Yesterday, members of the Atheists of Florida met up in Lakeland to get a group photo in front of one of their “One Nation Indivisible” billboards. As it turned out, when the Atheists arrived, Richard Geringswald, a local evangelical who has been making a point to protest the fact that there are Atheists living in Lakeland, had already arrived with a few of his fellow Christian protestors in tow.
Richard Geringswald and his group held Christian themed signs along with some truck-mounted signs. The truck, with a sign that said “He Has Risen” was strategically parked to obstruct the planned group photo.
When the Atheists arrived, Geringswald and his group started yelling to get their attention. The atheists ignored them and called the Polk County Sheriff’s just to ensure that the photo shoot could continue without incident. The organizers of the photo shoot decided that instead of asking Geringswald’s group to move their truck they would simply take the photo from an alternate spot, which apparently worked out well.
Ellenbeth Wachs, organizer of the event and the designer of the billboards mused about “How sad that Mr. Geringswald felt the necessity to try to ruin our group photo.” Though she did think it was funny that the wind blew the “He Has Risen” sign off the truck that had been used to obstruct the photo shoot saying, “his ‘god’ played a joke on him and … we got the last laugh.”
Thursday, on July 22th, the Atheists of Florida are hosting a Meet the Patriots event in Lakeland to introduce the local community to Atheists who “exemplify the ideals of American Patriotism” including a military veteran.
- Patriotic Atheists to take photos
- Atheists of Florida sue city of Lakeland
- Atheists are patriots too
For more information:
- Atheists of Florida
- Meet the Atheists information
Here is the group photo the Atheists took in Lakeland with their billboard
Here is a photo of the counter protestors with their “under god” signs.
Note: Having reviewed the photos provided by Mr. Geringswald – it is clear that they did take park their van in the prime photo spot. It is also interesting that he said there weren’t many atheists so the cause must not be popular, but there are definitely more atheists then Christians who showed up that day. Regardless, no photos were provided of the rain though there is one photo (in the sun) where one of the Christians is holding an umbrella.