It’s not false advertising to say atheists are good

There’s an ad campaign running in Fort Worth, Texas right now featuring the usual bus ad regarding the number of atheists who are good without god. It’s not false advertising. It’s not saying every atheist is good without god. We’re well aware of the fact that some of our peeps are walking shit storms and capable of creating very bad press for us. It’s just a statement of fact, is all. Millions are good without god. What is it about that innocuous statement that gets people so riled up?

Maybe they don’t want to consider the fact that they’ve been fleeced into a belief system that they could have lived quite happily without? That’s a possibility that’s hard to deal with, I expect. I wouldn’t know; I’ve always been an atheist.

Anyway, a companion ad campaign is running along side the buses… and often right behind them in the form of a van featuring a giant love note from God. They’re advertising that billions are good with god and I doubt anyone on our side will claim that’s false advertising. It’s left room for the very real fact that many supposed god believers are mobile poo-flingers, assholes and vandals, too.

Fort Worth is a place where residents commonly ask people they have just met where they worship and many encounters end with, “Have a blessed day.”

“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. “People don’t realize there are other atheists. All you hear around here is, ‘Where do you go to church?’ ”

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.

“We just wanted to reach out to them and let them know about God’s love,” said Heath Hill, president of the media company that owns the van and one of the businessmen who arranged for the Christian ads. “We have gotten some pretty nasty e-mails and phone calls from atheists. But it’s really just about the love of God.”

Well, I’m sorry atheists responded with hate male instead of just laughing it off. It should have just been extra attention for our side and extra proof that religion permeates every part of that city to the point where an opposing point of view can’t even be tolerated in a public area. That’s the real tragedy here.

It could also be argued as proof that the religious folk feel more than a little threatened by how “out there” this lifestyle is. If this atheist awareness campaigning keeps up, it’ll be worse than teh gayz coming out of the closet…

Some of the fiercest criticism has come from black religious leaders. The Rev. Kyev Tatum Sr., president of the local Southern Christian Leadership Conference, has called for a boycott of the buses, saying the ads are a direct attack during a sacred time in the Christian calendar.

“It’s a season to share good will toward all men,” Mr. Tatum said. “To have this at this time come out with a blatant disrespect of our faith, we think is unconscionable.”

All the more reason to advertise now. He’s claiming a need to share good will, but apparently only Christians count as men. Going by this guy, atheists don’t deserve any good will at all. I think it’s vital to remind Christians that no matter what percentage of the planet wants to reserve all of December for Christian rituals, Christians aren’t the only people on the planet. Not everybody wants to be one, either, and not just because of bad press and pedophiles. Some people just want to pass on the whole concept of deities and get through the end of the year without pulling their hair out or spending too much money on crap nobody needs.

I guess I just can’t wrap my head around why atheist bus ads even become news in the first place. I know it’s good press for our side when they do, since the stories tend to involve Christians deliberately putting themselves in the bad light with all their superficial, self-centered complaining.

I just think it’s odd that this is the issue people want to concentrate their efforts on.

That lack of supernatural beliefs should somehow trump the need to solve real problems in a town.

Or a country.

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