Atheists flying ad campaign meets strong resistance
June 30th, 2011
06:41 PM ET

Atheists flying ad campaign meets strong resistance

By Katie Glaeser, CNN

(CNN)–It's a battle of belief - and the right not to believe - in a country founded on freedom.

"I'm a patriotic American. I served my country. I get out there and celebrate the Fourth, too," Blair Scott, who calls himself a proud atheist, proclaimed.

"This America belongs to everyone."

Blair, the communications director for the New Jersey-based American Atheists, said atheists in the United States often feel alienated and face accusations of being anti-American because of their lack of belief in God.

To combat those notions, his group is using Independence Day to say atheists love their country, too.

But the way they're spreading their message might have Americans looking to the sky this Fourth of July and finding something besides fireworks to stir emotion.

Planes with banners that read "God-LESS America" or "Atheism is Patriotic" will be flying over 27 states on Monday. While people might be leery to see the messages overhead, the $23,000 campaign has had a struggle with those who are supposed to bring it to life.

Justin Jaye of Fly Signs Aerial Advertising, who is orchestrating the flights for American Atheists, said out of the 85 people in the country who fly these sign-pulling planes only about 17 have agreed to fly the messages.

"I've been in this business for 20 years and I've never run into so much resistance on people flying," Jaye said. "I've had pilots who are actual atheists who said, 'Justin, I am an atheist and I won't fly it because I can't wear a bulletproof vest.'"

Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, says the reaction to the organization's campaign before it takes off shows how much work the group still needs to do. "This is a clear reminder of why we need to keep fighting because the bigotry against us is so thick that a lot of the pilots are afraid to fly our banners," he said.

Jaye said while some feared for their lives, others feared for their marriages. He had one pilot say his wife would divorce him if he made the flight.

Red Calvert, a pilot and president of Pro-Air Enterprises in Indianapolis, said his reasons to decline the flight were based on his personal beliefs.

"I respect our country and I respect our churches and we've got enough problems in our country without stirring up some more," he said. "If those people want to do something they believe in, fine, just don't include me."

The American Atheists hope to draw attention and spur public discussion through their campaign on Monday.

"It's going to remind people that atheism is at that ballgame and at that beach and at that parade. We are patriotic people," Silverman said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • New Jersey • Religious liberty • United States

soundoff (2,835 Responses)
  1. TerryL

    As an Atheist, I love this stuff. It just gives us more exposure when the religionist resist our efforts to be included in the ranks of Real Americans.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  2. Tim

    I rarely get involved in the comments that follow news items, but this article hit home. Not because I am an atheist, or a deist, or whatever other labels one might place on me. I am certainly not religious even though brought up Episcopalian (yes, the church founded by the English King Henry the VIII because he wanted to get divorced and the Pope wouldn't let him). My concern is that open and honest inquiry in the nature of the organizing forces of the universe is far too rare. I am willing to change the precepts I hold true with the understanding that, while Truth (with a capital "T") certainly exists, we, as humans, have a currently limited ability to perceive it. Perhaps this is because we voluntarily "give up" the quest for understanding while relying on the simple declarative (though not simplistic) expression of faith in that for which there is little evidence. The intersection of the empirical and that we currently understand to be "non-empirical" is fraught with declarative principles, some of which seem aligned with what we perceive as Truth, and others of which seem so outlandish as to be fanciful in the extreme (e,g, 72 virgins for martyrs...). The atheists are as close-minded as the faithful, unfortunately. Atheism as a belief set expresses the ineffable through a negative, as earlier pointed out. The question of whether atheists should "advertise" is easy. Of course they should. All religions do. And make no mistake, atheism is as religious a belief as any of the dogmatic faiths it purports to reject. Relax and embrace the non-linearity of this fabulous universe. We are consciousness seeking itself and to characterize it with simplistic stories about this or that absolute belief is to reject all that we know about how the universe works. The existence of the periodic table, or the crystalline structure of matter argues as strongly for the presence of organizing forces as famine, pestilence, and war argue that there is no god (or God, if you prefer). I only wish we could have as much fervor and excitement surrounding a passionate discussion without limiting beliefs for which there is little evidence.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Björn Möøsefåärtsniffænsen

      Oh dear, here we go again. When you say that atheism is a religion, you are falling into a common trap. "Religion" has a number of definitions. The one that fits religions like Christianity is "the service and worship of God or the supernatural." That clearly cannot fit atheism. You are taking a different definition, "a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith" which is more colloquial – it can apply to a baseball fan.

