FaithWorld

U.S. atheists sue to run bus ads for a God-free lifestyle

(Bus ad created with Bus Slogan Generator/Photo: Jon Worth c/o atheistbus.org.uk)

A coalition of atheists is accusing a United States city bus line of violating their rights to free speech in a fight to place ads on public buses praising a God-free lifestyle. The Central Arkansas Coalition of Reason alleged in a lawsuit that the Central Arkansas Transit Authority in Little Rock and its advertising agency are discriminating against the group because they’re being required to pay tens of thousands of dollars to put $5,000 worth of ads on 18 buses.

The ads would read: “Are you good without God? Millions are.” Other groups, including churches, have not been required to pay the fee, which amounts to $36,000 in insurance in case of an attack on the buses by angry Christians, according to the lawsuit.

The insurance was requested by the transit agency’s advertising firm, On The Move Advertising, officials said. Because a handful of similar ads had been vandalized in other states, the ad agency required the payment for insurance reasons, said Jess Sweere, an attorney representing the transit authority.

“To my knowledge, OTMA has not requested this in the past because no other advertiser told them their ads were vandalized in other markets,” Sweere told Reuters.

U.S. atheists and Catholics in holiday billboard fight

atheist billboard (Image: Atheist holiday billboard/American Atheists)

U.S. Catholics and atheists are doing battle over the holiday season with dueling billboards on opposite sides of the Hudson River separating New York and New Jersey.

The American Atheists organization fired the opening shot the Monday before Thanksgiving with its billboard on Route 495 in North Bergen, New Jersey. It tells drivers: “You Know It’s a MYTH,” a slogan set against a traditional nativity scene with three wise men and two figures in a manger.

The Catholic League fired back with its own billboard on the Manhattan side of the Lincoln Tunnel saying: “You Know it’s Real. This Season, Celebrate Jesus,” set against a picture of the infant Christ with his parents, Mary and Joseph. The league, a Catholic civil rights organization, said it responded to the atheists’ billboard because it wanted to counteract what it sees as a negative view of Christmas.

“Definitely a God” poster tops UK ad complaints

christian party

A bus poster which claimed “There definitely is a God, so join the Christian Party and enjoy your life” attracted more complaints than any other advert last year, Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said on Wednesday.

More than 1,200 people complained that the Christian Party‘s advert was offensive to atheists and could not be substantiated.

The poster was a response to an ad campaign last year by the British Humanist Association which stated “There’s probably no God — now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”  The ASA did not investigate either of the adverts, saying political party campaigns were outside its remit.

Atheist bus ad campaigns stalling in Germany

god-bus1

The Atheist Bus Campaign, launched in London by the best-selling biologist Richard Dawkins, has been copied in 10 countries, mostly but not always with success. It seems to have stalled in Germany. The campaign there, which has its own website called www.buskampagne.de, reports that the transit authorities in Berlin, Cologne and Munich have turned down their requests to run the ads. The campaign will continue trying to run the ads in other German cities.

The campaign asked contributors to choose among different suggested ad formats and the one below won. All three say in the first line “There is (almost certainly) no God.” It’s interesting that they add that qualifier,  which literally translates as “with a probability bordering on certainty.” Could it be they’re not that convinced after all?

The second lines vary and they translate as (1) “A fulfilled life doesn’t need faith.” (2) “Values are human — it’s up to us” and (3) “Enlightenment means taking responsibility.”

Italy’s “no-God” bus campaign gets a flat tire

Last week I wrote about Italy’s atheist association planning to get on the “no God” ad bandwagon by running their own ads on public buses in the northern city of Genoa. Not so fast. Put on the brakes. Someone decided that it ain’t gonna be that way.

The group, the Italian Union of Atheists and Rationalist Agnostics (UAAR), now says the publicity agency has informed it that the ads can’t run. The agency said the ads violated the advertising code. (Photo: Planned Italian bus ad saying“The bad news is that God doesn’t exist. The good news is that you don’t need him.”/UAAR)

The UAAR is wondering why the ad was not considered unethical when they sent the contract to the agency for signing.

Italy’s atheists to launch their own “no God” bus ads

The members of Italy’s atheist association probably would not fill one of the side chapels of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. But that’s not stopping the group from launching an unprecedented ad campaign on buses in Italian cities, much like the one recently started in Britain. (Photo: Planned Italian bus ads/UAAR)

The Italian Union of Atheists and Rationalist Agnostics (UAAR) will run the ads on four buses in the northern city of Genoa next month. The ads, which will cover the entire bus painted a soothing sky blue, read: “The bad news is that God doesn’t exist. The good news is that you don’t need him.”

The Padua-based group is launching the campaign in Genoa because advertising is much more expensive in other large cities such as Milan and Rome. But Genoa is also home to Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the president of  the Italian Bishops Conference. According to some Italian reports, one of the buses will pass near his residence.