COLTON (CBSLA.com) — A billboard near Riverside aimed at raising awareness of the local nonbeliever population is turning heads and raising eyebrows.
The billboard off the 215 Freeway just south of the 10 Freeway junction in Colton reads: “Don’t believe in a God? You are not alone.”
CBS2/KCAL9’s Adrianna Weingold spoke to a number of people who found the sign offensive.
“I’d have them take it down, because God’s real,” Colton resident Benjamin Hall said.
Resident Cyndi Bulger doesn’t want it in Colton either: “Everybody’s an individual, so you shouldn’t be told how you should think or what you should believe.”
It’s the work of the Inland Empire Coalition of Reason, an organization comprised of seven atheist, humanist and agnostic groups who want to let unbelieving Southland residents know they’re not alone.
Made possible with over $6,500 in funding from the Washington, D.C.-based United Coalition of Reason, the 18-by-48-foot billboard will be up for the month, according to Inland Empire Coalition of Reason coordinator Jan Goings.
The campaign, part of a nationwide program that began in 2009, has grown to more than 60 similar campaigns in nearly 40 states, each sponsored by a local coalition of nontheistic groups, Goings said.
“We want people to know that nontheistic folks like us are a regular part of communities all over the area,” Goings said. “Nontheists are your friends and neighbors, your coworkers and family members. Our nontheistic community focuses on service, and we care deeply about bringing justice and help to others: being good without a god.”
The statement isn’t meant to make fun of religion or anyone who believes in God. Organizers like Rebecca Kitchings say it’s purpose is to educate those looking for other like minded people, to let them know, they do exist: “This is to let other people know that are like us, that don’t believe that there is a community.”
Similar billboards have been erected in dozens of states across the nation, including Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Texas.