US
(United Coalition of Reason) (United Coalition of Reason)  

Court green-lights atheists’ ads on Arkansas public buses

Arkansas federal judge Susan Webber Wright ruled Thursday that the Central Arkansas Transit Authority violated an atheist organization’s free speech rights when it refused to allow the group to place thousands of dollars worth of ads on city buses.

The United Coalition of Reason, which filed the lawsuit in June on behalf of its Little Rock affiliate, the Central Arkansas Coalition of Reason, called the decision “a victory for all of us whether you believe in God or not, because it’s a victory of free speech,” reported Reuters. (RELATED: Atheists seek chaplain roles in military)

The transit authority initially rejected the group’s $5,000 ad buy, which sought to place ads reading “Are you good without God? Millions are” on 18 publicly funded city buses.

The ads’ sponsors say at first the transit authority required a $36,000 deposit to run the ads, out of fear of vandalism from people upset with the ad’s message. It then upped that number to $3 million.

Judge Webber Wright ruled instead that the group would have to file a $15,000 bond with the court in case of damage. The number isn’t too far off from the $10,000 deposit offered up by the United Coalition of Reason, even before lawyers at the transit authority got involved.

“It wasn’t because we thought it was okay, but rather because we wanted to get these ads on during [music and art festival] Riverfest so we were willing to do a little more,” the group’s attorney, J.G. Schultz, explained.

Out of 36 markets where ad campaigns with an atheist message have run, only four have seen any vandalism.

This isn’t the first time atheists in Arkansas have tried to spread their message. In 2009, the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers sued the state for the right to erect a Winter Solstice display near a nativity scene on the grounds of the State Capitol.

  • cbpelto

    TO: Rich Wilson

    RE: ‘Insults’?

    Just a matter of observation.

    After all….

    ….why would anyone—in their right mind—not recognize that atheists are
    the greatest group of mass murderers of the last, i.e., 20th, Century?

    Look at their Hall of Fame:

    • Hitler

    • Lenin

    • Stalin

    • Mao

    • Pol Pot

    And betwixt them all….

    ….something like 20+ million dead.

    Then we have the abortion industry in America, which has, at this point, come close to outdoing them all.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)

    [Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.]

    There’s a double entendre in there.

    P.S. About God Loving and God Fearing…..

    ….again you seem to fail to recognize what I said earlier.

    Not to be unexpected. And thanks for validating my ‘understanding’ of your education.

    • http://profiles.google.com/bobapril Mark Hall

      Once again, since you seem unable to grasp it – Hitler was a Christian.  A Catholic, to be exact, though he brought in some weird wacko spiritual beliefs of his own along with it.  His government explicitly supported and was supported by the Catholic Church.  
      The others, I’ll grant you, were indeed atheists.  Their murder sprees, however, were in support of their political ideologies, not their lack of belief in gods.  The enforcement of atheism in the USSR and China was intended to wrest power from the churches for the government – not in support of atheism itself.  To equate the atheism of Lenin and Mao with the secular humanism most commonly associated with American atheists is similar to condemning Dr. M. L. King, Jr. for the idiocy practiced by Rev. Fred Phelps and his family cult.
      As for abortion…somewhere between 75% and 80% of abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as Christian.  It is, of course, the religious objections to sex education and contraception that so frequently result in unwanted pregnancies, leading to abortion – thus the much higher rate of abortions for Catholics, almost 40%, compared to their percentage of the population, about 25%.

      • Rich Wilson

        Despite Lenin’s certain atheism, and Stalin’s probable atheism, the USSR was effectively run as a theocracy, with Grandfather Lenin looking down from above.  I’ve brought this up with a number of Russians, and they all agree.  Stalin took away Jesus and replaced him with Lenin.  It was a way to deal with the Orthodox church as competition for power and control of the people.

        And he won’t grasp it.  Ad hominem, tautology, no true Scotsman, non-sequitur, moving goalposts- he’s got them all and then some.

  • Skepticus

    Bravo to Judge Webber!

    • dogismycopirate

      Not so sure. Isn’t $15K still more than religous groups would pay? Sounds like free speech is still being denied.

  • cbpelto

    TO: All
    RE: Too Funny….’Vandalism’

    I’ll wager dollars against donuts that a study of vandalism done by atheists is a greater problem than that done by God-fearing people.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Atheist, n., One praying to God that He doesn't exist.]

    • Rich Wilson

      You’re donuts are safe only because such a study doesn’t exist.  A quick google brings up dozens of cases of atheist billboards being vandalized, and said vandalism even condoned by a ‘Christian’ columnist.  I found one case of vandalism of a church with messages referring to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  And a group of atheists quickly stepping up to pay for the damage and condemning the action.  Not that they had anything to do with it, but they felt it was the right thing to do.  And how many religious bus adds have been vandalized?

