Two Years After Rejecting Atheist Bus Ads, Port Authority of Allegheny County Gets Sued

Nearly two years ago, the United Coalition of Reason offered to pay $5,700 to the Port Authority of Allegheny County (in Pennsylvania) to put up 12 king-sized bus ads over the course of a month to advertise the newly-formed Pittsburgh Coalition of Reason.

The Port Authority said yes… at first. But just as the ads were about to run, they changed their minds, telling United CoR that the text of the ads — “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.” — didn’t comply with the company’s ad policy.

Yesterday, a complaint was filed by United CoR in a U.S. District Court:

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Two More ‘Ritual Satanic Abusers’ Are Freed — After 21 Years — Due to the Collapse of the State’s Rickety Case

“Hi honey, how was school?”

“Hi Mom. Okay, I guess. Ms. Crowley killed a girl with an axe, right before our eyes. Then she and Mr. Morrison, the janitor, took us on a plane to New York where three hundred men wearing clown masks did naughty things to our private areas before putting us on a flight back just in time to get on the school bus. Ms. Crowley gave us a baby’s blood to drink on the way home. Hey, I’m hungry, can I have a peanut-butter sandwich?”

That’s the (admittedly) cartoon-y version of how the 1980s and 1990s conversations about so-called ritual satanic abuse went down in hundreds of American households. How could an adult with half a brain possibly believe such outlandish, impossible tales? But parents of young children that were led into telling fabrications did believe them. Then police, detectives, and prosecutors did. And ultimately, jurors did, too.

Over about a dozen years, the wavelet of prosecutions for Satanic ritual abuse was as close as we got to a modern-day, national witch hunt. I still remember, by name, some of the actual victims, adults accused of unspeakable things they didn’t do, couldn’t possibly have done — not literally, not really, not within the known constraints of time and space and physics. Kelly Michaels. Paul Ingram. Virginia McMartin. Betsy and Bob Kelly.

These people went to trial — and to jail — despite the badly botched police investigations, and despite the obvious hackwork performed by pediatric therapists who somehow kept seeing proof of child sex abuse where none existed. Against all common sense, juries put innocent men and women behind bars on the vilest of charges.

Over time, as the moral panic subsided and new questions were raised, more and more of these prisoners were released and usually exonerated.

Now, it looks like two more will finally walk free — after twenty-one years behind bars.

Meet Fran and Dan Keller, who, in 1992, stood accused of doing this (the following is not for the faint of heart):

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Why Didn’t This News Station Tell the Full Story of a Christian Politician’s Visit to a Local High School?

You may recall that Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone (a Republican, of course) has put into motion a plan to put the words “In God We Trust” in every public school — and possibly every classroom — in the state.

Last month, that bill made it through the education committee.

And earlier this week, Saccone visited Avonworth High School to speak to students in a “Problems in Democracy” honors-level class about politics and this bill in particular.

(What the hell was he thinking? He thrives on ignorance and revisionist history, and he’s stepping into the octagon with smart seniors?! Dear lord…)

If you read and listen to reporter Trina Orlando‘s story, though, it seemed like everything went without a hitch:

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When It Comes to Giving Thanks Today, Don’t Look Up; Look Around You

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses how atheists can give thanks today and to whom we should be grateful:

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

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We Must Protect Congregations from Wasteful Spending!

(In response to this post)

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