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← The Atheist Billboard That Was Banned in Central Arkansas

The Atheist Billboard That Was Banned in Central Arkansas - Comments

Clnexion's Avatar Comment 1 by Clnexion

That's terrible!

Thu, 02 Jun 2011 04:42:39 UTC | #633111

rjohn19's Avatar Comment 2 by rjohn19

I think you need to work America from north to south. I admire their moxy, but in this stage of the struggle, putting up subtle messages today in Little Rock is a bit like trying to kill the bull before you have softened him up with the barbs of the picador.

Thu, 02 Jun 2011 05:26:16 UTC | #633119

Austin K's Avatar Comment 3 by Austin K

We should get a petition going!

Thu, 02 Jun 2011 05:29:44 UTC | #633120

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 4 by Stevehill

Arkansas gets battier by the day.

I'm sure Baby Jesus would have wanted free speech.

Thu, 02 Jun 2011 05:30:38 UTC | #633121

Rodger T's Avatar Comment 5 by Rodger T

^^^ Battered baby jesus, mmmmmmmmm, you want fries with that?

Thu, 02 Jun 2011 05:50:27 UTC | #633124

Osiris's Avatar Comment 6 by Osiris

Be interesting to know if this company carried , or would have carried Harold Camplings rapture/end of world billboards ?.

Thu, 02 Jun 2011 06:02:58 UTC | #633125

houseofcards's Avatar Comment 7 by houseofcards

sickening.!!!

Thu, 02 Jun 2011 06:12:30 UTC | #633126

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 8 by Jos Gibbons

The ad would have been placed on 18 buses at a cost of $5,620. ... The Defendants insisted that any contract with the Plaintiff contain a provision providing that the Plaintiff ... provide a damage deposit ... of $36,000 ... (iii) requires that the Plaintiff name the Defendants as additional insured entities on an insurance policy with a coverage limit not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence and $3,000,000 in the aggregate

Boy, do these costs ever escalate. Incidentally, are bus companies traditionally in the business of actuarially analysing the implications of advertisements to which they agree? While there is a superficially appealing logic inherent in actuarial thoughts on these matters, I suspect it is not their usual behaviour.

Dear God……HELP! ... I need Him now more than ever. ... we are placing this order in a special category ... I can easily envision zealots or upstanding citizens with a strong faith acting out.”

Bear in mind these hysterical comments, at times riddled with theological language, come from multiple authors; the company’s members had an irrational consensus. Incidentally, if you vandalise a bus, you’re not an upstanding citizen.

If the signs or buses were vandalized, then the company wanted all the atheist ads to be removed immediately

Aside from it pre–emptively caving into terrorism and thereby encouraging it, it’s a pretty crap deal for the plaintiff.

“Can I have some signs up?”

“It’ll cost you a LOT. And if anything goes wrong, it’ll cost you more, AND we’ll pull them all.”

“So basically I’ll pay a huge amount for extremely short–lived advertisements.”

“Yep.”

It’s amazing they have this much cheek.

the history of terrorism that follows the intentionally inflammatory advertisements sought to be placed

Firstly, what history? (See also what Edwords says.) Secondly, how is “Millions are good without God” inflammatory? There are many ways to insult someone, but claiming others are good as well surely isn’t one of them.

Again, all this because a group of atheists wanted to say that there are people out there who are “good without god.” It’s amazing how many Christians see that message as a threat to their well-being.

It is at times like these people often point out that, while attacks such as 9/11 are attributable to specific Muslims whereas atheists lack a comparable track record, it is atheists who are the more maligned in the US. I suspect the reason is because, while terrorism may harm people, an improved reputation for atheism and atheists harms religious memes, and self–replicators take priority over organisms in evolution. It’s a sickening thought that memes might be more of a concern to Christians than people made of flesh and blood. But does the evidence give us sufficient reason to suppose otherwise?

I mentioned Edwords here. I feel a need to comment more on his contribution:

We’ve run ads in 36 markets now, with only four of these markets having vandalism incidents, and only one resulting in permanent property damage (a Florida billboard). More frequently we get what I call “drama” in the form of shrill reactions.

