A few thoughts...

There is no way to make any of these inoffensive. The sign in question is not in any way racist, it's exactly to the point. The message intended is about religion and the state, the two are being mixed by the state with their "Year of the bible". This is already offensive.

 

The verse is from the bible, the picture, …an example from the history of the nation, founded supposedly on secular principles. It is not racist, not even close… it's just a historically correct reminder of things that have been sanctioned by the state, …corrected -> but still part and parcel of the bible the state wishes to celebrate. The image is not on characterizing a black person as inferior; on the contrary, it's pointedly illustrating a cruelty of bigotry that was inflicted on human beings, by human beings and still supported by a bible that, …unlike a constitution, …is not subject to amendments.

 

 

It's an image of an American slave.

It's a verse from a Christian bible.


Black people (all people) SHOULD be offended, not by this sign, but by this, and this alone.


Here's an example of this particular kind of hypocrisy that is quite germane:

 

This billboard was considered okay, and not offensive:

 

An atheist group in Ohiocontracted with a sign company to put this up:

They were refused on the grounds that the message was "obscene, unnecessarily offensive and/or not in the best interests of the community at large. Though, at first they were refused after the contract was accepted, with no explanation why. 

This current issue isn't about black people asserting that they're rightfully offended, it's about Christian people asserting privilege, both in ignoring both the spirit and letter of the Establishment Clause, as well as the entitlement to be offended by biblical scripture, …only if expressed by non-Christians.

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Comment by Richard ∑wald on March 8, 2012 at 4:07pm

"I do find it quite interesting to note that they left the offensive part still there...go figure."

It does give one pause, doesn't it?

Look closely at the "seams".

Comment by Reason Being on March 8, 2012 at 3:59pm

I hadn't yet seen a picture of the defaced billboard.  Thanks for posting.  I do find it quite interesting to note that they left the offensive part still there...go figure.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on March 7, 2012 at 6:44pm

Thanks, Richard. Especially for the billboard about The Year of The Bible and which parts of the billboard were removed. I needed that bit of consciousness raising. I tend to just notice the stuff the religious say about the Bible and forget what horrible trash it is.

Comment by Lorien on March 7, 2012 at 6:16pm

"NO ONE has the right not to be offended."   Doesn't apply here in Canada though

Comment by Richard ∑wald on March 7, 2012 at 4:57pm

Notice they didn't tear down the complete image of the slave, or the bible quote? Look carefully at what was deemed offensive

Again, look closely:

Comment by Loren Miller on March 7, 2012 at 4:26pm

We as atheists have lived with the offense which is religion, some of us for all our lives, others for as long as we've recognized our own atheism.  This offense takes the form of billboards or television programs or churches which may be as thick in some quarters as fast food restaurants.  Those who promote this offense don't think it offensive, because they are in the majority, because they can't conceive of the message of religion as being anything other than benign, but mostly because they can't bring themselves to THINK ... or at least put themselves in someone else's shoes, notably ours.

Certainly, our posters have gone up in the past.  Some have been torn down, others defaced, some simply didn't go up at all because of the reasons noted in the post above ... but the fact is that we have the same right to express ourselves in public media as the theists do, and we need to continue to push that position to impress that fact on them.

I've probably said this a dozen times on A/N, so I'll make it a baker's dozen:

NO ONE has the right not to be offended.

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