Atheists’ sign defaced

Local group Atheists of Butte County laments vandalized road sign

An Adopt-a-Highway sign along Highway 99 near Nelson Road that recognizes a group of nonbelievers for its efforts to clear trash along a stretch of the highway was vandalized in recent days, according to George Gold, the group’s president. The words “God loves” were placed above “Atheists of Butte County.”

“This shows loud and clear just how necessary our group is,” Gold said. “Whenever an atheist is public about her or his identity, there are others who will seek to impose and proselytize their opposing views. This is why our group works to offer a safe space for freedom of conscience.”

Last year, someone pasted the word “pray” on the pole holding up the sign. The group made the required 12 trash pickups last year, Gold said, and is expected to exceed that number this year.