Atheist Billboards Go Up All Across South Dakota

Seven billboards saying “Don’t believe in God? Join the club!” just went up all across South Dakota:

The billboards, which cost $11,148 and were funded by the United Coalition of Reason and an anonymous local donor, will be up through September 15. This is the 34th state (not including Washington, D.C.) to launch a United CoR billboard campaign.

“The point of our national awareness campaign is to reach out to the millions of humanists, atheists and agnostics living in the United States,” explained Fred Edwords, national director of UnitedCoR. “Non-theists sometimes don’t realize there’s a community for them because they’re inundated with religious messages at every turn. So we hope our effort will serve as a beacon and let them know they aren’t alone.”

Reaching out to the like-minded isn’t the only goal of the effort. “We want people to know that secular freethinkers like us are a regular part of communities all over the state,” added Eric Novotny, coordinator of South Dakota CoR. “South Dakota non-theists are your friends and neighbors, your coworkers and family members. And we should feel as free as anyone to express our views openly.”

If you’re in the area and you’d like to learn more about the local groups in the state, check out the South Dakota Coalition of Reason’s website!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Jasper

    My God. That could win prize for “Most Offensive Billboard in the History of The Universe”

    • Jasper

      /sarcasm (in case anyone needs to know)

    • Anymouse

      I agree. Is that supposed to be the Earth in the background? It’s supposed to be flat! Just look around you! The evidence is right in front of your eyes!

    • customartist

      Christians “demand!” respect,…but offer little

  • Agent M

    Thanks Hemant! We’re totally stoked about the boards!

  • Dal Bryn

    I don’t know how effective this will be. After the first dozen billboards for Wall Drug you just start ignoring billboard all together.

    • Agent M

      Most of the Wall Drug billboards are on I-90 going West across the state. Otherwise, it’s just one or two here and there. We have strategically put these in busy, well travelled locations. They have gotten quite a bit of attention already.

      • Dal Bryn

        Can you put one about 13 miles south of Miller on Hwy 45?

  • Ralph Horque

    This is a good thing.

  • DougI

    What a waste of money. There are so many people going hungry in America, hungry for some 200 foot tall crosses. Or so I think will be the response from the fundies.

    • customartist

      Except Atheists do not use tax free money to manipulate those who do NOT subscribe to their positions, and all under the guise of “Charity”

    • Jasper

      And promoting rationality, skepticism, critical thinking and the scientific method is step #1 for actually solving world hunger.

      Prayer can’t make that claim.

    • katiehippie

      They should make the 200 foot tall crosses edible.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        But then won’t people eat the bases out first and then the giant crosses will fall on them and never mind I get it now.

  • Pofarmer

    I sometimes drive a semi hauling hay in MO. it is AMAZING all the Christian billboards out there if you look around. Good to see this. People need to know they are accepted.

    • allein

      My coworker said she’s been seeing billboards on the New Jersey Turnpike looking for “Christian models”…she asked what a Christian model looks like. I told her about the guy who stole the photo from Modern Family for his Christian-discipline book and said I guess they look like that :)

  • Richard Tingley

    I’ll set the over under at a week.

    • Timmah

      Won’t even take a week. All they have to do is black out the “Don’t” and their imaginary sky friend will be most pleased.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      They won’t vandalize it on a Monday night. I say five days.

    • Derrik Pates

      At least the one in Rapid City probably won’t get vandalized, since it’s on an electronic billboard. Probably.

  • Rob Cahill

    My only problem with this is it says Don’t believe in God? as if there is only one not to believe in. This seems more of a dig at Christians than a shout out to atheists. And I’m an Anti-theist.

    • C Peterson

      Yeah, but in South Dakota, even more than in many states, it’s belief in God you’re up against (and that belief is held by Jews and Muslims, as well as Christians).

      I’m an anti-theist as well, and welcome well done anti-theist campaigns in the right context. But there’s a place for pro-atheism campaigns, as well, particularly in places where atheists really can use some social support… like South Dakota.

    • Lagerbaer

      Reminds me of that old Irish joke where someone is asked about their religion and says “atheist”. Response: “Well, is it the protestant or the catholic god yer not believin’ in?”

  • Tyrrlin Flamestrike

    Having driven through South Dakota on several occasions a few years ago, I think these billboards present a nice breath of fresh air (and thinking) to counteract the rather overwhelming religious presence in the state.

  • Bitter Lizard

    New faitheist billboard: “Don’t believe in God? Well be quiet and kiss ass and maybe they’ll leave you alone.” Theists still get offended.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Say nothing and they may come for you last, eh? The analogy made me cringe a little inside because it’s so sickeningly accurate.

  • ZenDruid

    I’d like to see:

    “Will the real God please show Himself?”

    • Patrick

      “Planning To Meet Your Maker But Mom Is Out of Town?”

  • HannibalBarca

    I just saw one of these about twenty miles or so north of Sioux Falls. Everyone in my car cheered. Good stuff!

  • M.S.

    You know whenever I see campaigns like this by atheist groups, I’m somewhat confused. It seems a lot of the complaints atheists lodge against religious are related to their constant proselytizing – via billboards, personal interaction, etc…. So, isn’t this a little hypocritical? Aren’t atheists here doing the very thing they hate theists for doing?

    • ZenDruid

      No. Billboards are not equivalent to being bothered by the in-your-face crowd.

      • M.S.

        Right, nothing in-your-face about a 12′ x 24′ sign on a highway. Totally discreet. And I’ve never heard an atheist complain about a Christian billboard. Never.

        • Derrik Pates

          So then, we should hide in caves and not let anyone know we exist? We’re not telling anyone what to believe, we’re just telling anyone who believes like we do “we’re here”. False equivalency.

          • M.S.

            Of course atheists shouldn’t hide in caves. Neither should believers. But isn’t that what most atheists want of theists? Keep your religion private. Keep it in your home. Keep it in your church.
            You can see how you are starting to slide the slippery slope of relativism here….

            • Derrik Pates

              Unlike the Christians, we’re not telling anyone “agree with us or go to hell” or anything ridiculous like that. You’re still posing a false equivalency here – we aren’t telling anyone what to believe, or making fun of their beliefs, or anything. The billboard simply says “we are here, we exist, join us if you want, here’s how”.

              We’re not even saying churches shouldn’t be able to announce their presence, but condemning people you don’t like (which we’re not doing!) and trying to force your beliefs into law (which we’re also not doing!) are the problems. Your cry of “slippery slope” is laughable.

              • M.S.

                You’re just not able to see the situation objectively.

        • ZenDruid

          Complaining is one thing, but how frequently are xian billboards vandalized compared to atheist ones?

          • M.S.

            I’m certainly not advocating these billboards be vandalized. I hope they aren’t.

    • mikedave

      Sorry a handful of billboards which amount to like 0.001% of the background of christian billboards (not to mention radio, TV, internet, at your door, etc etc advertising) is somehow “in your face”, “constant proselytizing”? And their very presence somehow makes all atheists hypocrites, really?

  • MNantitheist

    Just saw the on on I-229 on Tuesday!!!On my way back form the sex shop!

    • Fred Edwords

      I think a lot of believers saw it on their way back from the same sex shop.


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