Leaving Godless Leaflets on Their Cars

You know what I like about Doug Stewart? Instead of preaching to the choir, he politely (or passive-aggressively?) steps into the world of the religious and offers himself as a go-to guy for all questions atheism-related.

Last time we saw him, he was driving with a mini-atheist-billboard on top of his car:

This was in addition to his hyper-personalized license plate:

Now, Doug is back with a new idea.

Occasionally, after returning to my car after visiting a shopping mall or wherever, I sometimes see a leaflet underneath the windshield wiper of my car advertising a store, restaurant, local business, etc. I recall sometimes seeing advertisement for churches and, on one occasion, after leaving a gym I noticed a leaflet advertising a competitor’s gym.

What are your readers opinions if I placed a leaflet similar to my sign, with my email and phone number on it under the windshield wiper of cars in church parking lots during Sunday service?

Here’s the type of thing he’s talking about:

Alright, so I don’t think he should be going to church parking lots. Forget the legality of it. Even with the best of intentions, that’s as bad as religious people coming right to your door… or leaving a Bible outside of it, anyway.

It would probably do more harm than good.

Even if we take away that option, though, Doug wonders about a couple other possibilities:

What if I placed these leaflets on cars in business parking lots next to churches during Sunday worship?

What if I placed these leaflets on cars when religious people gathered outside of church (e.g. Conference centers, festivals, stadiums, anti-gay rallies, abortion protests, etc)?

There are a couple legal questions, too:

If people throw the leaflet on the ground, am I liable for littering?

Is touching someone’s car without permission against the law in any way?

If you have answers to any of these questions, please let Doug know in the comments.

Incidentally, Edward Tarte — a sort of anti-Pat Condell — did something similar last year.

You can hear his story here:



  • Re

    I have put many a leaflet under car windscreen wipers for my business. The manager of a shopping centre rang me once and told me that I could not put them out in their carpark without permission otherwise I would be charged for littering. I now avoid that carpark and I ask permission before doing a new carpark. They are usually OK with it.

  • Fett101

    Terrible. Simply terrible.

  • Someone Sane

    “If people throw the leaflet on the ground, am I liable for littering?”

    No. If someone receives a business ad in the mail, and tosses it on the ground by their mailbox instead of taking it inside to throw it away, the business didn’t cause the littering to happen and isn’t responsible for it. Just be cautious about doing it on a windy day when the flyers might ‘litter themselves’ if they aren’t held firmly enough under the wipers.

    “Is touching someone’s car without permission against the law in any way?”

    No. Damaging it, sure that’s against the law, so don’t scratch it. But just leaning over to gently slide a piece of paper under the wiper, that should be fine. I received dozens of various flyers on my car like that while attending college (including ads for churches, in addition to parties, businesses, school events), and every now and then receive one while parked at a business.

  • http://NoYourGod.blogspot.com NoYourGod

    I am 99% against leaving leaflets on a car windshield. That one remaining percent is to retaliate against those who have done it to me.

    So, Mr. Stewart should wait until he gets a religious one under his wiper, and the next Sunday go to that church and hit every car in their lot.

    He should keep all evidence of their spamming his car with their leaflet (take pics and keep the leaflet) so that when the police approach him, he can say “Oh, I thought they were OK with it since they did it to me” or “I’m just doing unto others….”.

  • RedSonja

    I HATE when my car gets leafleted. Hate it with the fiery burning hate of a thousand suns, in fact, so I would say no leaflets.

    As an alternative, however, he can park near where a church lets out on Sunday. Then people see his car, and his message, without the annoyance of removing the leaflet and tossing the damn thing. I suspect that the same people who would be interested enough by the leaflet to contact him would respond to the sign on his car.

  • Valhar2000

    This reader’s opinion is that if he chooses to put leaflets on other people’s cars he will be every bit as much of an ass-hole as all the other people who put leaflets on cars. If he thinks that is the way to go…

  • http://www.shelleymountjoy.com Shelley Mountjoy

    Why doesn’t he just contact one of those companies that stuff flyers into the newspaper delivery slot of a mailbox? Or perhaps a printer that mails large lots of advertisements to homes?

    It is reasonably priced – from what I have heard.

