In early January, an atheist group in Alabama, the United Coalition of Reason, placed a very benign billboard just outside of Mobile. The design is simple, showing a sun rising over mountains, and the phrase “Don’t believe in a god? You’re not alone.” The bottom right displays the website of the group who bought the advertising, GulfCoastCoR.org.
Seems pretty tame, right? No one is being attacked, no one’s religion is mocked in any way. Just a simple message for a subset of people in Alabama who probably feel a little outnumbered. I live in Michigan, generally considered pretty blue, and I feel pretty outnumbered. An atheist or skeptics group can build the same sense of community a church can, so I get it.
Unfortunately, the billboard prompted a slew of complaints from the Christian community around Mobile. Lamar, the advertising company leasing the sign, only honored two weeks of the four week contract due to the negative response from the community. Lamar doesn’t appear to be playing fair with United CoR. The billboard was initially supposed to go up in late December, but was delayed when Lamar insisted that a disclaimer be added to the billboard stating who paid for it. That process took two weeks, weeks Lamar is now counting as part of the four week contract.
Jason Heap of the United Coalition of Reason said
…he was told that Lamar had received a large amount of complaints about the billboard and that he questioned the motivation to take the billboard down.
“By contractual obligations, they are required to give us a full four weeks.”
Troy Tatum, General Manager of this branch of Lamar, says the group is just looking for a fight.
Well, yes, when someone doesn’t fulfill their end of a contract, it tends to make you want to fight, through legal channels, for the fulfillment of the contract. Lamar says it has options, but honestly, they’re not very good options. The group can get half their money back, but the point wasn’t the money, it’s the message they were trying to communicate. You know, to those atheists in the area who might not know there’s a group of like-minded individuals nearby, and might need a friend, a shoulder.
Another option is for a billboard with a different message to be put up for two weeks. How would that message read, exactly, that would be more innocent than the current one? And then there are those complaints that will be sure to come in again, because the only atheist billboard some Christians will tolerate are no atheist billboards.
Troy Tatum and Lamar should fulfill their end of the contract and replace this friendly atheist billboard. It’s not offensive at all, but even if it was, it’s not like there are ever horrible religious billboards targeting atheists that stay up seemingly forever. Why, it’s almost like there’s a double standard here.
You can follow @MiAtheistGal on Twitter here.
Be sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook.Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 FreakOutNation.com