(Salt Lake City, Utah, August 23, 2011) "Don’t believe in God? You are not alone."
These words appear on a prominent billboard in Salt Lake City on the north side of Highway 201, a half mile west of Exit 11/Highway 172. Visible to westbound traffic and on the right-hand side of the road, it faces east. It will remain up through the run of the Utah State Fair. The 14 by 48 foot billboard features the words superimposed over an image of a blue sky and white clouds. It was placed by the Utah Coalition of Reason with $3,678.00 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason.
This ad campaign also marks the public launch of the Utah Coalition of Reason, an alliance of a dozen non-theist groups across the state of Utah, with activities ranging from support to education to activism. As part of its launch, during the run of the billboard, the Coalition will have exhibit booths at both the Avenues and 9th and 9th Street fairs in Salt Lake City. The Avenues Street Fair will be held Saturday, September 10. The Coalition’s booth number is GS E29 and will be found on 2nd Avenue, between E and I streets. The 9th and 9th Street Festival takes place the following Saturday, September 17, at 900 South and 900 East.
Moreover, the Salt Lake City billboard is part of a larger effort. Since the spring of 2009 there have been similar ad campaigns in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, 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 effort: "We hope people will discover that we are a legitimate part of the community," said Elaine Ball, director of the Utah Coalition of Reason. "Folks like us live throughout Utah. We’re your family and friends, your neighbors and coworkers, and maybe even the person sitting next to you in church."
"Being visible is important to us," Edwords concluded, "because atheists and agnostics in our society often don’t know 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, go to www.ReasonUtah.org .
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The Utah Coalition of Reason is a resource for free-thinking Utahans with the goal of uniting the various non-theistic organizations throughout the state.
The United Coalition of Reason is made up of 50 local coalitions nationwide and works to raise the visibility and sense of unity among non-theistic groups.
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