Atheist Billboard in North Carolina Vandalized Within a Week June 27, 2010

Atheist Billboard in North Carolina Vandalized Within a Week

Remember the billboard that the North Carolina Secular Association put up along the Billy Graham Parkway this past week?

Yeah… well, it’s already been vandalized:

That was fast.

What are they trying to do? Imitate Congress from 1954? (*cue rim shot*)

As one blogger writes:

I can’t wrap my head around this. What is so horrible about the billboard; the unity part or the patriotism part?

Neither is good enough for the vandal(s) if God isn’t mentioned in the phrase.

Hopefully, Lamar Advertising will replace the billboard at no cost to the atheist group and there will be some free publicity as a result.

(via The Southern Atheist Gentleman)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I hate to say this, but this is typical religio-nut behavior. God is taken out of something (it was restored to its original version) and they take offense to the point where they BREAK THE LAW to make their point.

    Hypocrisy much?

  • As a citizen and resident of Charlotte, North Carolina, I hope this doesn’t continue happening.

    Since when does God command his followers to vandalize and scrutinize free will and free speech?
    What would happen if I vandalized a church billboard or marquee and spelled out in spraypaint: “YOUR GOD WILL NOT SAVE YOU FROM SPRAY PAINT!”
    I guarantee a huge investigation would be performed and the suspect would be found and charged to the full extent of the law.

    As for the vandal for the atheist billboard? Oh, he/she will get away scott-free and this atheist group will probably have to pay for a new billboard out of their own pocket.

  • Hitch

    Religiosity does not encourage particularly lawful behavior as reality shows.

    In any case, perhaps it is time for more offensive billboards.

    Two Nations, one under God, Divisive …

    But the billboards are good. I think lots of people really assume that Thomas Jefferson wrote the under god phrase and taking it out is somehow violating the constitution, when of course the inverse is true. But the mantra that this is a christian nation is just repeated ad nauseum and the uninformed will just believe it.

    Jefferson and Madison were geniuses. The very first statement of the Bill of Rights enshrining the establishment clause in the same stroke as free speech and freedom to assemble and petition.

    Yes it’s the primary right after the core constitution which just defines how the governing bodies work. Even those are well written with explicit prohibition of religious litmus tests for office.

    The constitution is solid, just the rhetoric, and perhaps sadly also judges may not be as solid as the text. And clearly the 1954 law is unconstitutional. But sadly the founders failed to put in a provision where unconstitutionality can be directly challenged. That’s why unconstitutional laws can actually be enacted for so long.

  • Iason Ouabache

    Freaking fascists. I hope they realize that this only makes them look bad and gives more publicity to the North Carolina Secular Association.

  • Iason Ouabache


    Religiosity does not encourage particularly lawful behavior as reality shows.

    I’m sure the person who did this justified it to himself by saying he was following God’s Law, not Man’s Law.

  • Hitch

    Yep, luckily we can rely on low post figures such as Ashcroft to reinforce those notions.

    And the text of the declaration of independence isn’t helping either.

  • JimboB

    Francis Bellamy, baprist minister AND the original writer of the pledge, would be spinning in his grave.

    Such ridiculousness.

  • I love how xians think that vandalizing billboards justifies them and the sky tyrant but only ends up getting free publicity and publicly proves how utterly ridiculous they act. i.e. like children

  • This is a good thing. It actually reinforces the message. The congress of 1954 committed an act of vandalism when they inserted those words into the oath. I’d leave it the way it is.

  • Apteryx

    I don’t think that billboard sounds very atheist. To me it just seems to say the people who made it thinks the US is awsome and they are united as one country, no matter what oppinion they have on religion or anything else. English isn’t my native language, so maybe I’m getting it wrong but I wouldn’t have known it was an atheist orginization that put it up if it hadn’t had the adress at the bottom (And I didn’t notice the adress untill I had a second look).

    This ofcourse makes it even more puzzeling that anyone would vandalize it, just as with so many other people who thinks it’s okey to ruin anything that goes against their own world-view.

  • I like the irony of raising awareness for secular causes by vandalizing posters. They must be some kinds of genius.

  • More Christian morality at work.

  • Michael

    Whenever I see the phase ‘under ghourd’…. I always imagine it says, ”Under the FOOT of ghourd”! You know… like we’re the crap that ‘ghourd’ grinds into the Earth…………..

