Friday, January 30, 2015

#NewsBham- Billboard Wars: Another Controversial Sign Removed by Citizen Censorship



If you recall, recently an ultra right wing, white supremacist billboard was installed on I/59. 

It was linked to League of the South, who according to their website, is "...a Southern Nationalist organization whose ultimate goal is a free and independent Southern republic." (Full Story)
The sign was soon removed, but not before it received moderate, if short lived, media attention. 

Now there has been another billboard (pic at top of page) removed due to complaints from the community. Only this time the billboard, located in Mobile, Alabama, was not one of those designed to create white fear of the concept of diversity, or to push the propaganda of League of the South. This time the sign read "Don't believe in a god? You're not alone." with a website address listed along the bottom: GulfCoastCOR.org ( The Gulf Coast Coalition of Reason)

The Gulf Coast Coalition of Reason is an atheist organization representing a coalition of interests operating in and around the Gulf Coast.  
"...made up of atheist, freethought, and humanist groups working together in the Gulf Coast area. Our twin goals are to foster a sense of community among the like minded and raise public awareness that people who don't believe in a god or gods can be decent citizens who contribute to the larger society.
"So, if you are of a secular mind, you aren't alone. Thousands of your friends and neighbors in this area think and feel as you do. And there are local groups that advance your views and welcome your participation! This website will help you find events to attend, activities in which to participate, people with whom to socialize, and groups to join."

They promote secular events, spread news about issues relevant to those people not affiliated with, or interested in organized religion and offer networking connections. They provide social media interaction and inter-connectivity with a loosely knit group of organizations on the Florida, Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coast. 

The group seems very peaceful according to their mission statement, an excerpt of which reads:
"To the traditional religious community we want to say that, although we nontheists are without a belief in the supernatural, we do share the compassionate human values that most people embrace. As hard working, tax-paying, ethical citizens, we care deeply about our families, our communities, our state, our nation, and the world."
There is no mention of use of force and no intent to supplant elected officials by force mentioned anywhere in their literature. 

The sign, mounted on a billboard owned by Lamar, was taken down two weeks before the end of the agreed upon contract period. Asked about the reason for its removal, a Lamar representative stated that Lamar had received complaints about the sign's content. He also claims to have offered The Gulf Coast Coalition of Reason a reimbursement for the two weeks of advertising lost to the group. 

It is not clear at this time if further legal action will be taken by COR, in regard to either the remaining two weeks paid, or demanding further advertising.