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A strong case of religion and race matters.

An atheist group put up this billboard in a racially diverse neighborhood in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, angering Civil Rights activists who called for its removal:

The atheists behind the sign said they were trying to draw attention to the state House’s recent designation of 2012 as “The Year of the Bible” — an action by lawmakers that the atheists have called offensive.

But there were concerns that erecting such a billboard is playing with fire.

“If this had been Detroit, there would have been a riot,” said Aaron Selvey of Harrisburg, who visited the billboard site last Wednesday (March 7), the day after the sign was put up and later torn down.

“We don’t want things to escalate into violence or community tension, so we try to address situations like that right away,” added Shannon Powers, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. “We would not recommend tearing down because it could lead to escalation. It hasn’t, and we’re tremendously thankful for that.”

The billboard was quickly replaced with an ad for the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra.

What do you think of the billboard?

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