So I Want to Buy a Billboard...


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Although the famous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925 ended long ago, tensions between religious fundamentalists and secularist still run high here in Dayton. Passions were recently reignited by a local billboard war.

First, the Freedom from Religion Foundation put this billboard up just outside the Dayton city limits:

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Then, local activist June Griffin put this one up in town:

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The billboard wars have left Dayton residents with two equally ill-informed choices. The first advocates sacrificing faith on the altar of science, while the second advocates sacrificing science (not to mention civility) on the altar of faith. These competing billboards create the impression that one must choose between deifying Darwin on the one hand and vilifying scientists on the other. They imply that we have only two options—to give up our faith or give up our intellectual integrity.

As a Christian who recognizes the mounting scientific evidence in support of the theory of evolution, I think a third option should be represented. I think it’s time to move past the name-calling, and reject as false the choice between faith in God and respect for science. This is a view that I believe is shared by many in this community, although it is rarely represented.

With that in mind, my husband and I designed this billboard:

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We called the local billboard company. Not surprisingly, it’s a bit pricey to put up a billboard, even for a month.  So instead we’ve created some "Evolve Beyond the Choice" stickers and yard signs for those of you who want to have a little fun and make a statement around town. We figured that if we sell enough to cover half of the cost, we’ll buy a billboard spot ourselves.  (Also, if you know of an organization/person who might be interested in supporting such a board, contact me.)

I believe that we honor God when we embrace what His creation has to teach us, and that we imitate Jesus Christ when we treat one another with kindness and respect. Even if we don’t get the billboard spot, I think it’s important to communicate the fact that an alternative exists, that you don’t have to choose between worshipping Darwin or calling people monkeys.

So, if you could put up a billboard in Dayton, what would yours say?

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