Despite backlash from a variety of Christian groups, atheist billboards and ads have gone up across the nation in an attempt to bring their anti-God message to the public.
One such ad, sponsored by the Detroit Coalition of Reason, has been displayed in Detroit’s public transportation system (the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transport) in recent months.
The ad, featuring white letters over a backdrop of a clear, blue sky, simply says “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone” and includes the group’s website for those seeking more information.
Seeing an opportunity to test the agency’s First Amendment fortitude, Pamela Gellar of the American Freedom Defense Initiative submitted a design effectively duplicating the Coalition of Reason ad with one change: the word “God” was replaced with “Muhammad.”
AFDI has created waves in the past with ads critical of Islam, though this particular attempt proves how duplicitous regulators can be in determining whose speech is protected.
“Since [the anti-God ads] were accepted, I modeled this ad after them to see if the freedom of speech applied to criticism of Islam in our cowardly and politically correct age,” Gellar said.
She explained this is not the first battle AFDI has fought with the Detroit transit system over such issues.
“SMART is the same government agency that refused to run our ‘Leaving Islam?’ ads that have helped many Muslim girls who want to lead more Western lives escape dangerous, devout households,” Gellar said. “When we tried to run them, SMART refused. We sued. We won.”
She is not taking the defeat lying down, as plans are already in the works to bring this recent decision before a judge.
Whether one personally agrees with an advertisement’s message is wholly irrelevant, as evidenced by SMART’s decision to plaster posters bashing God throughout its buses.
Decisions such as this originate from the complete spinelessness of government officials afraid to anger powerful Islamic groups. In Detroit, especially, that particular lobby holds incredible sway among local lawmakers.
Fortunately for the defenders of our Bill of Rights, groups such as AFDI will stand up for universal free speech rights even in the face of inconceivable opposition.
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Photo credit: reuvenim (Creative Commons)