Attention Lunatic AtheistsIt’s definitely the time of year for religious ads … as well as non-religious ads. Atheist bus ads are nothing new, but as the New York Times reports, Christians down in Ft Worth, Texas have added a new wrinkle to them (WebCite cached article):

Stand on a corner in this city and you might get a case of theological whiplash.

A public bus rolls by with an atheist message on its side: “Millions of people are good without God.” Seconds later, a van follows bearing a riposte: “I still love you. — God,” with another line that says, “2.1 billion Christians are good with God.”

A clash of beliefs has rattled this city ever since atheists bought ad space on four city buses to reach out to nonbelievers who might feel isolated during the Christmas season.

The problem, of course, is those damned uppity atheists, who don’t know their place in Texas — the Buckle of the Bible Belt — and who won’t stay silent and invisible:

“We want to tell people they are not alone,” said Terry McDonald, the chairman of Metroplex Atheists, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason, which paid for the atheist ads. …

But the reaction from believers has been harsher than anyone in the nonbeliever’s club expected. Some ministers organized a boycott of the buses, with limited success. Other clergy members are pressing the Fort Worth Transportation Authority to ban all religious advertising on public buses. And a group of local businessmen paid for the van with the Christian message to follow the atheist-messaged buses around town.

These militant Christians have all kinds of excuses for why they’re so incensed about the atheist ads. First, the “it’s the holiday season” objection:

“It’s a season to share good will toward all men,” [Rev. Kyev Tatum Sr., president of the local Southern Christian Leadership Conference] said. “To have this at this time come out with a blatant disrespect of our faith, we think is unconscionable.”

Well, golly gee, Pastor … I had absolutely no idea that those vicious atheists were supposed to consult their calendars and mark off entire months in which never to advertise!

Next, it’s the “public property” objection:

“I’m not against them getting their message out,” said the Rev. Julius L. Jackson, pastor at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church. “I just don’t think it should be on public transportation.”

That said, religious groups can advertise on Ft Worth buses, as the Times points out:

Dick Ruddell, the president of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, said churches were free to advertise. … “There is nothing in the policy about religious content,” he said.

So those atheists are supposed to refrain from doing something that’s otherwise permissible, because … uh … er … um … what was that reason, again?

Hat tip: The Friendly Atheist blog.

Photo credit: Chairman Meow.

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  • An a**hole by any other name, etc…

    I tolerate their public prayers. I don't mind that they take up every broadcast channel on TV on Sunday morning. I'm even personable to the ones who ring my door bell and try to convert me.

    And yet… they call ME vocal? Sheeeesh!

  • PsiCop

    I love how these Ft Worth Christians act as though they never advertise or otherwise express their beliefs to anyone. Yeah right.

    Personally I enjoy when missionaries show up at my door. For some reason they love to open with the question, "Would you like to talk about the Bible?" I always respond, "Sure. What did you want to know about it?" They're usually gone by the time I've recited a few verses of the NT in the original Greek, from memory.

    It's been a few years since any of them have shown up. I assume that means the word is out, and they're avoiding me.

  • The J-Witnesses, according to an old pal who used to be one, kept black lists of houses that they didn't need to bother with when walking through the neighborhood looking for potential souls to corrup… er, I mean save. For many years, I'd just watch them walk by my house on Saturday morning. Lately though, a few have been making the attempt. I calmly tell them I'm an atheist (sometimes having to explain that term to them) and wish them a good morning.

    On a funny note… my mother used to tell them she was a Satanist. THAT kept them away from the door. The funnier thing was that she WAS a Christian. She just couldn't stand evangelicals. She kept her beliefs to herself and wanted the same treatment from others. Her brother Aaron would invite the J-Witnesses in and spend hours trying to convert them to Baptist theology. HA!

    What a funny world!