Monday, May 5, 2014

About Omaha Atheists' Response To Vandalism

Omaha Atheists have been doing highway cleanup for several years.  Last weekend, a few days before our scheduled cleanup day, we found something unfortunate on our sign.

I was surprised it took that long for something atheist to get vandalized around here.  That surprise is part of the problem.  When the Omaha Coalition of Reason billboard was up a couple years ago, the most that happened was people bitching about it.  When that billboard went up, I was fully expecting something to happen it like happens to a great number of atheist billboards.

Atheists are still a stigmatized group.  We're far from the majority, but people are still threatened by us enough to do things like this.  I could speculate about why this particular incident happened, but speculation is all it would be.  Whether it's an effort to bully us and remind us that we're hated, a bored teenager, or just someone who drives by this sign every day and couldn't take seeing the word "atheist" one more time, it doesn't really matter as much as the fact that this is common.

That's what makes Omaha Atheists' response to this so spot on[1].

Photo Credit:  Omaha Atheists

We're doing this by having an event called "Meet An Atheist" next Monday at local coffee shop Caffeine Dreams.  Even if the vandal doesn't show up, maybe someone else will stop by and learn that atheists aren't such bad people.

Getting people to understand that is the mission of Omaha Atheists, and pretty much every other local atheist group out there.  Because we're definitely not going anywhere.

We still cleaned up the highway.

Photo Credit:  Biblename Foto
And when we do it again this Fall, there will likely be a clean sign there.  Paid for by the taxpayers of Nebraska, which I suspect includes our vandal.

Also, thanks to Fox 42 for reporting on this issue:

1.  I'm slightly biased, as I was involved in that being approach, but it was a decision that took no debate.

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