Humanists Speak out about Godless Billboard in the Phoenix Area

(Phoenix, AZ, June 5, 2009) "Don’t believe in God? You are not alone."

These words are part of a coordinated multi-organizational advertising campaign designed to raise awareness about people who don’t believe in a god. And now the nationwide campaign has come to the Phoenix area. The prominent ad appears on a highway billboard and can be read by motorists traveling north of the Sky Harbor Airport, at the intersection of 44th and Washington, just outside of Phoenix. It has been placed by the Arizona Coalition of Reason, with funding from the United Coalition of Reason and logistical support from the American Humanist Association. It features an image of blue sky and clouds with the words superimposed over.

"The point of this national billboard campaign is to reach out to the millions of humanists, atheists and agnostics living in the United States," explained Fred Edwords, head of the United Coalition of Reason, speaking at a press conference today. "Nontheists sometimes don’t realize there’s a community out there for them because they’re inundated with religious messages at every turn. So we hope this will serve as a beacon and let them know they aren’t alone."

The billboard’s sponsors will hold a press conference tomorrow, Friday, June 5, to discuss the issues raised by the billboard’s unconventional message. The conference coincides with the opening of the 68th Annual Conference of the American Humanist Association (AHA), at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel. "The American Humanist Association has funded a number of these billboards in the past, and this annual conference is among the nation’s largest gatherings of humanists and other nontheists each year," said Maggie Ardiente, director of development for the Washington, D.C.-based AHA. "It allows our community to communicate, thrive and strategize."

The press conference will be held at 9:00 AM in the Cavetto Room at the Tempe Missions Palms Hotel, which is located at 60 East Fifth Street. Special guest PZ Myers, the popular author of the science blog, Pharyngula, will also be present at the press conference to express his thoughts and answer questions on being named 2009 Humanist of the Year.

The billboard is one of many that have gone up around the country this year, including those in places as far flung as Charleston, South Carolina; Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas; Moscow, Idaho; and New Orleans, Louisiana. The United Coalition of Reason plans to fund billboards in as many as 16 additional states before year’s end

In addition, during the past winter holiday season, the American Humanist Association ran an ad campaign on city buses in Washington, D.C.—an effort that garnered both applause and controversy from around the nation.

The American Humanist Association ( www.americanhumanist.org ) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.

The Arizona Coalition of Reason ( www.arizonacor.org ) is a group of like-minded member organizations from throughout Arizona that share a worldview grounded in reason over superstition, and scientific truth over revealed truth.

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 profiles.

Press Conference Materials:
Speaker Bios
Arizona COR Billboard
Fred Edwords Speech
Jim Lippard Speech
Maggie Ardiente Speech 

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For more information contact:

Karen Frantz
Communications and Policy Manager
American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org)
Office: (202) 238-9088
[email protected]

Jim Lippard
Spokesperson
Arizona Coalition of Reason ( www.arizonacor.org )