“Imagine No Religion” Message Billboard Goes Up in Sacramento

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is taking its thought-provoking billboard message, “Imagine No Religion,” to 8280 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento.

Set against a colorful stained-glass window background, the John Lennonesque message is part of a national campaign to raise awareness about the views of nonbelievers. The Madison, Wis.-based state/church watchdog is the largest national association of atheists and agnostics, with 13,600 members, and more than 2,000 in California.

The Foundation has placed billboards in about 15 states since launching its campaign in late 2007. It debuted “Praise Darwin: Evolve Beyond Belief” billboards in Dayton, Tenn., and Dover, Penn., this month to observe Charles Darwin’s birthday bicentennial.

“We’re delighted to be working with Freethinkers and Other Atheists in Sacramento, who helped find a site and raise funds, to get a freethinking message placed in California’s capital city,” said Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor.

“Freethought is growing across ‘the board,’ ” said Foundation co-president Dan Barker, pointing to surveys showing that the nonreligious is the fastest growing segment by religious identification in the United States–with at least 14% of adults describing themselves as nonreligious.

“We want to use the mass media to take our message to the unmassed masses,” added Barker, author of the new book, Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists.

The Foundation is in federal court in Los Angeles alleging censorship by city officials in Rancho Cucamonga for expressing disapproval of its “Imagine No Religion” billboard to a local billboard company. The company violated a contract and removed the billboard after less than a week in November after city officials asked for the removal, according to news accounts.

Other Foundation billboard messages include “Beware of Dogma” and “Keep Religion OUT of Politics.”

The Foundation is a co-plaintiff in Sacramento resident Michael Newdow’s challenge of religion in the presidential inauguration. The Foundation is also working with Newdow in challenging the religious Pledge of Allegiance in New Hampshire public schools.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., is a national association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics) that has been working since 1978 to keep church and state separate.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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