Here Are Dallas Atheists' New Billboards, In Case They Don't See the Light of Day

Categories: Religion

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Just in time for Easter, the irrepressible atheists over at the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason are back.

You'll recall that back in February, the group erected a South Dallas billboard in praise of black free-thinkers. This time around, for a campaign they've dubbed "Our Families Are Great Without Religion," they're using photos of happy, smiling, presumably godless families (and one dachshund, who's obviously a total heathen). They're planning a billboard along Interstate 30, as well as a video ad at Movie Tavern's Arlington location. The video ad was set to run before the previews for a full six months.

Not so fast, Movie Tavern says.

Last night, Fox 4 ran an interview with a local atheist couple who are part of DFWCoR. The station also reported that Movie Tavern was refusing to run the group's ad. Zachary Moore, a DFWCoR spokesperson, told me Fox 4's Mark Jones got in touch with him last night with the news that the chain's president had called the station to say they were pulling the ad. ( Update, 5:20 p.m.: Movie Tavern's PR person denies the president ever made that call.)

Moore knew last week that Movie Tavern and Clear Channel, which owns the billboard on I-30, were both feeling a bit skittish about running the ads.

"The Movie Tavern folks were very sensitive to any mention of God or religion, while the billboard company (Clear Channel) refused to let us use our original slogan 'Our Families are Great Without God,' because of the use of 'God,'" he told me in an email. "Some of these companies are getting pretty gun-shy about atheist advertising, I think, because it's gotten really popular and always stirs up controversy."

But DFWCoR has already written a check for $2932 and signed a contract with Movie Tavern's advertising folks, Screenvision, Moore said. "The check was cashed weeks ago. I just confirmed with our Screenvision contact that the ad was disallowed by the Tavern. Which technically they can do, but it had already been approved. My question is, have they ever allowed churches to advertise? Screenvision wouldn't confirm either way."

"We have never in the history of Movie Tavern run an ad of a religious nature," Mary Lester told us just now. She's with MPL Public Relations, which is handling PR for Movie Tavern. "And we never will," she added, very firmly. "Because of the digital age, we have five days to review" an ad before it runs, she said. "We hadn't gotten along far enough in our process to have caught that it was an ad of a religious nature."

Because we're obnoxious, we asked if an atheist ad isn't, by definition, the opposite of a religious ad.

"We would associate that with an ad of religious nature, just because it's pro or against," Lester replied. "This ad never ran and it never will run."

Well, then. Here are the rest of the ads, in case they run into similar hiccups with Clear Channel.

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Scott Rhoades
Scott Rhoades

I love this campaign. It puts a face on atheism and shows people that we are just like them but just believe in one less god than most people in the U.S. We are your family members, friends, co-workers, hair stylists, school teachers, and even fellow church goers that attend to appease believing spouses or parents. The recent Gallop poll showed that for 32% of Americans, religions does not play a role in their lives. That means that for almost 1 in 3 of those in the U.S. religion does not play a role in their lives. They use secular reasoning and intellect to solve problems and I have never met one that thinks they had been better off as a believer. As president of a freethought group, and as someone who has been part of the freethought movement for years, I've met hundreds of atheists and, like the average citizen (believer it or not), the vast majority of them we normal decent people. Most people are basically good whether they believe in a god(s) or not.

amycas
amycas

I've been to that Movie Tavern and I've personally seen them run church ads before. If they don't want to run an atheist ad, that's fine, it's their business, but they shouldn't lie about it. If you're going to be a bigot, then be a proud bigot.

sandra crenshaw
sandra crenshaw

Scruffygeist- Those were the words of another blogger to which I replied. Sorry. I hope that one day, some day I will be judged by the content of my character and not by the color of my skin or my insanity for responding to these posts. Until, I get some one to edit my posts, just scroll down just scroll down when you see my name.  At least give me some credit for posting my NAME, bet you won't give me yours

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Sure looks like your words because of poor presentation. Proper typing will go a long way in getting people to pay attention to your character.

