California’s getting a number of atheist billboards this month!
The Orange County Coalition of Reason is putting up the traditional “Don’t believe in God? You’re not alone” billboard:
Just in time, too, since they’re hosting the Orange County Freethought Alliance Conference on Sunday, May 15th.
“The point of our ongoing nationwide awareness campaign is to reach out to the millions of atheists and agnostics living in the United States,” explained Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason. “Such nontheists sometimes don’t realize there’s a community for them because they’re inundated with religious messages at every turn. We hope our effort will serve as a beacon and let them know they aren’t alone.”
Edwords added: “All the billboards going up this week also celebrate the National Day of Reason on May 5, an alternative observance to the National Day of Prayer. And they will remain up even after the supposed Rapture that a few have predicted for May 21.”
Well played, Fred (By the way, Chicago, Fred’s speaking at the Ethical Humanist Society this Sunday! He’s a fantastic speaker — go if you can!)
That billboard comes at a cost of $6,325.00.
It’s already getting press… and ridiculous backlash from the billboard’s host city’s mayor, Margie Rice:
Mayor Margie Rice, who helped spearhead the In God We Trust movement in Orange County, said she still believes in God, but that the atheists have their rights and freedom of speech.
“That billboard is going to turn my stomach every time I drive by,” she said. “But there is not much I can do about it. I guess it’s fine to make a statement, but if I could help it, I would not allow it.”
Rice said she will be seeking the advice of the city’s legal counsel to find out what their options are. At the same time, Rice said, she will also wait to see the community’s reaction to the sign.
Let me paraphrase:
I know atheists have the same rights that I do… but if I had the power, I’d take their rights away. How DARE they put up a completely inoffensive billboard like that?!
Maybe if the locals complain, I can circumvent the law. Because that’s how “rights” work. We can take them away based on the whims of the masses.
Meanwhile, the Central Valley Coalition of Reason (in Fresno) and the San Joaquin Valley Coalition of Reason (in Stockton) are getting a slightly different billboard in their areas: “Don’t believe in God? Join the club.”
The billboard in Fresno was $5,176.00 and the one in Stockton cost $7,296.00.
All three billboards will be up for a month.
What do you think of the billboards?
My first reaction was that a lot of you are gonna cringe at the use of the word “club”… but if you don’t take it literally, I think the message is a positive one.
Incidentally, these aren’t the first billboards to go up in California. Last year, a billboard put up by the Sacramento Coalition of Reason was vandalized.