Iowa Governor Chet Culver Taken to Task for Offending Atheists

The Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers have been through a lot over the past week due to their bus ad:


When it was taken down on account of being offensive, Governor Chet Culver decided to chime in:

“I was disturbed personally by the advertisement and I can understand why other Iowans were also disturbed by the message.”

He never explained what about it was so disturbing.

Now that the ads are back up, maybe the governor would like to explain himself? He hasn’t yet.

Today, Rekha Basu of the Des Moines Register calls him out on this:

The whole embarrassing debacle projects an image of a confused and self-contradicting DART leadership, and a governor who has deliberately chosen not to represent one segment of Iowa society: the non-church-going. This makes it hard to claim we’re a welcoming and pluralistic state where debate and discussion on a variety of issues can thrive.

What could possibly be offensive to Culver about someone else not believing in God and saying so? Even if the governor is deeply religious himself, he can’t expect all Iowans to share his beliefs. The ad didn’t put down anyone else’s faith. Its goal, according to the association’s president, was to let non-religious people know “that they too have a community if they want to join it.”

Everyone makes mistakes. What matters is how you deal with them. Culver should apologize, declare this a teachable moment and give the atheists a hearing. Their place or his, beer optional, open mind essential.

I’m not holding my breath, but if Culver apologizes, it would be great publicity for both he and the atheist group.

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  • Veritas

    This whole thing has been great publicity for IAF. The way the ads came down then went right back up was worth 10,000 bus ads. This would be the cherry on the proverbial cake.

  • benjdm

    Maybe I’ll give the office another call…

  • John Perkins

    I sent an email to him last week using the contact form on his website. I did not expect a personal response, but I thought he might say something eventually given all the others who I’m sure contacted him or his office as well. My guess is he’s hoping this will just go away. Sadly, I think he’s probably right. If he ignores it for another month he’ll probably never hear anything about it ever again.

  • Teresa

    I called and left a message with his intern. Hopefully more people will contact him and he will have to answer for himself.

  • TJ

    For him to apologize to the ignorant masses who elected him would be political and career suicide. We all know that one has to be a biblethumper to even have a chance of being elected to office and staying there.

  • Zadius

    I’m disturbed personally by his intolerance. He better think of a damn good apology if he wants my vote ever again.

  • Dan W

    I’ve rather lost my respect for Culver. If I’d been old enough to vote in the last Iowa governor election (in 2006), I’d have voted for him, but I don’t intend to vote for him in the future. Of course, I’m sure some of the more idiotic bible-thumpers were pleased by his statement about the atheist ads. Ugh.