Glenn Branch was speaking in Sacramento last night, so I made a pilgrimage up to the state capital. I took some notes and will probably be able to find time to post a report later this week. (Unwritten exams are currently demanding my attention.) While I was in the vicinity, I drove across the Yolo causeway to check out the vandalized billboard near I-80's westbound lanes.
I was too late. It has been miraculously healed. Or, at least, a kind of blue Band-Aid has been stuck on top of the anti-atheist graffiti. The blue was not a perfect match for the original billboard, but close enough for motorists zipping down 80 at 70. The billboard is one of ten scattered about the capital region by the Sacramento affiliate of the United Coalition of Reason.
I am guessing, of course, but I imagine the vandalism was carried out by one of California's many irate Christians, someone who is affronted by the existence of people who don't agree with him. (I'm guessing about the “him,” too; most of the female Christians would probably consider it unladylike to clamber up a billboard.) The vandal was also stupid enough to use black paint against a deep blue background, apparently not noticing why the original lettering was in white.
I wonder why this person thought he was honoring his god by committing a sin. Vandalism is covered by the seventh commandment*—“Thou shalt not steal”—because destroying or damaging something that belongs to someone else is akin to taking it from him. It's nice of him to be willing to risk hell for the greater glory of God.
Still, things may not be working out as he hoped. When I drove down I-80 and saw that the billboard had been repaired, I cried out, “It's a sign!”
*No quibbling, please, about the numbering of the commandments. They aren't numbered in the Bible and Catholics disagree with most Protestants about how they should be designated. I am, after all, a Catholic atheist. And, unlike the commandments' right-wing idolators, I can actually recite them. So there! (Oops! Sin of pride!)