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New billboard by ultra-conservative Christian group roils West Roxbury, Roslindale, at least on Facebook

Jesus, what a billboard

A billboard that declares only Christians can know God has blown up West Roxbury and Roslindale Facebook groups over the past couple of days, with posts from people saying we all need more Jesus in our lives alternating with posts with non-Christians and others who object to the in-your-face-message and posts from people who say everybody should just get over it.

The sign sits atop the Corrib Pub at Centre and Lagrange streets and replaces one that advertised the opening of the mini-Target in Roslindale.

The group that put up the sign, Christian Aid Ministries, spends several million dollars a year on billboards like this across the country. On one of its Web sites, the group explains why it opposes gay people, divorce in general and by women in particular, remarriage, masturbation by single people, abortion and the theory of evolution.

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And do they have any say over what is advertised on it?

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The photo shows a Clear Channel brandmark.

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If it’s on their rooftop, the building’s owners presumably own the billboard as well. But if you look, you can see the “Clear Channel” logo underneath. Property owners lease their space to Clear Channel, who then handles all the advertising.

That said, the owners certainly have at least some leverage, inasmuch as they could threaten not to renew the lease in the future.

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Who gave us the Red Sox, Mo Salah, Adam G, and Soul Cycle.

#metoo

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Speaking of people who own various forms of media thus have some say over what messages are allowed to be posted on it...

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Is it snowing there? The Corrib sure looks festive.

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For five or ten minutes this afternoon.

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What are you pointing out here Adam? What seems to be the significance? Just because you don’t agree with the ad?

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You don't tend to see discussions with 350+ comments in Keep Roslindale Quirky (I didn't link to the discussion - or the second one that popped up there - because it's a "closed" group, so you wouldn't see anything unless you're a member) or well over 100 in the West Roxbury group.

If it were just me finding it objectionable (I find it more laughable than anything else - this is Boston, not Macon, GA), then, no, I probably wouldn't have posted about it.

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what's objectionable about one religion/race/nationality/etc. putting up signs in a community expressing that they are superior to other identities?

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No, because I understand that all religions say different things about stuff.

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That billboard doesn't so much say "different things" as advertise oneself and one's belief as a bastion of narrowminded intolerance. I mean if they think that's a good look...

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I also think it is a bad look, but they really must feel that they are trying to help you. If the bible says the only way to god is through Jesus, why should they lie to you? They are trying to help you (In their mind)

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BECAUSE THEY WANT YOUR MONEY!

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...exactly like the story of the Boy Scout helping the old lady across the street when she didn't want to cross at all.

"Helping" is in the eye of the recipient. Only that. Hard, but true.

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You don't want to go to hell do you? You must be baptized!! You and I don't believe in it, that is why it is silly to us...

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This doesn’t bother me one bit, better than the country music billboard previously there.

People need to stop pretending to be offended by everything, it like it’s an f’n competition.

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The billboard itself is not objectionable. It's small O orthodox Christianity.

I do understand why believers in moralistic therapeutic deism would be upset to be confronted with such a thing.

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And have no concept of what it's like to be a member of a minority religious group who has suffered taunts, fights, discrimination, etc., because of their religion.

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/sarc

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I know Centre and Le Grange is not the Sunset Strip but Google says that $55,000 a month is the going rate for a prime CA billboard location.

I know a guy who has property along a major Boston interstate highway. He is making $30,000 a month after he quietly snuck through the local permitting process (with the son of a state rep. as his lawyer). Overnight, Clear Channel put up a massive two sided billboard before neighbors could object. Appeals went nowhere.

I'm told rates are based on the amount of traffic, not sure how many cars pass the Corrib but I'm sure it's decent and there's probably contract language giving Clear Channel the right to post anything within the standards of decency. I doubt the Corrib would want to lose that free money, especially since most of their clientele are Christian.

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Statistically most of their clientele are Christian, but statistically they aren't this type of rabidly homophobic Christian supremacist.

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I don't see anything homophobic or supremacist on that sign. Are you sure it's not the way your reading it?

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To Slayer.

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But Neely scores on the rebound.

