Atheist Billboard to Go Up in Nashville October 24, 2009

Atheist Billboard to Go Up in Nashville

On November 1st, a group called Secular Life will be putting their own billboard up in Nashville, Tennessee:

fresh green grass with bright blue sky

Like other billboards, the main purpose of this one is to let other atheists know they’re not alone and that there are others like them in the area.

Thaddeus Schwartz, the founder of Secular Life, had this to say about the billboard (via email):

… hopefully it will bring awareness that there are positive communities who are non-religious doing good in the community. Our primary objective is to bring together as many like minded non-religious people as possible, spending less time on divisive labels and rather concentrating on the broadly shared characteristic of being non-religious and thus Secular.

The money for the billboard comes only via donations, so if you’d like to pitch in for more billboards in an area that could use it, feel free to send them a few bucks.

(Thanks to Nick for the link!)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Matt

    Getting closer to home for me! I need to become more active in the secular groups in Memphis. Maybe we can get one of these up one day..

  • Gabe

    I live in the san joaquin valley in california and there are religous billboards on the highways east and west side of stockton and i wish someone would put something for us secular ppl here!

  • anon

    I’m about an hour north of Nashville in Kentucky. This is very exciting.

  • Ron in Houston

    Wow – Tennessee? Maybe there is hope for Houston yet.

  • N

    w00t! We did it!!

    I can’t wait to see the local reaction. I may visit the church I used to attend just to see the preacher’s head come off while he’s talking about it.

  • Bus ads and billboards springing up across America. Each new one really lifts my mood. It really gives me hope for the future for us non-believers.

  • Having lived in Nashville once, I wonder which church this will be in front of, since it is not possible to throw a rock without hitting a church in Nashville.

  • Matt

    Is it just me or does this look like an advertisement for a singles or dating organization. The Secular Life logo on that open green field… it just screams of harmony.com or Valtrex, the herpes medication. “LIVING THE LIFE!”

  • muggle

    This is great. I was skeptical at first but as more and more go up, it just makes me feel good. I’m in the Capital District and the feedback from the NYC is being fairly positive so far. I know we aren’t exactly Tennesee but still, it feels good.

    I think they took the right amount of care with these. They’re just so nonconfrontational and peaceful.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    This should be a very inoffensive message. It doesn’t even use the “G-word” which caused problems in Iowa. Note that while Hemant labels it an “atheist billboard,” the word atheist never appears in the text; rather it is a secular billboard.

  • This really isn’t an atheist billboard. My dad was not religious; he rejected all holy books, all churches (he saw these books, the clergy and the churches as mechanisms to control people).

    Yet, he firmly believed in a deity “of some sort who made it all”. This billboard could have referred to him.

  • N

    Ollie – Secular Life is actually a group that would include your dad. It isn’t an atheist group, per se; it’s a group for people who choose to live without religion. I belong to both Secular Life and Nashville Atheists, which is, obviously, an atheist group.

    I think that starting with the “non-religious” message is a good strategy here. It’s the camel sticking its nose in the tent.

  • I would REALLY like to see one of these billboards here in Knoxville. Nothing would make me happier 🙂
    A billboard in Nashville gives me hope though! Perhaps one day Knoxville will get its billboard and encourage more skeptics to get out there and get together.

  • llewelly

    Ha Ha Ha. I’ve met tons of evangelicals who claim they are “not religious”, but instead have a “relationship with Christ”
    I hope some of them call the phone number.

  • Mike

    I also live in the central California Bible belt, Fresno, and if I were in Tennessee, and freely advertising a get-together, I would pass the hat for at least one off-duty city cop for the back door and ask for a parked on-duty patrol car right in front for EVERY SINGLE MEETING.

  • This is wonderful! I lived in Nashville awhile back and it was pretty lonely around there with no religion, an awful lot of people’s social lives revolve around church. I found some scenes that were more my thing (Nashville is a wonderful little city) but would have felt better just seeing this, even if I never called or visited the web site. It would have taken the edge off all the harassment I got just for being me.

    I’ve got to say, though, around here in NYC it seems like the main people who even NOTICE the ad campaign are Christians who are freaking out about their children seeing them. Most non-religious people I know claim they haven’t seen them even though they go through places where they are supposed to be and they have made it into every local news outlet, I think. New Yorkers are pretty good at only noticing the things that make us mad. LOL

    Honestly, I think the money is far better spent in places like Nashville. New Yorkers are perfectly aware that there are all sorts of choices when it comes to religion, you can easily meet an outspoken atheist anywhere at anytime. Not to mention… buying ad space up here is WAY less cost-effective. lol It’s a real public service in other parts of the country.

  • muggle

    CraftLass, I’m an upstate hick living in an Albany suburb but I am feeling them here.

    I’m glad they were in New York City. The Albany “Times Union” has a good set of blogs and their high school blog did a great post on the signs in New York City. Their reporting was very good and unbiased either way but the comments have been most heartening. These young kids, even those pointing out they are Christian, are being most tolerant and broadminded and saying the signs are either a good thing or something that has a perfect right to be there.

    I moved to Denver in 1986 and couldn’t move back until 1996. Was homesick the whole time in part because I ran into such hostility towards my disbelief in Denver where I had been used to New York’s you think what you think and I’ll think what I do attitude. (On the bright side, Denver is where I got involved with the Freedom From Religion Foundation.) I’m glad to have moved back but in the 10 years I was gone, the attitude has changed tremendously. We may not be the Bible Belt yet but I was shocked at the hostility now here. It was in New York — on a State job — that I was very badly harrased on the job. So it’s comforting to have these signs so close. If I had the money, I’d sponsor one somewhere heavily trafficked near Albany’s Empire State Plaza.

    It was heartening to read of these kids’ tolerance. It gives me hope for the future. That New York may yet get back to it’s live and let live attitude. I was despairing of that after having been through so much.

  • Nancym

    Mike in Fresno – I live in a small town in Tennessee, south of Nashviille. Most of my neighbors know I am an atheist, and they are still as friendly as can be. Noone here has been unkind or rude when they find out my lack of belief. Curious, and sometimes down right astounded, but never rude.

  • phil l

    I recently joined Secular Life in Nashville after having moved here from California. I’m not especially an athiest, I think that whole God/no God argument is beside the point. What concerns me is the role of organized religion in this country’s social fabric and its influence over so many people. I cringe when I see the local football teams kneel in prayer before a game-this incessant pressure that to belong to society here you have to participate in Christian rituals. It is of course much more prevalent here than in the San Francisco Bay area, or even Orange County where I lived for a while, although it was there too.
    What interests me is broadening the acceptance level so that people are free to think and practice what they want without disapproval from the majority. I think probably even here about half the people would be ok with that, it’s the other half who are threatened by the idea. Just read the comments in the Tennessean’s article on our billboard:
    http://www.tennessean.com/article/20091028/NEWS06/910280395/1971/Nashville+seculars+seek+potluck+without+the+prayer

  • Nick Fotopoulos

    Seems odd that it’s really happening. We’ve been talking about this for almost 2 years. Pretty much every since the FreeThoughtAction.org billboard went up in New Jersey back in January of 2008.