(Seattle, January 12, 2010) "Don’t believe in God? You are not alone."
These words are part of prominent, 14′ x 48′ billboard that has just gone up on Lake City Way NE near 78th Street. It can be seen by motorists traveling southwest to I-5 and Seattle on the commuter route from the Lake Washington area. Sponsored by the Northwest Freethought Coalition with funding from the United Coalition of Reason, the billboard carries its message superimposed over an image of blue sky and puffy white clouds. It cost $6,700.
For a hi-res images of the billboard, free for media use, see the right sidebar.
This effort is part of a coordinated nationwide campaign that began last year. In December it included billboards in Baltimore, Houston and Tulsa. Each billboard is sponsored by a local, multi-organizational coalition of nontheistic (atheist and agnostic) groups.
"The point of our 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."
But reaching out to the like minded isn’t the only goal of the effort. "Our message is also to let people know that we belong to the larger community," added Ron Renard, coordinator of the Northwest Freethought Coalition. "Whether you know it or not, we’re your family members, friends, neighbors and coworkers. We’re just like you, except we don’t believe in a supreme being. Now we think it’s time we were as free as you to be open about our views."
The United Coalition of Reason launched eighteen similar ad campaigns in 2009. Each involved billboards or public transit ads. They appeared in Baltimore, Maryland; Boston, Massachusetts; Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, Texas; Des Moines, Iowa; Morgantown, West Virginia; Newark, New Jersey; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; San Diego, California, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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The Northwest Freethought Coalition ( www.NorthwestFreethought.org ) is a group of like-minded member organizations from the greater Seattle area dedicated to advancing the idea that science and reason lead to more reliable knowledge than dogma and faith.
The United Coalition of Reason ( unitedcor.org ) exists to raise the visibility and sense of unity among local groups in the community of reason by providing funding and expertise to help them cooperate toward the goal of raising their public profiles.
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