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Associated Press
Phoenix – Billboards touting freedom from religion and separation of church and state are going up around the downtown Phoenix area.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., paid advertising company CBS Outdoor to put up five signs around Phoenix that read Imagine No Religion. Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of Freedom From Religion, said the billboards will be in place for a month.
The group of atheists or agnostics promotes free thought and the separation of church and state. They have sponsored similar billboard campaigns in other U.S. cities and so far, Gaylor said, there has been little opposition. She doesn’t anticipate any protest in Phoenix.
Religious leaders say they are seeing an increase in atheist activism.
“I don’t have a problem with people expressing their points of view in public,” said the Rev. Bob Mitchell, senior pastor at Central United Methodist Church of Phoenix.
“I would prefer that there was serious tolerant dialogue that might emerge from this publicity campaign because it is much needed.”
State Sen. Linda Gray, a Glendale Republican, said the signs will offend those who believe in God.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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