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December 04, 2014

Atheists Billboards Are Free Speech -- But Also Hate Speech In This Case

I was going to ignore this kerfluffle until I heard the responsible group's spokesperson on the radio today.

AtheistHateBillboard.jpg

American Atheists Christmas billboard reading “Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is to skip church! I’m too old for fairy tales," released on Dec. 1, 2014.

American Atheists has launched a billboard campaign in several Bible Belt states urging people to skip church this Christmas and stop listening to "fairy tales."

"Even children know churches spew absurdity, which is why they don't want to attend services. Enjoy the time with your family and friends instead," said American Atheists President David Silverman. "Today's adults have no obligation to pretend to believe the lies their parents believed. It's OK to admit that your parents were wrong about God, and it's definitely OK to tell your children the truth."

Now let's be really clear -- this is not speech that is merely advocating non-belief. It is intended to be a direct attack upon Christians and is intended to denigrate their beliefs during their two holiest times of the year (Christmas, when the billboards are appearing, and Easter, when the group is holding its conference). And if you are not convinced, all you have to do is recognize that similar billboards are not being run directed at Jews during their High Holy Days or at Passover, nor are they being run in areas with large Muslim populations during Ramadan.

Now these atheist hatemongers are certainly welcome to trumpet their intolerance as much as they want. Our nation's Constitution protects their freedom to speak their hate, to publish their hate, and to gather together to proclaim their hate at their convention. Their rejection of God falls within the boundaries of the religious freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. I would never claim otherwise or suggest that those rights be suppressed by government.

After all, the Nazis had the right to march through the town of Skokie -- a community with a large number of Holocaust survivors. Their doing so was constitutionally protected -- though a morally reprehensible act of hate.

Kluxer scum are permitted to publish their vile beliefs, speak them in public, and gather together to express them -- despite the fact that their doing offends members of the groups they have historically victimized and shocks the conscience of every decent American.

And so American Atheists is certainly free to profane days held dear by religious believers with speech that is designed to ridicule, denigrate, and marginalize them -- just as a group of white supremacists is free to run a billboard rejecting racial equality around Martin Luther King Day and to urge people to release their inner white supremacist at the group's next cross burning.

Ain't America great?





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