Eastern Iowa Godless Group Expands and Blossoms

easter iowa atheist group

For Immediate Release

(Cedar Rapids, IA, May 17, 2016) “Eastern Iowa godless group expands and blossoms”

“Godless? So are we!” These words were part of a billboard campaign that stretched across Iowa in mid-November 2014, announcing the official launch of the Central and Eastern Iowa Coalitions of Reason (CoRs). Since their initial billboard campaign, Eastern Iowa CoR has been active with securing Day of Reason proclamations, holding secular invocations at local city meetings and raising funds to supply science equipment to local schools. As a result of this activity of non-theistic ethics in action, Eastern Iowa CoR has expanded and is pleased to announce the addition of a new cooperating group, the Tri-State Humanists.

“Half of Americans find atheism threatening. We are one of the most hated groups in the country and when you consider the consequences of coming out as atheist or non-theist, potential loss of job, loss of family and friends, etc., it’s easy to understand the desire to remain silent. Times are changing, though and many non-theists are making the decision to not only be open about their non-belief, but to take a visible and active role in educating the public that we are decent, moral people who lead ethical lives that contribute to the well-being of our communities,” explained Roxanne “Rocky” Gissler, Coordinator of the Eastern Iowa Coalition of Reason and President of the Humanists of Linn County. “It’s exciting to see the non-theist community in Iowa continue to expand and become visible. Groups such as Tri-State Humanists show it is becoming safe for non-believers to become public and no doubt will inspire other groups to form. One of our goals is to break down the prejudices that allow people to see us as somehow threatening. Humanists of Linn County, for example, have a representative in the Inter-Religious Council of Linn County and we also work with the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa. We have common issues such as separation of religion and government, and I think you will see more of this type of partnership in the future.”

“Secularists, agnostics and atheists are just like everyone else,” added Tyler Owen, President of the Tri-State Humanists. “We’re your friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members. We think that an outward expression of our non-belief helps to dispel misconceptions that many believers have about us. We’re excited to become a part of the growing family of the local Eastern Iowa CoR as well as the larger non-theistic family of the United Coalition of Reason.”

Alan Diehl, a non-theist who sits on the board of the Inter-Religious Council of Linn County agreed. “People need to know that a person can remain non-theistic, atheist, agnostic, freethinking, and still work together with the religious individuals and groups to make their community and world a better place. Serving on the IRCLC board as a Secular Humanist has allowed me that exact opportunity!”

Growing and nurturing local non-theistic coalitions has been a central part of the outreach efforts conducted by the United Coalition of Reason (UnitedCoR), headquartered in Washington, DC. “We are proud and pleased to see the expansion of Eastern Iowa CoR. Their charitable work in their local community deserves recognition, as this truly reflects the ethics and values that many non-theistic people hold,” explained UnitedCoR’s Executive Director, executive director of UnitedCoR. “Recent Pew Poll statistics have demonstrated a rise in religiously-unaffiliated and also within non-theism. The expansion and growth we’ve seen in Eastern Iowa are in line with the trends. Eastern Iowa CoR is here to ensure that non-theists have a place where they belong, feel welcomed and can make a positive contribution to their communities.”

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The Tri-State Humanists is a group of like-minded people in the Burlington, Iowa area interested in sharing non-religious discussion and fellowship. Members of the TSH try to see the world from a secular perspective and share that view with others. We meet on the first Saturday of each month at the Starr’s Cave Nature Center and encourage open discussion on a wide variety of topics.

The Eastern Iowa Coalition of Reason is made up of 9 eastern Iowa atheist, freethought, and humanist groups working together in the Eastern Iowa area. Our twin goals are to foster a sense of community among the like minded and raise public awareness that people who don’t believe in a god or gods can be decent citizens who contribute to the larger society.

The United Coalition of Reason is a non-profit organization that helps local non-theistic groups work together to achieve higher visibility, increase membership, and have a greater impact in their local areas.

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For more information, contact:
Roxanne “Rocky” Gissler
Coordinator—Eastern Iowa Coalition of Reason
[email protected]
(319) 365-0923

Tyler Owen
President—Tri-State Freethinkers
[email protected]

UnitedCoR’s Executive Director
Executive Director
United Coalition of Reason (headquartered in Washington, DC)[email protected]
(202) 744-1553