A billboard featuring a cheerful student saying, “I can be good without God,” was too much for the delicate sensibilities of the Rev. Waymon Malone, pastor of Christ Cathedral Church in Columbus, Ohio. Late last week, Malone insisted that a local billboard company remove the message from a billboard inadvertently placed on church-owned land.
Malone’s mother-in-law, Carolyn Kelley, told the Columbus Dispatch, “It upset him because of what it said. It said we don't need God, and we're at church, so we do need God.”
“This shows exactly why our campaign, intended to encourage social acceptance of nonbelievers, is so important,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “Nonbelievers know that it is not what you believe, but how you act, that makes you a moral person.”
The billboard picturing Dylan Galos, a Columbus student and atheist, was removed from its original location and has been relocated to East Main St., west of Alum Creek Dr., facing west.
Dylan’s billboard is one of seven featuring local nonbelievers posted within the last week for a month-long lease in Columbus, Ohio, as part of the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “Out of the Closet” campaign. See all seven billboards, and read more about the campaign, here.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a state/church watchdog based in Madison, Wis., is the nation’s largest association of atheists and agnostics with more than 16,500 members, and about 450 members in Ohio. Columbus is FFRF’s fourth stop on a national campaign to introduce local nonbelievers to their neighbors. FFRF debuted the “Out of the Closet” campaign in Madison last fall. FFRF took the campaign to the bible belt in the spring: Raleigh, N.C., in April and to Tulsa, Okla., in May.