Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oops–Backyard Skeptics blow it with billboard

P.T. Barnum once said, “Any press is good press.” No wait… I’m not sure if P.T. Barnum said that, but it sounds good, right?  The thing is, we owe it to our readers to get these things right. It’s a shame Bruce Gleason does not grasp this concept because it casts a bad light on us. Case in point, reporter John Cassidy of the O.C. Register ran with this story yesterday: Atheists' billboard quote isn't Jefferson's.

A billboard at 1545 Newport Blvd. paid for by Backyard Skeptics features a quote purported to be from Thomas Jefferson against Christianity. Experts at the the Jefferson Library Collection at Monticello say the quotation is spurious.

Gleason’s group used this quote. “I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature. It is founded on fables and mythology.” They linked the quote to Thomas Jefferson. The problem is, there is no evidence linking the quote to Jefferson. The billboard is Atheist propaganda and it’s an embarrassment. It’s what I’ve come to expect from Gleason and his group of misfits. At least Gleason apologized.

10/17/11  I have an apology to make to the secular community.   Although I placed the “Jefferson” billboard up in good faith that this quote was made by Jefferson, I have now learned that it was not.  It was started in 1906 by an unknown  author.  I have requested the billboard to be replaced with a previous secular billboard we have used.  Although the quote was not known to be of Jefferson, he had plenty to say about religion and Christianity…

Of course, Gleason goes on to defend the point behind his billboard, which makes me yawn and close the browser.

One of the reasons I’m not a fan of Gleason is that he’s sloppy (worse than me), yet leads a large group of non-believers who are publically active. In my interactions with him I’m left feeling that there is more flash than substance. It’s unsettling. Read this:

Why the Billboards? Atheists have no church or social network, although thit is changing quickly due to the internet.  Billboards allow other non-theists, agnostics and atheists know that there is a group of people who share the idea that one can be good and do good without God or without any other supernatural belief systems.   We believe religion shackles the mind to accept ideologies that do not improve humanity, cannot be proven true and often makes others suffer through the behavior of those who believe.  If you feel religion does more harm than good, then this group is for you.

Ouch. My brain hurts.

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