'Coalition of Reason' rides RIPTA

New England Diary just received this press release from the Rhode Island Coalition of Reason (www.RICoR.org): "Godless? So are we."

These words, superimposed over an image of a curling surge of surf, now appear on 10 prominent king-size bus ads across Rhode Island. Their appearance marks the formal launch of the Rhode Island Coalition of Reason, a new organization comprised of six non-theistic (atheist and agnostic) groups in the state.

"We want to make our presence in the community known,” said  Tony Houston, coordinator of the Rhode Island Coalition of Reason.

Houston added: "Non-theistic people are your family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers. We may not believe in a deity or the supernatural, but we are compassionate, ethical members of this community. We would like to encourage local atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, skeptics, secularists and humanists to stand up and be counted. If you are a Rhode Island nonbeliever, know that you are not alone."

Hi-res images of the bus ads, prominently displayed on the sides of Rhode Island Public Transit  Authority (RIPTA) buses, can be found at http://unitedcor.org/national/news/godless-bus-ads-blanket-rhode-island. The images are free for media use. The bus ads will remain up through Dec.  24, 2014.

These ads are part a coordinated nationwide program that began in 2009. From then to now, 60 similar campaigns have been launched in 37 states and the District of Columbia by the United Coalition of Reason (UnitedCoR). UnitedCoR provided the $6,200 in funding for the Rhode Island campaign.

"The point of our national advertising campaigns is to reach out to the millions of atheists, agnostics and humanists living in the United States," explained Jason Heap, national coordinator of UnitedCoR. "Non-theists sometimes don't realize there's a community for them because they're flooded with theistic messages at every turn. So we hope our efforts to raise awareness will serve as a light in the darkness to let them know they aren't alone."

"Being visible is important to us," Heap concluded, "because, in our society, non-theistic people often don't know many like themselves."

This campaign is the latest in a nationwide effort to reach out to non-theists. There have been similar billboards, bus ads or Internet campaigns in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.