  • Great blog comments, great perspectives

    The world is so much saner when one realizes the freedom to not worship

  • Luther

    Hey the Bible says things like “Thou shalt not steal” and “Maketh not graven images”. If this were wrong it would say things like “Deface not the billboards” or “Textith not the graffiti”.

  • Troglodyke

    People who cannot think rationally do things that are not rational. Period.

    And if the idiot had fallen and hurt himself while breaking the law, he’d probably sue the billboard company, get a Xtian judge, and win the case. “Your Honor, my client felt completely justified in spray painting these important words on a billboard he considered to be unpatriotic and blasphemous. This is a Xtian country, after all, and he is entitled to free speech.”

    But yet, Xtians whine of Xtian persecution every single day. Too bad ignorance isn’t painful.

  • ungullible

    Instead of fixing it, perhaps we should spray paint “<– proves point of division" at their spray paint. 🙂

  • Chuck

    Spray painting billboards is in the Old Testament when they talk about the “eye for an eye” stuff.

  • El Perro

    I’m just surprised that the vandal was able to spell two whole words correctly.

  • muggle

    It freaking figures. Can we get any billboards up that are just left alone out of respect for free speech and all that?

  • Andy

    I think the billboard should just keep the graffiti there and just clarify it. After all it reminds everyone what the under-god addition is: official graffiti writ large.

  • evilspud

    How do you know if the person who did this is Christian? I think it’s more likely some kid who could care less about the whole religious aspect did it for shits and giggles.

    Last time I checked, most graffitti doesn’t make a political statement. Only the best does.

  • evilspud

    How do you knwo if the person who did this is Christian. I think it’s more likely some kid who could care less about the whole religion thing did it for shits and giggles.

  • Casey

    I still can’t wrap my head around the hypocrisy of christians. Anyone who’s ever driven through the bible belt has seen the countless number of billboards that promote religion and all the other ludicrous things such as the giant crosses all over the place. Yet for some reason, it is only ok for them to promote their beliefs, if anyone else does it it’s deemed “offensive”. This kind of stuff reminds me of the “rational” muslims.

  • Given the statistics on population demographics, it’s most likely they were Christian. It’s a safe assumption.

  • Hitch

    Frankly I just realized there is an easy fix. Just spray-can cross out “under god” and add “without”. Done. Message restored!

  • Will

    I figured something like this would happen. I live in the Charlotte area and this billboard was on the front page of the observer. Christian billboards go up all the time around here stating that Cheeses is Lard and that without Cheeses we’ll burn in hell. One atheist billboard and it’s on the front page. Go figure…

  • beckster

    I’m guessing if some teenager climbed up there to spray paint they would put up something cooler and include a few curse words 🙂

  • To paraphrase what I said on another blog, if it doesn’t have Jesus, tits or beer on it, it will have little to no positive effect on the local religious population.

  • Unholy Holly

    The graffiti turned the sign into an oxymoron. Leave the “under god” and go back and x-out the “in” from “indivisible” and it will make sense again.

  • slush

    Yes, there are nitwit Christians; there are also nitwit atheists.

  • Allistair Manson

    the patriotism part. fuck patriotism.

  • I keep passing by these billboards in the country that read “Prepare to meet thy maker” and I have to resist the temptation to add “BRIDGE OUT AHEAD!”

  • evilspud

    The average vandal would be more likely to tag grafitti for shits and giggles, not make a political or religious statement.

    They obviously don’t give a fuck about rules and regualtions either.

  • Daniel

    Interestingly enough, atheists have been vandalizing religious imagery, churches, etc.. for many, many years. Churches have been burned to the ground, billboards vandalized and the like. Now the “shoe is on the other foot” so to speak. People are up in arms. Hypocrisy at it’s finest. If I don’t believe in atheists do they magically go away? No. As long as there are opposing views about anything there will always be some sort of conflict. Expect it. It is irrational and unrealistic to believe otherwise. It’s just a friggin’ billboard. How in the world should that threaten anyone’s beliefs one way or the other. Like I’ve always been told. It’s only prayer in school, it’s just a building, it’s only a book, etc… No one bothered to mention the horrible grammar, the fact that “UNDERGOD” should be “under God,”. 😉 Everybody, get a life.

