EIGHTEEN months have passed since we wrote about a billboard battle: Darwin in Dayton — Oh Dear! That was about some group putting up “Praise Darwin” billboards in the home town of the Scopes trial. We were both amused and ambivalent, saying:
Your Curmudgeon is uncertain about such things. On the one hand, there’s freedom of expression. On the other hand, why not leave the people of Dayton alone? It’s obvious that they don’t want to know about evolution.
Well, we’ve found another billboard situation. This one isn’t specifically about evolution, but it’s interesting anyway. At the website of WECT News, an NBC affiliate, channel 6 in Wilmington, North Carolina we read Local businesses respond to “Godless Billboard”. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
A billboard going up Tuesday on Carolina Beach Road near Sanders Road is causing some controversy. Drivers will be able to see what’s being called the “Godless Billboard.”
Six other billboards just like it are popping up across the state and will be there for four weeks.
Godless? Egad! Let’s read on:
The campaign is being organized by the North Carolina Secular Association, a coalition of “local secular, humanist, free thought and skeptical groups throughout North Carolina.” The project is costing them $15,000.
Everyone has a right to spend his own money in his own way. Wait, we found an issue we can get behind:
The group says they want to see an end to religious discrimination against non-religious people and groups in the Wilmington area. They also take issue with a religion being a prerequisite for becoming a public official in North Carolina according to the State Constitution.
We had to go hunting for that. It’s here: ARTICLE VI, Sec. 8. Disqualifications for office, and it says:
The following persons shall be disqualified for office:
First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.
That’s not only insane, it’s void, because it’s clearly in conflict with Article Six of the US Constitution: “… no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
It would be an entirely admirable endeavor, in our humble opinion, to campaign for repeal of the theocratic clause in the state’s constitution. But that’s not the billboard issue. Instead:
They want “under god” taken out of the pledge of allegiance. The phrase was incorporated by Congress in 1954. Mike Werner is a board member of the Humanists and Free Thinkers of Cape Fear who is heading up the local effort for the billboard. Werner says the sign, which features the slogan, “One Nation, Indivisible,” is necessary.
That’s the picture we placed at the top of this post. We continue:
“The pledge of allegiance for decades did not have the phrase “under God” in there,” said Werner. “It is in fact discriminatory and it should be stopped. We should enfranchise all people, we are all Americans!”
The North Carolina state constitution is a worthy issue. So is science education. But this “under God” issue is a clue that Mr. Werner has his priorities — shall we say — a bit out of sequence. Here’s more:
Nearby businesses say they’re trying to grin and bear the future billboard, but they are worried it might deliver the wrong message.
Kristi Johnson is the officer manager of Island Appliance. She’s says she is in disbelief over the billboard. “Our country was founded on Godly Christian principals and I think its a shame,” she said.
If only some bright inventor could harness the power of stupid, we could be the energy capital of the world — maybe even the whole galaxy!
The article goes on a bit more with the customary “human interest” interviews and such. There’s also some contact information in case you want to donate money to the billboard campaign. Hey, go ahead. You can either give your money to this outfit or to a creationist con artist. Don’t bother trying to save it, because Obama will get it anyway.
Update: See Billboard Madness in North Carolina, Part 2.
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