  • JT

    NO! No leaflets! No one likes them and every time I see one on my car I either:
    a) go find someone with a bumper sticker I don’t like and give them an extra one. Oh “it’s a child, not a choice”, you look like you REALLY need to have your gutters cleaned. Here, have an extra one. And those from the cars next to you as well.

    or

    b) pissedly throw it in the back of my car while thinking that I should take their leaflet to the business and give it back to them in an unpleasant manner, but instead go about my day with trash in my car.

    Also, sometimes water falls from the sky. And your leaflet becomes a giant goopy mess on my windshield. Leaflets are more of a liability than you’d really want for your cause.

  • Matthew

    No. Do not do that. I despise when evangelicals do that to me, and I get the feeling most people hate it.

  • Matt

    I doubt anyone has ever been convinced to buy anything, ideologically or otherwise, by leaflets on a windshield. It’s a waste of paper and probably does more harm to one’s cause than good–witness our feelings of anger when we see a religious pamphlet on our windshield.

    On another note, I always laugh when I go to a gas station bathroom and someone has left a religious pamphlet on the ledge under the mirror, or better yet on top of the urinal. Yeah. I wonder how many people have been converted by a pamphlet left on a urinal.

  • andrew

    I f-ing hate my car getting leaflets from businesses. It makes me bitter. “No I will not be manipulated into patronizing your business. In fact, I will boycott it because you just littered my car.”

    The worst is when they put it in your window and it rains and then you can’t get it out.

    Leaflets on cars = bad idea.

  • Nicky

    This makes me think of the story about that guy (can’t remember his name) asking why the Christians were just handing out flimsy bits of paper for something that is to them meant to be shaping them for eternity. It’s exactly the same.

    Also, I’d be shitted if I got one of those on my car, I would invariably wind up scrunched into a ball and tossed in the back, because there wouldn’t be a bin nearby.

  • Nicky

    *it would invariably

    I’m not going to burst into tears over it :P

  • less friendly atheist

    Please please please don’t leaflet cars. Think of the trees. And the children. But mainly the trees.

  • muggle

    Oh, I see, so the new approach is to be every bit as utterly fucking annoying as the Christers? Yeah, that will win them over to reason — not!

    Look the church is private property and the minister has a right to say scram even though, unfortunately, he’s exempted from paying property taxes. Frankly, I can see it from his point of view. The congregation doesn’t want to be annoyed by weirdos while they’re in church. Yes, I know they are and don’t realize it but you know what I mean. Let’s be honest, this is a tad excessive and well, a bit weird. As weird as the Jehovah Witnesses knocking on your front door.

    It amazes me that leaflets work. I assume they must or it would stop being done but it’s so annoying that it amazes me. Frankly, it’ll put a notch against the business for me if I’m annoyed by the tree killers. I don’t drive and I absolutely refuse to take anything shoved in my face by a persistent asshole on the street but nothing will get me to not try your pizza like a flyer in my doorknob when I get home.

    The police were excessive to Mr. Tarte who at first I thought was going to be a weirdo but who turned out to be well-spoken and the minister was a scumbag to not ask him to leave politely first before calling the cops but he has the right to ask him not to trespass.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    I don’t know anybody who doesn’t hate those leaflets. It would just annoy people and make them say “Uggh! Stupid atheists! Trying to push their views!” (I know that’s not the intention, but the more in-your-face an approach is, the more it will be interpreted as “pushing their views.”)

  • http://laughinginpurgatory.blogspot.com/ Andrew Hall

    Before doing any kind of activity that may be unlawful one needs to get their ducks in a row.

  • Ubi Dubium

    I hate hate HATE leaflets left randomly on cars and doors. A business that sticks a leaflet on my door or car goes right on my “businesses that are inconsiderate, do not patronize” list. We need to be better than that.

    I very much prefer the sign on top of the car, parked in visible locations. Leaflets left on cars will be quickly balled up, thrown away, and nobody else will ever see them. The car owner will likely be muttering “stupid jerk, sticking crap on my car”, which is what I do when I find stuff stuck on my car. The car sign can’t be so easily dismissed. No leaflets.

  • Revyloution

    NotYourGod wins.

    In general, Im against the idea of spreading litter ads, but that is perfect.

    If you missed it above, im going to copy/pasta
    here

    “I am 99% against leaving leaflets on a car windshield. That one remaining percent is to retaliate against those who have done it to me.

