Atheists pull DNC billboard after "large volume of threats" - | WBTV Charlotte

Atheists pull DNC billboard after "large volume of threats"

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

A national Atheists group says it had to pull two billboards in Charlotte taking aim at Christianity and Mormonism ahead of the Democratic National Convention after getting slammed with threats.

The billboards, which were put up by the American Atheists in Charlotte in mid-August, to expose "the foolishness of religion in the political landscape," the group said.

Since then, the group says it has received a "large volume of threats by email and phone."

"It is with regret that we tell our members and all of those who treasure free speech and the separation of religion and government that American Atheists and Adams Outdoor Advertising have mutually agreed to remove the billboards immediately," said Amanda Knief, American Atheists' Managing Director.

The billboards were expected to be seen in Charlotte during the DNC, but the group was originally shut out of the Tampa for the Republican National Convention. According to the group, every company they contacted in Tampa "refused to display the billboard focusing on Mormonism."

The billboard that focused on Mormonism was located along Brookshire Boulevard, just east of Beatties Ford Road. The one focused on Christianity was located along the 4500 block of Wilkinson Boulevard.

"No subject, no idea should be above scrutiny—and this includes religion in all forms," Knief said.

"We are saddened that by choosing to express our rights as atheists through questioning the religious beliefs of the men who want to be our president that our fellow citizens have responded with vitriol, threats, and hate speech against our staff, volunteers, and Adams Outdoor Advertising."

"The election of our leaders in the United States is one of the most important decisions that we as citizens make," said American Atheists' president David Silverman.  "Allowing our judgment to be clouded by sheer silliness is unacceptable. We want to show the people of our country the foolishness of mixing religion with politics."

Silverman says the billboards were meant to inspire conversation and challenge the status quo.

The billboards feature assertions from Christianity and Mormonism that, according to American Atheists, have no place in politics.

"It saddens me to think that our country is not a safe place for all people to publicly question religious belief," Teresa MacBain, American Atheists' Public Relations Director said. "How can we grow as a nation when such censorship exists from our own citizens?"

The billboards were taken down last Thursday.

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