Churches Respond Impotently to Atheist Billboard


Here’s an article from Charisma magazine that amuses me. It seems there’s a big “movement” that has formed in response to atheist billboards, which so disturbed a youth group that they got mad as hell and decided to get together and … pray about it.

God Belongs in My City is a national movement and statement of faith that is seeing cities and communities banning together to pray for change. Prayer walks are being organized in Dallas, Houston, Hawaii, Fayetteville, N.C., and beyond and is now set to take over all of Florida.

The movement started in October 2009 when a youth group passionate for God in New York City saw an atheist advertisement campaign in their subway system that said, “A Million New Yorkers Are Good Without God. Are You?” They were so stirred up by this, that they went to their youth pastor who then went to his network of youth pastors and leaders to ask, “What are we, as the body of Christ going to do about this?”

They prayed and decided to take action and have youth ministries from all around the five boroughs hold a prayer walk wearing a simple T-shirt which stated “God Belongs in My City.” In less than two weeks, on Nov. 14, 2009, more than 1,500 youth walked from North and South of Manhattan meeting at Times Square and Grand Central Station making a bold statement that made history in the city and now the nation.

Uh, no. 1500 people in New York City walking through the city and praying is not a “bold statement” and it certainly doesn’t “make history.” It’s just wasting your time. Oh, I’m sure the kids all got fired up over it, but it doesn’t actually do anything. It’s as effective as 1500 people getting together to throw salt over their shoulder or recite incantations. But if you want to waste your time, knock yourselves out.

Comments

  1. says

    Ed:

    Your journalistimojo is brilliant, as always. Just one small niggle. It should read:

    “Churches Respond Omnimpotently to Atheist Billboard”

    IOW, their APG* can’t do SHIT**.

    * All Powerful GOD

    ** Not intended to be an snarky acronym.

  2. eric says

    Depressing – but not surprising – that these groups respond in an antagonistic manner (even if its ineffective antagonism) to a group exercising their right to free speech.

    There are no Voltaires amongst today’s church-goers, I guess. Or if they are, they stay silent.

  3. Artor says

    I’m confused. They refer to themselves as the “body of Christ.” Does that mean that when they get together & do that weird Xtian ritual, they all eat eachother?

  4. regexp says

    So their faith is so weak that had to immediately take action due to someone writing a bunch of words on a big board?

  5. says

    You know what we should do is pretend that the prayer is actually having some kind of effect so we could encourage more of their time wasting.

    I’ll start writhing first.

  6. dingojack says

    Churches Respond Impotently to Atheist Billboard.
    Perhaps the ‘God Belongs in My City’ organization should ask a certain right-wing ex-media blow-hard to donate some of his stash of little blue pills to the kids.
    I mean, won’t anyone think of the children?
    Dingo
    —–
    How else is this ‘body of Christ’ gonna eat each other?

  7. raven says

    It is a step up from what the fundies have been doing.

    Getting violent and committing crimes.

    A lot of these atheist billboards have been vandalized. I used to keep loose track but it happened so often, it seemed to be the norm rather than the exception.

    It’s very typical of the way the fundies operate. Nothing says “jesus loves you” like death threats, lies, and vandalism.

    And don’t complain. You are lucky god hasn’t decided he loves you and you might be Cherokee. In which case you could be deported and all your property distributed to god’s holy workers who, oddly enough, all seem to be heavily armed.

  8. John Hinkle says

    Sounds to me the like the tribe across the river put on extra face paint and came to the river bank to dance around and intimidate another tribe. Intimidation fail.

  9. Gregory in Seattle says

    “Prayer is really just telling God that His divine plan for you is flawed and shockingly stingy…. Who are we kidding? Jesus is more forgetful than a White House staffer under oath.” — Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian

  10. leftwingfox says

    Better than vandalism and censorship.

    Well, as long as we’re not getting into the increasing spiral of anger and helplessness which leads from “God; Save us from these wicked signs.” to “God; Harm the people who created these wicked signs” to “I, on behalf of God, will harm the people who created these wicked signs”.

  11. MikeMa says

    Clearly these theocratic maroons have lost sight of the obvious. People are being good. Isn’t that what there little god wants?

    Oh, wait, no tithing…

  12. dingojack says

    MikeMa – merely – adver-tithing. [Letharic drum-fill]
    Thank you I’ll be here all night, try the prawn cocktails…
    Dingo

  13. Larry says

    If only all that energy that went into putting on tee-shirts and walking across a city could be harnessed for good instead of evil.

