Kimberly Winston reports that the United Council of Reason paid for twelve (12) billboards this month to promote their perspectives. Many of the billboards posted throughout the the year have be vandalized, with the most recent instance happening near Chico, CA. The vandalized billboard read: “Don’t believe in God? Join the club.” Soon after appearing, vandals painted over the word, “don’t.”
While I do not think this billboard approach is effective or helpful in promoting one’s perspectives (whether atheistic, theistic or otherwise), it is shameful that people would deface a billboard simply because it said something with which you disagree. It strikes me as incredibly childish that someone, presumably a person or persons who believe in God, would think it a helpful response to paint over the word “don’t” in order (perhaps?) to transform an anti-faith billboard into a pro-faith billboard.
What would be helpful is for theists, atheists and non-theists to engage in civil dialogue about their perspectives and opinions so that they could respect one another’s views even though they will continue to disagree. Such a conversation would enable understanding and appreciation, and allow for the possibility of collaboration in areas where they likely do agree (e.g. taking care of the planet, caring for our neighbors, community service projects, et al). But these positive activities will not become a reality through billboard advertisements or childish defacement of said billboards.
The full-text of Winston’s article can be found here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/19/atheists-christmas-billboards-god/1779827/