Humanism on the Move


Dec. 9, 2009

The United Coalition of Reason, in association with the Tulsa Coalition of Reason and the Baltimore Coalition of Reason, has helped fund two new billboards in Tulsa, Okla., and Baltimore, Maryland. Both signs read "Are you good without God? Millions are," and are the latest of several billboard launches around the country that coincide with Harvard Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein's book tour for "Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe."

"[Nontheists] might feel they're in a minority and this billboard is a way of saying if you're good without God, then you're not alone," said Emil Volcheck from the Baltimore Coalition of Reason. "There are a lot of people like you, and we're trying to reach out to them."

The Colorado Coalition of Reason (COCORE) participated in the "Apparently Annual Politically Incorrect Christmas Tree Trimming Party" over the weekend. The group gained some attention when Larimer County Sheriff James Alderden agreed to allow them to include their Winter Solstice sign among a nativity scene and a menorah on the Larimer County Sheriff's Office Administration Building grounds.

The sheriff, while refusing to remove the nativity scene from the grounds as COCORE had requested, nevertheless agreed that, in addition to displaying their sign, the group could attend the tree lighting party.

The American Humanist Association's legal arm, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, provided legal advice to COCORE in the matter, and suggested the group ask to display their own sign. Bob Ritter, staff attorney of the AHLC, participated in the conference call with COCORE's Marvin Straus and Sheriff Alderden wherein it was decided the group would be permitted to display their sign and participate in the Tree Trimming Party.

The sign reads, "During this Winter Solstice season, Illuminate your mind with reason. Let friends & family warm your heart. And celebrate that we all take part."

Seattle Atheists has applied for a permit to display a sign on the Washington state capitol grounds that reads, "In this holiday season let us remember that kindness, charity and goodwill transcend belief, creed or religion. Happy Holidays, Seattle Atheists."

The group's application follows last year's fracas over a Freedom From Religion Foundation sign in the capitol rotunda that read, "Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds." Since the controversy, displays have since been barred from the rotunda (but not from the capitol grounds).

Seattle Atheists said that they feel that FFRFs message was "needlessly provocative and inappropriate for the context of the capitol rotunda," and that it's important that a local organization (rather than a national one) take the lead with their own display. They also said they support the removal of all private displays from the capitol rotunda regardless of their religious nature.