NC Secular Association Sponsors "Godless" Billboard in Charlotte & Other NC Cities
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The newest billboard near the intersection of Boyer Street and the Billy Graham Parkway is getting a lot of attention. The North Carolina Secular Association is sponsoring the message that depicts an American flag with the words "One nation, indivisible.” Noticeably missing: the words "under God."
William Warren of Charlotte Atheists and Agnostics says it's designed to raise awareness. "A lot of people just assume because you live in Charlotte, North Carolina that you're a southern Baptist and the city is so much more than that,” he says.
The sign depicts the Pledge of Allegiance as it was originally written in the 1890s. It wasn't until the 1950s when the "under God" phrase was added under President Eisenhower. "It actually divided the nation. It made it wrong to not believe in God,” says Warren.
"I would suspect that most people are paying it no attention,” says conservative pastor Joe Chambers. He says the billboard is blasphemous, although he appreciates people's right to free speech. "God is sovereign, He does rule this universe and He did create it. You can spit in His face, but you need to get ready for the results,” says Chambers.
The billboard on Billy Graham Parkway is one of 6 across North Carolina. It was one of the most expensive to install, costing just under $3,500. It'll stay up for 4 weeks.
The location, on a roadway named for one of, if not the, most influential evangelists in American history, is also generating some backlash. Warren says the Lamar company offered several locations, but the one on the parkway was the most affordable. "That was the most economical choice and it got the most traffic,” he says.
Another billboard company refused the NC Secular Association's business, saying it the message was too controversial.
The Billy Graham Evangelical Association tells FOX Charlotte they won't issue a statement about the billboard. The other boards are located in Asheville, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington.