Aftermath of the Iowa Atheist Bus Ads

The Iowa Atheist Bus Campaign went up, down, and back up again.

What did we learn from all this?

For one, the ads are great for business.

It helps the advertising companies:

Since [the Iowa ads went back up], DART has received at least five calls from potential new advertisers, said Kirsten Baer-Harding, DART advertising manager. At least one was from a religious group, she said.

In many cities there have been counter advertisements to ads like the ones run by the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers, said General Manager Brad Miller.

It helps the atheist groups:

Membership in the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers has doubled from what it was before the ad campaign began…

“I think we got more than we were looking for,” said Lily Kryuchkov, board member with the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers. As of Monday, the group has about 250 members.

And we also learned that people who don’t allow for the atheists’ ads to be put up have some pathetic explanations for their decisions:

The issue with the ads in Des Moines was with the word God, said Elizabeth Prusetti, chief development officer for the bus agency.

“We have never allowed that word in our advertising, promoting a religion,” she said. “We’ve never used the word God in any advertising to maintain some autonomy. We’ve had churches advertise but it’s been for their church and not a belief.”

So they won’t advertise God, but they will advertise church.

So by that logic, DART would’ve been ok with an ad that said:

Don’t want to go to church? Don’t bother. Sleep in and enjoy your life.

They could’ve told the atheists that and spared them all the trouble…

Finally, we learned that we need to keep these kinds of ads going all over the place.

They reach out to rational people everywhere, and they allow religious groups to make mountains out of molehills, making themselves look foolish in the process. Win, win.

More ads are on their way. Keep them coming. Keep the discussions going.

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  • Richard Wade

    We’ve never used the word God in any advertising to maintain some autonomy.

    So far beyond lame, that excuse is a basket case. What “autonomy” is maintained that would be reduced by printing “God”?

    Don’t believe in you-know-who? You’re not alone.

    Don’t believe in a supreme being? You’re not alone.

    Don’t believe in the bearded guy on the Sistine ceiling? You’re not alone.

    Don’t believe in DART’s bullshit excuses for discrimination? You’re not alone any more!

  • Richard Wade

    Maybe the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers could put up a bus ad on behalf of the local churches, just as a gesture of good will:

    Don’t have enough faith to withstand even hearing that somebody else doesn’t believe as you do? YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

  • “and they allow religious groups to make mountains out of molehills, making themselves look foolish in the process” – SOME religious groups. some! there are some religious groups that promote separation of church and state.

  • I’m with the IAF and I’d like to second what was said – keep the ads coming! This has been amazing for us and for our community. People are talking about us all over the state and the support for our right to free expression has far outweighed the complaints.

  • This is again why I started the Billboard Wars Project. Check out my Examiner article on it:
    Christians offended by atheist billboards

  • Oh, and send me your Billboard Photos!!!!

  • Dan W

    Yeah, I agree with Richard Wade, DART’s newest excuse for why they briefly took down the atheist ads still sounds like bullshit.

  • I am so very glad to see this kind of thing happening. I’d even venture the hope that something like this could happen in the Southeast, but that’s probably too far-fetched.

    Anyway, keep this coming!