Skeptics Behaving Badly — PA Billboard Fiasco

Oh Athesists. I must say this billboard was in bad taste. “But but but …the Bible is what is in bad taste,” you say!

Perhaps the ancient book of wisdom (and some would say truth), while still relevant, is dated, tailored toward the time it was written — a bit like our own constitution. Does that make the American constitution not respectable on all counts? Of course not. We have baby and we have bathwater. Sudsy, ugly historically oppressive bath water.

And here, in this billboard, both of those shameful historical moments (our country’s slavery and the slavery of Biblical times) got to come together for absolutely no one’s good.

I get it, shock value. And if publicy was the goal than goal accomplished. But I think even the Atheists were dissappointed about how everyone missed the point of the billboard.

I believe in separation of church and state and freedom of religion, so I too am not pleased that the PA State House has declared it the year of the Bible. That’s stupid. If you’re a Christian, every year is the year of the Bible. And if you’re not, then you’ll be offended by a state house declaring a holy book deserves a year. Unless, of course, they plan to honor a different one each year (being careful not to leave any out) — maybe the Book of Mormon in 2013, the Koran in 2014 — but I’m doubting it.

In my opinion, everyone is overstepping their bounds and not thinking properly. I hope the Atheists find a more respectable way to get their point made and I hope the PA House reconsiders their decision to make it the “year of the Bible” before the ACLU takes them to court and wastes tax dollars.


  1. Alright. I can’t stop laughing about “Year of the White Man.” I’m laughing right now. I hope, when they make that billboard, they use Holly’s denounced craft supply combo.

  2. American Atheists fail. One of the reasons I became an atheist is so that I could give up proselytizing. Seeing my kith attempt to bring a message across and fail so fabulously is painful. I understand that this is political discourse. But when discourse is already reduced so low (“Year of the Bible”? Really? Will next year be “Year of the White Man”?), what’s the point in engaging. It just cheapens you. Bad atheists, bad!

  3. My complaint with the billboard is the fact that there are TWO distinct messages on it, both distracting from the importance of the other. The Bible WAS used as justification for the persistence of slavery in the US, after other Christians said that slavery was a human invention and should stop. So, if it was a billboard from atheists in cooperation with a social justice organization working to end racism, well, then maybe it makes sense in the context of a broader campaign. But why in Pennsylvania, a state that opposed slavery??

    But that wasn’t what the billboard was for anyway. As you say, it was against a House of Representatives bill that declared 2012 the Year of the Bible. You have many great ideas of how that could be made into an *effective* message of ridicule. Not this senseless one.

    It’s like the kid that wants to use both glitter AND puffy paint AND 3-D effects on a neon shirt. Yeesh. Next thing you know they are going to have Powerpoint slides with wipe effects and clip art AND swirling letters announcing that God is really and truly dead.

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