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. Notamomo

    So, the mormons think their religion is superior to any other because they have a "living prophet."

    The truth about Mormonism's living prophets is further illuminated in Deuteronomy 18:22. "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord," the scripture reads, "if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." Isaiah 8:20 contains a similar warning: "To the law and the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."

    False prophets who led ancient Israel astray received the death penalty (Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:20), and all who profess to be living prophets should consider the consequences. Mormon prophets might appear grandfatherly and sincere, but they're not God's living oracles. Since the Mormon Church was founded in 1830, its prophets have uttered a striking number of false prophecies. (See chapter 14 of Jerald and Sandra Tanner's "The Changing World of Mormonism.")

    November 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  2. Jesus Christ

    It looks like the psych-ward has allowed "Kindness" to have access to the public computers again. Why crazy christians think we want to read a novella of what they believe and why, is beyond even me and my father, God.
    Please, you crazy christians. Just stick with your meds. Let the world progress; the Dark Ages are over.

    November 24, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  3. Kindness

    This is my experience... Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    I Accepted Jesus christ as my lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners. Even once we are saved by christs merciful grace we will still experience adversity to mold us to adhering to the truth.
    We will slip... But not fall of the ship ...carrying us onward to perfection in christs grace.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from some other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith ....above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read romans or corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are by faith above reason in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

    Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
    And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
    The, looking in, I saw upon the floor
    Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
    “How many anvils have you had,” said I,
    “To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
    “Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eye,
    “The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
    And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,
    For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
    Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
    The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.

    Truth is..exclusive

    November 24, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  4. robertetozier

    For sensible Christian perspectives on contemporary Mormon religion, see dozens of brief papers at http://www.immanuelbible.net/outreach/mormon-outreach.html

    November 19, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  5. Creermins


    November 7, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  6. Brad

    So, why can't Christians(not mormons, thats 2 totally different things) voice their opinion? If Christians cant be activists, why can gays? How can you be ignorant to a group for being ignorant? Thats not very nice now is it.

    November 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Brad

      Looking back on my comment...I realize how dumb I sounded! Sorry!

      November 19, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  7. pastmorm

    So, the past few months, I've been really concerned about a mormon in the White House because of my background with the mormon church (7th generation...ancestor even mentioned in the D&C) and how horrible I know it to truly be.

    No more of CNN (which obviously supported Romnesia, the big hairy ape). No more fighting with a bunch of mormon propagandists. All that matters is that not only did creepy conservatrolls LOSE last night, but the mormon church lost the money it donated to stop gay marriage in Maryland and Maine. LOL! ON top of that, how many members are going to be questioning their religion now? After all that fasting and prayer, surely God would have seen the light and created a win for Romney, the chosen of the mormons and God himself. LOL! NOT!
    So, no more of these boards. And NO more of cnn. In 4 years mormonism will be a skeleton of what it was. All of the things that have come out about it's REAL temple beliefs and godhood, etc, will hit Americans and they will put it up there with the likes of David Koresh. Younger generations are already leaving the church (I've been able to help 7 out of 13 of my nieces and nephews see the light of freedom) and as technology takes over, even more will leave behind the dinosaur led by a bunch of smelly, old, pathetic men, that is the mormon church. BYE LOSERS!!!!!

    November 7, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Scott715

      I am an ex-Mormon also and I was really concerned about what a win for Romney might mean as well. I think he was a Stake President or at least a Bishop. If he truly a faithful member he has to support ending abortion rights, he has to support anti-gay legislation, he has to support suppression of women's rights or he would be dis-fellowshipped or ex-communicated from the church. You can't go against them and stay a member. Mormon's are the main reaons the Boy Scouts still have their bigoted Christian and anti-gay policies as they more or less run the Boy Scouts now. Romney was saying what he thought he needed to in order to get elected, but he would have begun turning back the clock on a lot of things once he got in the driver's seat.

      November 21, 2012 at 2:28 am |
  8. WillieLove


    November 6, 2012 at 4:26 am |
  9. WillieLove


    November 6, 2012 at 4:23 am |
  10. WillieLove


    November 6, 2012 at 4:22 am |
    • Vern Sawyer

      God I love paranoid schizophrenics.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:49 am |
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    November 5, 2012 at 3:03 am |
  12. sunflower52

    Opps sorry. It is John Huntsman that is related to Mitt Romney.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  13. sunflower52

    I don't care what religion you belong to but Mormonism is not Christian. That is, of course, if you believe God was once man and through prayer and righteousness became God. Romney wants to be president to practice being a god and ruling over another world once he dies (if you don't believe this do some investigation). Funny how the Mitter changes his view to suit the audience...the Mormon's seem to have a "revelation" anytime the laws change and it is not in their favor. Multiple wives were fine until Utah wanted statehood and suddenly a "revelation". Being black was the "mark" of God on Caine for killing his brother and that is why black men couldn't hold the priesthood but when the Civil Rights law passed...suddenly another "revelation". He has been raised to flip flop. As to his father living in Mexico it was because of his 12 wives. As a matter of fact Portman and the Mitts are related because of those many wives...again look it up if you don't believe it. Google Portman's relationship to Mitt Romney. If he is elected get ready for the return to the scarlett letter form of government.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  14. Feagorkarie

    Happy to meet every personone here.
    Have a great day.

    November 4, 2012 at 12:31 am |
  15. Matt

    Good idea, a little bit cheeky, but still a good idea! Keep pushing people to think, Atheists!

    November 3, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  16. MashaSobaka

    If he kept his faith out of his policies it wouldn't be a problem. But he insists on shoving his religion down innocent throats. So it's a big problem.

    November 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Craig

      Where and when did he favor religion over policy?

      November 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Scott

      Shoving his religion down people's throats? What are you talking about?

