WASHINGTON – For Clear Channel Communications, one of the largest media conglomerates in the U.S., it’s apparently OK to question God on billboards going up around the country, but not OK to question Barack Obama.
That’s the observation of WND’s Joseph Farah, the force behind a 2-year-old billboard campaign that doesn’t even mention Obama’s name, but merely asks, “Where’s the birth certificate?” While ClearChannel refused to run those ads, along with two other major outdoor advertising companies, Lamar and CBS, ClearChannel is making its inventory of billboards available to the overtly anti-God humanist Center for Inquiry’s “Living Without Religion” campaign kicking off this week in Indianapolis, Houston and other major cities.
“Ironic, isn’t it, that in the United States of America, the country that invented the First Amendment as a means of limiting government’s power over the people, that major media corporations would be timid about popular advertising that might appear critical of a certain government official while having no qualms about unpopular advertising that belittles the role of God?” asked Farah regarding what appears to him as a “morally bankrupt double-standard.”
The message of the campaign by the atheists is: “You don’t need God – to hope, to care, to love, to live.”
Clear Channel billboard
The message Farah’s campaign has been promoting for two years without the help of what he called “the major media’s billboard cartel” is: “Where’s the birth certificate?”
Billboard on Highway 93 near Kingman, Ariz.
“Now which one of those messages is more offensive?” Farah asks. “Which one is more controversial? Which one is an assertion whose truth is highly questionable? I think we all know the answers to those questions. And I think any reasonable person should be able to form a judgment about ClearChannel’s very unclear policies vis a vis freedom of speech.”
The Center for Inquiry started the campaign here in Washington with train and subway posters. It continues on billboards in Houston and Indianapolis next week. According to the Center for Inquiry mission statement, they are a “nonprofit organization with the mission to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values”.
Farah’s “Where’s the birth certificate?” campaign is credited with giving new life to doubts about Obama’s eligibility now held by at least 58 percent of the American people, according to the latest national public opinion survey by CNN.
Before the campaign was launched, only half of Americans were even aware of the controversy.
Farah is asking all those who agree that the constitutional eligibility of the president is of paramount importance for the future of the country to contribute financially to extending the campaign through 2012.
“Every day we hear from Americans seeing these billboards,” said Farah. “Many of them congratulate us on the work. Others are just now being introduced to the questions that have been systematically stonewalled by the major media. I believe this campaign has raised more awareness of the issue than just about anything else. And I believe we are reaching critical mass in getting to the bottom of the mystery.”
Farah says his immediate goal is to help persuade several state legislatures to pass simple, straightforward bills requiring eligibility tests for presidential candidates – especially for “natural born citizenship.”
“As I have said many times, if Obama didn’t have something to hide, he would have long ago produced the original birth certificate proving he was born in Hawaii August 4, 1961, as he claims,” said Farah. “Just such legislation is pending right now in Texas and is expected to be introduced in several other states in 2011. When that happens, I am firmly convinced Obama will decide not to run again. At that point, an investigation needs to be launched by Congress to determine whether he was ever eligible to serve and whether any of his initiatives and actions as president are legitimate.”
Farah says that despite the ban on his message by the outdoor advertising cartel there are plenty of billboard locations available throughout the country – most of them at bargain prices because of the Obama recession.
“The average billboard we place costs about $4,000 a month,” Farah points out. “Yes, we have had some donated. We’ve had some wonderful outdoor advertising companies that have discounted their boards because they like our campaign. But, at the end of the day, we’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this campaign – and we need help from the public. We believe it’s the most important way any citizen can make his voice heard on this issue.”
Only limited funds prevent the campaign from growing faster, Farah said.
“It’s true that the outdoor advertising cartel, owned by major media conglomerates like Clear Channel, CBS and Lamar, have steadfastly refused to post our message because they want to curry favor with regulators in Washington,” Farah said. “These companies have no problem with soft-core porn, with ads renouncing God and with outrageous vulgarity. But they do have a problem with political speech – with a simple, non-threatening question like, ‘Where’s the birth certificate?’ It’s an unbelievable double-standard by companies that are supposed to be in the First Amendment business. But, then again, look at how their parent companies have treated this issue in their news coverage.”
In addition to the billboard campaign, Farah has:
- produced a
video-documentary primer on the issue called “A Question of Eligibility”;
- produced a 40-page
special report on the subject;
- manufactured yard and
rally signs to bring attention to the topic;
- pledged to donate at
least $15,000 to any hospital in Hawaii or anywhere else that provides proof Obama was
born there and given you an opportunity to raise the amount;
- created a line of
T-shirts you can wear to appearances by the president to raise visibility of the issue;
- created a fund to which
you can donate to further the kind of investigative reporting into this matter only this
company has performed over the last two years;
- launched a line of
postcards you can use to keep the issue alive;
- distributed thousands of
bumper stickers asking, “Where’s the birth certificate?”;
most notably, gathered more than 500,000 names on a petition demanding any and all
controlling legal authorities in this matter take appropriate action to see the
requirements of the Constitution of the United States are followed;
- gathered another
25,000 names on a second petition attempting to rally state officials to make presidential
candidates prove their eligibility before getting on ballots.
“There are all kinds of things we need to do right now to get our country back on track, but I can think of nothing more important than for us to see that our Constitution is observed, followed, adhered to and honored, especially when it comes to such simple, straightforward matters as the eligibility of the president of the United States,” says Farah. “Please help me bring this matter to a head right now.”