  • Hitch

    “Interestingly enough, atheists have been vandalizing religious imagery, churches, etc.. for many, many years. Churches have been burned to the ground, billboards vandalized and the like.”

    Evidence? Else this is just the standard smear.

  • RG
  • Nancy

    Perhaps they should have chosen a location other than the Billy Graham Parkway. I hope the billboard company will offer another location.

  • Oldprof

    Spatially challenged evangelical vandal puts “under God” under one nation. :-b

  • Ryan

    I agree with freedom of speech, I guess this person wanted to use the freedom as well. Looks like art to me. Its true, Under God! If its not, we are cursed….

    I put my faith in God… not man and its goverment.

    Atheists, burn churches…for no truth at all… wow… spray painting the truth, love it!

  • If we truly were one nation under god then this vandalism would not be illegal.

  • Dan W

    Holy shit that was fast! Someone clearly missed the point of the billboard. It just goes to show how much some Christians care about the law. As I recall, vandalism is illegal…

  • The best thing about this particular billboard is that it always seems to lead to a needed civics lesson. I watched several of the news reports (local TV stations in North Carolina), and in every case, they explained that “under god” was not added to the pledge of allegiance until 1954. I’m sure this is news to most of the audience! I’m very impressed with this current campaign by Freethought Action. Bravo!!!!

  • Hitch

    Yes, exactly the Fox News report on the Florida one did that history bit. For me that’s the reason why this particular billboard is brilliant. It really shouldn’t stop until the 1954 law is ruled, as it is, unconstitutional.

  • geekgazette

    The religious are generally the firs to condemn people for breaking laws, but are all too eager to do so for their religion.
    I find it especially funny and very depressing that most people don’t even know that the “under god” was added in the 50’s. They really think that our founders put that in there.

  • Grandt

    The next bill board should have three halves, in order to teach the “locals” a bit of history.

    One side headlined “The Original Pledge, 1892” and
    I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.– Francis Bellamy”

    The centre part:
    “The Modern Pledge, 1923”
    I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.– National Flag Conference”

    with the right part having
    “The Vandalized Pledge, 1954”
    and then the current one
    I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.– George MacPherson Docherty”

  • toffa813

    I think that if “” was left off, nobody would care. But since it makes it clear that it was put up by atheists, now it must be vandalized!

  • Randall Morrison

    Hitch, where is YOUR evidence that a Christian did this?

    It seems that the atheiss are getting a lot of mileage out of it.

  • plutosdad

    Interestingly enough, atheists have been vandalizing religious imagery, churches, etc.. for many, many years. Churches have been burned to the ground, billboards vandalized and the like.

    If you refer to communists, they weren’t exactly atheists, they were idolaters worshiping a political viewpoint. Their atheism was far far behind their communism, which is why the Gulag was full of PHDs and scientists who had such a hard time under communism, because scientists try to pursue truth, and their communist bosses were interested only in results that supported their pre conceived notions.

    In the West, you have a hard time proving atheists are out vandalizing religious property. The world is full of examples of religious people vandalizing and destroying each others property. The only cases of vandalism I can think of offhand, when not performed by followers of a different religion, were performed by people such as animal rights activists here in Chicago a year or so ago. But that is nothing to do with atheism. Last decade there was a rash of burnings of black churches in the south in one year. But when the FBI investigated, only the first was due to some external group, every other church burning was a copycat by people who were regulars at that church trying to get attention. Again, no atheists involved. In fact after searching for the past 20 minutes on google, every single incidence of church vandalism was by either 1. teenagers, 2. neo nazis, or 3. people at that church vandalizing it themselves to get attention and sympathy for the church. I couldn’t find any arrests of people doing it to promote atheism.

    Seriously the majority needs to stop playing the victim card. When you control politics so atheist politicians have no chance, control schools so much you throw out science and history, you aren’t the victim, you are the oppressor.

  • Hitch

    Hitch, where is YOUR evidence that a Christian did this?

    It seems that the atheiss are getting a lot of mileage out of it.

    Randall, I wish that every time someone makes an accusation without evidence, and I ask for evidence, and then instead of producing evidence people come back with some angry rant, combined with some implausible counter-claim for evidence, I’d make a dollar.

    I would actually make some money! Because there are lots of people like yourself who will just make up stuff to further their cause and get angry and aggressive when they are called out on it.

