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From The Back Pew:

‘Atheists’ sign is drawing someone’s ire

May 15, 2010|By Michael J. Arvizu

Across from me is Roberta Medford. We’re sitting in front of an open window at her Montrose residence.

“What is it about atheists that people just don’t like?” I ask.

“You would have to ask them that. I don’t know!” Medford says with a good-natured laugh.

I visited Medford on Monday evening to get her take on another vandalization of the Adopt-A-Highway Atheists United sign on the Glendale (2) Freeway. This time, the sign on the southbound side had been defaced. The “A” in “Atheists” had been covered in white paint, making it read “THEISTS UNITED.”

“I find it incredibly intolerant, and?.?.?.?maybe they should get a life,” Medford said of the vandal, or vandals, responsible.

I’ve driven past that sign many times. Of all the Adopt-A-Highway signs I pass in Los Angeles, that is the only one I pay attention to. That sign has been egged, tagged, and at one point someone took a saw to it, knocking it to the ground.

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But it is always restored. The sign recognizes Atheists United for its work picking up trash along the freeway. It is one of many such signs along L.A.’s freeways that usually represent an organization located within a particular route. For example, Warner Bros. in Burbank has a sign posted along the 134 Freeway.

People don’t seem to mind Warner Bros., but atheists are another matter.

Atheism, broken down, means no theology. Atheists simply believe there is no God, or no evidence to support the existence of God. Furthermore, atheists also advocate strongly for the separation of church and state, as defined in the 1st Amendment.

“I looked at the world and realized [that] I don’t see a god there,” said Medford, who became an atheist at 14. “It’s an idea, a human invention. You have to admit, god is a human invention, it’s not a physical object or presence.”

It’s not a bad invention, she says; she just doesn’t share in the belief.

So why do atheists get such a bad rap?

I posed the question to atheists Sharon and Bill Weisman of Glendale. The couple are well-known in the community and involved in a variety of local projects. I hoped they might be able to shed some light on my question, but that wasn’t the case.

“We’re puzzled. We don’t understand the motive,” Sharon Weisman said. “For some reason, religious people don’t have a problem disrespecting atheists.”

Bill Weisman calls it an irony that someone would destroy something their very tax dollars are paying for.

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