    So, Mr. Stewart should wait until he gets a religious one under his wiper, and the next Sunday go to that church and hit every car in their lot.

    He should keep all evidence of their spamming his car with their leaflet (take pics and keep the leaflet) so that when the police approach him, he can say “Oh, I thought they were OK with it since they did it to me” or “I’m just doing unto others….”

  • stogoe

    Someone recently put a business-card sized evangelism flyer on my car on the top floor of a parking garage. That takes dedication. And jerkitude, too, but also dedication.

  • Parse

    Yeah, flyering is an incredibly bad idea.
    Do you know *anybody* who was convinced by a flyer left on their car – either to visit a church, or use a service, or anything?
    Compare that to the number of people you know who gets irate when somebody forces themselves onto your attention. You can tune out billboards, you can change radio stations, you can flip pages of your newspaper. You can’t simply ignore a flyer, it’s stuck on your car. It feels invasive, and it annoys the hell out of me.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one here who takes an active role in *avoiding* companies or services who flyer cars.

  • Jim

    I think the best thing to do is run a trial of around 300 leaflets and see what the response is. Try 150 in religious areas (i.e. church car parks), wait a few weeks and try 150 in other areas (shopping areas, street parking). It would be very interesting to see what kind of response you get amd which area is the most effective.

    As annoying as those leaflets are, I think it is worth it to encourage people to question their belief or explore atheism, even if only for a small amount of time. The leafleft example is good. It is simple, uncomplicated and isn’t “preachy” at all. If this is successful I would love to see a copy of the design made available on the internet for download so others can print them out and pass them on.

    I also liked the idea above about mailing the leaflets out. Distribution can be quite cost effective and a lot quicker than placing lwaflets under windshields.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tedhpeterson Ted

    I wish the dumbass would stop capitalizing “atheist”. It’s not a proper noun. Idiot.

  • DGKnipfer

    I think this idea falls under, “Be careful what you ask for.” I’d call him and tell him he’s an asshole. It is rude and it’s stupid since now everybody has his home number and can harass him without end. He would deserve it too.

  • NewEnglandBob

    Leaflets of ANY kind are offensive, rude, polluting, disgusting and invasive.

  • http://posnonrel.tumblr.com/ Shane

    Personally, I’m not opposed to this idea. I actually had a similar idea the other day, when I stumbled across these:

    http://www.zazzle.com/get_saved_pass_business_card-240565440372143296

    http://www.zazzle.com/truth_saves_cards_business_card-240544365982927019

    I agree that it’s annoying to find stuff like this left on your car. But there are more important considerations than annoying people. In the ongoing culture wars, we’re often stereotyped and insulted in conversations, both public and private. People think they can get away with this because no one challenges their preconceptions about what atheists are like, or how many of us are out there.

    No, leaflets aren’t going to change anyone’s core beliefs, but they could very well make people pay more attention to us and take us more seriously.

  • michmar

    Besides being annoying, in New York City it’s illegal to place leaflets on cars. That may be unique to this city, but I would check the local laws before proceeding.

  • Jdole84

    I really don’t understand why one would feel the need to do this. He’s effectively saying “here, you throw this away.”

  • andyinsdca

    Do you have permission to touch my car? No, you do not.

    I specifically do not patronize places that put leaflets on my car and occasionally call them to “discuss” the matter with them. I’m not sure that alienating people is the way to go.

  • Martin

    If he does it to churches in which he recieved leaflets on his car it is fair game, but I wouldn’t do it unless it was at a church which already does the same thing, because then they have no right to complain.

  • http://thenaturalbuddhist.blogspot.com JohnFrost

    I fall in the camp of “I hate leaflets–why would you want to make more people hate atheism?”

    But Jim actually made an interesting point. If you go into it as a kind of sociological experiment–and explain it that way to anyone who contacts you not to ask about atheism but to curse you out for leaving stuff on their car–it might be a worthwhile endeavor. I, for one, would be interested in hearing the results.

  • http://atheistreadsbible.blogspot.com/ Jude

    I hate this idea.

  • andrew

    while I strongly dislike leaflets, I do like what he’s going for with the banner and license plate.

    These are less obtrusive and can’t piss a reasonable person off. Even though he seems sincere in his desire to create a dialogue with the fliers, I think it would only backfire and be seen as evangelism.

