Nontheists and Christians: Battle of the Billboards Turns Into Helping the Hungry

Both billboards on I-95 don blue skies and serene white clouds, but one reaches out to nontheists, while the other encourages people to Experience God. The similarity of these two billboards, one put up by PhillyCOR (Greater Philadelphia Coalition of Reason) and one by the Lighthouses of Oxford Valley, a Christian revival, is coincidental.

The Lighthouses’ blog, The River, May 2008, wrote about this coincidence and featured the headline "Battle of the Billboards." PhillyCOR members and leaders read this and saw an opportunity to show that nontheists support people working together to solve human problems, despite doctrinal differences. Martha Knox, PhillyCOR’s Coordinator, called Pastor Heidi Butterworth of the Lighthouses, and together they planned a joint workday at Philabundance, scheduled for Saturday, August 2nd.

Philabundance was suggested because the Philadelphia-based nonprofit is nonsectarian and the region’s largest food bank and hunger relief organization.

Jan Meshon of FreeThoughtAction, one of PhillyCoR’s member organizations, said "I especially like the idea of Philabundance and making that a key recipient of charitable works we do – there’s no more basic need than food."

Pastor Butterworth was eager to set up a workday at the Philabundance warehouse, where members from both organizations would have "a chance to talk to each other without shouting across political and religious lines."

Get involved! To compliment the workday, PhillyCoR is also holding a food and fund drive for Philabundance through August 23rd. Go here to get information about what type of food is appropriate to donate, and to learn drop off dates and locations.