Saturday, December 4, 2010

Another atheist bus ad controversy...

...this time in my neighborhood.  Well, not my immediate neighborhood, as the Dallas transit authority has refused these ads.  But Fort Worth has not, and local clergy are raising a big stink:

Ministers Justice Coalition of Texas thinks in the wake of the controversial campaign, the T should get rid of all religious ads.
“We have requested and asked that the T would review and revisit the policy and have it changed,” said Rev. Julius Jackson.
A second group of ministers aligned with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference threatened to organize a boycott if the signs are allowed.
The controversial ad slated to go on a total of four buses in Fort Worth that has them so agitated?

Hmmm...doesn't seem so terrible to me.  A reminder that there are non-believers in the country, and they aren't evil.  It doesn't say that denying the existence of God is what makes them good, thus implying that believers aren't.  It doesn't say anything negative about religion at all, actually-- just that people can be and are good without it.   The ads were paid for by the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason (DFW CoR), a subdivision of the United Coalition of Reason:
"The point of our national campaign is to reach out to the millions of humanists, atheists and agnostics living in the United States," explained Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason. "Nontheists like these sometimes don't realize there's a community out there for them because they're inundated with religious messages at every turn. So we hope this will serve as a beacon and let them know they aren't alone."
 I found that statement at the DFW CoR web site, since the Fox News video gives the Fort Worth ministers a good deal of time to be outraged, the Fort Worth transit representative a bit to say that they're just shooting the messenger by threatening to boycott buses, and the head of DFW CoR Terry McDonald about four seconds to say that he didn't expect people to throw such a fit about it. 
“Dallas decided no. Fort Worth decided to go with it. That’s saying something in terms of courage. Who has the courage to stand up for God!” said Rev. Kyev Tatum.
 I don't know that it's the responsibility of city transit authorities to stand up for God, Rev. Tatum.  I thought their job was to accept ads for buses from people who pay for them-- that's what they've been doing with pro-religious ads for quite some time without incident.  But apparently sharing that forum with a group of people who are just saying "Hey, we're here, we don't believe, and we're okay" is just too much.  Trying to prevent the posting of a message that contradicts your beliefs sounds like the opposite of courage, to be honest.  More like taking your ball and going home.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.