Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Atheist billboard taken down
The Freedom from Religion Foundation erected the above billboard in Rancho Cucamonga, in San Bernardino County, California. It was supposed to be in place through January.
A bunch of christianist wingnuts, fearful that their jealous little god would be offended, complained and whined and cried and finally the General Outdoor Advertising sign company took it down.
The administrator of the First Baptist Church of Rancho Cucamonga, Judy Rooze, was very happy. She thought the sign was "unsettling." She said, "I understand people have freedom of speech, but this is taking it too far. It's very jarring."
Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, was not happy that the General Outdoor sign company broke their contract, even if they did promise to refund the money that the foundation paid for the sign.
Gaylor said that the sign's inspiration came from John Lennon's song, "Imagine." It was intended to provoke discussion and also to recruit new members for the foundation. Gaylor thought this kind of censorship was inappropriate, that religious viewpoints are aired all the time but atheists and agnostics are shut out of the marketplace. "There should be some balance," she said.
Gaylor's right and Rooze is wrong. Whether you agree with the Freedom from Religion Foundation or not is irrelevant. This IS a matter of free speech. Just because a billboard offends some religious people should have no bearing on the matter at all. Freedom of speech means the freedom to offend.
And those wingnuts who complained and whined and cried should be very careful. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, so they say. If the Freedom from Religion Foundation cannot put up their billboard, than billboards promoting religion must be dissallowed also.
In fact, we've got a ton of them in the community where I live, consisting of pithy little "god" comments and a bible verse. Very unsettling. Very jarring.
Take the damn things down, now!
And, so far as Rancho Cucamonga goes, the Freedom from Religion Foundation should file suit immediately against General Outdoor Advertising for interfering with their right of free speech.