A "stained glass" billboard bearing the message, "Imagine No Religion," has just gone up in Seattle for a month. The colorful billboard appears on Denny Way Hill, east of Stewart Street, in the Capitol Hill/Broadway area of Seattle.
The billboard is sponsored by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nation's largest membership association for freethinkers (atheists and agnostics), which is also a state/church separation watchdog. The Foundation has more than 12,000 members.
"So far as we know, this is the first-ever freethinking billboard to be placed in the Seattle area. We consider Seattle fertile ground," said Foundation co-president Dan Barker, author of Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist. Barker noted that polls and surveys invariably reveal that unbelief is highest in the Pacific Northwest.
The Foundation is taking its irreverent message to what it calls the "unmassed masses" state-by-state. The billboard carries the Freedom From Religion Foundation's name and its website, ffrf.org.
"Wherever you go, our roadsides of full of religion and religious symbols," said Foundation copresident Annie Laurie Gaylor. "We think it's time to advertise an alternative." The Foundation has placed a second billboard message, with the same stained-glass motif, warning: "Beware of Dogma," in several states.
The Foundation's goal is to place billboards in every state. Currently, its "Imagine No Religion" message appears near the State Capitol in Denver. Billboards have appeared in Madison, Wis., Atlanta, Ga., Columbus, Ohio, and rural Pennsylvania and will be going up in Harrisburg, Pa., in September.
A new and timely message, "Keep Religion out of Politics," is scheduled to go up in time for the Democratic National Convention in Denver. The Foundation hopes to place a similar message in the Twin Cities in time for the GOP convention in September.
The billboard was erected with the generous help of a local FFRF Lifetime member, Mike Christensen.
“ 'Imagine No Religion' ” does not question any specific religion, religious doctrine, or faith. Rather it promotes the idea that society can only reach its full potential when we cease focusing on the answer and start focusing on the acquisition of knowledge based on an open minded scientific process.
“ 'Imagine No Religion' ” asks us to imagine a world where people can look at the universe with an open mind, and not make an assumption based on blind faith. A world where scientific discovery can go unimpeded without fear of contradicting someone else’s unfounded belief structure. A world where we lose the irrational fear of our own mortality and take comfort in the unknown, for it roots our desire to explore."