As American Atheists mentioned two weeks ago, two of the billboards in their current Texas campaign were rejected because they featured local politicians saying dumb things and were deemed “too inflammatory.”
But now, one of those billboards (featuring Governor Rick Perry) and another featuring Republican Mike Huckabee are up:
The way they’re phrasing Huckabee’s sign is interesting because here’s what he actually said:
I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than trying to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.
Just to play Grammar Nazi, Huckabee’s billboard has him saying the word “to” though he never actually said that word. Additionally, AA’s paraphrase of his intention could possibly be a source of argument, since they’re implying Huckabee said the Constitution should be amended so it’s in his vision of God’s standards… while Huckabee would likely argue it’s not about what he wants, but about what the Bible says God wants.
It may be a distinction without a difference, but a distinction nonetheless.
In a press release, AA explained why they chose to highlight these politicians:
American Atheists President Dave Silverman said, “Rick Perry’s statement is out of touch with reality. Prayer does not solve problems, rather it masks them. Asking Americans to pray to solve the violence problem is an admission of administrative impotence. Playing the God card is not a valid substitute for real action.”
American Atheists Public Relations Director Dave Muscato added, “Huckabee’s statement is terrifying. The First Amendment exists to protect us from being forced to live in a theocracy. This is not just an issue for atheists: Whose interpretation of God’s standards would we even use? This is why the Founding Fathers insisted on separation of church & state in the first place.”
The entire campaign costs $25,000 (possibly more with these new ads) and the billboards will be up through the month of March. The purpose is to promote AA’s upcoming 50th Anniversary celebration and national convention in Austin.