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Atheists to tidy road, get sign in Jonesboro  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The Atheist Community of Jonesboro, a group of about 50 people who don't believe in the existence of God, will clean litter along a one-mile stretch of U.S. 63 in Jonesboro four times a year. As a result, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department will install two large green road signs proclaiming that the group has "adopted" the highway. The signs, placed on both ends of the mile-long run, won't be installed for at least a month.

But some religious leaders are already concerned about the image it could paint for Jonesboro. "I'm not excited about it," said John Miles, senior pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Jonesboro. "Not many of us want to be known as the town with the organized atheist group."

The section is between Caraway and Harrisburg roads, the busiest thoroughfare in the Craighead County town. More than 30,000 motorists travel the road daily, said Walter McMillan, a district engineer for the Highway Department. "We chose this stretch because of the traffic," said Joseph Langston, the director of the Atheist Community of Jonesboro. "We were shocked that it was available."


"We're not trying to destroy religion," he said. "But there's more here in Jonesboro who don't believe in God than people realize. If they're atheists, they fly under the radar. These people have no representation."

Someone has been tearing down fliers Langston posted at Arkansas State University that seek members for a Jonesboro campus charter for the group. But for the most part, people have been pretty calm, he said. It's a far cry from the reaction to a self-proclaimed Wiccan priest in 1993. Then, Terry Riley led a religious freedom march through Jonesboro after he was evicted from a small shop where he sold books. Hundreds of people lined Main Street and hurled epithets at Riley and his followers as they walked past.

Perhaps it is time to form Atheists for Jesus. The Christians don't pay much attention to a lot of what he is reputed to have said or the spirit in which it was said. Someone ought to speak on his behalf. Then at least we could resurrect something on Easter.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Apr 4th, 2010 at 08:40:37 PM EST
Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force academy, in an attempt to cancel out their generally ultra-evangelical leanings, has implemented an official Wiccan meeting place...


Should be interesting around mid-summers evening!

by asdf on Sun Apr 4th, 2010 at 11:41:12 PM EST
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