Comments like these are to me reminiscent of statistics regarding how large a minority of Muslims in each of various Western nations are supporters of terrorism, in the sense that in both cases (a) the stereotype is based on a minority and is therefore unreasonable, and yet (b) the minority in question is so large we should be shocked and alarmed by that. One market in nine sees vandalism incidents, and one in thirty–six sees permanent property damage. While these may not be frequent enough to justify the reaction of the Arkansas bus company, they are worryingly high for me. I do not know what proportion of markets in which a typical uncontroversial ad can be expected to see vandalism incidents; given how much spray paint the world’s ads accumulate, perhaps Edwords is using a definition of vandalism sufficiently broad that this one–in–nine stat isn’t above average. I also don’t know how common serious property damage is in the world of advertising, but I’d be fascinated to hear more about these matters from those in the know. But I wouldn’t be surprised if, though too low to justify any stereotypes, these statistics are still abnormal.

Thu, 02 Jun 2011 06:16:44 UTC | #633128

josephor's Avatar Comment 9 by josephor

Ignorant superstitious backward fascist idiots.

Thu, 02 Jun 2011 06:22:18 UTC | #633129

Chris Roberts's Avatar Comment 10 by Chris Roberts

Even if you ignore the terrorism bit (which is bad enough by itself), this is truly shocking and just shows the mindset of these people:

Lydia Robertson, president of the Advertising Agent, then replied to Plaintiff’s media broker, stating that “we are placing this order in a special category” due to the risk of “damage/vandalism done to the buses or signage due to its message.” She then stated that “in reality, Arkansas is the buckle of the Bible Belt and I can easily envision zealots or upstanding citizens with a strong faith acting out.”

Strong faith is a legitimate reason for vandalism and destruction? These people are showing their parallels with Islam more and more each day.

Yet I seem to remember a little verse in their sacred book which suggests they should actually think and behave otherwise......

Matthew 5:38-54 for instance

  • Edit - Luke 6:27-49 actually puts it a little better! forgot about that! *
  • Sorry for quoting scripture, just seemed relevant. Might have well quoted Harry Potter - they might actually have read that.

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 06:32:26 UTC | #633130

    superbeanson's Avatar Comment 11 by superbeanson

    It's instructive though that the Advertising agency takes so seriously the possibility that the mere placing of a billboard might inspire those god-fearing, oh-so-moral, x-ians, to random acts of terrorism.

    They're letting their assumptions show, and it's one that we share- if you're a true believer, you may feel obliged to defend your belief with extreme predjudice...

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 06:42:17 UTC | #633133

    wolfhoundGrowl's Avatar Comment 12 by wolfhoundGrowl

    S: "Millions are good without God"

    R: "Yeah but millions are bad with God and we don't want to get on their wrong side."

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 07:44:11 UTC | #633150

    Chris Roberts's Avatar Comment 13 by Chris Roberts

    Comment 12 by wolfhoundGrowl :

    S: "Millions are good without God" R: "Yeah but millions are bad with God and we don't want to get on their wrong side."

    That just about sums it up.

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 09:24:18 UTC | #633164

    Stephen of Wimbledon's Avatar Comment 14 by Stephen of Wimbledon

    Ms. Wineland (of the Transit Authority) replied:

    I need Him now more than ever. Good grief. I think we need to throw religion into the advertising policy – as a negative.

    Three thoughts on this:

  • Putting a clause in the Transit Authority's advertising policy to restrict, specifically, religious advertising would surely make no difference in this case? The advert is clearly secular and humanist - not religious.

  • Note that Ms. Wineland's first, reflex, reaction is to restrict free speech as much as possible. While it is tempting to point out how weak Ms. Wineland's faith / god must be ... it is surely of far greater concern to Secularists, Humanists and Rationalists that free speech must be defended on a daily basis from the incursions of faith heads like Whiney.

  • That faith head Whiney needs the support of her invisible friend - like some pathetic suck-a-thumb 5 year-old - is of no surprise. However, it is, surely, of grave concern to every citizen that someone in a position of trust requiring level-headed judgement in the application of the burden of responsibility can show such a complete lack of maturity and understanding - and that her chronic overreaction is not the subject of a Disciplinary Investigation?

  • Thu, 02 Jun 2011 09:41:34 UTC | #633166

    erindorothy's Avatar Comment 15 by erindorothy

    poor wee god - can't stick up for himself... must have nutters on earth to do it.

  • rolls eyes, despairs, and bangs head on desk - but follows up with a nice chardonnay.
  • Thu, 02 Jun 2011 09:50:04 UTC | #633171

    Vorlund's Avatar Comment 16 by Vorlund

    Much worse will continue to be justified by the god fearing in order to comply with their warped dissociated cognition. When people will kill themslevs and others for it, vandalising a bill board is almost rational.

