Atheists "unbless" highway

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http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/bn9/2012/3/17/offended_by_religiou

LAKELAND --

Atheists in Polk County symbolically scrubbed away at a major highway leading into the county Saturday.

The were removing a blessing placed there a year ago by a group of religious leaders.

Brooms, mops and water hoses in hand, the atheists gathered at the roadside.

"We come in peace .. now that's normally what aliens say when they visit a new planet, but we're not aliens, we're atheists!" Humanists of Florida director Mark Palmer shouted to the group along Highway 98.

Representatives from various atheist groups in the area scrubbed the road at the Pasco-Polk county line. They were figuratively removing holy oil that had been put on the road last year by a group of area religious leaders. That group was Polk Under Prayer, or PUP.

PUP director Richard Geringswald said his group had been blessing the county line.

"And praying for that entryway in to the city, that God would protect us from evildoers, mainly the drug crowd, that they would be dissuaded to come in to the county," Geringswald said.

But Humanists of Florida members don't see it that way. They say it makes them feel unwelcome.

"It sends a very bad signal to everyone in Polk County, and (anyone) who travels through Polk county who doesn't happen to be Christian," Palmer said, "This event is not about atheist rights; this is about welcoming everybody into Polk county."

So they took their "unholy water" and washed the road.

It's been an ongoing feud between the groups in the county: the atheists are also unhappy with prayer bricks PUP members buried along I-4 and various other roadway leading in to the county, engraved with Psalm 37.

"For the wicked shall be destroyed, but those who trust the Lord shall be given every blessing," Geringswald said, reading the psalm from his Bible.

Geringswald said PUP is trying to do something positive - to keep crime out and encourage faith. He says they also plan to run TV ads later this year that will say they are trying to send a positive message about criminals turning their lives around.

The humanists say they don't plan on stopping their protests any time soon.

What do you think Escapist? I don't know what to think, due to the strangeness exuding from this story.

According to Pastor Frank Smith of Frank Smith Ministries in Winter Haven, the oil ritual was
intended to bring those in Polk County to a "full knowledge of Jesus Christ" and to ask "God to
have angels inspect every vehicle that travels into or out of this county" and "if they will not
submit to God's way of living, then the prayer is to have them incarcerated or removed from the
county."

http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/PRESSRELEASE.pdf

And multiple government officials support it;

On March 1, 2011, PUP held an event at which Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields, Polk County
Schools Superintendant Sherrie Nickell, and Polk County Sherriff Grady Judd were the guests of
honor. PUP Organizer, Richard Geringswald declared that these three "are coming on board with enthusiasm. Each representative touches three major factors in our county: Government,
Education and Law Enforcement." Below is pictured a billboard whereon these leaders endorse
PUP with their names and their government offices.

Two days after this March 1st event, Sherriff Grady Judd arranged for the arrest and
incarceration of EllenBeth Wachs, an atheist activist, after she made public records requests
investigating Judd's allegedly illegal transfers of county property to local churches. (Wachs now
serves as President of the Humanists of Florida Association.)

This has given me the idea to unbaptize people I don't like.

Pretty rad.

They have a point about not feeling welcome there for not being Christians.
I have no problems with this.

What? Scrub a highway? What's gonna stop them from just pourin' more holy water on it? Face/palm for both of these groups. No offense, just seems kind of silly.

They're basically starting a pissing contest with PUP. So long as this doesn't turn nasty, I see no problem with this.

Scrub away, boys.

It's a pissing contest and I find it a bit silly, but PUP I have to admit are kind of bringing this on themselves. They think blessing a highway is going to keep drug dealers out? Really? That burying bricks with a psalm on them will deter crime from the county? Whether or not you're religious, that's some serious Old World superstition shit. While your at it, why don't you plant some garlic at a crossroad to scare off Satan for all the good it will do?

That's all it takes to remove blessings? Regular water? Any Christian who has ever showered is fucked.

