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Press Release: Rancho Cucamonga demands removal of Atheist billboard

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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:22 AM
Original message
Press Release: Rancho Cucamonga demands removal of Atheist billboard
ImagineELEASE

City Leaders Exercise Censorship, Violate First Amendment

LOS ANGELES Atheists United is shocked and saddened by the city of Rancho Cucamongas act of censorship in pressuring General Outdoor Advertising to remove a billboard.

The billboard, paid for by Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national non-profit advocacy group for atheists and agnostics, included only the words Imagine No Religion and the contact information of the organization. The billboard was to stay up throughout the holiday season, but was abruptly taken down when Rancho Cucamonga city administrators demanded that the billboard company do so.

This is a serious overstep by the city over the boundaries of the First Amendment, stated Stuart Bechman, President, Atheists United. Its hard to imagine a more innocuous statement of non-belief. But even this was too much for political leaders who are clearly in the pockets of some religious leaders to suppress any expression of views that diverge from the orthodox line.

City leaders have demonstrated their clear bias toward protecting and providing special privileges to their favored religious beliefs, in clear violation of the California and United States Constitutions. I would like to think that few Christians are so insecure in their faith as to support this action.

Atheists United and other civil-rights organizations expect an apology to all freethinkers from the city and an admission of error on their part; and if they refuse, for the California Attorney Generals office to open an investigation on the illegal actions taken by the city.


http://www.atheistsunited.org
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:23 AM
Response to Original message
1. The fundies can go suck it. n/t
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Auggie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:23 AM
Response to Original message
2. They could replace it with "Imagine No Free Speech."
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me b zola Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:37 AM
Response to Reply #2
10. +1
Ayup
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theoldman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:40 AM
Response to Reply #2
11. A very good idea.
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cobalt1999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:25 AM
Response to Original message
3. Then they need to ban all religious billboards too.
Otherwise, they should sue their asses.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. I don't think they can ban religious or non religious billboards. Either way it's a violation
of the first amendment. The billboards aren't city property.
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mnhtnbb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
5. Imagine no hypocrites
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theoldman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #5
12. That would reduce the world's population by at least 90%.
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stray cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
6. Is there a threat in the term "imagine"
"Imagine" no atheism. "Imagine" no muslims, "Imagine" no african americans, etc.
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snappyturtle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:32 AM
Response to Original message
7. How can this sign have been any more irritating to it's opponents than
the announcement markees, for the lack of a better term, in front of churches on public streets with
biblical verses etc. or thirty foot crosses along the highways? The atheists' billboard is at least thought provoking which is better that the dogmatic statements on religious ones.
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RedLetterRev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-08 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #7
91. Like that one on US29 southbound outside Greensboro
that in big, hand-scrawled letters shouts, "Prepare to Meet God!"

Which always makes me immediately think, "And I have nnnnnNOTHing to wear!!!"
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Hepburn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:36 AM
Response to Original message
8. Imagine no City Leaders!
Geeeeeez, what's next? Scarlet Letters? :eyes:
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 11:02 PM
Response to Reply #8
72. Down with all hierarchies ...
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:37 AM
Response to Original message
9. Kind of curious to note that residents of the city of Rancho Cucamonga
Edited on Sat Nov-22-08 09:37 AM by MindPilot
are regulars--like almost weekly--on COPS.

Not saying there is any connection between a fundy religious community and a propensity for COPS-friendly incidents like domestic violence. Nope, not even trying to imply that.
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druidity33 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:42 AM
Response to Original message
13. i just can't help thinking of
Krusty the Clown on the Simpsons relating to Homer in clown school a list of funny place names, among which was Cucamonga...

:)


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11 Bravo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 10:01 AM
Response to Original message
14. As president of the Anaheim, Asuza, and Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review and Timing Association
I apologize.

(I spent a few years of my childhood in Southern California, surfing, and listening to Jan and Dean.)
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 10:36 AM
Response to Original message
15. okay
so now they can demand that every religious billboard be removed. this is BULLSHIT.
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Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. I like the billboards that claim to speak for God.
How much more offensive than they get than that?

At least the atheist one is simply asking for people to think about it.

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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 10:56 AM
Response to Original message
16. Make your opinion heard...
Here are three things you can do to right now to express your opinion about the violation of First Amendment rights by the city of Rancho Cucamonga:



HELP FFRFS LEGAL CASE

If you are an attorney or know an attorney in the Los Angeles Area who has experience filing in Federal Court and can file on behalf of the Freedom For Religion Foundation in the Southern District, please contact Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation as soon as possible at algaylor@ffrf.org . Please include all your contact information.

