Owner of local construction company sponsored alternate billboard
by Jon Walker and Nick Lowrey, August 26, 2013
Sioux Falls has dueling billboards.
A sign went up on West 12th Street last week saying, “Don’t believe in God? Join the club.”
Now another sign is up greeting motorists at 12th and Grange. It quotes Psalm 14.
“The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”
BSR Construction is sponsoring the new billboard in direct response to the sign that the South Dakota Coalition of Reason placed last week.
“I think there’s a lot of people who do believe in God, and I just wanted to represent them,” said William Kreider, 44, owner of BSR Construction.
Westbound motorists at 12th and Grange can see both signs at the same time.
The display with the message questioning God’s existence is a sign with a single message that does not rotate.
The new one Kreider is sponsoring is a Lamar electronic billboard that has rotating messages in four-second intervals. The Psalm 14 quote appears every sixth slide. The New Internation Version of the Bible attributes Psalm 14 to King David of Israel writing 3,000 years ago. It’s often quoted as a specific response to the idea of atheism or as a more general comment on anyone who might acknowledge God but act as though he doesn’t exist.
“It’s kind of the opposite of what they’re doing,” Kreider said. “I’m hoping it sparks something … I hope it sparks some debate.”
For SDCoR member Amanda Novotny, the new billboard, which she said seemed targeted directly at her organization’s own sign, misses the point of what her organization was trying to do.
“Believers aren’t our target audience,” Novotny said. “It’s just letting people know they are not alone.”
Krieder said he had put up a similar message last week on a billboard on 41st Street near O’Gorman High School. The message moved this week to 12th Street. He declined to say what the effort is costing him.
“I just thought we should have an alternate viewpoint out there,” Kreider said. “I don’t have a problem with people being atheists, but I just wanted to give God a chance. I’m defending my God, basically.”
The South Dakota Coalition of Reason put up seven billboards in Sioux Falls, Brookings, Vermillion, Rapid City and Spearfish.
Novotny said before SDCoR placed its billboards, the organization used social media to share its message. She said she really didn’t have a problem with the new sign.
“One of the things that’s great about America is freedom of speech, so they have every right to put up a bill board,” Novotny said.
Tell us your thoughts: Do you think this was a good response to the original billboard?
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