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'God is' billboard replaces controversial Lincoln Tunnel atheist billboard
December 23rd, 2010
05:44 PM ET

'God is' billboard replaces controversial Lincoln Tunnel atheist billboard

By Emanuella Grinberg and Nicole Saidi, CNN

An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.

The old billboard, put up in late November by the American Atheists organization, said "You know it's a myth. This season, celebrate reason."

The sign stirred controversy among Christian organizations, prompting the Catholic League to erect its own pro-Christmas billboard on the New York side of the tunnel that read, "You Know It's Real: This Season Celebrate Jesus."

The new sign, which was posted by the Manhattan-based Times Square Church, reads "God is," and includes a word cloud of religious themes.

See images of new "God is" billboard

The sign is a direct response to "atheist billboards near the Lincoln Tunnel declaring Christmas a myth," the church said on its website.

"We want to encourage people to seek God and prove that indeed He is," senior Pastor Connor Conlon said. The ad originally ran as part of a subway ad campaign Times Square Church ran in January 2010.

iReporter Lulis Leal noticed the new sign while passing through the Lincoln Tunnel and shared photos of it with iReport. She said people on both sides of the issue are talking about the latest billboard. She said she's even observed people arguing about it.

As for the old sign, an American Atheists spokesman said the organization's lease ran out on the space, as they'd only had it reserved for a month.

"They have First Amendment rights," spokesman Blair Scott said.

Since putting down $20,000 for the billboard, the group has earned $65,000 in donations, which Scott attributed to the national publicity it garnered - with a little help from the Catholic League.

"We received e-mails from hundreds of agnostics and atheists who heard about the billboard and had never heard about us who thanked us for being there and letting them know they're not alone, and that was our target audience from the get-go," he said.

"We sent the Catholic League a thank-you letter."

- egrinberg

Filed under: Atheism • Catholic Church • Christianity • Christmas • Holidays • iReport

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soundoff (1,586 Responses)
  1. BADGUY

    The Puritans not only hated Christmas, they hated anyone of a different (Christian) faith. They hung a protestant women in Boston (1630's) because she would not "convert" to the Puritan faith. "Freedom of Religion"? I think not. They came to North America to pursue "Non-Freedom of Religion". A great role model for today's right wing Christian sects.

    December 24, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  2. Bonnie

    The billboard should read what God tells us He is: "For youir God is the God of gods and Lord of lords, the God great, mighty and fear-inspiring, who treats none with partiality nor accepts a bribe." Deuteronomy 10:17.

    December 24, 2010 at 10:33 am |
  3. Imj

    I like the fact that after a 2000 year wait, Israel has been reborn. Just like the prophets said that it would be reborn. The funny thing is that the Zionist leaders were atheists. It is almost as if the atheists had no control over what they did other than to cause to happen what the word of God said would happen.

    Israel is at war with many and reviled by many just like the prophets said it would be.

    December 24, 2010 at 10:31 am |
    • Dak

      If someone took part of your land and claimed it as their own, wouldn't you be at war with them as well?

      December 24, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  4. aj

    Obama is a Christian.
    I guess if you're saying Christians are stupid, you're calling Obama stupid as well.

    December 24, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  5. TalkingSnake

    Maggie – the burden of proof is on the person making the claim. You claim there is a god – there is no obligation on me to disprove that proposition. I'm not trying to be dodgy here – that is the way logic operates.
    It's like me saying to you there is a pink polar bear behind you that disappears every time you turn around. The burden of proof is on me – you are under no obligation to disprove the pink polar bear.

    How is the fact that humans like to create proof of or related to your belief in a god, other than the fact the word "creator" is used to describe it. If god was not the creator, what would he/she/it be?

    December 24, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  6. George Waugh

    It is good to see the atheist sign replaced by a Christian one, now if we could just do that with the public school curriculum!

    December 24, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  7. John

    Just putting this out there without taking either side. The Catholic League did not put this billboard up. Times Square Church did making the article erroneous.

    December 24, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  8. TalkingSnake

    shilohgl babbled:
    "3) Becuz no matter how many times you turn away from God, He always takes you back, BUT be forwarned everyone including God has their limits. Turn away from one too many times and you may seal your faith."

    That is a perfect example of the sort of disconnected reasoning that characterizes god-botherers. Do these people even believe their own words? They certainly don't proof read.

    December 24, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  9. Graben

    funny how so many think "Catholic" as soon as they hear "Christian" I was raised Catholic, have many issues w/the Catholic Church but still consider myself a Christian. As for the bad that happens...has no one heard of Satan? For me, to believe in God I have to believe in Satan and thankfully God is more powerfull than Satan even if, unfotunately, Satan wreaks much havoc. And no, I'm not a Bible thumper or religious zealot, I just believe in God and trying to treat everyone as I wish to be treated. So even if you don't have the same beliefs you don't have to be so hateful when speaking against it.

    December 24, 2010 at 10:21 am |
    • Scott

      @Graben: "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do
      all these things." (Isaiah 45:7)

      December 25, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Scott,

      God permits evil for the sake of a greater good.

      Graben,

      Yes, Catholics are Christians and all who were Christians were Catholic until heresies took some away and they called themselves something other than Catholic. We have the early Church Fathers written word and the word Catholic was used in writings as early as 107 ad.

