Atheist group duplicates church billboard’s message–and is denied for being “offensive”

Over at Hemant Mehta’s blog Friendly Atheist, an interesting little storm has begun brewing. Back in August, the McElroy Road Church of Christ in Mansfield, Ohio put up a billboard with a surprisingly atheistic message:

ting-mce

Not shown: overwhelming sense of irony

As you can tell from the bottom-right of the above picture, the church used the Lamar Advertising Company, which does advertisements throughout much of the USA. The exact same message was later slated to be used in a billboard from the Mid-Ohio Atheists:

ting-moa

The MOA decided to go with the Lind Outdoor Advertising Company, and the billboard was supposed to go up next week. That is, until Lind decided to refuse the billboard because it was deemed offensive:

The content of the proposed displays was supposed to have been approved beforehand by senior management at Lind, but unfortunately was not.  … Moreover, the inflammatory nature of the proposed displays would no doubt be considered offensive to much of the community and would be harmful to Lind’s community reputation and goodwill.  Lind has always and will continue to reserve the right not to publish advertisements which, in its sole opinion, are obscene, unnecessarily offensive and/or not in the best interests of the community at large.

Seriously? That sounds to me like such a mindless cop-out.

Now, even though Lind’s logo looks suspiciously like Lamar’s, the two companies are apparently not related; Lamar is based out of Louisiana and Lind is based right in Mansfield, Ohio. But I find it astonishing that the same statement is offensive when an atheist says it, but not when a Christian says it. At best, this means that the statement itself is not offensive – only the messenger.

If you want to contact Lind and give them a piece of your mind, Mid-Ohio Atheists have the company’s contact information, along with more details, on their blog. Let them know that it’s not okay to treat atheists as second-class citizens.

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