  • 3D

    Alright, so I don’t think he should be going to church parking lots. Forget the legality of it. Even with the best of intentions, that’s as bad as religious people coming right to your door… or leaving a Bible outside of it, anyway.

    No, it’s not.

    I’m sorry, but the message matters. Leaving a leaflet on someone’s car offering to help yank them out of a cult, is a different (better) action than leaving a leaflet on their car offering to pull them into a cult.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    I hate to be the voice of dissent (actually I don’t) but turnabout is fair play. Spam those Christian’s cars till they buckle under the weight of paper. One small amendment though. I’d make the number on the leaflet a chargeable rate number so you can make a small amount out of anyone irritated enough to call you.

    However if the purpose isn’t to scam some irritated believers I’d leave it. I have a spam filter for email, newspapers that distribute spam leaflets are emptied before I leave the newsagent and spam leaflets delivered to my door go straight in the recycling. I don’t even look at them. A leaflet on my car (if I had one) would be ignored and recycled. I don’t even care what the message is because I wouldn’t look at it.

    The one type of spam that I can’t ignore it cold calling and I make it a personal policy to waste as much of their time as possible and never to give them any of my business. Be warned Jehovah’s Witnesses and double glazing salesmen I am not buying but I can pretend that I might for ages.

    Spam is an irritant and it deserves to be treated with the utmost scorn. Leafleting is spamming.

  • Paul

    I detest junkmail of any kind, however delivered, regardless of what “cause” it supports. Leafleting is evil.

    Plus, you will give some scrap of validity to the claim that Atheists are in-your-face evangelizers, just like their theistic counterparts.

  • Paul

    The only thing I hate worse than spam is hardcopy junkmail, however it is delivered, whatever “cause” it supports. Don’t be evil.

    Plus, you would be adding some scrap of validity to the claim that Atheism is just another agressive, in-your-face evangelical religion.

  • Autumn

    I hate finding leaflets on my car. A good alternative to putting them on cars would be to insert one into the bible in each hotel room you stay in. (At least that way, the next traveler has an option!) If you don’t stay at hotels very often, make the leaflets available in pdf format (or something) so any atheist can download/print them to participate in the distribution.

  • http://www.happyatheists.com Slickninja

    Most of us have personal beef with leaflets for good reason, they’re god damn annoying. If Doug’s goal is to pester them, this is a great way to do so. Otherwise, if he’s trying honestly accomplish reaching out, this is a fail.

    He shouldn’t expect any reaction other than the same he’d have for others when they leaflet his car. A previous company I worked for sent unsolicited e-mail, and they wondered why it didn’t get results. Even when I asked my boss what he did with junk mail (delete it), he still was so self-absorbed he still seemed to think it was a good idea to pay several thousand dollars to send unsolicited e-mail. I hope Doug isn’t of the same mold as my former boss.

  • http://www.twitter.com/anattakarma Brandon

    Why would you put leaflets on the windshields when you could post flyers on telephone poles or bulletin boards?
    Surely they would probably be taken down by angry theists, but at least everyone would see it.
    I work in downtown Charlotte and I find random crap on my windshield almost every night. It is very annoying, especially when it rains and there is soggy paper/cardstock STUCK to my front window!!!
    You should come up with a different way to get people’s attention.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    Wow, some of the commenters really seemed annoyed by leaflets. I don’t really find them that annoying; I just think it would be a waste of paper and may not be effective.

    Maybe you could set up a stand at a busy place like a university (with permission, of course) and answer questions in person. It gives people who don’t want to talk to you the option of just walking by.

  • littlejohn

    We’ve all heard the joke.
    When someone hands you a leaflet, what they’re really saying is ‘Here, YOU throw this away.’
    Leaflets are horrible.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    I just wanted to add that you could have some kind of information availabe, like flyers with lists of suggested books or something like that, on the table. That way, only those who really are interested would take it, reducing the amount of wated paper.

  • Rachel

    I’m surprised at all the vitriol against windshield leaflets. I find them at worst mildly annoying, and some of them mildly interesting (but then, it’s a family joke that I will happily read ANY manner of printed matter placed before me, so I’m probably not a good sample). It’s not that much of an inconvenience for me to throw away a leaflet I’m not interested in, so I don’t get the passionate hatred some have expressed against the practice.

