The atheist martyrs

A group of harmless atheists (sorry for the redundancy) in Cincinnati had to take down a welcoming sign due to violent threats.

In the wake of multiple, significant threats, the downtown billboard that says “Don’t Believe In God? You are not alone” came down early Thursday morning.

Oh, how dangerous. A group telling other people that they need not feel alone. Give me a break. It’s a well-known fact that atheists constitute one of the most hated groups in America. More Americans would vote for a homosexual than an atheist. (The fact that either group would be denied votes on such illegitimate grounds is astounding in itself, actually. The first isn’t exactly making a choice. The second shouldn’t matter since there’s that whole separation of church and state thing.)

“Everything that has happened shows just how vital our message is,” said Shawn Jeffers, co-coordinator for the Cincinnati Coalition of Reason. “It proves our point, that bigotry against people who don’t believe in a god is still very real in America. Only when we atheists, agnostics and humanists come together and go public about our views will people have a chance to learn that we too are part of the community and deserve respect.”

It’s a good point, especially because it notes the respect earned by the named groups. Putting one’s self out there for criticism is a good thing and should be appreciated. Most atheists, agnostics, and humanists want to engage their fellow humans in discourse. That cannot be said of most religions, and if so, only quite temporarily (basically until you make them think or question too hard).

The billboard was moved to a location now viewed by drivers heading west on the Sixth Street viaduct. Some say they find it offensive.

“My thoughts? I think the sign needs to come down. Its atheist. Its going to cause problems around all the churches, not just catholic, but lutheran, baptist, all of them,” said Jack Jones of Downtown.

Please excuse the myriad typos in that. Well, actually, don’t. What the hell. And Jack Jones “of Downtown”? Was this journalist imbibing something as s/he wrote, gradually getting more and more grammatically chaotic?

But I digress. I hope this causes problems for all churches. But let’s not stop there. The synagogues and mosques need a smart dose of rational inquiry thrown in their faces.

“We are dealing with it the best way we can. We are not going away so talk to us,” said Welte.

How militant.