Correction: The removed billboard referenced was originally at 130th St. and Saginaw Avenue in Chicago and is being moved to Cottage Grove Avenue and Joe Orr Street in Chicago Heights.
What do the members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation do at Christmastime? In Chicago . . . they proclaim their nonbelief on billboards, as well as placing a winter solstice display at Daley Plaza to balance an annual nativity scene on public land.
FFRF, its active Chicago area chapter and its "friendly neighborhood" atheist and agnostic members are up on 11 billboards in Chicagoland. But one billboard message was deemed "offensive" by a landowner Clear Channel was leasing a board from, and has been removed. That billboard — which was on Cottage Grove Avenue 200 feet north of Joe Orr Street in Chicago Heights, and featured Alan Wagner, Sterling, a musician and atheist — will be relocated.
"It's hard to believe someone would be that offended by a slogan that says 'I put my faith in science,'" commented Tom Cara, director of the FFRF Metropolitan Chicago Chapter.
The friendly and thought-provoking messages went up last week as part of FFRF's public relations campaign to introduce area atheists and agnostics to their community. The Madison, Wis.-based state/church watchdog is the nation's largest membership organization of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics, skeptics), with more than 21,500 members, including 800 in Illinois.
Additional billboards will be placed early next year.
FFRF debuted the "Out of the Closet" campaign in 2010. Chicago is the 12th city for FFRF's "come out of the closet, nonbelievers" campaign.
See billboards and addresses of billboard sites (click on image to view high-resolution):