Wisconsin American Indian Atheist, composer stars on billboard, July 4 ads

Madison Billboard

A world-renowned composer and member of the Stockbridge Munsee Community is appearing on a full-size billboard proclaiming “I’m an Atheist and I Vote,” on the corner of Park Street and Fish Hatchery Road, Madison, Wis. The billboard will be up for one month.

Madison AdBrent Michael Davids is representing the state of Wisconsin in a national secular voter campaign launched by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, in this critical election year.

FFRF notes that Davids is one of 75 million nonreligious Americans who want Congress, state legislatures, public officials and courts to listen to “secular values voters” by keeping religion out of government and social policy — and that includes on the question of abortion rights.

Davids, pictured in front of the Wisconsin State Capitol, will also be featured in a full-page ad headlined “I’m Secular and I Vote,” not only running in the Capital Times on Wed., June 29, and the Wisconsin State Journal on Sunday, July 3, but in The New York Times on July 3.

Davids, a longtime FFRF member, is an internationally celebrated composer whose music features elements of Native American Indigenous music with Western techniques. He lives on the reservation for Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians in northwestern Wisconsin.

FFRF is running the billboards and newspaper ads in time for the July 4 weekend in about half of the United States, with the rest appearing around Sept. 17, Constitution Day.

“We think it is very appropriate that our national campaign be represented by a Native American,” says Dan Barker, FFRF co-president and himself a member of the Lenni Lenape/Delaware Tribe. “Christian invaders usurped the country under Manifest Destiny and today we are facing grave inroads by Christian nationalists wanting once again to install a theocracy on this continent.”

 “In this campaign, we’re putting public candidates and officials on notice that secular voters are here, that WE are the true ‘values voters’ and that it’s time that our secular viewpoint be heard and represented,” Barker adds.

In the ad, Davids notes, “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!”

Saying he “trusts in reason, science and America’s secular Constitution,” Davids lists a compelling number of secular voter demands: As a secular American, he wants to keep religion out of government and social policy, out of public schools, and out of bedrooms, personal lives and health care decisions — including when or whether to have children, and whom to love or marry. “Use my tax dollars only for evidence-based, not faith-based, purposes,” he emphasizes.

The ad campaign is particularly timely given that the U.S. Supreme Court, at the behest of religiously motivated court challenges, has overturned Roe v. Wade, which just shuttered Wisconsin’s four abortion clincs. Gaylor notes that 98.8 percent of FFRF’s membership supports Roe, which is consistent with a YouGov analysis showing that atheists, at 91 percent overall, are the most likely to identify as pro-choice.

Barker called the Supreme Court trend to privilege religion, as well as the likely banning of abortion in more than half the states, alarming. “That’s why our secular voices must be heard.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation serves as the largest association of freethinkers in North America, with more than 36,000 members including 1,600 in Wisconsin, and works as a state/church watchdog to safeguard the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. To learn more, visit: ffrf.org.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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