A few godly residents of Charlotte, North Carolina, took it upon themselves to vandalize a patriotic billboard that had been erected alongside Billy Graham Parkway last week. The billboard, erected just in time for the Independence Day holiday, features a waving American flag behind the boldly printed phrase “One Nation Indivisible”.
Using blue spraypaint, the anonymous graffitists scrawled the words “UNDER GOD” along the bottom of the sign.
“One Nation Indivisible” is a controversial message? What could possibly be less controversial? As a message of national solidarity, it seems to encompass everyone and exclude no one, unlike the current version of our Pledge of Allegiance, which has “under God” shoehorned in between “nation” and “indivisible” just as crudely as you see it on that billboard. As a national motto, it is second only to “Out of Many, One” in describing the American democratic ideal. We may disagree with one another, but we remain united.
The billboard is one of several sponsored by the North Carolina Secular Association. The group’s founder, Joseph McDaniel Stewart, said the act of vandalism only underlines how needed the billboard’s message is. “Inserting ‘under God’ on our billboard is like inserting it into the original pledge in 1954: it divides us as a nation. Our sign doesn’t say ‘One nation under no God’; it is inclusive. It says ‘One Nation Indivisible.’ All we are asking for is a level playing field and the same consideration that any other citizen would expect for themselves. We think everyone should do unto others as they would have others do unto them. But some people seem to have missed that part of our message.”
So, in case you were wondering, now you know: When is it permissible to deface a billboard bearing an American flag and a patriotic message? When that billboard fails to include a divisive religious message.
According to the Observer, the billboard should be restored to its original state before Independence Day this Sunday. Thank heaven for small favors.