Sunday, August 15, 2010

"In Reason We Trust" Says Tampa Area Billboards

"Anti-religion billboards go up in Bay area"

St. Petersburg, Florida -- The nation's largest group of atheists and agnostics is putting up 20 anti-religion billboards in Tampa and St. Petersburg.

The billboards, paid for by the Freedom From Religion Foundation feature one of four slogans and started going up on Thursday. The slogans on the different billboards read; "Sleep In On Sundays," "Imagine No Religion," "God and Government - A Dangerous Mix," and "In Reason We Trust."

Photo Gallery: Anti-religion billboards in Tampa Bay

Annie Laurie Gaylor, the Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation says 20 billboards are the most they have every put up in one area.

"We want it to be visible, we want people to really see it while they're up and reach out to like minded people," Gaylor said.

Gaylor says more than anything, the billboards are part of an awareness campaign. She says awareness both of her organization and that 15% of Americans are non-religious.

"We want to reach people who agree with us of course, but mostly we want to educate because we think that when everywhere you look there is religion and religious billboards and churches and crosses and religion 24/7 and on the public airwaves, that religion wins by default and we want to balance that."

One of the group's billboards is located just feet from the Southside Tabernacle Baptist Church on 18th Avenue South. Pastor Henry Payne with Southside Tabernacle Baptist says he doesn't like the billboards, but understands it's the group's right to put them up. He also thinks most people will simply ignore them.

"One percent might look at that (billboard) and ponder, but the rest of them will see it and keep going," Payne told 10 News.

The billboards are expected to stay up for a month and cost the group $3,500.

Freedom From Religion has more than 15,500 members nationwide. The group last held its annual convention in Tampa back in 1997.

Below is a list of where some of the Freedom From Religion billboards are located.

* Rome Ave and LaSalle St. in Tampa
* Columbus Dr and North Blvd. in Tampa
* MLK, Jr. Blvd and Lois Ave in Tampa
* 15th St. and Lake Ave in Tampa
* 22nd St and Cayuga St. in Tampa
* 21st Ave and 22nd St in Tampa
* 34th St. and MLK, Jr. Blvd in Tampa
* 40th St. and Osborne Ave in Tampa
* MacDill Ave and N. Adams St. in Tampa
* Rowlett Park and Sligh Ave in Tampa
* 37th St. South and 18th Ave South in St. Petersburg
* Park Blvd and 59th St. North in Pinellas Park

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