Removing illegally placed religious propaganda

Atheist Street Pirates is a group which removes illegally placed religious propaganda from public property nationwide & reports them on a map. If anyone wants to report these signs, whether they’re cardboard signs, stickers, metal signs, banners, flags, graffiti, whether they’re on street signs, power poles, anywhere on public property, please go to the website for Atheist Street Pirates.

Anyone who wants to officially join ASP & help remove this propaganda, please go to the website then scroll down & click where it says “Join A Local Crew” to be directed to an email form which you will need to fill out with your contact information. Not long after filling it out & sending it, you will be contacted by a member who will explain some things to you about what ASP does & give you some tips & tricks then send you an invite to join the group on the Slack app.

*Bear in mind that it is NOT illegal to remove these signs yourself as long as they are on public property & not private property.

My first thought was “Be Careful!” If I was a religious nut job and I posted something in public. In a place where it was allowed to be posted. And then you came around and ripped it down. I would sue your ass. Public places are not all illegal. If they remove a sign in a public place where anyone has the right to post, it sounds like a hate crime. Not all public places are off limits. Religions can freely post messages on collage campus bulletin boards. Any place an atheist club or group could post a message, a Church can also post a message. That’s a right guaranteed by the first amendment. I’m not actually sure I agree with these guys. Are churches actually going out and posting things in places where they are not supposed to? There are city fines for posting flyers in places where they are not allowed. Churches or religious institutions are not exempt from these fines. Churches have a first amendment right to post what they like on public property when that property is open to the public for posting,

Fly-posting is the unauthorized placing of advertising - usually posters or stickers - on any available surface. You can report graffiti and fly-posting to your council.

I would not support the removal of religious literature from any public place where I also have the right to post. Their first amendment rights are also my first amendment rights. Groups like this worry me. As long as they are removing literature or posters from actual places where it is illegal, I suppose that would be fine. But this seems weird. Why not report them to the city and have the city fine the church or the organization. If you have enough protesters, it seems you could force the city’s hand.

Just some thoughts I had. I hate street preachers as much as the next atheist, but I will defend their right to free speech.

--------- What’s really sad is that they would not do the same for me. ------------- never the less…


You are misunderstanding a lot here. Yes they absolutely are illegal when they’re on public property such as power poles, street signs, roadsides etc. & people do not have the legal right to post them there, hence most cities & states in the country having ordinances against placing signs like these in the public right if way. Removing these signs is also not a hate crime at all, it’s not any kind of crime on any level; I’ve removed many of these propaganda signs from public property in front of police officers & state patrols without them even saying anything.

“I would sue your ass” :rofl: yeah & you would get laughed out of court very quickly if this even made it that far. Considering how unreasonably highly litigious some Christians & Christian organizations tend to be, I have no doubt some of them would want to pursue some kind of legal action over this, but that does not mean they would have a legitimate case or that I’m in the wrong. Unless I took these down from a church property or someone’s front yard (which is not what we do because that is illegal) you probably wouldn’t even be able to take me to court over this. To any religious people who want to sue me for removing these from public property, go ahead & sue me, I guarantee you will waste your time & fail miserably.

You’re right when you say not all public places are off limits, but under the law that does not include power poles, street signs, or roadsides & the First Amendment does not give you the right to violate that law. Freedom of speech still has certain limitations & contrary to what some people think, being a Christian does not make you exempt from such limitations. We also do not remove propaganda from college campuses or vandalize billboards because that is illegal. College campus bulletin boards belong to the college campus & therefore they decide what is allowed on their bulletin boards & billboards like what you see when you’re out driving are actually placed on private property most of the time, so often times you can get arrested just for being on the property where they are placed, not even for vandalizing them.

I don’t think churches as a whole are doing this, not where I live, at least. From what I’ve noticed, it’s mostly if not entirely individuals who are usually crazy with nothing better to do & many of them tend to be very hateful & intolerant of people who don’t believe what they believe. And you’re right, anywhere atheists are allowed to post messages, Christians are too & that does not include public property such as what I mentioned in this post. The people who put these signs up are knowingly & brazenly breaking the law because they believe that their religion is above the law & citing the First Amendment does not make that ok.

If a group like Atheist Street Pirates actually worries you, then you are worried about the wrong thing because we are not doing anything illegal or harmful or dangerous unlike high interest hate groups in the United States, plenty of which are Christian organizations.

You can call removing these signs weird all you want, but it’s much more weird & creepy to post these ugly ass signs everywhere with the obvious hellbent intention of converting as many people to your cult as possible through fear, which is one of the worst reasons if not the worst reason possible to believe anything. Seriously, show me 1 person that’s been converted to Christianity because of these signs. I guarantee you nobody converts to Christianity because of these things, if anything they just get pushed further away from it. If a sticker or a cardboard sign of all things is enough to convert you to a religion, then you’ve gotta be the most gullible person alive.

I agree that street preachers do have the right to free speech & this is not free speech, this is exceeding the limitations of free speech.

You agreed to all lmy main points? What was this post about?

So you compare yourself to a hate group? Isn’t that worrisome enough? LOL Really? We are not as bad as them! That is your argument.

