In a blatant case of being completely out of touch, an Alabama Christian organization was forced to apologize this week for a billboard displaying a quote from Adolf Hitler. According to a report in the Columbus, Georgia Ledger-Enquirer, the billboard was put up in Auburn, Alabama on Friday. The sign has now been removed due to complaints and mockery from people across the U.S.
The sign depicted a multiracial group of children beside two quotes. One was a verse from the Christian Bible: "Train up a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old he will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6." The other quote was a bit more provocative: "He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future. -Adolf Hitler."
— The Ledger-Enquirer (@LedgerEnquirer) June 2, 2014
The billboard was put up by Life Savers Ministries, a Christian outreach group in Opelika, Alabama focused on preaching to needy children. The group requested the billboard be removed after the inevitable outcry began.
Exactly why Life Savers was quoting the former Fuehrer isn't entirely clear. At first glance the Hitler quote and the following Bible verse seem to go hand-in-hand, insinuating that Christians should "train up" children to "own the youth" and therefore "gain the future." Another interpretation, however, could be that of a warning - that Christians should "train up" children before Nazis get to them first.
Life Savers hasn't done itself any favors with its response to the incident. The organization's founder, James Anderegg, told the Ledger-Enquirer that the group "never intended to cause confusion." Anderegg also stated that the Herbert Hoover quote, "Children are our most valuable resource" would have been better in place of the Hitler quote, implying that the original quote was intended to back up the Bible verse.
Whatever the message of the billboard was supposed to be, it certainly didn't come across as intended. Twitter was filled this week with jokes and angry tweets from those sensitive to flippant holocaust references. There were also some reminders of the Hitler teapot billboard that captured headlines this time last year.
At any point, did anyone involved in creating this billboard think a Hitler quote was a bad idea? SMH http://t.co/yYhtgp9ck2
— Keith McConville (@KMcConville_9) June 2, 2014
What kind of sick or uneducated people work at Life Savers Ministries to put up a billboard that has a quote from Adolf Hitler. wtf
— Dmitry Lyalin (@LyalinDotCom) June 4, 2014
Don't know why* they withdrew that Hitler quote billboard. It epitomized their "Get them while they're young" ideal *of course I know
— GodSwill (@God___Swill) June 4, 2014
Image via Youtube