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June 1, 2011

Coalition of Reason Files Lawsuit Against Little Rock Transit Authority Over Refusal To Run Billboard

by juju2112

The United Coalition of Reason is filing a federal lawsuit against the Little Rock, Arkansas Transit Authority for refusing to run their “Good Without God” ads.

(Little Rock, Arkansas, June 1, 2011) 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 behind the words.

Here’s the billboard that would have run:

ucor

On the page of the press release, they have a bunch of emails obtained from FOIA Requests against the transit authority. The emails provide for very interesting reading. It shows the transit authority accepting church billboard requests while at the same time rejecting the Godless billboard.

The first objection the transit authority gave was that the ads would just be vandalized. They asked for a security deposit in light of this, something that has never been asked before of any other client.

The emails also show the employees discussing potential strategies:

Betty,

This Coalition of Reason REALLY has me thinking! And I hope I’m not over stepping my boundaries. Please let me know if I am..

Maybe we should let them run their signs. We’ve told them in several emails that if there is vandalism to the buses, their signs will be taken down, and their entire balance is due immediately. If we have, let’s just say, 10 complaints in a span of 2 weeks, then the signs will all come down, and their money will be refunded. That way, we all win. They get to run the ads they want, and we get their money. Honestly, the likelyhood of their signs NOT being vandalized is like one to six billion. Just something to think about. That way, we avoid getting sued. And by the way, they did agree to those terms, IN WRITING!

Have a good day!
Ashley

They also discussed running a religious ad on the buses at the same time in order to “balance out” the CoR’s message:

Just so you know, the Christian Science Church of North Little Rock has calls for avails at the same time because they have a ‘fabulous’ speaker coming in late May. (Makes me wonder if it’s the same, or an opposing message that would help balance the other message?) I tried calling her back and had no call.

Lydia

It’s sad that this has to come to a lawsuit. Why is the idea that atheists can be good people so controversial? Frankly, I find this all very disrespectful.

Press Release:

http://unitedcor.org/national/news/atheists-sue-little-rocks-transit-authority-rejecting-godless-bus-ads

Emails:

http://unitedcor.org/sites/default/files/edit-contentfile/national/Exhibits.pdf

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