    Yet funny enough we only ever hear of “angry” atheists, never of “angry” christians. Hmm, why is that…? *rub chin*

    In case you don’t know the bible:

    Though stalt not bear false witness.

    The bible actually has some good moral teachings in it. If only its followers would read and observe those! So don’t make up stuff you don’t have evidence for. Thanks.

  • Grandt

    Hitch, that is the short version, the full commandment is something like

    You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

    I have a feeling that most Christians take this to mean that they may not lie to their peers, but it is permitted towards people of other religions and even other denominations of their own faith.

  • Hitch

    I think you give too much credit. Most deniminations are quite clear that the 9th commandment (8th catholic/lutheran) is a general prohibition about lying or any form of false representation, defamation, making up evidence etc. The catholic catechism makes this painfully explicit:

    You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.252

    It was said to the men of old, “You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.”253

    2464 The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others. This moral prescription flows from the vocation of the holy people to bear witness to their God who is the truth and wills the truth. Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant.


    2465 The Old Testament attests that God is the source of all truth. His Word is truth. His Law is truth. His “faithfulness endures to all generations.”254 Since God is “true,” the members of his people are called to live in the truth.255

    Read the whole thing, it covers smearing and the whole nine yards. Not bad at all actually!

    Problem is simply that people are cherry picking. They defend the label but not all of the sometimes quite good content.

    Love thy neighbour (unless it’s an atheist, or someone else I don’t like).

  • Grandt

    You probably have a point. One thing is for sure, some Christians (and other religious people) are certainly not above lying through their tooth if it suits them. Just as they are being so very duplicitous about freedom of speech, which they seem to think is a one way street that only they can call upon.

  • Richard Grimes

    Thanks to Amber Mariah for this link. One has to be intelligent enough to be an atheist and comments left here are evidence. I will steal some of them e.g. Congress was the first in the graffiti arena. I had looked upon Congress (Christers with their heads ensconced in the incarnated Jew’s ass-hole implanted with a penis by his Jewish Space Daddy to service his groupies after the “Word” became flesh): I saw Congress as a pack of thieves stealing someone’s brain baby i.e. Belamy’s Pledge of Allegiance by spatchcocking god into it. Now, I see them as graffiti vandals. Richard Grimes (Hopefully Darrell Barker, censor in his atheist blog won’t stifle me.)

  • Mateo

    I am not too fond of calling this an “atheist” billboard. It should be a billboard for anyone who respects freedom, whether you are an atheist, Jew, Christian, Hindu, or Buddhist. Secular government does more to protect religions, than a theocracy that stamps out the rest.

  • Hitch

    It’s 1st amendment pledge board.

    I’d agree that it would be great to get buy-ins from other groups. Krishnas? Christians? Jews? Muslism? Buddhists? Other religions without personified or understood gods?

    Get out of that silly “oh it’s just atheists trying it spoil it for the real americans” thing.

  • Rich Wilson

    Maybe cross out “God” and replace with “Dog”? I mean really, what can you do but laugh?

  • Grandt

    Rich, as in “The Dog, The Sun and the holey goat?”

  • franbeim

    If you’re going to vandalize, get it right!
    It should read UNDER CANADA

  • Terri

    The Christians feel threatened by anything that does not acknowledge christian mythology and they are the most intolerant group I’ve ever run into. If an Atheist went and did this to one of the many church signs on that road, you’d never hear the end of it. They’d cry out that Atheists were intolerant and trying to deny them their right to ignorant religious belief and speech. Do unto others…don’t they believe that?

  • Grandt

    franbeim, UNDER FOOT sounds more like it, the feet of oppression by religion that is)

  • Carol_cairo

    Doesn’t the Bible say, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”?

    I say we get Biblical and offer to help the sprayer get his/her last tooth fixed.

  • Parse

    In spite of the fact that this is apparently how they want to be treated (from that whole Golden Rule thing), there’s no reason nor benefit in sinking to their level. I’m better than that, and I’d wager you are too.
    As Gandhi said*, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

    *An interesting fact I found while looking up the exact wording for this quote: The phrase is believed to be authentic, but it hasn’t actually been sourced to him. Reference.

  • aerie

    It’s “vandalism for jaysus” and perfectly acceptable! /s

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