Atheist group places "Godless" billboards just before holidays

Published: Nov. 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2011 at 8:00 PM EST
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Source: Columbia CoR
Source: Columbia CoR
Source: Columbia CoR
Source: Columbia CoR

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A coalition of Midlands atheists has launched an advertising campaign in the Columbia area with two billboards that say: "Don't believe in God? You are not alone."

Those words are superimposed over an image of a blue sky and clouds on 2 digital billboards near the capital city. One is located at 600 Blossom St. where Pulaski St. dead ends, and the other is on Interstate 20 West, just east of Monticello Dr.

They were placed by the Columbia Coalition of Reason (Columbia CoR) with $7,000 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (United CoR). The ad campaign marks the public launch of Columbia CoR, an alliance of 4 established non-theistic groups in the South Carolina Midlands.

This campaign is also the latest in a nationwide effort to reach out to non-theists, the coalition said. Since March 2009, there have been similar billboards, as well as bus ad campaigns, in 26 other states and the District of Columbia.

"The point of our ongoing nationwide awareness campaign is to reach out to the millions of atheists and agnostics living in the United States," said Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason. "Such non-theists sometimes don't realize there's a community for them because they're inundated with religious messages at every turn," he added. "We hope our effort will serve as a beacon and let them know they aren't alone."

"We hope people will discover that we are a regular part of the community," said Dustin Tucker, coordinator of the Columbia Coalition of Reason. "Atheists and agnostics like us live all over South Carolina. We're your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers and family members. One of us might even be sitting in the pew next to you in church."

"Visibility is important to us," Edwords noted, "because, in this society, atheists and agnostics often don't know many people like themselves. And if traditionally religious people can be open about their views, why can't we be open about ours?"

The ads will remain up through mid-December.

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