Rural billboards are the worst


I had to make a couple of road trips across the state this past weekend, and while I’m used to those awful Pro-Life Across America and Jesus billboards everywhere, I noticed that some of the Christians were stepping up their game. The fervent fanatics have popped up new billboards all along my route to Minneapolis, and a lot of them are from gospelbillboards.org. They’re insipid and stupid, like this one that’s anti-evolution.

Right. Drawing a big red X on an evolution illustration is convincing evidence. There’s also this common claim:

Babies and DNA! They must have been created. Except…every baby I’ve seen, I’ve got a pretty good idea of how they were made, and it didn’t require spontaneous generation or a magic zap.

This one is my favorite.

Comments

  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    … a magic zap.

    Neither side may put it that way, but our esteemed host has found the overlap between creationism and “pick-up artists”.

  2. says

    The baby in the second one doesn’t seem to be buying it. Maybe the next generation will save us!

    (It’s not the slashed circle that disproves evolution for them. It’s the appeal to authority next to it.)

  3. vucodlak says

    There are a lot of billboards with babies on them around here, too, and they’re all anti-abortion. They show smiling babies alongside asinine slogans like “I had a heartbeat at 8 weeks!” They ought to be required by law to show what the “baby” looked like at 8 weeks, alongside an appropriate object for scale. I wonder if it would be possible to bring a suit against the anti-choice propagandists for false advertising.

    There are also a lot ads for Birthright, a sleazy “pregnancy crisis center” that will lie, cheat, and threaten anyone who calls because they need accurate information about their options. In a society that actually gave a half-eaten rats ass about women, or even the law, such organizations would have been shut down for fraud, deceit, and spreading malicious misinformation. There’s no doubt that places like that cost women’s lives.

    You can’t travel more than a couple of miles around here without running into scads of anti-choice propaganda. It’s disgusting and infuriating.

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    It’s not just rural America. I’ve seen a few of those on billboards in the Milwaukee metro-area.

  5. jerthebarbarian says

    Interesting. James 1:15 is not actually about lust – it’s about desire and sin in general. It applies as much to greed or gluttony as it would to lust. Actually by my reading moreso, because the preceding verses specifically call out rich people to be humble, and it goes on afterward to basically call out folks who flap their gums about how religious they are but don’t back it up by doing good works. In fact James 1:27 is a verse that I remember quite well from debating against prooftexting evangelicals back in the day: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

    It’s always interesting to me to see how evangelicals take verses that I read as explicitly about the love of money and turning them into verses about sexual lust.

  6. blf says

    jerthebarbarian@6’s observation reminds me most of the top p0rn-purchasing States are those with an overpowering stench of xanity; from a mixture of memory and a quick session with Generalissimo Google, (1) Utah, (3) Mississippi, (5) Oklahoma, (6) Arkansas,… and so on. (Exact rankings probably depend on just what is measured and other details, but the general trend seems consistent.)

  7. says

    I see these in the town I live near here in rural Texas. I didn’t realize they were a nationwide thing. Now I feel even more justified giving these billboards the finger when I drive to Fort Worth.

    Also all the good stuff is in Hell. Doesn’t seem like an effective message.

  8. microraptor says

    If you drive along I-5 (the largest highway in Oregon), you’ll find those billboards plastered from the California border to the Columbia River.

    My personal favorite is just south of Eugene, where there’s a Lust Drags You to Hell billboard that was put up right next to an adult store. The store stated that they liked having the sign there because it was big an eye-catching, attracting attention to people passing by that there was an adult store.

  9. DrewN says

    I’d chip in if anyone wanted to start a GoFundMe to pay for billboards with simple science facts on them.

  10. johnson catman says

    Callinectes @11:

    Someone paid money for this.

    Let them keep wasting their money. But I would like to see what vucodlak said @3:

    They ought to be required by law to show what the “baby” looked like at 8 weeks, alongside an appropriate object for scale.

    Truth in advertising, indeed!

  11. Artor says

    I’ve seen two of these here in Eugene. The baby one is up on Hwy99 by the 4 Corners, and the Fiery Lust one is on I-5, looking over the sex shop, which I’m certain appreciates the free advertising. I’m sure their profit margin isn’t nearly enough to lease that giant billboard year-round.

  12. Artor says

    Ahh, I see Microraptor noticed the same billboard I saw. As for jerthebarbarian’s comment at #6, I’ll point out the whole Sodom story, which explicitly states the crime of Sodom as being arrogant and inhospitable to those in need. So of course, modern Xians focus entirely on the gay sex, ignoring the actual text.

  13. Sean Boyd says

    There was a good billboard somewhere (I think…been a while since I’ve been there) between Eugene and Roseburg on I-5 showing that famous drawing of chimp becoming Homo erectus, and so forth to Homo sapiens, along with the caption “Are they making a monkey out of you?”, which is just wrong on multiple levels, but was always good for a laugh.

