Complaints cause atheist-funded billboards in North Carolina to come down

American Atheists and Adams Outdoor Advertising are reportedly removing two Charlotte billboards blasting Christianity and Mormonism following an outpouring of complaints and threats.

The Bradenton Herald report that the billboards, which targeted the faiths of President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, went up two weeks ago and were intended to be displayed for the duration of the national conventions.

Amanda Knief, managing director of American Atheists, said a report from Fox News on Wednesday about the billboards led to a national outpouring of "vitriol, threats and hate speech against our staff, volunteers and Adams Outdoor Advertising."

If Adams Outdoor Advertising had not been involved, American Atheists would have kept the billboards in place, Knief said.

"It was a mutual decision between us and Adams Advertising for the safety and interests of both organizations that the billboards come down," Knief said.

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Knief declined to say the severity of the threats made against the New Jersey-based atheist organization, but said the Cranford police department had been contacted.

The general manager of Adams Outdoor Advertising's Charlotte branch, Kevin Madrzykowski, did not immediately return phone calls Friday.

But the company's website issued a statement saying that the company "stands behind our position that the ability to express one's opinion is a right and a privilege of our democratic society. However, due to the public response to the messaging, the American Atheists have agreed to remove the advertising copy in question in Charlotte."

Click here for more from The Bradenton Herald.