***Update***: Several sources tell me the man behind these billboards, Dale Hemming, has paid more than $550,000 for more than 160 signs like this over the years. He has no connection to the Siouxland Freethinkers groups, which kicked him out years ago. His press release was also virtually identical to one sent by the South Dakota Coalition of Reason recently.
The Sioux Falls Atheists just put up 20 billboards — mostly digital — to let local atheists know they’re not alone. While the signs are mostly identical, a couple of the variants may raise some eyebrows… you can see those below, near the bottom.
(Graphic designers: Prepare for the heart attack.)
“The point of this billboard campaign is to reach out to the thousands of humanists, atheists and agnostics living in the Sioux Falls area,” explained Dale Hemming, Founder of the Sioux Falls Atheists. “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.”
The dual goals of the Sioux Falls campaign are to organize area nontheists and help them become more visible in the community. “Our ads aren’t meant to be a slap at anyone’s religion,” Hemming said. “It’s a very positive message aimed at both confirmed nontheists and those who have their doubts about religion. Our basic message is that there are people in your area who think as you do, and you can find them over here if you’re interested.”
I don’t know if pointing out specific groups of people who weren’t serviced by prayer helps their cause, but these signs are bound to get noticed. (If nothing else, a lot of drivers will be asking, “Did that just say what I think it did?”)
The billboards will be up for the next two weeks.