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. vel

    Hmm, defacing a paid for billboard is theft. And golly, don't I remember something in the bible about thou shalt not steal? Ah, Christains, for such pious beilevers, you certainly put your supposed "immortal" souls at stake for the stupidest things. It would seem that you don't really believe at all but only want your opinions forced on everyone. Thank you for your act of defacement, it shows that you are simply hypocrites.

    July 1, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  2. Gary

    As an agnostic I think Atheists and agnostics and politcal correctness has gone way to far on religion especially Chistian symbols. My dad is a devout Christian. a very non judgemental person like many Christians...Just because we dont believe or arent sure of Gods existense dosnt mean we should eliminate core American symbols from public places..

    July 1, 2010 at 10:10 am |
    • Ituri

      Gary, those "core American symbols" you're talking about were ADOPTED in the 1950's in a fear response to communism. Even if you ignore that history, these symbols do NOT represent the United States as a whole, as they should.

      We've tolerated religious interferance for a long time. So long in fact that the religious majority thinks they OWN this country, and should dictate what "goes" within it, even to the non-religious. Now, I drive past no less than 12 Christian-pushing signs on my way to work, but this ONE secular sign, which is completely unoffensive, gets defaced.

      This ghetto, childish response to a non-offensive secular message is also a symbol of religion in this country, and I won't have it representing me any longer.

      July 1, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  3. JHaas

    Atheism is a teenager rebellion against a Christian society. Graffiti are one of teenagers' favorite ways to express their rebellion... so this answer is ironically appropriate.

    July 1, 2010 at 9:43 am |
    • Gary

      Jhaas no athiesmt and agnostics just need more solid proof .

      July 1, 2010 at 10:11 am |
    • Ituri

      JHaas, comments like yours are a rebellion against a reality you simply don't like. Secularism and atheism are solid, beyond the reach of some desperate religious persons insults and judgement. And your fear shows you KNOW that.

      July 1, 2010 at 10:31 am |
    • dejah_thoris

      Jhaas, try being more respectful of others' right to believe as they wish. Otherwise, your much-vauted Christianity is nothing but a hateful show of force.

      July 1, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      People did not believe before Christ, as they do not believe now. To discount their opinions as teenage rebellion, implies that they will grow out of it. Quite the opposite, people tend to grow out of faith. Atheists (those I have spoken to) are by and large former christians.

      July 2, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  4. John

    I am a Christian. I do not believe Christ would approve of defacing the sign. As far as the above comments about Christians and Atheists disliking one another, I would like to say that a true follower of Christ will not dislike an atheist because Christ taught to love everyone. If we all lived like Christ taught this would be a wonderful world. No war, no medical malpractice lawsuits which would mean more of our money could go to research, our economy would be more stable because there would not be greedy lenders with risky practices. The list goes on, but so-called Christians who do not live as Christ taught are hurting Christ's name.

    July 1, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  5. Uncle Jetski

    Personally, I'm glad that we live in a country where so many people are kind to one another because they are afraid of what could happen in their so-called "afterlife." That's certainly a lot better than living in a place where the majority of the people feel unaccountable for their actions.

    And as long as I don't have to follow their rules, like one that might say "believe what we believe or we'll kill you," (as many fundamentalists want,) I'm okay. The question is: Does this defacement cross the line? Does it impose fundamentalist beliefs in contravention to the law?

    The answer is, of course, that it does. (The billboard itself does not, even by implication.) The graffiti is per se illegal.

    Keep your religion to yourself.

    July 1, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  6. Melissa

    Does anyone else find it particularly interesting that putting "under god" before "indivisible" makes the country divided? Sort of contradictory.

    July 1, 2010 at 8:10 am |
  7. J.F.C.

    Must have been those miscreant Knights of Columbus.

    July 1, 2010 at 6:53 am |
  8. Jeepers

    Why do we have to pledge allegiance to anything? Isn't that like worshiping and idol?

    July 1, 2010 at 1:14 am |
  9. Denny

    Toby....Perhaps you misunderstand my phrasing.....I am not sure what you mean by a "mind trick"....I spent the first 20 years of my life never once able to get outside of my mind and in touch with the Spirit. . But....When the Spirit comes and you feel a massive amount of energy welling up in the center of your chest and all of a sudden you can see (for a brief time) a tremendously more loving perspective than you normally have and it is incredibly sad and beautiful at the same time and you are not sure how much longer you can stand the power of this presence and then it passes away. Leaving you renewed and with insights into how to proceed in the life situations It showed you when it was coming into you. I do not know what brings on such a state or I would do it more regularly.....but it has happened in this way many times. It is certainly not brought on by repeating any thoughts in your head.....as letting go of all thoughts into silence can be a helpful element in entering tinto Spirit

    June 30, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      don't confuse indigestion with god

      July 2, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  10. scarlett

    Of course someone had to deface this billboard, but no one would dare touch the billboards near me stating "GOD SAYS READ THE BIBLE" and "AMERICA BLESS GOD" in their demanding, all-caps tone. Christians are pretty intolerant of all their 'brothers and sisters'. They are doing a pretty good job with their efforts to convince and convert those who disagree with them. It makes me glad to know I'm not one of them.