amycas
amycas

Your post was deemed crazy, not because of the color of your skin (I can't see that through a computer screen without a pic), but because you were ranting about Koreans and black people and it had nothing to do with this story.

sandra crenshaw
sandra crenshaw

never mind, you won't understand if you are not keeping up with the debate on another story about me I ask you guys to just scroll down when you see my name., especially since your recognize my post has nothing to do with this story. What did YOU write about this story.   Maybe I  should file disclaimers that my posts are crytic, and written in ebonics intended for those I wish to communicate with here.  I really really really don't understand how my calling a Korean merchant a Korean merchant is racist or how me, a degreed historian, is a racist for discussing a historical fact that the Jews changed the names of all of the schools in South Dallas that were named after persons of Jewish faith when the schools were integrated. I was told, it may be a lie, that Madison High used to be called Forest Ave high School, but changed because they did not want to have blacks in there alumni class. I am also told that Jews want this part of their history put behind.them They have museums and memorials, so that they never forget what was done to them, but take actions to squash their mistreatment of others. I was told that in the south, they don't want to be called niggah lovers, so that they have to kiss us in the dark. So Greg Howard feels empowered to expose and accuse NOI of being a racist and a black supremist motives but dare write about the Jews. I am unorganized,computer illerate, and I have only half a brain. but you will self righteously call me a racist while  you discriminate against slow bumbling idots like me to prevent me from exercising my freedom of speech without fear of retaliation.

MalcolmX
MalcolmX

 Accusing NOI of being racist, then going on a racist rant about Jews pretty much confirms what Greg Howard said.  And you're not writing in Ebonics. You've used no slang terms at all.  Instead, you just sound uneducated.  Stop disparaging Ebonics.  You're using it as an excuse to sound stupid.  And that's not what Ebonics has ever been. 

donovan acree
donovan acree

One day Sandra, I hope you can open your eyes and see more than race and color. I also hope you get help with your anger issues, fear of other cultures, and hatred towards other races. When you do, the rest of the world will be waiting.Perhaps you could consider atheism. You could base your opinions on facts and reason instead of these twisted beliefs you seem to have. It's helped allot of people I know find true peace.

Ilmari Myller
Ilmari Myller

Excellent article and very good design of billboard pretty good one.

DK
DK

Tim Tebow is a much better looking spokesman.

Marvin
Marvin

If nothing else, it's genius marketing.  They put down a $500 deposit, which is being returned, to run some ads at a theater, and now I've those ads on TV and in print, and heard about them on the radio.  If it wasn't for the hysterical Christians trying to supress them, I would not know DFWCOR existed.  Same thing happened with the bus ads.

sandra crenshaw
sandra crenshaw

 From Marvin's post  "and now I've those ads on TV and in print," discrimination is when Steve and Paul say nothing about Marvin's typographical errors. Evil exists when good people do nothing.  

amycas
amycas

Notice how that typo wasn't as big a deal as your egregious spelling and grammar because the rest of his post was well thought-out and coherent; therefore giving readers the ability to use context in order to understand what he meant in the instance of that particular typo.

Robert NietzscheTilton esq.
Robert NietzscheTilton esq.

 I really hope DFWCOR puts down some of their principles in say, 10 bullet points. And then maybe expands on them in a book with some personal anecdotes and stories that can be passed down for generations to come! I could see a day in the future where many people all over the world could all gather in  big buildings just to listen to someone talk who really understands DFWCORanity.

Duck Crim
Duck Crim

For your answer read Richard Dawkins.

Daniel
Daniel

Freedom of religion means you can practice any or not religion. Freedom of speech means you can express yourself freely. So what? If christians, muslims or jewish don't like this, please leave the country. This is part of the base of this country: United States of America.

The Credible Hulk
The Credible Hulk

Freedom of religion means never having to say you're sorry.

...or something...as long as you're religious...anyhow.

dallasmay
dallasmay

Well, I get annoyed enough at the billboards with quotes attributed to God driving down the interstates. You know, the ones that say stupid things like "'You think it's hot in Texas? TRY HELL, BITCH!' -God" (by the way, I don't that quote is found in the canonical scriptures.)

