Coalition to publicize its beliefs
BY BILL SHERMAN World Religion Writer
Saturday, September 04, 2010
9/04/10 at 6:52 AM
A billboard proclaiming that "Atheism is OK in Oklahoma" will go up Tuesday at 15th Street and the Broken Arrow Expressway.
The billboard salutes "Gore – the First Atheist Senator," a reference to Sen. Thomas Pryor Gore, one of Oklahoma's first two senators and the maternal grandfather of author Gore Vidal.
"To our knowledge, Thomas Gore was the first atheist U.S. senator," said Bill Dusenberry, with the Coalition for Reason, which is sponsoring the billboard.
"We're proud of it, and we hope other Tulsans will be proud of it," he said.
Gore, who was blind, was an Oklahoma senator from 1907 until 1921 and from 1931 until 1937.
The Coalition for Reason is a group of Tulsa humanist organizations that includes the Tulsa Humanist Association, Tulsa Atheists and the Tulsa chapter of the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
Dan Nerren, secretary of the Humanist Association, said, "We wanted to bring more publicity to the philosophy of atheism. We don't think we get enough publicity."
Nerren defined his philosophy as "the belief that there is no God."
Randy Bradley, president of the Tulsa chapter of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, said they hope the billboard will raise awareness that this rationalistic outlook on life has been in Oklahoma for a long time.
"A lot of Oklahomans have had these convictions, including Thomas Gore," he said.
"We believe reason and rationalism are the best ways to approach life. We don't believe in a supernatural entity," he said.
Dusenberry said most of the cost of the billboard is being carried by the National Freedom from Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis.
The billboard will remain up at least a month, he said.
Last December, the Coalition for Reason put up a billboard on Interstate 44 that asked: "Are You Good Without God?" And answered: "Millions Are."
Bill Sherman 581-8398
This billboard promoting atheism is scheduled to be put up Tuesday at 15th Street and the Broken Arrow Expressway. Courtesy