By JR on Thursday, February 02, 2012
Atheists in Minnesota stand firmly opposed to parents “indoctrinating” their children to believe in a higher power. So, like their counterparts in Colorado (among other localities), they’ve erected new billboards that make their anti-God messaging loud and clear. Only these atheists are taking a unique route: they’re using pro-life advertisements as the inspiration for their billboards.
According to the Christian Post, Minnesota Atheists, a group associated with American Atheists, recently erected the massive signs in Minneapolis. One of the ads reads, ”Please don’t indoctrinate me with religion. Teach me to think for myself.” Another says, ”We are all born without belief in gods. Learn how to be a born-again atheist.” Smiling babies are featured on the billboards, which will remain up until Feb. 19.
The purpose of the billboards is apparently to attract people who are already non-believers to become members of American Atheists and the local Minnesota Atheists groups. According to Eric Jayne, a board member and project leader at the local organization, his group wishes to curb ”the practice of indoctrinating young, impressionable minds with religious dogma that cannot be substantiated with evidence.”
The cute pictures of the babies that accompany the anti-God messages were inspired, according to August Berkshire, the president of Minnesota Atheists, by Prolife Across America, a Minneapolis-based group. This particular organization uses babies on its ads and billboards to support its efforts against the practice of abortion. Berkshire said:
“It’s (billboards) turning out to be a pretty popular way to get the message out. [Prolife Across America] use[s] a lot of images of children and that got us thinking: religious indoctrination begins with children as soon as they’re old enough to learn. If they weren’t given this indoctrination, they probably wouldn’t believe. It’s for people to realize, where did this religion come from? You weren’t born with it. It was taught to you. And it’s possible to unlearn it.”
While local church leaders disagree, some seem open to the debate that the signs is spawning. “We believe that people are actually born with a natural desire to connect to a higher power. So, the billboards are wrong, but if they stimulate some thinking — certainly no harm in that,” said Pastor Kevin McDonough, a faith leader at Church of St. Peter Claver, a house of worship located near one of the billboards.
According to the Star Tribune, Prolife Across America director Mary Ann Kuharski is fine with her group serving as the atheist campaign’s inspirational status. ”Imitation is the highest form of flattery,” she says, “They’re (babies) eye-catching. We can’t help noticing them. Frankly, they (atheist billboards) may be helping us. They’re still identifying babies for what they are, which is precious.”