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Utah sign companies deny God’s love

Written by Bob Henline

The “One and Only God of the Internet,” a comedian who has launched a project to place “God Loves Gays” billboards in hot spots around the country, has announced a decision to place a billboard in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has been denied by the two largest outdoor advertising companies in the valley:  Reagan Outdoor and Young Electric Sign Company.

Earlier this year, “God” announced plans to place a billboard in Topeka, KS, home of Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church.  A fundraising effort was launched on Indiegogo, an internet-based crowdsourcing platform.

godlovesgays

The response was so overwhelming that God moved forward with other plans.  Over $30,000 has been raised and donated to The Trevor Project, Planting for Peace, and the National Alliance to End Homelessness.  Additional money was raised to buy bus ads in Topeka.  The decision was then made to start raising funds for billboards in other locations.

Mark Lawrence of Restore Our Humanity, the group that initiated the Kitchen v. Herbert lawsuit for marriage equality in Utah, contacted God and suggested Salt Lake City as the next possible billboard site.  God agreed and set a $20,000 fundraising goal to make it happen.  As off press time, less than $8,000 is needed to achieve that goal.

Lawrence undertook the project to find the best possible location for the billboard, but when he contacted Young Electric Sign Company and Reagan Outdoor Advertising he was told that they would not sell him the billboard space for the project.  This reporter contacted both companies for comment.  Reagan did not return calls.  Jeff Young, Chief Marketing Officer of YESCO, provided the following statement:

“YESCO evaluates all requests for advertising placement to make the best decision for our clients, our company and the communities in which we operate.  We balance that with a strong commitment to adhere to community standards and to ensure that the messages placed are not offensive towards any business, group or individual.”

A follow-up email asking what was deemed to be potentially offensive, and to whom, remains unanswered as of press time.

This isn’t the first time that Reagan and YESCO have denied billboards.  Earlier this year the American Atheists attempted to purchase boards to advertise their national convention, held in Salt Lake City in April.  Both Reagan and YESCO denied the signs, with YESCO issuing a very similar canned statement.

American Atheists Public Relations Director Dave Muscato commented:  “Atheists exist, and that’s true and will continue to be true whether Mormons like it or not. We’re not bad people and pretending that we don’t exist or denying us services because we use the “A”-word is not only discriminatory but it shows just how much they fear people finding out that the lies they tell us about us aren’t true. Indoctrination requires isolation from information, and it really says a lot about the Christian mindset that they feel they have to demonize us and silence us—it says that they’re afraid of finding out they’re wrong, and that’s a very important message.”

When asked for his comment on the denial, God added: “So the idea that God loves gay people is offensive to them? So they are saying that Mormons believe that God hates gay people? Isn’t that infinitely MORE offensive?”

The crowdfunding project for the billboard can be found at bit.ly/godbillboard.

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About the author

Bob Henline

Bob Henline is the Assistant Editor of QSalt Lake Magazine, as well as a columnist and social/political activist and amateur chef.

21 Comments

  • It's interesting to note that YESCO biggest market is Las Vegas. Signs there… well they could afford most folk anywhere. But really, did the companies run this by the LDS Brass?

  • They are both LDS companies and very politically involved here. Why would it shock us that they won't support our sign? They are the monopoly and can do what they wish I guess. Only in Utah!

  • Here's an example of a billboard that was challenged by YESCO and Reagan, but was able to be posted on a CBS billboard: http://mormonthink.com/img/mtbillboard5.png.

    I'm not saying it's okay that YESCO and Reagan did this (their actions are needlessly discriminatory), but let's not be salacious and ignore the fact that the people who are organizing this intentionally avoided companies who would gladly allow it.

  • Greg Green Me too…so I'd really like to see the people who are organizing this effort go to companies who'd gladly publish it.

  • CBS sold their Utah properties this past year. Restore Our Humanity is now working with a broker on some independent properties.

  • Then there is the Reagan sign on I-15 southbound at 39th S. that says " Equal Opportunity Employer except for ***holes"
    for Pluralsight.com (asterisks theirs)

  • Steve Sims uhm what? It's the truth, and I see no point in drumming up controversy when the creators of this project seem to intentionally have only petitioned known LDS billboard companies.

  • Dustin Dastrup – Bill said "Reagan also denied a billboard to Mormon Think", then you said, "not true" but then your evidence was the CBS put up a Mormon Think billboard. So I said, "uhmmm", meaning CBS is not Reagan. That's all

  • Say NO to the Radical Mormon Agenda, before their "true prophet" turns his icy eye of bigotry on YOUR family.

  • These companies are not owned nor operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and to put blame on one religious organization for the decisions of one (or two) company is just as judgmental as claiming the companies are being.
    And of course God loves gay people. He loves murders, thieves, liars, rapists, adulterers, dishonest people too- and even blondes! I mean come on. Loving someone and approving of what they do are entirely different.

  • Julie, I agree that the companies are not owned by the LDS church. We know that there is strong influence from the LDS faith in their decisions as to what to run. However, it is also hypocritical that they choose to run billboards in the Las Vegas market that would be found offensive here. It appears they business model is also greatly influenced by money. Money and faith run their business model and money often trumps faith. You stated it "of course God loves gay people." I find the billboard expressing the same sentiment further reinforces God's love of all people and find nothing wrong from proclaiming that on a billboard. And, Julie, I love you and your family will all my heart.

  • My dad worked for YESCO for over 30 years. The company owners are lds. I find it very ironic that the billboards in southern Utah and Nevada advertising gambling with nearly naked women (both are against the lds church) but they have a problem with a 'god loves gays' or an Atheist billboard.
    They and ksl broke the law for years until ksl was up for its FCC renewal and the FCC found out about it.

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