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Group sues CATA over atheist ad snub

By Arkansas Online

This article was originally published June 1, 2011 at 11:08 a.m. Updated June 1, 2011 at 11:53 a.m.

An Arkansas group is suing the Central Arkansas Transit Authority and its advertising agency for rejecting its bus ads aimed at atheists and agnostics.

CATA and On the Move Advertising did not run the ads, which were to be placed on the sides of 18 buses to be used during Riverfest.

The United Coalition of Reason filed the federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of Arkansas.

"Are you good without God? Millions are," the ads were to say.

A blue sky with clouds was to be the background behind the words.

The bus ads were to announce the new Central Arkansas Coalition of Reason, a collection of 10 area atheist and agnostic groups.

United Coalition of Reason claims in its suit that CATA and On the Move violated the group's free speech rights and says that the First Amendment prohibits CATA, a government entity, from rejecting its ads based on content that might be deemed objectionable.

The group also argues that CATA should not impose burdensome requirements, such as a damage deposit, on speech it labels "controversial."

CATA directed all queries to its lawyer.


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ljwilson says... June 1, 2011 at 12:02 p.m.

They don't want us pushing our 'religous beliefs' on them, yet they want to ask the question "Are you good without God...?" on the sides of buses --- and for the record, we are NOT "good without God"!! It's not about fredom of speech, when they can speak about their Coalition of Reason all they want. But having it plastered on city buses that run during Riverfest is, in my unsolicited opinion, pushing THEIR beleifs, or non-beliefs on others. Personaly, I wouldn't ride a bus that had that posted on it's side for all to see. If they want to adertise their group, how about billboards? Thousands will see them, and buses can run ads for other businesses that cater to everyone, no matter what their faith, or lack there of ...

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juju2112 says... June 1, 2011 at 12:18 p.m.

I am an atheist.

All the ad says is that you can be a good person without believing in God. Are you saying you're offended by the idea that I can be a good person?

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lazybar says... June 1, 2011 at 12:55 p.m.

juju thats what you see in the add but a christian would read it different the same way you might read something different that a christian or muslim might say.thats why they said they felt it was controversial.whats a simple thought to one might be big deal to another.

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jackalope says... June 1, 2011 at 1:16 p.m.

The real question at hand is... has CATA run ads for churches, synagogues, or other religious groups? If so, it was clearly discriminatory in this case.

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OAnnie says... June 1, 2011 at 1:24 p.m.

I am not a Christian and I am quite good without the Christian God. I don't need the Christian God to have morals. I don't need that God to tell me to respect my parents, not to kill or steal, or to do or not do other things that makes people "good Christians." In fact, it offends me when people tell me they are "good Christians" so they will not do something bad. Usually that's what they say as they are excusing their misbehavior. I applaud the Coalition of Reason. I definitely AM good without God.

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OAnnie says... June 1, 2011 at 1:27 p.m.

Jackalope, the lawsuit says CATA has run ads for religious groups including Fellowship Bible, Geyer Springs Baptist, and others.

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RonalFos says... June 1, 2011 at 1:58 p.m.

If the busses have carried religious messages by anyone in the past they should by law be required to carry this message without more restrictions than others met. You can't have it both ways - freedom to express your religious beliefs and deny others the expression of their beliefs. At least not in this country.

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Packman says... June 1, 2011 at 2:04 p.m.

I'm a Christian and believe CATA was wrong to deny the non-believers. If Christians are strong in their faith, it should make no difference. OAnnie and juju - You can be a decent person and a non-believer - the two are not mutually exclusive. If you are a decent enough person, you might even get into Heaven despite your beliefs. It's about living a Godly life inspired by the Christian Bible, which you are doing as a decent and moral person. Sounds to me like you are a "good Christian" whether you like it or not.

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map51 says... June 1, 2011 at 2:05 p.m.

While I am Christian and strongly believe in my faith I also believe that this country was built on the concept of freeedom of religion or lack there of. If any other church ran an ad so can this group. I don't have to agree or like itbut it is their right. I don't want any more of my rights or any one else's taken away.

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HM2 says... June 1, 2011 at 2:42 p.m.

What ever happened to NICKI D?

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