Last month, I mentioned that atheist Justin Vacula wanted to put up the following ad on buses in the County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) in Pennsylvania:
You can’t get more inoffensive than that.
But the COLTS board rejected the ad, saying they don’t “accept ads which could be deemed controversial or otherwise spark public debate.”
Yesterday, the board met to hear one final plea in support of the billboard. They heard it. Then they rejected it again.
… COLTS upheld its original decision, saying the atheist ad violates an existing policy.Justin Vacula, a Marywood University student, was the only member of the NEPA Freethought Society to attend the COLTS Board of Directors meeting.
“We will not allow our transit vehicles or property to become a public forum for the debate and discussion of public issues, and since passing this policy in June, we have been very consistent in not allowing any ads that violate the policy. That’s why we didn’t permit Mr. Vacula’s ad promoting atheism,” said COLTS solicitor Tim Hinton.
So there you have it. Simply saying the word “Atheists” is a discussion and debate just by itself. Not “Atheists are good” or “Atheists exist” (things that you could at least *argue*). Just the word itself is a public statement of… something.