(My latest book God vs. Darwin: The War Between Evolution and Creationism in the Classroom has just been released and is now available through the usual outlets. You can order it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the publishers Rowman & Littlefield, and also through your local bookstores. For more on the book, see here.)
The North East Ohio Coalition of Reason (NEO-CoR), affiliated with the nationwide United Coalition of Reason (United COR), announced that the first billboards promoting atheism in Ohio have gone up as of today.
In our region it will be on I-480.
Many of the NEO-CoR’s members involved in this project come from the Cleveland Freethinkers and the Center for Inquiry Northeast Ohio (CFINO).
Similar billboards will appear in Columbus and Cincinatti.
Religious people tend to get in a real lather about public statements of disbelief, even though religious messages are all over the place. When a similar campaign by the Big Apple COR put ads on New York city subways that said, “A million New Yorkers are good without God. Are you?”, Sean Hannity said that people would be outraged if Christians put up religious signs in subways.
Fred Edwords, former communications director of the American Humanists Association (AHA) and now head of United COR, appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s show in November of last year because of another ad campaign on buses in Washington DC that said “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake” that O’Reilly saw (of course) as part of the war on Christmas.
(Speaking of the War on Christmas, where has the time gone? Here it is November again already, and I haven’t made any preparations whatsoever for this year’s war against the godly. Tsk, tsk, shame on me. All you warriors out there, remember that you have only 45 days left to ruin Christmas for everyone by wishing people “Season’s Greetings” or, if you are feeling really mean spirited, “Happy Holidays.”)
In Des Moines, Iowa, an atheist ad campaign that merely said “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone” was deemed to be too offensive and removed from buses. The governor of the state Chet Culver was “disturbed” by the ads, the poor baby.
One bus driver in Des Moines even refused to drive a bus that carried the ad, saying that the message was against her Christian faith. That is truly pathetic.
The Arizona COR has a nice video explaining what this movement is all about and the benefits of reason over faith.
I am curious to see what the reaction to the billboards will be in Ohio, which is quite a religious part of the country.
POST SCRIPT: The indefensible history of the Catholic church
The BBC sponsored a debate on the proposition “The Catholic church is a force for good in the world”. Speaking in favor was John Onaiyekan, an Archbishop from Nigeria, and Ann Widdecombe, a British MP who used to be an Episcopalian but became a Catholic when her former church began ordaining women priests. Speaking against were Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry.
It was a rout. Hitchens and Fry utterly trounced their opponents. This is not just my opinion. Even the Catholic columnist for the Guardian newspaper said so, but the voting of the audience was the most decisive:
Before the debate: In favor 678, against 1102, undecided 346
After the debate: In favor 268, against 1876, undecided 34
Over 400 initial supporters of the proposition actually switched to the opposite side, which was an unprecedented swing in the history of these debates.
You can see the debate below.