The Freedom From Religion Foundation is extending its campaign of irreverence to the Great Southwest by bringing billboards with thought-provoking messages to Albuquerque, N.M.
The national state-church watchdog is sponsoring 10 billboards for a month at different Albuquerque locations. The signs, two with each message, say:
- "Imagine No Religion"
- "Reason's Greetings"
- "Beware of Dogma"
- "Keep Religion OUT of Government"
- "Praise Darwin: Evolve Beyond Belief"
Most are designed with a colorful stained-glass window motif and are imprinted with the Foundation's name and Web address, ffrf.org.
The signs are located at:
- 9712 Central Ave. SE, east of Moon
- 8910 Central Ave., west of Unser
- 701 Comanche NE, west of I-25
- 4600 Coors SW, south of Gun Club
- 1712 Eubank NE, south of Indian School
- 9700 Fourth Street NW, north of Alameda
- 500 Juan Tabo NE, north of Central, south of I-40
- 11515 Menaul NE, west of Chelwood at carwash
- 412 San Mateo NE, east side of San Mateo
- 6144 Second St. NW, south of Osuna
The 32-year-old Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., has 141 members in New Mexico and hopes to attract more with the colorful campaign. The FFRF has placed billboards in about a fourth of U.S. states and more than 30 cities since launching its campaign in October 2007. The Foundation, with the help of its more than 14,000 members nationwide, has also sponsored bus sign campaigns in Madison, San Francisco and Seattle.
"These billboards promote freethought, evolution and the separation of state and church," said Annie Laurie Gaylor, Foundation co-president. "We'd like to invite everyone to imagine a world free from religious wars, sectarian strife and superstition. Reason is always in season."
This year is of particular importance for freethinkers who are celebrating the sesquicentennial of the publication of Charles Darwin's landmark work, "On the Origin of Species."
Foundation Co-President Dan Barker said it's important for Americans to see positive mention of Darwin, given that about half of them embrace the legend of creation in the biblical book of Genesis. Barker is also the author of "Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists" (Ulysses Press, 2008) and other freethought works.
"It's a 'sign of the times' that those of us who are nonreligious are finally being allowed to purchase space to advertise our views, and make freethought a part of the debate in our nation," Barker said.