Speaking of slavery… »« The biology of morality

Bible quote “racist,” say Christians

A controversial billboard has disappeared 24 hours after being posted.

The Pennsylvania sign, which was first vandalized and then taken down, bore a verse from Colossians 3:22: “Slaves, obey your masters.”

While intended as a message against Keystone State legislators who designated 2012 as the “Year of the Bible,” many felt the sign — which also featured a shackled black man — were racist.

via NY Daily News.

A Bible quote, and a historically accurate depiction of slavery as practiced by some in the pre-Civil War South. I have to agree with the critics. There’s tons of racism in that Bible quote and history lesson. Blaming the messenger doesn’t change the source of that racism though.

Comments

  1. says

    But this is unbelievably stupid. If you put up a billboard like that in a very religious place, most people will think that you want slaves to obey their masters. Especially with that drawing, it looks and reads like a hateful white supremacist billboard, and I cannot imagine how the designer could have thought this was a good way to get our message across. I suspect it has done a lot of damage to atheists’ image in that community.

  2. davidct says

    The image is so overtly racist that the most likely response would be to provoke an attack on the messenger. The message that christianity and the bible are not a good source of moral guidance needs to be in your face. When you mix the messages as in this billboard you risk not getting your primary message across.

  3. pyrobryan says

    I think it could have done without the picture. To me, that seems a little antagonistic. The quote along would have sufficed to make the point.

  4. Happiestsadist says

    It’s still fucked up of atheist orgs to only really give much of a shit about racism when it’s a useful attack on religionists.

  5. Sqrat says

    The Bible doesn’t say that you can only enslave black people. The slaves to whom Colossians 3:22 was addressed would, for the most part, have been white.

    Put the sign back up, only this time make the guy in the slave collar a white man.

  6. says

    I can’t remember who did it, but a few years ago there was a billboard campaign with a “the bible says | humanists say” dualism.

    Taking from THAT example would have been a good use of a billboard. This one, I understand the point, but geeze, does AA have anyone good with graphic design at their org?

  7. Buffy says

    The sign reminds people of one of the most distasteful parts of American history, and the fact that the Bible (portrayed by Christians as a foundation of morality) supports the institution. People are freaking out because they don’t like being reminded of that reality. It seems the billboard was pretty effective.

  8. blindrobin says

    This billboard was an epic fail on behalf of those that designed it as they forgot the first rule of drive by advertising : “No one reads the fine print on a billboard”. All most people saw was the image and “Slaves obey your masters”. From that point on the remainder of the message made no impact on the interpretation of the first impression generated by that combination.

  9. Tony Hoffman says

    I work in this “business” (advertising). Rules are made to be broken, but this billboard violates 3 that you need very good reasons to ignore: first, say what you are, not what you are not (fail); second, use no more than 7 words on a billboard (fail); and third, don’t insult your intended market (fail).

    The last violation might be okay, but the first two are signs of incompetence. This would have been so easy to fix — quotes like the above, or don’t eat shellfish, or any of the other stupidities, with a “Brought to you by the Bible and your tax dollars!” Get rid of the visual and small print.

    The problem with most advertising is that it’s basically a craft show; the folks who make the stuff (the client) are also the ones who end up judging its value (I like what I made!).

    Oh, well. Not the worst billboard I’ve ever seen. Not by a looong shot. And if we were to compare the worst atheist billboards with some of the church ones I’ve seen, well, there’s no contest.

  10. saguhh00 says

    They should’ve done something like this:

    YEAR OF THE BIBLE: FROM BRONZE AGE GOATHERDERS TO THE 21ST CENTURY

    Kill gays: Leviticus 20:13
    Kill witches: Exodus 22:18
    Kill adulterers: Leviticus 20:10
    Kill false prophets: Deuteronomy 18:20
    Kill blasphemers: Leviticus 24:13-16
    Kill rape victims: Deuteronomy 22:23-24
    Also since you dislike genocide, here’s a bible verse condoning it for good measure: 1 Samuel 15:2-3

    I fail to see how this ad could be racist, it only shows that the Bible condones slavery and was used to justify racism and slavery.

  11. Brian M says

    This is a common skeptic/atheist meme which I don’t think is really completely true. The Bible (specifically the Talmud) is NOT the work of illiterate shepherds but of bureaucratic priests during the Bablyonian cpaitvity, I believe. They did compile oral traditions and rules, of course, but much of the Old Testament was intended more to lay down the history of the Jews as a distinct people.

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