Answers in Genesis has decided to become a hate-site and promote the killing of atheists.
This is a television spot that the organization has put out:
AIG has got a lot of money. It is a well-funded hate group. As such, it is not unreasonble to expect that this advertisement is simply the work of some kids with a camera. It was probably put together by a professional marketing organization, market-tested and approved to deliver the types of impacts that AIG was willing to pay for.
So, let us ask, What is it selling?
Answer: Theism, or belief in God.
What reasons does it give to buy the product?
Answer: Otherwise, you will be shot.
The text that goes with the advertisement says: "If you don’t matter to God, you don’t matter to anyone.”
So, another thing that this advertisement is selling is the idea that atheists do not matter to God and, as such, they should not matter to the kid with the gun. It grants a moral permission to kids with guns to go ahead and kill atheists.
If it is morally permissible to kill atheists, then other activities less likely to bring the police and courts into the matter, must also be permissible. Assault, vandalism, bullying, intimidation, theft, an "accident" in the school yard, some name-calling, withholding honors and inviting ridicule . . . if the use of a gun is permissible, these must be acceptable as well.
The group most obviously targeted for this message of hatred against atheists are young boys - boys about the same age as the boy in the picture who might like the feeling of power that the person holding the gun can acquire. It invites identification with the boy with the gun. And, if one does not have a gun, there are a lot of other things such a boy can do to in its place.
There is no conceivable way of interpreting this advertisement as saying that it is wrong to kill atheists or to subject them to any of these lesser crimes. In fact, in light of the new national past-time of grabbing a gun and killing as many people as possible, this message says, "If you're inclined to grab a gun and kill people, then kill the atheists."
Consider the possibility of somebody like the kid in that video showing up at your next atheist gathering, or discovering that some atheist blogger lives nearby. Imagine him taking to heart the message in this advertisement, "If God does not matter to you, then you do not matter to me."
More broadly, the advertisement also represents an attempt to rule by terror. AIG's "Believe in God or die campaign" is a message to anybody who might put on a T-shirt with the letter A or otherwise identify themselves as an atheist, that you are making yourself a target.
What you need to do, according to the "believe in God or die campaign," is to protect yourself from the guy with the gun by burying your atheism. You must hide it. You must keep it secret and never let it out in public. Because, if you let your atheism be known, you are going to make yourself a target for the guy with the gun.
Politically, the message to atheists is to submit quietly to rule of, by, and or the theists or suffer the consequences.
If this advertisement turns out to be profitable - not in terms of money, but in terms of fulfilling the desires (or feeding the hatreds) of those who promote it, then we can expect to find more and stronger messages such as this in the future. We can expect it to be, like the atheist bus advertisements, an advertisement to be copied by other organizations who have the same desires. Furthermore, it will feed and promote those desires in others.
There are very real consequences to allowing it to be the case that those who deliver such an advertisement, and those who view it, experience more praise than condemnation of the message contained within. The message itself offers praise of for those attitudes. So, praise starts off in the lead, and condemnation must then catch up.
In addition, I wish to remind the readers of something that is a bit of a cliché in this blog.
The right to freedom of speech is not a right to immunity from condemnation for what one says or believes. It is a right to immunity from violence or threats of violence for those beliefs. AIG will certainly try to answer any condemnation by declaring that they have a right to freedom of speech. It would, perhaps, be useful to remind them and their audience of what a right to freedom of speech actually entails.
One final comment.
If, per chance, AIG should be pressured into offering an apology, this time, do not accept one of those back-handed apologies atheists are prone to accept. Do not stand for a statement like, "I'm sorry that you object to being shot," or "I'm sorry that you failed to understand my message," or "I'm sorry that I got caught."
If it is not a true and sincere rejection of violence and fear as a weapon, or of the message that the lives of well-being of atheists do not matter – if the apology does not include some measure of atonement – then this means that the person offering it does not yet realize the wrongness of their actions. This is not an apology. It is simply adding insult to injury.