(Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, September 7, 2010) "Don’t believe in God? Join the club."
These words are part of a prominent billboard now up in Oklahoma City on I-44 at NW 10th Street near State Fair Park. Positioned on the left side of the road and visible to northbound traffic, it will be seen by fairgoers from September 16-26 and will remain up until October 10. The 14′ x 48′ billboard features the words superimposed over an image of a blue sky and fluffy white clouds. It has been placed by the Oklahoma City Coalition of Reason (Oklahoma City CoR) with $5,250 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (United CoR).
This billboard also marks the public launch of Oklahoma City CoR, a coalition made up of four freethought groups in the Oklahoma City and Norman community of reason, with activities ranging from educational and activist to social and charitable.
The Oklahoma City billboard is also part of a national effort. Already this year there have been similar billboards, or bus ads, in Austin, Des Moines, Detroit, Fayetteville (Arkansas), Louisville, 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, skeptics 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 for them because they’re flooded 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 Oklahomans to know that there are many humanists, agnostics and atheists living here, contributing to the community," added Nick Singer, coordinator of the Oklahoma City Coalition of Reason. "We’re your coworkers, neighbors, friends and family members. And like many people, we are leading good, happy and functional lives–giving back to the community and staying true to our values."
"Being visible is important for us," Edwords concluded, "because atheists and agnostics in our society often don’t know very many people of like mind. Furthermore, if traditionally religious people can be open about their views, why shouldn’t we be open about ours?"
For high-res images of the billboard, free for media use, see the right sidebar.
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The Oklahoma City Coalition of Reason brings together freethought groups in the greater metro area to raise awareness of the existing (and growing) community of secular humanists, atheists, agnostics, naturalists, skeptics and freethinkers that can be found in Oklahoma.
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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For more information contact: