Today, the organization American Atheists unveiled the billboards that have been stirring up controversy since first announced last week. The Williamsburg sign, which features both Hebrew and English writing, is located near the Williamsburg Bridge.
To the non-religious eye, the billboard seems controversial in its message and location, but JewishPress.com sheds new light on just how offensive the sign is to the local religious community. According to the site, not only does the billboard’s unveiling coincide with the important Jewish holiday of Purim, which begins on Wednesday, but also it contains a Hebrew word that cannot be erased. This makes trashing the billboard a sin.
“The Hasidic Jews of Williamsburg have certainly not been involved in pushing a national agenda of any kind,” writes JewishPress. “Posting an intrusive and insulting billboard in the midst of their neighborhood is nothing short of an unprovoked attack.”
Meanwhile, Dave Silverman, the president of American Atheists who ironically has a Jewish-sounding name, told CNN, “The objective is not to inflame but rather to advertise the atheist movement in the Muslim and Jewish community.”
Update: I’ve been having trouble finding a photo of the billboard. Turns out, it wasn’t unveiled on Monday as planned.