Recently, numerous people--including the governor of the state--were outraged when the Des Moines Area Regional Transit buses started carrying ads sponsored by the Iowa Atheist and Freethinkers group. The signs read, "Don't believe in God? You are not alone." The signs went up on August 1 and came down on August 5.
The Atheist Ethicist presents a thought-provoking perspective on this.
If the story stops here, then the message that the story itself will spread across the city of Des Moines is exactly the opposite of the story that those who arranged for the advertisement wanted. The story will spread to those who do not believe in God that they must shut up and remain silent to be accepted. The story is that those who hate atheists will make sure that any sign that there is an atheist in their midst will be met with hostility and protest until the atheist is silent – because the only good atheist is an invisible atheist.
Perhaps one way to explain it to them in a way they will understand is to tell the story of the owner of a small night-club who, having no animosity against Jews, hired a Jewish singer, only to fire her the next day because the community is full of bigots who refused to patronize a place that would dare to put a Jew on the stage.
You see there's nothing as offensive as telling people that if they don't believe in God they're not alone.
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