Advertising companies that rent space on billboards may often have rules about not allowing certain ads (like those promoting alcohol) in the vicinity of schools. Who knew, though, that education about atheism, freethought, and church-state separation are equivalent to selling alcohol? That’s apparently the position of CBS Outdoor in Phoenix, Arizona, where the Freedom From Religion Foundation is putting up several “Imagine No Religion” billboards.
CBS Outdoor refused to grant the FFRF space near schools or churches. They won’t say why, but I suppose they think that freethought would be corrupting to the youth and offensive to the religious. Those would not be unusual beliefs in America today, but it’s always sad to see such bigotry and even worse to see it having practical, negative consequences on the ability of nonbelievers to act as freely as believers. You just know that billboards promoting belief in the Christian god would not have been subjected to the same restrictions, but somehow it’s always the atheists who are really the intolerant ones.
Phoenix will be the first city to have as many as five signs. But getting the billboards up did not come without hurdles. The five sites chosen by the organization were changed after CBS Outdoor said they had to be 1,000 feet from any schools or churches, Gaylor said. The site locations were finalized late last week, and CBS Outdoor was not available for comment over the weekend.
Source: AZ Central
What’s sadly ironic is that religious believers wouldn’t necessarily be offended by the signs. Some, at least, don’t have a problem with atheists expressing themselves on an equal basis alongside believers and hope that such equality might lead to productive conversation.