SPEAK OUT
You can speak out directly to the city of Rancho Cucamonga using the Automatic Message Generator provided by Atheists United.
http://atheistsunited.org/about-atheists-united/program...


SPREAD THE WORD
Forward this message to all your friends or use our on-line tool to spread the word.
http://atheistsunited.org/index.php?option=com_rsform&f...


Brian Parra

Director of Communications and Membership

Atheists United

membership@atheistsunited.org
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Lyric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. I sent them a message:
Edited on Sat Nov-22-08 11:22 AM by oktoberain
You people should be ashamed of yourselves. Have any of you bothered to actually READ the Constitution--particularly the First Amendment? Do you have any idea how much legal trouble you are about to be in? It is incredibly stupid and fiscally irresponsible of you to take wrongful actions that are GUARANTEED to force the city into expensive litigation, wasting taxpayer dollars, and without a chance in hell of a victory.

You have failed as stewards of the city's money, time, and the civil rights of its citizens. Anybody who agreed with this idiotic action deserves to be fired by the citizens, and to pay the litigation expenses out of their OWN pockets.

Shameful. What a disgraceful bunch of losers. I pity your constituents for being stuck with such irresponsibly negligent city leadership.


I purposely chose to focus on the "wasting taxpayer money" aspect--not because it's the most important part, but because (1) they're gonna hear plenty about civil rights and freedoms from other outraged people, and (2) this argument might hit home a little harder. I doubt if they particularly care about civil rights, after doing something that effing outrageous, but if they're Repukes, then they sure as hell care about $$$.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-08 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #18
86. Got a reply .........
Edited on Tue Nov-25-08 12:16 PM by defendandprotect
I am responding back to
your inquiry to clear up any misunderstandings and to make it clear that
the City of Rancho Cucamonga gave NO direction in the removal of that
billboard message, or any billboard message. In fact, the City does not
have any authority over the content of a billboard and the City does not
approve what is put up on a billboard and is not authorized to remove
billboard advertisements. The City of Rancho Cucamonga has NO role in
controlling billboard content.



The advertisement that you refer to could go up or down or changed
anyway the billboard company wishes to at any time like any other
billboard without any approval or permit by the City. These are purely
private sector business decisions with no input by the City.



For those who want to know why the billboard company put up a particular
advertisement, it would be appropriate to contact the billboard company.
Conversely, if one has questions regarding the removal of a particular
advertisement, the billboard company should be contacted. The City is
not responsible for any business decisions made by any billboard
company.



Edited to make clear this is BS ...
but I replied to them stressing First amendment and Separation of Church & State
and citing our tax dollars now being moved into religious organizations --
maybe it will get someone "imagining" ...?


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GReedDiamond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-08 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #86
93. I received the same reply...
...from Fabian A. Villenas, Principal Management Analyst, City Manager's Office, City of Rancho Cucamonga - (909) 477-2700, extension 2006. email: fabian.villenas@cityofrc.us

I took Mr. Villenas' suggestion ("... if one has questions regarding the removal of a particular
advertisement, the billboard company should be contacted"), and called the billboard company General Outdoor Advertising, and the woman who answered the phone claimed no knowledge of the situation and refused to comment on whether or not the company was pressured by the city to remove the "offensive" advert. She also told me there was nobody else I could speak to about it, but suggested that I email any inquiries I may have: email contact through the GOA web site

Maybe other DUers could attempt to follow up? Perhaps they will offer a statement if they hear from enough people?

If the claim made by Mr. Villenas is true (that the city did not pressure GOA to remove the billboard), and GOA decided to renege on their contract with the advertiser, there's really no 1st Amendment issue, but there is a company called GOA which I would never consider doing business with, if I were planning a billboard advertising campaign in the Los Angeles area. But the picture of this situation is kinda murky right now, I think, so I'll hold off on my GOA boycott for now.

I tend to agree with defendandprotect, I am suspicious of the statement from Mr. Villenas of the City of Rancho Cucamonga, but a clear statement on this from GOA would be appreciated.