Facepalm. That's what I think. Over the whole situation. Over everybody involved in it. It was a powerful facepalm. Mostly about the atheists, I think they gave it a knockback effect. But the PUP guys too aided the facepalm. Thanks to them it was enchanted and cut through my damage resistance.

Um... What? Why the hell did they feel the need to do that? Do some atheists really get that offended at such minor stuff? I just-I don't know. WTF?

EDIT: Also, should this not be in R&P?

BreakfastMan:
Um... What? Why the hell did they feel the need to do that? Do some atheists really get that offended at such minor stuff? I just-I don't know. WTF?

EDIT: Also, should this not be in R&P?

Well, the billboard ones were off-topic I think. This seemed too small of an incident for R&P.

I don't get it. If there was a sign saying "you will be smitten for usage of pot." or something ridiculous that is your first impression of this place then I can see it being a turn off but they are pouring "unholy water" on the road?

As an atheist myself, I find what they are doing completely stupid for picking fights only to offend the religious. The whole reason for this venture is to offend, which makes this group seem moronic e-thugs. This was a grab for attention and it backfired.

Ultratwinkie:

BreakfastMan:
Um... What? Why the hell did they feel the need to do that? Do some atheists really get that offended at such minor stuff? I just-I don't know. WTF?

EDIT: Also, should this not be in R&P?

Well, the billboard ones were off-topic I think. This seemed too small of an incident for R&P.

Oh, both you and I know that any incident is not to small to create a gigantic flame war in R&P. ;)

Just sounds like a whole lot of work and effort to do nothing by both parties. :/

Why can't they just adopt the highway or whatever and clean up trash on the side of it, then they could advertise their group on the highway sign.

It takes a lot to out-stupid radical evengelicals.

Congratulations Humanists of Florida for acknowledging meaning in a gesture that you claim to be meaningless, taking offense over buried bricks and oil, and performing the least intuitive form of manual labor ever.

trolls and assholes, do people really have nothing better to do with their lives?

See atheist groups have mad assholes too. How dare a religious group try to help a troubled area.

Captcha: clown around. Indeed.

.....Why? That is just a pointless display that will do nothing but piss people off. Further proof that no matter what religion/lack there of, you can still be a total ass.

Tanksie:
how fucking stupid and disrespectful of them, what dumb cunts.

Pretty much this.

This is the equivalent of going to the church and spraying Windex in the Holy Water, its pointless and just makes you an Asshole.

It wasn't necessary to "unbless something", and people say us Christians are the goddamn problem. I don't hate atheists, but I hate assholes, especially assholes who wasted the water for this project.

Terminate421:

Tanksie:
how fucking stupid and disrespectful of them, what dumb cunts.

Pretty much this.

This is the equivalent of going to the church and spraying Windex in the Holy Water, its pointless and just makes you an Asshole.

It wasn't necessary to "unbless something", and people say us Christians are the goddamn problem. I don't hate atheists, but I hate assholes, especially assholes who wasted the water for this project.

...I'd say there's a fairly large difference between a road and a church. For one the church is built for it's worshippers, whereas a road (public at least) is built for everyone's use and enjoyment.

That said, I just think that both sides are utterly moronic. Firstly, one to think that pouring some oil and laying bricks will stop crime, and the other for acting like 5 year old school-yard bullies going "Nyeh nyeh, if we wash it away you lose!".

This does seem silly, but you can bet your ass if some Islamic leader went and blessed that highway there would be some evangelical baptist church down there unblessing and reblessing it as soon as they could get there.

Why, exactly, would an Atheist group need to try and remove something they don't believe exists? If they're trying to remove a blessing, they first have to accept the potential for there to be a blessing. Surely that makes their status as 'Atheists' null and void?

Seems like a waste of time, really. Coming from an Atheist, what is the point in spending time removing something that means absolutely nothing? (Some normal water with an 'important' title and supposed meaning). If you're an Atheist, then you don't believe in deities and theistic beings, so the water is meaningless. Just a complete waste of time and water that could have been put to better use.

