A billboard featuring five children and a quote from Adolf Hitler was removed per the request of the church that rented the advertising space after it drew a lot of criticism.
According to a report from Reuters, the billboard space was rented by Life-Savers Ministries as an attempt to promote the church based in Opelika, Alabama. The billboard with the Hitler quote went on display at the Village Mall in Auburn, Alabama on Friday. It quickly drew criticism on social media, and, by Tuesday, the church requested that it be taken down.
Solid advice for Christian Schools. Don't ever use an Adolf Hitler quote on a billboard to drum up enrollment for your school.
— Todd (@DCToddM) June 4, 2014
Got to be the worst #church sign I've ever seen! #youthministry http://t.co/iqIJxcuwqZ #wowThe quote from Hitler read: "He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future." The billboard also featured a biblical verse from Proverbs, which read: "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it."
— Jon Coombs (@jpcoombs) June 4, 2014
Founder James Anderegg told the Ledger-Enquirer that the billboard featuring the Hitler quote was "certainly never intended to cause confusion."
"Herbert Hoover would have been a far better one to quote when he said, 'Children are our most valuable resource,'" Anderegg said. "We are a children's organization and had honorable intentions and nothing less."
Hal Kishaw, a spokesman from Lamar Advertising, said that the billboard with the Hitler quote was "put up at client request and will be taken down by client request."
According to its website, Life-Savers Ministries was founded in 1996 and works with under-privileged children from local housing projects. Today, it now has "six school buses and a magnificent facility of its own where hundreds of boys and girls are brought from around 20 different rough and tough locations throughout Opelika and Auburn, Alabama."
It's uncertain why the church decided to use a quote from Hitler for its billboard. However, Hemant Mehta at the Friendly Atheist took a light-hearted approach to the situation.
"Maybe they just forgot to Google 'Adolf Hitler' before using his line," he wrote. "[It] could've happened to anyone, I'm sure."
But he also got serious about the issue and said that the billboard with the Hitler quote must have been approved "without much input from others."
"Let that be a lesson: If you're going to pay for a billboard that makes a statement, make sure you run it by a few people to make sure the intended statement gets through to everyone," he added.
This is not the first time that Hitler has been used on a billboard. In a related report from The Inquisitr, an electronic billboard showed a picture of President Barack Obama with a Hitler mustache and a quote from Abraham Lincoln that read: "I will prepare, and someday, my chance will come." It was then followed by the phrase, "Impeach Obama."
[Image credited to Julie Burns via the Ledger-Enquirer]