Atheists United highway sign defaced a second time
Highway sign cut down, defaced in second act of vandalism in three weeks
– The Atheists United San luis Obispo Adopt-A-Highway sign on southbound Highway 101, just north of the Santa Barbara overpass in Atascadero was sawed off from its post and spray-painted sometime on Tuesday, the second time the sign has been vandalized in the past three weeks.
A Caltrans official informed the organization that the sign was sawed off and that the first and last letters of “Atheists” had been painted over, according to the organization. The sign was new, having recently been replaced after a large red “X” was spray-painted on the sign on Sept. 19.
“Despite this act of vandalism,” said the organization’s president Steven Arkowitz, “AU SLO remains dedicated to making it acceptable to be a non-believer in this county.”
Caltrans has offered to move the sign to a different stretch of highway, but the group has said it would like to stay in the same location.
“Almost every week we have new members join AU SLO and tell us how happy and relieved they are to find our group,” said Arkowitz. ‘We are proud of the positive work we do in our community and the sign represents a small part of that work. Regardless of whether you share our beliefs, I hope that everyone would agree that we have a right to be here and that perhaps AU SLO plays an important role in our community.”
Atheists United has been cleaning up of the stretch of Highway 101 just south of Atascadero since May of 2014. The group also participates in local charity events, provides scholarships to students, and runs a public library book donation program, among other events and activities.
AU SLO is a non-profit community organization with over 400 members in San Luis Obispo County. The group is, “dedicated to providing a community for nonbelievers, educating the public about the positive aspects of atheism, and performing community service.” For more information, visit www.AUSLO.org.