Atheist billboard attacks Romney’s faith, but Mormons say it's misleading
This billboard on wheels, sponsored by American Atheists, will follow the Romney campaign throughout southern Florida.
October 21st, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Atheist billboard attacks Romney’s faith, but Mormons say it's misleading

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – When he campaigns in southern Florida on Monday, Mitt Romney will have an unwelcome traveling partner: a mobile billboard attacking his religion.

The billboard on wheels, sponsored by American Atheists, attacks the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its treatment of African-Americans and gays, though the church says the attacks are inaccurate.

The billboard, which American Atheists says will follow the Romney campaign for seven days, features two messages on Mormonism: “No Blacks Allowed (until 1978)” and “No Gays Allowed (Current).”

The first line is a reference to the church’s practice of denying lay priesthood to black male members until 1978.

Though the church did not allow black male members to be ordained before that year - when the church head says he received a revelation to reverse the policy - it did allow blacks and members of all racial and ethnic groups to be church members. According to The Second Book of Nephi, a part of Mormon doctrine, “Black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God.”

The billboard’s second line refers to what American Atheists President David Silverman says is the religion's “intolerance” and “bigotry” when it comes to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

But the church denies such categorizations. It accepts gay members, though church doctrine condemning homosexuality has not changed and the church strongly opposes same-sex marriage. Some gay rights activists say the church is subtly growing friendlier toward the LGBT community, including voicing support for some gay rights.

"People are surely free to disagree with us on the facts," Dale Jones, a church spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to CNN. "This group seems not to know that there have been black members of the Church since our earliest history, and there are many faithful gay members of the Church today."

Jones continued: "We would be happy to introduce the (American Atheists president) to any of our millions of members of different ethnicity who would be happy to educate him on our racial diversity."

Silverman denies the billboard, which is costing the group $8,000, is an attack on Romney specifically. A spokeswoman for the Romney campaign said she would not comment on the sign.

“Nobody seems to be talking about the implications of having a very religious Mormon president,” Silverman said. “There are a lot of things about Mormons that people don’t know, including the fact that racism is an important part of their dogma.”

The LDS Church has largely tried to stay out of the politics surrounding the presidential campaign, even though it has received increased attention due to Romney’s candidacy. This billboard, writes Jones, is "obviously" about the "personal politics" of American Atheists.

"We have consistently kept out of the political campaign," Jones wrote. "People can see this (billboard) for what it is."

American Atheists has a long history in using billboards to call out religion and get its message out. During the political conventions in August and September, the group put up billboards attacking Mormonism and Christianity, taking aim at the faith of both presidential candidates.

This mobile billboard, however, is a departure from the standard American Atheist tactic of multiple billboards on multiple religions. According to Silverman, this is because Romney’s faith hasn’t been addressed enough in the 2012 election.

“We all understand the implications of having a Christian president. We do not understand the implications of having a Mormon president,” Silverman said. “We are not taking a position on the election, we are taking a stance on ignorance.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Florida • Homosexuality • Mitt Romney • Politics • Race

soundoff (2,468 Responses)
  1. Aronwells

    By the way guys atheist.org is having 50% off blowout sale. Guess they overstocked or something.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Terminator Jesus

      They are having a 100% off sale on deities.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:48 am |
  2. Iconoclast

    There's limited space on a billboard, so "one-liners" are the best option. Obviously, American Atheists is targeting the Mormon church for its ban on ordaining African-Americans (until 1978) and its “intolerance” and “bigotry” when it comes to the LGBT community's same-s3x marriage and well...s3x. Dale Jones, the Mormon being interviewed, is just sidestepping the fine print on the lower part of the billboard. Hate is Hate regardless of whether it stems from a holy book, religious leader, or a parent. Holy books are full of hatred and bigotry.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Aronwells

      But you forget about the 200 years of state approved bigotry that had only ended 15 years prior.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Iconoclast

      That state supported bigotry stemmed from the large percentage of the faithful. The bible itself was used in a court of law to support slavery prior to the Civil War

      Genesis chapter 17, verse 12
      Exodus chapter 12 verse 43
      Exodus Chapter 21, verse 1
      Exodus Chapter 21, verse 20
      Exodus Chapter 21, verse 32
      Leviticus Chapter 22, verse 10
      Leviticus Chapter 25, verse 44
      Luke, Chapter 7, verse 2
      Colossians, chapter 3, verse 22

      October 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Aronwells

      As well as the cold hard economics of the revenue that would be lost by freeing or paying former slaves.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Reality

      Most if not all "holy" books are the invention of the scribes of the day.

      e.g. Some examples of contemporary rectification:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      “New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.


