Athiest Bus Ads Create Free Speech Debate In US

August 14, 2009

Author: Michael J. Crumb

Source: ABC News

Wire Service: AP

A dispute about bus advertisements seeking to publicize atheist views has touched off a free speech debate after the signs were torn down — then posted again — on the sides of Des Moines city buses.

The ads, sponsored by the Iowa Atheists & Freethinkers, pictured white puffy clouds against a blue sky and read: "Don't believe in God? You are not alone." The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority stripped the signs after receiving complaints, then after meeting with the atheist group, reversed course and put the ads back up.

The ad campaign is part of an expanding national effort by Washington D.C.-based United Coalition for Reason, which has placed ads on buses or billboards in several cities, including Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, Phoenix, New Orleans, Charleston, S.C., Philadelphia, Kansas City, Mo., Denver, Boulder, Colo., Long Beach, Calif., and Moscow, Idaho.