Existence of Atheists Scares Florida Christians

I am sure you remember the recent atheist billboard that went up in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I suspect you've also heard about the subsequent Christian protests of the billboard and the local media's description of it as "controversial." Many atheist bloggers have already sounded off about the situation, so I merely want to echo some of the great points that have already been made.

Opponents of the billboard seem to have two main objections:

  1. The billboard is located next to a Christian-owned business.
  2. The billboard is located in a predominately African American community.
I'm going to focus on the first objection because I am honestly unable to fathom how the second is in any way relevant. If someone would care to explain it to me, I'd appreciate it because I just don't get it.

The first objection, as explained by area residents, centers on their expectation that nobody will patronize businesses near the sign. Are religious people really so terrified of encountering messages which might differ from their dogma that they would go so far as to avoid this part of town because of an atheist billboard? If so, I would have to assume that these same people would not own televisions, allow their children to attend public schools, or be able to leave their homes without wearing blindfolds!

This explanation is laughable and seems to merely obscure the real issue - those protesting the sign do not want their children to know that atheists exist. Our very existence is a threat to them for some reason. As Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) said on the floor of the Illinois legislature to atheist activist Rob Sherman:

And it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!

...You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying!
For more on this story, see Confusion of Ideas.

Stories like this, and there are far too many stories like this, always make me suspect that the real problem is that some Christians are offended by the mere existence of atheists.