Atheist Bus Campaign in… San Francisco!

The Freedom From Religion Foundation will be putting their messages on 75 buses in San Francisco over the next month.

In addition to the exterior ads, there will also be 200 interior bus signs.

Considering the city already has relatively few believers, this almost seems like overkill. But you never know who may be helped by seeing a message that meshes with their personal beliefs — perhaps the ads will let someone else know they are not alone in their atheism.

(Thanks to Cale for the link!)

  • Reginald Selkirk

    These ads are much more openly anti-theistic than those which encountered difficulties in Des Moines and other places. Compliments to San Francisco for being able to take it.

  • joe agnost

    There might not be too many “believers” in SF… but they sure do get a lot of tourists! Maybe it’ll help a few of them!

  • http://3harpiesltd.org/ocb Judith Bandsma

    The first is Mark Twain, the second is John Lennon. I don’t see anything ANTI-theistic in either of them.

    The only thing I see wrong is that they should have given attribution for the quotes.

    (edit) Sorry, I didn’t see the tiny “Mark Twain” on the first but they still should have given credit for the second.

  • Stephen P

    The reason for not attributing the second one to John Lennon is that it is not actually a quote from John Lennon (at least not from the song you are probably thinking of).

  • Jerad

    Considering the city already has relatively few believers, this almost seems like overkill.

    The ads are also about fund-raising.

  • littlejohn

    Imagine no religion. It’s easy if you try.
    No hell below us. Above us only sky.

    How is that not a quote from John Lennon? I’m confused, as usual.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    There are relatively few believers in San Francisco?

    I’ve lived in the Bay Area all my life, and that’s not my impression. I don’t think we have more atheists than any other large city. Liberalism doesn’t equate to atheism. In my opinion, it would be a mistake to say that the majority of people here do not have religious beliefs. They may not be pushing fire-and-brimstone fundamentalism, but in my experience, most people do have theistic beliefs of one sort or another.

    Are there any stats on the religious makeup of the San Francisco Bay Area?

  • Miko

    Overkill? Logically, they’d want to target the ads in areas with a high concentration of nonbelievers, since believers are much less likely to provide donations. (While religionists may support church-state separation, these particular ad are unlikely to make them donate.)

  • Chas

    The line is actually:

    “Imagine no heaven. It’s easy if you try.”

    Later in the verse:

    “No religion, too.”

    It’s paraphrasing, not a quote per se. But close enough that people make the connection.

  • Alan E.

    As I mentioned in another comments section they ran an Islam bus ad campaign a few months ago. One of them read “Full Submission to God.” We have the gamut here, but I didn’t see much of a stink in the papers about either. I’ll see if there are any letters to the editors worth mentioning.

  • animation student

    I second Anna’s post about ‘[San Fran = few believers]‘.

    I haven’t lived here all my life but I have a hard time swallowing the idea
    that most here are atheists.
    Really looking forward to seeing these ads, though. :D

  • msr

    finally! (although for the most part, this will be preaching to the converted… for lack of a better term)

  • JJR

    Sort of carrying coals to Newcastle, eh?

    Ah, well, it’s all good. I love FFRF…

  • TJ

    “Imagine no religion”

    I bet the world would experience a sudden outbreak of peace and tolerance.

  • joshing_uno

    I wouldn’t say that there are “relatively few believers” in San Francisco. I wish it were so, but it definitely isn’t. The believers here may be far more tolerant of nontheists than in other parts of the country, but as an extremely social 30 yr old, I can’t think of more than a handful of friends who are openly atheist. Yes, the numbers are higher, but still a minority.
    The City still suffers from the “spiritual” syndrome, wherein it’s thought to be more respectable and tolerant to just say you believe in “something” without being able to name it. Still glad someone put something up to balance out all those “Islam: You Deserve to Know” bus ads that have been running here the last year or so.

    I also like the design of these signs better than a lot of the other bus signs we’ve seen.

  • Rieux

    Good catch identifying both parts of the “quote” from Imagine, Chas.

    “Imagine no religion” is indeed a paraphrase of the song.

    The first line is actually “Imagine there’s no heaven,” though. :-)

    And I can’t agree that San Francisco is “too atheistic” (or something) to spend money on ads like this. Bigotry against atheists is a nationwide thing–it needs to be challenged in the relatively more atheist-friendly places as well as the horribly nasty atheophobic ones. I assure you that plenty of San Franciscans agree with these signs but are afraid to voice similar ideas in their own lives. (Just not as afraid as analogous skeptics in, say, rural Alabama.)

  • Alan E.

    On another note, Michael Savage was dropped from his San Fran radio station. Also, the most gay friendly station (there are others that are friendly, but this was a dance music station) here was sold to a new owner, and will probably never be the same again. It was one of the few big ones not owned by a huge corporation.

  • TheLoneIguana

    Wish they’d make their way down here to central California. I’d love to see the feathers get ruffled down here in yeehawland.

  • ZombieGirl

    I live in the SF Bay Area, and most of the crap I have gotten for being an atheist came from outside the Bay Area. In a lot of places, it is definitely more liberal (as we voted overwhelmingly for Obama). I do admit, I know a decent number of atheists, but I really can’t give a definite answer to whether there are more atheists than in the rest of the country or not. However, a lot of people tend to be open minded about my thoughts. :) It just depends WHERE in the Bay Area. In certain poor areas (Richmond/Oakland where I am in quite frequently), there are a HUGE number of churches and there is less open-mindedness towards non-belief and non-religiousness (in my experience).

  • Karen

    Lots of good Irish Catholics in San Francisco still. And the New Agers have a field day there.

    There is a lot more tolerance than in most places, though, so I’d be surprised if there was a huge problem as there has been in other places.

  • medussainspiring as those

    I work in the City (SF), in a uniform, and in a very conservative, mostly catholic and baptist environment. Many of my colleagues are ministers and as far as I know only 2 of us are outspoken atheists (among 2500).
    So, no, I wouldn’t characterize SF as strongly atheist. However, I rarely get sh*t for being an atheist, although I am often challenged to a discussion, so in that way I consider the Bay Area to be quite progressive compared to the rest of the country.
    I definitely look forward to the bus ads. Oh, and I NEVER heard a single comment about the islamic bus ad campaign, good or bad.

  • medussa

    Hmmm, not sure what happened to my log in name in the previous post…..

  • http://www.sinasohn.net/notebooks/ Uncle Roger

    Among my son’s second grade classmates, at least 1/6 are from families whose parents are self-professed atheists. I don’t know the rest of the parents that well, so the actual number may in fact be significantly higher. So, yes, compared to most of the US, SF has “relatively few believers”.

    Alan E: What station was that that was sold? I’m hoping it wasn’t KFOG which is pretty gosh darn gay friendly. (Man, I miss Dave.)

  • http://smokesignalsonawindyday.blogspot.com/ Injun Trouble

    “Imagine there’s no heaven…it’s easy if you try”…..

    Later on in the song is “Nothing to kill or die for….and no religion, too”

    Either way, both well put.

  • http://twitter.com/garyd Just Some Guy

    > Compliments to San Francisco for being able to take it.

    Thanks Reginald! We can handle anything, come on down anytime! :)

    Though I think they might’ve just skipped SF and spent the money in Des Moines.


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