02.17.2010 By Chase Hunter
[ supporting scripture verses, articles, photos, links as noted ]
This newest “falling away from faith in God” manifestation came to my attention this morning, and apparently it all started last year. In Seattle, Sacramento, and Tampa Bay Florida several atheist organizations have begun financing public billboards that encourage people to question the existence of God.
Well why wouldn’t they question? We see so little real evidence of the existence of God in the overall behaviors of human beings, it does beg the question: Where are the fruits of our real faith in God? Are they sitting in a church pew? Are they standing in the Vatican? Are they in the Bohemian Grove summer cavorts of our shamelessly decadent public servants? Are they being displayed on live TV? Are they on display at the problematic National Prayer Breakfasts, which many consider to be an overt challenge to the separation of church and state?
Just exactly where is the evidence of our collective faith in God here in America? Where can it be found? To the spiritually blind intellectually constipated atheistic eye, they most likely do not find that evidence anywhere, and they would not find it, even if 85% of the American population were so spiritually developed and evolved that they were now living in a pre-Ascension condition, something that many Christian mystics and shamans know quite a bit about. I’ve chosen not to write about the pre-Ascension condition, for I know I would be “casting my pearls before the swine” of today’s secular God hating masses. So why bother? I’d be writing at least 100 years too soon for most of the current world population. Nonethesless, before I leave this world, I will address the subject at length. That’s still some twenty years away, at least.
One thing that struck me as I looked over these stories is that more bible prophecy is being fulfilled by these kinds of actions [atheist billboards] right before my eyes. It’s truly remarkable that simple men of faith in Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago could and did forecast the precise spiritual, anti-spiritual and societal phenomenon which are taking place today in America in 2010. Here are some items in scripture that I am reminded of as I review several of these stories:
From Second Thessalonians 2:2-11
2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Atheistic billboards send ripples of dissent across God-fearing America
Campaign is riposte to Christian businessman spending $50,000 on posters denouncing separation of church and state
In a country where more than eight in 10 people regard themselves as religious, it takes more than a little guts to preach about a world without God. But that’s the message that is creeping across America, spreading ripples of dissent in its wake.
From Tampa in Florida, to Cincinnati, Ohio, and all the way across to Sacramento in California, billboards have been cropping up with messages that run across the grain of America’s normally devout discourse. “Don’t believe in God? You’re not alone!” were the first posters to be put up, in Arizona, Colorado, Texas and parts of the north-east. “Being a good person doesn’t require God,” read another.
The billboards are the work of a national group of atheists – or nontheists, as they call themselves – called United Coalition of Reason that seeks to encourage nonbelievers throughout America by bringing them together.
Through their website, they set themselves up in the mould of a religious community, outlining their “mission” , which they define as raising the visibility and sense of unity of the “community of reason”.
The idea for the billboard campaign emerged after a Christian businessman in Tampa spent $50,000 (£32,000) of his own money putting up posters denouncing the separation of church and state . The coalition decided to take him on directly by spending twice as much on its own campaign.
The result has been predictably volatile. Its latest poster – “Are you good without God? Millions are” – has been defiled in Sacramento by religious opponents adding the words: “Also lost?”
In Cincinnati, the owner of the hoarding took down the poster after he received threats. And in Tampa, the believers have hit back with another campaign pouring scorn on the coalition with the help of quotations from George Washington.
The billboard Northeast 78th Sreet. (Casey McNerthney/seattlepi.com)
A new billboard in North Seattle proclaims:
“Don’t believe in God. You are not alone.”
It’s part of national campaign. Last month billboards went up in Tulsa, Houston and Baltimore.
In all, there were 18 such campaigns in 2009.
“The point of our national campaign is to reach out to the millions of humanists, atheists and agnostics living in the United States,” Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason said in news release. “Nontheists sometimes don’t realize there’s a community out there for them because they’re inundated with religious messages at every turn. So we hope this will serve as a beacon and let them know they aren’t alone.”
Another group, Freedom From Religion, had bus ads in Seattle last month that read: “Yes, Virginia, there is no God.”
So what do you think? Offended? Glad?
Thursday, January 28, 2010
By Diane Macedo
The Mother Teresa Stamp is set to be issued Aug. 26, 2010, on what would have been her 100th birthday.
An atheist organization is blasting the U.S. Postal Service for its plan to honor Mother Teresa with a commemorative stamp, saying it violates postal regulations against honoring “individuals whose principal achievements are associated with religious undertakings.”
