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Detroit, MI


Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.


Godless Ads Now on Detroit Buses

“Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.”

These words are part of a coordinated multi-organizational advertising campaign designed to raise awareness about people who don’t believe in a god. The King and Queen size ads proclaiming this message will appear tomorrow on the outsides of a dozen buses traveling throughout the Detroit area as far north as Pontiac and Auburn Hills, as far west as Walled Lake, as far east as Troy and as far south as downtown Detroit. Their presence will continue for a month.

Placed by the Detroit Area Coalition of Reason (Detroit CoR), with $5,250 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (United CoR), each ad features an image of blue sky and clouds with the words superimposed over. Their appearance marks the public launch of the Detroit coalition, which is made up of five area nontheistic (atheist and humanist) groups.

The Detroit transit ads are also part of a national campaign. Already this year there have been similar bus ads in Des Moines, Iowa, and billboards in Seattle, Washington; Tampa Bay, Florida; Tucson, Arizona; and Sacramento, California. Last year, the United CoR-sponsored billboard, bus, and subway ads appeared in 20 cities, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Tulsa, Phoenix and San Diego.

“The point of this national campaign is to reach out to the millions of humanists, atheists and agnostics living in the United States,” explained Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason. “Nontheists sometimes don’t realize there’s a community out there for them because they’re inundated with religious messages at every turn. So we hope this will serve as a beacon and let them know they aren’t alone.”

Reaching out to a secular audience isn’t the only goal of the campaign, however. “We want people to understand that humanists, freethinkers, agnostics and atheists are essentially like everyone else,” said Ruthe Milan, coordinator for Detroit CoR. “We have most of the same values. And you’ll find us among your friends, neighbors, coworkers and family members. But it’s time we were recognized and granted our rightful place at the table.”

[March 3, 2010]


Detroit's Godless Bus Ads Vandalized 
Vandals defaced or tore off part of the wording on at least three of the Detroit area bus ads that read "Don't believe in God? You are not alone." In each of the three currently known instances, it was the word "Don't" that was targeted. The vandalized signs are among the baker's dozen of King and Queen sized ads first placed on the outsides of Detroit SMART buses on March 4 by the Detroit Area Coalition of Reason (Detroit CoR). The ads were paid for by the United Coalition of Reason (United CoR), headquartered in Washington DC. "Acts like this give a striking reminder that our message is necessary," said Ruthe Milan, coordinator of Detroit CoR. "Without a doubt, prejudice against atheists and agnostics is still very real in American life." After documenting the damage, SMART replaced the vandalized signs free of charge. Two images showing the damage are available free for media use in the right sidebar. "We are most pleased by SMART's action," said Fred Edwords, national director of United CoR. "It shows they care about freedom of speech. We hope their action will help bring about a day when those with minority opinions can feel safe going public about their views." On its website, the Detroit Area Coalition of Reason says it "unites organizations which provide various resources for reason-based Metro Detroiters" and that its "goal is to raise public awareness of these valuable resources." The coalition was launched on March 3 when the bus campaign was announced. "Because this has happened, we stand even more resolved in our goal of being outspoken about our ideas," Milan added. "And we expect that this vandalism will convince even more nontheistic Detroiters that getting organized is important for the cause of religious liberty." [March 15, 2010]

 Detroit, MI