Florida Billboard Controversy July 2, 2009

Florida Billboard Controversy

Ken Loukinen is part of the FLorida Atheists and Secular Humanists.

Recently, FLASH put up this billboard:


I realize many of you dislike the color scheme… but the billboard is already provoking discussion. Many in the community don’t like it.

WSVN, a local FOX affiliate, reported on the controversy and found the most ridiculous people to interview in opposition to the billboard:

Here’s a partial transcript of another piece by the same station, featuring some of the same clips (Pops out):

Essie “Big Mama” Reed: Is that sign telling the truth?

Kids: NO!

Reed: And how do we feel about that sign?

Kids: BAD!

Reed: And it need to come where?

Kids: DOWN!

Reed: We need this sign taken what?

Kids: DOWN!

Reed: In the name of Jesus.

Reed: I don’t know what their reason why putting this sign up. And then it says ‘Do Not Believe in God.’ How we gonna make it? Look at our schools every day. Every day, is something going on. Kids out here are killing each other. Kids out here are using drugs. Who else they gonna believe in?

Actually, Reed might want to learn some grammar. There’s a question mark after “Don’t believe in God”… it’s a call out to people who already don’t believe in one, not a command for others to stop believing in one.

Instead of believing in a higher power, it would be more effective to take some action and try fixing the problem from within. Get the troubled kids a proper education, get them working, get them some positive role models. It’s easier said than done, but those things would be far more effective than sitting around and blaming atheists for getting you to think about what you believe.

And is anyone else disturbed by the kids parroting whatever she wants them to say?

That’s why we need the billboard and people like Ken promoting freethought.

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  • mikespeir

    How we gonna make it? Look at our schools every day. Every day, is something going on. Kids out here are killing each other. Kids out here are using drugs. Who else they gonna believe in?

    Ironic. Christianity’s been in charge for hundred of years, and what have we got? Kids killing each other and using drugs. Maybe it’s time we tried something else.

  • elf_man

    It’s unfortunate that people think the business put up the billboard. That’s a conflict we don’t need, and I’d say they’re the only ones with a real reason to complain.

  • Matto the Hun

    Considering I can’t drive to Dinsey w/o being bombarded with bullcrap Xian billboards, someone should tell that dumb bitch to shut her damn mouth unless she wants to take those down to.

    Considering the vile crap Christianity teaches children, that they are born bad, that the is a god that is always watching and will torture them forever if they do something wrong (which they will!) I’d say there is more of a case for tearing down every church in the country.

    I’m not advocating that, but according to this simpleton’s “logic”…

  • Bigotry plain and simple, and a lovely point about those that have been oppressed have not learned from their oppression and seek to oppress others. Sad, really…

  • Richard Wade

    Actually, Reed might want to learn some grammar.

    I suspect that Big Mamma Reed thinks “grammar” means her mother’s mother.

    “In the name of Jesus, I take away your freedom of speech.”

  • Chris

    Freedom of speech goes both ways. Those who put up the billboard knew that heavily religious individuals and groups (in the U.S., particularly fundamental protestant Christians) would object to the message portrayed in this sign. To me, this is not a surprising response. The beauty of the First Amendment’s protections is that just like their religious propaganda & signs aren’t being taken down, neither will this. It’s part of the democratic process to agree to disagree about these things.

  • This is maddening. Considering how many Christians there are in the country, you probably cannot put up a billboard like this without it being near some Christian business. And news segment seemed to gently suggest that atheists put the billboard up in part because it was next to a born again Christian business and because it was in a “very spiritual” neighborhood.

    The bigotry of the people in the video was extreme, and disgusting. “We don’t like this in our community.” That is horrifying.

    And really…it is a billboard! How many people really think that the business next to what is obviously not their billboard think they are responsible for the content! Unless their business name is on the billboard, a reasonable person should not associate the billboards views with the views of the business next to it.

    That being said, they have every right to protest and disagree with the gentle message of the billboard. But they do not have the right to be shielded from speech and ideas that they may not agree with in a public setting.

  • I think the business might have a legitimate claim. The location was not the best, I’d say.

