(Richland, Washington, November 18, 2014) "Don't believe in a god? You're not alone."
These words, superimposed over an image of a mountain sunrise, now appear on six prominent king-size ads on the sides of Ben-Franklin buses serving the Mid-Columbia area. Their appearance marks the formal launch of the Mid-Columbia Coalition of Reason, a new organization comprised of six area non-theistic (atheist and agnostic) groups.
"We want to make our presence in the community known," said Jennifer Goulet, coordinator of the Mid-Columbia Coalition of Reason.
Goulet added: "Non-theistic people are your family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers. We may not believe in a deity or the supernatural, but we are compassionate, ethical members of this community. We would like to encourage local atheists and agnostics to join us in exercising our freedom to be open about our views. If you are deity-free in the Tri-Cities, know that you are not alone."
Hi-res images of the bus ads, free for media use, can be found in the right sidebar. The ads will remain on Ben-Franklin buses through December 17, 2014.
This ad campaign is part of a coordinated nationwide program that began in 2009. From then to now, 59 similar campaigns have been launched in 37 states and the District of Columbia by the United Coalition of Reason (UnitedCoR). UnitedCoR provided the $5,000 in funding to purchase the Mid-Columbia bus ads.
"The point of our national advertising campaigns is to reach out to the millions of atheists, agnostics and humanists living in the United States," explained UnitedCoR’s Executive Director, national coordinator of UnitedCoR. "Non-theists sometimes don't realize there's a community for them because they're flooded with theistic messages at every turn. So we hope our efforts to raise awareness will serve as a light in the darkness to let them know they aren't alone."
"Being visible is necessary," Heap concluded, "because, in our society, non-theistic people often don't know many like themselves.
This campaign is the latest in a nationwide effort to reach out to non-theists. 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, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
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The Mid-Columbia Coalition of Reason (www.midcolumbiacor.org) serves as a resource for the public and offers a means of combining the voices of those who hold that science and reason lead to more reliable knowledge than dogma and faith. It is made up of Tri-City Freethinkers, Recovering From Religion, Drinking Skeptically, Young Freethinkers of Tri-Cities, Raising Freethinkers, Reasonable Doubt: A Secular Book Club, and an forthcoming group: Tri-City Military Freethinkers.
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 the goal of raising their public visibility.
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For more information contact: