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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. no, darling

    Mitt Romney's favorite book is "Battlefield Earth" – what do you expect?
    Get yourself some info!

    October 31, 2012 at 12:57 am |
  2. BMFJ

    I do not see anything wrong with the billboard because it is true.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  3. Mitt Romney

    laodegan, you're a d*ck.

    October 29, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  4. TaraSmith

    Why are the athiest not following Obama around? CNN posted a article talking about Obama being a Christian. Must be another lie by Obama & the athiest know the truth.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Mitt Romney

      When did Obama ever discriminate against Blacks or Gays like the mormon church does? Seriously tara, what a stupid question. I know they teach us NOT to think in the mormon church, but you're making us look bad. Worse than I can do myself!

      October 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • crazy

      Confused. if you are athiest why are you even talking about regilion? O I get it you get attention....

      October 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  5. lover of freedom

    that is a GREAT billboard!!!!

    October 29, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  6. laodegan

    Oh, alright, I admit, I'm a total, utter d*ck as well. Actually I may be the biggest d*ck of all because I DON'T have a big d*ck, it makes me act like a d*ck!

    October 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • laodegan

      That's beautiful Tom. Resorting to pretending to be me. You have utterly lost it on top of being a complete d*ck. I win!

      October 28, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm sure you would be happy to stroke yourself with that supposition, honey, but like everything else in your sad little life, it's a delusion. So sad. Go off yourself.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • laodegan

      Sorry Tom, you seemed so upset. I just naturally assumed the flury of posing that followed our last "discussion" was you. If it wasn't, I am sorry. It doens't make you any less of a d*ck, though.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Jenny Porter

      Wow Laod, you seem to be DEEPLY troubled. You say one thing about yourself and then another. Frankly. from reading your posts, I and many others are inclined to believe the one (if you have multiple personality disorder) that you are a d*ck. It's good that you realized it finally laodegan. You really are a d*ck.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • JimmyAlex777

      D-i-c-k-s are cool.

      October 29, 2012 at 2:28 am |
  7. chuckleberry1974

    Lao, I haven't read one single post of yours that doesn't say "dick" in it. Are obsessed with dick? Do you lack for substantive things to say?

    October 28, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • laodegan

      sorry chuckle..I'm just a typical d*ck, oops, I mean Mormon. I'm just a typical Mormon. We're usually like this behind the sweet commercials and billboard advertisements.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • laodegan

      Beautiful response again Tom. Proving my point, d*ck.

      Atheists are nothing but d*cks.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • laodegan

      Hey thanks for asking chuckleberry. By the way, don't pay attention to Tom Tom the d*ck of an atheist, who has been posing as me. He's just a d*ck.

      So to answer your question, I only keep calling atheists d*cks because of one reason and one reason alone. It's because all atheists are d*cks.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  8. laodegan

    You see Tom? Proved me right again, d*ck. You don't even have it in you to be anything but a complete d*ck, do you?

    October 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, I have it in me. You're just not worthy of the effort, turd.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • laodegan

      Awesome. You are proving me correct with evey post. There is one difference between you and the fundies though. Some of them are actually nice. Not true of the atheists. All of them, every single one of them, nothing but complete and utter d*cks.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Boo hoo. Go cry to your mommy, you big wussie.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • laodegan

      I'm certainly not the one crying here.

      Atheists are d*cks.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • laodegan

      You are right Tom, I'm a d*ck. Sorry to disagree with you all this time. You're the cool one, not me. I'm the d*ck!

      October 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sure you are, you little baby. You're nothing but some little troll who thinks he runs the world. Guess what, dude?

