Hey, That’s Me: My Face on a Billboard for Atheism!

Something fun. And yet serious all at the same time.

But for today, just gonna stick to the fun side…

I’m on a billboard!

It’s part of the Freedom From Religion Foundation‘s new “Out of the Closet” campaign to normalize atheism, an effort to help people see that atheists are normal everyday individuals. Not scary, not evil, no drinking of pig’s blood while dancing to secret agendas. Atheists are the people who help you at the grocery store, your nice neighbor across the street, the old couple walking their dog. Regular normal people “just like you and me.”

Even that pastor who used to work at that church in the suburbs. Well, maybe not him. Did we ever really think pastors were “normal” anyway???

But the billboards for the FFRF’s Chicago chapter went up yesterday. And they look great. Hemant Mehta has all eleven posted on his Friendly Atheist blog. And they really do look great. I especially like the Calato family’s tagline: “Finding purpose & meaning together… religion free!”

Now my original tagline didn’t make it past Clear Channel Outdoor censors, but this is what it would have said:

“More joyful without Jesus.”

A bit too offensive this was to the religionists.

Was I a little bummed that it didn’t make the cut? Of course! But I’m still glad with what made it up instead.

Apparently it’s a little too offensive for a former pastor to become a public atheist, so we had to change it to “freethinker,” which is also a term I embrace. The FFRF also had to negotiate over location placement since proximity regulations keep us a certain distance from all church buildings. Like I said before, serious concerns here… But let’s not get too bogged down in all this serious stuff tonight…

So I made it out to my spot today. On 47th Street, just off Halsted in Chicago.

 

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And here are a couple more billboards I came across today:

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Now my mind is racing with all sorts of more serious things I could write about. Much more serious causes for concern relating to the desperate need to erase the stigma of atheism. But we will save those rants for another day. For this moment and this day, I’m just glad we’re starting to get the message out there.

Normal people are atheists too.

 

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6 comments

  1. vonleonhardt2 · · Reply

    I don’t know, maybe because it’s cause I’m from CA and so much of this type of thing seems remote… but these billboards just seem like you guys are trolling.

    When stuck in LA traffic I don’t what strange uber white-people think.

    Like

    1. I see what you’re saying. Unfortunately there really is a huge stigma against atheists. Because of this there are tons of people who do not hold supernatural beliefs and are imprisoned by fears of being ostracized as horrible evil people. I know them personally, and they are many. So though I don’t like the idea of looking like I’m trying to cause fights, at the same time, there is a need for “normal” people who happen to be atheists to stand up and say, “Hey, I’m one of them.”

      But yes, sometimes we do get a bit snarky in our comments. Is “More joyful WITHOUT Jesus” being incisive? Maybe. But sometimes, when all the sharp comments are directed against you, it’s just fun to get a jab in from the other direction. But I mean it playfully. And it’s 100% true. Despite all that I was told throughout my life, I am on the whole a much more joyful person that I ever was before. Maybe Christians need to know this to help make an informed decision…

      Like

      1. vonleonhardt2 · ·

        I don’t particularly like Christmas either way. I think maybe it’s generational or regional; I’ve never seen a stigma against Atheist or heard it. It all seems aimed at Muslims and illegal immigrants. But folks don’t incite against it accept by crazy Berkley where honestly everyone is a liberal and it is more economics than racism anyways.

        It just doesn’t sit well with me. Perhaps because in LA snark is aimed every which way BUT in your direction. So it’s seems Atheist are saying make fun of everyone but me and stop hatting me when honestly 90% of the general population are agnostic and could care less. Families & old friends being mean to an Atheist…? Well that’s in-group out-group and everyone’s own problem and that baggage needs to stay in the house.

        Informative info though.
        FYI as very religious, I simply find Atheist ideals dull. Religion is a human endeavor created by cosmic laws and evolution, and if I am to live as a human I might as well be the best human I can be. It’s just more Epicurean to enjoy mortality in such a manor.

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  2. I like the “more joyful without Jesus”. I’m surprised you couldn’t use it. Did they make you switch atheist to freethinker?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There has been a long history of anti-atheist vandalism, including an arson attempt on one of Clear Channel’s signs last December. It was an FFRF billboard with the tongue-in-cheek message: “Keep Saturn in Saturnalia.”

      I can understand that Clear Channel has an interest in not inciting the destruction of their property. But the unfortunate consequence is that the easiest way to keep the vandals at bay is to censor the messaging. Thus, advertising like “More joyful without Jesus” gets rejected.

      Like

  3. Adonais Bright · · Reply

    Tell ya what: How about we just erase all stigmas while we’re at it: The stigma against mental illness. The stigma against homosexuals. The stigma against atheists. The stigma against observant Muslims. Hell, the stigma against authentic, freethinking, respectful folk who happen to self-identify as Christians. The stigma AGAINST intellectuals (which I shouldn’t need to elaborate on considering TWO TERMS of George W. Bush — and, yes, I’m looking at YOU, Dick Cheney…). The stigmatization of any political party by those of the other party. How about we just treat ALL other people with a fundamental respect for the uniqueness and value of each human being, regardless of circumstance.

    Or maybe I’m just bat-crap-crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

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