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grimpeur Donating Member (6 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-08 10:17 PM
Response to Reply #86
99. Whoever suggested that they "directed" that the billboard be removed?
I note that they didn't deny the actual statements of fact in the original article:

- They (the city) received 90 complaints
- They informed the billboard company about same
- They ASKED if they could remove it (did not "direct" them to)

What the city (apparently) did wrong was to not respond to those 90 complaints with the same sort of responsibility-dodging brush-off like the above response to complaints about their own actions. On the contrary, according to the article, they acted as mouthpiece for the unruly mob, which they should never do, when the cause for the mob's wrath is constitutionally protected behavior of a minority.

No one accused them of ordering the billboard removed or otherwise directly controlling content, so denying that they did so is entirely off-point.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #16
73. Done PLUS contribution ...
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
19. My Only Question Is Why Are They Marketing To Begin With?
I can understand why certain religious groups market, since they have beliefs in certain things and want to push their message. But atheists don't have beliefs etc and nothing really to market. So what was the point of the billboard to begin with and what was it seeking to accomplish, other than possibly being provocative?

And I ask that innocently. If there's a logical or sensible reason that I'm not thinking of I'd like to know, so that I can better understand the intent etc.
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Paulie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. They are a non-profit who work for the protection of church/state separation
Edited on Sat Nov-22-08 12:29 PM by Paulie
How else will they recruit additional life members like myself? :) :) :)

During this time of year, it's helpful to freethinkers, agnostics, atheists, etc to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Come visit at http://www.ffrf.org
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. But The Billboard Didn't Have A Message Of 'You Are Not Alone'.
It seemed to just be provocative while accomplishing nothing.

If it had the message you stated, I'd see no problem with it. But it didn't have a benign uplifting message. Think of a billboard saying "Imagine no atheism". Not the most positive thing in the world.
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Ezlivin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Fuck that "benign uplifting message" bullshit
Free speech means just that: The freedom to speak freely.

Who cares if the message "Imagine No Religion" didn't give the "right" people warm fuzzy feelings? (For it damned sure gave me and others warm fuzzy feelings.)

I don't think that "Just Do It" is a benign uplifting message but I would not want it taken down, nor any of the thousands of other religious billboards.
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Not The Point.
My question was what the intent of the billboard was, other than to be provocative. A poster answered, and part of it stated a reasoning that would've been uplifting, by letting atheists know they weren't alone etc. My comment was that the billboard did no such thing nor contained a message of uplifting nature like the poster described.

So I ask you then; was there a point to the billboard other than to just be needlessly provocative? If there was, I'm interested in hearing it.

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Ezlivin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. The point of the billboard was an exercise in free speech
The motivations of the group who rented/leased the billboard is a different discussion.

I don't agree with your assessment that it was "needlessly provocative." Provocative, yes; needless, no.

What concerns me most is the idea that if we don't agree with a message then it should not be displayed. Although I'm an atheist I have no problem with religious, astrological or "soothsayer" billboards. It may be a load of crap to me but it someone exercising their right to free speech. I've been provoked by many a billboard but have never enough to want to censor the message.

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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 07:22 PM
Response to Reply #26
36. Well, Based On Your Explanation, I'm Glad It Was Removed.
If it served no other intent than to be provocative, and in my opinion completely needlessly so, then I'm kinda glad it didn't work out for them. I would say the same if there was a pro-religion billboard that was provocative against atheists etc.

And for those who keep seeming certain in this thread that a court would rule in their favor, they are completely misguided and wrong. Fact is, the town merely made a request based on a number of complaints. The company who owns the sign voluntarily chose to remove it. That is totally within their legal rights and regardless of whether or not someone agrees with the decision, is not something that legally can be overturned.
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GReedDiamond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 08:34 PM
Response to Reply #36
48. Cannot be "legally...overturned"?
If the billboard company was responding to pressure from the local city government within whose city limits the billboard was located, that's a clear violation of the 1st Amendment rights of the organization that paid for the billboard.

Not-so newsflash: the U.S. Constitution exists to protect the rights of ALL, and especially those in a minority with beliefs that may not be considered "mainstream."

Once the advertising company that owns the billboard agreed to accept payment and billboard content from Atheists United, and then removed the billboard due to political pressure from local GOVERNMENT, it became a 1st Amendment issue. Had the advertising company refused upfront to accept the business from Atheists United, and never posted the billboard to begin with, it would NOT be a 1st Amendment issue, but that isn't what happened.

