Sticks and Stones and Little Rocks may hurt bus ads
Atheists Sue Little Rock’s Transit Authority for Rejecting Godless Bus Ads
A federal lawsuit was filed today against the Central Arkansas Transit Authority (CATA) and its advertising agent, On the Move Advertising, for declining to run $5,260.00 worth of bus ads aimed at attracting local atheists and agnostics. The queen-sized ads, to be placed on the sides of 18 buses serving Riverfest, would have said: "Are you good without God? Millions are." A blue sky with clouds was to be the background.
Atheists sue over bus ads on God-free lifestyle
The Central Arkansas Coalition of Reason alleged in a lawsuit that the Central Arkansas Transit Authority and its advertising agency are discriminating against the group because they're being required to pay tens of thousands of dollars to put $5,000 worth of ads on 18 buses.
Other groups, including churches, have not been required to pay the fee, which amounts to $36,000 in insurance in case of an attack on the buses by angry Christians, according to the lawsuit.
The insurance was requested by the transit agency's advertising firm, On The Move Advertising, officials said.
Because a handful of similar ads had been vandalized in other states, the ad agency required the payment for insurance reasons, said Jess Sweere, an attorney representing the transit authority.
LeeWood Thomas, a spokesman for the atheist group, quoted an email from the advertising agency obtained by the coalition that read: "Arkansas is the buckle of the Bible Belt and I can easily envision zealots or upstanding citizens with a strong faith acting out."
Thomas said it's clear his group is being punished for the actions of others.
"The insurance money needed from us basically says CATA and On The Move trust the atheists in this community more so than the religious, otherwise the churches that advertise would have that extra insurance premium added to their total cost," Thomas said.
Another View: Come, let us reason together