      October 22, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • sixin

      It's obvious the billboard is misleading and was intended to be so despite the small fine print. They say that they are not attacking Romney, but who seriously believes that? Everything in their response is comments about the presidential candidates. Hate can also come from billboards.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  3. Poltergleist

    Doesn't really matter. Athiest.org only cares about atheist civil rights, whatever that means. They are only just using black people and gays to that end.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • BWooster

      Very Christ-like.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  4. Pete

    Fuc* bigot david silverman

    October 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Mormon lies

      Yes because calling a group on their blatant racism is so bigoted. Mitt Romney was a missionary pre 1978 so that means this is the message he spread in france on his mission.

      October 25, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  5. Sarah Conner

    I really enjoy hearing religions call each other false.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Clyde

      I really enjoy hearing people saying all religions are wrong because those religions say some religions are wrong.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Britney the Terminator

      I really like people who think that all the other religions are false and only theirs is true.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Rolph Delina

      I really enjoy people who enjoy enjoying people who religion people enjoy I . . . uh, yeah.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Sarah, Well, they're all right.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Iconoclast

      Your definition of "religion" is a bit too liberal. Religion requires the belief in the supernatural and atheists do not.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Meatwad

      I like eggs..

      October 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Sarah Conner

      Uh, Mr. Clast? Where did you ever get the idea that I had included atheists in this? I mostly meant the Christians and Mormons going at each other.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:29 am |
    • yohan

      Not all religions can be right, but all religions can be wrong.

      October 25, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • DaveR

      I like turtles....

      November 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  6. What does word Christianity means, hinduism, fabrication of hindu Jew's, criminal secular, A word without any traslation.

    my father dee-Pak Chopra, denier of truth absolute, mormon goon.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • What does word Christianity means, hinduism, fabrication of hindu Jew's, criminal secular, A word without any traslation.

      hinduism, absurdity of a hindu, ignorant.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:58 pm |

    Top Ten Reasons to like Mitt Romney:

    1. He is a plastic cliché of what makes white Americans feel comfortable.

    2. He is a good husband, just like Obama.

    3. Robs from the poor and gives to the rich. Can't be concerned about the poor and elderly if it gets in the way of profits.

    4. He can say things with his mouth.

    5. Highly intelligent. Believes in sky fairies, space aliens and magic underwear.

    6. Has no experience beyond his silver spo.on. Cannot relate to average Americans but he knows the rich quite well.

    7. Lives in the past and is completely out of touch with the 21st century. Just like the evangelical Right likes it.

    8. Has five sons who are not high. Obama has two daughters who do not do drugs too, however they are black.

    9. Oh yes.....he's a MORMON. No need to be afraid of a hom.ophobic, racist, delusional cult that hopes to become Gods.

    10. And one more point.....pundits say because of his wealth, he can't relate to ordinary Americans.

    His dad didn’t help at all except for his privileged lifestyle, personal loans, college education and connections at the highest possible levels to guarantee success via nepotism. Obama only had to do everything on his own.

    The Republican Party. The party that would stop teaching science in schools and hope to return American to the Iron Age.
    Republicans care about…Republicans. Let's keep it that way.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Fossil Hunter

      Couldn't have said it better myself. Look Mitt may be an OK guy to hang out with, but why do white guys hate Obama? He's done a lot of good and truly "Christian" things like trying to help the poor. He has been incredibly restrained about the 500 pound gorilla in the room: Romney's wacky religion. I'm willing to just pretend religion is a personal thang, but it's hard when right-wingers shove it in your face. Arguments against evolution are probably the saddest evidence of how far behind America has fallen from the rest of the world... I mean really? If you doubt evolution, try this thought experiment. When you submit Staphylococcus bacteria to antibiotics and they gradually become resistant, what caused that? Satan? No, it's random mutations in the genes that are passed on to their surviving offspring. I.e., EVOLUTION. Get over it. You can SEE it. No theory. Only fact.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  8. Mitt Romnesia's opinion of the day

    I am a man of principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  9. Meatwad

    I tried to join the Mormon church as a gay, black meat ball, but they told me I had to have legs to join. And a brain too.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Mitt Romnesia's Flying Circus

      That's not true at all! The Mormon Church PREFERS people with no brains!