BTW, this statement: "(b)ut atheists don't have beliefs etc and nothing really to market," is ignorant beyond belief, especially coming from somebody on a "progressive" web site. Consider the fact that Atheists United is attempting to protect what little is left of the separation of church/state, and that is what they are "marketing." What they are "marketing" is as obvious as your lack of understanding of this issue, and of the utmost importance in protecting the rights of ALL, not just Atheists United.

Lastly, does this mean that the song "Imagine," by John Lennon, from which the billboard phrase was appropriated, is banned from the airwaves of Rancho Cucamonga as well, because the local government has banned the "offending phrase" on a billboard? Your position is ridiculous and indefensible in (what remains of) our Constitutional Democracy.
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JimboBillyBubbaBob Donating Member (225 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 12:26 AM
Response to Reply #48
54. Imagine
Well said!
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Gwendolyn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-08 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #48
89. Funny, that's not what people felt when the Obsession DVD was mailed out.

Somebody posted that the billboard being taken down was not the result of government action, but those of the billboard company.
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GReedDiamond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-08 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #89
94. Are you referring to the post from defendandprotect?
...where he posted the reply he received from the City of Rancho Cucamonga, denying they had anything to do with the billboard's removal? I received the same reply. The city denies it, no doubt about that.

But, for now, just because a city employee/spokesperson makes a claim, does not necessarily make it true. See my post (#93) in reply to defendandprotect regarding my attempt to get a statement from the billboard company.

And I'm not clear on the meaning of your reference to the "Obsession" dvd...?
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Gwendolyn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-08 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #94
95. I was, yes. I made the comment about the Obsession DVD just to throw out the point
... that when something is objectionable in advertising, it's up to people to protest it, and if you get enough numbers together, you can force an advertiser to remove it... from print media, or a billboard. And that works for everyone. When the Obsession DVD was sent out, people protested it.

If the city was involved then that's a crime, of course. But if citizens protested of their own accord, then there's nothing to be done. It happens every day.

On the bright side, it is getting media attention, now that there's a controversy, so if the city was involved it kind of backfired. People all over the country have heard about it now, not just the few driving by a lonely billboard.

Not that this matters, but I'm an atheist and "Imagine No Religion" didn't really do it for me either. I liked their "Reason's Greetings" one better... it's more upbeat.
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grimpeur Donating Member (6 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #36
68. Imagine a "pro-religion billboard that's provocative against atheists."
Wow, that's a stretch. I never see anything like that...

Now tell us when you've ever heard of a bunch of atheists complaining to a city government about a religious billboard, and the city responding by asking the billboard company to remove it.

And then tell us what might happen in the aftermath to "legally overturn" such an action by the city.

And then tell us what you think the meaning of "second class citizenship" is, and why it might justifiably exist over matters of private conscience.

Am I provoking any thought, yet?
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-24-08 01:19 AM
Response to Reply #36
79. So you support the removal of 1st Amendment rights when the message bothers you.
That's fucking reprehensible.

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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-08 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #36
88. This was political intimidation by the town ...
And this should only be the beginning of "imagining" a world without intimidation of

citizens thru their influence on our government officials --

Even birth control was denied Americans until the 1960's ...

Want to go back there --?

Meanwhile, the nost frightening and violent "billboard" remains the Bible --

especially for women --


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walldude Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 04:09 PM
Response to Reply #24
29. So now you are the judge of what is "Needlessly Provocative"?
The first amendment is in place just so people like you don't get to decide what is "provocative" for the rest of us.

What if it was just to be needlessly provocative? Do you think it's your place to judge whether it should be removed?
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #29
37. It's My Place To Cast An Opinion On It, Absolutely.
I would never have taken it so seriously as to complain, but to act as if I don't have a right to find it as needless provocation or cast an opinion on the matter is just asinine.

I find the billboard to have been massively distasteful and likely purposely so, and I can't quite respect that.

And the first amendment has not a thing to do with putting whatever message on a publicly viewed billboard that you want.

And let me ask you honestly: If a religious group put up a giant billboard stating "imagine no atheists", would you and others not be on DU posting like madmen with outrage over it?

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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #37
47. >>If a religious group put up a giant billboard stating "imagine no atheists",
I don't know about "giant billboards," but church marquees do it every day. Trust me on this - I notice.
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GReedDiamond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #37
51. You really have no clue, do you?
Edited on Sat Nov-22-08 10:03 PM by freshwidow
Quote: "And the first amendment has not a thing to do with putting whatever message on a publicly viewed billboard that you want."

Oh really? What is the 1st Amendment about, given your deeply profound understanding of the Constitution?

