The wheels on the godless bus go round and round

December 15, 2010

So a group of atheists in Fort Worth, Texas bought some ad space on buses that says “Millions of people are good without God.”  Rather innocuous message, but this is America where atheists are less popular than wifebeaters and murderers of abortion doctors.  From the NY Times article:

“We want to tell people they are not alone,” said Terry McDonald, the chairman of Metroplex Atheists, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason, which paid for the atheist ads. “People don’t realize there are other atheists. All you hear around here is, ‘Where do you go to church?’ ”

But the reaction from believers has been harsher than anyone in the nonbeliever’s club expected. Some ministers organized a boycott of the buses, with limited success. Other clergy members are pressing the Fort Worth Transportation Authority to ban all religious advertising on public buses. And a group of local businessmen paid for the van with the Christian message to follow the atheist-messaged buses around town.

“We just wanted to reach out to them and let them know about God’s love,” said Heath Hill, president of the media company that owns the van and one of the businessmen who arranged for the Christian ads. “We have gotten some pretty nasty e-mails and phone calls from atheists. But it’s really just about the love of God.”

“So God’s love will follow me all around town like an obsessed stalker,” says Tina the Lesbian, now better known as T. Lesbian, who we suspect was raised in one of those Protestant faiths but has lapsed into the “unaffiliated” category. “Blithely wasting gas, doing absolutely nothing but watching wherever I go and whatever I do, telling me I’m not as good as other people. Wow, who would have thought it would take an atheist message on a bus to conjure a perfect representation of the God of organized religion?”

“Saying God loves you to an atheist is much like saying to them ‘Batman loves you’, seeing as both are just fictional characters to atheists,” says Mikka who is a Universal Unitarian, which is like the community college of religions because they’ll let anyone in who shows up. “But at least no one’s done anything horrifying and unconscionable in the name of Batman.  No one strapped a bomb to their chest and blew up people for the glory of The Dark Knight.”

“I don’t know what we Wiccans would put on a bus as our message to closeted pagans,” says Avonia the Wiccan Pimp, who is as her title dictates regarding her faith. “Maybe in Texas we’d need to correct some misconceptions people have of the Wiccan faith first, like one month run a bus ad saying ‘We don’t sacrifice animals and worship the devil.’ Then the next month we’ll run an ad saying ‘We don’t turn people into newts.’ You know, baby steps toward acceptance.”

Ninja Vicki found this part of the article intriguing:

Some of the fiercest criticism has come from black religious leaders. The Rev. Kyev Tatum Sr., president of the local Southern Christian Leadership Conference, has called for a boycott of the buses, saying the ads are a direct attack during a sacred time in the Christian calendar.

“It’s a season to share good will toward all men,” Mr. Tatum said. “To have this at this time come out with a blatant disrespect of our faith, we think is unconscionable.”

“So the fact that atheists can be good without God is an affront to Christmas because… why?” says Ninja Vicki, who we think may be into Buddhism but is really bad at it considering all the things she steals and people she kills. “I would think the song Santa Claus is Coming to Town is more an affront to God because of its request that people be good for goodness sake and so that a fat man who hangs with elves and flies with magic reindeer will give you material goods, not because a bearded man in the clouds – whose son’s birth and death are conveniently scheduled on the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, mind you – will damn you to an eternity of suffering if you’ve been naughty.”

“How insecure do you have to be in your faith to shell out money for a truck to follow around a bus all day that bears an ad that merely says millions of people live good, decent lives without believing in any sort of deity?” says Samurai Cathy, who like most samurai are Shintoists.   “It’s like buying a Ferrari to hide the fact you’ve got a small pecker, except in this case it’s God who’s got the small pecker.  That’s messed up.”

“How long do buses run for in Texas?”  says Anonymous Doug, who we only know worships at the altar of Lemmy from Motorhead.  “18 hours a day?  So I’m thinking they need a shift of like 3 drivers to follow the atheist bus around that whole time.  What sort of salary does that pay and what did the job posting look like?  Wanted: God-fearing driver with sizable bladder for Truth Truck to follow godless heathen bus all day and spread the message that God is a desperate clingy girl with no self-esteem.”

“The atheist is wrong at the end of the story when he says that no one owns December,”  says Bernie the Half-Cyborg Cat, who – like all cats – believes he is a god.  “The forces of capitalism rule this month, demanding lavish expenditures of useless merchandise to bolster their bottom line so that our economy, built shoddily on lies and delusions, can stay propped up for yet another year.  And any questioning of that system on any front, financial or mythical, makes Capitalist Baby Jesus and his sycophantic dick-riders cry like the petulant, emotionally immature children that they are.”

Personally, as an atheist, I like these ads that just tell other atheists out there that they’re not alone.  It’s not like we have a church we can go to and hear how awesome we are ever week (while at the same time being told we are horrible sinners who are worthless if not for the love of Abusive Husband Jesus).  Well, maybe the Internet can do that, but it’s not as impressive as having a big building with fancy stained-glass windows and ornaments to hold your weekly “we’re great, everyone else sucks” meetings.  So for now the secret atheists hordes will just feel a fleeting sense of belonging whenever the atheist bus to downtown comes rolling by, and life can go on as it has before.



  1. It would be a lot more efficient if they restricted this campaign and counter-campaign to trains. Then again, I’m more worried about that sinister “Emergency Exit” campaign that’s been running on the buses all these years without complaint.

  2. Have I told you lately that I love you?

    • No, and you haven’t told me how pretty I look in a while either. It’s not easy being such a sexy atheist.

  3. there are very few things that will get me to texas (Austin is one…), but a chance to ride an atheist bus might just do it…

  4. Perhaps if they were to hold atheist services in the aforementioned buses.

    They could have someone with a degree in not-Seminary get up and lead everyone in un-prayers and secular songs. There could be a homily entitled, “What the fuck are the other ninety-five percent of the people in the world thinking.”

    Best yet, the service would have to be really short to cater to those people that were only going a few blocks.

    Also, I’m so glad the snow is gone. If I was capable of the positive spectrum of emotions, I would be very happy.

  5. What always cracks me up is the idea quite a few religious people have that atheists sit around talking about being atheists all the time, just the way aforesaid religious people dwell on their religion. Well, I guess they do.

    It’s futile to try to explain to them that for most of us — with noisy exceptions like P. Z. Myers — atheism and agnosticism simply mean “not thinking about it all that much.” We don’t ruminate on hatred of a God that doesn’t exist, at least not in the ever-popular Big Parent form, any more than we ruminate on our abandonment of the belief that stepping on a crack would break our grandmother’s back.

    Agnosticism gets a bad rap, by the way. Really doctrinaire atheists snort out their noses at people who describe themselves that way, saying it represents intellectual cowardice, when all it means is “I don’t effin’ know.” Someone may eventually demonstrate that there is some sort of pervasive consciousness in the universe. It doesn’t affect my daily life, and if it exists, it sure doesn’t care about abortions and keeping the Sabbath.

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