• Tulsa pastor responds to billboard near his church promoting atheist convention

    By: Rick Maranon


    Story Highlights

    • An atheist advocacy group purchased billboard space in Tulsa, among other cities, promoting an upcoming convention.
    • A pastor who preaches at a church near one of the local billboards said he is not offended by the sign.
    • The American Atheists group said they hope the sign will bring comfort for atheists and non-believers during a time of the year that can be lonely or painful for some.

    TULSA, Okla. - An atheist advocacy group has purchased billboard space in four U.S. cities, including Tulsa, to promote a convention being held in Oklahoma City next year, and the move has prompted conversation in Green Country.

    Nick Fish, an American Atheists spokesman, told FOX23 News Monday that the group had purchased billboard space through the holiday season in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Texas, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    Fish said the billboard isn’t meant to be offensive, but he hopes it will promote the group’s national convention being held in Oklahoma City in March.

    Reverend Bernardo Rangel preaches at Good Shepard Lutheran Church across I-44 from one of the billboards in east Tulsa.

    Rangel said he isn’t offended by the billboard, which Fish said is meant to provide comfort to atheists and non-believers during a time of year that can be lonely or even painful for some.

    Rangel said he believes that people who reject the Christmas story have been hurt by the church in the past in some way, and he thinks it is the church’s job to make things right with someone hurt by the church, but he believes Christianity should not be forced upon someone.

    American Atheists said they considered more controversial postings about the Christmas story, but when the billboard company did not permit them, they went with a billboard design that references Santa Claus instead.

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