The billboard "aims to educate the public about two of the lesser-known aspects of the Mormon faith: First, that black people were forbidden from entering the priesthood until 1978; second, that sexually-active gay people are still banned from the church altogether."
(Virtually all white adult male members held the priesthood in the LDS Church. It is required for participating in certain spiritual events as well as for holding significant leadership roles. Priesthood is also required, according to church doctrine, in order to enter the highest degree of heaven.)
From American Atheists' press release:
"... Mormonism ... has already used its money and might to impose its beliefs on the non-Mormon citizens of California."
"We need to know if Mr. Romney supports these and other discriminatory actions of his church, for which he evangelized when it was still overtly racist, and to which he continues to donate millions of dollars."
"When President Kennedy was running for office ... he answered, in no uncertain terms, that he stood by this country and supported the separation of religion and government. All we are asking is that Mr. Romney address the same issue—as president, will he give his first priority to the U.S. Constitution or the Book of Mormon?"
Friendly Atheist reported that "Unlike their other billboards, this one will be featured on a mobile ad truck, which will drive around Lynn University (the site of the debate) tonight and then follow the Romney campaign on the road for the next few days."
It remains to be seen how the general public reacts to this instance of insisting that a religion not get a free pass....
Is it really that much of an accomplishment that we found something wrong with the church of Moronism? By the way, how do you get your words crossed out like that?
That's the "strike-through" font treatment, Chris. It's the S in your editing bar, between the I for italics and the U for underscore.
The issue of Romney's mormonism and its potential impact on a possible Romney presidency seems to have been a third rail with the news media to date. Strikes me, it's time someone called ol' Willard on it.
And it's significant when a potential President of the U.S. has been supporting discrimination to the tune of millions of dollars.
Here's a poser for you: Romney doesn't want to reveal his income taxes. Do you suppose they MIGHT reveal a significant donation which coincides with the vote for California's Prop 8? THAT could be a touch embarrassing!
So many people in this country want our elected officials to have some sort of affiliation with religion, but they are NOT willing to have a conversation about the details of Mormonism because that would just be opening up a whole Pandora's box filled with cans of worms about ALL religions. They last thing they want is to have the spotlight of scrutiny and reason shining on their implausible beliefs and doctrine. They KNOW a public conversation about religion would not benefit them. Hypocrisy: they want religion and it's details to be kept as a private matter, but they want religion to be an integral part of public life.
I was wondering why the media has been using kid gloves. They weren't this reticent with JFK.
The whole topic of religion is toxic. If you criticize it you better prepare for the backlash. I'm too young to have personally witnessed the JFK/Catholicism issue, but my understanding of history is that the concern over JFK was not about the actual dogma of his religion, but whether he was going to fully submit to a papal authority in Italy rather than submitting his allegiance to the US and our constitution.
Today's environment is totally different. The American Atheists' billboard is pointing out specifics concerning religious dogma. This just wasn't done in the 1960's. And just the fact that there's a national atheist group asking these questions in a public setting on the national level is unprecedented. Again, you never would have seen this type of display in the 60's. (Feel free to correct me if you think I'm wrong about the previous two paragraphs.)
Fast forward to today. As atheist's we hope, and we would expect, that the media would be all over this story, but alas, as I said, they are too afraid to touch the toxic topic of religion for fear of the backlash. You know it would be brutal. Religious people would be up in arms crying foul and declaring their victimization. I think it's pathetic that the media has lost all courage and credibility to ask some very sane and rational 21st Century progressive questions. For the media corporations, being timid and making the most people happy keeps the money flowing in and the ratings higher than your competitor.
Thanks to Jim @ Guitarzeroh for sharing a news video about this.
Unfortunately the Newsy piece frames American Atheists as "controversial", and towards the end mentions AA's previous DNC billboards attacking both Mormonism and Christianity.