      So you’re proposing the bet, can you back it up with any actual evidence?  Are are you just going on faith?

      • cbpelto

        TO: Rich Wilson
        RE: You….

        ….apparently graduated from high school in the last 15 or so years.

        Why do I say that?

        You have poor reading/comprehension skills.

        Regards,

        Chuck(le)
        P.S. Those people who vandalize Jewish Cemeteries are atheists, just like the Nazis before them. And the Nazis brought about 6 millions dead God-fearing Jews. Something considerably more horrible than mere vandalism.

        • Rich Wilson

          Hey, you’re only off by 40% on my high school graduation!  But I’m curious to know what you think I misread.  Who knows, maybe you’re right and I messed up.  I’d love to know what though, and I seem to be the only one providing anything more than opinions here.

          As for the Nazis, they murdered Jews while wearing “Gott Mit Uns” on their belt buckles.  So if they really were closet atheists, they at least claimed to have God (and the Catholic Church by the way) on their side.  Go ahead, look it up.  More importantly, Neo-Nazi groups all claim to be Christian.  I know, ‘not real Christians’.  Well, they at least seem to think they’re Christian.  Or maybe you have any evidence of atheist Neo-Nazi groups?  Let me know.  I’ll drop a dollar in the church collection box on your behalf.
          Btw, if you fear the one who is supposed to love you, I think it’s a pretty good sign you’re in an abusive relationship.  Good luck with that!

          • cbpelto

            TO: Rich Wilson
            RE: Off by 40%

            Sooooo…..

            ….when DID you graduate from high school? I’d like to know whether it’s the drugs or some other form of stupidity.

            RE: Misread

            The original comment complaint was an indirect approach to saying it was wrong to require such ‘insurance’ against vandalism, as atheists are more likely to be vandals than God-fearing people.

            Not that other people, e.g., non-God-fearing, don’t vandalize other people’s property. Even people who mistakenly THINK they are God-fearing, but act otherwise.

            Hope that helps….

            Regards,

            Chuck(le)
            P.S. Speaking of vandalism…..

            ….there’s Kristallnacht.

            P.P.S. About fearing the One who loves me….

            …..It’s a lot like a good marriage. You ‘fear’ upsetting your partner by bad actions on your own part.

            But I doubt if you’d understand that.

          • Rich Wilson

            All your insults thus far have been factually incorrect (1990 and drugs, and yes, alcohol is a drug- I like reality, I don’t need to alter it) or your own opinion (stupid, poor reading comprehension) which although you are entitled to, are still just your opinions.

            And none of that would change the simple facts.  You’re entitled to your own opinions about me, or  whether Nazis were really following Christ’s teachings (and along with all my God loving friends and family I’d agree with you on that point) but when you say they were atheists, you’re wrong.  Not opinion “atheists are bad” wrong, but simple definition of atheism wrong.

            All I can say is, thankfully the Christians I know are all the God loving kind, not the God fearing kind.

          • cbpelto

            TO: Rich Wilson

            RE: ‘Insults’?

            Just a matter of observation.

            After all….

            ….why would anyone—in their right mind—not recognize that atheists are
            the greatest group of mass murderers of the last, i.e., 20th, Century?

            Look at their Hall of Fame:

            • Hitler

            • Lenin

            • Stalin

            • Mao

            • Pol Pot

            And betwixt them all….

            ….something like 20+ million dead.

            Then we have the abortion industry in America, which has, at this point, come close to outdoing them all.

            Regards,

            Chuck(le)

            [Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.]

            There’s a double entendre in there.

            P.S. About God Loving and God Fearing…..

            ….again you seem to fail to recognize what I said earlier.

            Not to be unexpected. And thanks for validating my ‘understanding’ of your education.

            P.P.S. This ‘system’ needs some serious ‘work’…..

          • dogismycopirate

            To CB, you’re seriously looney. Thanks for trying Rich and Mark. Good facts, and feelings. Peace be wit choo!

          • cbpelto

            TO: dogismycopirateRE: Well……..the wisdom of God is considered ‘folly’ by most people.Thanks,Chuck(le)[Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth. -- Pr 17:24]

          • Verimius

            Where do you think Hitler got his anti-Semitic ideas? Do you think he made them up himself?

            No, he was the inheritor of over 1,500 years of Christian hatred of Jews. Pogroms, expulsions, massacres, all in the name of your loving god and Jesus.        

            The difference between Hitler and so many other millions of Christian anti-Semites was not his evil ideas — those were common.

            The difference is that Hitler had the means to act on them.     

          • cbpelto

            TO: Verimius
            RE: Where….

            ….did Hitler get his ideas?

            How about from Satan?

            If there’s a God, IAW that Old Book, there’s a Satan who wants to overthrow Him.

            Killing off the Jews would be an integral part of his ‘program’.

            Regards,

            Chuck(le)
            [The Truth will set you free.]

