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Atheist billboard attacks Romney’s faith, but Mormons say it's misleading
This billboard on wheels, sponsored by American Atheists, will follow the Romney campaign throughout southern Florida.
October 21st, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Atheist billboard attacks Romney’s faith, but Mormons say it's misleading

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.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Florida • Homosexuality • Mitt Romney • Politics • Race

soundoff (2,468 Responses)
  1. Natali

    LA TIMES: Vandal Keys 'Obama' Into Cars Of Residents Supporting Romney...

    http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/10/27/vandal-keys-obama-into-2-cars-in-alta-loma/

    October 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  2. Mike

    Mormons are taught that the reason for black skin is a "curse" from god.

    October 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  3. WillieLove

    Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

    October 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  4. JLS1950

    Mormon public doctrine seems to change with the needs of appearing "christian" in the eyes of the masses. But deep inside the real Mormon doctrine there remains the belief that Mormon men will one day be transformed into gods "just like God" who will then go off to found their own planets and – with their sealed wives (plural) – will "procreate spiritual" to populate their respective planets with souls birthed from the wombs of their many spiritual and eternally "pregnant" wives – which souls will then inhabit the bodies that the Mormon god-husband has fashioned from the dust of his planet.

    Consider Isaiah 14 and the Fall of Lucifer, and understand why the devil desires to entangle so many people in his own sin and rebellion.

    October 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  5. WillieLove

    Psalm 32:5 "I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin."

    October 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  6. WillieLove

    The Bible shows us that the way to true remission of sins is clearly contrary to that of the way of Popes, earthly priests, absolutions, and penances:

    Ezra 10:11 "Make confession unto the Lord God."

    October 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  7. WillieLove

    John Paul II states "It would be foolish and presumptuous … to claim to receive forgiveness while doing without the sacrament" of penance (On Reconciliation and Penance p.115).

    October 28, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  8. WillieLove

    Christ warned against tradition and stated, "Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:3,6,9).

    October 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  9. Glenn

    Shame on CNN for creating hate by allowing such an article to be posted.

    October 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  10. WillieLove

    Rome also adds that the interpretation of Scripture must have the "unanimous consent of the fathers". Alas the fathers were far from being unanimous. They contradicted themselves and rarely consented. In fact, strange to relate Gregory the Great Bishop of Rome stated that the Bishop who claimed to be the Universal Bishop is the forerunner of the Antichrist (Gregory Reqisto. Epist. 1.b. v11. Ind. Is epis 33 ed Benet Domisitos).

    October 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  11. WillieLove

    Rome also adds to the Bible apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions. Oral tradition evolved into written tradition and the unreliability of oral tradition is exposed in John 21:22,23.

    October 28, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  12. WillieLove

    Rome adds to God's Word by adding more books to the Canonical Scriptures, known as the Apocryphal Books. These books were never received by the Jewish Church (Romans 3:2); they were never quoted by Christ; they were rejected by the Christian Fathers; and they are self-evidently not inspired. The writer apologises for defects (2 Maccabees 15:39) and one seemingly commands suicide. They are no part of Holy Scripture; yet, they were added into the Canon by the Church of Rome to make up Rome's Bible.

    October 28, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  13. WillieLove

    Now the Church of Rome has been found out to be a liar and has had added to it the plagues of the Apocalypse – as God stated in Proverbs 30:6 and Revelation 22:18 – by adding to God's Word.

    October 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  14. WillieLove

    The command and warning of God is crystal clear that the Bible must not be added to.

    Deuteronomy 4:2 "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."

    Deuteronomy 12:32 "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."

    Proverbs 30:6 "Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."

    Jeremiah 23:28 "He that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully."

    Revelation 22:18 "If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book."

    October 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  15. WillieLove

    The Church of Rome cannot establish her false claims that she alone is the preserver of God's Word and the maintainer of the Truths of the same. Rome is far from being a believer in the Bible as the sole rule of faith and practice.

    Her rejection of the Bible as the sole rule of faith and practice has been brought about by the many additions she has made to Holy Scripture.

    October 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  16. WillieLove

    Rome has elevated Mary to the place of mediation. John Paul II states that "in Mary is effected the reconciliation of God with humanity" (On Reconciliation and Penance. St. Paul Editions, p. 139).

    No Christian can accept "The Cult of the Blessed Virgin" (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, VIII para. 66). It is idolatrous and an insult to our Lord Jesus Christ.

    October 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  17. WillieLove

    God, the Holy Spirit: He claims he is "The Vicar of Christ". This is the office of the Holy Spirit alone.

    John 14:26 "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

    October 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  18. WillieLove

    God, the Father: He claims he is "The Holy Father". This is the unique name of God the Father.

    John 17:11 "And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are." — 'Thine own name!' It is God's name alone – it cannot belong to anyone else.

    Matthew 23:9 "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven."

    October 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  19. WillieLove

    5 reasons why catholicism is not Christian...google this

    October 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  20. FreedomtoChoose

    The billboard is accurate on blacks not allowed full priveledges in the LDS church until 1978. Their teachings stated this was not discrimination; but rather their god's command. Up until this election year, it was taught that black skin was a curse for rebeling against god. The church public relations department this year has now stated that it is not known why god with held his full blessing from blacks until he changed his mind in 1978. Black men couldn't become priests, black women and children could not enter the mormon temples to receive god's full blessing, ect...In an election year, we are supposed to believe that it is no problem to blindly follow this command until 1978, just because you are told to, and then without question reverse it, because leaders have said god has changed his mind. Yes; we do have freedom to choose and make our own decisions....or do we?

    October 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.