(San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura, California; Tuesday, May 12, 2015) “Don’t believe in a god? You are not alone.”
These words appeared in newspaper ads and across banners displayed at events throughout California’s central coast region. This marks the formal launch of the Central Coast Coalition of Reason (Central Coast CoR). Central Coast CoR represents an alliance of five nontheistic (atheist, freethinker, humanist, skeptic and agnostic) groups. The participating organizations are:
* Atheists United—San Luis Obispo (Atheists United SLO): the group who was recently responsible for ensuring that school policy regarding the teaching of creationism in Lucia Mar Unified School District was followed (http://www.keyt.com/news/Creationism-Pulled-from-Arroyo-Grande-High-School-Curriculum/32564410)
* Alliance of Happy Atheists
* The Cal-Poly Alliance of Happy Atheists (AHA!)
* The Humanistic Society of Santa Barbara
* San Luis Obsipo Secular Families (SLO Secular Families)
The week-long series of event has been made possible with funding assistance from the United Coalition of Reason (UnitedCoR), headquartered in Washington DC, along with generous donations from the local area. The launch events were held and are scheduled in the following places:
* Monday, May 4: Guest presentation from Dr. Jason Heap, Executive Director for the United Coalition of Reason and the current application to become the first Humanist-endorsed chaplain in the history of the United States Armed Forces.
* Tuesday, May 5: Social fundraising dinner, hosted at Pappy McGregor’s in downtown San Luis Obispo.
* Wednesday, May 6: Skype link presentation from The Young Skeptics: Teaching critical thinking in our schools, held at the San Luis Obispo Library.
* Thursday, May 7: A celebration of the National Day of Reason, hosted by Atheists United SLO at the San Luis Obispo farmer’s market.
* Friday: May 8: Exclusive showing of An Honest Liar—a feature documentary about the world-famous magician, James ‘The Amazing’ Randi, shown at the Palm Theatre in downtown San Luis Obispo.
A full list of the calendar of events and venues, available for media use, can be found at: https://atheistsunited.org/article/1598/to-give-thanks-at-thanksgiving-atheists-united-steps-up-to-thank-a-farmer
This campaign is part of a coordinated nationwide program that began in 2009. From then to now, 63 similar campaigns have been launched in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Each local campaign is sponsored by a multi-organizational coalition of nontheistic groups in the area.
“The point of our national awareness effort is to reach out to the millions of humanists, atheists, skeptics and agnostics living in the United States,” explained Dr. Jason Heap, Executive Director of UnitedCoR. “Nontheists sometimes don’t realize there’s a community for them because they’re inundated with theistic messages at every turn. We hope our effort 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 want people to know that nontheistic folks like us are a regular part of communities all over the area,” added Steve Arkowitz, coordinator for Central Coast CoR. “Nontheists are your friends and neighbors, your coworkers and family members. Our non-theistic community focuses on service, and we care deeply about bringing justice and help to others: being good without a god.”
“Being visible is important to us,” Heap concluded, “because in our society non-theistic people often don’t know many others like themselves.”
This campaign is the latest in a nationwide effort. Previous campaigns have been launched in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
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The Central Coast Coalition of Reason (www.centralcoastcor.org) is a resource for freethinking people, uniting the various nontheistic groups throughout San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.
The United Coalition of Reason (www.UnitedCoR.org) works to raise the visibility and sense of unity among local groups in the community of reason by providing funding and expertise to help groups cooperate toward common goals.