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. truth be told

    Poor leadership is Gods curse on a nation.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • skarphace

      Then God must surely love China since they are arguably doing the best economically.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      So we can blame god for our congressional leaders.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Thanks god for people like Dr. Broun and Mr. Akin.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • truth be told

      We blame you for congress. I refer to the inept current President and the Moron who will soon replace him.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • truth be told

      As to China, God has often used a godless nation to discipline a wayward nation of faith. America has lost its moral compass, prepare for a trip to the woodshed. Besides the people of China boast one of the fastest growing branches of Christianity in the history of the world.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Who is we? And I didn't know I was responsible. Sorry congress sucks. My bad.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      DId you figure out the difference between "gall" and "Gaul," Turdy? Figure out the definition of "pun?"

      Or are you still wallowing in your ignorance like a pig in slop?

      October 22, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      then god must have hated us during the previous administration

      October 22, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • What IF

      Now, here's a proper pun tbt: "Frankly, my dear, I think you have a lot of Gaul" (a quiz on Frankish Royals)


      October 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • OneTruth

      So why would a god do that?

      October 23, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • OneTruth

      So why would a god do that?

      October 23, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  2. skarphace

    If you ever have doubts as to whether or not Mormons are Christians, then ask a Mormon the following question: is it true that Jesus is God.

    The Trinity, being that 'the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit' are one and the same being, is the very foundation of Christianity. If you do not believe in the Trinity, you are not a Christian.

    Mormons will claim that they are Christians, but then go on to argue against the concept of the Trinity. To a Christian, this is a contradiction. To a Mormon, it is not. This is because Mormons believe that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct beings. Therefore, they are not Christians.

    That being said, do not get me wrong. I would have no problem voting for a Mormon for President (of course, I would have no problem voting for a Muslim, a Hindu, or an Athiest either). The reason I will not vote for Romney has nothing to do with him being a Mormon and everything to do with his policies, both his fiscal and social policies.

    To me, Romney's policies are the worst of both worlds: he is a fiscal liberal and a social conservative. What we need right now is the opposite: a fiscal conservative and a social liberal.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  3. NorthVanCan

    Its over for the Mitt tonight. I talked to God and he told me Mitt is satanic.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      From a Christian point of view. He does worship Elohim. And that's a false idol.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    October 22, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • LamaLad

      Prayer makes you dumb... You fool!!!

      October 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Your stupidity is unhealthy.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • nope


      October 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • nope


      October 22, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • skarphace

      The troll is back and there's gonna be trouble. (ooo laaa de daaa)

      October 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!-

      October 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  5. thecollegeadmissionsguru

    It's about time someone pointed out some of the negatives of the Mormon Religion. During Kennedy's run, Catholics took a beating.. why is Romney's religion so off limits, and yet, everyone has smacked Obama for 'being a Muslim."

    October 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Because if other religions start to question Mormons they will be forced to deal with their own silly beliefs.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • visitor

      Kennedy ran as a Democrat. That's why. If Romney was running as a Democrat the right wing would be having a Mormon trash-a-thon.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  6. LamaLad

    The religious are so not because of what they know... but because of all the things they don't!!! They are no more people of FAITH than they are IGNORANT!!!

    October 22, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  7. David

    "No, you atheists have it all wrong! We let blacks in, we just didn't let them into the priest hood!". Sorry, but that doesn't exactly sound much more tolerant. Of course, it's analogous to what the Catholic Church does today with women.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      They don't have it wrong. Read the fine print. And the church still considers gay people to be abominations.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      But good for you guys. Letting the descendants of Cain become ministers.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Bob

      They let blacks drink from fountains....just separate fountains.

      They have nothing against the gay community. They simply want to deny them the rights to marriage, father/motherhood, and label them as childmolesters.

      I have no idea where these baseless attacks come from.

      Romney 2012.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  8. lamb of dog

    Kolob sounds like a tasty meal.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • derp

      Shish Kolob?

      October 22, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  9. Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

    Human please don't miss my posts. I am suffering from attention seeking syndrome. My Hakeem, a muslim term for witch doctor, prescribed me to say something really stupid to get attention, like those atheists billboards in Florida. On my street I walk with red nose, but internet is little different you know!

    October 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  10. lamb of dog

    I can't wait until our money says "In Elohim we trust".

