A mobile billboard being toted around the country to the same venues as the Romney campaign is causing controversy for it's message, which states that the Mormon chuch did not allow African Americans to join the church until 1978, and currently bars members of the LGBT community from membership.
The billboard is being touted by American Atheists, Inc. President Dave Silverman as a target on the LDS church. Silverman states,
"It's targeted at Mormonism specifically because a lot of people are simply not considering the ramifications or possible ramifications of a Mormon president."
Mr. Silverman maintains that Governor Romney has yet to clarify is stances on the separation clause of the First Amendment, as well as equality and diversity. He states these reasons for the creation of the billboard, which is getting a lot of attention wherever it lands. The billboard was present at the debate on October 22nd in Boca Raton, FL.
A local ABC affiliate, ABC4 News, received a communication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which states,
"This group seems not to know that there have been black members of the Church since our earliest history, and there are many faithful gay members of the Church today. We would be happy to introduce the group to any of our millions of members of different ethnicity who would be happy to educate them on our diversity.”
Silverman countered with,
"We are not saying he would be a good president or a bad president. We are saying the separation of church and state is a serious issue and diversity is a serious issue."
Mormon Voices, a group that defends the LDS Church in the media, vehemently opposed the billboard. The Christian Post reports that John Lynch, Managing Director of Mormon Voices, responded to the billboard as follows:
"Despite a history of never having segregated congregations and numerous ordinations of black males to the priesthood from its earliest days until the 1950's, like virtually all other identifiable groups (including atheists), the LDS Church has not been perfect in its treatment of blacks."
Silverman maintains his position, and the American Atheists, Inc. website issued a statement which says, in part,
“The American population is woefully unaware of the implications of a Mormon president because nobody is discussing the issue. Mormonism is a non-Abrahamic religion that has already used its money and might to impose its beliefs on the non-Mormon citizens of California.
“We need to know if Mr. Romney supports these and other discriminatory actions of his church, for which he evangelized when it was still overtly racist, and to which he continues to donate millions of dollars. It’s a fair statement to say that all American citizens should be wary of a president who once proselytized, to Christians and Atheists alike, for a living."
American Atheists maintains that it is not taking a position in the presidential election, but is concerned about whether or not a candidate will use the Oval office to impose personal religious beliefs and doctrine on the general public.