The Freedom from Religion Foundation is urging its supporters to boycott the stamp — and also to engage in a letter-writing campaign to spread the word about what it calls the “darker side” of Mother Teresa.
The stamp — set to be released on Aug. 26, which would have been Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday — will recognize the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize winner for her humanitarian work, the Postal Service announced last month.
“Noted for her compassion toward the poor and suffering, Mother Teresa, a diminutive Roman Catholic nun and honorary U.S. citizen, served the sick and destitute of India and the world for nearly 50 years,” the Postal Service said in a press release. “Her humility and compassion, as well as her respect for the innate worth and dignity of humankind, inspired people of all ages and backgrounds to work on behalf of the world’s poorest populations.”
But Freedom from Religion Foundation spokeswoman Annie Laurie Gaylor says issuing the stamp runs against Postal Service regulations.
“Mother Teresa is principally known as a religious figure who ran a religious institution. You can’t really separate her being a nun and being a Roman Catholic from everything she did,” Gaylor told FoxNews.com.
Postal Service spokesman Roy Betts expressed surprise at the protest, given the long list of previous honorees with strong religious backgrounds, including Malcolm X, the former chief spokesman for the Nation of Islam, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister and co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
“In fact we honored Father Flanagan in 1986 for his humanitarian work. This has nothing to do with religion or faith,” Betts told FoxNews.com.
Gaylor said the atheist group opposed Father Flanagan’s stamp but not those for King and Malcolm X, because she said they were known for their civil rights activities, not for their religion.
Martin Luther King “just happened to be a minister,” and “Malcolm X was not principally known for being a religious figure,” she said.
“And he’s not called Father Malcolm X like Mother Teresa. I mean, even her name is a Roman Catholic honorific.”
Gaylor said Mother Teresa infused Catholicism into her secular honors — including an “anti-abortion rant” during her Nobel Prize acceptance speech — and that even her humanitarian work was controversial.
“There was criticism by the end of her life that she turned what was a tiny charity into an extremely wealthy charity that had the means to provide better care than it did,” Gaylor said. “…There’s this knee jerk response that everything she did was humanitarian, and I think many people would differ that what she was doing was to promote religion, and what she wanted to do was baptize people before they die, and that doesn’t have a secular purpose for a stamp.”
But the Postal Service said the commemorative stamp has nothing to do with Mother Teresa’s religion.
“Mother Teresa is not being honored because of her religion, she’s being honored for her work with the poor and her acts of humanitarian relief,” Betts told FoxNews.com.
“Her contribution to the world as a humanitarian speaks for itself and is unprecedented,” he added.
Some atheists, too, spoke out against the group’s objections, including Bruce Sheiman, author of “An Atheist Defends Religion.” He said the Freedom from Religion Foundation is being “hypocritical” and really “stepping over the line.”
“Clearly there are a number of things that you can point to and say it’s religious and a number of things you can point to and say that it’s areligious,” Sheiman told FoxNews.com. “So it really doesn’t make sense to protest it.”
He said the Foundation’s campaign stems from concern that the abundance of humanitarian work done by believers will overshadow that done by atheists.
“Like billboards and bus ads, this is just part of the whole campaign that they’re doing to make non-belief more visible,” he said.
Gaylor said the foundation’s only concern is the “other things that deserve to be commemorated but are not because the people behind it didn’t have the power of the Catholic church.”
“It’s enormously difficult to get them,” she said, referring to commemorative stamps, “and people have huge campaigns, and to me this speaks of the power of the Roman Catholic Church in hierarchy.
“They want to make her a saint and this is part of the PR machine.”
The Foundation is encouraging its supporters to purchase the new stamp honoring the late actress Katharine Hepburn, who was an atheist, instead — or any of the other 2010 stamps, which include cartoonist Bill Mauldin, singer Kate Smith, filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, painter Winslow Homer and poet Julia de Burgos.
Betts said that despite the Foundation’s accusations and letter-writing campaign, “The response to Mother Teresa has been overwhelmingly in favor of this stamp.”
He said the Mother Teresa stamp, like other stamp subjects, will “stand the test of time, reflect the cultural diversity of our nation and have broad national appeal.”
Billboards on Tampa Bay roads duel over existence of God
By Dong-Phuong Nguyen, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Monday, February 8, 2010
A group representing people who do not believe in God or any gods has revved up an awareness campaign in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
The United Coalition of Reason paid to have two billboards erected that feature a blue sky with clouds and the words: “Are you good without God? Millions are.”
