Saturday, August 8, 2009

Atheist Rampage in Des Moines!

Apparently, someone in Iowa remembers that there's a First Amendment:

An advertisement promoting a Des Moines atheist group will be put back on buses, Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority [(DART)] officials said Friday night.

"By honoring the freedoms protected through our shared civil liberties, DART, like other businesses that accept advertising, will be in the position of displaying messages and images that may be controversial or uncomfortable to some, but legal and protected by civil rights," DART General Manager Brad Miller said in an e-mail.

Atheist Ads Will Go Back On Buses, DART Decides

That someone appears to be the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):

Now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has gotten involved, questioning the true motivation behind the ads being pulled. It has been reported that they are investigating the legality of Dart's actions. They have requested a letter from DART explaining its actions as well as copies of internal communications concerning the ads.

According to the IAF's Web site, the group is dismayed by this turn of events. A post reads, "Obviously this is a very upsetting turn of events. Our experiences dealing with the people at DART were very positive until now. We have a signed contract and they printed the signs for us." Reportedly, the contract was signed on May 27th.

ACLU questions motivation behind pulling of Iowa atheist bus ads

It's hard to reconcile the actions of DART any other way. They've known about the content of these ads since the end of May. That's plenty of time to review a message that consists of two simple sentences. What need was there to go to the trouble of pulling the ads from the buses until they were reviewed? None that I can see. Anyone who can't review this ad and come to a judgment on it in less than ten minutes probably can't tie his own shoes, either:

That they chose to release this news as part of the Friday evening news dump suggests they know that pulling the ads and then replacing them won't sit well with religious bigots. Whom did they think they would be impressing with their deliberative process?

I suspect it took the ACLU's inquiry to remind DART's lawyers of how much trouble they were in. Well, if they were smart lawyers it would have given them the opportunity to tell their management "I told you so".

Regardless of the motivation, the atheists of Des Moines will once again be rampaging through the city, wantonly declaring that they don't believe in gods. What will become of the children?

(h/t to One Fly's comment from the previous article on this episode.)

UPDATE: All I changed was the time of publication. It said AM and it should have been PM.


Emily S said...

Damn that pesky First Amendment.

Cujo359 said...

It wouldn't be such a problem if the ACLU didn't keep trying to enforce it.

Emily S said...

Yes, really. I mean, it's not like the government is supposed to be enforcing it or anything. What a silly notion, someone abiding by the Constitution.

Cujo359 said...

I've spent many years working with the federal government in one capacity or another. The irony here is that at the worker bee level, most folks know that people are entitled to speak their minds. While working for the DoD, I met quite a number of people, of all political persuasions, who would have found such behavior wrong for a government. Many of them fought to preserve that freedom, and suffered for it.

Unfortunately, as you get higher in the hierarchy of government, you find that people find the responsibility of protecting the Constitution more onerous, not less. Sadly, Gov. Culver is all too typical of our "leaders" these days.