Adding to the long history of vandalism and violence that so often greets the expression of non-Christian sentiment in this country, residents of Pitman, New Jersey have tried to burn down a billboard put up by the FFRF that says “Keep the Saturn in Saturnalia.”
A South Jersey billboard proclaiming “Keep the Saturn in Saturnalia” was torched Tuesday night by two unidentified men who fled in a pickup truck after only charring the sign’s steel support beams.
The billboard, erected as a cheeky counterpoint to a “Keep Christ in Christmas” banner in downtown Pitman, refers to the ancient pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice, held in mid-December to honor the Roman god, Saturn.
The incendiary incident is only the latest to be sparked by the billboard, which was paid for by a national group of atheists. According to town officials, many Pitman residents lost their holiday cheer when they woke up Friday morning to see the message plastered at the intersection of two heavily trafficked roads.
Several protesters descended on the billboard over the weekend. A man dressed in a full red Santa suit stood sentry in the cold for hours, holding a placard that referenced “Obamass.” On Sunday, a family of four attempted to shroud the sign with picture of Jesus before they were shooed away by police…
An off-duty police officer witnessed the latest assault on the sign Tuesday about 11:45 p.m., said Chief Robert Zimmerman. Two white men pulled up in a silver and blue Ford 150 pickup truck with a ladder rack. They poured gas around the supports, set it ablaze and quickly fled.
“They were not successful,” Zimmerman said. “The posts are steel and didn’t ignite at all.”
Geniuses tried to burn down a steel beam. That’s a Darwin award just waiting to happen.