And please, spare me the "shouting fire in a crowded theater" and "porn and live sex acts in public places" nonsense. The Atheists United billboard with the "Imagine No Religion" message is not on the level of either of those exceptions to Constitutionally protected free speech, due to the potential for harm to the general public and/or "the children," by a magnitude of millions. The AU billboard is Constitutionally protected expression of free speech, addressing the issue of freedom of (or FROM) religion.

Again, so you get it, when the local city government intervened and demanded the removal of the billboard, the 1st Amendment rights of the advertiser were violated.

The fact that all of this escapes you is frightening to me - I would expect this attitude from the folks over at Free Republic, but not here.

(edited to add the word "shouting")
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-08 05:16 AM
Response to Reply #37
85. You may not have needed provoking, but that doesn't mean others didn't
Maybe it provoked someone into thinking if their life would be better if free from religion; or if everyone's lives were free from religious interference in legislation - a vital point at this time in California.

They could have followed it up with "Imagine Proposition 8 was Defeated". Religion was responsible for that POS passing.

The 1st amendment is involved here because government pressure got a legal bit of free speech taken down, for religious reasons.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-08 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #37
90. The largest "billboard" of provocative hatred is the Bible --
That's the billboard which should be taken down ...!!!
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walldude Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-08 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #37
98. Nope... I see that kind of shit on a daily basis.
What do you think "America is a Christian nation founded by Christians" means to a Jew? It means "imagine no one but Christians, and I hear it on a nearly daily basis.
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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-26-08 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #98
100. Ain't that the truth? nt
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rasputin5 Donating Member (56 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #24
33. If "Imagine no religion" provokes some people, it's begun to do its job.
Provocative is an honorable end unto itself!
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #33
38. Sometimes Yes, Sometimes No. In This Case, No.
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EvolveOrConvolve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #33
69. It's useless to debate OMC
He/she has the proud distinction of being the only DUer ever to grace my Ignore list.

I like to say that OMC is "often wrong but never uncertain", and won't EVER let you forget it. On other boards it's called trolling.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-24-08 01:21 AM
Response to Reply #69
80. Remember "Thank God It Passed!"?
Yup. Same OMC, same smug ignorance.

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EvolveOrConvolve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-24-08 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #80
84. Oh crap, I'd forgotten about that
Thanks for the reminder about OMC's state of mind.
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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #24
42. >>My question was what the intent of the billboard was, other than to be provocative.
You know, I have the same question about church marquees that tell me I'm going to hell. Which they do, frequently, often just across the street from my workplace. Very friendly.

Then again, I *don't* believe in their imaginary friend. And I expect to die permanently for it. (Well, I expect to die permanently in any case....)

But that's not enough for them - they want me to be tortured permanently.
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #24
50. Always the contrarian, aren't you?
Edited on Sat Nov-22-08 08:59 PM by Canuckistanian
It seems your one job at DU is fighting against the majority opinion.

Yeah, free speech is a bitch.

And it's not up to you or anyone else to decide whether a message is "uplifting" or not as a requisite for public display.
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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #50
78. Fuck it
Edited on Sun Nov-23-08 11:48 PM by ZombyWoof
There's no point.
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ProfessorGAC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-08 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #78
87. Self Delete
Edited on Tue Nov-25-08 12:14 PM by ProfessorGAC
Posted in wrong spot.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #24
53. I often like your Devil's advocacy, but disagree here
I think the world would be quite a bit better off with no religion, or at least with much less religious people. So actually I would feel a bit uplifted by seeing said billboard. And while it is somewhat provocative and negative (insofar as it's saying 'imagine no religion' rather than 'imagine more rationality'), I'm just fine with that. If you'd asked me what to put on it I'd have suggested 'religion is slavery', or on one of my bad days 'fuck your invisible superfriend'.

As I think religion (in particular, the big three monotheistic faiths) is a Very Bad Thing, I don't consider the provocation needless at all. While I'm a moral relativist, I'd say that on balance I consider organized religion to be a force for evil.
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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #24
77. You are the master of "needlessly provocative"
Funny you should ask.
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-08 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #24
96. Sig changed to "needlessly provocative" in your honour...nt
Sid
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MH1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. Actually, I can see how "imagine no religion" WOULD be uplifting
to an atheist who feels surrounded by fundamendalists.
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appal_jack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 10:03 AM
Response to Reply #22
57. The nice thing about Free Speech...
The nice thing about Free Speech is that there is no requirement that the speaker seek-out and obtain approval from OPERATIONMINDCRIME (or any self-styled authority) before making a statement. And what a dull world it would be if this freedom were to be lost.

