November 19, 2008

Atheist Billboards Sprout Up Around Denver

SP covered the earlier background story on the atheist billboards here in Colorado and on the East Coast, and now the billboards have gone up--11 in all:
Eleven billboards in have gone up in metro Denver and Colorado Springs that question the existence of God.

The first one went up at E. Colfax Avenue and Quebec Street in Denver. It says, "Don't believe in God? You are not alone." The two lines sit against a blue sky backdrop.

The billboards cost $5,000 total and will be up until mid-December.

The group that started the campaign is called the Colorado Coalition of Reason or COCORE. COCORE said the billboards are not meant to offend Christians, but rather to create a more cohesive secular community of non-believers and free-thinkers.

"It simply reaches out to people who have no belief in God and are feeling isolated by the religious world around them," said Marvin Straus, co-founder of the Boulder Atheists.

"I've had feedback from people who thought it denigrated Christians. Totally untrue. It doesn't talk about Christians, or Muslims, or Hindus or any religion. It's specifically addressed to the non-believer."
Naturally, the billboards' comparatively bland statements have caused a furor, augmented by the proximity to many religious holidays that surround the four weeks that the billboards will be displayed.

Religious observers should be secure enough in their beliefs so that another's statement of non-belief presents no existential threat. The statement itself is rather benign--a shout out to fellow atheists, more or less. We'll take his word and be thankful that this country was founded on bedrock principles that include freedom of speech and expression.

But what would a Colorado November and December be without some sort of holiday controversy?

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