By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
CHARLOTTE — Two atheist billboards come down following protests, but two more are headed up. Politicians packing into the Queen City for the Democratic National Convention that kicks off Monday may get a mixed message when it comes to faith.
American Atheists, which had paid some $15,000 for its visual attacks on Mormonism and Christianity — signs that called God “sadistic” and a “space alien,” and Christ “useless” — has pulled the billboards saying that they prompted e-mail and phone threats.
“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,” Amanda Knief, American Atheists’ managing director, said in a statement released last week.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation is placing two billboards in Charlotte and one in Tampa, Fla., the site of the Republican National Convention, featuring an anti-religious Uncle Sam. Drawn by cartoonist Steve Benson, the patriotic national icon is depicted wagging his finger with a caption that says “God fixation won’t fix this nation.” The Charlotte signs are slated for locations on Freedom Drive near Morehead Street and on I-77 near Fifth Street.
“Just as we said when the earlier billboards went up, Christians need not get angry. Instead, we need to get passionate in prayer,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, who pointed to Charlotte 714, a huge prayer rally based on 2 Chron. 7:14 and set for Sunday afternoon at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.
“Whether believers gather at this event or are praying at home, we all need to lift up our nation,” Dr. Creech said. “We know that God is the only answer. He has promised forgiveness and healing to those who will first humble themselves and pray and then turn from their wicked ways.”
He said God can use for good even what non-believers intend for evil.
“If people are talking about these billboards,that means there is an opportunity for a conversation about faith,” he said. “As Christians, we need to be ready to engage and to share what God has done for us personally, why we have a ‘fixation’ with Him, why our eyes are fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. ”
“He has always stirred up controversy. He’s not afraid of it and neither should we shy away from these attacks on faith,” Dr. Creech added. “Let’s use these billboards as a springboard for talking about our Lord.”
FFRF, which bills itself as the nation’s largest association of atheists and agnostics, boasts almost 500 members in North Carolina. The group claims a fifth of the nation’s population are secularists.