Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Atheist Billboard Placed On Church's Property Removed

(Columbus Dispatch)An atheist billboard didn't last long on church property on the East Side.

The smiling image of Dylan Galos was accompanied by the words "I can be good without God."

It was one of seven billboards posted across Columbus last week by the Freedom From Religion Foundation to introduce central Ohio residents to their atheist neighbors.

The message didn't sit well with the pastor of Christ Cathedral Church, 3350 Allegheny Ave., which owns the land where one of the billboards went up on a Clear Channel Outdoor sign.

The Rev. Waymon Malone ordered it removed, said Carolyn Kelley, his mother-in-law. Malone and his wife, Kimberlee, were out of town yesterday and could not be reached for comment.

"It upset him because of what it said," Kelley said. "It said we don't need God, and we're at church, so we do need God."

The billboard was removed days after it was installed on June 21, said Jay Schmidt, account executive for Matrix Media Services.

It was reposted on E. Main Street, just west of Alum Creek Drive, visible to eastbound traffic, Schmidt said.

Schmidt helped the Freedom From Religion Foundation find the billboard locations but didn't realize that the Galos billboard was on church property. That billboard is visible from Stelzer Road north of Allegheny Avenue, just as Stelzer turns into James Road.

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