Atheist group says Utah billboard companies fear Mormon church


The American Atheists say they had a tough time buying billboards for their Salt Lake City convention, and that goes to show what’s wrong with the Beehive State.

"What this really communicates to us is the stranglehold that the Mormon church has on the community in Utah," said Dave Muscato, American Atheists public relations director. "It reminds me of the Mafia in Italy. They don’t even have to make threats. People just know that they’re supposed to be afraid."

The outspoken group’s 40th annual convention will run April 17-20 at the downtown Hilton and is expected to draw about 1,000 people, including keynote speaker and NFL punter Chris Kluwe. AA officials say they called nine Utah companies looking for three to five billboards to promote September’s early-bird rates, but after repeated attempts, only two called them back.

Muscato said Reagan Outdoor Advertising told him they’d pass, and YESCO, after first rejecting a play on the church’s "I’m a Mormon" ad campaign, then nixed three other submissions that made no mention of Mormons but instead depicted a family, students and an elderly couple with a red arrow pointing to them from the word "Atheists."

Written By: Matthew Piper
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  1. What’s the rationale behind holding this national convention in Utah? Choosing where to hold a convention is a choice that has a financial benefit to (businesses in) the chosen location. Aren’t there more worthy locations, and businesses, to support? Or did they just offer the best deal (billboards aside)?

  2. They will not intimidate Google. Perhaps you can buy Google ads to show up on Utah screens.

    You can also ask your members to place PSAs at the bottom of their web pages.

    Great fun. Include the LDS church if they use Google Ads, until they explicitly bar you.

  3. I live in Utah and with the large amount of Mormons here who would find that offensive and I am sure many of them work for the billboard company that the group was trying to get in contact with. I obviously can’t speak for all atheists in Utah but I haven’t had a bad experience yet with it. Then again I am in college and the younger generation Mormons seem to be more accepting of people that have differing views. I haven’t been treated any differently when people find out that I am an Atheist. That being said, after reading the article I find it ridiculous that they are not being allowed to put up these billboards. Many times I have defended the right of religious groups to put up their own billboards and the same right should be extended to those who have differing beliefs (or lack thereof). This is the type of hypocrisy that seems to permeate through all religions, they want the right to express themselves but not extend that right to anyone else.

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