So I guess if Christians can spend stupid amounts of money to be dicks on bill boards, atheists should be able to too. 

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

So an atheist coming out and declaring their nonbelief is "being a dick"?

dallasmay
dallasmay

It's not what they are saying, it's how they are saying it that makes them dicks. 

"We don't need religion to make us happy like you stupid christians, BITCHES!"

dallasmay
dallasmay

Yeah, I remember that lgbt campaign, and I remember their billboards too.

"We're here, we're queer, and we have far better style than you ugly heterosexuals, BITCHES!"

amycas
amycas

Wow, I must have missed the part of the billboard taht called people stupid christian bitches. Maybe this is all just part of the atheism visibility movement, otherwise called the "Out Campaign." Similar to the one the lgbt community started once it was noted that visibility is the first step toward acceptance.

sandra crenshaw
sandra crenshaw

Anne, how dare you make reference to Dallas Athetists New Billboards. Greg Howard from your paper says that I am racist because I say the blacks perceive Korean merchants as rude and mistreat black customers. Greg says that I am trying to spew hatred toward ALL Koreans by painting the Koreans with a wide brush. ( in spite of the fact that I say Korean merchants) "All Koreans are not rude," Greg says. "I have visited some Korean owned shops and they were not rude to me" (I've never see Greg wear a wig)  He says I have not been in all Korean stores and  that I need to name the specific Korean store owners, although he failed to ask me for the names of some of the stores. Therefore, Ann you need to name the Dallas athetists, that you speak of. Therefore I want to see some consistent among Observer family. Please say SOME Dallas Athesists support the Billboards and report their names because Greg hates racism and discrimination and you are invoking hatred against atheists  

donovan acree
donovan acree

Sandra,You did paint Koreans with a wide brush. You did it right here http://blogs.dallasobserver.co...When you commented "the Koreans for economic gain capitalized on our self hatred and our need to assimlate to look like white people."

RTGolden
RTGolden

ALL ABOARD!!!!  The CRAZY train is departing the station in 5 minutes.

sandra crenshaw
sandra crenshaw

Sounds like you know something about a crazy train, Have you purchased your ticket yet?

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

"just between you and me, I would not get into any gun fights with Koreans.  They are tenacious and historically do not like to lose (lol) --even Truman and MacArthur found that out the hard way. Interesting that you mention Koreans as being tenacious, I asked Rev. Al Sharpton to come to Dallas and his office said NO way was he getting involved with the Koreans after a bout with them in New York in the 1990's."

Your words mere days ago, Ms. Crenshaw. That's using a paint roller, much less a wide brush.

CrackerDaddy
CrackerDaddy

Take a deep breath and slowly exhale.  Feel the calm.  There.....feel better now?  ;-)

Steve
Steve

 It's Anna. 

Not Anne.

Not Ann.

Anna.

I know you "want to see some consistent," so maybe start with spelling?

Paul
Paul

 I don't think that Sandra has ever run across a social situation that wasn't racist or an example of racism against blacks.

Unfortunately, Ms. Crenshaw's apparent inability to adequately and clearly communicate her opinions seems to be her main obstacle to accomplishing her goal of eliminating racism.  As I have tried to read her various postings recently on UnfairPark, she seems to lack the ability to formulate a coherent, logical argument to support her various theses.

I'm not sure of Ms. Crenshaw's educational background, but it seems to have been wanting in this area.

