Godless Grad Student

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Press Release: Godless Bus Shelter Ads along National Mall Launch New Coalition

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Godless Bus Shelter Ads along National Mall Launch New Coalition

Will Be Seen by Crowds at Jon Stewart Rally and Science Expo

For Immediate Release

(Washington DC, October 19, 2010) “Don’t Believe in God? Join the club.”

These words are part of prominent bus shelter ads near the National Mall in Washington DC that will be visible to pedestrians and drivers on Independence and Constitution Avenues for the next four weeks. Thus they will be seen by those who work in the area as well as visitors attending such Mall events as the USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo on October 23 and 24, the dueling rallies of John Stewart and Stephen Colbert on October 30, and the 35th Marine Corps Marathon on October 31 (miles 18 and 19).

The 67″x46″ bus shelter ads feature the words superimposed over an image of a blue sky and fluffy clouds. They were placed by the new Washington DC Area Coalition of Reason (Washington CoR) with $7,875 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (United CoR).

Washington CoR is made up of 12 area groups which, according to its website, seek to “enhance the growth, visibility and acceptance of nontheists throughout the metro area” and promote “wider acceptance of a more rational view of the universe and a more compassionate view of those who live in it.” A complete list of the participating organizations and friends of the coalition can be found athttp://washington.unitedcor.org/node/7 . Members of these groups plan to march under a Coalition of Reason banner at the Jon Stewart rally on October 30.

The Washington DC campaign is also part of a national effort. Already this year there have been similar billboards and bus ads in Austin, Des Moines, Detroit, Louisville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Tucson, Sacramento, St. Louis, and Seattle. Last year there were United CoR-sponsored billboard, bus, and subway ads in 20 cities, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Tulsa, Phoenix and San Diego.

“The point of our nationwide awareness campaign is to reach out to the millions of atheists, agnostics and humanists living in the United States,” explained Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason. “Such individuals sometimes don’t realize there’s a community for them because they’re flooded with traditional religious messages at every turn. So we hope this will serve as a beacon and let them know they aren’t alone.”

Reaching out to the like-minded isn’t the only goal of the effort. “We also want the public to see that there are many humanists, agnostics and atheists living here as part of the community,” added Shelley Mountjoy, coordinator of Washington CoR. “We’re your friends, neighbors, coworkers and relatives. And like many people, we are leading quality lives: contributing to neighborhood and nation and living our values.”

“Being visible is important for us,” Edwords concluded, “because atheists and agnostics in our society often don’t know many people of like mind. Furthermore, if traditionally religious people can be open about their views, why shouldn’t we be open about ours?”

# # #

For hi-res images of the bus shelter ads, free for media use, see the right sidebar on this page. The exact locations of the bus shelters are as follows:

Independence Avenue, south side, 10 feet west of 12th Street, SW, facing east. This is in front of the Smithsonian Metrorail Station (Independence Avenue exit) next to the Department of Agriculture and the Knapp Memorial Arch and across the street from the Department of Energy. It doubles as a stop for the Open Top Sightseeing Bus.

Independence Avenue, south side, 90 feet west of 3rd Street, SW, facing east. This is in front of the Voice of America, across Independence from the Museum of the American Indian and across 3rd from the Department of Health and Human Services. It doubles as a stop for the 30s Metrobuses.

7th Street, east side, 30 feet south of Constitution Avenue, NW, facing north. This is next to the National Gallery of Art, across from the Sculpture Garden, catercorner from the National Archives and about a block south of the Archives-Navy Memorial Metrorail Station. It doubles as a stop for the Red Circulator Bus.


# # #

The Washington DC Area Coalition of Reason is a network of local groups that have joined together to increase the sense of community among like-minded people and to enhance the growth, visibility, and acceptance of nontheists throughout the Washington DC metro area.

The United Coalition of Reason is a national organization, headquartered in Washington DC, that works to raise the visibility and sense of unity among local groups in the community of reason by providing funding, expertise, and opportunities for cooperation.

# # #

For more information contact:

Shelley Mountjoy
Coordinator, Washington CoR

Steve Lowe
Media Rep., Washington CoR

Fred Edwords
National Director
United Coalition of Reason



march in a minute

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Wow!  I just realized it’s been a whole month since I’ve spoken about events that have taken place around DC.

I still haven’t been able to attend Beltway Atheists Happy Hours because they conflict with my school/work schedule.  However, we’ve had three in March… as usual, Tommy Joe’s in Bethesda, Mai Thai in Dupont Circle, and Joe Theissmann’s in Alexandria.  Christopher ran all three.  Aside from a banned member showing up at one, things were for the most part, fun and successful.

Beltway Atheists’ Charitable Works Committee cleaned our adopted highway (Rt. 7) for the first time this year.  (We’re obligated to clean the highway 4 times a year.)  Unfortunately I couldn’t make it due to illness.  On March 11th, Neil deGrasse Tyson came to GW.  The event was incredible!  It had been moved to March due to snow but we still had about 25 Beltway Atheists members among the 750 or so people who attended.

Gina Welch spoke at Politics and Prose in March as well… with short notice, many of us could not come but we do have a similar event on the calendar for April.

Our cultural event for the month was a trip to the Holocaust Museum… I was a bit disorganized but it was a powerful experience.

There were also a number of events on the Beltway Atheists calendar that I could not attend – all were on the topic of evolution:

– A panel discussion on ‘Religious Perspectives n the Science of Human Origins”

– A play celebrating Darwin’s impact

– A book discussion

– A film on the life of Charles Darwin

Among the more controversial events, WASH had a lecture on polyamory.  There were a number of objections before the event but it went on without incident.

Student groups at American University and George Mason University hosted Tom Flynn on March 22nd and 23rd… he gave a talk on “The Trouble With Easter” and it was very well researched and enjoyed by many.

Finally, for those of you who find the whole 6-6-6 thing interesting, Beltway Atheists reached the 666 member mark on March 26th.

Written by godlessgradstudent

April 3, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Spring 2010: 4 weeks down, 4 to go

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Another exhausting week down – 14 to go!


Saturday: I spent an amazingly productive day at the Mason Leadership Institute. 🙂

Sunday: Valentine’s Day. 🙂

Monday: After driving all the way up to DC, I discovered my class was canceled. 😦

Tuesday: Beltway Atheists was finally able to hold a DC Happy Hour that wasn’t canceled due to snow. 🙂

Wednesday: I became the Vice President of the Graduate and Professional Student Association. 🙂

Thursday: I was home, and in bed, before midnight! 🙂

Friday: Caught up on some e-mail and cleaned the house on my one day off this week! 🙂

The coming weekend will be busy.  In addition to a few personal things, Beltway Atheists is holding a New Member Meet and Greet.  Also, the Northern Virginia Chapter of Washington Area Secular Humanists is back and holding their first event this weekend!  We have a great guest speaker lined up and I’m working on a few profound thoughts to share about the DC secular scene.