DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD? Join the club.
Godless Billboard Goes Up on I-35 in Austin
“Don’t believe in God? Join the club.”
These words are part of a prominent billboard in Austin, Texas, slated to appear today on the east side of I-35, north of Grand Avenue Parkway, facing north.
Being placed by the Austin Coalition of Reason (Austin CoR), with $7,344 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (United CoR), the 14′ x 48′ billboard features the words “Don’t Believe in God? Join the Club” superimposed over the image of a bright sunrise. This billboard also marks the public launch of Austin CoR, which is made up of six area groups that welcome nontheistic (atheist and agnostic) individuals.
Beyond this, the Austin billboard is part of a national effort. Already this year there have been similar billboards, or bus ads, in Des Moines, Detroit, Fayetteville (Arkansas), New Orleans, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Tucson, Sacramento and Seattle. Last year, there were United CoR-sponsored billboard, bus, and subway ads in 20 cities, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Tulsa, Phoenix and San Diego.
“The point of our nationwide awareness campaign is to reach out to the millions of atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and humanists living in the United States,” explained Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason. “Nonreligious people 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 the like minded isn’t the only goal of the effort. “We also want everyone to know that those who don’t believe in a god are your neighbors,” added Don Rhoades, coordinator of the Austin Coalition of Reason. “People like us can be found everywhere: among family members, friends and co-workers. One of us might even be in the pew next to you in church! So in the same way that other people are open about their views, we think we should be free to express ours.”
[June 28, 2010]