Gets me back to my main point. Deal with it civilly and have them pay the fines. Take pictures of them hanging the signs.

I’ve read the information on the website. People don’t just go about ripping down signs in public. They take pictures, do the research, and then pull the signs when they know they can.

That aside, I can think of better things to do with my time. It seems trite. Even so, everyone gets to have a hobby. Have fun.

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“We are not as bad as them?” No, I’m not comparing myself to a hate group, what the fuck are you talking about? Removing this propaganda the way we do is not bad or wrong at all, posting it everywhere & shoving your religion in everyone’s face is.

I’m gonna keep taking these things down, which is not uncivil as you implied. I already take photos of & report these to code enforcement by the way, as do other members of the group. Unfortunately, code enforcement is often times not very responsive depending on the city it’s reported in & even when they are, their response times are usually slow, so it’s usually a hell of a lot easier & less time consuming to just remove it yourself.

That’s another thing, too; if you don’t wanna help take these down then that’s fine, no hard feelings over that, but this seriously does not take much time or effort like some people seem to think it does. It actually takes much more time, effort & resources to post them the way these people do. It’s not like this is all I do with my time, either; I’m not spending every day hunting these signs down like looking for hidden treasure. There’s a lot of days when I don’t see or remove any signs & most of the time it actually takes me almost no effort to find these signs, in fact most of the signs I’ve taken down I just chanced upon while driving to a friend’s house or driving home from work or something.

Also some of the people who put these signs up have made it clear that they will not stop for anything, including the police or the law so don’t think that making them pay a fine will make these signs go away forever. It won’t. The type of people who post these signs are fucking lunatics & they also tend to be people who support shit like Christian Nationalism & religious indoctrination being taught to kids in public schools.

Hi Richey. I don’t have a problem with this as long as what they are doing is illegal and what you are doing is legal. I concur with Cog on the free speech issue. But I imagine it feels good to rip down those signs.
Have you tried, or been able, to determine if this activity is making a difference? If it is, great. But if you don’t know, you should find out. That data would be beneficial in that if it’s not making a substantive difference to society, perhaps channeling that time and energy into something that would be of benefit would be better.
For instance, you mentioned the push for xtian nationalalisn…maybe using the time and energy to work supporting secularism in government would be of more use than pulling down signs. Eh? Put up signs encouraging folks to vote with the reasons why they should vote.

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Obviously what I am doing is not illegal, otherwise I would not be publicly sharing a website about it & you’re wrong if you think this is an interference with free speech, especially considering how privileged Christians already are when it comes to being able to share their religion, but admittedly you’re not wrong about it feeling good to remove these signs. It’s basically a “fuck you” to people who think their religion is above the law & that everyone should be forced to see it & hear about it everywhere they go all day long.

What do you mean making a difference? It definitely makes something of a difference as far as cleaning up trash off the streets & not having to see people advertise their cult to your face everywhere you go. Your point is obviously that if what I’m doing is not fixing the world then I should do something else, tell that to the people who post this shit everywhere & also ask them how many people they’ve converted with these signs because I’ve never heard of anyone joining a religion because of a bandit sign.

There is already effort being made to increase the presence of secularism in the U.S. government, but that is not easy since there is a lot of stigma surrounding atheists & secularism, especially in the bible belt where I live. No matter how much effort is made to support secularism in politics, that does not mean it’s ok for these propaganda signs to be posted everywhere or that I should leave them up. Fuck that. And that’s funny how you think me removing these signs is a waste of time & you want to convince me that there’s better things for me to do, yet you’re also suggesting that I post signs encouraging people to vote. That makes no sense.

Damn your touchy. When did I say it was uncivil. I said it could be illegal. It’s not illegal to post on all public property. I said “Everyone needs a hobby. Knock yourself out.” I also said if I was posting signs legally in public places, and you were targeting me by ripping them down. I would sue you for a hate crime. Lucky for you, your organization is doing what it can to make sure you do not rip down anything that is legally posted. So have fun with your hobby. I said it was “trite.” Not very useful. At no point did I call it uncivil.

And I am questioning the mental qualities of people who form a posse, go out and do ‘good’ in the name of atheism and to battle the ‘EVIL’ Christians,. “We’re not doing anything illegal.” is the argument you have? Okay… have fun. You’re not as bad as some other hate groups. Okay, if you say so. Like I said… “Everyone needs a hobby.”

How are you questioning the mental qualities of people who remove this propaganda but not the people who post it? Atheist Street Pirates is not a hate group at all. Taking down illegally posted propaganda meant to convert you to a hateful, exclusionary, manipulative cult through fear is not hate.

If you don’t agree with removing this stuff, then you’re entitled to that opinion, but calling this a hate group when we don’t incite violence or vandalism, nor do we slander people or groups we disagree with or push for laws restricting other people’s rights, is misleading & incorrect.

Wow! You straw-manned the heck out of me!

Edited to add: looks like you’re straw-manning @Cognostic as well.

No I didn’t, I never “straw manned” anyone. You pulled that out of your ass.

