Christian Vandalism

Much ado has been made over last week’s defacement of a secular organization’s billboard in North Carolina. I personally thought this was kind of a non-event.  But then Chrissy Satterfield had to go and defend the vandalism as God’s work.


The billboard was hardly an overtly atheistic statement. After all, the snippet reflects the Pledge of Allegiance as originally written in 1892, and as it was up until the insertion of the words “under God” in 1954.  Yet it was still a clear jab, and was kind of asking for it.  So when I initially heard this news I just smiled.  Somewhat ironically, the defacement of the billboard called national attention to a message that otherwise would have gone largely unnoticed on a local highway.  Whatever.

But then Satterfied had to go and declare the vandalism as a sign from God.

Just when I start believing there is no hope for our country I get a little reminder from my God that all is not lost. …so the vandals inserted “Under God” with spray paint – and I couldn’t be more relieved. It’s nice to know that I am not alone in my beliefs and that some people are still willing to stand on the right side of truth.

I also need to extend a thank you to some people in Sacramento and Detroit. In February, 10 atheist billboards were defaced in the Golden State and a slew of atheist bus ads were vandalized in Detroit. My dose of honesty this week: I am not happy that vandalism seems to be the only way to get an atheist’s attention. I’m happy that I can count on other Christians to stand up for themselves and for Christians everywhere. It gives me hope.

She does bother to point out that she would never encourage vandalism, but apparently she isn’t above being grateful for it.  Whatever.  The real issue I have is with her statement about the organization who put up the billboard.

They probably figured that because the Bible teaches Christians to turn the other cheek, we’ll just take their abuse forever. We will only take so much before we stand up against our oppressors.

Ummm… maybe she has a version of the bible I’m unfamiliar with, but Matthew 5:38-40 says:

38“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

Jesus doesn’t seem to be saying just put up with it until it pisses you off.  And even if he did feel that rebellion was appropriate at some point, are we to believe that having your possessions  taken is forgivable, but billboards are over the line?  If she wants to advocate for small crimes as free speech and appropriate expressions of outrage, fine.  But I fail to see she has any grounds to justify those actions as being what Jesus would do.

Further, “stand up against our oppressors.” Seriously?  Secular beliefs in the US hover in the mid-single digit percentages.  Less than 2% of Americans self-identify as atheists.  In the vast majority of the country an atheist couldn’t be elected dog catcher.   How bad can the oppression possibly be?

In Jesus’ time, Christians were oppressed and persecuted.  The Jews of the Old Testament were similarly downtrodden.  In fact, most all of the bible is written to preach a message of hope to the hopeless.  It’s one of the reasons the Abrahamic religions found such purchase among the commoners of Europe and the Middle East.  But that was then.  No one sends Christians to the lions anymore.  Yet I do wonder sometimes if this victim mentality somehow survives despite Christians being the vast majority of the population of western counties and the driving cultural force of western society.

To Chrissy: on behalf of myself and the handful of other atheists in your midst, mea culpa.  We’ll try to be more careful so as to not rattle the panes in your glass mansion as we ride by on our bikes.

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