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Godless billboard stirs controversy, sparks debate

READ MORE: Godless billboard stirs controversy, sparks debate

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- In 1954, the words "under God" were added to the Pledge of Allegiance. With Fourth of July just around the corner, some groups are using billboards across the state, including one here in New Hanover County, to help get those words removed from the pledge for good. One business owner off of Carolina Beach Road says the new billboard is not only offensive, but could hurt his business.

"I hate that it's right next to where I'm at," Mike Connelly said. "Hopefully, no radicals will try to come by here and burn the billboard down and affect our business in any form or fashion."

Connelly's antique shop has been up and running for six months just south of Monkey Junction. He says business is good, but fears a new anti-Pledge of Allegiance billboard could affect his business.

"It's a little bit frustrating when you have a relatively new business," Connelly said. "You don't want any controversy for your establishment, in any form or fashion."

The billboard that says "One Nation Indivisible" will be in Wilmington for at least four weeks. The North Carolina Secular Association along with a number of other statewide groups are behind the media push. Mike Werner is a leader with the Humanists and Freethinkers of Cape Fear and supports the message. In a statement to WWAY Monday, he said, "The Pledge of Allegiance did not have 'under God' until it was added in 1954. We want to bring awareness and want to enjoy the same dignity that everyone else does. It's a clear violation of church and state. I'm sure some people will take it as a controversy, but that is not our intent. The Pledge didn't have 'under God' originally. It's religious bigotry and discrimination. It's wrong, and we are calling for it to be changed."

"I think when I was in school, if there was anybody opposed to that they didn't say that part of it," Connelly said. "So, it just seems ridiculous to me."

The billboard will also be in Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Winston-Salem. Connelly plans to show opposition to the billboard and his side of patriotism in one simple way.

"I think we will put a couple of American flags out front, right beside that to oppose that in whatever way we can," he said

The billboards have a price tag of around $15,000 and are supposed to go up either today or tomorrow. Other business owners in the area say its upsetting as a business owner and an American.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


For those of you who don't

For those of you who don't know this the phrase "Separation of Church and State" is nowhere to be found in the Constitution

only in the bible belt...

This is so typical of NC and it's life fearing population. The change to the pledge happened in 1954 or whenever, THAT is what should not have happened. People who believe in god can add that to the banter we already force our kids to learn if they wish. Knowing what we know now it is almost embarrassing to still have our children repeat this crap anyway, especially with god involved. What the hell does god have to do with uniting the country? Being "indivisible" is what it's about, whether you believe or don't believe that what this country needs... not god...seriously???

Godless Billboard

Neo you are NOT a Christian.

isn't it obvious?

If you read almost all of the posts that come with this story, it's easy to see what wonderful things organized religion has done for the world. Live and let live-even as an athiest, everyone has to find their own way to survive in this world. One is not better than the other, just different.

"A real Christian"

Excuse me, but when did you become the judge of someones heart?

I dont have a problem with the sign

First, I am a follower of Jesus Christ, I've given my life over to Him. Second, I don't have a problem with this sign. There is truth to the statement of "under God" being added to the Alligence and to the currancy. This was added during the Cold War as a sort of way to rub it in the face of the Soviet Union and battle the Red Scare here in America.

What I do have a problem is with both sides going at one another thinking they will shove the others ideals down one anothers throat. Be it - Christians pronouncing sin and judgement on the world, a world mind you which Christ died for. And Atheist/Secular Humanists trying to make it impossible to express some form of public faith. I'm sorry this is still a free country they can have their sign, christians can have their public expression of faith. Christians do proke these things as much as Atheist/Secular Humanists do.

Christians love to be the first ones out to protest and when they proke the other side into a fight and get in the ring and take a few hits and scream They Hit Me ! They Hit Me ! The other side loves to do the same and then cry They're not Tolerant ! They're not Tolerant ! It's all so childish at the end of the day and nothing changes. Nothing. however this is the beauty of what our framers had in mind.

Atheist/Secularist tend to hold the word tolerant to Christians as if it some form of law. You'll not find that word in the New Testament however you will find the word Love. So Christians are not supposed to tolerate, but rather love and love doesn't mean tolerate. Atheists could humble themselves and be a little more tolerant towards Christians and Christians could be a little more loving to the world.

Neo, My compliments to your


My compliments to your thoughtful contribution to this debate.

