The Freedom From Religion Foundation's first freethought billboard is now up in the Garden State of New Jersey.
The billboard faces south off Monmouth Road near Roosevelt Avenue in suburban Oakhurst in Ocean Township and says: "God & Government: A Dangerous Mix," with "Keep State and Church Separate" below. A capitol dome and red, white and blue colors help get the point across.
The message and design theme debuted in April 2010 in Colorado Springs, Colo., home to Focus on the Family and the free-range conservative evangelical.
FFRF has more than 16,000 members nationally and more than 350 in New Jersey, one of whom worked with FFRF to choose the theme and sponsor the 10x23-foot billboard for one month. Northbound drivers will get a good look at it due to its location off a 40-mph road.
An issue of particular concern to New Jersey advocates of state-church separation is a "backdoor" voucher proposal called the Opportunity Scholarship Act that would benefit private schools at the expense of public education. Advocates, including Gov. Chris Christie and the New Jersey Catholic Conference, make the ludicrous claim that since it would be funded by corporate tax credits, there would be no burden to taxpayers. Corporations that pay state income taxes could take a 100% tax credit for donations made to the OSA fund.
FFRF placed its first billboard in Madison, Wis., (its home base) in October 2007. Since then it has sponsored billboards in about 40 cities in 25 states. Foundation members and contributors are instrumental in these efforts to bring reason to the highways and byways of America.
FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said the Foundation opposes public resources going to private religious schools. "Backers of the OSA claim there's no burden to taxpayers because of the corporate involvement. When corporations get tax credits, the tax burden gets shifted to individuals. It looks like part of the ongoing effort to privatize education in the U.S. and leave the poorer students behind," Gaylor said.