Of course, the publicity only increased after a Christian group decided to stalk the four buses carrying that ad with traveling billboards of their own:
How is the Fort Worth Transportation Authority responding to all this?
They’ve now revised their advertising policy:
The formal policy reflects most of The T’s current guidelines which excluded certain local political, tobacco, alcohol, pornographic and obscenity-related ads. It will now also exclude any ads with religious, non-theistic or faith-based content and all political ads.
The agency’s staff recommended adding the exclusion of any faith-based ads because of the distraction from its core business and excessive staff time that have been required to respond to the recent controversy over religious versus atheist ads on The T’s buses.
The new rule goes into effect immediately, though the atheist ads that are currently in place will remain there until their contract has ended.
Just to recap, this change occurred because of the controversy — controversy! — brought about by this ad:
I wonder if the reason for the new policy is really because of the “distraction” from work or because they just wanted to avoid future controversy.
According to one source who was present at the Transit Authority’s board meeting:
One of the board members went on a rant. He voiced his disapproval of the ad and thought it was offensive because it was against god and the US is a Christian nation — referred to the pledge and money — and our founding fathers wanted it that way. He also complained about not being able to open the meeting with prayer.
If the meeting was recorded, it’d be nice to see or hear it…
Regardless of one ignorant board member, though, other transit and advertising companies have welcomed such publicity: You don’t like someone’s ad? Go put up an ad of your own! We’ll make money on both transactions!
And if you reject all religious/non-religious ads because a harmless one caused this much attention, where do you draw the line? What happens when a commercial product draws protests? Are all meat advertisements going to be banned if PETA protested an ad for chocolate-covered bacon?
I suppose they have to respond somehow. I don’t mind the change too much, since it applies to religious ads as well as ours. But it’s probably going overboard.