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I am appalled by the level of discrimination to which some people would sink. Atheists in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania have begun a campaign to advertise Atheism on the city buses. For the past few weeks, the County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) has done everything in their power to stop them, rejecting each and every submission as "too controversial."
Inspired by Richard Wade, two Atheist organizations seized this opportunity to make a point and constructed an ad that could not possibly offend anyone with its message. How did they do this? They constructed an ad with literally no explicit message.
The ad consisted of only a single word: "Atheists." True to form, this ad was rejected by COLTS as well on the grounds that it was too controversial.
Jim Smith, the advertising contact at COLTS, said that the reason for refusal — appealing to the very questionable and vague advertising policy of COLTS — was that COLTS does not accept ads which could be deemed controversial or otherwise spark public debate.
Congratulations, COLTS. You are now provably exercising censorship and a level of criminally unacceptable discrimination. How do I know this? I know it because this ad has no message except, "Atheists exist." To you, that is controversial. To you, that is unacceptable. To you, that is a message that cannot get out to the people. Secondly, as it has been demonstrated, you allow religious advertising on your buses. So clearly you're not worried about religious propaganda causing a debate unless it comes an Atheist. Shame on you, County of Lackawanna Transit System, for your bigotry.
It is bad enough when individuals spread hatred among each other for being different or disagreeing, but it is only made worse when individuals use their established places of business to be divisive to their fellow citizens. Earlier this year, flower shops in Cranston, RI refused to deliver a dozen roses to 16-year-old Jessica Ahlquist for her role in the pending removal of an unconstitutional prayer banner at her high school. This level of division should not be tolerated in this country any longer.
I understand a letter has been sent to COLTS requesting that they re-evaluate their decision to place this ad. If they refuse, a law suit may be on the way.
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