sandra crenshaw
sandra crenshaw

Reply to Paul  How can any professional come to any conclusions about Sandra (or any  person for that matter) she has an apparent inability to adequately and clearly communicate her opinions and she seems to lack the ability to forumulate a coherent, logical argument to support her various theses and her apparent inability to adequately disguise her opinions and when she calls Anna, Ann?  Paul concludes that my goal is to eliminate racism and Marvin concludes that I have an apparent inabillity to adequately disguse my opinions. Sounds like at least two people were able to decipher something,(however incorrect) from reading my posts. So as plain as I can write it:I will never be able to eliminate racism, I am however committed to trying to find out why people say or do mean spirited things toward another person, and moreso why people who look like me seek to hold office and then refuse to investigate claims of mistreatment and why oppressed people mistreat other oppressed people. For example why did Pak  mace and beat the shit out of an elderly person and acknowledges that he was not trying to protect his propertyor why black elected official stole from Paul Quinn College and black officials wanted it hid under the run, or why they won't help prevent the oversaturation of retailers who will not invest in crime prevention tools to protect the public, or why they won't help other black businesses, or why they kill busineses trying to bring jobs to the southern sector. It's interesting that Paul and others  can conclude that I am racist for complaining about being mistreated by other victims of racism. I have faith in all my heart, that these posts are those of Observer staff or people that look like me who denigrate me to get me off "they" ass.  May be if those with legitimate concerns can quit counting the number of grammatical errors you could connect the dots since I apparently don't have the ability to communicate. See I didn't even blame anyone for my reference  to Anna as Ann.  Pull the posts where I have blamed anybody for racism.

Marvin
Marvin

The bigger problem is her apparent inability to adequately disguise her opinions.

Lostrike
Lostrike

As a Christian, I agree with the billboards...our families don't need RELIGION.

Paul
Paul

 I agree, they need FAITH ... and atheism is a form of faith.

Henry McFadyen
Henry McFadyen

Atheism is no more a faith than, say, aleprechaunism is a faith. 

Henry McFadyen
Henry McFadyen

 Too bad I wrote PSS instead of PPS. Can't win them all. :(

dr dolittile
dr dolittile

Again Very Impressive! I particularly appreciate your PSS

Marvin
Marvin

To one without faith no amount of proof would ever be enough, to one with faith no proof is needed.That doesn't make sense. Proof makes faith irrelevant, so the regular amount of proof is fine.  Atheists believe in things you can prove.  That's kind of the whole point.

SanDomiano
SanDomiano

To one without faith no amount of proof would ever be enough, to one with faith no proof is needed. Until you put faith in something, you cannot test it. Just like trusting a rope to hold you up. I have tested my faith, and it held me up, actully lifted me higher. An atheist would have only himself to rely on I would imagine.

amycas
amycas

Just to answer your first PS. I just changed my mind about Christianity partly due to argumentation and debate. It can happen, just not all at once. Giving up one's religion is a process.

amycas
amycas

Lol those are gnomes silly, they totally exist.

amycas
amycas

Atheists do not necessarily say "there is no god," rather they said,"Due to a lack of evidence, I have no belief in a god or gods." One is a claim to knowledge and the other is a perfectly justifiable lack of belief. Alepechaunism is analogous, because all it means is a lack of belief in leprochauns, the same as atheism is a lack of belief in theism. It doesn't address anything else about the nature of a god or gods. It's simply a lack of belief.

Henry McFadyen
Henry McFadyen

Paul, I think where we are having difficulties in understanding each other deals with what atheism actually states. You seem to suggest that atheism, beyond simply being a lack of belief in a god or gods, also makes a claim as to the origin of the universe (such as the Big Bang). And since the origin of the universe, one way or the other, cannot be proven at this point, there is faith in whatever one chooses to belief regarding how the universe started. For the sake of argument, I'll accept that both creation by deity and the Big Bang are unknowable and require faith. (In actuality, though both are untestable, one of them has some evidence, but we'll sidebar that for now.)

Where I would diverge is this: atheism actually makes no claim as to how the universe started. None. All atheism is is a lack of belief in a deity. The extra stuff about how the universe was created is a separate matter altogether. Atheism makes literally no claim about how the universe started. Granted, most atheists also have beliefs about the creation of the universe (Big Bang), but they are not equivalent beliefs. (And I know atheists who have no opinion about how the universe was created, precisely because it is so unknowable and untestable.)

Understanding that difference is pretty important, I'd say. If atheism really did entail all that you think it does, then you'd have a point. But it doesn't. Atheism is just the rejection of a claim.

