Muslims More Tolerant than Jews
American Atheists (a nonprofit organization of atheists) suffered a setback when the owner of a property refused access to workmen who were planning to erect anatheist billboard on his property. The billboard was to be erected on a site leased by Clear Channel for the purpose of erecting billboards. The site is located in the Williamsburg neighborhood, which is heavily Jewish. The sign reads "You know it's a myth...and you have a choice". The same message is displayed in both English and Hebrew.
Williamsburg Rabbi David Niederman told the paper the sign is "a disgrace. ...The name of god is very holy to us and to the whole world."
Dave Silverman, President of American Atheists, said, ""It has been very disconcerting to see that the traditional victims of religious bigotry have become the purveyors of religious bigotry". When asked for his comment, landlord Kenny Steir replied, "I don't want to get involved in this."
A similar billboard displaying the same message in English and Arabic is being erected in a heavily Muslim neighborhood. There has been no opposition. "We're not particularly disturbed about it," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations. "We believe it's their First Amendment
right to put them up. … Obviously they placed them to be provocative, but that's also their right."
First of all, this dispute illustrates the reason why all religions should refrain from creating mythology to market their dogma. I addressed this issue in one of my "Ask Brother Ron" articles. You can find it at
1Samuel 12:24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.
Psalms 15:2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.
John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Second, there has been much debate about whether this is a Christian nation. Certainly Christianity is the predominant religion in this country. But we have welcomed those of many religions for hundreds of years. Thousands of Jews found refuge here when they fled the Holocaust. Chinese laborers helped to build the
railroads which opened the west to expansion. Today we find followers of just about every faith among our citizens. Although the founding fathers had spiritual convictions, they were careful to construct the Constitution to allow each of us to follow our individual vision of God. Without their foresight, this nation and this forum could not exist.
Third, the Rabbi said, "The name of god is very holy to us and to the whole world". Obviously, not everybody in the world agrees. And not everybody calls Him by the same name. Fortunately, our Father is multilingual. Whatever name you use, He knows who you are talking about.
And finally, we make a big deal in this country about our freedom of religion. Rightfully so. I would hate to live in a country where the government tells me what to believe. That's between me and God, not me and the bureaucrats. But does that freedom also include the freedom to have no religion? I believe it does.
As I have stated before, spirituality is the relationship between me and the Spirit of the living God within me. Religion is merely the outward expression of that relationship. It is entirely possible to be spiritual without the public display. It is also possible to be religious but spiritually bankrupt. How many people use their church for business and political purposes? How many people turn away from religion because of the hypocrisy of those who profess belief but are betrayed by their actions?
Personally, my relationship with God is too strong to be threatened by something as flimsy as a billboard. If a billboard can threaten your faith, maybe you need to re-examine your faith.