Just the other day, I mentioned that the following bus ad was placed on 20 buses in Des Moines, Iowa:
It was timed perfectly so that the ads would run while the Iowa state fair was in progress.
I know what you’re thinking: That’s offensive! How dare they put an ad on buses that doesn’t praise The Jesus?
Apparently, some people seem to think that way. There were many complaints and the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) took down the ads.
What. The. Hell.
DART is just making excuses for this:
Officials with DART said the signs were not supposed to be on the buses in the first place.
DART’s advertising director said the board never approved the signs and that they were put up by mistake. The Iowa Atheist and Free Thinkers group said the advertising director told them that the signs have been approved.
“When she met with us on May 27, we showed her the ads and asked if this could be controversial and she said she didn’t think so,” said the group’s president, Randy Henderson. “She thought it was a nice ad, a safe ad.”
The signs came down on Aug. 4. [advertising director Kirstin] Baer-Harding said they never should have gone up.
“The ads mistakenly got put on buses,” she said.
She said DART has the final say on any advertisements and its board decided at the last minute that it didn’t like the content. She said the mistake slipped in amid last week’s chaos with the DART-pedestrian crash and the release of its first hybrid bus.
Again, if the board “didn’t like the content,” it’s only right for them to explain what was wrong with it. Was it attacking faith? No. Did it have any mean-intentioned message? No.
It was a positive message, aimed at atheists. Nothing more.
“Drivers said people weren’t getting on buses or getting off the buses because of it,” said advertising director Kirstin Baer-Harding. “So with all the calls, it wasn’t something we wanted.”
First of all, that’s no reason to pull the ad. The atheists paid for them, they are allowed to put religiously-themed ads on buses, and this ad in particular is not controversial.
Secondly, why would someone not “get off the bus” because of the ad? That doesn’t even make sense.
Thirdly, which is it? Were the ads not supposed to go up at all or were they taken down only because of complaints? Baer-Harding is telling us two different stories.
Here’s what the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers are saying:
… The latest news is because of an “overwhelming” number of phone calls DART has pulled our ads from their buses. We were informed of this yesterday [August 4th.
We would like our members to please contact DART either via telephone or email. They can be reached at 515-283-8111 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be polite, rational, and non-threatening. We do ask all members to speak only for themselves and that all organization-related inquiries be forwarded on to Lily or Randy.
Our ads were deliberately chosen to be as inoffensive as possible and this is discriminatory behavior. Any church can (and many do) advertise on DART, which means that we should be able to as well.
If you get a chance, please contact DART. If you live in Iowa, and perhaps even if you don’t, you have the power to change this.
More importantly, if you’re a Christian, please consider defending the atheists’ ad here. There’s nothing offensive about it. Please show some courage and stand up to the others in your faith.
(Thanks to Dave for the link!)