And for the record, various fundy nutbags say diverse permutations of "Imagine no atheism," all the time, yet City Governments do not act to censor them.

-app
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #22
63. I don't know of a clause in the first amendment that limits protected speech to that
which some consider provocative.

If the billboard company simply didn't want to run the sign, there is no first amendment issue.

If the local government exerted influence to have it removed, there's a problem.

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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #19
34. I'll tell you why: Because there is a full scale assault on science and reason by *some* religious
people.

And, in the face of it, Atheists are supposed to remain invisible; you see it even here, by folks who think "I don't believe in God" is an inappropriate, bigoted statement, but "I believe in God" is just dandy.

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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 07:29 PM
Response to Reply #34
39. You're Talking About Fringes.
The overwhelming number of people who believe in God accept science and reason perfectly fine.

And I have not once ever seen a comment on DU that would reference the statement 'I don't believe in God' to be inappropriate nor bigoted. Were you making that up or did it actually happen?

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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #39
49. I have seen that reaction here countless times.
Generally by people who don't even see the contradiction. I think lots of people aren't used to atheists openly proclaiming their disbelief, and are more "comfortable" when it's "in the closet".

I agree that lots of people are able to perfectly reconcile science and religious belief, but the fact that our public schools in places like Kansas continue to this day to weather sustained assaults on the teaching of the scientific facts around evolution, or the fact that 7 out of 10 the last GOP primary contenders don't believe in evolution, or the fact that the vice Presidential nominee on the GOP ticket this year not only doesn't believe in evolution but also believes the Earth is literally 6,000 years old and "dinosaurs co-existed with humans"... all these things point to, yes, a sustained assault by some religious people- not a "fringe" but the base of a major political party, in fact- on science and reason.

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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-24-08 01:22 AM
Response to Reply #49
81. I can back you up on that one.
NT!

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JimboBillyBubbaBob Donating Member (225 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 12:32 AM
Response to Reply #39
55. What??
I'd like to see your data on the first statement.
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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 07:36 PM
Response to Reply #19
44. >>atheists don't have beliefs etc and nothing really to market.
You're kidding, right? I have lots of beliefs - they just don't involve an imaginary friend.

I even have religious beliefs. I believe that there are a lot of good things in religious documents, a lot of gibberish, and a lot of hateful things.
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ima_sinnic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #19
58. They are publicizing their organization and website
Edited on Sun Nov-23-08 10:16 AM by ima_sinnic
If I were driving by and saw "Imagine no religion" on a billboard, I'd be impressed as hell. I'd make a mental note of that URL and want to get home to check it out ASAP. Imagine someone believing and feeling the same way I do!

Just because it is "needless" and "provocative" in your opinion, so what?
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grimpeur Donating Member (6 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #19
61. Provocative is good
You seem to be confusing "provacative" with inflammatory." Freethought billboards are generally intended to provoke thought. Thinking is a good thing. Religions generally don't want people to think too much, which is why we have to provoke it; it's a thankless job, but someone has to do it.

Shame, shame, shame on the city government for asking the billboard company to cave in to religious pressure. The government has a duty to stand up for the rights of all citizens, not to be an enabler and surrogate mouthpiece for the unruly mob.

So you consider it God's work to stamp out dissent by any means necessary? Oppression is righteous if done in the name of God? These are the ideals your religion teaches you?
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 11:15 PM
Response to Reply #19
74. Given the destructive nature of patriarchal religions another way ....
should be brought to the people's attention ... to say the least---!!

Atheists have a NON-BELIEF in the all-male sky guard --

You really need this explained to you --??