      The two definitions are NOT mutually inclusive. "Green" can mean a color, but it can also mean "inexperienced." Only a fool would think that the phrase "that leaf is green" means the leaf is inexperienced. Not interchangable.

      Changing subjects, the existence of the periodic table, or the crystalline structure of matter argues strongly for the presence of organizing forces, BUT, there is absolutely no indication whatsoever that those forces are supernatural. The laws of physics explain them very nicely actually. If what you said was true, then scientists would be convinced and be religious – but the opposite is true.

      "Open and honest inquiry in the nature of the organizing forces of the universe is far too rare"? Nonsense. Adding elements to the inquiry which are not proven to exist in any way is not honest. Honest inquiry means based on what can be found. Superstitions and religions and fantasies do no have to be considered if they cannot be sow to be at work in even the tiniest detail.

      You are far more religious than you claim, though perhaps not to any particular organized religion.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • brad

      Tim, spiritual experience is highly subjective . Science solely objective. The subjective and objective have a hard time co-existing. But this is an important day for this blog. I believe yours may be the first truly objective view of the issue. (Mine certainly isn't!) A though balance to keep. Well done.

      July 5, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  3. samstone

    Some atheists just can't stand the fact that most people don't give a rats a$$ about their lack of beliefs. They'll do anything they can to get attention.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Mike

      And some sheeple can't stand the fact that not everyone believes in their fictional sky fairy.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  4. Ajaax

    It's an interesting discussion, but unfortunately passion seems to be blinding some people, and they are bordering on rudeness. The absolute truth is, that we know so much more about nature now than we did in Darwin's day, and in intellectual circles the atheists are fighting a losing battle. The incredible precision of the universe, with the perfect properties of such things as the nuclear strong and weak forces, gravity, and other elements of nature make it almost naive to believe that it all happened by accident and chance. A single cell in the human body – or an amoeba – is a small universe of complexity (irreducible complexity) unto itself. Just prior to Einstein, the big debate in science/philosophy was whether the universe was eternal or had a beginning point. While Christians and other theists argued that it had to have a beginning, the atheist view was that it was eternal – beause to think that it had a beginning implied strongly that a power greater than the universe had to be the cause. Well, we know now, don't we? It's pretty well established and accepted that the universe had a beginning, now believed to be a "big bang." The naturalistic explanations, however, fall far short of anything more than speculation and desparate wishful thinking. My friends, from nothing comes only one thing: Nothing.... unless there is a God behind it, who is long believed to have created ex nihilo (out of nothing).

    July 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • natedogg

      Then where did God come from?

      July 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Ed Sommers

      We may know a lot more about nature today than we did in Darwin's day, but we don't know any more about the existence of god or God or G-d. We will never know about the existence of god except through faith. Personally, I do not have that faith. Personally, I don't know and I believe...I cannot know. What I do know is that I'm not going to accept the fairy tale you believe, nor the fairy tale your neighbor believes, nor the fairy tale they believe in India, or Saudi Arabia, or Israel or Kuwait. If it's okay for religious believers to claim to care about the USA, it is equally okay for atheists, agnostics or blue druids to make that same claim.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  5. Kevin

    I will ask a few simple questions.

    How many Atheist service organizations or charities are there? Not secular, as in city run charities, those most likely are run by religious people. I mean, Atheist charities that in their mission statement say. 'We are Atheists out to do charity and give service to our fellow man? Go ahead and do a search. Now do a search for religious charities. I think there's a few more of those.

    Who supplies more free health care and Meds to the starving and sick in Africa? Here's a hint...it isn't the Atheists.

    Is there an Atheist Army?