EDIT: To be honest, the whole 'make everyone welcome, Christian or otherwise' cause is noble, but the execution here was just ridiculous.

Artful-dodgeR:

Terminate421:

Tanksie:
how fucking stupid and disrespectful of them, what dumb cunts.

Pretty much this.

This is the equivalent of going to the church and spraying Windex in the Holy Water, its pointless and just makes you an Asshole.

It wasn't necessary to "unbless something", and people say us Christians are the goddamn problem. I don't hate atheists, but I hate assholes, especially assholes who wasted the water for this project.

...I'd say there's a fairly large difference between a road and a church. For one the church is built for it's worshippers, whereas a road (public at least) is built for everyone's use and enjoyment.

That said, I just think that both sides are utterly moronic. Firstly, one to think that pouring some oil and laying bricks will stop crime, and the other for acting like 5 year old school-yard bullies going "Nyeh nyeh, if we wash it away you lose!".

I guess my comparison was lacking in that department. How about going to a privately owned christian store and breaking merchandise?

The whole oil and bricks thing was a bit odd but the thing about Christians is we always hope for things. Praying for us gives us a good sense of hope, and if it happens, then god wanted it to happen, if it didn't, then god didn't want it to happen. I'm not great with Metaphors or I guess I don't make sense at times.

But I'm really just mad about the "Nyeh Nyeh" part, it wasn't doing any harm. It doesn't "not welcome" people who are not christian, it was just there to show that people believe in something that is relatively harmless.

I think I take the most offense to this in the idea that these people did it without permission, they didn't even go to the church and say "Hey, we know you spent money on this, but we're willing to pay you back that so we can 'feel' more welcome into a community". In essence, water and money was wasted all over both projects because of that assertive attitude these people had.

I don't hate Atheists, I hate assholes who pull this shit. I don't mind change, but I do mind people not thinking rationally about something simple.

Seems to me like they just washed the road. Wouldn't that be doing the place a favour, regardless of the intentions behind it? Can't have dirty roads now can we?

If anything, I respect them for causing a shitstorm, we need more entertainment like this in our daily lives.

Psykoma:
Just sounds like a whole lot of work and effort to do nothing by both parties. :/

That's kind of what I was thinking.

Oh look, people who are fighting over NOTHING.

They don't seem like very good Atheists if they spent all day trying to remove a blessing.

I think the authorities should keep an eye on these guys, because it's only a matter of time before they start buying heavy ordinance and SAMs so they can shoot God and bring down Heaven.

Tazzy da Devil:
Seems to me like they just washed the road. Wouldn't that be doing the place a favour, regardless of the intentions behind it? Can't have dirty roads now can we?

People should phone them up and claim that some religious leaders 'blessed' their dirty car and windows... and 'blessed' the grass on their overgrown lawn.

I foresee a dramatic increase in the number of random, unsolicited 'blessing' in Polk County.

So... they decided to scrub a highway that was "blessed" by what they believe is a false deity?

Considering that not so long ago, and currently in certain countries, people of opposing faiths are actively trying to make the other go extinct, I find this little more than silly. But if this is the way these groups wish to enact their feud, then I am perfectly fine with it.

And hey, if a few roads get cleaned in the process, everyone wins. Now if we coul just convince these two groups to try and outdo each other in charity/nonprofit donations...

It sorta seems like proper atheists wouldn't be fussed. These people seem more like zealous "anti-theists" than actual nonbelievers.

People are goddamn nuts.

inb4 "wow all atheists are a bunch of trolling assholes"

oh wait......too late.

Cmon guys its one group of people not all atheists as a collective. But you're not looking at the bigger picture WHY DO YOU NEED TO "BLESS" A GODDAM HIGHWAY!?!?!? People are still going to have accidents, and sorry to crush your dreams, but magic isnt real. Splashing water on a road doesnt make people better drivers.

Oh my god, it's a road. A road. A road... These people need a hobby. "We bless this road"

"How dare you shun us with your holy road!"

Well... the road is holy alright, look at all these damn pot holes.

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