(Fredericksburg, Virginia, January 8, 2013) The Fredericksburg Coalition of Reason, called "Fred CoR" for short, will once again be represented in Fredericksburg’s annual Religious Freedom Parade.
Last year this alliance of five area non-theistic groups–with activities ranging from support to education to parenting–had the second-largest number of marchers, twenty of them, right behind the Knights of Columbus. This year the coalition will be marching with a new banner. And given their ongoing participation, Fred CoR asked the organizers if they could have a short speaking slot from the podium, or at least a seat on the platform. But neither request was granted.
"We look forward to the day when we can have a representative of our worldview up on the platform among the others," said Matthew Jordan of Fred CoR. "Religious freedom isn’t just for religious people. The nonreligious population supports this important civil liberty as well. Religious freedom means that no religion can be imposed upon us. It also means that those who don’t believe in a god are just as entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to advance their ideas in the marketplace."
Toward this latter goal of advancing their ideas in the marketplace, the people of Fred CoR put up a 16 x 72 foot billboard on I-95 just outside Fredericksburg. Last month it was located near Stafford. It is now being moved to the west side of I-95, a half mile north of Route 606 in Thornburg and is slated to appear there on Friday, where it will remain through February. It bears the text, "Don’t believe in God? You are not alone." These words are superimposed over an image of a blue sky and clouds. The billboard was paid for with $5,100 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (UnitedCoR).
The Religious Freedom Parade begins at 1:30 PM at the Fredericksburg train station and ends at the Thomas Jefferson Religious Freedom Monument, where a ceremony will be held.
The Fredericksburg effort is the latest in a nationwide effort. Since the spring of 2009 there have been similar billboards, bus ad campaigns, and parade banners used 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."
"We need to be visible, said Matt Jordan, media representative for Fredericksburg CoR, "because non-religious people in Virginia don’t often know many others like themselves. Our campaign has become a celebration of reason. Reason, civility and community are the guiding principles we live by."
For high-res images of the billboard and banner, free for media use, see the right sidebar.
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The Fredericksburg Coalition of Reason ( www.FredericksburgCoR.org ) is made up of secular humanist and skeptic groups working together 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 ( 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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