ORANGE COUNTY, N.C. - It's an effective, traditional way to get your message out there: the billboard. The more controversial or bizarre, the more likely it is to get your attention and create a buzz, off of the roads and out of the car.
You may remember some of these billboards from just the past year - from the controversial Spookywoods advertisement, to a 'missing person' advertisement for a local lawmaker, to even the famed "Real men provide, Real women appreciate it” sign outside of Winston-Salem.
This week, a billboard will go up on I-40/85 outside of Mebane about the Second Commandment and guns.
It’s paid for by the North Carolina Council of Churches, and reads ‘You shall not make for yourself an idol,’ next to a picture of guns and rifles on top of a bed of bullets. The group says the purpose of the sign is to say many people are putting too much faith into guns themselves, and forgetting the bigger issue: safety.
“We would like to change the subject instead of talking about guns, start talking about safety,” said minister and executive director Jennifer Copeland, “We have positioned guns as an idol. If guns are the idol that we turn to for safety, where do we find safety? We don't find safety by arming everybody in town and then setting everyone loose to defend themselves.”
Copeland says the sign is in no way meant to attack the Second Amendment. The statewide group is pushing for gun violence prevention, by changing laws and closing loopholes to make sure guns don't get into the wrong hands.
“I think that we will get a little pushback from it,” she said, “Some people might not get it. But what we are trying to do is change the subject, and hopefully people can connect the dots and recognize what this is, and attempt to talk about real safety and the numbers that would support that.”
The group has other billboards planned across the state driven by hot topics in the news. Last summer, they put up a billboard dealing with immigration outside of Hickory.
“What we try to do was take the issues that people are talking about in the public square and refract that through a Christian lens,” Copeland said, “we are trying very hard to be a different voice in the public square for what people of faith can and do stand for.”
The Second Commandment sign will go up this week, and be there for a month.
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