Atheists Happy Without Religion, Claims Mich. Billboard Campaign

"Millions of Americans are living happily without religion," reads the message on billboards an atheist group has installed along several Michigan freeways, including in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Madison Heights areas, to let people without religion know they are not alone.

Sponsored by the Center for Inquiry, the signs along U.S. 131 in the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming, I-94 in Kalamazoo, I-75 in the Detroit suburb of Madison Heights and I-94 in Kalamazoo will remain in place through Oct. 27, according to The Associated Press.

A key objective is to let people know that they are not alone if they are not religious and that there is a community group that they can be a part of, assistant director Jennifer Beahan of the group's Michigan chapter told CBS Detroit.

The campaign also seeks to help "dispel some of the negative stereotypes that many people have of non-religious people," Beahan added. "For many years secular people have been demonized in the media as being terrible, angry, horrible people and we are not that way at all."

Pastor Strick Strickland of the Second Baptist Church in Kalamazoo said while the campaign is understandable, it could mislead people.

"Our core system of values, it's important to us so quite naturally when you're dealing with an issue that's that deep in our core, you're going to get some people that are quiet passionate about it," the pastor told, adding that both sides need to be tolerant.

The campaign, which began last Monday, includes the launch of a new website,

"We cherish our loved ones and treasure our short time in the world, so we tackle problems using the most successful methods ever devised-science, reason, and free inquiry-to improve our lives and enhance the well-being of everyone," says the website, which also carries a short video. "We do not fear the unknown but rather take courage from the wondrous discoveries that have already been made."

The Center for Inquiry-Michigan has been in existence for 15 years, encouraging "evidence-based inquiry into science, pseudoscience, medicine and health, religion, ethics, secularism, and society."

The "Living Without Religion" campaign also includes ads on billboards and mass transit systems in Indianapolis, New York and Washington, D.C.

Only 6 percent of American identify themselves as atheists or agnostics, and about 20 percent are not affiliated with any religion, according to a 2012 Pew survey.

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