A billboard reading "One Nation Indivisible" that was recently erected in Charlotte, North Carolina, displayed an additional message on Monday, June 28. Someone had added the words "Under God" in blue paint, along with an arrow indicating where the omitted words should have appeared in the Pledge of Allegiance quotation.1
The boards are part of an Independence Day project by the Charlotte atheist association. Similar ads have appeared in other United States cities, and this is not the only one that has been vandalized.
Three of ten atheist billboards erected in Sacramento, California, were defaced in February. One board read, "Are you good without God? Millions are," to which the words "also lost?" were added in black paint.2
A series of bus ads in Detroit, Michigan, were also hit around the same time. Messages that read "Don't believe in God? You are not alone" had the "Don't" ripped off or scratched out.3
While vandalism should not be condoned, these recent events shed light on what some Americans will do when they feel that their freedom of speech is threatened. An atheist spokesman in North Carolina said their message is needed to "let people know we exist and that there's a community here."1
Yet he failed to mention the concerted effort of atheist groups to stop religious Americans from freely exercising their religion.4 Not content with having the freedom themselves to worship or not as they see fit, militant atheists increasingly seek to shackle the beliefs of their fellow citizens through their own distorted interpretation of "separation of church and state."5
It is perhaps not surprising that some of those fellow citizens object.
- Goodwin, L. Atheist billboard defaced on N.C.'s Billy Graham Parkway. Yahoo! News. Posted on news.yahoo.com June 29, 2010, accessed June 30, 2010.
- Atheist Billboards Vandalized In Sacramento Area. CBS13 News. Posted on cbs13.com February 16, 2010, accessed June 30, 2010.
- Detroit's Godless Bus Ads Vandalized. The Detroit Coalition of Reason (Detroit CoR) press release, March 15, 2010.
- Montopoli, B. National Day of Prayer Takes Place Despite Court Ruling. CBSNews. Posted on cbsnews.com May 6, 2010, accessed June 30, 2010. The judge's ruling that the federally-recognized National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional resulted from a lawsuit filed by Freedom From Religion Foundation, a group of atheists and agnostics.
- "Separation of church and state" was advocated to protect religious rights from governmental control, not to bar religion from the public arena. Thomas Jefferson first used the phrase in an 1802 letter. It does not appear in the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
* Ms. Dao is Assistant Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on July 2, 2010.