    October 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Answer

      Remember this also you freak mormons.. when you die and gain your own planet; make sure you ATTAIN a lot of women. You'll need the workforce to help you build your shack.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  11. Doh!

    Wow,how pathetic for the "logical one's" to do something like this.So much for "science,logic and reason" that they boast so much about.They cause strife anywhere and claim religion causes it the most.Seems like atheism causes strife as well.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

      hinduism, denial of truth absolute GOD, always causes strife among humanity, it is atheism, self center ism, or religion's, hinduism, corruption of truth absolute by hindu Judaism, filthy self center ism, or pig ism, also known as secularism.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Good post homer simpleton.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Snow

      so.. according to you.. the guy who discriminates someone is blameless.. but the guy who points this out to the world is the sinner? wow! you are awesome, dude.. such great morality must feel you cozy at night!

      October 22, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      I find it funny when atheist groups point out the faults of religions and then they are attacked for "telling the truth" NO church or religion would EVER call an atheist anything bad.. Surely not... And I'm sure all religions think very highly of us atheists..

      October 22, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • End Religion

      doh, you seem to find thought to be a negative trait. Can you explain?

      October 23, 2012 at 1:57 am |
  12. jimmydapimpmaster

    Kudos to American Atheists for getting this out in the open. I can't believe how Romney's religious beliefs have been tip-toed around throughout this campaign. Anyone who thinks that a candidates religious affiliations and beliefs aren't going to have a bearing on how they would run the country is insane; just look at Paul Ryan's response to the abortion question in the VP debate – he straight up said he would use his religious beliefs as a foundation for abortion policy. Of course, Mitt will say his mormonism will in no way influence his political agenda, but he's a proven bald faced liar. People need to know what this man believes and the way the mormon organization works with regard to politics before they make a huge mistake.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  13. Reality

    The better ad: (only for the new members of this blog)





    ABRAHAM AND MOSES as far as one knows or can tell NEVER EXISTED.

    Added details upon request.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • therealpeace2all


      Hmm... I think you need to bring out the "added details" as I don't think they are quite getting the point.


      October 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

      hinduism, absurdity of a hindu, denire of truth absolute.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for the new members of this blog:

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  14. Bob

    Here is my religion, and it doesn't require any magic or gods for it to function. It only has one commandment:

    *************Try not to be an as shole.******************

    If everyone followed my religion, the world would be much better off. There is no need for god or an afterlife to get people to be good. Using magic to manipulating people to do good deeds just muddies the waters.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • TTT

      Bob you have failed on all accounts. You are as shole #1.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Bob


      Yeah, well I tried. The difference is that I'll still sleep soundly tonight while you worry about pleasing the magic man in the sky.

      October 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • TTT

      Surprising I do not. I sleep soundly know I have The Lord watching over and protecting me.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      TTT, how come the Lord allows you to look like a complete moron on this site? Why doesn't He use his powers to give you the gift of knowledge and literacy so you can be more convincing? As it is, you only convince me that you're just another idjit who can't be bothered to learn how to read or write. Why should I be impressed with you OR your Jeebus?

      October 23, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  15. Kenneth

    Here's an inside look at Mormon ceremonies, they're pretty strange I tell ya.


    October 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  16. Theen Allah Fat Mullah (the original hinduism source.....)

    okay so mormons did not allow Blacks and Gays in their churches, so Romney is a bad guy. Are they planning to continue with their mormon churches policies after presidential debate, or any other States? Are they going to target any other politicians running for the office in any capacity? Timing of billboards tell people, these guys are not sincere in what they do. They just want to alter your political views temporarily, nothing more.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  17. goirish12

    This is disgraceful.... atheists are very hateful and the do not accept anyone other than atheists and attack all those that believe in Jesus

    October 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Jesus and Yahweh are both Lords! Worship them or burn in hell!

      October 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Questioning your beliefs isn't an attack. Especially if you really believe. Its only feel like an attack if you are unsure of your beliefs.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      to say that atheists attack all that believe in jesus is absurd.

      stop trying to use your belief to deny others' civil rights and then we can talk.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • therealpeace2all


      You Said: "atheists are very hateful and the do not accept anyone other than atheists and attack all those that believe in Jesus "

      Oh, dunno there -goirish12. I think, in general, we "attack" your *actions* that flow from your beliefs.

      When you try to make 'creationism' as if it's an actual *science* into law in the schools, or criticizing gays and considering less than under the law, or not allowing a woman to make her own decisions under the law... that's the kind of sh!t that bothers us.

