American Atheists are targeting religious statements from prominent Republican politicians for its Texas billboard campaign encouraging passersby to “Go Godless Instead.”
The organization’s campaign singled out former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
The billboard campaign, which the group announced Sunday targets Dallas and Austin, also features three additional designs that include religious figures. One features Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress, and the others single out the Catholic Church for child sex abuse — with both English and Spanish versions.
Each of the billboard designs features a pitch for the American Atheists’ 50th anniversary celebration and national convention in Austin in late March.
The design featuring an image of Santorum quotes the former presidential candidate saying, “Our civil laws have to comport with a higher law. God’s law.” Below his quote, the group encourages “Go Godless Instead.”
The billboard with a picture of Palin quotes her as saying, “We should create law based on the God of the Bible.”
To be sure, the organization is technically misquoting Palin. As CNN notes, the quote in question originated from an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly in which the former vice presidential candidate addressed the secularization of America by saying that the founders intended “that we would create law based on the God of the Bible.”
Ginrich’s billboard design quotes the former presidential candidate as saying, “How can I trust you with power if you don’t pray.” The campaign follows up the quote with “Reason > Prayer.”
American Atheist president Dave Silverman said that his group is “very proud of” the billboards and their mission.
“Prominent figures in the public sphere continue to make abhorrent statements, all justified by their religion,” Silverman said in a statement. “The time in American history where overt bigotry against atheists is acceptable is finally coming to an end, and good riddance!”
He further encouraged “reasonable people to stand up, come out, and join” their 50th anniversary celebration.
The billboard with Jeffress reads, “What they [homosexuals] do is filthy” followed up with the statement “Go Godless Instead.”
The portion of the billboard campaign targeting the Catholic Church, features an image of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and a New York Times quote reading “The Church Protected Priests Who Abused Children.” Followed with “Fed up? So are we.” The campaign also features a Spanish-translation billboard.
The atheist organization has a history of using provocation to get out their message.
Last Christmas they put up a billboard in Times Square that read “Keep the Merry! Dump the Myth!” And in years prior they pounded the myth theme with billboard slogans like “You Know It’s A Myth. This Season, Celebrate Reason,” and “37 Million Americans know MYTHS when they see them… What myths do you see?,” with images of Jesus, Santa, Poseidon and the devil.