Humanism on the Move


Nov. 18, 2009

The United Coalition of Reason has helped fund multiple new ad campaigns throughout the United States.

Several campaigns were launched last week in Ohio, including billboards in the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati areas. All three read "Don't believe in God? You are not alone," with the text superimposed over an image of blue sky and clouds. The coordinated statewide effort signifies the creation of several local nontheist coalition groups: the Cincinnati Coalition of Reason, the Northeast Ohio Coalition of Reason and the Columbus Coalition of Reason.

This week, campaigns were also launched in Portland, Ore., Philadelphia and San Diego, California. The Portland Coalition of Reason and the Greater Philadelphia Coalition of Reason ads read "Are you good without God? Millions are." The San Diego Coalition of Reason ad reads "Don't Believe in God? You are not alone." Both the Portland CoR and San Diego CoR ads appear on billboards; the Philly CoR ads appear on buses.

"The point of our national billboard campaign is to reach out to the millions of humanists, atheists and agnostics living in the United States," explained Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason. "Nontheists sometimes don't realize there's a community out there for them because they're inundated with religious messages at every turn. So we hope this will serve as a beacon and let them know they aren't alone."

At least one of the ads has been met with resistance. The billboard in Cincinnati had to be relocated by Lamar Advertising of Cincinnati after the landowner of the site had been threatened over the billboards message. The billboard was moved at no cost to Cincinnati CoR to a reportedly better location.

The New Humanism, a new online magazine sponsored by the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy, recently made its debut. According to the web site, the magazine will "explore and help pioneer new ways of bringing humanists, atheists, agnostics and the nonreligious together to build a movement that can make a lasting and far-reaching positive impact."

The magazine is named after the 30th anniversary conference the Humanist Chaplaincy held in the spring of 2007, an event that aimed to present humanism as a positive and constructive philosophy-and one that is not necessarily antireligious. The magazine will build on those themes.

"It was time to do something to show a large audience that Humanism is inclusive of, but goes well beyond atheism," said Greg Epstein, the Harvard Humanist Chaplain, in a feature introducing the new magazine. "We are Humanists because for us, Humanism is part of being the best, most honest, most thoughtful human beings we are capable of being."