The American Atheists say a campaign to fly banners over American cities during the July 4th holiday weekend with messages such as “Godless America” and “Atheism is Patriotic” fell short of its goals, at least partly because pilots refused to carry the message.
“I’m not going to Hell flying that sign!” an official from one aerial advertising company in North Carolina told the organization, according to a report on its website.
There, the organization said, “American Atheists went to great lengths to get flights in all 50 states, representing the fact that atheism is the fastest growing segment in every state. The reality is that there is still a lot of bigotry out there and many companies refused to fly our banners. This just emphasizes the importance of doing this campaign! In fact, on 6/30 our count went from 27 to 26 because a company in North Carolina refused to fly the sign because, “I’m not going to Hell flying that sign!'”
According to the American Atheist group’s newsfeed, pilots refusing to fly the group’s banners reached 80 percent.
In announcing its aerial campaign, the atheist group said it wanted to raise awareness to its cause. Comments on its own website, however, seem to find fault. Said one person:
“The first statement can easily be read to imply “Atheism is Patriotic, Religion is Not,” by a biased viewer. Point of fact: biased viewers comprise most of the intended audience. Why put it up in the first place?”
Another suggested, “‘God-LESS America’ makes it sound like we want to kick religion out of America entirely. Maybe you do, but I only want to eat my piece of the pie in piece (sic).”
Further comments on the website also suggested the group’s supporters missed the banners they had expected.
“Did something fall through for Grand Forks, ND? I was downtown the entire time and didn’t see anything.”
Another said it wasn’t going to have the desired effect:
“I don’t want Jehovah’s Witnesses or evangelicals at my door, and I don’t want you either. You’re all just annoying. Start minding your own business and leave people alone.”
The Minnesota Atheists website, which claims that its organization is the oldest and largest atheist group, says that it intended on flying banners over Forest Lake, White Bear Lake and Roseville on July 4. One photo of a banner flying over Roseville was posted on the American Atheist website.
The American Atheists admitted they are seeking awareness for their position, and they expressed dismay over the “bigotry” from those who believe differently.
The group credits Madalyn Murray O’Hair with its founding, and said, “Since 1963, American Atheists has been the premier organization laboring for the civil liberties of atheists and the total, absolute separation of government and religion.”
In fact, the group has been actively seeking the ouster of religion from the public square for several decades. WND most recently reported that an alliance including the American Atheist group is calling for a protest on Aug. 6 of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s daylong prayer event at Reliant Stadium.
When this year’s National Day of Prayer came around in May, Dave Silverman, president, said, “It’s bad enough that leading politicians are acting like
superstitious, bronze-age tribal chiefs trying to appease some
imagina[ry] rain god or other deity. They add insult to injury by
telling American citizens when to pray and how to pray. They engage
in blatant unconstitutional promotion of religion.”
The organization cites Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists as evidence that the Founding Fathers intended to keep religion out of government. But they don’t mention the opening prayer of the very first Continental Congress in 1774.
That includes, in part:
“O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee. To Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give. Take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their Cause and if they persist in their sanguinary purposes, of own unerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of battle!
Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior.
That’s by Rev. Jacob Duche.