  • http://www.facebook.com/MarkyBhoy Mark ‘Marky Bhoy’ Robertson

    So the threat of vandalism from non atheists was so high that they needed more money. That suggests that non atheists are a very intolerant bunch would it not?

  • http://twitter.com/aemoreira81 Adam Moreira

    Proves that mass-transit buses are not limited public forums unless they are privately owned-and-operated (in some communities, they are). This is a whether-you-like-it-or-not, unless the operator decides not to carry ads on its buses, period.

    A similar circumstance is unfolding in Seattle, where the ACLU has appealed a decision by a Seattle judge prohibiting pro-Palestine, anti-Israel ads from running on buses.

    I just started posting on this forum, but ads featuring pro- or anti-Islam have generally been more controversial, and have often forced the courts to get involved.

  • theveed

    All wisdom and blessing come from God, this movement will stay an inconsequential minority simply because it stands no chance for blessings. If you disagree, show me its growth.

    • Rich Wilson

      All wisdom and blessing from God? Which God?  The God your parents believe in?  Or any God?

      Seems strange when you look at the number of new discoveries that replaced God as an explanation with something that didn’t require God.As for your challenge- on the one hand I wonder “so what?”  Even if the non-believing population wasn’t the fastest growing in the US, would that make non-believers bad?  Would it prove anything about their character?  Certainly not.  So although I’m loathe to even dignify the question, (http://www.americanreligionsurvey-aris.org/reports/NONES_08.pdf) The ‘none’ category is growing- although to be fair it includes a lot of people who are deists or spiritual.

      But if you’re the type to disregard hard data, consider this: would we even be having this discussion 50 years ago?

    • thephranc

      Gods aren’t real. Geography had more to do with what you believe in than anything else.

      • cbpelto

        TO: thephranc
        RE: Hardly

        Geography had more to do with what you believe in than anything else. — thephranc

        You try surviving a malfunctioning parachute during a night, battalion mass-tac airborne assault, and hearing that ‘still small voice’ SCREAMING in your mind’s ear….PREPARE TO LAND!!!. Reflexive training put me into the landing posture. I hit like a sack of excrement. But I got up and walked away.

        Then again, decades later, in a ‘snit’ with an 18-wheeler at interstate speed. The car is a mess, but I walked away again, after hearing that same ‘still small voice’ SCREAMING in my mind’s ear, “DON’T DO THAT!!!!”, as I was about to apply the brakes as my car skittered down I25 like an iced hockey puck.

        Then there are other account of a darker form.

        You just don’t realize what an ‘interesting’ world we live in because you’re not a ‘problem’ for that other ‘camp’. As long as you don’t ‘make waves’, you’re alright with them.

        Regards,

        Chuck(le)
        [The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.  --  Ralph Waldo Emerson]

      • cbpelto

        TO: thephranc
        RE: Hardly

        Geography had more to do with what you believe in than anything else. — thephranc

        You try surviving a malfunctioning parachute during a night, battalion mass-tac airborne assault, and hearing that ‘still small voice’ SCREAMING in your mind’s ear….PREPARE TO LAND!!!. Reflexive training put me into the landing posture. I hit like a sack of excrement. But I got up and walked away.

        Then again, decades later, in a ‘snit’ with an 18-wheeler at interstate speed. The car is a mess, but I walked away again, after hearing that same ‘still small voice’ SCREAMING in my mind’s ear, “DON’T DO THAT!!!!”, as I was about to apply the brakes as my car skittered down I25 like an iced hockey puck.

        Then there are other account of a darker form.

        You just don’t realize what an ‘interesting’ world we live in because you’re not a ‘problem’ for that other ‘camp’. As long as you don’t ‘make waves’, you’re alright with them.

        Regards,

        Chuck(le)
        [The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.  --  Ralph Waldo Emerson]

      • cbpelto

        TO: thephranc
        RE: Hardly

        Geography had more to do with what you believe in than anything else. — thephranc

        You try surviving a malfunctioning parachute during a night, battalion mass-tac airborne assault, and hearing that ‘still small voice’ SCREAMING in your mind’s ear….PREPARE TO LAND!!!. Reflexive training put me into the landing posture. I hit like a sack of excrement. But I got up and walked away.

        Then again, decades later, in a ‘snit’ with an 18-wheeler at interstate speed. The car is a mess, but I walked away again, after hearing that same ‘still small voice’ SCREAMING in my mind’s ear, “DON’T DO THAT!!!!”, as I was about to apply the brakes as my car skittered down I25 like an iced hockey puck.

        Then there are other account of a darker form.

        You just don’t realize what an ‘interesting’ world we live in because you’re not a ‘problem’ for that other ‘camp’. As long as you don’t ‘make waves’, you’re alright with them.

        Regards,

        Chuck(le)
        [The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.  --  Ralph Waldo Emerson]