June 28th, 2010
03:37 PM ET

Secularist billboard defaced

It was meant to be controversial: a billboard campaign with the message "One Nation Indivisible," purposely leaving out the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegience. Over the weekend, vandals replaced those words on one of the signs with spray paint. Full story

- CNN.com Senior Producer

Filed under: Belief • Culture wars

soundoff (435 Responses)
  1. Doug

    The pledge of allegience was a magazine advertisement printed around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries; a time of jingoistic imperialism. The words "under God" were added in the 1950s in order to allow the US to feel superior to the officially atheist communist nations. It's a nice bit of prose worthy of some measure of respect, but let's keep our perspective. It was composed to sell magazines. It's not some divine pronouncement or gift from a higher being. The Christian Right's mixture of fundamentalist religion, gun-worship, militia organization and nativist chauvinism is becoming increasingly frightening. It has all the appearance of an American Nazi Party.

    June 30, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  2. jesussaurus_rex

    That's alright. Nature already struck back at christians with the ever so accurate lightening strike and burning of Touchdown Jesus.

    June 30, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  3. SilverChair

    Typical atheists. Whining and crying because people still believe in God. Get over it. God is not going anywhere and neither are the people who believe in Him.

    June 30, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
    • Frogstomp

      You can believe what you want. I just don't want my government taking sides either way.

      June 30, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      SilverChair is correct. We're not going anywhere. No heaven, No hell, just here, decomposing into base minerals forever.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
    • question

      Again, there are lot of religions, and believe whatever you want, just leave others alone.
      Yeah, it is 21 century now, get over it.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  4. Robert Ray

    A crime against property,,,how appropiate,,,the crime of robbing people of thier mind by brainwashing religion is a far worse crime

    June 30, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  5. Anon

    The American Taliban at work again.

    June 30, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  6. Mad Doc

    Would you believe if it was me that deface the billboard? Lets see how many people would say it was me.

    June 30, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
    • carlinsghost

      it was me!

      June 30, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      No, it was you. Now report to the proper authorities.

      July 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  7. Denny

    I do not claim to be loving...but occassionally I am able to connect to the Spirit that is when I drop all my intellectual resistance.....If I am honest with myself than I am usually indifferent and preoccupied intellectually as you say I am....but when we connect to that Spirit of Love we are all loving at those times. So yes....I agree with you....shame on me because I go away from it constantly only to return again

    June 30, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • Toby

      "I do not claim to be loving...but occassionally I am able to connect to the Spirit that is when I drop all my intellectual resistance...."
      What you mean is when you put your reason and common sense to sleep. Yes, I see what you mean here. If I intentionally decide that I am going to believe Elvis is still alive, I can almost touch the King's face! Let's just remember that this is a mind-forged trick at work here.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  8. OMar

    The truth is that we don't need to defend God. Every non-believer will soon feel the wrath that they have brought upon themselves. How foolish these heirs give up their inheretance for a life of sin which has an end. Let the unrighteous remain unrighteous.....

    June 30, 2010 at 10:53 am |
    • professorekks

      indifference is the opposite of love. shame on you.

      June 30, 2010 at 10:54 am |
    • Toby

      Perhaps. But I can see this life; I'm here living it and know that I am alive. Your claim of a life after this one is simply wishful thinking without a shred of empirical evidence to support it.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
    • question

      I am scared, scared a lot by your wrath prediction.

      To be honest, so far, I can only feel your vicious stupidity. sorry for the strong words, but that is exact what I am thinking of YOU.

      Believe what you believe, and leave others along. Stop cursing any one , no matter in any god's name.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
    • Jack

      I feel sorry for this guy. In my opinion, he's letting his whole life pass him by expecting to enjoy an after party that doesn't exist. Live your life well and fully and enjoy it for what it's worth. If you spend your energy on wrathful thoughts then not only are you wasting this life, you may be losing out on your shot at the afterlife YOU believe in.

