Apparently there's no room at the inn for an irreverent billboard saying "there is no God." ClearChannel Outdoor company in Las Vegas has taken down six Freedom From Religion Foundation billboards that had a jolly Santa stating, "Yes, Virginia... There is no God," just one to two days after placing them around the city.
A kind donor paid for 10 solstice signs to adorn the city of Las Vegas this December, which, in addition to the six censored "Yes, Virginia..." signs, included two that said "Heathen's Greetings" and two with the message "Reason's Greetings."
A representative from ClearChannel Outdoor told FFRF that the Santa signs were removed due to calls of complaint received by the company.
"It's rather mind-boggling for this to happen in a town with the reputation of Las Vegas, built on gambling and call girls," said Annie Laurie Gaylor, Foundation co-president. "Who would have guessed there would be such delicate sensibilities in the city known for the saying 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.' "
Gaylor remarked: " 'Tis the season for censorship—we are just happy our other signs passed muster."
The censored billboards were at:
- Sahara NS 5 Ft E/O Pardee Pl F/W
- Boulder ES 475 Ft S/O Dalhart F/S
- LVBS WS 800 Ft N/O Convention Ctr F/N
- Russell NS 3100 Ft W/O I-515 F/W
- Airport Exit ES .26mi S/O Russell F/N
- Valley View WS 500 Ft N/O Viking F/S
The remaining billboards can be seen for the rest of December at:
- LVBN WS 400’ n/o Lamb SF (Reason's Greetings)
- Bruce ES 125’ n/o Charleston SF (Heathen's Greetings)
- Wyoming ES 5’ e/o Industrial EF (Reason's Greetings)
- Rancho ES 100’ s/o Cheyenne NF (Heathen's Greetings, coming soon)
The "Yes, Virginia..." reference is a play on the famous question posed by 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon in 1897 to the New York Sun newspaper: "Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.' Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?"
In an unsigned editorial, the Sun's Francis P. Church wrote his "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" line.
The Foundation, which has over 14,000 members nationwide, initially unveiled its "Yes, Virginia..." message on 100 exterior bus ads in Seattle in November of this year.