(San Antonio, Texas, May 8, 2012) "Don’t believe in God? Join the club."
These words, superimposed over an image of a Texas sunrise, are now up on a 14 x 48 foot digital billboard located on the west side of I-10 at North Crossroads Blvd. The billboard is visible to traffic heading south, whether continuing on the Interstate just past I-410, taking the off ramp to the Wonderland of the Americas Mall or taking the on ramp south when leaving the mall.
The ad will remain up through the Memorial Day weekend, a span that includes Mother’s Day. It was placed by the San Antonio Coalition of Reason (San Antonio CoR) with $5,000 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (UnitedCoR). The billboard campaign marks the public launch of San Antonio CoR, an alliance of six established non-theistic groups in Central Texas. The groups are Atheist Families of San Antonio, Freethinkers Association of Central Texas, Humanists of San Antonio, San Antonio Atheists Group, San Antonio Skeptics and Texas Hill Country Freethinkers.
The campaign is also the latest in a nationwide effort to reach out to non-theists. Since March 2009 there have been similar billboards, as well as bus ads and Internet campaigns, in 31 states and the District of Columbia. The states are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia. In Texas there have been previous campaigns in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston.
"The point of our ongoing nationwide awareness campaign is to reach out to the millions of atheists and agnostics living in the UnitedStates," 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," he added. "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 coalition: "We hope folks will realize that we are a part of their community," said Jim Parker, coordinator of the San Antonio Coalition of Reason. "Atheists and agnostics like us live all over Texas. We’re your coworkers, your neighbors, your friends and your relatives. One of us might even be sitting in the pew next to you at church."
"Visibility is important to us," Edwords noted, "because, in this society, atheists and agnostics often don’t know many people like themselves. And if traditionally religious people can be open about their views, why can’t we be open about ours?"
For high-res images of the billboard, free for media use, go to www.SanAntonioCoR.org .
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The San Antonio Coalition of Reason is a resource for freethinking people, with the goal of uniting the various non-theistic groups throughout the greater San Antonio area.
The United Coalition of Reason is made up of over 50 local coalitions nationwide and works to raise the visibility and sense of unity among non-theistic groups.
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