Atheists ratchet up rhetoric, use billboards to attack Republican politicians


An atheist organization known for being provocative plans to take that reputation to the next level this week by putting up seven billboards that call out prominent politicians and religious leaders.

American Atheists plans to target three Republican politicians: former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former House Speak Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

The seven signs will go up around Dallas and Austin, Texas.

In one billboard, a picture of Palin is featured on the left, with a quote attributed to her. “We should create law based on the God of the Bible,” the quote reads. Underneath the graphic is a tag line “GO GODLESS INSTEAD.”

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

Each of the billboards has a similar format and includes a pitch for the group’s 50th anniversary convention in Austin.

Santorum is condemned for when he told an Iowa crowd last November that, “our civil laws have to comport with a higher law: God’s law,” while Gingrich is criticized for a remark he made at a CNN debate on October 18, 2011, in Las Vegas. “How can I trust you with power if you don’t pray,” Gingrich posited.

Written By: Dan Merica
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  1. While I applaud these kind of billboards, they should always be accurate. There should never be misquotes or other misinformation. That just reflects badly on those who made the billboards.

  2. Though I admire their aim, I don’t think the design of these billboards is very successful. Most people look at ads for only a second or two. As such, the average person will process the content of these in the following order: facial recognition, quote bubble, and if there is time, the Go Godless Instead tag. Unfortunately, by the time they finish reading the quote bubble most people will assume they have ascertained the gist of the message and move on… and come away with the wrong message entirely.

    A better strategy would be to use the same images and quote bubbles, but change the backgrounds a bit. For example, Rick Santorum in the process of stoning an adulterer. Or Sarah Palin holding a whip over a shackled slave, or committing some other biblical moral atrocity.

    Another idea is to contact Ron English. He is the king of vigilante billboards with such classics as a picture of a chimp with George Bush’s face and a caption that reads “Evolution: It’s Not For Everyone”. Or a kid in a soldier’s uniform and a caption that says “Playdate Iran”. And my favorite… a self portrait being crucified and a caption that says “Let’s Get Drunk And Kill God”.

    With a little thought these ads can be done a lot better.

  3. The people in this billboard all seem to be from the same political party. What are the odds of that??? Spooky.

  4. Surely cognitive dissonance in the minds of folks who are “on the line”, so to speak, can be achieved with more effective billboard composition effort than this. This appears to be a sad squandering of financial resources by American Atheists.

  5. Agreed, the Sarah Palin one should either be altered to show what she actually said or it should be pulled.

    In reply to #5 by Alternative Carpark:

    If you are going to misquote people, don’t bother.

  6. This is a good campaign but the Palin misquote is not good enough. Honesty is paramount if the public at large is to be convinced.

  7. “I think we should keep this clean, keep it simple, go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant. They’re quite clear that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the 10 commandments, it’s pretty simple.”

    foxnews com story 0,2933,592422,00.html,2933,592422,00.html

    So she did say “should” and apply it to the notion of creating law based on God (i.e. theocracy) just not in that sentence. It’s not that misleading. The word should should be in square brackets, or an ellipsis added.

    “we should … create law based on the God of the Bible”

  8. Good to see, but remember that those you are attacking will redouble their efforts to attack you back.

  9. It is a nice idea but please get your quotes right. The Christian loonies will love to use them right back at the atheist groups by saying ‘what they hell do they know – they cannot even get a simple quote right’. Or ‘see how the atheists distort and lie to make a point’. Atheists often highlight the misquotes by religious folks regarding their sacred texts to poke holes in the theist’s arguments – atheists have to always be better and one step ahead of the theists. Misquoting Palin is easy target for the theists to fight back with.

  10. Not sure what these would achieve. Most Texans reading the billboards will simply agree with the sentiments expressed by the politicians while the “Go Godless instead” will just affirm the exisiting highly negative connotations of the word “godless”. Needs to be cleverer to get through to the religious.

  11. In reply to #12 by thebaldgit:

    Good to see, but remember that those you are attacking will redouble their efforts to attack you back.

    Bring it.

  12. Do any of these individuals really expect to be taken seriously? The answer, disturbingly, is, in America yes.

    In the United Kingdom it would be patchy, but generally speaking, they would be laughing stock. Although I don’t find them in the least bit funny ha ha, just very funny peculiar.

    But we Brits have to be vigilent, this kind of foolishness could creep up on us as well.

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