Atheist billboard removed after complaints by local church
I can’t say that I was shocked to read the following news from the website, “Freedom From Religion Foundation.” Christians have been shunning anyone not like them since the beginning. It’s such a simple billboard. Leave it alone. It let’s those “in the closet” so to speak, know that it’s okay to not subscribe to a religion. That you “can be a good person” regardless of what your parents, grandparents, neighbors,etc. tell you. I say bravo to the FFRF. And by the church taking down this billboard only strengthens that call. And proves our point.
A billboard featuring a cheerful student saying, “I can be good without God,” was too much for the delicate sensibilities of a local church in Columbus, Ohio, which insisted late last week that a local billboard company remove the message.
The billboard picturing Dylan Galos, a Columbus student and atheist, was removed and is awaiting placement at an alternate eastside Columbus location.
Dylan’s billboard is one of seven featuring local nonbelievers posted within the last week for a month-long lease in Columbus, Ohio, as part of the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “Out of the Closet” campaign.
The colorful billboards bear the faces and personal views of friendly neighborhood atheists.
“The action of this censorious church shows exactly why our campaign, intended to encourage social acceptance of nonbelievers, is so important,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president.
“Do its deacons truly believe one can’t be good without God?” wonders Gaylor. “Nonbelievers know that it is not what you believe, but how you act, that makes you a moral person. We don’t feel the need to be rewarded in heaven or threatened with everlasting punishment in order to do good and be ethical.”
Added Dan Barker, a former evangelical minister who co-directs FFRF, “Everywhere atheists and agnostics go, we encounter advertisements, marquees and other proselytizing messages. This is one of the few public advertisements anywhere in the nation right now, and there isn’t room for it next to a church?”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a state/church watchdog based in Madison, Wis., is the nation’s largest association of atheists and agnostics with more than 16,500 members, and about 450 members in Ohio. Columbus is FFRF’s fourth stop on a national campaign to introduce local nonbelievers to their neighbors. FFRF debuted the “Out of the Closet” campaign in Madison last fall. FFRF took the campaign to the bible belt in the spring: Raleigh, N.C., in April and to Tulsa, Okla., in May.