Indiana Atheists Win Lawsuit Over Bus Ads July 27, 2009

Indiana Atheists Win Lawsuit Over Bus Ads

Some good news from the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign!

A couple months ago, atheists paid to have this ad put on buses in Bloomington, Indiana:


After paying for it, Transpo Bloomington Transit (the bus company) decided the ad was “too controversial” and never placed the ad on buses. A lawsuit was filed.

Today, the atheists have prevailed!

The members of the campaign are pleased to announce that we have reached a settlement with Bloomington Transit regarding our lawsuit. A preliminary injunction hearing was scheduled in the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, but Bloomington Transit capitulated in the days leading up to the injunction hearing.

The terms of the settlement are that BT will accept our ad, which features the slogan ‘You Can Be Good Without God’ for posting on as many buses and for as long of a time as we like, for the standard ad rate. They will also be reimbursing the ACLU of Indiana for a significant portion of their legal expenses.

That is wonderful news, a precedent judges can look to in case this happens again elsewhere, and a victory for free speech advocates everywhere.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • This is good news.

  • Michael R


  • This is tremendous! Very good work from the ACLU and the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign.

  • in INDIANA
    get outta here!

  • Yeah, because that is SO controversial. I mean, the new director of the NIH doesn’t agree with it, after all..

  • SarahH

    Excellent news! Thanks for the update.

  • I don’t see any controversy, just religious zealots who don’t agree with the message or people who are coward enough to not want fundies protesting at their door for doing what is right in America.

  • I hate having to use the legal system to get people to play fair, but sometimes you have no other choice. 🙁

    I’m betting that Transpo’s lawyers did a cost analysis of what a jury trial loss would mean for Transpo’s bottom line, and discovered it’s cheaper to just follow through with the contract/agreement they had with the atheists and pay off the lawyers involved.

    Of course, taking their money and not running the ad is breach of contract/agreement. I’m betting that little bit in on itself was enough to get them to settle – contract/agreement violations are pretty clear cut in the eyes of the court.

  • Fizzy

    I don’t want to be a killjoy, and maybe my understanding of the legal system is faulty, but since the ad company settled before the case actually got to court I don’t think this case can be cited as precedent.

  • Dan W

    The “controversy” was just religious fanatics who lacked the imagination to consider that morality may not come from their particular holy book. And thus they didn’t want to allow ads that challenged their narrow-minded views, or actually made them think. I’m glad the bus ads in Indiana can finally be put up.

  • Yay for Indiana not always failing at life

  • selfification


    Yes. I believe that is correct. Sometimes I wish some of these cases actually go to completion so as to establish good precedent. In a common law system (unlike the civil law system used in many placed), precedent (even the smallest one) is very very important.

  • Good news.


    Perhaps you’ve heard something about Collins that I haven’t. As far as I know, he’s a pretty sensible fellow who happens to be Christian. Does he actually think you can’t be good without God? I know at least some Christians who would agree with the slogan in that ad.

    It’s the ones who actively oppose the ad that are the problem; not all Christians.

  • Talley

    And I just moved to Bloomington, too! Yay!

  • teammarty

    Oh, c’mon. Is this really a fight worth fighting. Shouldn’t we bow down in prayer with them so they might think that we are part of THEIR community?

    I’m actually surprised that this post wasn’t seriously posted before this.

  • Zahada

    This is great news!

    -Indiana resident 🙂

  • Whoa, correction: the TRANSPO incident was in South Bend, not Bloomington. That line should say “Bloomington Transit” instead of Transpo, and we didn’t pay for the ads before they were rejected.

    🙂 Also, we are still raising money (contrary to what some articles have reported) and plan to move on to other Indiana cities.

  • Whoops! Fixed. Thanks, Sarah!

  • Great news. Always like to hear outcomes like this.

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