In contrast, Charlotte 714 calls the church to unity in prayer for God’s healing on the nation
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
CHARLOTTE — When crowds from across the nation flood into Charlotte for the Democratic Convention, set to kick off on Labor Day, they’ll get a visual welcome message from atheists — two billboards already in place attacking Christianity and Mormonism.
But leaders of Charlotte 714, a prayer movement based on 2 Chronicles 7:14, hope that more importantly, they’ll feel the love of Christians who have gathered to pray and ask for a healing of the nation, beginning with the Queen City.
“We want our city to be like a spiritual ‘city of refuge’ where the church is founded squarely on Jesus Christ, ablaze with the Holy Spirit, and united in God’s love,” brothers David and Jason Benham, organizers of the Sept. 2 event at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, explain on their Web site.
“Obviously, both those who love God and those who refuse to even believe He exists are looking to the Democratic Convention as a platform to get their message out,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “While it saddens and angers us to see our Savior mocked on these huge signs, the answer is not protest, but prayer.”
American Atheists, the New Jersey-based organization that paid $15,000 to have their signs up for a month, has told the media its goal is to point out “the silliness of religion” and to demand that candidates make decisions using only secular reasoning. The anti-Christian billboard portrays Jesus’ face on a piece of toast with the caption “Christianity: Sadistic God; Useless Savior, 30,000+ Versions of ‘Truth,’ Promotes Hate, Calls it ‘Love.'” The one against Mormonism — the faith of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney — features a man in glowing underwear, a reference to the temple garments many Mormons wear under their clothes. Its caption is “Mormonism: God Is a Space Alien, Baptizes Dead People, Big Money, Big Bigotry.” Both billboards include the tagline “Atheism: Simply Reasonable” and an invitation to “Join American Atheists!”
While David Silverman, president of the atheist group, has said his organization is “proud to be the Marines of free thought,” David Benham told the media that it was people of faith who created the United States, the most free country on earth.
Dr. Creech agreed.
“Ironically, the very freedom that this group uses to proclaim its message of mocking and name-calling comes from our Constitution, the document written so that a fledgling nation could ‘secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,'” Dr. Creech pointed out. “Obviously our founding fathers knew that liberty was a blessing — not something we could manufacture, but a gift of God.”
The Benhams believe that like Thomas Polk, a young businessman who called Charlotte colonists together for the cause of freedom in 1775, they are calling God’s church together to unite in prayer and cry out for God’s healing.
Creech said their approach is right on target. He suggested rather than roiling in anger at the atheists’ billboards, area Christians should remember Paul’s charge in Romans 12:21 to “overcome evil with good.”
According to CNN’s BeliefNet, Terryl Givens, a Mormon professor at the University of Richmond, dismissed the billboards as “petty.”
“If this example of adolescent silliness is what atheists mean by being reasonable, then neither Mormons nor other Christians have much to worry about,” he told the news outlet. “When atheists organize to serve the poor and needy of the world, they will be taken more seriously.”
Apparently the American Atheists tried to put up the anti-Mormon billboard in Tampa, Fla., for the Republican National Convention, but no company would lease them space.
Take Christian Action:
To find out more about Charlotte 714 and its goal — to demonstrate Christians’ unity in the Spirit at a time when the eyes of America will be on Charlotte — log on to www.charlotte714.com.
Pastors should also be sure to log on to http://www.charlotte714.com/pastors/
Read Related Commentary by Rev. Mark Creech: Atheistic Billboards across North Carolina Tout a Dangerous Message