    Why is it that when you swear to tell the truth, fewer people believe you if you say, 'So help me no-one.'

    Disaster relief – hmmmmmmmmm, don't remember any organized Atheist relief efforts.

    Victim counseling and relief? I don't know of any Atheist organization offering that.

    Drug and alcohol addiction recovery. How many steps are in the Atheist plan?

    Organized religion has it's faults it is true, but it has so many positive attributes that are overlooked. I'm not trying to attack Atheists. Just felt the need to point a few things out that they usually/always leave out of the conversation.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Dingo 8 my bay bee

      Maybe in your trailer park you don't have non-religious charities.

      The rest of the country does. Imagine how much heart and conviction it takes to work for and give to non religious charities -a true expression of appreciating and giving without the moral overhang, requirement, obligation, strings, fear,.....

      July 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Kevin

      I did not say they did not exist, I asked how many are there. I asked it fairly reasonably too. Thank you for you thoughtful and considered response. Now if you would like to answer the rest of the questions please do. Thank You.

      Also I live in a very nice suburb in a very nice town, with a lot of charities...none of them Atheist.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Björn Möøsefåärtsniffænsen

      Is there an atheist army? No, and that's a good thing.

      Who supplies more free health care and Meds to the starving and sick in Africa? Various government aid programs including UNICEF far outgive any private groups. Secular groups like Doctors Without Borders would lead the list of private medical support in Africa. Religious giving is actually quite a ways down there. Same for disaster relief and the other things that you mentioned.

      Atheists like myself generously support effective organizations like Doctors Without Borders. We do not use our philanthropy as a tool for ideological recruitment like some others do.

      As to 12-step programs, you are clearly unaware of the proven ineffectiveness of them. Their results appear to be slightly worse than if nothing is done at all. While some may recover using it, the religious (yes, it is religion) and other aspects alienate and run out a larger number who could be helped. Better ways exist, but 12-step members almost universally will tell people that they will DIE if they try them. Just like religious people (because they are).

      I personally appreciate the charity work that some religious people do, but pretending that atheists do nothing is just slander. Which we are used to from Christians.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Stevie7

      All of your arguments are, frankly, rather pointless because atheists don't have all that much to associate about. Thus, there are very few atheist organizations period. One would thus expect very few explicitly atheist charities.

      If you want to look at charitable work and athiests, look no further than the worlds largest private charitable foundation – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Kevin

      I will apologize and say that I did not mean to infer that Atheists contribute nothing in terms of charity. Only that there are very few, in any Atheist Charities that are widely known or active. I know many Atheist participate in religious charities or service organizations simple because no secular or atheist ones exist near them.

      If you know of any please feel free to list them.

      As for proselytizing, is it wrong to say "I think this might help you", if you truly believe that it will. Is it better to say nothing and offer no help to someone in need for fear of offending them in some way? If you don't want someone's help because of what they believe, don't take it.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  6. aryma65

    IThe atheists that I know are always complaining that Christians and religious people "shove their religion in my face," and most of them claim that they don't care what other people believe if they'd just keep it to themselves and not "cram it down my throat." IIt strikes me that this display exactly parallels the religious displays that offend the atheists so much. Personally, I don't have any interest in what either side has to say – I wish they'd all just keep it to themselves.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Sabrina

      I agree. Some atheists aren't really atheists at all. They're really more anti-theist or mal-theists. They're angry because they feel God let them down, so they just cop out and say God doesn't exist but can't seem to let go, so they have to attack anyone who has a stronger belief. It's the classic since I can't (or won't) pull myself up, I'll just pull others down and we'll all roll in the mud together.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Al in SoCal

      No Sabrina, that's not the point AT ALL. I can see all you're all aglow with Christian "love" since apparently you know exactly why people don't believe and that their beliefs just aren't as strong as yours. Please .... go back and send your tv evangelist another $100 for some decent advice.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Dingo 8 my bay bee

      Poltics: God Bless America
      Sneeze (health): God bless you
      Money: In Dog We Thrust
      Patriotism: One nation under dogma with liberty and justice for some
      Tax: propery tax exemptions
      Radio: hundreds of AM stations
      TV: tens of sunday shows and dedicate channels
      Language: goodbye

      Pro religion is so in-your-face that the sheeple have gotten numb to it.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  7. Al in SoCal

    "I won't fly it because I can't wear a bulletproof vest."

