Lexington, KY's news station WKYT.com says that it has received hundreds of comments on its Facebook page over a billboard sponsored by the Bluegrass Coalition of Reason. What has generated the controversy is a billboard on New Circle Road in Lexington that reads, "Don't believe in God? Join the club."
According to the WKYT report, most of the comments on Facebook were negative (see video embedded below).
The station interviewed people around town who were offended by the sign. "It needs to come down. It should have never gone up," a woman complained to reporters. "I think the sign is an absolute disgrace. Who in their right mind would think about putting up a sign like that. I mean, I just think it's crazy," opined another of the faithful.
A spokesperson for the Bluegrass Coalition for Reason told reporters that he didn't know of a nicer way to put up the billboard, and that the group was not going to apologize for it. In a press release issued Sept. 18, the group stated, "The ad has been placed by the Bluegrass Coalition of Reason with $5,650 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason. Its appearance marks the public launch of Bluegrass CoR, the Bluegrass Coalition of Reason, which is an alliance of five atheist, humanist, secularist and skeptic groups working together in the greater Lexington area." The release notes that the billboard will remain "until Columbus Day, heralding the first ever Kentucky Freethought Convention, to be held October 6 at the University of Kentucky" and that the event "will feature a former minister and religious broadcaster, university professors, and freethought leaders."
In a separate report from WKYT, a pastor suggested that people complaining about the billboard should reach out to those who are behind it. "When I think of how Jesus would confront something like this, I don't think he would try to tear it down, I think he would try to love the people with a differing opinion or view," Dr. Carl Peters of the Anchor Baptist Church in Lexington told WKYT.
Among the speakers at the Kentucky Freethought Convention are a panel of former clergy, including Joe Brennan, a former Catholic priest, Chris Davis, a former Baptist minister, and Matt Mobley, a former Baptist minister who was expelled from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for becoming an atheist. Other speakers include Seth Andrews, known as "The Thinking Atheist," a number of university professors, and attorney Edwin Kagin, who founded Camp Quest, a summer camp for children of nonbelievers and a recipient of the Atheist of the Year award from American Atheists.