aj johnson

Atheist billboard sparks debate on issues of bible, slavery and race

African-Americans have charged that the country’s leading civil rights organization for atheists is tone-deaf in terms of its messaging about Pennsylvania’s “year of the Bible.” American Atheists erected a billboard quoting the bible verse “Slaves obey your masters!” depicting an enslaved man with a barbed metal collar around his neck.

A number of African Americans say the campaign was ill-advised and illustrates the disconnect between the organization and people of color. American Atheists counters that the ad was intended to provoke and to show that the bible does promote racist ideals and that viewers’ anger is misplaced.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with AJ Johnson, development director of American Atheists, and Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, author of “Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars,” to discuss the campaign.


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