Beyond Belief: Atheists Push for Greater Visibility And Acceptance

August 24, 2009

Author: Jaweed Kaleem

Source: The Miami Herald

There's nothing unusual about churches advertising Sunday services, but South Florida atheists are turning that idea on its head: Why not promote the belief that there is no God?

"Most people are under the impression that atheists lack morals and ethics. We are trying to dispel that myth,'' said Ken Loukinen, founder of the 400-member Florida Atheists and Secular Humanists, which is sponsoring a controversial billboard in Broward County.

"Being a good person doesn't require God,'' the sign declares. "Don't believe in God? You're not alone!''

Put up for $2,200 a month ago at Sunrise Boulevard and Northwest 27th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, where it quickly drew protests from residents, the message will have a new home Monday on a billboard alongside Commercial Boulevard in Oakland Park.

The first of its kind in the state, the sign directs passersby to, where they can donate toward putting up similar signs throughout Florida. Over the past six months, atheists in a dozen other states also have launched advertising campaigns.

In a bid for greater acceptance and visibility, atheists are also undertaking community service projects, organizing children's camps and engaging in other activities often associated with religious groups.