August 31, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jennifer Beahan, Assistant Director
Center for Inquiry–Michigan
(616) 706-2029, firstname.lastname@example.org
Grand Rapids, MI – August 30, 2011 – A national ad campaign with the message that it is possible to live a fulfilling life without God is expanding to Grand Rapids, MI; Niagara Falls, NY; Washington, D.C.; and Durham, NC.
In Grand Rapids, a billboard along northbound US-131 (south of Hall Street) will be visible throughout the month of September. This brings the total to seven major U.S. cities that have been home to the advertisements which are sponsored by the Center for Inquiry (CFI) and proclaim “You don’t need God — to hope, to care, to love, to live.”
CFI is a nonprofit organization with the mission to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.
“We want to let nonreligious people in the community know that they are not alone,” said Jefferson Seaver, Executive Director of CFI–Michigan. Roughly 16 percent of Americans have no religious affiliation, according to the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), and about 10 percent reject belief in God, based on surveys conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
“Almost everyone in the United States knows someone who is nonreligious — whether they realize it or not,” said Seaver. “We are your neighbors, co-workers, and family members. We lead meaningful lives filled with hope, joy, love and compassion.” The Center for Inquiry hopes this campaign will be a start to dispelling widely held stereotypes that the nonreligious are immoral, selfish, and angry.
One outdoor advertising company in Grand Rapids refused to sell billboard space to CFI saying that it conflicted with the values of its Christian owners. Another company in Knoxville, TN refused to run the ad on the grounds that it would be too “offensive” to a “large percentage” of the population. “It’s disappointing,” said Jennifer Beahan, Assistant Director of CFI–Michigan. “Having hope, caring, and loving others are values that aren’t exclusive to religious believers.”
CFI–Michigan will hold events throughout September that focus on the “Living Without Religion” theme. These events include panel discussions, support groups, and a talk by Dan Barker, author of “The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-filled Life Without God”. A full calendar of events is available on the CFI Michigan website: www.centerforinquiry.net/michigan
To view the ad and a short video, and for more information, please visit: www.livingwithoutreligion.org
Center for Inquiry–Michigan is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and outreach organization based in Grand Rapids, MI. Its mission is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. More information about CFI MI is available at www.centerforinquiry.net/michigan