Oregon Catholics want removal of 'Antichrist' billboard

Posted: Friday, August 03, 2001

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon Roman Catholics are demanding removal of a highway billboard that claims ''The Pope is the Antichrist.''

The sign on Interstate 5 near Medford was rented by Larry Weathers, an elder at Rogue Valley Historical Seventh-day Adventist Church, a small group that is distinct from the main Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The Catholic Sentinel newspaper ran an editorial urging western Oregon's 290,000 Catholics to call Outdoor Media Dimensions, which leased the sign, and demand removal. A spokeswoman for Outdoor Media said the billboard does not express company opinion.

''We're not against Catholics or against their religion, just the political, religious organization of the Vatican,'' said Weathers, a barber.

David Fidanque, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, said, ''The best antidote to speech we don't like as a society is to speak out against it.''

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