Iowa Atheist Bus Ads To Go Back Up! August 8, 2009

Iowa Atheist Bus Ads To Go Back Up!

I’m at the Secular Student Alliance conference right now, and I have no real Internet access (thanks, iPhone!), but I did want to mention this: The atheist bus ads will go back up in Iowa! It’ll be the original version, so kudos to the Iowans for not budging on that:

“By honoring the freedoms protected through our shared civil liberties, DART, like other businesses that accept advertising, will be in the position of displaying messages and images that may be controversial or uncomfortable to some, but legal and protected by civil rights,” DART General Manager Brad Miller stated in an e-mail.

(Thanks to everyone for the link!)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Sounds like the head honcho had to step in on this one. Good on DART for making the right call in this case. Secularists deserve the same considerations as everyone else. In the end, Iowa has made the right call.

  • benjdm

    Now we just need to straighten out the governor. 🙂

  • JulietEcho

    Hooray, victory for free speech!

  • Gabriel


  • Richard Wade

    When will they be back up? While the Iowa State Fair is happening, August 13 to 23? That was a big part of the idea. If it’s delayed until after that, then the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers were cheated, and I’m still very pissed.

    The Transpo bus authority in South Bend, Indiana pulled the same crap and managed to delay atheist ads until after President Obama’s visit there.

    Don’t civic transportation departments read the news and learn from each other’s blunders? Will we have to go through this idiotic stalling process every time? Is dragging their feet going to be a compulsory ritual to kiss the asses of the local fundie fascists? That way they can whine, “Well we tried, but that pesky First Amendment made us do it. Sorry.”

  • Dan W

    Yay! I didn’t see why DART wanted Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers to submit a replacement ad anyway. And there was much rejoicing (by atheists, that is)!

    Still not sure what’s up with Culver though, but there’s a good chance he won’t get my vote in the future.

  • dudemang

    I think atheists should keep throwing out the bait until they stop biting. Allow them to keep exposing the bigotry that is taught in their religion. They get more bad publicity and we get to prove we’re right once again.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    The transit authority asked the group to consider reviewing an alternate bus advertisement, but they refused.

    I would be interested in hearing what “alternative” was suggested. What do theists think atheists could say that would be more inoffensive and nonconfrontational than the original ad?

  • Ron in Houston

    Hey Hemant, maybe you should run for office. We need more atheist politicians.

  • Woo-hoo!!!!!

  • Richard Wade

    In response to the email I sent to DART which I shared on this post, I just received this reply:

    Thank you for your email regarding the recent advertisements that the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers had on some of the DART buses.

    The recent controversy around the ad campaign that was accepted by our regional bus service has pointed out the need to update our advertising policies to better align with:

    1) Our many other clearly stated policies regarding civil rights,
    2) The state’s obscenity and profanity laws,

    3) The diversity of a growing cosmopolitan region, and

    4) DART’s objective to be the most progressive, growing transit system in the Midwest.

    We never intentionally tried deny a person’s civil liberties and we are updating our policy to reflect our acceptance of advertising that is not obscene or profane (as defined by Iowa law). By honoring the freedoms protected through our shared civil liberties, DART, like other businesses that accept advertising, will be in the position of displaying messages and images that may be controversial or uncomfortable to some, but legal and protected by civil rights.

    As a result, we are taking two actions you may have seen publicized:

    1) The Iowa Atheist and Free Thinkers group ads that were contracted for and previously developed will be displayed on DART buses.

    2) The DART Commission will receive a presentation from our legal counsel on creating a new DART advertising policy that very clearly communicates our position to uphold both civil liberties and the protection of citizens from that which is obscene or profane.

    The Des Moines region, and the entire state of Iowa, is developing a positive reputation as a place that accepts diversity, new ideas and is civil in its discourse of even the most controversial of topics – for example, same sex marriages. DART demonstrated this same advancement on Monday by unveiling the first hybrid-electric bus in the state, so it is altogether appropriate for our policies to keep pace with this progress.

    Regarding this issue, what groups choose to say or advertise may be of concern, but their right to say it – or in this case to advertise it – is a protected right. Our policy will be changed to reflect this stated belief.


    The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority