Press and Praise

FreeThoughtAction has launched two successful billboard campaigns: "Don't Believe in God? You Are Not Alone" and "One Nation Indivisible." Below is a brief summery of each of them as well as links to some of the press coverage we have received. To help us continue to produce more, you can help by visiting our Donate page and make a contribution.

This is the billboard that started it all...

Don't Believe in God? You Are Not Alone

Our first billboard, "Don't Believe in God? You Are Not Alone" launched in January, 2008 on the New Jersey Turnpike outside NYC. It was the only one that ever displayed our url. It drew local television news coverage and made the front page of the Sunday edition of the local newspaper the Bergen Record (as well as the home page of their website), and generated lots of web and blog attention.

We worked with nontheist groups in the Philadelphia area to form a coalition called PhillyCoR (the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason) where our second billboard went up in May, 2008. This received even more attention. The Philadelphia Inquirer featured the story in their local section and on the home page of their website, and Fox News picked up the story nationally.

Over the next year, we continued to try and work with local and national groups to put up more billboards across the country. Billboards went up on the Santa Ana Freeway in CA; in Overland Park, KS; in Charleston, SC; in Moscow, Idaho; and 9 billboards went up in the Denver/Boulder area and one went up in Colorado Springs, Colorado (all at the same time).

Over all, the campaign received tons of national and local press including in the New York Times (cover story), the Wall Street Journal, the National Journal magazine (cover story), the Associated Press, and Playboy Magazine.

A little over a year later, FTA helped found the United Coalition of Reason (UnitedCoR) and has been working with them to spread the campaign farther and wider. There are now over 50 UnitedCoR coalitions which have launched across the country with one of our billboards. More are on the way. Follow UnitedCoR to keep up with all the new coalitions launching. Some of the media coverage we received during our first year can be found HERE.

Our second campaign launched in the summer of 2010...

One Nation Indivisible

Once UnitedCoR had taken our ball to run with it with our "Don't Believe in God? You Are Not Alone" billboard, we decided to consider our first campaign a success and focus on a new campaign. The result was a state-wide campaign in NC for our new billboard "One Nation Indivisible." We helped found a coalition of local secular, humanist, freethinking, and skeptical groups groups throughout NC, called the North Carolina Secular Association (NCSA), and launched six billboards in six cities all across the state of North Carolina on June 21st for 4 weeks -- from the mountains to the sea -- in Asheville, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Charlotte, Raleigh, and Wilmington. This campaign was intended as a consciousness-raising effort to point out how every U.S. citizen who doesn't believe in a monotheistic god is being "officially" marginalized, disrespected, and discriminated against by the insertion of "under God" in the Pledge, by the supplanting of our former de facto national motto--E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One)--with "In God We Trust," by language in certain state constitutions (like the one in NC) which restricts anyone that doesn't believe in a monotheistic god from holding public office, and in many other ways.

We received several rounds of national and local media attention....

When the billboards first went up, stories appeared on all the local news stations and papers (making the front page in two of them). The Associated Press picked up the story as well as UPI, McClatchy Newspapers, CNN, MSNBC, and CBN. The story went across the country and into Canada and the UK.

After a week, the billboard on the Billy Graham Parkway in Charlotte was vandalized, which lead to another round of local and national attention, but, this time, the coverage went international. Aside from getting picked up by all the same local and national sources as before, the Washington Times did a story and it was the featured story on the Yahoo! home page. The story went around the world, and we were getting emails about it from as far away as Germany, the Philippines, and Australia (where it appeared on the news there).

Then, when the vandalized billboard was replaced before the 4th of July holiday, we received more attention.

All this got people talking, and there was more coverage as a result: from bloggers, from radio shows and interviews, and a brief piece on Nightline. Just when it looked like things were starting to calm down, a preacher in Asheville decided to put up competing billboards across the state reading "One Nation Under God," and a new round of coverage about the "dueling billboards" got started. For about a week, it was just getting local and state coverage, then news got out that ABC World News Tonight was interested in doing a story, and there was local news coverage of that.

So, the story appeared on ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer and another story appeared in USA Today, giving us a couple of final rounds of national attention. Later, there was some follow up coverage in the Charlotte paper (twice) about the local group which had participated in the campaign as a member of the coalition. All the media coverage we received lasted a couple weeks longer than the billboard rentals.

Aside from all the news coverage, and the thousands of phone calls and emails we received (which took weeks to answer), many of the groups participating received the benefit of new members (the local group in Charlotte welcomed over 300 new members).

The North Carolina Secular Association that was formed around this campaign evolved into the Carolinas Secular Association (CSA) to include both NC and SC (and beyond) and has held annual conferences since 2011.

All-in-all, we consider our second billboard campaign a smashing success! Some of the media coverage we received can be found HERE.