Atheist group apologizes for billboard deemed ‘racist’

Many people criticized the billboard, which was vandalized after one day, as racist.

A controversial billboard, paid for by atheist groups, was taken down after it was vandalized in Pennsylvania.

The
sign featured a verse from from Colossians 3:22 that reads, “Slaves,
obey your masters.” It also included a rendering of a black man bound by
a neck shackle.

The billboard was created and funded by the American Atheists
and the Pennsylvania Nonbelievers who said it was meant as a response to
Pennsylvania lawmakers who referred 2012 the “Year of the Bible.”

After
many called it racist and it was vandalized a day after it went up in
Harrisburg, the president of Pennsylvania Nonbelievers posted a photo of
the obliterated sign and issued a statement, apologizing for the
offense.

“I want to say that I’m truly sorry that many people
have misunderstood this billboard,” said Brian Fields said in a statement on PA Nonbelievers’ web site.

“It was never our intention to use ‘race’
as our message itself. The point of our billboard was the bible is NOT holy or moral
as promoted by the PA House of Representatives in the ‘Year of the
Bible.’ The bible was used as an excuse for many very bad things –
Including American slavery.”

He went on to point out that the vandals destroyed most of the sign, but left the Bible verse that “supports slavery” untouched. 

“The
irony of course is in what they destroyed: they left the bible verse
that supports slavery, one of many missed opportunities in the bible for
the authors to actually say ‘Slavery is bad.’ They removed the entire
point of the billboard, the criticism, and left the actual ignorant and
savage part.”

The incident is among a string of recent billboards paid for by atheist groups that have been criticized as offensive. In New York City and Paterson, NJ, billboards in Arabic and Hebrew that read, “You know it’s a myth…and you have a choice” have come under fire by religious communities. 



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