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as an example of fools with money. I had to look up what folks running this group think about masturbation. In addition to the silliness, foolishness and psychologically damaging shaming was a story about a man, a monkey and a banana.

In New England the religious sickos are a minority. But in the south and mid-west people whose abuse of religion (causing psychological damage) is much more common. So to me it's good to be reminded that there are religious sickos. They claim Jesus as their main man but the reality is that they want purity. They want a world that is based not on human reality but on their perverted need that everyone be like them.

Eugenicists based their definition of purity on genes. Christian Evangelicals/Fundamentalists base their definition of purity on their definition of morality. What both had in common, what every group that tries to eliminate any other group they dislike, screams PURITY!

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Every they.

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Your comment is not clear. What are you trying to say?

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Or I was lamenting the fact that the behavior you're describing can be found all over the place these days: in academia, in big tech, in media...everywhere, not just a few fringe religious movements.

You decide.

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a few fringe religious movements.

Interesting. Do you think that's how American Christians describe themselves?

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The northeastern insecurity on here is getting hilarious. You really ought to travel a bit and see some other parts of the country. Or at least watch something other than MSNBC.

Frogpondia forever.

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You ever stop to think that maybe we like it like this?

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I visit other parts of the country regularly, and despite many good things some places have to offer, I return very happy to live here. In fact, I often think of that while shoveling snow (no jinx).

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...a story about a man, a monkey and a banana...

Look, leave my neighbors outta this discussion, willya please?

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Just saw this on my drive home. As a Jew, I'd like to say suck my dick.

In reality though, the joke is on them. Millions of dollars on billboards that won't change anybody's minds.

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And did you stop and pee on a mosque on the way home too?

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No, for a couple reasons:

  1. I didn't come across any mosques with giant antagonistic signs telling me that I'm going to hell because I have differing beliefs.
  2. I don't usually go around my neighborhood pissing on things? Is that how you generally resolve conflicts?
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And ask to speak with Jesus,

Let us know if he lets you talk to god or not.

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Would be nice if state just banned billboards altogether, like Vermont and NH already do. It's not as if the public needs more advertising.

As written, anti-billboard laws generally prohibit signs from advertising services which are not offered on the premises.

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As long as it applies only to them.

Get over it folks.

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Nobody said anything about the government banning this type of billboard.

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Can you point out where people are calling on the government to tear down this billboard?

I'm not sure where the 1st Amendment comes into play here.

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The 1st Amendment is a codification of a cultural norm. We don't want the government telling people what they can and cannot say because we believe that people should be allowed to say just about anything so long as it's just words. If that's what we believe, then it stands to reason that we don't like non-governmental actors going around telling people what they can and cannot say either.

Especially when those non-governmental actors are swinging bike locks, brandishing baseball bats, and telling people it's for their own good that they have to shut up or else.

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This isn't a First Amendment issue (the government is not involved and nobody that I've seen is saying it should get involved) and nobody's swinging bike locks (or, for that matter, going into churches and temples and massacring people because they don't fit a particular skin color or aren't Christian).

If you want to scream about Antifa, go find a better forum for that. Because there's no Antifa in West Roxbury, and nobody's rushing down to the Corrib with bike locks or whatever you fantasize people you don't like have in their pockets.

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Up top you're calling for empathy for people who subscribe to minority opinions that get filed under "religion" and here you are tacitly endorsing censorious tendencies and shunning of people who hold minority opinions filed under politics *and* religion. Not many Christian fundamentalists around here, as you yourself have said.

And you're a journalist too! No contradictions or red flags pop up in your mind about being OK with "social repercussions" of expressing unpopular opinions extending to the denial of services available to rightthinking conformists?

Simply amazing that folks like you aren't offering a full-throated defense of freedom of expression, including the civic duty of everyone to help facilitate it, even if they don't agree.

Voltaire would shed a tear. But I suppose that's OK with you on account of him being a dead white male, and therefore a paragon of evil in everything he ever did or said.

