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An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.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


    December 23, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  2. DrunkWithPower

    The artwork is beautiful but the message is Religulous!

    December 23, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  3. jude

    god is false and a projection of mankind

    December 23, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
  4. Jesus Cristo

    churches are stealing Americas's treasure!

    December 23, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Jesus Cristo,
      Is money your god?

      December 24, 2010 at 12:31 am |
    • Agnostic

      @ CatholicMom ROFLOL Really? A Catholic Mom, asking someone if "money is their God"... The Catholic Church is the most money driven organizing on the planet! The wealthiest, tax exempt corporation EVER the exist, who worship in temples of gold and marble and are ALWAYS asking or more money from the masses. Woman, you need to stand back and take a deep look at yourself... That was the most LUDICROUS statement I have seen yet! A CATHOLIC ACCUSING SOMEONE OF WORSHIPING MONEY

      December 24, 2010 at 12:52 am |
    • Barb

      I think the LDS are trying to give the Catholics a good run for their money.

      December 24, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  5. Jesus Cristo

    Ask your good to kill me and you will see i am still typing.. LOL !!!!

    December 23, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
  6. Tired of all you know it alls

    I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN! But I say this to all you atheist AND Christian numbskulls, Christmas is for CHILDREN, the joy and wonder of the season and belief in Santa is one of the only magical times in a human life. For the atheists who erected these billboards, I say you're all a bunch of ***holes, and your agenda, whether right or wrong, is pathetic. Screw YOUR beliefs.

    December 23, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
    • Terre08

      Well you are certainly religious, so which sect are you associated with?

      December 24, 2010 at 12:05 am |
  7. religious sects

    More good christian donations going to do Gods work, arguing with people they "know" are wrong. Score another one for the Atheists.

    December 23, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
    • Jesus Cristo

      lol LIAR!

      December 23, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
  8. Jesus Cristo

    god = EMPTY AIR

    December 23, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
  9. pete

    Most atheists were once christians who realized at some point in their life that it's OK to think for themselves.

    December 23, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  10. Dennis

    What a great way to spend donations. I mean instead of feeding or housing the homeless. Lets post a sign to appease the gods.

    I wonder how much faith base initiative tax money is being spent.

    December 23, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Dennis, is your god money?

      December 24, 2010 at 12:29 am |
  11. elgeevz

    It seems to me that anyone who believes that a first-century rabbi walked on water is capable of believing anything that they want to believe. While normal in children, in adults this ability denotes a lack of intellectual honesty, and I consider those who posses it dangerous.

    December 23, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
    • Sherey

      Wow, VERY well put. You expressed very eloquently what I've felt for decades now – kudos.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
  12. God Fearing Christian

    and what would that prove?

    December 23, 2010 at 8:48 pm |
  13. Brad

    Phew! All my important ideological convictions are shaped by billboards... thank goodness the catholics straightened me out!

    December 23, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  14. God Fearing Christian

    Say what you like – but the TRUTH is the TRUTH no matter what you wish to believe and someday soon when you leave this earth and meet you maker – you'll realize what a mistake you have made. Falling for man made doctrines (which includes the brief of no God) leads only to the ultimate death in your own sins.

    Is it worth it to fool yourself now and pay for all eternity?Think about it for a while – study the Bible and make an informed decision for yourself because you are the one who pays the ultimate price for your own beliefs – so choose very carefully.

    Your eternal existence depends on it.

    Have a blessed and joyous Christmas.

    December 23, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
    • Jesus Cristo

      koo koo koo koo any body body ? U have no proof. U r probably a pastor and afraid you dont know how to work for a living other than pushing lies to the Americans...

      December 23, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
    • Dalits

      he must be very very bad god and a egostic person. YOU DONT FOLLOW ME. I WILL FRY YOU IN HELL He He He!!!!!!

      I belived god a very nice guy/gal/it. he will treat me very well in eternity(if that exist)

      You are bringing a bad repute to your god making silly statments on his behalf. DON'T MESS WITH MY GOD

      December 23, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      The truth is indeed the truth, and the truth is that Jesus did NOT return in glory during the lifetime of his apostles, as he promised. He lied. (Or, more likely, the people making up the story about his life, 50-100 years later, lied about what he supposedly said.)

      Really, don't you find it amazing that Jesus's entire life started out, right out of the chute, with a pair of lies? There was no Great Census requiring every citizen of the entire Roman Empire to return to their ancestral villages to be counted. Never happened. Not mentioned ANYWHERE except in "Luke", not even in the other 3 gospels.

      Opening Lie #2: They shall call his name Emmanuel. Duh. No, they called him "Jesus".

      One unending lie after another, and still we get vacuum-headed posters asserting that "the truth is the truth" under the pathetic illusion that they actually have a monopoly on it. Sad.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
    • taildragon

      Say what you like – but the TRUTH is the TRUTH no matter what you wish to believe and someday Christmas Eve will come – you'll realize what a mistake you have made. Not believing in Santa = NO PRESENTS!

      Is it worth it to fool yourself now and pay on Christmas morning?Think about it for a while – he knows if you've been bad or good, and you are the one who pays the ultimate price for not believing in the St. Nick – so choose very carefully.

      Your haul on Christmas morning depends on it.

      Have a blessed and joyous Christmas.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
    • Quenton Hall

      you 1st. You've never read your own bible. Studies proven that atheist & agnostics know more about religion than religious people do. I think you're the one that needs to study

      December 24, 2010 at 3:26 am |
  15. Jesus Cristo

    kkkristians are hateful losers!

    December 23, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
  16. Jesus Cristo

    Churches, synagogues and mosques are all RACKETS!

    December 23, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
  17. Fisher

    I guess to limit the conversation as much as possible to the actual words used, I think it's very interesting that most of the anti-religious commenters (and the American Atheists who first put a billboard up) seem to think that the word "myth" only applies to religious beliefs. I assume that they believe, and I emphasize the word believe, that it is a fact that reason and rationality are infinitely preferable to faith, despite the reality that such an assertion requires as its basis just as much of a faith commitment as those beliefs held by the religious. Moreover, how can one argue that purposely denigrating the Christmas holiday during the Christmas season is not a deliberate slap in the face to believers? For all that Christians are attacked for forcing their opinions on others, it does not seem as though they are alone in possessing that character flaw.

    December 23, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
    • Jesus Cristo

      Now I see in Irvine CA were once stood a great electronic company now is a mega church. America is turning in to a theocracy while China is kicking us out of the game...

      December 23, 2010 at 8:48 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      So would the billboard have had as much impact if it had gone up on the 4th of July? Because the whole POINT of billboards, you know, is to get people's attention. Seems to me like money well spent.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
  18. Jesus Cristo

    The muslimsm the jews and the kkkristians all have the same GOD. An imaginary one...

    December 23, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
    • God Fearing Christian

      ad you know this how?

      December 23, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
    • Noah

      He knows by using common sense. There is absolutely no concrete or even any minute evidence that any type of god exists. The idea of a god is a totally unsubstantiated, weak theory at best.

      When there is no proof that something exists, why would anyone in their right mind believe that it does? Words like fear, foolishness and ignorance come to mind.

      December 24, 2010 at 8:15 am |
  19. Jesus Cristo

    GOD IS NOT REAL! Just ask him to show himself...

    December 23, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
  20. Agnostic

    And.... they forgot to say "GOD I S............. THE NUMBER ONE CAUSE OF MURDER" in their little word cloud.

    December 23, 2010 at 8:39 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.