(St. Louis, Missouri, September 14, 2010) "Don’t believe in God? You are not alone."
These words are part of a prominent billboard now up in St. Louis on I-64 and U.S. 40 at Vandeventer Avenue, near St. Louis University. Positioned on the left side of the road and visible to westbound traffic, it will be seen by drivers coming from the eastern suburbs or returning from the Taste of St. Louis on October 1. 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 Greater St. Louis Coalition of Reason (St. Louis CoR) with $5,850 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (United CoR).
This billboard also marks the public launch of St. Louis CoR, a coalition made up of six freethought groups in St. Louis and surrounding cities, with activities ranging from educational and activist to social and charitable.
The St. Louis 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, Oklahoma City, 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, 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. "Non-theistic people sometimes don’t realize there’s a community for them because they’re flooded with traditional 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 people to know there are many humanists, freethinkers, agnostics and atheists living here," added Kate Lovelady, coordinator of the Greater St. Louis Coalition of Reason. "We’re your coworkers, neighbors, friends and family members. And like many people, we contribute to the community and hold ethical values we live by."
"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 people who believe in a god 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, go to www.GreaterStLCoR.org .
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The Greater St. Louis Coalition of Reason is a group of similar member organizations united by a rational perspective. These organizations have come together to share information, offer mutual support and build a sense of a broader community.
The United Coalition of Reason works 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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