A billboard featuring a quote from Adolf Hitler next to smiling children was taken down on Tuesday at the request of the group that paid for the ad in the first place: a children’s ministry in Alabama.
The group – Life Savers Ministries in Auburn, Alabama – requested the billboard, erected Friday near a popular shopping area, be taken down after the sign drew immediate criticism for quoting the Nazi leader to promote its services for under-privileged children.
“He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future,” the billboard reads next to a photo of five children with arms locked.
— The Ledger-Enquirer (@LedgerEnquirer) June 2, 2014
In addition to quoting one of the Western world’s biggest villains in history, the billboard also quoted the Bible, reading, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it."
Life Savers Ministries was founded in 1996 and works with children from local housing projects.
"We are pulling the billboard and certainly never intended to cause confusion. ... (Former US president) Herbert Hoover would have been a far better one to quote when he said, 'Children are our most valuable resource,'" Life Savers Ministries founder James Anderegg told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.
"We are a children's organization and had honorable intentions and nothing less," Anderegg added.
The company that rented the billboard took the sign down after Life Savers Ministries reacted to the uproar.
"It was put up at client request and will be taken down at client request," said Hal Kilshaw, spokesman for Lamar Advertising.
Even at my most cynical I won't compare a church school to Hitler Youth... but here they've done it to themselves. http://t.co/twaTRgV9oW
— Dylan Bleier (@DylanBleier) June 4, 2014
Well, at least I never accidentally quoted Hitler on a billboard. So there's that.
— Ed Masley (@EdMasley) June 4, 2014