What does it hurt having

What does it hurt having "Under God" in the pledge of allegiance? If you dont believe in God fine dont say it. Iam 25 yrs old and everyday in school we said it. This is total BS that all these people of different faiths try and change everything, all I can say is if you dont like it go somewhere else!!! We say in GOD we trust, Merry Christmas and the pledge of allegiance with "under god" I do hope someone burns that sign down!

I hope someone burns the sign down!

Wow, I'm sure Jesus would would tell people to "go somewhere else" if they didn't like it. I'm sure vandalism is right up there on his list too. Maybe the people that don't like it should "turn the other cheek"-- that's a lot less trouble than moving.

Alot 2 consider

First Im a wiccan, former Christian. I agree that in government and political policy religion should be 100% separate. Socialism and social policy are what dictate decisions made in our political forums unfortunately. I think both sides have room to argue so long as we aren't slapping each other around with insults. The original point in this country was to keep religious agenda out of politics. As we can see in this simple forum its not possible for multiple religious philosophies to co-exist if neither side is willing to step into the others shoes. Should the business owner be concerned? Maybe, but any sensible person would understand thats not his billboard. Free enterprise dictates to each his own so long as you have the cash.

I am originally from

I am originally from Wilmington and I swear to anything that soon as I come back to visit next month, if it is there, it will be vadalized...

wow jerk

I hope you do and I hope you get caught doing it. What a redneck you are and a christian I take it? Hahahaaa yeah that will show just how tolerant your kind is.

Stephen Hawking said........

"If we are the only intelligent beings in the galaxy, we should make sure we survive and continue. But we are entering an increasingly dangerous period of our history. Our population and our use of the finite resources of planet Earth are growing exponentially, along with our technical ability to change the environment for good or ill. But our genetic code still carries the selfish and aggressive instincts that were of survival advantage in the past. It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand or million. Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward-looking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space. We have made remarkable progress in the last hundred years, but if we want to continue beyond the next hundred years, our future is in space. That is why I'm in favor of manned, or should I say, 'personed' spaceflight."

Will your God Follow us out there?

God to follow Man?

Since God created the universe, I seriously doubt He will be following ANYONE! to space or anwhere else. What hubris! Hawking may be a brilliant scentist, but hardly the arbiter of anything else.

Missing the Point

The problem here is not the argument between believers and non-believers. The issue is that the United States was founded on the principal of religious freedom - which means that a national pledge should NOT refer to any specific religion. Saying, one nation under God works for Christians but if it said, one nation under buddha, that would not. This is why it should be removed to be consistent with the separation of church and state that the country was founded on. For a Christian to use that argument - religious freedom, for a public, national, pledge - simply makes no sense. No one is telling you to change the words in the Our Father.

It's a critical distinction and if we don't get it right and protect this freedom of religion, we will be no different than Iran or some African countries that use the power of government to insist that it's residents believe in a certain religion.

This can't be that complicated of a concept that all of the Christians here keep missing it. Can it?

smart men

If you have a particular faith or religion, that is good. But you can survive without it.
Dalai Lama

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
Mohandas Gandhi

Buddhist view of things : )

Buddhist view of things : ) Got to love pagans

godless billboard

If Mike Werner does not want the word God in the pledge of allegiance, he needs to have the people that puts up his sign to take the sun down while they are up there.

Why can't we all get along?

When my 16 year old gets home from camp next week, I will have him give you all a brief, eloquent, and fact based explanation of our freedoms. Hopefully that will remind us ALL of the genius of our founding fathers to insure that we can openly practice our beliefs, regardless of our faith as well as have the opportunity for debate of such an issue.

And if you are really interested, he could easily add a contrast/comparison discussion of the various religions. Why is he so competent on the subject? Because even though his father and I are christians, we chose to allow him
to explore other faiths so that he can make the appropriate choice of religion that brings him closest to the truth.

Finally, google the Dali Lama's recent comments of what he stated as the best religion when asked during his recent US visit.
I considered it very well said.. but that is my opinion... and how wonderful that I don't have to worry whether or not the government agrees!

Good view of things.

Good view of things.

I'd rather than believe in

I'd rather than believe in God and find out hes not real, than not believe in him and find out that he is real. For those of you who are taking the "dont believe in him and find out that he is real" route....Have fun with that...ill see ya in he..oh wait no your the only ones going to hell not me

One more note...