      July 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  9. Denny

    when Love comes that "perspective" moves something in my heart, and may make me cry or feel any other sort of emotion appropriate to what the Spirit feels at that moment...I hear you though....as when most people talk of God I do not feel they are talking about the same thing I am.......try to hear the gist of what I am saying instead of just the words...I do think we all experience the same things as humans. I am not taking a side in this "God" argument, as when I read alot of the posts from both sides I see that many are locked in their minds and not with the Spirit

    June 30, 2010 at 10:15 am |
    • Frogstomp

      I think I'm going to barf

      June 30, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  10. Denny

    it seems to me that what most of you are arguing is against people who do not know Love, but claim they know God.
    If that is the case then I agree with you as most of them probably are not currently in touch with this Love I am speaking of as they are locked in their minds in argument by intellect and words,
    but I do not know how you could say that Love does not exist.....as I am sure you also have experienced the presence of it at some time or another...just forget about the word God as some intellectual concept and ask yourself this question....have I personally experienced Love before?

    June 30, 2010 at 10:08 am |
    • Jack

      Yes, love exists. That doesn't mean god exists. You have probably felt hate or fear or envy...that doesn't mean god exists. I've eaten food, drank a beer, did some swimming, went to school, gotten chased by a duck, etc. That doesn't mean god exists either. Some people choose to attach a different significance to certain things that exist, but that doesn't mean anyone else has to follow suit. You can love a nice soccer game, but that doesn't mean I have to enjoy soccer as much as you do. So that you equate god to love is great for you, but don't expect that I have to see things the same way.

      July 1, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  11. Denny

    It is not a "claim". Love is something we have all experienced. Forget about the word God as it is unnecessary.....does Love exist?

    June 30, 2010 at 9:56 am |
    • hmmsketch

      "Forget about the word God as it is unnecessary"

      No, Denny. When your sentence only has three words – a subject, a predicate, and a predicate nominative – the subject "God" is quite important. Love is an intangible and something that is felt, a personal perspective. Have I felt what most would describe as traditional love? Yes. Have others? Maybe not. But you've taken two intangibles, thrown them together as subjective absolutes, and brought them forward as evidence of higher power. It's lazy logic.

      June 30, 2010 at 10:06 am |
    • Frogstomp

      Stop trying to bring logic into this argument! That's like bringing a gun to pillow fight.

      June 30, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • question

      Faith only, No logic allows.

      Personally, I respect christians, especailly Baptist. but what I can not hold with is some believers use illogical,cluless nonsense to defend themselves, like 'Athiest is also a religion'. Guess what, that only make you funnier.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  12. hmmsketch

    I don't know why believers get to corner the market on "holiness." I argue that non-believers are actually more compassionate than religious types. Why?

    Atheists believe that we only have one shot at life, that egregious mistakes we make in the present will not be forgiven after our death, and that it is not enough to cleanse our spirit but that we have to actively do good. Afterlife-affirming religions allow for "do-overs," whereas those who believe earthbound life is the first and only stop on the line also believe that if we are going to accomplish anything of positive consequence that this life is the only chance we get.

    June 30, 2010 at 9:48 am |
    • Sarah

      Christians "have control" of morality and holiness because they say they do. Period. That is how they work. I recommend the book "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free" by Charles Pierce. He tends to wander slightly in his thoughts but the basic premise is accurate and pertinent to your question. If enough people believe something, it becomes "fact". If they say it louder than the dissenters, and more often, it remains "fact". That is why Christians get so worked up when someone questions the beliefs they claim to be so sure about – they are terrified of losing their majority hold in this country. About ninety percent of our population will just believe whatever the majority believes. If the majority of the country became atheist, all the sheep would be fleeing the Christian herd faster than you could imagine and then Christians would lose all of their control and power which is what they're really about anyways.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
    • Zuriel

      Sarah – don't you think your theory has been proven wrong by history? You seem to be forgetting that Christians did not start out as a majority, but a extremely persecuted minority. It was a major uphill battle for the 1st century believers, and just admitting their faith in Jesus was very likely to lead to their death. Maybe it was because of actually being witnesses to the Resurrection, they were so convinced that was Jesus said was true that they would gladly give their life on earth rather than deny their faith in Him?

      July 1, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
    • Kate

      So you know about how the Baptists begged Thomas Jefferson to remove all religion from government because they were being persecuted by other Christians (hanged, children taken away, burnt at the stake, had their property taken away).

