God has billboards in Oklahoma!

As I drove south through Oklahoma City, I saw the billboard again. On a stark black background, the message in white letters said "I love you" in English, Spanish, and Chinese. It was signed "God."
         Last month when I'd also been passing through here during a family reunion, I'd seen the same billboard. And another one that said, "One nation under me." It too was signed "God."
         Now Oklahoma is squarely in the middle of America's Bible Belt. When I lived in Tulsa in 1972, I remember you couldn't walk far without running into a church. One I remember had orange flames of hell painted outside, no doubt warning you what lay in store if you strayed or was some sort of heathen.
         Why does God need billboards in such a place?
         And did he go to Clear Channel or CBS or whoever owns the billboards, turn in an application, a design of his own choice, and submit a rental fee? Did he have to show a bank account or a credit card? Was he asked for his SSN? Did he pay month to month or for eternity?
         While he was filling out the forms, did he pause to consider alternative means of getting his message across, such as skywriting? But that would have required him to hire pilots and rent airplanes, and again, there would be pesky forms to fill out. He'd probably need clearance from Homeland Security.
        Would it not have been simpler for God to simply shape some cumulus clouds into letters and words? And if he'd done that, wouldn't people have marveled at it and found it more believable?

Of course it is not a super being that puts up billboards, it is humans with cash. A web search reveals that many people have donated money to put up these billboards. I am confounded by humans who presume to speak for a being who according to their beliefs must be so much larger than them. Perhaps such a God could say, "I love you" towards the inhabitants of this earth. But could such a being really say 'one nation under me'? There are so many nations on the face of the earth. Could a universal being favor one nation above all others? I myself come from one country and live in another. Does God want both these nations to be one? Would that not be some sort of world government? A global nation? The billboard makers would probably reject such an alternative, though if it was united under a single religion they might acquiesce.
        During our family reunion, our bus that took us for a day trip to Tulsa stopped on the way back at the memorial to the victims of the Oklahoma City terrorist bombing of April 19, 1995. Some individuals had presumed to act on behalf of a higher calling and take down a building with the lives of many people in it.

Oklahoma City memorial

         Each day someone or the other is going out acting on behalf of God: killing, maiming, making people miserable. Would the world not be a better place if people were a bit more humble and modest, spoke just for themselves and did not claim to know what God wants or doesn't want? Or to speak and act on his behalf? Individuals acting on their own can commit atrocities, for sure, but it seems the scale of atrocities often mounts when they act on behalf of greater powers or a higher calling.


Signs in the mountains


Down to the flatlands


  1. We too have bill boards from god here in Michigan. Several months ago the thought hit me that perhaps this god they all speak of and do murdereous deeds in the name of is an evil being, not the one I’ve had in mind at all. Maybe the devil is god. That would explain a lot about the state of the world.

  2. yesha


    great blog of your trip!

    write More!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. saw this news item Mahmud and thinking about you, your travels.
    Your writing.

    “Bangladeshi writer faces death threat for opposing Islamists”
    Indo-Asian News Service, August 27, 2006

    Students and cultural reformers demonstrated in support of an
    “eminent” writer opposed to sectarian militancy.

    More on who owns god. God factories. God as a commodity. Powerbrokers for God. It’s all so unGodly.

    Switching reels…news from a former homefront–it’s sunny today on the corner of Euclid and Van Buren, and perfectly lovely.

    all the best, keep your friends posted.

  4. shahpar

    i think it would be nice to get a sign from god once in a while, although god-signed-billboards would make me roll my eyes. i’d rather have my god-signs in the form of every day kindness. ok i sound like a flake, so i will stop.

  5. Tony Hale

    I saw a sign from God today in my cereal. My Alpha-Bits® spelled out “damn.”

    I’m beginning to think that She is frustrated with me. Either that, or the Christian Right™ has taken out advertising space in my bowl. I should start charging more.

  6. I see that you wrote this in 06 and I hope you will get a notification that I have wrote in your blog. But when entering in ‘billboards signed god’ as a google search your blog is on the first page. I too did an audio article on the same subject matter earlier this year 2011 and thought you might like to hear it – you will find it as the third article down here – http://www.messianicdirectory.info/Fringe1.html
    Thanks again

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