LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A 'Godless' billboard now greets drivers along an interstate right in the heart of Louisville. The billboard went up August 2.
The Louisville Coalition of Reason's billboard sits on one of the busiest stretches of I-65 in Louisville, right by the Kentucky Exposition Center. It says "Don't believe in God? You are not alone."
Ed Hensley of Louisville CoR says it has been in the works since January. Its purpose, he says, is to educate.
"We wish to be accepted by the community as they perhaps accept other people that they work with, that they are friends with, that they play sports with who are perhaps a different religion to accept us in the same manner," said Hensley.
But in a city with such a strong faith-based community, Hensley says he does expect some backlash.
"Some people are offended merely by our existence," Hensley said, "and so matter what we do those people will be offended."
"It's a disturbing sign, or at least potentially disturbing sign," said Fr. Elias Henritzy.
Fr. Henritzy, a Dominican priest at Saint Louis Bertrand Catholic Church in Old Louisville, said he is not offended, but he is troubled by the billboard and what it might do.
"I think God really made us to be close to Him and have His love draw us close to each other more," Fr. Henritzy said. "It's a saddening sign in some ways, if that's the real intent of it to draw people away from God."
"Our answer is not so much what we turn people away from, but what we turn them to," said Hensley, "which is rational thought, evidence based thinking, evidence based belief."
While Fr. Henritzy's faith is strong, he worries about those whose faith may not be.
"I'm hoping this isn't an invitation to like a dead-end path for a lot of people and that's the real danger of it, I think," Fr. Henritzy said.
"A billboard in and of itself is not going to convert somebody. No one is going to drive down the road, see that billboard and say, 'oh I'm now an atheist," Hensley said.
But Hensley does hope to get people talking. The billboard will remain up through August 28, all but one day of the Kentucky State Fair at the neighboring state fairgrounds.
Hensley said that the billboard will cause them to investigate, which is what the Louisville CoR wants.
Fr. Henritzy does not necessarily think that is a bad thing either.
"Maybe it will raise some questions in the sense of getting people thinking about God. It's a provocative thing in some ways so it may have some unintended results," said Fr. Henritzy.
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