The Freedom From Religion Foundation is taking not just one but five of its "Imagine No Religion" billboards to downtown Phoenix for the month of September.
The billboards will be up at:
- 19th Ave & Fillmore, west of the State Capital area on 19th Ave. (Best viewed traveling northbound on 19th Ave just prior to Fillmore.)
- Van Buren & 15th Ave, north east of the State Capital area on Van Buren. (Best viewed traveling eastbound on Van Buren just prior to 15th Ave.)
- Indian School & 23rd St. (Best viewed traveling westbound on Indian School Rd. just after 23rd St.)
- McDowell & 14th St., northwest of the downtown area on McDowell Rd. (Best viewed traveling eastbound on McDowell just after 14th St.)
- McDowell & 3rd St. (Best viewing occurs while traveling westbound on McDowell.)
The Freedom From Religion Foundation launched a national billboard campaign last fall, with hopes to take its religion-free message state-by-state, especially to state capitals. This is the first time it has placed this many billboards in one city.
The Foundation is grateful for all the local donors and members who made this happen, and for the help of the Phoenix Atheist Meetup Group. The Foundation sends special thanks to a Lifetime Member who hosted a July pool party to raise an impressive $1,645 toward the cost of the billboards, and to one local member who has done yeoman's work finding and approving sites, as well as raising funds.
After the contract was signed, the billboard company in Phoenix told the Foundation it had reconsidered three of the original sites, because they were within 1,000 feet of a church or a school. The company cited a government rule that tobacco and liquor ads may not be within 1,000 feet of a church or school.
"We found the implications not too flattering," said Annie Laurie Gaylor, Foundation co-president. "After all, Marx astutely called religion 'the opium of the people.' But but no one has ever suggested that applying reason to religion is like an addiction! Quite the contrary. However, there were many suitable alternatives, so we and CBS Outdoor were able to agree on five sites and we're happy to be taking our message to Phoenix."
Harold Saferstein, M.D., a local Foundation member and donor to the billboard campaign, said of the "Imagine No Religion" message: " I once prayed to an invisible deity when my wife was desperately ill, but I'm quite certain she was saved by modern medicine and some caring health workers. My life took a turn for the better when I freed my mind from religious belief."
The billboards are expected to be up by Tuesday, Sept. 2.
Read the Arizona Republic article about the billboards.