Atheist organization starts Sudbury branch

A national group of atheists, humanists and skeptics, is launching a Sudbury branch.

Group launches bus ad campaign, advocates for single school board system

The National Organization for Atheists is opening a branch in Sudbury. The group is also running an ad campaign on buses. (Supplied)

A national group of atheists, humanists and skeptics, is launching a Sudbury branch.

The head of the new Centre for Inquiry Sudbury, Spencer Lucas, said there are many atheists in this area who would like to be part of an organization, but added many don’t know a group like this exists.

The group also launched an ad campaign on city buses, as well. The advertisement states: "Don’t believe in God? You’re not alone."

Since the ads made their first appearance over the weekend, Lucas said interest in the organization has heightened and online membership has increased by 25 per cent. He said there have been some indirect negative comments about the ad campaign as well.

The ads are not meant to mock other religions or make a bold statement, Lucas said.

“It basically says ‘We exist,’” he explained to CBC Sudbury Morning North radio host Markus Schwabe in an interview Monday morning. “And if you’re already a fellow atheist, you might want to find out what we’re doing.”

Push for single school board system

The first meeting of CFI Sudbury will take place on Monday night at the Living With Lakes Centre on Ramsey Lake Road, where Lucas said more information will be shared about the group, as well as its push for a single board school system.

Spencer Lucas is the branch leader of the Sudbury branch of the National Organization of Atheists. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

He said all school boards are publicly funded by all citizens of Ontario.

“If you’re Jewish, Hindu or Protestant, your money is fully going to the Catholic school board.”

Lucas added other provinces have changed constitution rights to no longer fund Catholic boards.

“Kathleen Wynne was the former [Minister] of Education and I think she’s defended the maintenance of the Catholic school board,” he said.

“I think she’s in an awkward position. I think it can’t ethically be defended [and it] can’t be fiscally defended. It’s a controversial position for sure. When you deal with controversial positions in the political arena, people are scared it’s a vote-loser.”

Lucas said the organization encourages people on both sides of the issue to attend the meeting.