    Resorting to the imaginary god friend is the cop out 'par excellence' you can invoke this higher authority and immediately be absolved of any responsibility for thinking processes, outcomes and decisions and even life itself is so debased it counts for nothing.

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 10:35:57 UTC | #633179

    Munski's Avatar Comment 17 by Munski

    Strange that even in the southern US, 'uneasy' rights for blacks are tolerated, but atheists seem to have no special consideration, and have less clout than even smaller minority groups. As Bill Maher pointed out in a speech he made, when talks or discussions about policies that have to do with human rights or equal rights, Atheists are an even larger group than blacks in the US, but have no place at the table of discussion, and aren't even usually in the debate at all. It's as if they just don't exist.

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 10:43:14 UTC | #633181

    Munski's Avatar Comment 18 by Munski

    And actually, what's truly annoying and even frightening, is that if you do happen to criticize any religion or religious tenet that somehow attempts to form public policy in a way that has nothing to do with public safety or well-being as a whole (and this can be applied in the US and Canada as well), you are labeled 'intolerant' or 'racist' (which doesn't even fit), or spreading 'hatred'.

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 10:46:49 UTC | #633182

    wolfhoundGrowl's Avatar Comment 19 by wolfhoundGrowl

    Somtimes marketing is everything, all those atheists with huamnsistic perspectives (which is the vast majority od us) would do well to combine under the banner of Humanism even if it's only for the purposes of 'selling.'

    That's not to excuse the ridiculosuness of this particular situation, it's to tackle the situation, I used to be an evengelist, and believe me, marketing is everything in bending someone's will ;-)

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 11:15:44 UTC | #633187

    SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 20 by SaganTheCat

    I think the absurdity of this is response is beyond what one could get away with in trying to write comic fiction but I see no reason not to push the envelope

    Might I suggest the next atheist ad campaign be based on freedom of speech? a slogan such as "don't believe what you were told? it's ok, this is a democracy so you can say so" (off the top of my head, i'm sure someone wil do better)

    as a publicity stunt, getting an advertising agency banning an advert on free speech would be comedy gold

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 11:31:15 UTC | #633191

    RomeStu's Avatar Comment 21 by RomeStu

    Comment 17 by JMunroe :

    Atheists are an even larger group than blacks in the US, but have no place at the table of discussion, and aren't even usually in the debate at all. It's as if they just don't exist.

    This is really the heart of the problem .... atheists are NOT a group. They are just people who are defined by something in which they do not believe. Even the term atheist, which is useful as a description, serves no real purpose in the big wide world.

    Having no "group" to lobby for us, we have no seat at the table. If we create ourselves a "group" we fall prey to the religious nonsense claim that we are simply a comparable belief system ..... its all topsy-turvy.

    No way out. Frustrating

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 11:31:42 UTC | #633192

    wolfhoundGrowl's Avatar Comment 22 by wolfhoundGrowl

    Comment 21 RomeStu If we create ourselves a "group" we fall prey to the religious nonsense claim that we are simply a comparable belief system

    This is what keeps people away from organised Humanism Why do you find it such a scary prosepct; I mean big deal, they say we'rte comparable, we say let's compare.

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 12:27:56 UTC | #633199

    Hellboy2's Avatar Comment 23 by Hellboy2

    I'm sorry, but don't most- if not all - acts of terrorism these days have their base motivations in religion?

    Sadly, when it comes to scenarios like this, you have to break through a brick wall of ignorance, ill-education and just basic religious pig-headedness. But then, how long have we been trying that?........

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 12:34:42 UTC | #633201

    RomeStu's Avatar Comment 24 by RomeStu

    @22 wolfhound ...... I don't find it a scary prospect. I find it endlessly frustrating and irritating to be characterised and pigeon-holed with the defining point being a negative - ie not believing in a god/gods.

    I actually think atheists should organise better as it is the only way to lobby succesfully against the organised religions for a more secular world. It's just paradoxical that our "group" is based on a negative, and is in fact defined in the terms of people who believe in fairytales.

    I'm also not a fan of the term "Humanism" as it opens the false argument that non-belief is simply a different form of belief, which is nonsense of course, but still seems to be a default argument from the theists. The ideas of humanism are great - the problem is that it becomes yet another "-ism".

    It's catch-22 - if we don't organise, we are out-gunned by religious lobbyists, if we do we risk becoming perceived as yet another form of dogmatic rules-based organisation.

    I wish I had the answer, but I'm enormously thankful for the huge amount of work put in by the big names to promote non-belief as a valid way of life.

