A Judge Has Ruled Against Atheists Trying to Put Up the Least Offensive Ad Ever

By Hemant Mehta

A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that a government agency had every right to reject an atheist advertisement, putting a temporary end to a saga that’s dragged on for more than six years.

In 2012, atheist Justin Vacula and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Freethought Society attempted to place the following ad on buses in the County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS).

If that seems like quite literally the least offensive atheist ad ever, that’s kind of the point. This was a year when a lot of atheist groups were buying bus ads and billboards promoting their views, so Justin went in a different direction by trying to run an ad with the word “atheist,” links to a couple of websites, and pretty much nothing else.

COLTS took the bait by rejecting the ad. They actually called it too “controversial.”

Seriously. Too controversial. The COLTS policy at the time allowed them to reject ads “deemed controversial” or which would otherwise “spark public debate.”

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