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Where, exactly, am I calling for shunning people? Let's try to break it down in really simple, easy to digest little bits of text, shall we?

    nothing to be concerned about.
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We don't believe that people should be allowed to say just about anything so long as it's just words with no repercussions. If people say asinine things, or offensive things, our cultural norm is to tell them to please stop saying asinine things, or offensive things. It's what we believe. And we don't like non-governmental actors like you going around telling us we're not allowed to do that.

Here's a public service announcement to help you understand the way this works:

https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/free_speech_2x.png

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Webcomic repeats his spiel word for word (or vice versa).
Thinks he's proved a point?

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And here's another web comic that describes you perfectly (right down to the flippers): http://wondermark.com/1k62/

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I have to remember what you do when you are at wit's end, Roman: don't address the content of anything said, just impugn your interlocutor based on mindset, supposed age, and preference in media. Your lack of rebuttal and reversion to name-calling amounts to a rhetorical surrender.

Here's the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Telling people they're obnoxious for saying obnoxious things does not fall foul of this amendment, nor is it in any way contrary to the traditions or culture of your adopted country.

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You get to call anyone and everyone obnoxious. What you should avoid, though, is openly opining and wondering how to get that billboard removed and wondering whom you can put the economic screws to to make it happen.

Like Eric Weinstein said: Fast forward a bit and ask, "should neo Nazis be allowed to buy food?"

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So perhaps it's a good thing I don't run the grocery store in, oh, I dunno, Larchmont, NY.

But don't worry, I don't feel like going around punching Nazis in the face.

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here he is again romyfuckwit telling you what to think. guess what I'm doing right now you fucking troll, openly opining and wondering how to get that billboard removed and who I can put the economic screws to too make it happen. holy shit your mind must be fucking melting, send your fucking gestapo after me. don't tell me what I can and can't think, you fucking twit. go fuck yourself.

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DON'T think about pink elephants.

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Omg the humor!

Like it's funny cause they are pink. I get it.

Find a way to go fuck yourself.

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You don't know the first amendment.

Not saying you have to like it or the group that's saying it, but if it offends you, too bad. This is about as clear an example of protected speech you can find.

Likewise, people can protest it, ( that's equally protected).

Move on. Nothing to see here.

PS- this statement is a fundamental tenet of all Christianity and the foundation of historic efforts at conversion. it's not an opinion. According to the Bible, Jesus said this himself. "I am the way the life and the truth. No one comes to the Father except through me." If I recall the bible verse.

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If that phone number led to someone reading the Sermon on the Mount aloud, reciting the Lord's Prayer, or telling people to practice charity, fewer people would be upset. Jesus (if he existed) may have said that about being the only way to the Father; he didn't preach against divorce and homosexuality.

Lots of people identify as Christians, and they believe many different things, and disagree with each other, loudly.

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Then you don't know the First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Show where Congress is making, or somebody is trying to get Congress to make, a law prohibiting this billboard.

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There are rights granted, legislated and regulated by the government. Those rights are exercised by the people.

This is a clear example of the latter. I don't get the fuss over people exercising their rights. It's their right to make a fuss, but it's kind of like staring up in the air and ranting at the sky.

Like I said, get over it. Move on. It will go away faster if you ignore it.

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...of one man backpedaling?

Also, has anyone ever seen you and Roman in the same place?

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With some modest limits, people can say what they want. It's called protected speech. It's protected by the first amendment. Sorry it doesn't fit your narrative, but that's the reference here.

This is a tempest in a teapot, but everybody is looking for something to get outraged about these days so have at it if it makes your day. Your speech is also protected by that same first amendment.

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With some modest limits, people can say what they want. It's called protected speech.

Really? Try it in your workplace.

You really don't know anything about the First Amendment, so this is a useless discussion. It's been said to you multiple times that there is no question of government curtailing the expression of this billboard, yet you keep bleating "First Amendment! First Amendment! If you don't see it you're blind!" Come back when you've read that "modest" paragraph and we'll talk.

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With nobody to exercise them?

You keep insisting on making a one sided argument when it takes two to tango. The strength of the first amendment is not aa an abstract philosophy. It's strength is the practical application against the indignant saying you shouldn't exercise it, which is apparently part of what's going on on Facebook.

