 200 years==Cult
this look like exposing the truth, not an attack - yet another example of how religion is bad
All religions are ridiculous. That said, I just can't bring myself to vote for a man that thinks his underwear is magic. That indicates a level of stupid that I'm just not comfortable with near the Nuclear Trigger.
LOL! Exactly my sentiments.
I am not a member of one political party or the other. I vote according to a candidates record on issues I feel are important to me and society as a whole. That being said, I would NEVER in a million years give any leadership responsibility to a person that believes in a cult religion (any religion started by a man in a cabin in the woods after "dreams" is a cult) and believes his underwear are magic. That's just stupid and irresponsible. If someone ran on a platform of social reform based on "secrets the tooth fairy told him" we would all laugh him out of town. But somehow, this guy calls it a "religious" belief and half the nation is behind him. Crazy!!!
Except the LDS don't believe in magic underwear.
Well, what I meant to say is that we LDS do wear underwear that protects us from the devil and has secret/sacred markings on both tops and bottoms that match the veil where we do secret handshakes and whisper secret vows through a polyester curtain to someone we cannot see on the other side, through slits in the material. So is the underwear magic? No, but they do kinda have the equivalent of spells on them and we have to always wear them as a sign of our covenant with Joseph Smith.
Oops... I meant to respond to my doppelganger here. So to recap:
Temple garments not automatic Satan repellent.
They are an internal reminder of agreements made with God not Joseph Smith.
Kev...and we should believe you...WHY? LOL!
This group, called the Mormons, is nothing but a cult, and the people of America would elect someone who believes John Smith was a messenger from GOD...really....this alone is reason not to elect the fella...if they would follow this fella...they are not beyond following a more dangerous nut job, and doing damage to all of us, over their silly beliefs in Godly beings...don't trust an over religious person of any kind...brainwashing
You know there was another fella...had all these crazy ideas...and other fellas would follow this fella...and they might could follow more dangerous fellas...wait, what was I saying?
So what is your prophet checklist?
God and good christian people made this country if you dont like it you can leave.
That's patently untrue, so whether I'd like that or not doesn't matter.
"The United States is in no way founded on the Christian Religion"
~George Washington, in the Treaty of Tripoli
Sigh...please, please read a history book. The blood and sweat of many people are in this soil. By the way I'm from the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma so this actually is my country, and no I won't be leaving.
What an asinine comment david. People like you are just ridiculous. How on earth can you say God and good christian people made this country? Did you forget the Native Americans that were here first? You know, the ones that your good Christian people slaughtered in the name of your God? Why don't you leave this country and go to the Middle East where government is run by a Theocracy. That way you can have God shoved down your throat day and night, the way you like it.
This is why bigots tend to win: they don't let themselves be hampered by details such as truth or facts.
that is not the way this country works - if you don't like something you CHANGE it, that's part of the beauty of it. And right now, religion is proving to be something we need to change, it needs to be taken completely out of all public life and marginalized so the harm it does doesn't affect more people - if you don't like that then maybe YOU should leave
I think the chinese who built a lot of the early infrastructure would disagree with your calling them "christian".
That's the same Christianity arrogance that also insists on forcing others to convert to and believe in their fairy tale. Fact is the Anglo-Chrisiian mainstream America is dying off, look at the changing demographics, bub. And I welcome it.
All religions are cults and utilize brainwashing. Children are terrorized with visions of hell early on to assure their obedience and belief in ridiculous dogma for the rest of their life. It really is insidious.
I concur, it's straight up child abuse. All these hellfire types should be arrested for terroristic threatening.
1. The vast majority of religions do not utilize "brainwashing." That's obviously a ridiculous accusation. No competent and licensed psychologist or psychiatrist has ever made such an accusation.
2. The vast majority of children brought up in religious households aren't "terrorized with visions of hell early on." I know I wasn't and I won't be doing that with my new twins. I'll encourage their obedience by sanctioning them accordingly.
3. Raising children with religion isn't "child abuse." If it was, why aren't social services intervening and taking children away from the 80% of religious parents?
I mean, do you people really believe what you're saying here? You say you believe in facts, right? How can you say this stuff? Are you really that comfortable sounding like religious bigots? I'd be ashamed to say such mean-spirited and hateful things.
I couldn't agree more. And it's especially awful in this day and age when we really ought to know better. We can travel into space, we're unravelling the mysteries of DNA, etc. Yet many of us still indoctrinate our children with absurd fairy tales written by people who thought the world was flat.
Actually, I'm pretty sure that at the time of the writing of the Gospels, at least, everyone in the civilized world probably knew that the world was a sphere, including the Gospel writers, Paul, etc.
The flat earth idea came back in the middle-ages, after the Bible was written.
Yo rocket...again, you sure seem like a man that's confident that nobody would have the brains to question you...where do you get your numbers? Child abuse? 80 percent of religious homes? Really? I mean, pulling things out of your *ss might feel really good to you, but we don't buy your tripe. You mormons are famous for tall tales; look at your Joseph Smith, the biggest liar of them all and you still worship the git. Seriously, anyone could look at his criminal record and be appalled at the reality of what he, his brother and his father were doing before, during and after the whole Angel Moroni thingy...Please don't assume that we believe your make believe numbers and "facts." Psychologically, any doctor knows that as soon as someone claims something is an absolute fact that they are already heading into a lie. Look it up.
Oh, the 80% figure isn't a hard number. I just got that from the approximate number of Americans who claim some religious affiliation, I think it was about 80%.
And I'm not a Mormon, I'm a practicing Catholic. I guess we have some of the same "tall tales" the Mormons do, but none of the Book of Mormon stuff.
I could ask my wife, a licensed psychologist, or some other ones I know, about the raising a child with religion being akin to brainwashing. I'm sure there are some cases where one could say that, but I believe they'll agree with me that the vast majority of religions don't brainwash their children.
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.