FFRF billboard “too hot” for Tupelo

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation has been censored in Mississippi.

The first billboard it ever put up in the state, on July 1, was removed today. Lamar Outdoor, contending it was getting "a lot of hate," yanked FFRF's digital display this afternoon.

The election-year billboard at the intersection of Main and Gloster in Tupelo displayed a patriotic-looking message depicting Uncle Sam saying, "God Fixation Won't Fix This Nation."

FFRF is a state/church watchdog group with 24,000 nonreligious members nationwide, including in Mississippi.

A representative from Lamar told FFRF there was significant "backlash from the community" and "too much heat."

Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, expressed dismay over "this heckler's veto."

"It's more than disappointing that there is no alternative or dissent permitted in Mississippi, that the claims of religion cannot even be questioned or debated," she says.

FFRF thanks its lifetime member in Tupelo, who had underwritten the advertisement.

Mississippi is tied with Alabama as the most religious in the nation, with 77 percent of adult Mississippians saying that they are "very religious," according to the Pew Research Center. At the same time, it consistently ranks at or near the bottom in quality of life.

FFRF has successfully put up billboards in more than half of the states in the country since 2007. FFRF began attempting to display billboard messages in the late 1970s and met only censorship until the past 10 years, when there started to be more openness to freethought ideas. Not in Mississippi, though. Gaylor says it is "distressing and shocking" to be met with such censorship in this day and age.

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

FFRF is a member of the Secular Coalition for America

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