    Shows the amount of "love" Christians have for those who don't agree with them.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Jimmy

      The atheists do not like to lumped in as not being patriotic, so please don't lump all Christians as only loving people who agree with them. I try to tell people about God and Christ but if it is something they don't want to hear at that time I leave it alone. It is my job to plant the seed not cram it down their throat. I try and love and get along with all people. There are some very good hearted people who do not believe in God. At the same time there are people who claim to be christian but are but have no idea of what living like Jesus is all about.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Jojo

      Being shot at and an unjustified fear of being shot at are very different.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  8. IndyAmerican

    I don't mind Atheism. I have Atheist friends, and I think that Atheists are just as American as everyone else.

    But this is ridiculous. Few real religions advertise (Pat Robertson and co. aside), except to drum up support for charity (Salvation Army to name one). They seem just to be trying to get a rise out of some people, or get more money. And they probably won't do anything with that money, at least most legitimate religions have social justice programs.

    Americans enjoy freedom of religion, true. But I just wish they would stop mocking people BECAUSE they even HAVE a religion.

    Happy 4th guys. We all live in the Freest nation on earth, lest we forget.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Al in SoCal

      "I have -insert group you are about to bash here- friends"

      The most overused line in America's history.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Bullsh!t Detector Going Off Again!

      Few religions advertise? Bullsh!t! I see numerous religious billboards everyday, mostly Christian but a few Islamic. They are all aimed at conversion, none for charity. I have never seen an atheist billboard or plane banner. Not that they don't exist, but they are EXCEEDINGLY rare in comparison to religious ones.

      Are you totally blind, or are you ethics situational?

      July 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Tory

      All it takes is a 15 minute drive through any community noting the mini-billboards in front of religious establishments and the messages on them to realize public very in your face advertising has always has been in place.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Sabrina

      @Bullsh!t Detector Going Off Again! You must have missed the hoopla last Christmas when a New York based atheist group purchased a $20K billboard to say that the birth of Christ was a myth. I've seen atheist billboards in Portland and Seattle, too. The atheists bought space on buses as well with saying God doesn't exist. Now go live your life. So yes they do advertise their non-religion...and have done so for quite a while.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Stevie7


      Did you read the post you're commenting on? "Not that they don't exist, but they are EXCEEDINGLY rare in comparison to religious ones." You didn't dispute that – in fact, you basically proved it. There are a small number of signs in a small number of cities that have non theistic messages. On my drive home, I'll see probably two dozens signs that are designed in an attempt, at least in part, to convert me. Atheist signs, unless your blind or living in a cave, are exceedingly rare when compared with religious signs. They are so prevalent, they just blend right in.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  9. Ahuramazda

    Do you gos believers think your prayer will save the USA or the American continent, including Cuba and Venezuela?

    God Bless _______!

    Your name there for $2/ month.

    I'd pick Iceland or Tonga or Surinam. Yep. That's it, god bless Surinam.

    Changed my mind. The poles are in trouble. God Bless Antarctica.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Aussie

      Good Bless Papua New Guinea.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Patriot

      Good Bless China.

      If i were not for their willingness to lend us money, we would be going hungry now.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Jürgen Von Mohammad-Stein Wong

      God Bless Ecuador.

      Most of the bananas in my local market come from Ecuador. I hope that by praying that god bless them, we never run out of good bananas.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • God Bless France

      Home of great cheese, great cuisine, great wine, great fashion, great literature, great movies.....may be with God's blessing they will avoid the likes of DSK.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • God Bless Mexico

      God bless the country that gives is a bottomless supply of cheap illegal labor so that we can pay $2.15 for head of lettuce, instead of $8 were we to use a legal labor system. Without Mexico, food costs would soar.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • God Bless Sea Shepperd

      Without the Sea Shepperd we'd have no whale wars, and eventually no whales. God Bless the Sea Shepperd.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • God Bless Iran

      Why not. We are children of the lard!