FIRST AMENDMENT --





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Truth Teller Donating Member (479 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 12:36 PM
Response to Original message
21. Hard to imagine it withstanding a legal challenge
Hopefully the city will get stuck with all legal costs or more.
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grimpeur Donating Member (6 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #21
62. What legal challenge?
The damage has been done. The city served as mouthpiece for the unruly mob, and a private business acquiesced. It's a shame that the billboard didn't stand up to it, but that was their business decision to make. No lawsuit can rightfully force them to re-erect the billboard; the best that could be hoped for would be to reprimand the city leaders who exceeded their authority and exerted censorship pressure. The city does not control what goes onto the billboards; at most they could block obscene, libelous, or otherwise illegal messages, and they need to learn that.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #62
75. An ideal penalty would be PERMANENT placement of the billboard ...
paid for by town ...
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OmmmSweetOmmm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 04:04 PM
Response to Original message
27. If the group has enough $$$, I can quite easily see this going to the Supremes.
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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #27
56. Well, they get some of *mine* every year.... ;-> nt
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OmmmSweetOmmm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #56
60. Cool!
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Pastiche423 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 04:07 PM
Response to Original message
28. Beautiful sign...
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-08 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #28
97. It certainly is...
gonna use it as a sig for a while :)

Sid
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codjh9 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 04:13 PM
Response to Original message
30. Uh YEAH, what happened to 'Freedom of Speech' and 'Freedom of Religion'???
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 07:30 PM
Response to Reply #30
40. This Has Nothing To Do With Either.
And atheism isn't a religion.
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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 07:42 PM
Response to Reply #40
45. Yeah, that's why they call it the "Freedom *from* Religion Foundation" How very Constitutional. nt
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #40
59. To the contrary: Freedom from religion is maintained as essential to freedom of religion, and
if the government pressured the billboard company that looks like a clear case of the state infringement to me.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #40
76. You have a right to "NO RELIGION" ....
Atheism is "Freedom from Religion" ---

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PatGund Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 04:53 PM
Response to Original message
31. Ah Yes.....
Rancho Cucamonga. Home to Chick Publications Inc. (Yes, the Chick Tract people)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chick_Publications
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 06:11 PM
Response to Original message
32. GRRecommended
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anonymous171 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
35. On what grounds was it removed?
Did they consider it inflammatory or something?
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #35
41. There Were Many Complaints Filed So The Town Asked The Sign Company If There Was A Way To Remove It.
The sign company voluntarily took it down.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 07:35 PM
Response to Reply #41
43. Generally there is a contract involved with such a sign...
I wonder if the company broke its contract with the organization that *paid* for the sign?
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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 07:45 PM
Response to Reply #41
46. Yeah, and the citizens of CA (maybe) voted "yes" on Prop 8 as well
Civil rights are *not* contingent on the number of votes or complaints.
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grimpeur Donating Member (6 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #41
64. The city was wrong
The city had no business exerting censorship pressure. They seriously overstepped their authority. They should have told the complainers that it would be inappropriate for them to interfere with public messages that don't violate a law.

It is a shame that the sign company acquiesced to such pressure, but no one can force them to display anything.

Where did you ever get the idea that free speech requires everyone's approval?
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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #64
65. Hey, grimpeur!
*Very* welcome to DU! :hi:

Origin of username? (I'd google, but I'm tired.... ;) )
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grimpeur Donating Member (6 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 09:44 PM
Response to Reply #65
66. French for "climber."
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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #66
67. Onward and upward! nt
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 12:03 AM
Response to Original message
52. I think I saw that billboard in Seattle.
I thought "wow, that's bold", but I was glad to see it.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
70. We need to make strong response to this ...
AND I'll send them a contribution --

It just proves that they well understand the bteal threat another idea

would have on their money-making religions ...

Is the Pope rich?

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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 11:00 PM
Response to Original message
71. "Imagine no religion" ...
... political leaders who are clearly in the pockets of some religious leaders to suppress any expression of views that diverge from the orthodox line.

This is a serious overstep by the city over the boundaries of the First Amendment, stated Stuart Bechman, President, Atheists United. Its hard to imagine a more innocuous statement of non-belief. But even this was too much for political leaders who are clearly in the pockets of some religious leaders to suppress any expression of views that diverge from the orthodox line.

Thanks for posting this ---


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Vektor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-24-08 01:41 AM
Response to Original message
82. It's shocking how easily threatened these people are.
They are so insecure in their faith that someone who doesn't share it is enough to send them into a tailspin.



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Tripper11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-24-08 01:49 AM
Response to Original message
83. WKRP had an episode attempting to ban Imagine(the song)
It was a good one as I recall. Arthur Carlson was a a religious man, wore it on hos coat sleeve, yet he was strong enough to tell the Fundie that no, he would not stop playing the song, "...because it only asked to IMAGINE there was no religion."

Now I know this is an old sitcom, but it was a pretty powerful eposiode, but it sure made sense, regardless.

Free speech for them should be free speech for ALL!
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-08 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #83
92. They tried that again after 9/11 --
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