The Charlotte Atheists & Agnostics ad appeared over Billy Graham Parkway Monday and will be up for four weeks, The Charlotte Observer said. William Warren, a spokesman for the group, said the location was chosen because two other possibilities near the interstate were too expensive and a third billboard would have been seen by fewer people in the heart of the Bible Belt.
"We got more bang for our buck there," Warren said of the parkway.
The billboard and others going up around the state are part of a July 4 campaign by the N.C. Secular Association. The ad shows an American flag and quotes the Pledge of Allegiance as it was originally written before the words "under God" were added in 1954.
"We're doing this to raise the consciousness of the people of North Carolina," said Warren, an electronics technician who spent five years in the U.S. Marine Corps. "We want to let them know that not everybody here is religious. There are atheists in North Carolina, and we expect to be recognized and treated like everybody else."