      July 5, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • God Bless Walmart

      Can you imagine what it would be like if we did not import 50 containers of cheap Chinese goods a day fill the Walmart shelves?

      Ooops. That would be a good thing. But Walmart is as American as American can get. And by blessing America, we've asked that god bless Walmart too.

      Can we ask that God not bless segments of America, like gays, Walmart, people whose ends in the letter "e", and bad french fries?

      July 5, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  10. Ahuramazda

    If you put a different country's name after go bless you realize how stupid the expression is.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  11. tom

    You people are all village idiots!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • empiric

      Trolling projected insults gives a nice little ego boost, doesn't it? Ahh...

      That said, I'd eat you for breakfast on Stanford-Binet.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Mike

      empiric, How unpatriotic. Stanford-Binet originated in FRANCE. Shame on you for having anything to do with those French.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • empiric

      @Mike: Nice evasion! I see you are quite practiced at it.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Mike

      empiric, I will match wits with you any time. You are much more evasive than I. You say a lot without really saying anything.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • empiric

      @Mike: Not really unclear anywhere. The OP made the (ludicrous) suggestion that "we all" are idiots. This is demonstrably false, and I indicated so. Your digression neither added to nor detracted from my point that was there, and, well, clearly there for anyone able to read. Tell me nothing was said again, though. I might be convinced this time, despite the obvious facts.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Tory

      empiric, it might be wise to refrain from exibiting case in point.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  12. Wade

    Your god is as real as Santa Clause or the Tooth fairy. Grown adults shouldn't believe in fairytales.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • empiric

      To be fair, neither of those two accurately predicted the upper-bound of lifespan for man for the next 4000 years, without the internet to use for research or any medical training. When you can equal that as one of a few hundred examples of what Santa or the Tooth Fairy, or you, for that matter, haven't presciently predicted, I'll reconsider their equivalence. Oh, also, per the standards of the time, if the person making the "guess" (Moses) ever was shown to be wrong by someone older showing up, he'd be put to death for a false claim of something "God" supposedly said. I'm sure you'd have no problem with agreeing to the same terms, given you have enormous research advantages over that desert nomad. Next 4000 years. Go.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • GaboonViper67

      And, you Atheists are complaining about what?

      July 5, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Eldensword

      Fairy Tales? Free nations aren’t built, none-the-less sustainable, on fairy tales. You Godless, dark creatures try so hard to push "make believe" in the Faithfull’s faces. You need to curl up in front of a nice 1940's era high school text book for a weekend and come back to us with some insight on science's sad attempt to fill in the blanks. Science is the effort to understand the language of God. It's perfectly healthy and natural for you to want to know more about science. You’re searching for your truths which are out of reach in the same way you think those of faith are reaching for something that doesn't exist. The difference is that your hatred and scathing rage is without consequence (in your mind). At least those "Fairy Tales" gave you a free nation in which you have a free voice with which to chime in. This land was raised from great persons with great faith. A nation of Atheists would fold like a lawn chair if it ever tried to defend itself from either faith-based enemies or resource mongers. It never ceases to amaze me, the big talk from you lefty freaks…You would be absolutely NOTHING without the protection and resources of the by and large, God fearing Armed Forces. For 235 years, we as a whole have believed that by God’s will, we have a better advantage and can offer a better advantage as a nation to an individual. You want a Fairy Tale? Try that track record with your own Godless, hopeless, faithless, worldly, selfish country and get back to us with your findings. Just because you’re left in the cold, bitterness of thinking that mankind is your best hope, doesn’t mean you should spite those that see more clearly and know better.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Sabrina

      Grown adults can believe whatever they wish. It's jaded children like you that are the problem.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  13. Sp

