April 25, 2014

Atheists use billboards to create interest in their convention

New billboard ads are turning some heads in Des Moines this week. The ads were paid for by the American Atheists and read: “You know there is no God…we know you’re right.” The American Atheists National Convention is scheduled for April 21-24 in Des Moines.

Randy Henderson, president of Iowa Atheists and Free Thinkers, says the five billboards are designed to create “buzz” about the convention and generate discussion. “We recognize there will be people who will disagree, they have a right to disagree, who will look at the sign and maybe see it as a bit presumptuous,” Henderson said.

“There are even atheists, agnostics and others who say, ‘wait a minute, that’s a little further than we want to go or the way we express things.’ We recognize that as well.”

A spokesperson for the American Atheists says the group wanted a “straight forward” ad to show people who don’t believe in God – they aren’t alone in their beliefs. But, Henderson says atheism isn’t “all about God.”

“We don’t just believe against something, we believe for something – humans, humanism, secularism, separation of church and state,” Henderson said. Next month’s convention is expected to draw up to 700 people to Iowa’s capital city.

“We get together to support each other, help each other…and promote the idea of a society that needs to have a rebirth of the separation of church and state – which is in dangerous positions here in Iowa,” Henderson said. Henderson says the American Atheists chose Des Moines as the site of their annual convention because of an” increase in secular and atheist activism” in Iowa.