      You couldn't run a foot race with a one-legged dog.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • laodegan

      Excellent. You know you've lost Tom, when you have to resort to posing as someone else. Atheists are d*cks.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm sure you'd know that, you little fvcktard. I don't pose, or post, as anyone else. EVER.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • laodegan

      Want to know the diference between an atheist and everyone else? Everyone else will admit when they are wrong. And so I am sorry for accusing you of posing as me if you didn't, Tom. But since you're an atheist, it doesn't make you any less of a d*ck.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Eh. Whatever.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  9. Muslims for Obama

    Yes Mormons are a cult, do not vote for Mitt. You must vote for our fellow Muslim Obama, Allah be praised, as he is the divine leader of America and will lead it to Islam.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • TSIndiana

      I see you prayed for wisdom and didn't get any.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  10. donniebrasco

    The critics may be right when they say there are 2 Mitt Romney's.....and I'll vote for both of them before I vote for Obama again. The Affordable Care Act while a catchy name, is a bad plan. Obama says everyone should pay their fair share but he won't tell us what that rate is. We pay sales tax and payroll tax and real estate tax, nobody should have to pay more than 1/3 their income to the government in addition to the other taxes we pay. Innocent human life should be protected...every abortion ends in the tragic death of a valuable, innocent human being.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • End Religion

      Typically shallow republican and/or religious nutter thought process. You are the reason why America was founded as a Republic (so the idiot rabble's vote doesn't really count).

      October 29, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • TSIndiana

      I know, we give you all of the unwanted fetus and you raise them.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  11. EXPLAIN PAUL RYAN'S OBJECTIVISN(AYN RAND'S ATHIESM)

    Mitt Romney has knowingly chosen paul Ryan who has been critized by CaTHOLIC bISHOPS AND cATHOLIC PROFESSORS FOR HIS EMBRACE OF AYN RAND ATHIESM FOR OVER HALF OF HIS LIFE

    October 28, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • TSIndiana

      He was the only one with a "plan" (magic underware math + austerity = plan).

      Yea, I'm convinced.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  12. Big Fun

    Romney will make unemployment go away and poorer by their trust in his past business dealings with China. You will see a Classified Advertisement saying jobs available in China good wages at 30 pennies an hour. Cheap housing in villages, grow your own food. No government assistance. No Health Care. 15 hour work days. 6 Days a week. No leave. No sick pay. Great Career in established factories.

    October 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  13. joal

    Do you why the Mormons allowed blacks to the Mormon church? Is because the Mormon church built a tempo in the city of Sao Paulo in Brazil and after the church's doors were open, blacks weren't allowed to enter the temple because they were the sons of the devil. The the Brazilian president who was a military and a christian and asked the prophet of the Mormon church to come to meet him and the president gave him 30 days to allow blacks or otherwise he would dynamite the Mormon temple. Then the Mormon prophet announced that blacks were no longer of sons of the devil and black membership were allowed at the Mormon church.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • ja

      totally false, we are not that stupid!!

      October 30, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  14. 3511danny

    Don't atheists have better things to do with their time and money?

    October 28, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Jesus Christ

      Don't mormons have better things to do with their time and MONEY than spend over 20 MILLION DOLLARS on Prop 8 just out of pure hatred and bigotry...especially during a recession?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • laodegan

      No. In fact an atheist's only goal in life is to be a d*ck. It's sort of like a hobby for the atheist. It's also they only thing the atheist understands. Atheists might hold down jobs, pay their taxes, and be contributing members of society. But their eyes are always on the prize: To be an utter d*ck to anyone who disagrees with them.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • laodegan

      Like I said above, I realized, after my therapy session today, that atheists are really awesome. I'm the one that's the d*ck. It's cause I have a small one you know. It makes me very insecure and mean.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • laodegan

      Love it – the "poser" child. I also love that calling me a hateful mean d*ck in your mind disproves the irrefutable fact that all atheists are d*cks. Of course, it doesn't. Because all atheists are d*cks.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  15. Kay

    Ignorance attracts the ignorant. Today 5% of Mormons in the world are black. And the details and dates surrounding this issue are not so simple as saying until 1978, no blacks allowed. Like most things in this country, Mormonizm evolved. Just as the CNN article claiming Obama has evolved into a better Christian than his Reverand Wright years. Romney's charity and his help told by those peope seem to be the real story of Romney being a Mormon. How many people come froward and tell of the great humanitariun things that Obama has personally done for them?

