American Atheists (AA) is known for putting up some controversial billboards. The secular group’s messaging typically targets people of faith, while also using contention to gain interest and intrigue in media. Consider the group’s new campaign, a series of billboards in Austin and Dallas, Texas, encouraging people to “go Godless.” To get the word out about its fervent non-theism, AA is using some familiar faces.

The signs feature messages from Pope Benedict XVI, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, and Pastor Robert Jeffress, a Dallas-based preacher whose past comments about Mormons and homosexuality have created controversy. Only, something isn’t quite right about one of the quotes that was attributed to the 2008 vice-presidential nominee.

Each of the billboards features a picture of one of these individuals and a statement surrounding their views on church and state. The sign featuring Palin quotes her as saying, “We should create law based on the God of the Bible.” But, as CNN notes, that’s not what she said. The outlet reports:

In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, Palin addressed the growth in American secularism by saying of America’s founding fathers “we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments,” not “should.”

Dave Muscato, the group’s public relations director, said in a release that because American Atheists holds itself “to the highest standards of accuracy,” it will “move the quotation marks at our expense, so they do not include the word ‘should.’”

AA is, however, standing by the “intent and context” of the billboard.

American Atheists Launch Go Godless Instead Campaign | Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum

Photo Credit: American Atheists

So far, the other messages have caused less controversy. Santorum’s reads, “Our civil laws have to comport with a higher law. God’s law.” And Gingrich can be seen in yet another billboard asking how one can be trusted if he or she doesn’t pray to a higher power.

In addition to these messages, which are presented in English, a Spanish version featuring Pope Benedict XVI highlights church abuse (see the English version, below).

American Atheists Launch Go Godless Instead Campaign | Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum

Photo Credit: American Atheists

“We’re very proud of these billboards,” Dave Silverman, AA’s president, is quoted as saying on the group’s web site. “Prominent figures in the public sphere continue to make abhorrent statements, all justified by their religion.”

Silverman went on to say that society has finally reached a point in which bigotry against atheists will no longer be acceptable.

In addition to imploring Americans to reject God, the billboards go on to invite citizens to attend the organization’s national convention from March 29-31 in Austin.

“We invite reasonable people to stand up, come out, and join us in celebrating 50 years of fighting for the separation of church & state and the civil rights of atheists,” he continued.

AA has a history of posting potentially-offensive signs. For examples, simply look here or here.

This story has been updated.

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