      October 21, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Meatwad

      That's right, it was cuz I ain't go no damn money.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • BWooster

      Dude, what are you wasting your time with LDS for?!? You could be a PRIEST in the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster!

      October 22, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • RD

      "That's not a jingle-bell; it's a gland full of knowledge."

      October 22, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  10. Golden Child

    Why does Mitt Romney think people have skin like mine?

    October 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Meatwad

      You shouldn't eat the skin. That is where the damn cholesterol is.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  11. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    The Mor(m)ons had to start allowing blacks in so Brigham Young wouldn't be so disadvantaged at college sports.

    October 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      That was the sign from god.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  12. lamb of dog


    October 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  13. Andrew

    By misrepresenting the facts, the American Atheists proved that THEY are the bigots and not interested in the truth.....

    October 21, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Yeah. And the truth is. Believing in imaginary beings is silly.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Misrepresented how exactly?

      October 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  14. What does word Christianity means, hinduism, fabrication of hindu Jew's, criminal secular, A word without any traslation.

    hindu Mormon ism is filthy Moran ism, pig ism, not of truth absolute GOD, but based on hinduism, corruption of truth absolute called Old testament. handy work of hindu Jew's, criminal self centered of Egypt and Persia, to promote hinduism, racism. to learn truth about hinduism, criminality of hindu Jew's, criminal self centered, please visit limitisthetruth.com.

    October 21, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • What does word Christianity means, hinduism, fabrication of hindu Jew's, criminal secular, A word without any traslation.

      your filthy french is same as your Theen-centered Allah ism, full of ignorance. Moramon, ignorant, goon of corrupt mother Aisha.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  15. "Dreams From My Real Father" is now available on Netflix to watch instantly.

    "Dreams From My Real Father" is now available on Netflix to watch instantly.

    Watch it, then make your mind up for yourself..

    October 21, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Watch some propaganda and then make up your own mind.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  16. "Dreams From My Real Father" is now available on Netflix to watch instantly.

    "Dreams From My Real Father" is now available on Netflix to watch instantly.

    Watch it, then make your mind up for yourself.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You don't have a mind. How can you advise anyone who does?

      October 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The republican propaganda machine is aimed at weak minded individuals who are unwilling or unable to discern the truth for themselves.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  17. brad4nyc

    Of course both are imaginary beings, but the true story is Satan is GOOD and God is EVIL. Satan tapped God on the shoulder and asked God please don't flood the earth and kill all those innocent children. God answered and said "Bra ha ha ha! I am allmighty god and can do what I want. It would please me to see those babies drown in agony! Bra ha ha ha!". Satan said "that's wack, dude! You are one cruel, sick, evil monster". So Satan left heaven and promised to help mankind against the evil imaginary God. Then one day all the people grew up and realized God and Satan are both imaginary and they went away hand in hand as boyfriends forever. That is after God asked Satan's forgiveness for all of the mean spiteful things he did. The End.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      Bravo! Should be a children's book.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  18. dezep

    Here is the video of Mitt Romney's complete Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony which he attends on many occasions and is performed exactly as above, relentlessly, each and every day in all of the Mormon Temples in the USA and throughout the world:


    The American voting public need to be made aware and fully understand that Romney is totally obedient and fanatical about his Mormon beliefs, especially these secret Temple Ceremonies. In the Mormon Temple, he and his wife have been promised that if they are totally obedient to these secret Temple oaths, obligations and covenants, then they will become Gods in heaven and rule and reign in the House of Israel forever.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • brad4nyc

      This is not scary, it's just plain silly! While I am not a fan of Mitt Romney, I support his right to practice any religion. That is the American way.

      Mormonism is just as silly as christianity.

      Virgin birth. Really?
      Drink the blood of Jesus and eat his flesh? Yuk! Sorry, but cannablism is just plain wrong.
      The list goes on.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • BWooster

      Wow. That is so over the top. I challenge any person thinking about voting for Mitt Romney, Christian or otherwise, to watch this video. So very, very creepy.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  19. dezep

