Bias Against Atheists is Naughty, Not Nice

The American Humanist Association has launched a Christmas advertising campaign “aimed to raise awareness of discrimination against nonbelievers in America.”

Billboards with the following image have gone up in New Jersey and Michigan:

This week, a similar ad is also appearing in newspapers in several states where atheists have been the targets of discrimination.

“Nonbelievers in America continue to be the object of discrimination,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We hope this campaign will spur a conversation about this problem that moves us in a positive direction.”

Speckhardt continued, “Many humanists and atheists in America experience hatred in their own communities when simply standing up for the separation of church and state, or fighting for other rights that should be afforded without question.”

Meanwhile, there’s also a campaign for those people who don’t believe in god and feel alone because of it. The AHA wants them to know there are more of us out there and they’ve put this ad on Washington D.C. buses:

It’s a very different approach from the American Atheists holiday ads which put Santa alongside Jesus, Thor, and Neptune in a lineup of myths.

Will the AHA’s campaign be effective? I don’t think it’ll get as much coverage as AA’s… but it’ll be very meaningful to those atheists who ride the bus and rarely discuss their beliefs. When you’re in a minority, it’s a good feeling to know there are others close by in the same situation, thinking very similar thoughts. This is no exception.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Tim

    Much better than AA’s efforts both in design and content I think. 

    • Anonymous

      Agreed!  Ads should be well-designed or redone until they are well-designed.

    • Gus Snarp

      Yes, they definitely have better graphic design by light years. I wonder how much of that is a function of budget? Design always seems to be the first thing people want to cut or to do “in house”. Maybe they don’t think it’s hard or worth paying for (not specifically talking about AA anymore here). My own company has a god awful ugly website because they do it in house, but they really should hire a professional designer.

  • Aimeejoe3

    These are the best I have seen so far.  I worry about ads that might further alienate our stance.  I think there are many people in the religious community who would much rather just live and let live but when we push it in their faces even they will fight back. 

  • Trace

    Awsome!  The first one particularly. Well done!

  • gsw

    Comparing the “clout” of America’s 12 – 18% atheists with the political savi of the 1% muslim population, I wonder whether there might be something in this cat-herding story.

  • littlejohn

    What? Santa’s a myth? Then who left those presents under my parents’ tree?

    • Ruckusrookie

      Santa is Real and lives in all our hearts

  • http://www.facebook.com/brooklynlotus Angie Delacroix

    I believe in kindness -but not God.  That is my tag -line. Atheism is not secular humanism as secular humanists commit acts of kindness,whereas atheists may be humanist( ethical) or not.  Kindly note that I said acts of kindness and not the usual yapping about it. I like the use of Santa.

  • Secular Planet

    The black guy appears to be photoshopped in…

    • Ishbac40

      And his left hand too.  

      • Rich Wilson

        Naw.  See her hair against his shirt.  That’s pretty hard to photoshop.  Not impossible, but if it was, the rest of him wouldn’t look photoshpped.

        • Anonymous

          Sorry, but there’s a hole where part of his chest should be, and a faint white line around the top of Brunette Girl’s hat.  I understand they just pasted in a guy from one stock photo into another stock photo, but come on.

          The people in that photo might be just as offended that they’re being used in an AHA ad as some of us would be if we found out that a picture of us was being used in an ad for a church.  How hard is it, really, to take a real picture of real AHA members for the ad?

          • Rich Wilson
            • Anonymous

              Well, I was half right.  The “hole” I saw was actually the white fluffy thing on the end of Brunette Girl’s hat.  The line is still there, though. :)

              • Rich Wilson

                I wasn’t sure what you meant about the hole- but now  I get it.  Not sure what’s worse, that AH would resort to photoshop to get some diversity, or that ALL those stock photos are so damn white.

              • Michael Appleman

                Just look at the lighting. Black dude is lit from the right, everyone else from the left.

      • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

        It was actually 5 nerdy white guys with a “female” filter applied to three of them and a “black” filter aplied to one to create the image you see.   ;)

        But seriaously, I like it alot.  Good job.

    • http://twitter.com/kariedgerton Kari Edgerton

      Yea… It reminds me of that episode of Scrubs where Turk was photoshopped into all of the hospital’s ads to show “diversity.”

    • Anonymous

      Definitely is.

  • GregFromCos

    I thought last years AHA ad campaign was phenomenal. It was the “We are all Humanists” campaign. It is my all time favorite.

    This one seems a bit too benign for me.  I’m not sure how it would make someone think differently without giving examples. But what really matters is if they’ll be able to get some TV interviews. 

  • http://stochasticscientist.blogspot.com/ KathyO

    I definitely like these better than the AA billboards.  The message is clear and positive, and you can figure out the graphics without squinting.

    • Ruckusrookie

      The African American is photo shopped and is a born again christian… just sayin

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

    Now THESE are billboards I can get behind 100%.
    What a refreshing contrast to the absolute shit that AA puts out.
    I’m going to call them up right now and give them some money.
    Well done!!!

  • Anonymous

    These are awesome. Far better than the AA signs in both design and content. I see they’ve also taken the issue of the phrase “Don’t believe in God?” implying existence in the first place and changed it to “Don’t believe in A God?”. 

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

      Yes, that’s huge. I’m surprised that it’s taken so long for somebody to do that…

  • Robyman444

    Of course it never hurts to include some very pretty faces in a photo… but I like the Santa ad too.

  • TiltedHorizon

    I love the billboard with Santa, it relays a great message without stepping into anything offensive. Well…..  as free of offense as any sentience containing the word ‘Atheist’ can be.  :)  

  • Ruckusrookie

    God Love you

  • Rcpolaris

    Why are you worried about celebrating a holiday, when you don’t believe in the reason for the holiday? This makes no sense to me. But I forgive you, because there was a time when I did not know God, and I was just as lost as you all. Merry Christmas to you, and God Bless!

  • Sally

    Wa are not discriminating, we just don’t care about you. You are all irrevelent!


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