My Billboard Can Beat Up Your Billboard
I’ve lived in Omaha, NE for four years, and ever since I’ve moved here I’ve noticed billboards with quotes on them attriuted to god. There are at least two or tree locations that I know of where these billboards are and they almost always have these god qoutes on them.
Here are some examples of the quotes I’ve seen:
"Let’s Meet At My House Sunday Before the Game" — God
"We Need To Talk" — God
"Keep Using My Name in Vain And I’ll Make Rush Hour Longer" — God
"My Way Is The Highway." — God
"You Think It’s Hot Here?" — God
"Need a Marriage Counselor? I’m Available." — God
"Have You Read My #1 Best Seller? There Will Be A Test." — God
Even before I became an atheist I had real problems with these billboards.
The first thing that really bothers me is the arrogance of the people who presume to quote god. If god does exist, I’m pretty sure from what I’ve read in the bible that he doesn’t like people putting words in his mouth. It shows the arrogance and disrespect that the people who pay to put these up have.
Then there are the messages. A couple of these are actually rather humorous. Use the lord’s name in vain and he’ll make rush hour longer. I always thought that was a pretty serious sin, worthy of hellfire and brimstone, but I guess it’s been downgraded since the Old Testament times. The marriage counselor one is very funny considering that a new study out shows that the divorce rate is actually higher in states with the greatest number of Christians.
It’s not all fun and games, though. At least three of the quotes have the implied threat of punishment if you don’t do what they say. Didn’t read your bible? There will be a test, and the consequences of a failing grade are not pretty. Then there is the "You think it’s hot in here?" with its obvious threat of an eternity burning in hell. For what? Who knows?
Do I find these offenssive, hell yes! I don’t appreciate being told I’m a bad person or having someone else’s sense of morality preached at me when I’m drive down the road.
Do I think we need to organize a movement to have then removed. No. This is a free country and the people who pay for these absurd messages have every right to waste their money (or should I say their flocks’ tax-exempt money) on whatever they like.
Of course, when atheists put up billboards with their messages supporting reason and critical thinking, what a holy shitstorm that creates! The hypocrocy is so deep you need hip boots to wade through it and the double standard on display seems to be obvious to no one except the rational, critical thinkers.
The solution isn’t to protest against these sky man quoting billboards; it is to put up more of our own billboards. Lets get a public discussion going. Lets also make sure that we get the message of the Christians’ hypocrocy and double standards out there as well, both on the billboards and in the media. Let’s keep pressing them in every public arenea where they currently hold sway. Don’t belittle them, don’t critizie them. Lets just try to match them billboard for billboard, flyer for flyer, ad for ad. I know, they have a lot more money than we do, but we need to try to make it so that every time one of them tries to push their beliefs into a public space, we need to be there pushing our alternative message of rationality and critical thinking.
We can’t just let the status quo stand unopposed. Religions has insinuated itself into every crack and crevice of public life in this country and it is up to us to try to counter this by speaking out loudly and continuously.
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