(Chico, California, December 13, 2012.) Vandals have cut out portions of one of the twelve Butte County Coalition of Reason billboards in Chico. The billboard on Skyway near Honey Run Road originally read, “Don’t believe in God? Join the club.” But the word “Don’t” was removed, along with part of the Web address: ButteCountyCoR.org.
The billboard was placed by the Butte County Coalition of Reason (Butte County CoR) with $3,780 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (UnitedCoR), headquartered in Washington DC. The ad has only been up a week and was first announced Monday morning.
“This shows just how necessary our message is, because prejudice against people who don’t believe in a god remains very real in America,” said George Gold today. He is coordinator of Butte County CoR.
For billboard images, showing original and defaced conditions, free for media use, see the right sidebar.
Stott Outdoor, the owner of the billboard, has filed a report and agreed to replace the billboard at no cost to the Coalition of Reason.
“This billboard’s original message will be bright and clear in short order,” said Fred Edwords, national director of UnitedCoR. “Freedom of speech is worthy of everyone’s defense, for it is only when controversial speech is protected that all speech is safe. And it is only when those with minority opinions can state their views that people will have a chance to broaden their awareness of the valuable diversity within their community.”
On its website at ButteCountyCoR.org, the Butte County Coalition of Reason declares, “Our goals are to foster a sense of community among like-minded people and raise public awareness that people who don’t believe in a god or gods are decent people and contribute to our culture in many ways.” The coalition was launched December 10 when the billboard was announced.
“Now we are more committed than ever to the cause of making our presence known,” Gold added. “Hopefully this vandalism will inspire more nontheistic people in the Butte County area to realize how important it is to get organized. Only by working together will we end bigotry against philosophical and religious minorities.”
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The Butte County Coalition of Reason ( www.ButteCountyCoR.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 Atheists of Butte County, Chico Skeptics, and the Chico State Secular Student Alliance.
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.
For more information contact: