California Atheists' 'Don't Believe in God?' Billboard Stirs Ire of Residents United in Taking It Down

Residents in Colton, California, are objecting to a billboard in their community that displays the message, "Don't believe in a God? You are not alone," and want the ad to be taken down. The secular group behind the message has said that the billboard is aimed at providing support to people from the nontheistic community.

(Photo:UnitedCoR billboard put up in January 2015 in Pensacola, Florida, reading: "Good without a god? So are we!"

"I'd have them take it down, because God's real," Colton resident Benjamin Hall said, according to CBS2/KCAL9.

Cyndi Bulger added: "Everybody's an individual, so you shouldn't be told how you should think or what you should believe."

The billboards are funded by the United Coalition of Reason at a cost of over $6,500, and are part of a campaign which has erected similar ads across several states, including Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Texas.

Inland Empire Coalition of Reason, which was responsible for putting up the Colton billboard, said that the billboards are not meant to cause offense.

"We want people to know that nontheistic folks like us are a regular part of communities all over the area," coordinator Jan Goings said.

"Nontheists are your friends and neighbors, your coworkers and family members. Our nontheistic community focuses on service, and we care deeply about bringing justice and help to others: being good without a god."

Rebecca Kitchings, founder of the Greater Riverside Skeptics Forum, added that "Nonbelievers have been vilified and isolated."

"This is an attempt to say, 'Don't think of us so badly. We're your friends, neighbors and family,'" she said, according to the Press-Enterprise.

The billboard in Colton is expected to stay up for four weeks.

Other messages put up by the UnitedCoR featured on billboards include "Good without a god? So are we!"

"The point of our national awareness effort is to reach out to the millions of humanists, atheists and agnostics living in the United States," Jason Heap, national coordinator of UnitedCoR, said earlier in January.

"Nontheists sometimes don't realize there's a community for them because they're inundated with theistic messages at every turn. So we hope our effort will serve as a beacon and let them know they aren't alone."

American Atheists and the Freedom From Religion Foundation have also put up their own billboards across the country in recent months.