The move is the latest in an advertising blitz involving religion that has people talking.
Six months ago, a retired businessman paid $50,000 to rent 10 billboards in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties that denounce the separation of church and state.
The United Coalition of Reason is spending about $100,000 to blast its message on billboards, bus shelters and transit stations across the nation, said Fred Edwords, national director for the coalition.
In addition to the Tampa Bay area, ads have popped up in places like Seattle, San Diego and Iowa.
“People are saying, ‘Geez, where have you been all my life? I didn’t know you existed. I thought I was the only one who thought this way,’ ” Edwords said of the reaction.
Message for masses
Whether or not you believe in God, putting the topic in the public domain is noteworthy, said advertising expert Harold Vincent, an instructor at the University of South Florida’s Zimmerman Advertising Program.
“Hallelujah, First Amendment,” Vincent said. “I would hope that most people can at least appreciate how in a country such as ours that there is a forum for open debate and for people to share ideas with others.”
Billboards are one of the last true mass-media vehicles and are effective because they are seen by more than a single demographic, Vincent said.
“There are 100-plus television stations, a plethora of Web sites. … With the large amount of media that is out there, it is very hard to draw a broad cross section of the general public,” he said. Billboards are “one of the most highly effective mediums because it hits a geographically diverse target.”
That means Christians see the billboards, too.
Activist Terry Kemple, whose public policy group was behind last year’s 10 billboards calling the separation of church and state a “lie,” criticized the Coalition of Reason as “not having very much reason.”
“It flies in the face of rationality to believe that we can live in this complex world we live in and not have some master designer who created it,” he said. But “we live in America. It’s their privilege to put up inaccurate information if they choose to do that.”
Signs stay up a month
The latest billboards have spurred debate, as expected, but the coalition said it created the advertisements mostly as a way to bring nonbelievers together.
The coalition’s goal is to raise the visibility of its local societies, including here, where the Tampa Bay Coalition of Reason has just formed and is seeking members, Edwords said.
The national organization takes information from groups such as humanists, atheists and secularists, and brings it together in one place.
It offers the groups Web hosting and free public relations training while also funding publicity campaigns.
The two 14- by 48-foot billboards cost $7,600 for four weeks, Edwords said.
The messages went up Jan. 25 and will stay up for a month. More than 35,000 people a day are expected to see the sign on Fowler Avenue near 17th Street in Tampa and along Ulmerton Road just east of U.S. 19 near Largo, according to Clear Channel Outdoor, which owns the billboards.
One motorist who has seen the Fowler Avenue billboard is Yassel Quijano, a massage therapist from Town ‘N Country who practices Wicca.
Quijano said people may not agree with the message, but that’s what’s great about living in a free country.
“People have the right to just express what they want, what they feel,” Quijano said. “I’m sure there are a lot of people who are afraid of saying it. Someone had the courage to do something like that. For me, that’s something I admire.”
Dong-Phuong Nguyen can be reached at (813)909-4613 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Atheistic billboards send ripples of dissent across God-fearing America (guardian.co.uk)
- North Seattle billboard preaches to the faithless (seattlepi.com)
- Morality isn’t the monopoly of any faith (teabreak.pk)
- Prayer at Albany council meetings? (timesunion.com)
- 17 reviews of Religious discrimination (rateitall.com)
- -Happy Holidays! – An Anti-Religion Billboard Campaign (answersforthefaith.com)
- Atheists need a different voice (samharris.org)
- Women & Atheism (rainbowofchaos.wordpress.com)
- Atheist Revolution (rwandanatheist.blogspot.com)
- Palin: ‘It Would Be Wise of Us To Start Seeking Some Divine Intervention in This Country Again’ (videocafe.crooksandliars.com)
- What’s Wrong with a Gay Prime Minister? (dendodge.blogspot.com)
- Men Aren’t Angels: (brothersjuddblog.com)
- Breakfast with The Family (mikedelongsantafe.blogspot.com)
- Calling Dianne DeGette’s bigotry and ignorance out (michellemalkin.com)
- New award recognises schools teaching both religious and non-religious belief (guardian.co.uk)
- 36 Arguments for the Existence of God (3quarksdaily.com)
- How I came to believe in God (vmohanty.com)
- 17 reviews of The ACLU wants to kill Christmas (rateitall.com)