    If you go ahead with it, though, it’s a good idea to check your local ordinances first. In most places there would be no legal barrier, but it’s a matter of local jurisdiction, so the collective wisdom of blog commenters isn’t the best source for legal advice on this matter. Of course, if you routinely see such fliers in your community, that’s probably a pretty good sign that it’s safe where you live.

  • Richard Wade

    I’m sorry NoYourGod, but your suggestion of leafletting the cars of the church that leafletted Doug’s is childish he-hit-me-first. A rationalization does not make a deliberately inflammatory act acceptable.

    Hoverfrog, Turnabout is not fair play, it’s just behaving in the same lowly, stupid manner as those who offend you, so you are letting someone else set the bar for your conduct. If you base your behavior on the behavior of others, both inevitably spiral downward.

    Revyloution, none of the people coming out of the targeted church will know that their car was leafletted because of their church’s leaflet left on somebody else’s car. Even if Doug put an extra note of explanation on it, it would only emphasize the vindictiveness of the whole thing, and completely distract from any rational message getting through.

    If I got one of Doug’s leaflets on my car, I’d call him up and tell him that I’m an atheist and he just lost an ally.

  • Ashley

    Leaving that little flyer on the car is out of line and unnecessary. I don’t like it when religious people leave flyers and crap like that at my door or hand it to me on the street. Way to go giving people more reason to dislike us. Yes, your message is peaceful but I don’t want Christian propaganda, and they don’t want ours when it’s unasked for.

    Stupid!

  • Will

    No no leaflets. That shit is stupid and annoys the piss outta me. I’ve actually started carrying around a slip of paper with a verse by Lord Byron. Whenever presented with a religious tract, I present them with my piece of paper. I don’t expect it to convert anyone, but maybe they’ll realize how fucking annoying they are with these relgious tracts. I can only hope.
    The verse:
    even Gods must yield- Religions take their turn: ‘Twas Jove’s- ‘Tis Mahomet’s- and other Creeds Will rise with other years, Till Man shall learn Vainly his incense soars, his victim bleeds, Poor child of Doubt and Death, whose hope is built on reeds.

  • Chris

    Ha what’s next, spam emails and telemarketing?

    Leaflets are NOT CREDIBLE ADVERTISING.

    Most leaflets I get are some bullshit “Need money? Get paid $30/hr for some bullshit sales job that wont actually pay you near that much!”. It’s just going to make people think Atheism is a scammy cult or something.

  • Charles Minus

    I don’t like fliers either, but, for some reason, I love this idea. Go ahead and do it. It’s another valid way to make our presence known. As far as being legal, I have served legal process to someone who would not open their car window by sticking the subpoena under their windshield wiper (while they were watching). Stood up in court too.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    I am opposed to putting out flyers because it is a waste of natural resources and also because the ROI (return on investment) is very low for this type of activity, especially for the “product” we are peddling.
    I was very impressed with the kind and gentle nature of Edward Tarte. Wish I could be more like him.

  • jcm
  • Revyloution

    damn. Richard, your’e right. Vengeance never solves anything.

    I redact my earlier statement.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    I don’t have any particular hatred for car leaflets. I only occasionally find one under my windshield, and I’ve never gotten a religious one. Some of the evangelical churches around here do direct mailers to people’s homes, and I find that much more intrusive and annoying than secular businesses advertising their products or services.

    I despise the idea of evangelism, so I would give a thumbs down to Doug’s proposal. I don’t like the sign or license plate frame either, but at least with those he’s not messing around with people’s personal property, and theists can simply ignore the message. Putting something on their cars is more of an “aggressive” action, and I really don’t think any theist is going to appreciate that.

    If Doug wants to promote atheism in a positive way, it would help not to look like a single-issue fanatic. If I see a huge honking sign on someone’s car (no matter what the issue) it comes across as extreme. Tone it down a little. If you want to promote dialogue, start up an atheist or humanist group and rent a booth at the county fair or sponsor a float in the Fourth of July parade. But don’t litter people’s cars with your message. It will only drive others away.

  • Nakor

    I’m going to add my voice to the “I hate leaflets” crowd. It pissed me off every time I got one at a hockey game. A leaflet such as this, had I received one even while I was somewhere between religion and atheism, would only have served to irritate me and harm the cause. I have to imagine it would cause a worse reaction amongst those who are solidly locked into their religion.

