"You Don't Need God" billboard on U.S. 131 | News
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - The group behind a new billboard on U.S. 131 in Grand Rapids says just because you don't believe in God or religion doesn't make you a bad person.
"We are good people," insists Jennifer Beahan of the Center for Inquiry-Michigan. "We have morals and ethics and we give back to the community."
The Center For Inquiry-Michigan is a group of atheists, agnostics, skeptics, humanists and non-believers who want to promote a secular society.
They've put up a billboard on U.S. 131 near Hall street that reads: "You don't need God to hope, to care, to love, to live."
"We are productive members of society," explains Beahan. "We share values such as hope, love, caring and compassion."
"Those are shared human values and when you give up your religion you don't give up those things that are important to everyone," says C.F.I. Grand Rapids Executive Director Jeff Seaver.
Alba Diez lives across from the billboard. She can read the message from her front yard. She says it contradicts her Christian beliefs.
"It's crazy," she says. "Everybody needs religion. Everybody needs a God. I don't know why people put up a sign like this."
Grand Rapids is the 7th city to get a C.F.I sponsored billboard. It will remain in place for a month. Leaders of the group say they hope it reduces the prejudice non-believers face every day.
"People telling me I'm going to hell, I'm a bad person, that Satan should condemn me for eternity," says Beahan.
"You don't have to look far to find someone who will not hire you for a job or do business with you if you are not a Christian or religious in some way," adds Seaver.
At first the Center For Inquiry had trouble renting a billboard for their message.
G-R Outdoor in Rockford wouldn't sell them any space.
"They indicated the ownership of the company was Christian and our values did not represent their values," says Seaver.
The group was finally able to get the billboard on U.S. 131 from Louisiana based Lamar Advertising for $2,700 a month.