    If you would like absolute proof that the mega-rich Mormon Church is indeed a dangerous cult and an anti-Christian organisation, then google:
    Here, in graphic detail, you can now watch and witness a full and actual Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony inside a real Mormon Temple, captured recently by video.
    In this amazing video, you will find that Mormon Temple Oaths and Covenants include swearing with raised hands at an Altar that you will "Give your time, your talents and everything that you possess, even sacrificing your own life if necessary, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for the building up of the kingdom and for the establishment of Zion". i.e the Mormon Church and its empire.
    As with all obedient Mormons, Mitt Romney has attended and taken these secret Temple Oaths and Covenants on numerous occasions along with his wife, and these Oaths to the Mormon Church will come first and foremost before any allegience to the office of US President.
    This should leave you in no doubt that the Mormon church is an abomination and a very real enemy of Christ, all true believers and indeed even to American freedom itself.
    Take a look at the bone fide video evidence above that confirms that Mitt Romney and his Mormon Church are not only anti-christian but also anti-freedom. America wake up to the very real threat of a Mormon theocratic government in the White House.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • WonderMoroni

      Whoever would have imagined that the true secret of Mormons is that their ceremonies are astoundingly boring.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • psuguy1

      While I very much oppose a Mormon as president, I like to think my reasons are sound. Yours aren't.

      "Give your time, your talents and everything that you possess"... sounds a lot like what soldiers do. To not be selfish is a good thing, not bad.

      As for Romney putting his faith first, how is that different from President Obama who puts his own wrong headed beliefs ahead of the well being of the nation?

      Most important of all, listening to Romney, he has little interest in Morman theology, not does have he have an interest in conservative ideology. He mostly goes by what seems to be right to him, which is shaped by his relegion but not controlled by it. Not all that much different then how an atheist operates.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  20. Brampt

    The bible foretold that false religion would dishonor God with there actions:
    "However, there also came to be false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among ​YOU. These very ones will quietly bring in destructive sects and will disown even the owner that bought them, bringing speedy destruction upon themselves. 2 Furthermore, many will follow their acts of loose conduct, and on account of these the way of the truth will be spoken of abusively.3 Also, with covetousness they will exploit ​YOU​ with counterfeit words. But as for them, the judgment from of old is not moving slowly, and the destruction of them is not slumbering. 2 Peter 2:1-4

    October 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • brad4nyc

      Who cares what the bible says? It is a book of myths and lies. God is imaginary and so is Jesus.

      The mythical being god, according to many accounts in the fairy tale book the bible, is an evil mass murderer on children. The story of Noah's Ark is just one of many examples.

      While god is an evil imaginary monster, Jesus was a simple imaginary jerk. That is if you believe the things he supposedly said in the bible. For example, he said he was here to turn brother against brother and children against their parents. What a jerk.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Brampt

      Brad- You just accomplished Jesus prophecy of that jesus "Brother against brother". You hattered confirms the prophecy!
      “Then people will deliver ​YOU​ up to tribulation and will kill ​YOU, and ​YOU​ will be objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name". Matt 24:9

      October 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • brad4nyc

      I have no hate at all. I just don't want any religion forced upon me or the American people. It is you and your kind that would deny fellow citizens, including gays, the spam rights you enjoy.

      Theocratic evangelical christians are scary and anti-American and would take away our rights to free speech and freedom of religion (or lack there of). Believe what ever you want, but do not force your beliefs upon me. As Patrick Henry said "I may not believe in what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". I stand by this great American TRUTH. That said, I hope you give me the same basic American rights...

      The bible is a book of myths and lies. God is imaginary and so is hell. If God were real he would be an evil monster. Who gives a rat's behind what the bible say's because it's pure fiction. How can you worship a god that has killed innocent children? If you worship the god of the bible you worship an evil murderer. Thank god that god is imaginary. Only a monster would make people knowing that they would eventually wind up in hell- especially when he had the choice to not make them at all, thus saving them from eternal torture.

      Satan good. God bad. But only from a mythological point of view, because they are both imaginary. Check out http://www.godisimaginary.com

      Praise Lucifer, the bringer of truth, light and reason! Hail Satan, the imaginary adversary to an imaginary god, who has the balls to fight against god's evil ways! Glory be to the mythical beings of Lucifer and Satan who shall slay the evil mythical God of Abraham!!!! Remember what I said about free speech? Are you American enough to accept this concept?

      October 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Brampt

      Brad – im no evangelical. And as like you i do not believe in hell, ( hell is a non biblical belief that came from the pagan nations) About you liking satan and making America your god...i dont blame you, humanity is under spiritual darkness and religious pastors and priests havent done good at all in teaching God word properly, instead the have taught traditions of man. But God has something good in store for you and me, just take His stand! With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them.4 And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”Rev 21:3,4

      October 21, 2012 at 8:26 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.