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 12:48:04 UTC | #633205

    some asshole's Avatar Comment 25 by some asshole

    Comment 2 by rjohn19 :

    I think you need to work America from north to south. I admire their moxy, but in this stage of the struggle, putting up subtle messages today in Little Rock is a bit like trying to kill the bull before you have softened him up with the barbs of the picador.

    No, ads like these are the "barbs of the picador". And if this lawsuit is won, it will be a banderilla. (Hopefully the bullfighting metaphor can be laid to rest at this point...)

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 12:53:38 UTC | #633207

    wolfhoundGrowl's Avatar Comment 26 by wolfhoundGrowl

    @RomeStu Comment 24

    Well then you've created your own catch 22

    You don't want to be defined by what you don't believe,

    I find it endlessly frustrating and irritating to be characterised and pigeon-holed with the defining point being a negative - ie not believing in a god/gods.

    yet you are thankful for those who promote non-belief which has as it's major point the definition of being defined by what it doesn't beleive in

    but I'm enormously thankful for the huge amount of work put in by the big names to promote non-belief as a valid way of life.

    Neither is non-belief a way of life, it's an avoidance of a certain way of living, but still states nothing about how you do live (enter Humansim)

    You are offered the chance to be defined by what you do believe (in Humanism) yet you turn it down because of what others (the relgious) might think or say about you

    it opens the false argument that non-belief is simply a different form of belief, which is nonsense of course, but still seems to be a default argument from the theists.

    And again, I repeat, you say

    "Humanism" as it opens the false argument that non-belief is simply a different form of belief,

    But Humanism isn't about non-belief, it's about human centred-&-inspired approaches to life & living

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 12:56:46 UTC | #633209

    some asshole's Avatar Comment 27 by some asshole

    Comment 21 by RomeStu :

    This is really the heart of the problem .... atheists are NOT a group. They are just people who are defined by something in which they do not believe. Even the term atheist, which is useful as a description, serves no real purpose in the big wide world.

    Having no "group" to lobby for us, we have no seat at the table. If we create ourselves a "group" we fall prey to the religious nonsense claim that we are simply a comparable belief system ..... its all topsy-turvy.

    No way out. Frustrating

    Atheists are a group. The definition of "group" is applicable:

    A number of persons or things ranged or considered together as being related in some way.

    How can you possibly construe that as not applying to atheists? Because we don't all go to some church?

    The "way out" is through organized offense. Hopefully you are already aware of secular groups such as the FFRF that strive to demarginalize atheists as a group.

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 13:05:15 UTC | #633212

    Dave H's Avatar Comment 28 by Dave H

    I'm glad the UCR are filing a lawsuit. The ban is unconstitutional. Maybe the taxpayers will object to the council spending money to defend a theocratic policy, which could also be called unconstitutional.

    For the wording I would prefer:

    "Are you good without gods? Millions Are."

    Capitalising the g word is just a way of pretending that the different concepts of gods that people have in their heads are identical, and that they all represent the same real person who has a name. It really chaps my arse and plays right into their hands. I'll just take moment to let the visualisation of that odd mix of metaphors dissipate. There. That's better. It's gone now. Ointment. It's back. No, gone again. Where was I? Oh yeah.

    One of the reasons they gave for banning it was fear of a "terrorist" type of retaliation. Sam Harris refers to this type of cowardly policy as "losing our spines to save our necks". I really thought the people in the south had more balls than that. Oh no, here comes another visualisation. Somebody help me...

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 14:09:06 UTC | #633237

    alaskansee's Avatar Comment 29 by alaskansee

    Comic and tragic. Sounds like the Mo cartoons but with those hurtful words from those nasty atheists. Idiots.

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 15:02:17 UTC | #633273

    Stevehill's Avatar Comment 30 by Stevehill

    A bit of devil's advocacy.

    Not wishing to pour cold water on anyone's efforts (and not being in any way qualified in US law!), why does anyone think a lawsuit will succeed here?

    The ads would be on private property belonging to the bus company and they presumably have a right to refuse any ad. It is also possible that these ads could prompt objectors to deface them (there are precedents involving atheist ads...) and such actions could also deface the buses incurring expenses in making good. So requesting a bond is not necessarily unreasonable.

    It's only a few weeks since the fuss in the UK about (American-owned) CBS banning British Humanist Association adverts from railway stations on the religion question in the last UK census. Whilst many people including me thought CBS were being completely daft, nobody seriously thought there was anything illegal about their decision.

    Thu, 02 Jun 2011 16:46:03 UTC | #633320