  • http://smartmenlovereason.blogspot.com/ Elric the Mad

    Golly, leaflets are certainly unpopular with this crowd. I agree that leaflets left under your windshield wiper are at best a minor nuisance, and at worst a terrible waste of paper, time and energy. Add to that the evidence here which strongly suggests make people far less receptive to the message on it whether that message is about atheism and critical thinking or a great deal on a pizza and wings combo.

    So it seems that the consensus is that leaflets are a bad medium, but i do applaud the effort to get the message out in the community. It would be difficult for an individual, but a freethinker group i belong to has discussed possibly getting a booth in community room at our local county fair. I don’t know what it is like in other parts of the country, but here in semi-rural AZ, there are several large churches providing info and trying to attract new members every year. I think it would great to provide an alternative, and also to put a face on the vague boogey-man that is atheism for regular people to see. That way the information is available for people who are interested or curious, while everyone else can ignore it and walk on by, with nothing to toss in the trash.

  • Slickninja

    Anyone not part of the leaflet hate cult hasn’t experienced the full irritation of what happens when a morning shower is preceded by a very warm afternoon sun.

    It took me 20 minutes to scrape a flyer off my car windshield after class years ago, and even then it was still baked on the windsheild.

  • Epistaxis

    Don’t do it. What he’s doing now is great. But if there’s an ad on his own car, people can just ignore it; if he actively advertises on their cars, he’ll build up a lot more ill will than dialogue.

  • Libba

    I truly despise things stuck under my windshield. Please do not give people another reason to think negatively about atheism. LOVE your car and tag, though – don’t you know they must start some lively conversations?

  • ed42

    Car on public property directly outside a church (or where-ever) is fine. Leafleting is evil – don’t do it.

  • Hitch

    Advocacy/educating == good.
    Evangelism/proselytizing == bad.

    This == bad.

  • Justin

    Bad for the earth and bad for our cause.

    I’m so embarrassed for this guy.

  • Dan W

    Hmmm… this is an interesting thing to think about. Some religious folks would probably find his godless leaflets as annoying as I find Chick tracts. Of course, there is the notable difference that Chick tracts, and things similar to them are evangelizing a particular religion, while often misrepresenting people not of that religion. Meanwhile this guy’s leaflets are basically just saying he’s an atheist and providing people the opportunity to find out more about an atheistic viewpoint.

    Despite the clear difference between his leaflets and religious tracts, I have to say, leaflets of any kind are annoying. All my rationalizations about this cannot get in the way of my intense dislike of leaflets, which (to me) are a waste of paper and just plain irritating no matter what they say. Especially if I found one on my car windshield.

    If he wants to spread leaflets, Doug can go ahead, but I think it’s a bad idea.

  • Dan W

    Also, the retaliating to church leaflets by atheist leaflets in the church parking lot seems like a bad idea. No leaflets at all is better. I do find it funny how I play in online Halo: Combat Evolved servers under the name “Atheistman” and yet I dislike the atheistic leaflet idea. There are good ways and bad ways to be open about your atheism I guess.

  • A Portlander

    I want to preface this by saying I think this guy is “doing it wrong” in general, but to answer the specific question/comment within the context of the post:

    I’m of the opinion that churches are the ONLY place where this leafleting would be appropriate, and I especially like NoYourGod’s idea of retaliatory flyer raids on specific houses of worship. At the least, it might cause some of the faithful a little eye-opening cognitive dissonance re: this sort of proselytizing.

  • Mack

    Please please PLEASE do not leave these on people’s cars. It drives me absolutely crazy when I find anything on my car that I did not myself put there, regardless of what it is. I consider it garbage. My car is my most treasured and valuable posession and I can’t stand other people touching it. I love the activism here, but I hate this specific form.

    Please do not touch other people’s cars. <3

    Put whatever you want on your own car, I support that.

  • http://apatheticobservationalhumor.blogspot.com/ Jeff

    I didn’t manage to make it through every comment, though I did my best to at least manage a cursory glance at each. I do have a few thoughts on the initial suggestion and many of the responses to it.

    1. Stop assuming nobody will respond to this

    I leap at any opportunity to talk religion/atheism with folks. I have a regular habit of attempting to ‘jumpstart’ these conversations on my FB’s, formsprings, youtube accounts, etc.

