In Honor of Catherine Fahringer
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, the largest national association of atheists and agnostics, is taking its national billboard campaign to Texas for the first time, posting its colorful "Imagine No Religion" billboard on I-37. The artwork employs a stained-glass window motif, and includes the Freedom From Religion Foundation name and website, ffrf.org. The contract calls for the billboard to go up on Dec. 8 or soon after, on the eastside of I-37, south of St. Mary's Street (facing south as one travels north and outbound to the airport). It will be up through early January.
The Foundation, a state/church separation watchdog with more than 13,000 members nationwide and more than 500 in Texas, is posting the billboard in honor of its San Antonio spokeswoman and activist, Catherine Fahringer, age 86.
"Catherine, with her unique charm, pithiness and persistence, has done so much over the years in San Antonio and nationally to watch over the constitutional principle of separation between church and state, and to promote her gentle brand of nontheism. We are putting this billboard up in her honor with our warmest love, knowing how much the message has meant to her," said Foundation copresident Annie Laurie Gaylor.
"Those of us who are free from religion like to imagine a world where humanity, instead of wasting its best efforts on some unprovable, supernatural next world, would concentrate on leaving this world a better place for future generations. Then we could have 'heaven' here on earth," noted Dan Barker Foundation co-president and author of the new book, Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists.
The Foundation launched a national billboard campaign a year ago, taking its religion-free messages state-by-state. Foundation billboard messages also say "Beware of Dogma," "Reason's Greetings," and "Keep Religion OUT of Politics."
The Foundation has previously leased billboards in Madison, Wis.; Atlanta, Ga.; Harrisburg, Penn., Chambersburg, Penn.; Denver, Colo.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; Des Moines, Iowa; Columbus, Ohio; St. Paul,Minn.; Olympia, Wash.; and Colorado Springs, Colo. This December, the Foundation put up a seasonal and cheery "Reason's Greetings" billboard in Olympia, Wash., and Madison, Wis. An "Imagine No Religion" billboard went up last week in Canton, Ohio. The Foundation has contracted to place 10 billboards in Portland later this month, one in Sacramento and three in San Francisco.
After a billboard company in California tore down and destroyed the Foundation's "Imagine No Religion" billboard and dishonored a 2-month contract in late November, the Foundation filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Rancho Cucamonga, for interference leading to what amounted to government censorship.
The Foundation has been in the news in the Pacific Northwest in the past week, after Fox TV commentator Bill O'Reilly condemned its Winter Solstice message erected on Dec. 1 in the Washington State Capitol.