  14. matty1 says

    1500 people in New York City walking through the city and praying is not a “bold statement” and it certainly doesn’t “make history.”

    New York is pretty crowded is it not? Would an extra 1500 even be noticed, even assuming that none of them ever walked in the city on other days?

  15. says

    I’m glad someone is talking about this. Justin Griffith and my-self went to the GBIMC prayer walk here in Fayetteville, NC. It was held on April 14th, a couple weeks after RBB. Over 100 churches in the community participated in this event as well as businesses. The event even received a public endorsement from the Mayor of Fayetteville. There were easily over 10,000 people in attendance. The streets in the downtown area were closed. We talked to several business owners downtown and some of them were very concerned that such an event would be permitted. One business was concerned that they would be a target because of the movies their theater plays (not always christian friendly.)

    The walk consisted of walking around the streets downtown and stopping at 4 locations (City Hall, the Market House, Headquarters Library, and Festival Park.) At each location, they would have two or three pastors from local churches pray about a specific issue (the military, schools, public representatives, etc.) It may not seem like it to some, but when I was there, I felt completely defeated. Over 10,000 people marching around the city praying to JESUS to come into the city to intervene for his people. It was frightening. I have numerous pictures if you’d like them.

  16. Hybrid says

    They could at least gather in the parks and pick up litter while they assemble to collectively mutter to themselves…

  17. matty1 says

    Over 10,000 people marching around the city praying to JESUS to come into the city to intervene for his people.

    And did he?

  18. evilDoug says

    “God Belongs in My City”

    Why won’t he come?! (Sob!) We pray and pray and pray and he just won’t show up.

  19. dingojack says

    EvilDoug – And if American Christians were really were a lost tribe of Israel would their prayers sound like:
    “You never telephone, you never write. Forbid yourself if you should get a sprain even thinking about picking up a pen, already…’?
    :) Dingo

  20. TGAP Dad says

    …if you want to waste your time, knock yourselves out.

    Please knock yourselves out!

  21. Stevarious says

    It’s as effective as 1500 people getting together to throw salt over their shoulder

    Don’t be silly, it’s not THAT effective.

    One would assume that they would have to BUY the salt, and thus provide valuable income to salt manufacturers.

  22. Michael Heath says

    From a strictly systemic perspective I like these young people’s response. Rather than seek to unconstitutionally deny atheists the right to advocate, they’re instead adding to the level of speech regarding the topic.

  23. dave says

    Uh, no. 1500 people in New York City walking through the city and praying is not a “bold statement” and it certainly doesn’t “make history.”

    I would imagine that there are more than 1500 people praying in NYC at any given moment, so Im not sure why this is a big deal.

    Hell, I am pretty sure there are more that 1500 people pissing in NYC at any given moment.

  24. says

    “1500 people praying in NYCat any given moment, … Hell, I am pretty sure there are more that 1500 people pissing in NYC at any given moment.”

    And your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to try to figure out which group is which.

  25. lordshipmayhem says

    To those trying to pray away the Atheist billboards: Would you like a glass of water to help wash that sugar pill down?

  26. StevoR says

    @24.Stevarious :

    One would assume that they would have to BUY the salt, and thus provide valuable income to salt manufacturers.

    Actually they could just do what Mahatma Gandhi did and make their own. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_Satyagraha )

    Go to the ocean, use a still of some form. Or scrape down an awful lot of chips!

  27. kermit. says

    Jasper of Maine:You know what we should do is pretend that the prayer is actually having some kind of effect so we could encourage more of their time wasting.

    Please don’t throw me in the briar patch!

  28. Stevarious says

    Actually they could just do what Mahatma Gandhi did and make their own. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_Satyagraha )

    Go to the ocean, use a still of some form. Or scrape down an awful lot of chips!

    Did you SEE the picture in the article? These are all white kids from middle-class homes. They would just grab the canister of Morton’s from the cupboard and it would not even occur to them that their parent’s paid money for it. Salt is just something that appears in the cupboard when they aren’t looking.

  29. Nibi says

    Artor

    I’m confused. They refer to themselves as the “body of Christ.” Does that mean that when they get together & do that weird Xtian ritual, they all eat eachother?

    No, but they do run when they see Catholics.

  30. Wowbagger, Vile Demagogue says

    I don’t understand; heddle has told us on several occasions that Christians don’t spend any time thinking about atheists at all – how, then, can this story possibly be true?

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