The Atheist Street Pirates are dedicated to removing religious signage that is posted on dumpsters, highway overpasses, and throughout other public spaces in Los Angeles.
The Atheist Street Pirates are dedicated to removing religious signage that is posted on dumpsters, highway overpasses, and throughout other public spaces in Los Angeles. The group was created by Evan Clark, who as Executive Director Atheists United Los Angeles, wanted to find a way to remove religious signage from public spaces when local governments failed to do so. The Atheist Street Pirates share photos and corresponding locations of religious signage in the city. Then, group members coordinate to remove them. As their website states, “We are local activists that track and remove illegal religious signage.”
The posting of signs in the public right of way is illegal in Los Angeles. The religious signage being removed by the Atheist Street Pirates has been almost entirely Christian. The group has found that pronouncements about Jesus and quotes from Bible verses are some of the most common forms of street signage proselytization. The signs include quotes such as “Trust in Jesus,” or “Jesus Gives Eternal Life,” or even “Repent And Believe In Jesus.” When placed strategically in locations such as highway overpasses, millions of people can see these signs each day.
Evan Clark and his group have gotten a large amount of local press, aiding in their efforts. Coverage from Spectrum 1 News and KCRW have aided the group immensely. Clark has said that the press has helped spread the word about the group’s cause. And he wants people to know that it is important to take action. “You can stand on top of a highway and hold a sign as loud and proud as you want. You can spend 15 hours up there if you want. But the second you leave it behind, you’ve left trash on public space,” said Clark. “Religious signage, there’s tons of laws that say secular land can’t preference one religion over the other.”
Clark went on to say: “We’re tracking this phenomenon. We’re making it known that this is a problem…Unchecked religious privilege and microaggressions by some religions – we can’t even start the conversation about what it means for our society until we have an understanding of what it is.”
Atheists United has had success with the Street Pirates program in Los Angeles, and is looking to expand the program to other cities.