The American Atheists put up a set of billboards in Charlotte, NC, planned site of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, with messages pertaining to Christianity and Mormonism. There were so many threats against the people at American Atheists and the billboard company that they were forced to take them down early.

Here is the statement from American Atheists

Large Volume of Threats by Email, Phone Ends Campaign to Question Faith in Politics

Cranford, NJ – American Atheists announced today that the billboards the organization had placed in Charlotte, NC, ahead of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, criticizing Christianity and Mormonism would be coming down weeks early.

“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.

“No subject, no idea should be above scrutiny—and this includes religion in all forms,” Ms. 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.”

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

The billboards are scheduled to be removed by the end of day Thursday, August 23, 2012.

A commenter at the American Atheist site left a link to a video I think you might be interested in seeing:

I’m not sure if the FBI plans to investigate the incidents that caused the removal of the billboards or not, but for your information, here is the FBI page on hate crimes.

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4 thoughts on “Atheist Speech Shut Down. Is this a hate crime?

  1. Ya but it’s not offensive to put up billboards saying you’re going to hell unless you accept a mythical creature as your savior Absolutely a hate crime as far as I’m concerned – few things more hateful than an affronted xtian – but it won’t pass the legal smell test unless the threats were for physical violence, even then it might not unless a threat was acted on.

  2. Something ought to be done in these situations, otherwise this just reinforces the idea that this behavior is legal and acceptable.

  3. This is bad, and just the same kind of influence Muslims have been having by basically making everyone terrified of saying anything against them lest they be eviscerated or some such. I don’t know what kind of threats they had, but ultimately one sometimes has to stand up for free speech but putting it out there, or free speech is gone.

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