As most people are aware just a few short weeks ago Mid Ohio Atheists were please to announce three billboards that would be placed in the Mansfield Ohio area. They sported three slogans that were were selected in various ways.

‘There is no God. Don’t believe everything you hear.”

Which was a copy of billboard placed in the Mansfield area by the McElroy Church of Christ

“On the first day man created God”

Which was selected by popular vote in our billboard contest.

and

“Reason Faith is a Virtue.”

Which was selected by the members of Mid Ohio Atheists.

When these billboards went up I anticipated some moaning and groaning along with the possibility of someone defacing one or more of them. I also assumed there was a slight chance that one of the billboards would be forced down. Today we received the news that the owner of the land where one of our billboards was placed has threatened to cancel his lease with Lamar if they do not take down our billboard. Had I been forced to guess which one of the three we put up people would find most offensive and which one we would be forced to take down I would have been wrong. Apparently what people fear the most in Mansfield Ohio is not being told there is no God or that God is an invention of man. No my friends what they fear more than those two messages was a message encouraging the use of reason over faith. The following billboard was deemed offensive by the owner of the land and was removed today.

 

 

 

I always knew reason was a powerful tool.

-Michael

: News
  • Bill Whitmore

    I would bet that it was the MidOhioatheists.org that offended the land owner rather than the slogan itself.
    I find it interesting that you anticipated trouble before the signs were even posted. Are you trying to make a statement in something you believe in or just wanting to create controversy?
    One last question. Can I put a faith-based sign on your property? Or would you demand I take it down?

  • BJ

    Why would you find it interesting that he anticipated trouble from the signs? It’s simply experience and knowing some of the culture in the area.

    Your statement is like asking Dr. King Jr. if he just wanted to create controversy (as he anticipated trouble at all of his events), or if he really believed in equal rights.

  • http://thinking-critically.com Jeff Randall

    Bill,
    A URL to a peaceful organization is offensive? If it said MidOhioshristians.org would you expect that would be found offensive as well?

    As for anticipating trouble, well it’s sort of a precedent. More often than not when an atheist organization puts up a billboard there is some controversy. To not expect such would be a lack of understanding of what has happened in countless other instances over the past few years…

    And yes, you can put a faith based sign on my property… As long as the sign does not condone anything illegal or discriminatory I will be happy to take your money…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1382359364 James Parasolick

    Bill, I’m not a member of the Mid Ohio Atheists, so I’m not trying to speak for their organization.

    That being said, it’s pretty obvious that advocating the use of reason over faith is an affirmative expression of the values that many non-believers hold dear. We chanllenge the assumption that faith is a virtue in and of itself, particularly when that faith is contradicted by evidence.

    So far as predicting the irrational and hot-headed reaction to the billboards, that shouldn’t be too dificult for anyone who pays attention to see coming. There have been numerous incidents of such ridiculous and hypocritical reactions to similar billboard around the US, including Ohio. There are thousands of pro-Christian billboards all around the US, including many that are insulting and mean-spirited toward other beliefs and non-belief alike. How insecure of believers to make such hay over being confronted by a differing viewpoint, expressed in a milder manner than many of their own expressions.

    I don’t know what the legal ramifications of these situations are, but I’m sure the owner recieved compensation for the placement of the billboard on his property. Demanding that a particular message be removed may be within their contractual rights, but it demonstrates where that persons values lie.

  • Rhonda

    This one is the most offensive because they used the wrong here there. Hear what I’m saying? “There is no God. Don’t believe everything you here”

  • http://www.facebook.com/midohioatheists Michael

    Bill– I’m curious what offended him the most about our group. Perhaps it is our adopt a highway program or Maybe its the repeated donations of food and clothing to the harmony house and battered women’s shelter here in Richland County.

    Oh how horrible of a group the Mid Ohio Atheists have been for Richland County. How dare they feed and cloth the poor and attempt to clean up the trash along a road way. How dare they plant flowers at the local parks.

    What exactly has Mid Ohio Atheists done that is offensive? Challenge religious beliefs? A wise man once told me truth has nothing to fear from honest inquiry. The only people who fear a challenge are those who have something to hide.

  • Howard Roark

    Michael: May I offer a modification of your last sentence? Those who fear a challenge are those who know their argument is weak.

  • Sam Salerno

    Well at least you got two out of three so far. And kudos to Mid-Ohios for continuing to get the message out there for Atheists.

  • Pingback: More drama from the religious folks of Mansfield « Mid Ohio Atheists

  • http://religionrevolution.com Religion Revolution

    “The only people who fear a challenge are those who have something to hide.”

    Hmm….. Now if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black.

    “what they fear more than those two messages was a message encouraging the use of reason over faith”

    How do you know this? Perhaps it is simply the word “faith” which means very much to many, crossed out?

  • http://www.facebook.com/midohioatheists Michael

    Well Mr. Revolution I suppose you would disagree with the saying often attributed to Voltaire. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.

    It appears most Christians have no concept of this. While atheists might not agree with Christian Billboards you’ll find zero incidents of Atheists attempting to have Christian displays removed from anywhere that it was not a violation of the first amendment.

  • http://bjlincoln.wetpaint.com Mrs. BJ Jackson-Lincoln

    Grew up in Ohio. Moved to Maryland and love it. I am Pagan , my oldest son is an Atheist, my youngest is an Atheist who attends Catholic Church every Sunday with Grandmother. We all support what you are doing. I will let them know about your site.
    It is no suprise that any one of the billboards came down. It is that mindset against change or difference that I have no interest in returning to Ohio.
    Being a Pagan lesbian mom was not made easy by the bigotry I faced regularly.
    Keep up the good work and Thank you

  • David Donnelly

    Bill – You have revealed the bigotry inherent in the “hearts & minds” of every person of faith whomI have ever known: closed-minded, convinced, and perpetually clinging to your archaic beliefs with violent reactions to anything that challenges its xenophobic rants. Intolerance is just another Christian value which is why every atheist girds our loins in expectation of the overreaction of ‘believers’ and, hence, Michael’s well-warranted trepidation. Not only was the billboard erected by the church the oxymoronic one but it also is the only one with the implicitly hostile towards it’s dissenting readers.Rhonda, you’re trying a little too hard to be clever. Why not ,”…everything you hear here.”? It is already implied in the sponsorship. Mr. Revolution, of people are offended by the replacement of “faith” with “reason” then they are proving the point so, thank you! And, thank you, Michael, and the MOA, for doing this work on behalf of humanity’s future.