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The strength of the first amendment is not aa an abstract philosophy. It's strength is the practical application against the indignant saying you shouldn't exercise it, which is apparently part of what's going on on Facebook.

Okay, cupcake, I tell you what then. You create a website, then I'll tell you that you must allow all content there in the name of the First Amendment. You establish a house of worship, then I'll tell you that all religions must be able to have services there in the name of the First Amendment. You open a bookstore, then I'll tell you that you must sell ALL THE BOOKS because First Amendment.

You really do not understand any part of how this works.

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I understand the first amendment.

But I have no idea how any of this is remotely relevant to my point.

This organization is CHOOSING to exercise their rights in a particular manner.

Nobody is forcing them to do this and this is NOT a case of workplace free speech or restriction thereof.

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First, this isn't a First Amendment issue. The First Amendment deals solely with government actions. If the government ordered Clear Channel to take down that billboard, that would be a First Amendment issue. Ditto if they ordered Clear Channel to keep the billboard up.

Nobody is asking the city or state (and certainly not the current federal government) to do anything about the sign.

Yes, most religious groups consider their way to heaven the One True Path. As a member of a group that has been persecuted for a couple thousand years now for taking a different path than the majority, you'll have to excuse me if I find this group shoving that in my face like this billboard does a bit more than just an observation of their religious freedom. What reaction do you think you'd get if you went up to random people in Copley Square and just started reciting John 14:6 at them?

Again, as I said earlier, I really find this sign more ludicrous than harmful, but I can certainly empathize with people who feel more strongly about it.

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Nobody is asking the city or state (and certainly not the current federal government) to do anything about the sign.

Nobody? I am! I'm asking the city to ban ALL billboards because they uglify the environment. Plus I hate all advertisers, marketers, and suchlike swine no matter what kind of lies they're pushing.

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Everybody loves regurgitating cliche "wisdom" even when they it doesn't apply.

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I'm about as non-religious as they come but this sign didn't offend or hurt me a la the OP on Quirky. I saw it, laughed & kept driving. Personally if I were a "believer" I'd be pissed at whomever is spending this much cash on an ad rather than using it to help people.

I don't like the pro-life license plates but if someone wants to have one that is their prerogative. For me it's just a nice little flag to know to avoid them...lol. Or if I was so passionate about it I would try and get a pro-choice plate out there but I don't need to do b/c I know where I stand. West Roxbury is and always has been an incredibly Catholic area.

If it bothers people that much then call PP, NARAL, ACLU, GLADD, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster & get them to put an add up there once this one finishes the contract. Or collect funds to put up your own ad saying whatever the heck you'd like.

Privilege truly is being able to be so outraged over a sign that is literally doing nothing to you. Again, I am no fan of religion and its hypocrisy but to be outraged over every perceived slight doesn't help put a light on the real issues that are hurting people today.

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I think that's the best post I've read on this message thread.

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...to not care, and your expression of it.

I laugh my ass off at your preachy pronouncement about how other people should feel about it.

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I'll defend their free speech rights, but question their wisdom. Seems a waste of church/whomever's money to do that around here.

Anyway, we've been dealing with these on the Lynnway for years. At least they're not in LED form!

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I like it! It's punchy and edgy, and as an ad campaign it will appeal to people who are in the market for God but have not yet heard of Jesus. Also, bold gamble on providing a phone number instead of a website. Excited to see if it pays off.

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That's hilarious that it's right above the Corrib. My husband and I go there every Sunday after church across the street! Have the parish is at the bar after church! Too funny. I'm Irish so I can't help it.

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I have seen several visible from I-93 in that area. They all say something to effect that Jesus and Heaven/Hell are real because we say so. Or that life doesn't end at death and we can prove it.

They all have the same graphics/fonts.

Its pretty damn tame, really. They more amuse than offend me, as they are objectively disputable, but I can see how others might feel pressured or even threatened given their hateful web messages. Perhaps the best move would be to raise $$$ to replace this with an ecumenical message or even an atheistic one.

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...raise $$$ to replace this with...

How about this:

Jesus Gonzales, the local Latino barber, puts up a billboard there that says: "Jesus Shaves!"

Although I admit some people might find the ad a little hairy.

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