Police tell Man he should take down Atheist Sign

   I read in the papers (which probably means this isn't even true, but hey) a couple of weeks ago about a man who put up a sign in his front room window that read, "Religions are Fairy Tales for Grown Ups." (or something to the same tune) The article went on to say that the police have not YET ordered him to take it down, but have advised him he probably should.

   Now, I don't hugely like the idea of Atheists putting up signs like this as it seems like something a Christian would do, shoving your beliefs in other people's face, but he undoubtedly has the right to display any sign or express any opinion he wants to, so long as it doesn't incite violence. The sign may be, in my opinion, crass, but it is just a statement that doesn't hurt or opress anyone.

    As far as I can see, the police have no business talking to this gentleman unless someone intends to hurt him in retaliation, but the article didn't portray this scenario at all. It came form the angle that the sign was provocative, and may cause crime or civil unrest, so the police approached the man displaying the sign as if this was his fault.

    Let's get something straight, if someone sees that sign and decides to break the law in retaliation, then he/she is a criminal, NOT the person who wrote it. Had it been a Muslim gentleman who displayed an Islamic sign, the police would show up in force to ensure no violent reprisal could jeopardize his freedom of speech, and rightly so. But an Atheist does the same and the police pop by to "advise" the man, before they inevitably censor him. Bare in mind that this is true in Britain, officially a Christian nation, but one that is rapidly becoming secular, who's sentiment towards Islam is one of fear and distrust (to put it lightly), yet still Atheists get treated like with the most disrespect in regards to our freedom of speech, as if our opinions are less worthy of protecting because they're not faith based.

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Comment by Stuart M Rees on September 8, 2012 at 9:57pm

Sorry to hear that man, don't go to any trouble for it. I wish you a speedy recovery.

Comment by Loren Miller on September 8, 2012 at 8:40pm

I'll see what I can do.  Might be a day or so (my back is SERIOUSLY screwed up), but I think I can manage something.

Comment by Stuart M Rees on September 8, 2012 at 8:08pm

@ Loran Miller. Please do take a picture, that sounds hilarious! I agree with you, it's just not something I would do.

@Pat. Yeah that sounds like the same one, I read it in a different newspaper though, The Sun does tend to, um, exaggerate, to put it nicely. The gist of the story is the same. As far as what religious reprisal to expect in Britain, it really depends on what area you're looking at. If this sign was put up in, say, Bradford, then yes it would be an Islamic issue. But the vast majority of Boston are Christian, and a tiny minority are Muslim, so this gentleman was probably reported by a Bible Basher.

Comment by Ian Meaden on September 8, 2012 at 10:30am

As long as it's within the bounds of his own property it's no different as has been mentioned to all the religious icony crap that people put on show. Anyone who takes offence because their invisible friend has been insulted needs locking up anyway or at least stronger tablets!

Comment by Pat on September 7, 2012 at 1:18pm

Here's the article (or, at least one about it). Apparently it happened in Boston, Lincolnshire, in the UK. The man is 89 years old. However, from my understanding (which may easily be wrong since I live in the US), the religious wrath he would be invoking in the UK is Islamic. Here, in the US, it would be Christian. Same wrath, different fairy stories. Yeah, I think it's kind of tacky, but then again, I think cut out silhouettes of cowboys, and most other yard decorations are rather tacky, as are giant billboards on the Interstate Highway System (US version of the Motorway). Personal opinion.

As to the police, what they did is bullshit - pure and simple. 

Comment by Tammy S on September 7, 2012 at 12:24pm

@ Loren - Absolutely!

@ Dave - I feel the same way about those signs in front of churches that look like they belong on car lots, or mobile home sales lots, you know, the ones with scripture on them and usually  some sort of ignorant commentary... absolutely tacky and tasteless. It's also the reason I don't put bumper stickers on my vehicle, it looks tacky and you're inviting trouble.

Comment by Loren Miller on September 7, 2012 at 12:08pm

Could it be any more tasteless than one of the places I mentioned, which spells out "JESUS ROCKS" in rocks (!), letters roughly 2 feet high, on the slope of the front lawn, just before the sidewalk?  I'm sorely tempted to take a pic of it, just to prove I'm not blowing smoke, and that's about as tasteful as a pink flamingo would be!

If I can tolerate that, the local believers can tolerate an atheist's sign.

Comment by Stuart M Rees on September 7, 2012 at 11:52am

In case it isn't clear, I don't care who puts what in their windows, on their lawns, on their roofs, whatever. They're free to do so, and it doesn't bother me. But, I think it's tasteless, whether religious or atheist, to do so. It looks tacky, it's self important to think that you're views are so special, and it's rude to shove your opinion in people's faces without them showing any interest.

Comment by Loren Miller on September 7, 2012 at 11:41am

I've seen plenty of houses with a virgin Mary in the front yard, and at least two within a mile of here with "Jesus" spelled out on their lawns.  Needless to say, I find them laughable.  If someone wants to put up such a sign on his property, he's fully within his rights from where I sit.  Should the police or his neighbors pressure him to remove it, I would say it's time for a call to the Legal Department of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

This guy has the same rights as the christers do, whether they like it or not.

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