Religion in Society

Bus Sign War Heats Up with Athiest's 'Sleep in on Sundays"

| by FFRF

"war of the bus signs" is escalating in Madison, Wis., with the debut
this week of the Freedom From Religion Foundation's first exterior bus
sign, advising: "Sleep in on Sundays."

Foundation's new slogan, which will appear on 12 Metro Transit buses
for a month, playfully tweaks religion via its Gothic lettering and
stained-glass window background, and advertises the Freedom From
Religion Foundation and its website,

Foundation Co-President Dan Barker: "The fact that secular groups
around the world are taking their message to public transit systems has
great symbolic import. Nonbelievers are not just relegated to 'the back
of the bus' anymore."

Foundation, the nation's largest association of atheists and agnostics
with nearly 14,000 members, unveiled six thoughtful-provoking signs
inside 50 Madison buses in February. The bus signs, which will stay up
another month, feature freethinking quotes, such as Clarence Darrow's
observation, "I don't believe in God because I don't believe in Mother

homophobic minister Rev. Ralph Ovadal and his church, Pilgrims Covenant
Church in Monroe, Wis., responded by placing signs on the outside of a
dozen Madison buses employing the biblical insult to atheists found in
Psalm 14:1: "The fool has said in his heart there is no God."

bus signs don't name-call," responded Annie Laurie Gaylor, Foundation
co-president. "We freethinkers are much more polite than the bible!"

Ovadal apparently has forgotten that Jesus, in the New Testament (Matt.
5:22), even warns that you are in danger of hellfire if you call
someone a fool," added Dan Barker, a former evangelical minister and
author of Godless and Losing Faith in Faith. (Jesus then goes on to call people fools, Matt. 23:17!)

there are many reasons to reject religion, most of them intellectual,"
noted Barker. "But face it—one of the immediate benefits of quitting
church, besides a 10% raise, is getting to sleep in on Sundays! What
the world really needs is a good night's sleep."

Atheist Foundation of Australia tried to place bus advertisements there
saying "Sleep in on Sunday Mornings." That slogan was inexplicably
deemed too controversial, Gaylor said. "We like the idea of running a
message that has been censored elsewhere."

The Foundation is also conducting an online ballot/contest
so freethinkers around the country can help FFRF choose a second slogan
for bus exteriors. Suggested slogans include: "Religion Once Ruled the
World. It was Known as the Dark Ages" (taken from Ruth Hurmence Green),
"The Truth Shall Set You
Free From Religion" (suggested by poet Philip Appleman), and several
about 9/11, including author Victor Stenger's suggestion: "Science
flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings." Since being
launched online last week, the contest has attracted about a thousand
voters, who may also suggest their own slogans.

coincidence, FFRF learned, after starting its ballot, that German
humanists are doing the same thing. However, in order to vote at the
German site, you have to donate! British Humanists, who took the world
by storm by placing bus signs saying, "There's Probably No God. Now
Stop Worrying and Enjoy your Life," raised more than $200,000 in a
short period last fall through an online campaign. Spanish nonbelievers
also put up bus signs after raising money online.

The Foundation announced its first online campaign to raise funds to post bus signs in February.

have a lot more ground to cover than freethinkers in European countries
do, but so far, we've taken in under $4,000," Gaylor reported. "We're
grateful for all donations and we're in it for the long haul. We
encourage freethinkers who are weathering the economy to consider
making a tax-deductible donation. It's patriotic! It's a stimulus plan
for public transit systems!"

Foundation hopes to launch campaigns on transit systems in at least a
couple of major cities this year. FFRF bus signs join the Foundation's
national billboard campaign,
in which it has posted more than 30 billboards in cities in more than
15 states, saying "Imagine No Religion," "Beware of Dogma," "Praise
Darwin–Evolve Beyond Belief," and "Keep Religion OUT of Politics."

Make a tax-deductible donation to National FFRF Bus Campaign! Let's Show the Brits That 'Yes We Can' Do It, Too!