FFRF's "Praise Darwin" Billboard Re-Posted in Columbus, Ohio

"Praise Darwin" Billboard Stolen on Darwin's Birthday

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It's back! A billboard commemorating the February bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth, which was stolen from its Clear Channel board in suburban Columbus, Ohio, has returned. Thieves would have required 32-foot ladders to access the high board. The billboard disappeared sometime after nightfall on Feb. 12, on the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birthdate. "Talk about symbolism!" said Freedom From Religion Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor. "We designed this billboard because Charles Darwin not only gets a bad rap in the United States, but because some 50% of adult Americans embrace the myth of creationism. It seems somebody in the Columbus area was so threatened by an acknowledgment of Darwin's contributions to human knowledge that they had to steal our message! It's not that easy to stop evolution!" Gaylor added. "We thank Clear Channel Outdoor in Columbus for their kind and immediate assistance in restoring our billboard message as quickly as possible," added Foundation co-president Dan Barker. This is the first time a Foundation billboard has been vandalized or stolen since the national association launched a billboard campaign in late 2007. The Foundation has erected billboards in more than 15 states and many cities. The Whitehall City Council refused to adopt a proclamation honoring Darwin, so the national Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., placed the "Praise Darwin: Evolve Beyond Belief" billboard on East Main and Fountain Lane, Columbus, on Feb. 11. Also prompting the Foundation billboard is Whitehall's history of erecting a manger scene on a stage by the front door of Whitehall City Hall every December. The mayor has dismissed the Foundation and Ohio complainant David Russell as "atheists, antagonists and a minority." In public comments, Mayor John Wolfe had proclaimed that the United States is a "Christian nation." The Foundation is seeking a Whitehall plaintiff. The Madison, Wis.-based Foundation, the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists and agnostics), has 13,600 members nationwide, and 300 members in Ohio. This year not only marks the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth, but also the 150th anniversary of the release of Origin of Species, Darwin's history-changing work on evolution. Original press release, Feb. 9, 2009 Darwin billboard stolen, press release Feb. 17, 2009 The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., is a national association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics) that has been working since 1978 to keep church and state separate.

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