    June 30, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
  11. truth2power

    I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

    June 30, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  12. Paul Ronco

    I'm glad these secularists hit a nerve, and I hope they keep on hitting it.

    June 30, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
    • jim atmadison

      The Self Righteous Right strikes again.

      June 30, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
    • Tim

      Illogical statement. I'm on the right and I am an atheist...care to generalize and stereotype a little more?

      July 6, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  13. Paul Ronco

    Good for them for putting the billboard up. Now it's the Christian nutjobs who get to look puny for a change, with their pathetic spraypaint graffiti-job.

    June 30, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  14. Toby

    Non-belief in a god or the supernatural is not a religion. Frightened religious hucksters have been chanting this mantra for a few years now because it gives the false illusion that belief and disbelief are just two sides of the same coin. They are not. Belief in supernatural claims of gods, goddesses, divine intervention by prayer, resurrection of the dead, and salvation by faith in a human sacrifice are explicit religious claims. Those who do not imbibe these absurd ideas and openly reject these notions are doing so because there is simply no good evidence that any of this is true. Is Christianity true? Is Islam true? Is Judaism true? We cannot say for certain that one or the others are not true. What we CAN say is that they cannot ALL be true. Knowing this, and following the portals of logical deduction, we can say with reasonable confidence that it is as likely that they are all false as it is likely that they are all true.

    June 30, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  15. Seth

    It's interesting to me that Christianity in America has wrapped itself in the cloak of intolerance. Atheist messages on billboards and buses are always contentious to the Christians, regardless of the message they bear; fought in courtrooms, vandalized and destroyed by rogue elements, held up like the corpse of a dead enemy as proof that the righteous should view all differences as odious and contemptible. The current message of christianity is one of intolerance, written in anti-gay marriage laws, spraypainted on atheist and pro-choice billboards, expressed in angry sermons and through political machinations that corrupt the very heart of our democracy. Those hungry for power kowtow to the false evangelical prophets of profit, and the meek bend forever subservient to the will of men who hide their fear of different opinions behind a powerful but misunderstood book. If God is Love, christianity isn't worshipping him/her/it.

    June 30, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
    • missadr

      Intolerance is not necessarily a bad thing. There are plenty of things we should not tolerate. Like pedophilia, for instance. I think what Christians don't tolerate is not so much who certain people are, but what certain people do. To tolerate a wrong thing is to pretend it's right. We might all do wrong things, but when you start "accepting" them, that's where religious folks are going to draw a line. Wrong is wrong. It can be forgiven. But it should never be tolerated. I'm sorry someone defaced a sign. that was the wrong thing to do. But it was wrong for someone to put up the sign in the first place, since it was meant to attack all Americans who believe in God.

      July 1, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  16. randy S

    The folks that broke the law and did this have to be punished. But like it or not Christianity played a large part in the lives of our forefathers and the settlers that first came to America. Atheisit and secularist don't like to hear it and they will lie about history to try and shed a bad light on it unless you know ALL the facts. They will cite actions by the few mislead Christians that do stupid things and they will scream at the top of the highest building about how stupid Christians are..That being said I don't think the Pledge of Allegience is going to change anytime soon..

    June 30, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
    • Paul Ronco

      It will change eventually. The secularists are right. The phrase is bigoted and exclusive. Not every single one of the Founding Fathers was a Christian, but every single one of the Founding Fathers was a secularist.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      History tells us that thomas jefferson, john adams and ben franklin were very specific to NOT promote your god. Or anyone else's.

      July 2, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  17. Scott from PA

    Why can't religious people just let us live and stop telling us how to live. Not everyone is religious, it's not a bad thing to not believe in any religion. And these people had to go and destroy our first amendment right.

    June 30, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
    • missadr

      So stop trying to make America Atheist and we will stop to make you religious.

      July 1, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      missadr "make you religious"
      how does that work, I can use logic to shatter belief in fairy tales, but how do you force faith? or are you the spanish inquisition type?

      July 2, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • zmey

      @missadr: No one is trying to make the US atheist. People want a separation of church and state. Get on the Google and look it up.

      July 2, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  18. davec

    Boys will be boys.

    June 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
    • Paul Ronco

      Hopefully they'll also be heftily fined and given a criminal record for vandalism.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
    • Alex

      unfortunately for those 'boys,' priests will be priests...

      July 1, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  19. Adam

    "...meant to be controversial:" Absolute nonsense.

    If they put up a billboard saying "your God is a petty and hateful misogynist," then THAT would be controversial. "One nation, indivisible" is an appeal to the commonality of patriotism and an affirmation of the seperation of chuch and state. If you disagree with this concept then you need to find a theocracy to live under.

    June 30, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
    • Kate

      That's reality and we all know it if we are being honest.

      July 1, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  20. aerodog

    Put a pro-choice bumper sticker on your car, park it in the mall parking lot and see how long it takes for someone in God's name to de-face your car or try to remove the bumper sticker.

    June 30, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • NickB5

      You'll get the same response if it's a Pagan or Wiccan bumper sticker.

      June 30, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
    • Toby

      Unlikely; it would be a violation of Commandment #8.

      June 30, 2010 at 5:36 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.