News

October 15, 2013

Godless Billboards in Connecticut Herald Secular Convention

"Are you good without God? You aren't alone."

These words, superimposed over an image of a blue sky with clouds, now appear on two prominent 14 x 48’ digital billboards on Interstate 91 South. One is in Hartford south of exit 34, facing north. The other is in New Haven just before exit 7, facing northeast. The two will remain up through November 10, heralding the first ever statewide secular conference, the Secular Assembly for the North East (SANE).

This conference is being held October 19, 2013, in Bartels Hall at the University of New Haven, 300 Boston Post Road, West Haven, CT 06516. Four of the featured speakers are Jessica Ahlquist, the Rhode Island high school student who successfully challenged a prayer banner at her school; David Silverman, president of American Atheists; David Niose, the attorney who litigated the recent Pledge of Allegiance suit in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court; and Sikivu Hutchinson, a prolific African American atheist writer. More information is available at www.SANEonline.org .

The ads have been placed by the new Connecticut Coalition of Reason (Connecticut CoR) with $10,000 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (UnitedCoR). Its appearance marks the public launch of Connecticut CoR, which is an alliance of eight atheist, humanist, secularist and skeptic groups working together across the state. They are each listed and described at http://unitedcor.org/connecticut/page/groups.

This campaign is the latest in a nationwide effort. Previous billboard and bus ad campaigns have been launched in 34 states and the District of Columbia. The states are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin 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 non-theists 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 coalition: "We hope people across Connecticut will discover we are a regular part of the community," said Dan Blinn, coordinator of Connecticut CoR. "We live all over the state and are your friends and neighbors, family members and coworkers. You might even find some of us sitting next to you in church!"

"Being visible is important to us," Edwords concluded, "because, in our society, atheists and agnostics don't often know many people like themselves. Moreover, if traditionally religious people can be open about their views, why can't we be open about ours?"

For high-res images of the billboards, free for media use, see the right sidebar.

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The Connecticut Coalition of Reason is made up of eight area atheist, freethought and humanist groups working together to foster a sense of community among the like-minded and raise public awareness that people who don't believe in a god or gods can be decent citizens who contribute to the larger society.

The United Coalition of Reason is made up of over 70 local coalitions nationwide and works to raise the visibility and sense of unity among non-theistic groups.

For more information contact:

Dan Blinn
Co-chair
Connecticut Coalition of Reason
860 324-3533
danblinn@gmail.com
www.ConnecticutCoR.org

Tanya Barrett
Organizer, SANE Conference
978 808-7708
harbor2horizon@yahoo.com
www.SANEonline.org

Dennis Paul Himes
Organizer, SANE Conference
860 454-8301
dennis@cookhimes.us
www.SANEonline.org

All three of the above are available for interviews near the billboards or at 35 Cold Spring Rd, Suite 512, Rocky Hill, CT

Fred Edwords
National Director
United Coalition of Reason (Washington DC)
202-550-9964
Fredwords@UnitedCoR.org
www.UnitedCoR.org