January 11, 2011
Unfortunately, not everyone is as content as I to stand back and let others say what they have to say. The Friendly Atheist reports that this is what the church's billboard looked like yesterday:
This is totally and absolutely unacceptable. This atheist condemns the vandalism of the church's billboard, unequivocally, and I invite other atheists to do the same.
Now, it's not certain that the vandal is an atheist, but I'll admit that the motive of expressing disagreement with the content of the billboard seems substantially more likely than any other motive one might reasonably posit. He needs to knock it off. He's making the rest of us look bad.
Those Christians at the Times Square Church have the same right of expression that atheists do (and that everyone else does too, for that matter). Their church is, fundamentally, a collection of people, people of good faith and good intentions, who engaged a public debate in an appropriate and positive way. They paid good money to rent that billboard. For the month that they rented it, the billboard was effectively their property to have done with as they please (within reasonable limits which they obviously respected).
For someone else to come along and alter their message this way, however crudely, is stealing from them. Theft is not an appropriate form of expression. It is a crime.
Here's hoping the crime is detected and prosecuted. Vandal, even if you are a fellow atheist, you'll get no love from me. At least, not until you grow a pair, turn yourself in to the police, and apologize for what you've done.