The billboard wars are heating up in Cleveland, where the Republican National Convention will take place next week.
Last month, we learned that the Freedom From Religion Foundation would be putting up this billboard featuring GOP Lord and Savior Ronald Reagan:
(Yep, he said all of that in a 1984 speech.)
But guess what sign got rejected?
That God’s Not Dead 2 ad, promoting the DVD release of the film, was going to be placed on the side of a building, but it was rejected by Orange Barrel Media for being “too political” and “way too incendiary.”
This isn’t a matter of hypocrisy, though, as the film’s producers are claiming. Their ad very clearly suggests people should convert to Christianity. That’s a bridge too far for the ad agency.
FFRF’s ad, on the other hand, isn’t saying anyone should become an atheist, nor does it disparage Christianity. It’s merely quotes Reagan reminding us of what the Constitution says. Nothing wrong with that.
Not that the people behind the film will accept that explanation:
“I’m perplexed. They dragged us along for weeks. Now, right up against the convention date, they say we aren’t approved, and they give us no logical rationale,” [Pure Flix CEO Steve] Fedyski said. “My speculation is that someone, somewhere didn’t want our message out. It’s hard to understand, considering we’ve used the same marketing on CNN and other national networks.”
One email from Orange Barrel to Pure Flix, though, reads: “This would not be approved. Way too incendiary.” The “incendiary” text the email refers to, is this: “I’d rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.”
On the bright side, given how this is a perfectly sensible decision that Christians are blowing completely out of proportion, at least Fedyski will have a plot for God’s Not Dead 3.
By the way, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Paul Bond wrongly states that the decision allows FFRF’s “pro-atheism message (which appears on a Clear Channel billboard) to go unchallenged.” That’s bullshit. It’s not a “pro-atheism” message. FFRF’s sign is promoting a message of government neutrality on religion. Bond is simply perpetuating a talking point right out of the evangelical handbook.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)