Support for the Iowa Atheist Bus Campaign August 9, 2009

Support for the Iowa Atheist Bus Campaign

The Iowa atheist bus ad will be going back up later this week. (Woo!)

Not surprising (to me, anyway), the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers have a *lot* of people on their side.

Check out the emails they received after all the publicity — some against them and many more for them.

Even better is this editorial in the Des Moines Register:

Perhaps a way out of this dilemma is to turn the advertising job over to an outside agency that would fill the ad spots on buses, but even that may not absolve DART of ultimate responsibility. Or, quit advertising, but that would cost the authority $200,000 in annual revenue.

Meanwhile, the authority should develop a thicker skin for criticism. The ad in question is hardly cause for outrage: It simply makes the statement of fact that you aren’t alone if you don’t believe in God.

I suggest next time, we get a billboard that simply reads “ATHEIST.”

That alone would generate tons of complaints from religious people and make our point just as well: We exist and we’re not afraid to say that.

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  • Reginald Selkirk

    Perhaps a way out of this dilemma is to turn the advertising job over to an outside agency

    This sounds like a tricky and dishonest path. They could hire a private company to handle the advertising, and then claim that since it is a private company, it is not bound by church | state laws. Abdication of responsibility.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Please make an effort to find out what the “alternative ad” DART tried to suggest was about. I am eager to learn.

  • benjdm

    My understanding is that supposedly DART was going to ask Iowa Atheists to change their ad so that it would generate fewer complaints. Iowa Atheists refused to change it and insisted the original ad be run.

  • ungullible

    I am becoming more and more convinced that these ads, and the reactions they create, are the Best! Thing! Ever! ™ for our cause. Much like the peaceful sit-ins during the civil rights era, in contrast to our calm and peaceful stance, the violent reactions they create in the opposition only serves to underscore the ridiculousness and insecurity of their position and to heighten awareness and support for ours.

  • They only receieved 2 opposition e-mails. One basically said, “I support you but DART can pick whatever ads they put up.” The other one was from someone who was “discussed” that the story was on the news. This supports my theory that the opposition was from someone inside the company, not an angry mob on the outside.

  • zoo

    I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, I hear this is pretty much true of any article on a newspaper site, but the comments on the editorial are mostly quite ignorant. For instance, I was not aware that I am religious, or that the ACLU hates religion. I did learn why it’s such an offensive ad, which confused me: though it is no more than and was not intended to be more than a simple statement of fact, people imagine it’s attacking them personally.

  • Hemant, I think you are right. My experience is that you dont actually have to do anything to offend them. Just being openly atheist is enough.

    How about an ad that says “10% of Americans do not believe in God.” That’ll drive them nuts!

  • billybee

    Here’s my sign suggestion:


  • Hank_Hill

    The IAF had it’s weekly meetup today and it was a huge success. We had a total headcount of at least 32-40 people, most were first time visitors. I believe we had over 100 people join the website this past week.

    There were no protesters of any kind and we signed up several new members, even though non-voting membership is free.

    Randy Henderson, the IAF president, occasionally holds bible study and one is planned for tomorrow night. We’re expecting a very good turnout. Yes, many atheists, including me study the bible and other religious books and Mr. Henderson was an evangelical preacher for many years, so he really knows his stuff.

    To Robert Madewell, I think you’re absolutely right; the mere existense of atheists seems to set some people off. It makes no sense; most of us are kind loving people trying to live by the ‘Golden Rule’. Heck, we’re organizing a canned food drive for the poor right now.

  • I live in Des Moines and was disappointed but not surprised by the public outrage. There are plenty of freethinkers here, but for every one there is an extremely conservative Christian.

    What really upset me about the whole thing is the “outrage”. There is absolutely nothing offensive about the advertisement. Am I allowed to be offended by religious billboards claiming I am to worship a Jewish man from 2,000 years ago? And teachings that tell me bloody human sacrifice, symbolically eating human flesh and drinking human blood are good and not at all offensive?

    Unfortunately we live in a society where many are fearful of freethinking people. We are automatically equated to evil. I have to ask why Christians are so terrified by a small bus billboard if their god is as powerful as they claim. The whole thing is really silly.

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