    Did you see how big mama has those kids trained. That looks like some first class brainwashing to me. Indoctrination can be hell.

  • And is anyone else disturbed by the kids parroting whatever she wants them to say?

    Yes. Sadly that’s just how the RRRW wants people. Dumb, gullible and only able to parrot a few talking points. That way they do as they’re told, question nothing and never dream of breaking rank.

  • Revyloution

    Watching the kids, I had a glimmer of hope. They all seemed bored out of their minds.

  • Maybe one of the kids is quietly thinking to themselves: “Hang on, that’s a question mark. The preacher has made a mistake. I wonder what else they’re wrong about”.

    These adverts are about sparking a debate after all. Reed is simply taking a position on one side of the debate. Her lack of understanding makes the debate infantile but it is a start.

    From their point of view the best thing they could do is snort derisively and ignore the bill boards. Engaging the message means they have to defend their position.

  • ckitching

    Once again, it proves that it doesn’t matter how polite or offensive the actual message is. There will be a group of self-righteous religious people on hand to be completely offended by it, regardless.

  • Luther

    Who can look at this and still disagree when Dawkins says that raising children in religion is a form of child abuse? Maybe not always, but this is certainly an example.

    Most of the U.S. may sadly be religious territory, but for sure it is all supposed to be a free speech zone.

  • anonymouse

    This should just serve as an example of why many uneducated people need religion as a crutch. I kind of feel bad for her. That certainly isn’t to say that all Christians are uneducated by any means, I have just noticed a trend…

    I can understand the other business being mad, esp. since it’s in a religious/black community and people are thinking that they put it up. I think it’s FUNNY that it’s right next to her business, though.

    Oh, and the person that mentioned the Christian signs on the way to Disney. They have these graphic abortion posters. Just what the kiddies should see! (Not to mention completely scientifically inaccurate, but who cares about that when you have gory shock value!).

    As a side note, it makes me really sad to see a people who have had the most oppression and hatred toward them in this country as far as our history goes..being hateful and and oppressive. Maybe that’s unfair of me to say since I am not African-American.

  • billybee

    Seeing Christians FREAK OUT over a sign brings me deep and delicious satisfaction.
    Now, maybe, they can see how it feels….

  • AxeGrrl

    Can someone, anyone, tell me precisely what is ‘offensive’ about the specific message on the billboard?

    It doesn’t say ‘Christians are idiots’
    It doesn’t say ‘stop being a Christian’
    and it doesn’t say ‘God does not exist!’

    I would really love to hear a Christian tell me what, specifically, ‘offends’ them about the actual sentiment on the billboard.

  • Infinite Monkey

    Well, judging by the events recorded in the Bible, God must not be that mad, or he’s strike it down himself.

  • rebekah

    educating kids in such a basic skill as critical thinking and making sure they have positive role models who aren’t the type to just brainwash them into parroting the ridiculous things they say would make far too much sense. people like this woman don’t deal in common sense, obviously. sigh.

  • I really like this sign.
    I wish there were one like this in Colorado.
    It’s ridiculous what that lady is saying.
    It’s like she missed the point –
    “Being a good person doesn’t require God.”

  • 3D

    AxeGrrl wrote:

    “Can someone, anyone, tell me precisely what is ‘offensive’ about the specific message on the billboard?

    It doesn’t say ‘Christians are idiots’
    It doesn’t say ’stop being a Christian’
    and it doesn’t say ‘God does not exist!’”

    Actually, as Hemant pointed out, the people in the video are so stupid that they do think the billboard says ‘stop being a Christian.’ Because they can’t read.

  • Kennan

    I think this is awfully hilarious.

    Kids out here are killing each other. Kids out here are using drugs. Who else they gonna believe in?

    Let me ask you this… Are the kids that kill other kids all atheists? No… Are the kids doing drugs all atheists? No. Is believing in God going to end all of the worlds problems? No… Putting that sign up is not pushing atheist views on anyone. I could see an issue with this sign if it said “GOD IS NOT REAL! BE ATHEIST!!” but it really doesn’t… I see no more harm in this than a billboard recruiting Christian Singles like this one… here. So ask yourself… Who is attacking who in this situation?

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