Atheist Billboards

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 May 

Fresno, CA

California

DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD? Join the club.

 
 
PRESS RELEASE

Godless Billboard Goes Up in Fresno

“Don’t believe in God? Join the Club.”

These words appear on a prominent billboard in Fresno on the west side of Blackstone, just north of Saginaw and facing south. It will remain up through the Memorial Day weekend. The 14 by 48 foot billboard features the words superimposed over an image of a sunrise and is illuminated at night. It has been placed by the Central Valley Coalition of Reason (Valley CoR) with $5,176.00 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (United CoR).

This ad campaign also marks the public launch of Valley CoR, a coalition made up of three Central Valley freethought groups with activities ranging from social to educational to activist.

The Fresno billboard is also part of a larger effort. Others have been announced this week in Stockton, Modesto (Ripon) and Orange County, California. And since the spring of 2009 there have been similar ad campaigns in Sacramento and San Diego as well as in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.

“The point of our ongoing nationwide awareness campaign is to reach out to the millions of atheists and agnostics living in the United States,” explained Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason. “Such nontheists sometimes don’t realize there’s a community for them because they’re inundated with religious messages at every turn. We hope our effort 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 hope that folks will learn that it’s possible for one who doesn’t believe in a god to be a decent human being who contributes to the community, said David Costa, coordinator of Valley CoR. “You’ll find people like us everywhere: among your family and friends, in your neighborhood, at work, and maybe even next to you at church.”

Edwords added: “The billboards going up this week also celebrate the National Day of Reason on May 5, an alternative observance to the National Day of Prayer. And they will remain up even after the supposed Rapture that a few have predicted for May 21.”

[May 4, 2011]

 
VANDALISM
PRESS RELEASE

Fresno's Godless Billboard Vandalized
One or more vandals used spray paint to deface the Central Valley Coalition of Reason billboard in Fresno. The billboard originally read, “Don’t believe in God? Join the club.” But the word “Don’t” has been white-painted out and the letters “MADC,” a likely vandal identifier, have been painted large on the lower left. The billboard was placed by the Central Valley Coalition of Reason (Valley CoR) with $5,176.00 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (UnitedCoR), headquartered in Washington DC. The ad has only been up since late Tuesday and was first announced Wednesday morning. "This shows loud and clear just how necessary our message is, because prejudice against people who don't believe in a god remains very real in America." said David Costa, coordinator of Valley CoR. The defaced billboard is located on the west side of Blackstone, just north of Saginaw, and faces south. For images of the billboard, in both its original and defaced conditions, free for media use, go to www.ValleyCoR.org . The Central Valley Coalition of Reason has informed the police. The United Coalition of Reason is asking CBS Outdoor, the owner of the billboard, to look into replacing it as quickly as possible. "If necessary, we will pay the cost of printing up new vinyl and have this billboard's original message bright and clear in short order,” said Fred Edwords, national director of United CoR. "Freedom of speech is worthy of everyone's defense. For it is only when those with minority opinions can safely go public about their views that people will have a chance to broaden their awareness of the valuable diversity within their communities." On its website at ValleyCoR.org, the Central Valley Coalition of Reason declares, “This simple yet necessary message is important to communicate to those who feel isolated within their own communities and families because of differences in religious beliefs or the lack thereof.” The coalition was launched May 4 when the billboard was announced. "Now we are more committed than ever to the cause of making our presence known," Costa added. "Hopefully this vandalism will inspire more nontheistic people in the Central Valley to realize how important it is to get organized. Only by working together will we end bigotry against philosophical and religious minorities." [May 6, 2011]
Vandalized Fresno Billboard Replaced
On Wednesday, May 11, 2011, the previously vandalized billboard in Fresno, California, was replaced by the United Coalition of Reason at a cost of $1,176.00. This was after an earlier attempt to clean off the graffiti had been made, both by CBS Outdoor (the billboard owner) and the City of Fresno's graffiti abatement team. The latter whited out the tagger's tag within a few hours of the vandalism. But that didn't solve the problem of the word "Don't" having been partially obliterated by the vandals. So the billboard had to be replaced. [May 11, 2011]
 
 

 Fresno, CA 

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