(Roanoke, Virginia, December 19, 2012) "Don’t believe in God? Join the club."
These words, superimposed over an image of a blue sky with clouds, now appear on four prominent 10 ½ x 22 ¾ foot billboards across Roanoke. Their appearance marks the formal launch of the Blue Ridge Coalition of Reason (Blue Ridge CoR), an alliance of seven area non-theistic (atheist and agnostic) groups in Roanoke, Lynchburg, Farmville, and Charlottesville.
Sponsored by Blue Ridge CoR, with over $3,500 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (UnitedCoR), the billboards will remain up until the middle of January and can be found at the following locations:
* 32 Boulevard Street near the underpass and just north of Patterson, in Roanoke, facing south
* Virginia Route 419 at 1420 Lynchburg Turnpike, in Salem, facing east
* Dale Avenue at the railroad bridge, near Fallon Park in Vinton, facing east
* US Highway 220 (Franklin Road) at Virginia Route 668, south of Garden City, facing south
For hi-res billboard images, free for media use, see the right sidebar.
A similar billboard, 16 x 72 feet, bearing the words: "Don’t believe in God? You are not alone," has also gone up in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It is located on the west side of I-95, three miles north of Route 17, and is sponsored by the Fredericksburg Coalition of Reason. It will remain up through February.
This effort is part a coordinated nationwide program that began in 2009. From then to now, similar campaigns have been launched in 33 states and the District of Columbia.
Each local campaign is sponsored by a multi-organizational coalition of non-theistic groups in the area.
"The point of our national awareness campaign is to reach out to the millions of humanists, atheists and agnostics living in the United States," explained Fred Edwords, national director of UnitedCoR. "Non-theists sometimes don’t realize there’s a community for them because they’re inundated with religious messages at every turn. So 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 regular part of the community," added Paul Hoyt, coordinator of Blue Ridge CoR. "Non-believers and agnostics like us live all over Virginia. We’re your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers and family members. It’s about time we were as free to be open about our views as religious people are about theirs."
"Being visible is important to us," Edwords concluded, "because, in our society, non-religious people often don’t know many others like themselves.
This campaign is the latest in a nationwide effort. There have been similar billboards, bus ads or Internet campaigns in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
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The Blue Ridge Coalition of Reason ( www.BlueRidgeCoR.org ) is a resource for freethinking people, with the goal of uniting the various non-theistic groups throughout the greater Roanoke and Blue Ridge area.
The United Coalition of Reason ( www.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 common goals.
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For more information contact: