Atheist Billboard Comes to Fayetteville, Arkansas

The latest atheist billboard (and corresponding bus ads) can be found in Fayetteville, Arkansas, thanks to the Northwest Arkansas Coalition of Reason.

“We… want everyone to know that those of us who don’t believe in a supreme being happen to be your neighbors,” added Randall Fleck, coordinator of NWA CoR. “Folks like us can be found everywhere. We’re family members, friends and coworkers. One of us might even be in the pew next to you in church. So it’s about time we started talking about our views, just as others talk about theirs.”

This billboard stands out partly because of its hilarious placement…

It sits just above a billboard for the Central United Methodist Church.

Beautiful :)

“That was a complete coincidence. We didn’t know that until we went and took a picture of the sign and said. Oh, we had no idea,” said [co-founder of Fayetteville Free Thinkers Darrel] Henschell.

And neither Henschell, nor the church’s pastor thinks it’s a bad thing.

“That could be a metaphor for how secular people and church minded people can co-exist peacefully in our society,” Henschell said.

“The first reaction is it breaks my heart,” said CUMC Senior Pastor Carness Vaughan. “But on second thought, any opportunity to get people thinking about God is a good thing.”

I’m sure the screams of horror from the religious community will be heard shortly…

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    I spent a year in Fayetteville one week. God damned buckle of the freaking bible belt.

  • Greg

    “The first reaction is it breaks my heart,” said CUMC Senior Pastor Carness Vaughan.

    That made me chuckle. He finds it heartbreaking that people are good without god?

    Freudian slip, perhaps.

  • mkb

    Oh, this makes me so happy. I was born in Fayetteville, grew up there, went to college there. It is a wonderful place with wonderful people. It is also home to way more than its fair share of bigoted, and unbigoted, Bible thumpers. You have to take the good with the bad. Darwin’s Dagger, I wish I had been there to show you around. And by the way, I am sure that what breaks the minister’s heart is that there are people who don’t “know God” not that those people are good.

  • Emily the non-Catholic

    Isn’t that where the infamous Duggars live? Maybe they’ll lead a protest on their show.

  • mkb

    I believe that the Duggars live a town or two up the road. Each town in the area is different.

    To give you a little of the flavor of Fayetteville, it was the first town in the country to vote to integrate it’s high school after Brown v. Board of Education. It was also the only town in the region that was safe after dark for African Americans. My brother played basketball for the high school in the 60s. His best friend was a black teammate. Many of the other schools in the area wouldn’t play teams with African Americans (Fayetteville had to travel out of state to find a full slate of opponents). Anyway, I don’t know what things are like today, but Fayetteville was much more enlightened than the rest of the region 40 or 50 years ago.

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  • plutosdad

    Competing billboards is better than vandalism. In fact, if they do vandalise it, with that church billboard right beneath it, it may make other christians cringe instead of thinking “they got what they deserved.”

  • DGKnipfer

    I find the two billboards together priceless. I grew up in the UMC though I never really believed. All of my sisters are UMC as is my mom. Dad has never said one way or another, but I’ve always suspected that he’s Agnostic.

    I wonder how long it will take before people complain that the atheist billboard is above the UMC billboard? I’m sure somebody will complain that it is an insult to god to have an atheist messge above god’s message.

  • gsw

    IF YOU ARE GOOD WITH GOD – YOU CAN BE BETTER WITHOUT.

  • Ed-words

    We should “introduce” our children

    to the light of Jesus? Funny, I thought

    it was indoctrination.

  • dave

    And Hemant’s next post, on the vandalizing of said bilboard, will be in three… two… one…

  • alex

    Speaking of vandalism, why don’t the billboard’s owners turn it around? Instead of replacing the board, plaster something right next to the vandalized part emphasizing it and sending some more powerful message. Or even spray-paint some clever rebuttal in response. I mean, if it’s the billboard’s owner doing that, it should be fair game?

    I’m sure there are atheist sharp-witted comedians out there. George Carlin’s case illustrates my point.

  • http://www.skepticmoney.com Phil Ferguson

    I spent 2 years in the Bentonville area. The people were very nice but many were pushy about religion. I once asked a parent not include stuff about jesus when sending e-mail to students for school events. It turned very ugly.

    Best wishes for all of my good AR friends.

  • Siamang

    Ah, indoctrinate the wee ones before they develop the capacity for critical thought.

    They *don’t even get* how baldly manipulative it is. They don’t even pretend to try to hide it.

  • http://nwacor.org Donald Morton

    Hi guys,

    I’m part of the Arkansas group that helped get this up. Thanks for the support, guys!! I just wanted to throw out a couple links to local coverage for you.

    The text version of the local tv news coverage:
    http://nwahomepage.com/content/fulltext_news/?cid=158342

    KNWA’s Facebook page. Lots of feedback from local residents here:
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/KNWA/269193847335?ref=mf#!/photo.php?pid=4083353&id=269193847335&comments

    We hit the front page of the local newspaper (below the fold). Some local comments here as well:
    http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2010/apr/08/atheist-group-launches-advertising-campaign/

  • http://www.redheadedskeptic.com Laura

    The Facebook page is craaaazyyy! Not like death threat crazy, but 297 comments crazy (considering most of their postings get 1-5 comments, anyways).

  • http://www.redheadedskeptic.com Laura

    Donald, where is the billboard? I haven’t seen it in person yet, and none of the news stories I’ve seen have said precisely where it is, just that it’s “there.”

  • muggle

    I love it. America. At least, this is what America should mean. The freedom to express directly opposing points of view. That picture is beautiful precisely because both signs are there. That is freedom of expression on display.

  • Donald Morton

    Laura, It’s on i540 near Springdale facing south, right before the Wagon Wheel Road exit.

  • http://nwacor.org Donald Morton

    Here is the video of the KNWA news segment.

    http://nwahomepage.com/content/video/?cid=158342

  • Slickninja

    Really? CUM Church?

    *facepalm*
    Christ, They may as well just call it, “Bukkake Cathedral”

  • Christophe Thill

    Well, that’s healthy competition. Isn’t this what America is all about ?

  • Donald Morton

    Here is another local news spot from tonight:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-bP_VDxGgY

  • http://nwacor.org Donald Morton

    More video! Sorry for the spam, but we are excited about this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTm6L2pngMg

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    “The first reaction is it breaks my heart,” said CUMC Senior Pastor Carness Vaughan.

    Wow, seriously? I would have expected that from fundamentalists, but these are the liberal Methodists with supposedly “open hearts” and “open minds.” You know she wouldn’t have dared to say something like that about a Buddhist or Hindu billboard, but she thinks it’s okay to say that she finds the mere existence of atheists heartbreaking?


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