SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A pair of billboards on the outskirts of Springfield are drawing some attention. They read "Don’t believe in god? You’re not alone."
They were placed by the new Ozarks Coalition of Reason with $5,000 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason. The local alliance is made up of four non-theistic groups in Springfield, Joplin, Branson, and at Missouri State University.
The billboards greet traffic coming into Springfield. Both are along Interstate 44: one of them three miles west of Strafford on the north side of the road, the other a mile west of Missouri 13 on the south side, near U.S. 160.
The Springfield campaign is the latest in a nationwide effort. Since March 2009, there have been similar billboards, as well as bus ad campaigns, in 26 states and the District of Columbia.
"We are trying to help the public realize that non theistic people exist in every community across the nation," said Ozarks Coalition of Reason spokesman Thomas Van Someron. "We are your friends, your neighbors, your family members and maybe even your fellow religious congregates. There are more of us than you might think."
The billboards have been up a few weeks and will be taken down soon. Organizers tell KY3 the campaign isn’t about making religious groups upset or trying to pick a fight. They simply want to be recognized as a growing group not only in the Ozarks, but across the country.