    I had an agenda once. I sincerely desired an end to poverty, child marriages, female genital mutilation, etc; I was a person with ideals. Young and naive, I set out to make the wrongs right, but I am not that man anymore. Most days, I just try to take care of my family and myself, and live peacefully amongst my neighbors.
    We don't speak of the wars that religion has started, or the wars that religion has ended. We don't speak of atrocity committed by atheists, in the name of science, or the suffering that atheists have ended through medical advancement. We don't speak of politicians that offer false hope, or can see Russia, but not what their kids are up to. We don't speak of propped up banks that the American government should have let die. My neighbors and I are simply cordial to one another without agenda.
    If an atheist loves America, good, let him/her love America. Let them do all the good they can to America and her citizens without taking credit for it as an atheist, but as a human being with a desire to see rights wronged, problems solved, etc. Also, if a believer shares his or her faith with a non-believing neighbor, let it be construed as love from a person that does not wish to see his or her atheist neighbor damned. Faith like that can also be motivated to champion valid causes presently.
    Too many competing agendas with little to no regard for anything but themselves is cancerous to the public as the greed that put us in our current economic climate.
    Thanks for reading.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Pease

      A nice post. Thanks for posting that. As an atheist, I respect your willingness to co-exist peacably. Proselytizing is pretty much free speech, even when the recipient does not want it or need it. Being considerate enough to keep from proselytizing is more than most believers can do. It can be hard not to "witness" to other people regardless of religious affilation.

      As an atheist, I live pretty much like you do. I ignore most of the religious nonsense interjected into human affairs and tend to live peacefully with everyone around me.
      Instead of going to your door and asking if you've heard the "bad news" that your religion is bull-sh!t, I prefer to say it here, where all may speak freely about such matters.
      This is a place where such things can be said. I think it is better to say them here than to go bother you in church with my views. I hope you can respect that even as I denigrate your beliefs. I truly care for you and am trying to help you understand that you are a victim of fraud. My motives are good and loving. But telling someone their religion is a fraud is necessarily a harsh thing to say no matter what words are used.
      May you seek the whole truth and find it. Peace, Sp.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  14. TheyNotHim

    There is no name for what I am.

    My pen is mightier than your sword, O God.

    You book of lies will be loosened amidst the rising tides and lost forever.

    Do not lament, for your children will prosper without it.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  15. ohjoy


    I'm religious, and I've never once thought to myself "those damn athiest sure hate america."

    Nor have I ever heard such a thing uttered. The closest thing to that I've heard is that athiest are ruining the country, this because of the decline of morality. So what these people should do instead of flying signs is make sure their kids have morals.

    I understand fully that being A-religious doesn't equal being A-moral.

    But if there is a misunderstanding it lies in morality and not patriotism.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • A A-Theist

      THANK YOU, you hit the nail right on the head. Patriotism has little to do with religion, you want to celebrate or defend your society, even give your lite for it. You don't necessarily need a God to do that.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • probablepossible

      "The closest thing to that I've heard is that athiest are ruining the country, this because of the decline of morality. So what these people should do instead of flying signs is make sure their kids have morals."

      And what you can do as well, is to point out that atheists DO have morals. Or didn't you know that?

      "I understand fully that being A-religious doesn't equal being A-moral.

      But if there is a misunderstanding it lies in morality and not patriotism."

      No if there is a misunderstanding it lies in the lies you allow to stand unchallenged– which is IMO, immoral.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  16. ohjoy

    Did they ever think "Maybe the message we are flying should be more clear."?

    God-less america, sounds like some terrorist rant

    Atheism is patriotic, sounds pretty random and pointless.

    I am by no means a master propagandist, but I know a failure when I see one.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • GodPot

      I guess we could put something up more akin to the conservative propaganda, like maybe a new version of something Grover Norquist said like, "Our goal is to cut religion in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." We can tell them we are just going to baptise religion but then just not let it up again...

      July 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • ohjoy


      Or they could stop being shock jockeys and put something like "Happy 4th America!"

      Oh wait that wouldn't draw enough attention to their cause, so they wouldn't benifit from it. Meaning they aren't patriotic and they don't really care about the 4th, they just want to advance their agenda. So they are more passionate about being Godless than they are about being american. If not true then why do they spend the holiday thinking of how to spread the word, instead of shooting fireworks?

