Maybe They Should Have Kept Their Mouth Shut

Our neighbors to the Southeast, Iowa, have been going through an advertising campaign nightmare made better or worse depending on your perspective by Governor Chet Culver and some intolerant locals.

It all started simply enough when a small group from Iowa Atheists & Freethinkers (IAF) purchased the following ad to be run on transit buses in Des Moines.

Within days that seemingly innocuous ad was drawing the ire from some residents including Governor Chet Culver who feigned offense over the obvious, there are actually people in Iowa and elsewhere that don’t believe in god.

Gov. Chet Culver weighed in on the controversial Des Moines bus ad that has been yanked after multiple complaints.

“I was disturbed, personally, by the advertisement and I can understand why other Iowans were also disturbed by the message that it sent,” Culver said.

The question will likely become a legal battle, Culver said. He deferred questions of whether the group deserves the same free speech rights as Christian organizations to advertise on the buses to the Iowa Attorney General.

Culver also declined to answer if he would also have gotten off the bus had he been a rider, but noted that he would have been offended by the ad’s message.

I wonder how he feels about other obvious facts like the sun rises in the East?

Well anyways the faux outrage had the desired effect and the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority promptly yanked the advertisements several days after they went live using an equally ridiculous reason. Somehow the ads were put up by mistake and were never authorized to go live in the first place. End of story right?

Not exactly.

About this time, the small transit bus ad campaign initiated by an equally small group of maybe 125 people in Des Moines, Iowa became a mini national story gaining traction on blogs, Twitter, and news outlets. Also as predicted by Governor Culver, the ACLU got involved questioning the legality of pulling the ads which not only generated more publicity but ended up getting the ads re-instated.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) got involved in the conversation questioning the legality of the actions of DART. After a meeting between the transit authority and the atheist group, the ads went back up. Although IAF was asked to change their ad, they refused and the ads went back up as they were

So instead of a small unoffensive ad campaign proposed for the sides of transit buses running for a few weeks in the middle of nowhere and fading into obscurity, it ends up getting national attention and doubling the membership of the group responsible for the ads. All because a few people cannot deal with reality and allow others to exercise their 1st Amendment rights by keeping their collective mouths shut for the couple of weeks the ads were scheduled to run. As for the ad campaign’s success? I  would say “Mission Accomplished!”

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Irony When Atheists And Creationists Meet

By most accounts that I can find, the tour of Ken Ham’s creation museum yesterday by a group of Atheists went off without any serious problems. The only issue I have seen involved a student, Derek Rodgers, who was told to turn his t-shirt inside out or leave because it had “there’s probably no God, so get over it.” written on it.

That phrase is not what one would consider hate speech or particularly offensive I would think but reading a story on the event from ABC News, a couple visiting the museum apparently told Mr Rodgers something different about his t-shirt.

“One family of religious people told me that I had ruined their trip, and they drove all the way from Virginia,” said Rogers.

So they were offended by that were they? I wonder how they would feel if they were made to pledge allegiance to a god they didn’t believe in, or maybe swear an oath to said god when in court? How about seeing faux stone tablets with a moral code attributed to some make believe god placed in government buildings all through town and praises to an invisible deity plastered all over their currency?

Somehow I think a t-shirt with “there’s probably no God, so get over it.” is quite tame in comparison and think that maybe they should really get over it.

UPDATE: I’ve been told in the comments section that Derek Rodger’s t-shirt actually read “There’s probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life” which is as equally unoffensive if not even less controversial than the slogan reported by ABC.

Either way here is Derek Rodgers explaining the incident.

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Militant Atheism

Many of the blindly faithful like to throw around the term of militant atheist in response to non-believers pointing out the extremism present in most religions or when we try to exert our rights to be free from someone else’s religious views. Below is a video providing an interesting view on that subject.

So what is a militant atheist to most Christians? From what I can tell and what this video implies is that it is any atheist that has the audacity to open their mouths.

(H/T to EXchristian.net via Atheist Revolution)

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Secular Nations Less Warlike?

For some reason, it appears that nations that do not base their policies on the mythological beliefs of religion live a more peaceful existence. At least that seems to be the most logical conclusion based on the 2009 Global Peace Index results of most peaceful countries compared with the World Values Survey data listing percentages of population in each country that identify themselves with a certain religious belief or lack thereof.

Atheist nations are more peaceful

global-peace-index.png

Considering the large percentage of wars throughout history that were fought in the name of one religion or another including a few going on right now, these results shouldn’t be very suprising should they?

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