    Part of the reason for why I do this is that you can never know who will get your message, or who will respond to it. Just because the driver of the car might crumple it up in a fury, discounting it out of hand, doesn’t mean their kid, their friend, won’t pick it up in the backseat at a later date. Or that they themselves won’t give it a read/thought at some point.

    So to sum up stop using personal, anecdotal stories AGAINST leafleting, as reasons not to do so. Because there is no way you can factually state a leaflet has NEVER worked towards it’s intended purpose.

    I have to imagine it would cause a worse reaction amongst those who are solidly locked into their religion. To that sentiment I can only respond with: it’s quite likely that someone that deadset against rationality, can turn anything into an excuse not to listen. This won’t be the thing that pushes him over the edge, officially making him closed to conversation.

    2. If you are going to disagree with this, offer more than a one-line response of, “Because I hate it OMG guyz its so annoying!”

    3. Instead of focusing on Church parking lot’s, broaden the scope

    I think a lot of the people here expressing their OMG ABSOLUTE ZEALOUS HATRED of leaflets are making a lot to do about nothing. You know what I do when I get a leaflet?

    I look at it, and 9 times out of 10 I transition it to the backseat. At worst, I lost a few seconds glancing at an ad for a product/service I don’t use, at best I get a coupon or free deal if I ever go to random place X.

    Even if it’s a religious pamphlet, I still generally keep it, but I keep it for the story that goes with it! Now I have a funny Jesus card to show my friends, at least it got a laugh!

    Don’t go to church parking lots. Go to grocery store lots. Retail store lots. Leaflet places that are “neutral”, do it where you aren’t specifically targeting church-goers, but everyone of all faiths.

  • Hitch

    I’m not opposed to leafletting. I’m opposed to proselytizing. If you have an event that needs promoting, go ahead and leaflet. That said, I personally dislike virtually anything pinned under my windshield wiper, no matter how much I approve having learned of an event. There are better ways to advertise that do not force people to throw pick stuff up and dispose of it.

    But “talk to me about atheism” really isn’t any different than “talk to me about jesus”.

    It’s literally making it true what some people say. “Atheism is just another religion”, at least in terms of the method.

    And don’t ever use the word evangelism with atheism. Evangelism is a word that simply has no secular meaning and especially in the US has aquired such a bad taste that many evangelical christians look for an alternative term to differentiate themselves from the cultural conservatives that dominate the label.

  • Trikepilot

    The only thing that I think is allowable to place under the wipers of a car, are the butts from the cigarettes that the driver throws on the ground when he exited his vehicle.

    If they empty their ashtray before exiting, I line the butts up like little soldiers all the way across both wiper blades.

    Atheist themed messages will be no more welcomed than any other. Except those free passes to the water park on a hot summer day.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    My two cents: no leaflets, signs or anything that pushes atheism into the faces, eyes and hands of any believer. This is just ammunition that us non-believers don’t need to give those that already have a bad taste in their mouth from godless humans.

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  • Asian Atheist

    Are there any readymade Atheist leaflet that one can print from the computer? Many people in my country dislike Christianity and many parents are afraid that their children marry a Christian. But the problem is even though they dislike Christianity but they are still unaware that Christianity is bullshit.

  • Angelparadis2005

    To be an “evangelist” is to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  There is no “good news” in the ideology that we were formed out of nothing and are not going anywhere. Jesus died even for all of you who don’t believe and it is your God given freewill to choose to believe or not.  But my question is… What if you are wrong? 

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      Pascal’s Wager? Really?

    • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

      The ‘good news’ about Jesus is mainly that the story is indistinguishable from the other god stories created by humanity, and is about as credible.
      If you wrongly believe you have a billion dollars in the bank, the news that you are mistaken, might seem bad on the face of it, but it is very good to know before you sign the purchase order for a fleet of platinum-plated Lamborghinis.
      An unpleasant truth is always better than the most pleasant untruth.

  • Rossy 86

    Why feel the need to express your beliefs no matter what they are, they are yours and yours alone, if people want to get involved they will ask, minding your own business seems to be the way to go – well sort this issue out when we are dead [proof]

  • John Gills

    There’s no need to distribute the leaflets. I can see the over-reaction now, “Godless atheists contaminate our cars and trample on our beliefs!”


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