Dude I’m not posting here to debate with anyone, I’m posting this to find people who are interested in joining the efforts to remove illegally placed religious propaganda. Some people are, some people are not. If you’re not interested, then fine. I’ll leave it at that & move on.

  1. It appears you don’t know what a straw man is.
  2. Why did you call me “dude”?
  3. Perhaps moving on from this subject would be best.

I’m pretty sure a straw man is where you misconstrue someone’s argument to make it easier to attack, which I was not doing. If I misunderstood something you or the other person said, then that was my mistake, but what you were saying came off as wanting me to think I’m wasting my time & violating other people’s rights & that I should find better things to do but I’ve already thoroughly checked the laws on this to make sure I am not in the wrong & on my end this doesn’t feel very time consuming or like it’s the most important thing I do in my life. Whatever your opinion is, you’re entitled to it.

From Wikipedia:
“ A straw man fallacy is the…informal fallacy…of refuting an argument different from the one actually under discussion.

You said, “ Your point is obviously that if what I’m doing is not fixing the world then I should do something else.” That was not what I said, it is not what I meant but you argued as if I did. Ergo, it was a straw man.

Nope…I specifically asked if you had checked to see if your activity was making a difference. Have you?

As are you. Be advised, however, that you chose to post here. If your expectation is/was that whatever you had to say would go unchallenged then it appears you were incorrect, eh?

Make sure you do something productive with the materials:

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If you can identify who is illegally posting these messages, it might be worth trying to get them charged? Though I am not from the US, and from what I have heard I imagine it might be that the authorities may be reluctant to prosecute. However this seems like a more pragmatic approach if it’s possible to get these people prosecuted.

Oh, and welcome to AR btw.


@CyberLN Well, if I misunderstood what you said earlier then I will concede to that, my apologies.

I’m definitely not surprised that not 100% of everyone agrees with me removing religious propaganda even if it’s not illegal to remove them, but I was expecting more of that from Christians & less of that from other atheists. I got much more support on Reddit when I shared ASP there.

As for making a difference, I don’t know exactly how big of a difference it makes overall, but it does clean up litter & make streets look better, plus it eliminates the exclusionary vibe that only Christians are welcome here. There are many other people who also support removing these signs & don’t want to see them everywhere they go, including some Christians & it’s always nicer & more relaxing to drive around without seeing bandit signs everywhere telling you something is wrong with you if you don’t join the cult being shown on the sign.

The most they would get is a fine & these people don’t care about that. There’s this guy named Brent Farley who quit his job to travel around the United States putting up these ugly yellow signs high up on power poles that say “Jesus Saves” & he has made it clear that he knows it’s against the law & he will not stop even for the police or legal action. That’s the kind of people who post this shit, delusional people who think their religion is above the law & deserves special privileges over all others.

Howdy, Rich. Welcome to the AR. Personally, I live in the middle of the Bible Belt. Can’t hardly turn a corner anywhere without seeing a church, a church billboard, huge fudging crosses, or huge roadside advertising billboards plastered with church/religious messages. Can’t walk out in a public place without seeing t-shirts, jewelry, tattoos (YES, I said tattoos.) adorning pretty much every other person you pass. Then there are the trucks, cars, and busses on the highways covered with various religious-themed bumper stickers and window decals. So, to be honest, a few little flyers on a utility pole or poster signs on a stick along the side of the road is not exactly enough to get my knickers in a wad. (The irony, however, is that really isn’t even much of an issue around here anyway.) Plus, those same utility poles and such are also used to post “Lost Pet” notices and other such announcements from time to time. So, to take down all the religious stuff (if any) would also mean having to take down all the other harmless non-religious materials that are present. Honestly, just seems to me like a bunch of excessive work and wasted time to accomplish a rather petty task. While I DO understand the principle behind what the group is doing, it all seems too… :thinking:… well, pointless (for lack of a better term). How is that solving anything or addressing the actual problem? Basically, I’m picturing a group of ants standing on a train track holding up stop signs as the locomotive rushes toward them. (Hint: That train ain’t gonna stop because of what those ants are doing.) But, as my ol’ buddy Cog has already said, everybody needs a hobby. If that’s what floats your boat, then by all means go have fun. No skin off my nose… (shrugging shoulders)…

Meanwhile, on a side note…

It’s Saturday here and I have a little cold. I took a nap and the first thought I had upon waking was interesting. I realized I would support your little Atheist remove religios signs from public movement if you were in fact removing ‘ALL’ illegally posted signs from public.

  1. By doing so you are actually providing a community service. (You are cleaning up the streets.)
  2. You are not being a bigot and targeting a specific group of people.

I propose that you alter your mission. Help your community by removing all illegally posted signs and not just the ones you disagree with. Let the community know that you care how it looks and that you are helping to keep it beautiful. (That would be the only way I would ever support such a group.) You are in fact a ‘hate group.’ You are in fact targeting a specific population. You are in fact acting from a position of bigotry. You are being told this by someone who is a member of the atheist community. A fellow atheist. You are being a bigot. You are acting from a position of bigotry.

Bigot: : obstinate or intolerant devotion to one’s own opinions and prejudices

  1. stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.