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The nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists and agnostics) hopes heads will turn to view a "mini-blitz" of 20 billboards placed throughout the Tampa and St. Petersburg area this month.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., which has more than 15,500 members nationwide and more than 700 Florida members, is taking its national billboard campaign for the first time to Florida.
FFRF's newest message, showing the face of a penny saying "In Reason We Trust," is debuting in Tampa. The Foundation points out that "In God We Trust" is a johnny-come-lately, adopted as a motto by Congress during the McCarthy era in 1956. The original secular motto, "E Pluribus Unum" (From Many [come] one") was chosen by a committee of Jefferson, Adams and Franklin.
"To be accurate, the religious motto would have to say 'In God Some of Us Trust,' and wouldn't that be silly?" said Foundation Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. She pointed out that the nonreligious is the largest-growing segment of the population by religious identification, at 15%.
Other FFRF billboard messages include:
• "Imagine No Religion"
• "God & Government a Dangerous Mix"
• "Sleep in on Sundays"
Several of the colorful billboards have a “stained glass window” motif.
“We want our billboards to be attractive, since our messages are controversial, and freethinkers like stained glass as much as the religious do. But we'd also like to create a little cognitive dissonance. Wouldn't it be something if you saw this message, 'Imagine No Religion' or 'Sleep in on Sundays,' in a church?” asks Gaylor.
Since kicking off a billboard campaign in October 2007 in Madison, Wis., the Foundation has added several new designs, placing billboards in 25 states and more than 40 cities, and expanding to provocative bus sign campaigns. These are the first billboards FFRF has placed in Florida, and the most billboards it has ever posted in one area at the same time.
Also going up this week is a new design, "Enjoy Life Now: There Is No Afterlife," in Watertown, Wis., suggested and paid for by an area FFRF member as "a legacy for my grandkids." In another August campaign, the Foundation is posting a red-white-and-blue billboard warning, “God and Government a Dangerous Mix,” in Monmouth Co., N.J.
Billboard sites containing FFRF messages are found at: