"OMG, there is no god!"
That's the lighthearted message the Freedom from Religion Foundation is taking to a Times Square billboard Friday in New York City to counter an anti-atheist billboard by an evangelical group.
FFRF, a state/church watchdog and the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), has enlisted "Saturday Night Live" alum Julia Sweeney for its rejoinder. One cube of the billboard features Sweeney's smiling face, the other her quote: "OMG, there is no god!"
FFRF's message will be displayed on the same digital billboard at the corner of 42nd Street and 8th Avenue as the Answers in Genesis Christian message saying, "To all our atheist friends: Thank God you're wrong."
"A fifth of the U.S. population identifies as nonbelievers. We don't thank a nonexistent god, we put faith in each other and human ingenuity," says Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-founder of the Madison, Wis.-based association. "We believe in deeds, not creeds. We believe the only afterlife that ought to concern us is leaving our descendants a secure and pleasant future."
Sweeney, an actress and comedian, entered the cultural lexicon via her "Adrogynous Pat" character. She later became playwright of "Letting Go of God," her powerful and humorous one-woman show about starting out as a good Catholic girl and ending up an atheist. Sweeney has a new book out this year, "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother."
FFRF has placed hundreds of billboard messages since late 2007, kicking off a mass media trend by freethought groups which had previously been barred from outdoor advertising.
It's actually FFRF's third billboard in Times Square. A year ago, last June, it placed a message to combat the anti-contraceptive mandate campaign by the Catholic bishops, saying: "Put women's rights over Bishops' wrongs." A few Decembers ago, FFRF placed a billboard proclaiming "Reason's Greetings" at 42nd Street and 7th and 8th Avenues.
In Times Square, a Friendly Jab at Atheists, New York Times