“I’m a humanist and I vote,” maintains newly minted graduate student and researcher Charis Hoard on a billboard that has gone up in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Hoard is part of a provocative secular voter campaign the Freedom From Religion Foundation is launching this week, which points out that 75 million adult Americans — nearly one in three — are nonreligious. In a variety of billboards and full-page newspaper ads, nonreligious Americans like Hoard are announcing that they devoutly want to keep religion out of government — and are voting that way.
The billboard with Hoard is located at 688 Bowling Green Rd., east of Ohio State Route 105 in Bowling Green. Hoard will also appear in a full-page newspaper ad running on Sunday, Sept. 18, in the Columbus Dispatch. The ad is timed to observe Constitution Day, Sept. 17, the 235th anniversary of the signing of what FFRF calls the “godless” Constitution.
Hoard is a graduate student and alumna of Bowling Green State University. Her undergraduate career involved studying psychology and neuroscience. Outside of academics, she also prioritized engaging with her community through the means of being a member of administrative task forces, volunteering in the Bowling Green/Toledo area, and aiding in graduate students’ research. Hoard was involved in executive roles in Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity and Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, and was nominated for the BGSU Outstanding Senior Award in 2020.
Hoard is participating in round two of FFRF’s national secular values voter awareness campaign taking place in more than half the states around Constitution Day. The campaign visited other states in FFRF’s earlier “independence from religion” campaign over the Fourth of July. View all ads here.
In the ad, Hoard says: “The ‘Nones’ (those of us unaffiliated with religion) are now 29 percent of the U.S. population. We are the largest ‘denomination’ by religious identification.”
Hoard calls for keeping religion out of government, social policy and public schools. Notably, given the overturning of Roe. v. Wade and increasing attacks on LGBTQ rights, she also demands that religion be kept “out of bedrooms, personal lives and health care decisions — including when or whether to have children, and whom to love or marry.”
Full-page newspaper ads will also run in the Washington Post and 44 other newspapers, including those in many capital cities.
“We’re putting public candidates and officials on notice that secular voters are here, that WE are the true ‘values voters,’” adds Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, “and that it’s time that our secular viewpoint be respected and represented.”
The increasingly overt calls for Christian nationalism and the recent alarming trend of the U.S. Supreme Court to privilege religion and eviscerate individual rights require that secular voices be heard, FFRF maintains.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has more than 38,000 members throughout North America, serves as a membership group for like-minded atheists, freethinkers and humanists, and works diligently as a state/church watchdog to uphold the constitutional principle of separation between state and church.