So again I state that atheism isn't a faith, because faith is a specific belief in something that cannot be tested - in this case the existence of a deity. But because atheism makes no positive claims of any sort (ie, nothing about how the universe started), it is impossible for atheism to have anything faith-like in and of itself. It makes no claims about the origin of the universe or anything else. All it is is a denial of a claim made by others.

Again, it is like leprechauns. Unless you're willing to admit that you have a faith based around your lack of belief in leprechauns, then your argument isn't valid. Much in the same way you and I both reject the claim made by some that leprechauns are real, the atheist rejects the claim that god is real. But neither one is a faith, because neither one has an active "belief" in the existence of something. The whole notion of how we all came to be and exist is a different matter altogether.

So in conclusion: atheism can't be faith. Big-bang-ism, however, could be described as such.

PS: I also agree that it is pointless to try to sway other people's beliefs about how we all got here or the validity of particular religions. And I am certainly not trying to say that religions are wrong and that atheism is right. All I am attempting to do is explain what atheism is, in the same way a Christian might want to clarify what his belief system is when he comes across a well-meant, but ultimately wrong, belief.

Also PSS: I would hate for my beliefs/"faith" in how the universe was started to be unwavering. If evidence to the contrary were to present itself, I'd have to waver, no? I am always open to new valid evidence changing or challenging my views. I suppose that'd be another way my "faith" in big-bang-ism would differ from traditional religious faiths.

Paul
Paul

 Neither atheism or theism can be proved.  One can compare Christianity with Confucism and come to the conclusion that both are a faith based morality structure.

The creation myths of different religions and cultures bear many similarities, even from societies which were not monotheistic

To say that atheism is the negative of theism is a one sided argument.  One can simply say that theism is the negative of atheism and the argument is equally valid.

My point is, is that arguments over matters of faith are pointless and without end.  At best one ends up in the same situation as a theoretical physicist who can basically proclaim: "Look at me!  I have an untestable hypothesis supported by a self consistent set of axioms followed by logically ordered inductions."

It is the same way with atheism and theism, no amount of debate will convince the believer of one set of beliefs to change to another set of beliefs.

It is the same situation as when someone "converts" from one religion to another. In one instance they were practicing a religion without faith and now they are practicing a religion with a faith in the tenets of that particular religion.

While you have made a beautiful argument, and I applaud your for doing so, I remain unconvinced as both of our positions are a matter of faith and therefore untestable or unverifiable within the limits of current human perception.

May your faith in your origin and existence be unwavering.

RTGolden
RTGolden

But, Travelocity is real, right?  I've got tickets.

Henry McFadyen
Henry McFadyen

All of it. Theism makes a positive claim as to the existence of something. The fact that the something is unprovable is where faith comes in. The religious have faith that God (the something) exists, despite no verifiable evidence that such a thing exists.

The atheist, however, doesn't accept the positive claim of the theist. There is no faith involved in this. The default is null. (Every person is born atheist, after all.) This is the same as a lack of faith in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Until any evidence for such a thing is presented, I will remain with my default null position. No faith needed.

The fact that the "something" in one case is the supposed creator of the universe and the "something" in the other case is tiny little Irish gnome people is irrelevant. In both cases, the default position is null, the proponent of both makes a positive claim as to the existence of something, and puts his or her faith that such a thing exists, even though there is no evidence of either God(s) or leprechauns existing. The properties of both supernatural entities is not important.

Therefore, atheism is no more a faith than aleprechaunism. I can't prove aleprechaunism any more than you can. But do you consider that a faith? By your logic, it would have to be. By my logic, neither is a faith. Which seems more reasonable to you?

Paul
Paul

 "Not really, though" to which part?

Paul
Paul

 That is a rather poor analogy.

The main tenet of atheism is that there is no "supreme being" who created the world and by extension us.

Just as with the belief that a "supreme being" created the world is just as much a matter of faith as is atheism.  Neither can be proved and the only argument is a self consistent hypothesis that is based on unreproducible or unavailable factual data or repeatable experimentation.

Unless you believe that leprechauns created the world, aleprechaunism is not analogous to atheism.

The belief that there is no creator is just as much a matter of faith as is the belief that there is a creator.

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