      November 9, 2012 at 1:43 am |
  17. Mutt Romney

    In a few short days, when I am elected President of these here 52 United States, I will immediately ask for the salvation of all sinners who have not embraced Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and the Church of Latter Day Saints. Next, I will deliver to the new American Mormon congregation the coordinates of my home planet, where I am a God as well as here. The present God, who has been portrayed as the Christian God on plant Kobol will be retired and the mythical Jesus stories ended.

    Next, I will instruct our Armed Forces to move in force to Israel and remove all peoples from that area and ship them to Diego Garcia as their new home; Jewish and Palestinian alike. Mormon Missionaries and Mormon Families will then immediately populate and rebuild this land as our ancestral home.

    Finally toward the end of my first day in Office as the President of the United States, I will use Executive Orders and repeal anything that smells of decency and humanity from the previous sinful Administrations. All government assistance will end immediately except to those Mormon driven businesses that stand prior to my election. All government mandated programs including Women's Rights of Choice and Voting, Welfare, Health Care, Legal Services, Student Loan Programs, NASA, Agricultural Funding, Foreign Assistance Programs, Affirmative Action Programs, Gay Anything Programs will all cease to be funded by the stroke of my pen. Finally, if any have not come to the Mormon fold by the end of my first day and have any debt, all property and possessions will immediately become the Government's. Anyone not complying with these Executive Orders will be detained and summarily sent to Northeastern China as Slave Labor to our Chinese Mormon Brothers and Sisters.

    I want to thank all of the Tea Party Members whose complete hatred and stand fast stupidity allowed me to shove aside those pesky Centrist Republicans and bring chaos to the forefront of American Politics when compromise might have been possible . While you all were bickering and complaining over issues that really did not matter, I have laid the complete foundation to rid America of anyone who is not White, Mormon, Straight, Obsessed with Work and Greed and completely malleable.

    Now I know you haters out there and you know who you are, will cry the blues over my changes. Be at ease, you will be at peace before long. If we can't get you into the Church before you pass, we can after Again thank you for a prosperous America and may I bless these great United States of America.

    Mutt Romney
    Paid for by the Church of Latter Days Saints

    November 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Bob in Texas

      This is really rude. While I know it's an attempt at humor, you lack the skills to pull it off. Not a Mormon, but as an American I am fine with Mitt Romney being one.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Demsthebreaks

      Kudos hypocrite, you’ve just demonstrated that bigotry is alive and well in atheism.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:02 am |
  18. ivan bial

    Facts are tough for the Romney followers to accept;

    Try theses on:

    People who know Romney best don't want him;

    Israel's most influential daily newspaper, Haaretz, endorsed President Obama.

    In Massachusetts Romney is trailing by over 30 points.

    Utah's "Salt Lake Tribune" endorses President Obama

    November 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  19. DaveR

    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.

    Really? They drove around with a sign that said "Muhammad was a pedophile"? That's really courageous!

    November 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Matt

      Oh, you're one of THOSE people. We have you guys stand over there, in the corner of the room with the Area 54 folks and the 9/11 was an inside job folks. It's for your own good. Plus, you're more likely to find like-minded friends over there. Enjoy.

      November 3, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  20. Bored

    Anyone ever seen so much hatred toward other people as those who hate religion? Remember, these are the people who accuse everyone else of being 'haters' and yet, they seem to harbor plenty of it. Guess it's easy to cast stones... In the future, my advice is to never accept advice on religion from an atheist. It's not easy for them to be objective with so much anger and hate, not to mention the depression that they suffer.

    November 1, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • BRN

      Bored, I don't know which posts you're referring to, but I'm sure many are over the top as is common on these kinds of comments boards. On the other hand, people like me a threatened daily by religious folk with having our marriages recinded...with serious consequences. Many of us are kept apart from those we love because the immigration laws that allow people to marry a nationally recognized "spouse" and live together in the US don't apply. When we die, the US government, will take money from us that otherwise would go to "spouses". If our state marriages are revoked, we risk even losing rights to manage our partners medical care. In many states "religious" people have taken away our children. Until you yourself live in fear, you really don't understand why some might not be able to react with compassion and empathy to those that threaten you life and family.

      November 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      The prevalence of mass stupidity gets annoying after a while... and the greatest promoter of ignorance has always been organized religion. When the followers of ancient fairy tales insist on forcing their ways of living on others, the annoyance turns to anger.

      November 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Kel

      Wrong. I used to be Mormon. I have nothing against Mormons, most of my family are Mormon. I love my family and don't care about their religious beliefs. The only thing I despise is when people use their religion to justify their intolerant thinking. Or when people judge you because you don't agree with their theology. Or when people try to force their beliefs on others. I get upset when people deny scientific truths simply because it is more convenient for them. You should not change fact to support your opinion, change your opinion according to the facts. But the fact is that most people simply believe what they want to believe.

      But I have no hatred of religion, I simply have a disbelief in God. Not by choice, I just don't find it a convincing argument. I'm not sure how we came to be, and I am fine with acknowledging my own ignorance on the matter. But this isn't hatred. It's an aversion to the idea that you should never question or challenge your own beliefs. The point is that I'm trying to be objective, and implement critical thinking. Your own religious beliefs have more to do with domestic upbringing, geographic location and culture than anything else. I mean, ask yourself, do you really believe you would be Christian had you been born in Southeast Asia? Probably not. I have no anger or resentment towards people who are decent human beings, religious or not. I would also like to point out that as a non-believer, I am quite happy with the evolution of my thought process, as I believe I am now a better informed person. Your tendency to generalize groups of people and universally categorize every individual within that group is evidence of your inability to see beyond your own prejudices.

      November 2, 2012 at 6:16 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.