Oh by the way, the term" Under God" was added in 1954 right? Meaning that most likely the majority of the people whining about removing this probably grew up with it so why do they want to change it. The rest are probably too old to care. You want this removed but God knows you won't let the issues with slavery and Civil Rights and racism go.... that was in the 50's too buddy. I am a United States Army Soldier and this bleeding heart politically correct crap makes me wanna puke. I fight for this country and have been to Iraq, I think we deserve more of a vote than anybody else. Get a tampon for your bleeding butt and if you dont like our country, then LEAVE! I hear Somalia is great this time of year... how about Afghanistan... or Cuba... Maybe China since you want to turn this place into a communist country anyway. This is part of our HISTORY just like everything else you refuse to LET GO. Leave it alone. I grew up with it the way it is and so did most of the current population. Why is it such a controversy to get it removed now. What happened to freedom of speech? Why are you so intent on getting rid of God, Allah, Buddha, whatever your own belief is out of our culture, society, and schools? You have the feedom to worship what you want or none at all. Stop removing everyone elses rights. Isnt that why Americans left England, to escape religous persecution and gain freedom of speech and others. No one is forcing you to kneel before God but stop trying to keep us from doing so...

How in blue blazes is

How in blue blazes is letting atheists have a billboard that lets people become aware that it really IS "One Nation Indivisible" religious persecution. One thing that I'm getting sick about Christianity is its victim mentality. Get off your high horse already. You're not that special and neither is your god. It's not like their aren't enough Christian billboards pushing their worldview on the rest of the population and asking them where they'll spend eternity.

"Why are you so intent on getting rid of God, Allah, Buddha, whatever your own belief is out of our culture, society, and schools?"

Because these things don't belong there, and religious people do a good enough job by themselves accept for their own.


"Under God" can encompass the God from any religion so it shouldnt be offensive to anyone except those that dont beleive in any at all. i think its a shame that this is what our country is coming to is having people crying over crap like this but they will allow all these illegal immigrants to come in and do whatever tehy want, oil spills destroy our oceans and economy, etc. This is the least of our worries and these people need to get a life.

I wholeheartedly agree -

I wholeheartedly agree - what a huge waste of money. Why don't these free thinking groups put up money to aid in programs that benefit society as a whole? How about working toward a collective effort to think of ways to reduce fossil fuels and promote clean energy?? How about aiding in the effort to help those affected by the oil spill in the Gulf ? These are issues that affect our country; helping one another unifies us as a country - ridiculous rantings on billboards does not.

free thinkers

Um, "free thinkers" do a lot to benefit society. Not all relief efforts around the world and here at home are religion (especially christian!) based. I know two physicians and two nurses myself who went to Africa a few years back and gave two years as VOLUNTEERS who paid their own way to help with the AIDS effort. Funny thing is, three of them are athiests and the other is a member of the humanitarian church in SC. Not only was that a selfless, "christian" thing to do, they have not and do not subscribe to the chains of any organized religion. Their "free thinking" ways allow them to think outside the box and worry more about the good they can do here and now instead of spending their lives being selfish to get to an afterlife that may or may not exist.
So do not suggest that these groups don't do anything to help society. They do it often and not because they want to end up somewhere nice in the afterlife, but because they want to do everything they can to make this life as good as possible for those less fortunate. I seriously doubt that can be said about the majority of religious efforts.


Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking. It's nothing to brag about.

Those who preach faith, enable and elevate it are intellectual slaveholders keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and destruction.

Religion is dangerous because it allows human beings who don't have all the answers to think that they do.

The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is not the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt. Doubt is humble, and that's what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a litany of getting $hit dead wrong.

This is why rational people, anti-religionists, must end their timidity and come out of the closet and assert themselves. Those who consider themselves only moderately religious really need to look in the mirror and realize that the solace and comfort that religion brings you comes at a horrible price.

If the world does come to an end here, or wherever, or if it limps into the future decimated by the effects of religion-inspired nuclear terrorism, let's remember what the real problem was. We learned how to precipitate mass death before we got past the neurological disorder of wishing for it. That's it. Grow up or die.


I like this. Bravo.

I like this. Bravo.

Faith is the subject of

Faith is the subject of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I don't know about the other religions but Christians don't think they have all the answers...however, we know that God does & that is who we place our faith in. Doubt is not humble, it is 'not knowing', it is ignorance. Humility is knowing there is a God & I am not him.

I have evidence of things

I have evidence of things not seen as well. I place my faith in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, and fairies.