      December 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
    • Scott

      @CatholicMom: If you try hard enough and with a bit of sophistry you can make yourself see the silver lining in every dark cloud. Isn’t this god powerful enough to do good without doing evil? Not exactly omnipotent

      December 28, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  10. Chris ~ Albany, Ny

    God is........not real....a myth........

    December 24, 2010 at 10:19 am |
    • Dallas5superrings

      GOD is..............watching you.....

      December 24, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  11. Hope

    God always IS! The whole creation testifies of His existence, His presence and His glory! There are mysteries which human mind can not comprehend, and are only understood by the Spirit of Him who holds them in His hands. Who is man that he should boast himself against his Maker and arrogantly proclaim "there is no God', and mock those who know Him?
    But know this, you who mock ,ridicule and slur insults at Him and His sons and daughters... There is no power in the heavens and earth that's not subjected to Him, and that can do away with Him. And at the end of the road, when all things are accomplished on His timetable, HE will be the One you'll have to give account to!...... To those who love Him He will be the Sun of righeousnes with healing in His wings, but to those who hate Him He will also give THEIR due reward. I am glad that those signs went up instead of the ones atheists put out... But even if the very last man on earth denies God, He still IS, and this fact will stand when all the voices of the ungodly cease to exist and their memory has vanished from the earth!
    Blessed be the Name of the Lord, and blessed are those who put their trust in Him!
    All glory, praise and honor , now and forever, belongs to God, in Yeshua's name

    December 24, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  12. JT

    We need only one word added to the billboard for it to be correct. The word "FICTI-TIOUS" should be superimposed diagonally over "God is".

    Note: Remove the hyphen. The Evangelical Christian moderators at CNN doesn't allow the sequence t-i-t to exist anywhere in a word. This most vile of words, even in the middle of a legitimate word apparently will make your eyeballs melt from their sockets.

    December 24, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  13. TalkingSnake

    @arthurr – "WHat will you say to God when yu die and meet Him??????????"

    I will say why did you hide yourself so well?

    "And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence." – Bertrand Russell

    December 24, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  14. Charles

    God is? Prove it.

    December 24, 2010 at 10:18 am |
    • cm

      Prove that God isn't.

      December 24, 2010 at 11:04 am |
    • Don

      There is no need to disprove the unproven, cm.

      December 24, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • Wanderer

      cm:
      You have already proved God isn’t..Otherwise, you would not ask anyone to prove it. It has also proved that you are still not sure about the God is. Are you still searching for God.

      December 24, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
    • cm

      My search is continous...that is the adventure. Make your ride mundane or magical its up to you and whatever you choose you'll be right.

      December 24, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
    • Wanderer

      Cm:
      Your adventure is continuous because it has no known destination. It sounds like you are homeless. I mean your soul is homeless. You are creating a pointless destination from your own interpretation, from what you have read from the Bible, or hearing from the head of the church that twisted your original mind, the mind that was originally pure and not contaminated by religious doctrines. I hope you will realize it soon.

      December 24, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  15. maggie

    One of God's creation defected and deceaved Eve, slandered God by calling him a liar and said that he had no right to set standards for his own creation and he was withholding pertinent information from them and that they would do better on their own. As we all can see, that was a flat out lie because after thousands of years we still can not solve our basic problems.

    December 24, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  16. Acroyear

    God is:

    ...judgmental.

    ...vengeful.

    ...narrow minded.

    ...bigoted (if His chosen representatives on earth are any example)

    ...petty

    ...jealous

    ...frightened to death of His children gaining any independent knowledge of any sort

    ...and the ultimate absentee father.

    Such a being isn't worthy of respect, let alone worship.

    December 24, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  17. God is crap

    "We want to encourage people to seek God and prove that indeed He is,"

    Still waiting on that "proof" lol. Religion is such BS.

    December 24, 2010 at 10:16 am |
    • Dallas5superrings

      "G.....is Crap? Wow, I would LOVE to see you on judgment day!

      December 24, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  18. phillip

    you all knew God would win in the end

    December 24, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  19. GhostRider 13

    Years ago a woman at work asked me what church I attended. I told her, and she asked me if it was Catholic. I told her it was Epsicopalian. Her reply? "I thought you were Christian."

    December 24, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  20. Kate

    Let me ask, can it be possible that religion has become an industry full of liars and people who just want your money. OF COURSE. Christianity is full of TV preachers, begging for your donations so they can 'continue to preach the word of Chirst'
    Well, I know these figures are a little off, but the new testament alone was written by MAN over 2000 years ago. On top of that, it has been translated numerous times – from Aramaic, to Hebrew, to Latin, then to English. In the Old Testament's case, its more like Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew, Latin, English. Anyone with two brain cells can figure out that meaning can literally be lost in numerous translations.
    I have concluded that religion is flawed, and that the bible should not be taken so literally. That's why you should read it yourself before you pass judgement or declare it false. Believe it or not, if you take out the parts about God and coming to Christ, you might find yourself enlightened and inspired by the stories written by people thousands of years ago.

    December 24, 2010 at 10:14 am |
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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.