      July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • A A-Theist

      I agree, they need to hit a positive note. How about
      Jefferson, Franklin, Thomas Paine –Founding Atheists
      The revolution was fought to be free of control by a King,
      The First Amendment was placed to be free of control by a Church.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • probablepossible

      "Atheists ARE patriots too" might work.

      America Blesses Herself."

      July 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  17. Bampaz

    Religious patriot vs an atheist patriot – a religious one will more likely be a braver soldier on the battle field since they are less afraid of death. IMO.

    July 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Sinjin Smythe

      Atheists are much more brave in battle. They know that their lives are on the line. They know it could all be over in a flash. Religious types have deluded themselves with simpleton's stories born out of fears for things that go bump in the night, or thunderstorms, eclipses. In battle it is the religious type that can't be counted upon for understanding the gravity of the situation.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Everyone, Report abuse on this video, please

      The religious are likely to cause the battle to begin with. The Atheists see life as valuable..

      July 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Tom

      My brother is a serving, special operations ready marine staff sergeant, and an atheist. Why not tell the guys in his unit he's not courageous enough, see what happens.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Ahuramazda

      If you put a different country's name after god bless, you see how stupid it sounds.

      You foolishly think the world is devised between athieat soldiers and religious ones. What of the 99.9999% sinners who now yiur faith but domt observe? If by being brave you mean more fearless of death, most would end up in hell, and would be frightened by death.

      God less America. I love it.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  18. Rich

    Right on....
    The "Church People" are always up in arms when an Atheist or group wants to "advertise" or in some way make public about their convictions of God being BS, but it's no problem when, as the above poster mentioned, that you religious morons slap pamphlets in everyone's hands on the boardwalk, go banging on peoples doors @ their home asking if they have a "personal relationship with Jesus", hell no I don't, because he isn't here to have a personal relationship with...I have personal relationships with living real people. And no, this country wasn't founded on religion; the majority of founding fathers were atheist as well. Keep your prayers, BS messages and everything else religious in your house or in your church, leave it out of my schools, work and government.

    July 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • unknown

      right on, Rich. A freakin men!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Bob

      Go Rich, A voice of reason in the wilderness.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "my schools, work and government."

      You have no schools, work or government. But we as the citizens of the United States do. Sad for some, but that does include Christians and other religious organizations.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Mike

      I agree with you Rich except for the part of the founding fathers being atheists. They were more deist than atheist. Jefferson especially didn't care for christianity.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • gsj

      The majority of founding fathers certainly weren't atheists. I have read extensively about the founding fathers and I don't believe a single one was atheist. Quit trying to rewrite history and take your ignorant agenda elsewhere. The majority of the founding fathers were Deists with a strong minority of Christians. And no I am not Christian.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • A A-Theist

      gsj, it didn't pay any more then to be an avowed atheist than it does now. Thomas Paine was an avowed atheist and no one showed up at his funeral. To be polite an atheist would call himself a "Deist" - Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. They stated that they believed in a God but that God was not particularly involved with us as creatures. They held that the Bible was only a work of man (without divine inspiration). In fact Jefferson wrote a version of the Bible that had everything supernatural removed from it, to get the pure philosophy of Jesus without any supernatural aspects. In effect they were using the same definition for God that I use for "Nature". So I guess I am not an Atheist, I am a Deist too (if that makes you happy), why not?.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • gsj

      @A.Atheist So now you are reading their minds and interpreting the thoughts of long dead people. You aren't basing your conclusions on any of their writings I'm quite positive but you are just deciding that anyone who claimed Deism was actually an atheist because it makes you feel better I suppose. So you are writing historical fiction...congratulations.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • gsj

      and thanks for bringing up Thomas Paine I had forgotten he was a actual atheist. But there were many many other reasons he was widely disliked and most of them had nothing to do with his absence of religious belief. He was widely known as a caustic drunk and many of his pamphlets despite having legitimate political points were also full of virulent vitriol in his attacks on individuals.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  19. Chwacker*

    Why do atheists have to be patriotic? Why not citizens of the world? Or is this too much of a break from the dogma?

