Local group promotes non-religion

Billboard (Triangle Freethought Society)
March 30, 2011 4:22:33 AM PDT
A local group has teamed up with a national atheist organization to bring its message to Triangle streets.

"Were referring to it as the free thinkers come out billboard campaign," said Mark Zumbach, Triangle Freethought Society.

Take a drive down U.S. 64 or Capital Boulevard, and the bright billboards are hard to miss.

"My quote is 'Science is my co-pilot,'" Zumbach said.

He is pictured on one of the billboards near New Hope Road in Raleigh.

"I've got a pretty good sense of humor, so I kind of wanted to do a tongue and cheek approach to the 'Jesus is my co-pilot' bumper stickers," Zumbach explained.

The controversial message attached to each one is even harder to ignore.

"First one I've ever seen, I've always seen billboards for churches," parent Jane Lauer said.

Zumbach says the group expects some backlash. "We do expect there will be some controversy. Part of our hope would be that it will get some dialogue going."

Five billboards with faces and quotes from members of the Triangle Freethought Society went up in Wake County Monday night. A total of 12 will be up across the state through the end of April.

"We wanted to put a happier face on atheism and free-thinkers," Zumbach said. "There's so much negative press on us. We kind of get stereotyped as being angry old guys. We wanted to show that we are just like everybody else."

The billboards will pop up soon in Durham, Smithfield and Pittsboro and all have one simple goal -- to let people know that non-religious people are in the Triangle.

"We're your friends, we're your loved ones, we're the people we work with, and we're in your families," Zumbach said.

"I've never seen one that acknowledges a belief more in science, than God, I'm just surprised to see it on a billboard," Lauer said.

Since the billboards went up for the first time Monday night, many people in the religious community have yet to respond.

The Triangle Freethought Society says it expects to get much more feedback in the coming days.

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