They’re excited about it, too!
Jon Garvin, president of the Missoula Area Secular Society and organizer of the campaign said, “Our goal is to reach out to the thousands of secular humanists, atheists and agnostics living in this part of Montana. Such non-theists often don’t realize there’s a community for them because they’re bombarded with religious messages at every turn. We hope our message will serve as a beacon and let them know they aren’t alone.”
From the beginning, STA [Spokane Transit Authority] agreed to run the ads. STA Chief Executive Officer Susan Meyer explained to KHQ , “STA cannot limit free speech, we’re a government entity and that isn’t our call.”
Instead, it was the call of their advertising vendor, Ooh Media, who buys and places the ads on the STA buses. Originally Ooh Media refused to run the ads citing concerns that it could be offensive or harmful to the community.
An attorney representing the coalition, Bill Burgess, felt that was a violation of the First Amendment and immediately sent a public disclosure request to Ooh Media, requesting all documents that showed previous companies who’d been denied ad space as well as the reasons for denial.
But shortly after Burgess sent the request, reps at Ooh Media changed their minds.
In other words, the people who run Ooh Media were ready to discriminate against atheists, but when they were called out on it, they realized they should abide by the law.
That’s the basis for local media coverage last night:
I love the part of the article where they quote an STA rider:
Amy Bassford, an STA Bus rider said, “I think it’s horrible because I believe the Lord Jesus Christ is my personal savior of my life.” Bassford went on to say that she believes the end times are near and thinks the ads are another sign of the end of the world.
That second sentence is the kicker. It’s like the reporter is saying, “I’m gonna hammer home the point that this lady is crazy.”
Those ads are set to appear on buses August 29th through September 18th.
There’s a poll on KHQ’s website (as mentioned on the news clip) and it’d be nice to influence it a bit more before tonight’s newscast, since they’re airing another story about the STA ad policies and they might want to show the results on air…
So far so good, but you can never be too safe with these things.