    October 28, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Jesus Christ

      Oh sweet little Kay, not only are you obviously illiterate (evidenced by your spelling) but you have to understand that 5% is not much if you consider the racial membership of mormons. Oh and could you give us the reference you found that particular statistic please? You know that intelligent people don't like reading things that are just pulled out of someones a**.
      I don't think that you can say that Romney has done anything charitable, especially when his mormon church actually REQUIRES its members to give to charities so that they can hold temple recommends (the only way they can do their strange temple rituals in their SUPER expensive temples...). Do you really think PRESIDENT Obama has given nothing to any charity in his life? He just doesn't wear it on his sleeve like good-two-shoes Romney.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • laodegan

      Don't worry Kay. The atheist's only goal there was to belittle and insult you. He didn't really have a point, other than to be a complete d*ck to you.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      laodmouth, you're nothing more than a panderer.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • laodegan

      You're wrong Tom. I am an exceptional panderer. And since my only point is that atheists are nothing but d*cks, you should try being nicer to prove me wrong.

      Oh, and by the way, atheists are nothing but d*cks.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • laodegan

      I'm an idiot to think that someone using the username of Jesus Christ would actually be an atheist. I apologize to him and want to let everyone know what a d*ck I am. I'm terribly sorry for my d*ckness. It gets me in so much trouble!

      October 28, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • laodegan

      The good news is that even if I am an idiot, it doesn't make poser atheists any less of a d*ck.

      Atheists are d*cks.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  16. Mary1972

    How do you know that? And if you are a Hindu and believe in many Daities like Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma and so and so forth and I am sure he believe in only one God.

    October 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  17. ben

    i'm definitely loving all the christian mormon haters. so quick to point out the falsehood of other religions, but so eager to defend your easily falsifiable faith. lol what a bunch of pharisees

    October 28, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Jeanifriend

      Your post is very confusing...are you just babbling?

      October 28, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  18. Welcome2TheMatrix

    So let me get this straight...A main article about Obama's so-called Christian faith is evolving, and in the same instance we see the atheist group supporting Obama by attacking his opponent.

    No wonder the people are so screwed up in the head. Its stuff like this that steers the subconscious mind to be confused and lost. The media is the blame of many of our problems – as soon as we begin ignoring and outright rejecting their ideologies – humanity will be better off.

    The only truth is the Word. I can personally attest to it – as the deception is everywhere you look, the Bible promises it once you open your life to God.

    October 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Bizarre

      Welcome2TheMatrix,
      "The only truth is the Word. I can personally attest to it"

      What is it that you can personally "attest to"?

      October 28, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • gardenofoz

      I can personally attest to the fact that the Mormon Church told me to kill myself rather than engage in a gay lifestyle. I can personally attest to God staying out of politics. Your Bible has no place in my choices.

      October 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • jim jones

      Welcome2TheMatrix:

      faith is a lie and you've wasted your time/energy/and probably $ being involved in any way. the Christian "word" is the same crap as the arabic versions. religion is nothing more than an ancient form of control. believers are, fools.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  19. willjack

    Is it just me? Where is the minorities in Romney Group ?Is All His Followers White? Just Saying.

    October 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • TSIndiana

      They are the servants at his fundraisers.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  20. Chris Mankey

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

    Yeah, pointing out that the mormons thought blacks could only go to heaven as slaves till 1977 is hate now. How about pointing out that mormonism is an easily falsifiable hoax that should have about 2 people who still believe in it?

    October 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Shame on CNN???? Have you noticed the mile long articles written in favor of mittens on his mormon cult? I mean seriously, why are you whining about a tiny article that actually paints the LDS in the light they really belong?

      October 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • laodegan

      "Have you noticed the mile long articles written in favor of mittens on his mormon cult?"

      Umm, no? Forgive me, but where exactly are those articles?

      Atheists are d*cks.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So are fundies, and you're the biggest dick of them all.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • laodegan

      Thanks for the compliment Tom. I do have a pretty big one. But calling fundies d*cks neither targets me nor disproves my point.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sure it does. The only "point" you have is the one on your minuscule dick.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • laodegan

      You see Tom? You proved me right again, d*ck. You don't even have it in you to be anything other than a complete d*ck, do you?

      October 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • laodegan

      Please forgive me Abinadi, I want to lick your a** so that you'll forgive me! I'm the d*ck of a mormon. I'm the mormon example...the poser child of what mormons are like. I'm a hateful mean d*ck. That's why you don't want a d*ck, oops, I mean mormon for President!

      October 28, 2012 at 10:05 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.