Atheist activists are known for their angst-inspiring billboards. These messages typically take aim at religious institutions and those who subscribe to them -- and they're also generally very timely, with themes focusing upon holidays and political happenings. During an intense electoral season, for instance, American Atheists, an organization devoted to spreading secularism, is taking aim at presidential candidates' faith.
But, in North Carolina, where the group's billboards were strategically posted just weeks ago in an effort to coincide with the Democratic National Convention, complaints have led the organization to take the offensive messages down.
Fox News has more about the purported removal of the controversial messaging:
American Atheists and Adams Outdoor Advertising are reportedly removing two Charlotte billboards blasting Christianity and Mormonism following an outpouring of complaints and threats.
The Bradenton Herald report that the billboards, which targeted the faiths of President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, went up two weeks ago and were intended to be displayed for the duration of the national conventions.
So, what was it that led to such intense reaction from those who observed the billboards? Consider their contents. As previously reported, the first has the header "Christianity." It goes on to call God "sadistic" and to dub Jesus Christ a "useless" savior. The full text reads, "Sadistic God; Useless Savior, 30,000+ Version of 'Truth.' Promotes Hate, Calls it 'Love.'"
News reports about the billboards apparently led to a national outpouring of anger. Amanda Knief, managing director of American Atheists, told Fox News that "vitriol, threats and hate speech" has been waged against staffers, volunteers and against Adams Outdoor Advertising, the company that helped place the billboards.
"It was a mutual decision between us and Adams Advertising for the safety and interests of both organizations that the billboards come down," Knief said of the decision to take the controversial billboards down.
On Thursday, Adams Outdoor Advertising issued the following statement about the removal of the campaign:
The American Atheist billboard campaign was accepted on First Amendment grounds. Adams Outdoor Advertising stands behind our position that the ability to express one's opinion is a right and a privilege of our democratic society. However, due to the public response to the messaging, The American Atheists have agreed to remove the advertising copy in question in Charlotte. We appreciate the feedback, opinions and dialogue we have received.
So, it seems intentional controversy and mockery did little to benefit the secular cause (at least this time).
(H/T: Fox News)