    But yeah, the second billboard PZ put in his post, I’ve seen along I-5 here in Tacoma, along with variants that are clearly from the same marketing genius.

  14. microraptor says

    Sean Boyd @16: I think that particular billboard was actually just south of Roseburg, but it’s hard to tell since they seem to change most of them every other year or so.

  15. gijoel says

    I saw one anti-choice billboard between Rockhampton and Yeppoon. That’s eight hours drive away from where I live.

  16. says

    The US just feels like another world sometimes. I live in New Brunswick, Canada, and I’ve never seen a religious billboard here. This is not some liberal bastion, it is a relatively poor, have-not province with a rapidly aging population and high religiosity (mostly Christian) compared to other provinces. When I lived in Vancouver we would occasionally travel down to Seattle, or visit some small towns in Washington, and the billboards were always a culture shock.

  17. larpar says

    From the hell billboard: James 1:15 “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
    I’m not dead, so my sin isn’t full-grown. I’ve been working at it for 57 years. How long does it take for sin to reach adulthood?

  18. alixmo says

    Women`s rights are the number one reason to fight against religion (in education/schools, law, politics and media). Modern religious orthodoxy is first and foremost anti-women. This cannot be stated often enough.

    Misogyny is the main driver for Christian fundamentalism as well as Islamo-fascism. WE have to stand up against religion – we cannot be timid. We cannot be afraid of “hurting feelings” when actual people are getting hurt by religion.

    Again: ALL religions. The three worst (I do not rank them, they are all bad!) are Catholicism, (most) Evangelicals and Islam.

    A reminder: 2019 marks the 40-anniversary of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is a reason for mourning. (No, of course I do want peace with Iran, no war – hear me out!)

    Atheist-humanists all around the world should have the courage to take this occasion to speak out AGAINST that misogynistic and inhumane regime AND against theocracy AND against religion and its power in general AND FOR SECULARISM AROUND THE WORLD!

    That is not hurting people – that means helping people (including Muslims, especially women).

    Please, stand up for the women all around the world who are oppressed by religion!

  19. says

    That’s yet another nice thing about living in Vermont. Bilboards are illegal here so we don’t get to see this kind of eyesore.
    I have seen some posters with very similar messages at the mall downtown though. I can’t imagine many people here pay them much attention though. The Catholic cathedral across the street from the Mall has been shuttered due to lack of attendance (In a state that is nominally 22% Catholic) and is up for sale. It will almost certainly be demolished for no other denomination could afford such prime real estate.

  20. eliza422 says

    These fucking things are in metro Chicago as well. I drive on I-294 everyday and they are there. When I’m feeling particularly sensitive I throw the finger at them. They just make me sick.

  21. says

    Commercial religious propaganda advertising is rare in Saskatchewan, but does appear at times. For example a Saskatoon Transit bus had a “war on Christmas” type sign on it a few Christmases ago. The occasional anti-abortion billboard has appeared once in a blue moon. In a way it’s strange we don’t see more of it because Jim Pattision, whose Jim Pattison Group owns a large chunk of commercial advertising billboards here, is a fairly conservative Christian. Of course this may have something to with conservative Christian groups in Canada simply not having the same kind of money their counterparts do in the States.

  22. says

    @3

    Perhaps. to be more topical, there should be an HBO-funded publicity version, with Cersei, the Night King, and Daenarys all proclaiming that they had a heartbeat at eight weeks… and look what came next!

  23. JustaTech says

    There aren’t many billboards in Seattle, but there are 2 anti-abortion ones that I see at least once a week. One has some blather about hearing, and the other has some blather about heartbeats. Neither are on a highway (city streets), and one is in a mostly residential part of the city.

    Between Seattle and Portland most of the billboards are for casinos or weed. Except Creepy Uncle Sam, outside of Chehalis. It’s got a terrible painting of Uncle Sam and a regularly changing collection of messages that are very conservative. (And they’re different on the back and front, so it’s something to look forward to on the drive back!) It’s on private property so it can’t be taken down, even though it’s in a no-billboard area.

  24. unclefrogy says

    I can’t believe that billboards convince anyone of much of anything.
    I have seen them in L.A. as well and they sure seem to be talking from a a place of superiority maybe even a little bit threatening a complete lack of humility
    uncle frogy

  25. magistramarla says

    Many of the above-mentioned billboards are all over the Texas metro area where I live. However, the one that bugs me the most is along two major highways that I know of, but there are probably more.
    It says: “It’s too late for California. Vote Republican. Keep Texas great”. Makes me very angry!
    I am so very glad that we are about to move back to our beloved California for good.

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