      We don't "hate" you... we just fight to stop your insane actions...*at times.*


      October 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Joseph Smith's Habbedasher

      If I accepted only Atheists, I would be very lonely indeed. I relocated to the southern city in which I live 3 years ago and have yet to meet another Atheist, yet I have friends, all of whom are people of faith. I also have a mother and two brothers who are devoutly Catholic, a daughter who is a Lutheran, and a Jewish girlfriend.

      The only disgraceful thing here is your lack of comprehension. It is either a another failure of the American education system or an example of the hate spewed from the pulpit in your particular place of worship.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Opposing an idea that has no foundation is not "hate".

      October 22, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  18. Dan

    It's funny...I thought they were gonna put up the part about Mormons believing White people being white because they sided with Jesus, and black people are black because they stayed neutral during the spiritual battle of brothers....Jesus & Lucifer. SMH

    October 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • therealpeace2all


      LOL... Must have been a 'tight budget.'


      October 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  19. lamb of dog

    I believe in the great spaghetti monster. He does exist. And once you feel his noodley appendages you will believe also.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  20. church member

    Really? Everyone can choose what they want to believe. Nothing they believe will change reality and truth. God exists, created the earth, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem every soul on earth. Why? Because He loves us all, and desires, like any loving parent, to have His children return to him. Scripture teaches individual personages in God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Christ taught love, mercy, compassion. You are all His Children, what you believe won't change that. He will always and continually love you. Things happen here on earth that harden our hearts, but that doesn't change His. We agreed in the pre-existence, (everyone that is here on earth, even you proclaimed atheists) to come here, to endure the trials of having a body, and learn to have faith in our Heavenly Father. Many people choose to ignore or deny God's existence. It doesn't stop God from existing though. Now, to the black and gay issue. Fundamentally, it is false. Blacks have always been members of the church, and gays, also. This is Christ's church, no racism here. I searched for about 15 years for a church that was true. Well, here it is. Come to any Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints on a Sunday or Wednesday (youth activities) and see for yourself. Don't get swept up in hate. This church has genuine love, and a little time with members will show that. Just one example on the net today: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765613271/LDS-volunteers-bring-healing-and-hope-to-patients-on-US-Naval-ship-Mercy.html

    October 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • niknak

      You have absolutely zero evidence to back up your claims that god exists.
      Or that jesus existed.
      Until you do, it is meaningless to us atheists.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Yes you are free to believe in fairy tales.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Worship the bronze-age, middle-eastern diety named Yahweh and his illiterate son Jesus, or burn in hell!

      October 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • freethinkr

      How do you feel about the Book of Abraham being proven to be a lie? Smith made the whole thing up. Yet the LDS church considers it "gospel". Your church considers a proven work of fiction to be gospel. OK with that?
      Are you OK with the fact that the story of the Lamanites and Nephites has been proven false? Sorry but Jews never sailed to America. Proven via DNA. And archeology. And common sense. That means there was no Moroni. The entire religion unravels right there. Do not pass go.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @church member

      " Everyone can choose what they want to believe. Nothing they believe will change *reality* and *truth*. God exists, created the earth, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem every soul on earth. "

      And there you have it... a brain with a sign up that says..."Closed for Business" 😯


      October 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Joseph Smith's Habbedasher

      Show me your proof. Do you have your god's fingerprint? Maybe some DNA? An autographed picture? Anything other than the usual anecdotal nonsense? I thought not.

      Any wonder why people who exercise reason think you're silly?

      October 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Answer

      Anybody who creates a religion and then goes and name their home planet "Kolob" is a fvcktard.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Paul G.

      To quote Einstein" the word god is nothing more than an expression and product of human weakness, The bible a collection of honorable, but primitive legends ".

      October 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      you sure seem to have an issue confusing your opinion for "realty and truth"

      October 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Apatheist

      @therealpeace2all How do you make that face?

      October 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • The Truth

      God exists (No proof), created the earth (No proof), sent His Son, Jesus Christ (No proof), to redeem (No inherant sin so nothing to redeem) every soul (No proof of anything living on after death) on earth.

      You are a member of a group who has very strong delusions about reality.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Apatheist

      @The Truth Yes, yes, but how do you make sarcastic face!!!

      October 22, 2012 at 5:34 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.