    July 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • empiric

      Welcome to the joys of integrating your worldview on a "not". What -other- premises can you rely on the "atheist community" agreeing with you on? None whatsoever. One needs at least a dozen points of core agreement across the core branches of philosophy (stances on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics) to -start- to have a functional communal baseline of actionable belief. Need at absolutely minimum a dozen, "atheism" has none, and this will improve–never, because treating a "not" as if it were proposing an "is" simply an example of the erroneous thinking of a Reification Fallacy. Even Hitchens and Dawkins, for all their hatred of "religion", had no real basis of commonality on what they -did- believe, only what they did not. The spectacle of the evasions of disagreeing with each other on the vast disunity of views on everything else, ends up being comical. Seriously, if you want a coherent group to be a part of, don't choose something that is merely a "not", "atheism" isn't anything specific any more than rallying for "not oranges" would be. Choose something fundamental that you assert -is-, and let the incidentals of what that implies is -not-, remain incidentals.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Mike

      Well them empiric quit lumping atheist into one group. All you religious types do.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • A A-Theist

      Because we worship the freedom that is America. Just remember Pat Tillman, one of us.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • empiric

      @Mike: Ah, no, it is the organizers of the silly little rally that the article is about that is "lumping" them. My statement is clearly saying that this isn't possible other than in the most dysfunctional, useless way. It says that, you know, by reference to the words in my statement. And, absolutely nothing in my post is predicated on a religious viewpoint, nor can you validly make that assumption. The "atheism" worldview fails entirely on it's own merits, simply looked at as a worldview at hand from basic philosophy.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Mike

      empiric, If it smells like a duck and walks like a duck.....

      July 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • empiric

      @Mike: I'll categorize you as belonging with the "not duck" stance, then... from which we can constructively conclude, like usual,... nothing. 😉

      July 5, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  20. LarryS

    ATHEISTS – Enough of the persecution complex!!!
    The sign is designed to be an in-your-face slam at people with religious convictions. It's like walking up to a stranger on the street and shouting in their face that you have a right not to believe in god. When they complain, I guarantee it is not because they are trying to suppress your freedom of belief.

    July 5, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Holden Caulfield

      Larry, enough of the hypocrisy!

      That you can't even muster the intellectual integrity to see how religion is a "slam in the face" of anyone who doesn't find something a lot of people can't find is sad.

      I mean have you ever pondered that even if the "G"od of the Bible is THE ONE and ONLY "true" "G"od –

      how can it be that the omnipotent and omniscient power that is the end and the beginning of everything has failed to reach or convince 5/6 of the world's population

      YOu had better check your mirror before you outrage over "persecution complex" crawls up on your head and makes a fool of you. Those banners flying behind the plains are not even close to the level of condemnation and snide belittlement you'll find on a church sign facing the road.

      Comments like yours make it brutally obvious why atheists would feel the need to fly banners –

      and the hypocrisy that it's OK for a church to promote their message but atheists who do it are just sore losers and provocateurs –

      I don't expect the conflict to end any time soon.

      Keep belittling people and mocking them – I'm sure that will make them feel better.

      That you can't fathom where the hostility comes from while posting a comment like that is priceless.

      July 5, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Jay

      I can't count how many times I have been given religious pamphlets, told God bless, or Merry Christmas. And to have in God we trust on money and under God in the pledge of allegiance. So don't complain when an atheist wants to voice their opinion.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • ohjoy


      Larry can spell. Holden can not spell.

      That is all.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Bible Bob, Knight of the Infallallibable

      Hey ohjoy, how about you point out those misspellings for us.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Sabrina


      July 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Realist

      As a Realist, I find religion not only offensive, but disgusting. Having a guy on a cross is no different than some of these violent video games. In fact it is the introduction to brainwashing children.

      1: Please put cloths on the guy
      2. No nails or puncture
      3. Please let your kids be kids, when they are adults they can chose (Then again, brainwashing sticks when you begin it on children)

      July 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Realist

      And please don’t tell me how this guy suffered.. In fact religion has caused far more pain to human life, Inquisition and religious wars. This guy barely suffered compared to what religion has caused on people.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
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About this blog

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.