Falls billboards spark controversy
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NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — If you drove through the City of Niagara Falls Monday, chances are you saw some new signage along Niagara Falls Boulevard.
"There is an enormous amount of prejudice against non-believers in this country," explained Ronald Lindsay.
Lindsay, the President of the Amherst-based Center for Inquiry, said two ads in Niagara Falls which read, “You don’t need God – to hope, to care, to love, to live,” are part of a national campaign to teach the public that living a successful life without religion is possible.
"It's possible to live a happy, meaningful, fulfilling life without believing in God," Lindsay said.
Monica Saltarelli, a campus minister at Niagara University, disagreed.
"It's a sad reality and I would not want that to be promoted," Saltarelli said.
Saltarelli, who spends much of her time doing service work out in the community with students, said the billboard has no place in the economically challenged area.
"I've never met a joy-filled person who says that 'I don't need God.'"
Living Without Religion is part of a nationwide campaign started by the non-religious group, featuring ads in Washington, Houston and Indianapolis.
The campaign, which has largely been accepted according to Lindsay, is not an attempt to influence the beliefs of non-believers.
"It's a way of giving them support, letting them know they're not alone that in fact there are organizations that support them and can validate their beliefs," Lindsay said.
Meanwhile, Saltarelli said she'll continue her work, despite her viewpoint.
"We have to respect others beliefs. I do feel bad when people don't have a sense of God because I feel like they're missing out," Saltarelli explained.
The ads, located on Niagara Falls Boulevard and alongside the I-190 at the Niagara Falls Boulevard exit, will be on display for the next month.