Completely inoffensive atheist ad offends a bus company

February 29, 2012 • 7:09 am

From Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, we find that the following ad, proposed for use on buses in Pennsylvania, was considered offensive and hence rejected by the bus company.

The company rejected it on the grounds that it could be “deemed controversial or otherwise spark public debate.”

That, despite, the report on Justin Vacula’s website that the same bus company ran an ad for a website pushing white supremicist and Holocaust-denialist views.

Are we becoming like Muslims in the sense that something this tame is considered deeply offensive?  How less strident can an ad be?

76 thoughts on “Completely inoffensive atheist ad offends a bus company

  1. In contrast to the advert I recently saw on a train station in Bath (UK) “The fool denies in his heart the existence of god”.

    That’s ok though, it was in Bible-babble.

      1. I WAS offended. Luckily for them, I do not I have the right NOT to be offended, even when directly insulted, and would not threaten legal action or violence.

        Sadly, theists rarely extend the same latitude.

        I did consider contacting the relevent authrity and asking for an advert stating “Christians are idiots” to be placed alongside it. I have a feeling it wouldn’t have gone down too well. Perhaps it would be different if I used bible-babble type speech?

          1. Luke 12:20 (KJV) “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”

            1. Now I am thoroughly confused. Putting your and David’s quote together, the wannabe logician in me deduces that God has doomed herself to hellfire, and that putting David’s quote together with what Griff said, it seems any Christians calling anybody an atheist automatically become doomed for hellfire?

    1. There is a way… I did this as a button. (Sadly, I do not know how to attach a jpg of it to show you..)


      Is it a lower case t, a plus or a cross? You have to THINK before deciding if you’re offended or not.

    1. It’s unamerican. Just go with the flow. Go along to get along. Don’t ask questions. Don’t speak your mind. Are you a terrorist?

  2. I love the fact that they were concerned that it might “spark public debate” – because, as we all know, the purpose of advertising is NOT to get a product noticed.

  3. So they couldn’t just come out and say that they think we are all Satan worshipers, ergo, there is no friggin’ way we will ever put your Pagan crap on our bus?

  4. I am sure if someone puts the words “Go to hell” in front of the word “Atheists”, the company will find the sign completely unoffensive.

    1. Gotta disagree with you on that. Helvetica is just about the blandest, most inoffensive font there is.

      Now, had they set it in Goudy Oldstyle… well! Different story entirely!

          1. Yes, but it wouldn’t exist were it not for Helvetica.

            I’ve long since decided that, given a choice between Adobe’s Helvetica Neue and another typeface that could be mistraken for Helvetica without careful examination, you better have a damned good reason for not going with the original. It just works so phenomenally well, and nearly all the latecomers introduce problems just so they can distinguish themselves from the reigning champ.



            1. given a choice between Adobe’s Helvetica Neue and another typeface that could be mistraken for Helvetica without careful examination, you better have a damned good reason for not going with the original

              Please tell that to Arial.

              1. Arial has at least one thing going for it: it sucks less than any other of Microsoft’s Core Fonts for the Web, and precisely because it’s not the worst Helvetica clone I’ve seen.

                I mean, it could have been Papyrus!


              1. Sorry, Ben. I you like, ignore the evidence and just go on believing that Helvetica is the font of all san serif typefaces… ;-P


              2. Indeed, I shall.

                And ain’t it a shame that they never made any sequels to either Star Wars or the Matrix. Can you imagine how awesome that would have been? Same with Alien and Aliens — only two is not enough!



              3. “Sorry, Ben. I you like, ignore the evidence and just go on believing that Helvetica is the font of all san serif typefaces… ;-P”

                Ooo, damn! That was good.

  5. They should resubmit it to the bus company with the single word changed to “Theists” – just to see what happens!

  6. (Freedom From Religion Foundation) is a great (large) group of non-believers/freethinkers which pursues many indiscretions by NON-thinkers using public ads for fairytales (religion) and have won numerous lawsuits against nitwits who think bleating “prayers” in public schools, et al, is just so fine ‘n dandy. We need more watchdogs like!!

  7. Personally, living in northeastern Pennsylvania, I can’t blame COLT for insisting on the threat of legal action. The region is rich with pre-V2 Catholics who live to play victim. Better they attack the law than my bus company.

    1. I am a little confused. Are you saying you’d be happier with COLT not running the ad, vs. running it and risking civil unrest?

      Isn’t that blaming the victim? If someone attacks a bus over the ad, the law should be defending the bus, not the attacker.

      1. I was just being cynical. COLT does the right thing and accepts the ad, it catches hell. COLT does the wrong thing and blocks the ad, then waits for legal action, it gets to say, Hey, we would love to pander to you all, but we have no choice.

        Which reaction was anticipated by NEPA Freethought, that being the genius of their action.

  8. lol. Atheists scare religious people because we’re party poopers of their fantasies. Just look at the interaction between a homeopathist and say a biochemist, physical chemist, etc. when they are together in the same room and are discussing science. lolz.

    Homeopathist know their “craft” is complete bullshit but they gotta do it to scam ppl and make a living. That’s why they’re so accepting of others who are willing or are on board with homeopathy because the more they convince ppl to do it the better it is for them. It’s the exact same thing with religion. The more they can get to believe and not question it the better off they are. And Atheists by definition without even saying a word go completely against this mentality. lolz. They’re scared of the very word.

  9. “[Atheism is] dangerous to the progression of this state. And it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!” Quote from Il. State legislator Monique Davis, April 2008, in an open legislative session.

    I guess more theists still consider it dangerous than will admit, eh?

    1. Yes…

      “People who want to share their religious views with you, almost never want you to share yours with them.”

      Dave Barry

      1. This whole ‘battle’ is an exact but metaphorical parallel to the manner with which the various members of the Mafia or Cosa Nostra deal with a phalanx of honest cops.
        An almost exact simile, if one allows ‘firearms’ to interchange with ‘outright lies and sheer fraud’ as a first approximation as to ammunition.

        1. It might have been subliminal, but one Tim Minchin (Aussie!) phrased it more thelyphthorically than I when he penned his too-little-know beat-poem: “Storm”.

          Storm to her credit despite my derision
          Keeps firing off clichés with startling precision
          Like a sniper using bollocks for ammunition

          Too often arms imitate art.

  10. What if the ad said “Tsiehta”?

    Thoughts come to mind (perhaps a bit silly):

    How about “Agnostic”?

    “Are you Agnostic about your Diagnosis”?

    How about, “Women are not subservient to Men”?

    How about “Athorist”? “Afairiest”?

    If not that, “Freethinking”? After all, we live in “The Land of the Fee and the Home of the Brave.” (Or is it “Land of Fee and the Home of the Craven”?)

    How about posting the question: “How Old Is the Earth? How Do You Know?”

    Or, “Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve”?

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