Now, the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “Out of the Closet” billboard campaign is debuting in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Foundation Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said she picked Tulsa as the third city for her “atheists out of the closet” campaign because of the support from the Tulsa atheist community.
“Tulsa is a perfect place for our ‘out of the closet’ campaign,” Gaylor said.
“When I visited Tulsa for the first time last December, I was floored by the number of religious billboards, advertisements and churches I saw everywhere. I wonder if Tulsa has more visible religion than any other U.S. city?”
These are not up anywhere else online yet, so I’m happy to present an exclusive look at the ten billboards going up this week:
Quick note: Rhonda’s billboard says “Born again Skeptic,” but that was actually her second choice for a message:
Her original billboard quote — “Living a purpose-filled life without God” — was rejected by Lamar Outdoor Advertising.
“They thought that it may be too offensive to some of the people in the Tulsa community,” she said.
Pat Selcer, general manager at Lamar, could not be reached to explain the standard the company uses.
I can’t understand why that would be offensive to anyone… but that issue aside, everything has gone smoothly. The billboards look fantastic and, like the previous FFRF campaigns, they put a kind, happy, human face on atheism.
William Poire, president of the Atheist Community of Tulsa, and the father seen with his three children in that last billboard, explained to me why he was proud to join the campaign:
I chose to participate in the billboard campaign because I wanted to represent the Atheist Community of Tulsa and the young, secular, family-oriented demographic that we’re trying to appeal to.
I want to convey a sense of community, welcomeness, and acceptance to the general public. I believe the majority of Tulsans are relatively intelligent and are consequently open for dialogue while remaining tolerant to opposing ideas, so the response should be overall well-received.
So long as the billboards generate civil discussion, I will considerate the response as ‘good’. The campaign means the addition of many steps towards educating the general populace about our presence and our desire (as the fastest growing minority in the United States of America) to be accepted for our merits and character –- not dismissed simply because of our lack of belief in a god or gods.
I know vandalism generates publicity… but I hope these remain safe. They are too awesome-looking to be defaced, right?