Of all the atheist billboards to get rejected by advertising companies, this one will amaze you:
“You don’t need God — to hope, to care, to love, to live.”
What’s wrong with that? You don’t need a god for any of those things. And if you feel you do need god in your life, well, this billboard isn’t directed at you.
Still, that harmless message has been deemed “too controversial” in Knoxville, Tennessee.
First, some background: The Center for Inquiry’s “Living Without Religion” campaign began in March with bus ads and billboards in Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, and Houston. It soon expanded to Portland, Oregon.
Now, thanks to a $10,000 donation from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation and $5,000 from the Andrew Norman Foundation, the plan was to take that message to Grand Rapids, Michigan; Niagara Falls, New York; Durham, North Carolina; Washington, D.C. (again); and Knoxville, Tennessee. In all those cities, you’ll be seeing bus ads and billboards… except for the last city.
In Tennessee, advertiser EMC Outdoor rejected the ad, calling it “too offensive to a large percentage of Knoxville residents.” As far as I know, they didn’t explain their rationale any more than that.
Their contact information can be found here.
If you’re so inclined to leave them a (polite-but-stern) message about why they’re making the wrong decision and how this billboard is not-at-all offensive to any religious group, I’m sure they’d love to hear from you. Let us know what you told them in the comments, too.
***Update***: CFI informs me that “EMC acts as an agent for whomever owns the billboard space. It is the owner of the property who refused to run the copy. We do not know who that property owner is.”