      Now they are stupidly at the front of the line to put religion back in the government?

      Is that what you mean?

      July 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
    • Jack

      Moreover, the non-religious do good things because it's right. Religious people often do good because they are afraid of hell or desiring heaven. Which of us is being selfish in this scenario? As an agnostic, I get tired of hearing that no matter how much good I do, and how little bad I do, I'm going to hell because I don't believe. But some idiot who butchers 20 people but then feels honestly bad about it and finds Jesus is good to go. Come up with a better set of principles if you want me to join your club. In the meantime, if you don't try to convert me, I won't try to convert you.

      And to the original article, the point of the pledge is to pledge our allegiance to the country. By adding God to the pledge, you remove my ability to mean the words I'm saying, which defeats the purpose. Loving the country shouldn't require believing in a God of any form.

      July 1, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
    • Chris G

      What makes you so sure that God will forgive said murderer in the after life? Faith is just the first requirement. Judgement is reserved for Him and Him alone.

      July 1, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  13. Denny

    God is Love.....are all of you saying Love doesn't exist?

    June 30, 2010 at 9:32 am |
    • hmmsketch

      Circular logic. You made an unsubstantiated claim and then used that claim as evidence for a secondary argument.

      June 30, 2010 at 9:50 am |
    • Bill M

      God is love.
      Love is Blind.
      Stevie Wonder is Blind.
      Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
    • let's be real

      I am with you 100%

      July 1, 2010 at 11:00 am |
    • let's be real

      God is Love. 100% true.

      July 1, 2010 at 11:01 am |
    • Tim

      god is love
      love stinks
      J. Geils Band song
      J. Geils Band is god!

      July 6, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
  14. MuDdLe

    Ah, a classic case of "evandalism." You know, spray paint "Jesus loves you" on a boulder in some otherwise scenic area. Or dangle precariously from an overpass to ensure that motorists may read "John 3:16" the following morning. Or write "For God so loved the world..." on a slip of paper, tie it around a rock, and throw it through a window.

    June 30, 2010 at 8:00 am |
  15. BB

    I don't hear any churches denouncing this act of vandalism and intolerance. If they do, how about they take donations to have it restored. I won't hold my breath.

    June 30, 2010 at 3:43 am |
    • let's be real

      So you think all christians are alike and is responsible for damaging this sign and should pay? Wow! Honestly, if you all really knew what you were talking about; Believers and Non-Believers alike. Alot of believers and non-believers have absolutely no clue what it means to be a Christian. I mean really knows until you truly search for yourselves. It took me a very long time to really understand the phrase "A little leaven, leavens the whole lump". Best of luck to all you.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  16. John D

    If God is so offended, let her do the defacing. Or him. Or it. Or whatever.

    June 29, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
    • Frogstomp

      Just like the "touchdown jesus" statue

      June 30, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  17. Jeffrey Lebowski Jr.

    Here's the part that makes my brain hurt when I read stories like this: an all powerful deity doesn't need anyone to fight his battles for him, ya know? If anything I would think that Christians would view things like this billboard as a test of their ability to be Christlike, turn the other cheek, and demonstrate by their own example why being a Christian is a laudable thing to be. But then that's just the reasonable, rational, moralistic atheist in me talking I suppose. Carry on.

    June 29, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
  18. Historical Corrections

    But the billboard IS the American original! "Under God" was added, as we all know, during a very scary time in the Cold War era. So the billboard did post the "original" (and there were actually several versions beginning in the 1800s – none had "God" in them) – not the 50's edited edition that people use now. If someone had done the opposite – spray painted out an "Under God" to return it to the original – they would be furious....

    June 29, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
  19. Jim

    Hmm, turns out "under god" causes quite a bit of division. Kinda undermines the sentiment of "indivisible", doesn't it.

    June 29, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • carlinsghost

      my thoughts exactly.

      June 30, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  20. Ddubbya

    Fight amongst yourself. I'd rather concentrate and hope for the day when the religious and secular worlds finally mesh the way it should. I pray (yea, I said pray) that one day people can put aside their emotions for one moment to see the other perspective.

    June 29, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
    • RAWoD

      Nothing fails like prayer.

      July 2, 2010 at 3:05 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.