Atheist Group: Movie Theater Discriminated Against Us By Pulling Ad

An atheist group in Texas is claiming discrimination after a local movie theater backed out of an agreement to run ads for the organization during pre-movie slideshows.

A rep for the group tells CBS that his organization had signed a six-month contract with the theater but that the exhibitor decided to cancel that agreement one day before the ads to begin showing.

“[T]here were Christians in the community that were upset that atheists were able to advertise in the movie theaters and the business decided to cancel our contract simply on the basis of our religious beliefs,” he claims to CBS. “[I]t’s my understanding they allow churches to advertise there, and if they allow churches to advertise there, they should allow our organization to advertise there.”

An attorney with the American Humanist Association believes that the theater’s decision violates Title II of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, saying that the law “prohibits a business establishment such as a theater from discriminating on the basis of religious views (such as atheism).”

The atheists have yet to file a lawsuit but tell CBS it’s a possibility.

Theater Denies Atheists Their Advertisement Time []


Edit Your Comment

  1. Snowblind says:

    Goose… gander.

  2. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    I guess their customer base has a larger percentage of believers than atheists. Har har. God’s gonna getcha!

  3. Clyde Barrow says:

    atheists = assholes

    Good grief. What other group whines, complains, and get downright violent about religion? The atheists. They’re almost as bad as PETA.

    If they don’t like it, do business somewhere else. If you see a cross? Well, then don’t look at it. Pretty simple McFly!

    • cromartie says:

      Troll much? Or too stupid to read a history book.

    • sagodjur says:

      You forgot your sarcasm tag, but otherwise, bravo on such an absurdist parody!

    • The Fake Fake Steve Jobs says:

      Do you remember that time those silly atheists fire-bombed abortion clinics? Yeah, neither do I.
      Do you remember that time those silly atheists kidnapped a person, and beheaded them on video? Yeah, neither do I.
      Do you remember that time those silly atheists went on a crusade killing everyone who wouldn’t believe the same thing they did? Yeah, neither do I.

      Last time I checked, asking for equal treatment isn’t being an asshole.

      • Fast Eddie Eats Bagels says:


      • dolemite says:

        I agree. Either you allow no religious advertising or you allow it for all. You can’t pick and choose.
        I seriously wonder if this theater in TX would allow Muslim advertising, as that would be sure to get these same Christians in an uproar.

      • longfeltwant says:

        I’m an atheist, but don’t go too far trying to claim that atheists have never committed atrocities in the name of atheism, because Communist countries have quite a sordid history of religious persecution. You can call that government-promotion instead of religion-persecution, but that’s a distinction which isn’t always deeply meaningful.

        Atheists don’t have the correct world view because they are the nicest folks on the planet; they have the correct world view because the things they believe are true.

        • Theoncomingstorm says:

          By saying “they have the correct world view because the things they believe are true.” I presume atheists, or just you, KNOWS there is no G-d or an afterlife? In order to know that you would have to be omniscient, in order to be omniscient, you’d have to be god. I believe you have faith that there is no G-d, we have no proof either way, just evidence one way or the other.

          • Fishnoise says:

            It seems paranoid to spell “god” as “G-d” even when you’re using the word in a mostly generic sense and not necessarily denoting the specific deity I assume you worship.

            What exactly are you afraid He-Who-Cannot-Be-Named will do to you?

            • Talmonis says:

              Many forums will flag your comment and it will be moderated out. He may be gun shy.

              • drjayphd says:

                That, or Jewish. I know of a few friends, at least, who use “G-d”, but they’re probably just more observant of the rabbinical laws regarding such things.

      • icruise says:

        Exactly. In America admitting you’re an atheist is just barely better than admitting you’re a child molester, but I can’t for the life of me understand why. Atheists in general are decent people who by definition avoid these kind of extremist acts. Nobody kills people in the name of non-belief. The only thing I can figure is that many religious people are so invested in the idea that you need a higher power to be a decent and well adjusted person that they think there MUST be something wrong with atheists, even if they seem like good people. After all, religious people can’t be spending all that time and money in church for no reason, right?

        As for the idea that atheism is “just the same” as other religions, that’s just hogwash. You can’t drive more than a few blocks in the US without seeing a church, but when’s the last time you saw an atheist organization? Most atheists in the US are closeted for the reason I mentioned above. People can literally lose their jobs or their places in their community for being outspoken atheists. And yet somehow it’s the Christians who are the victims.

        • Jane_Gage says:

          Nobody kills people in the name of non-belief. Except Stalin. (I’m an atheist too, just saying.)

          • Kate says:

            Stalin didn’t kill people for non-belief either. He killed people for having power that threatened him.

            • Moweropolis says:

              Exactly. Stalin’s regime actually denounced Darwinism as some kind of Capitalist propaganda. He didn’t kill in the name of atheism, he killed in the name of anti-capitalism and self preservation.

    • McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

      Quote: What other group whines, complains, and get downright violent about religion?

      Answer: Almost all other religions!

    • Marlin says:

      “What other group whines, complains, and get downright violent about religion?”

      Christianity, Islam, Scientology, etc… and on and on…

    • fortymegafonzies says:

      Yes, I totally agree with you. All businesses should be free to discriminate against whichever religious group they choose. We could have like a Mormon-only Burger King on one side of the street and a Catholic-only Burger King on the other side. /s

      • Jawaka says:

        But is Atheism really a religion or the disbelief of religion?

        • shepd says:

          The belief in religion is the cause of the issue, as if nobody believed, these issues would not have existed. Therefore religion is the cause.

          Or you could simplify it all and just say that atheism is a sort-of religion and give it the same protections so you don’t have to go through the bullshit above.

    • Jawaka says:

      I find it amusing that Atheists can’t just non believe on their own but feel the need to advertise to let others know that they don’t believe in order to feel content about it.

      • The Fake Fake Steve Jobs says:

        Ironically, I feel the same way about religious people. If you want to believe in a flying teacup in the sky that makes your day good, go for it.

        But do you need to come to my house to “save me”? No.

      • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

        I find it amusing that believers can’t just believe on their own but feel the need to advertise to let others know that they believe in order to feel content about it. I don’t get atheists knocking on my door.

        • Jawaka says:

          But they do try to advertise to you in local theaters.

          I’m just curious. If Atheism is the rejection of the belief of a deity then is it really a religion and can they really sue for religious discrimination?

          • sagodjur says:

            Yes, atheism (and agnosticism) is a belief about religion and being discriminated against because you don’t hold the same religious beliefs as others is the same as being discriminated against because you hold different religious beliefs as others. Six of one, half dozen of the other, same result.

          • longfeltwant says:

            Good question. Is it a “religion” if there is no nonsense and magical beliefs involved?

            I would say no. It’s only a religion if it requires fooling yourself into claiming to believe nonsense. If the things you believe are realistic and reasonable, then that’s not religion. That’s how I would define it for common usage.

            For constitutional purposes, however, atheism must be construed as a religion, or else it would be permissible for Congress to pass a law specifically, explicitly forcing all atheists to stop (dis)believing what they do, and forcing them to choose some kind of magical beliefs. In the same way that we have construed “speech” to mean “expression” (freedom of speech applies even to the written word — imagine that), we must construe “religion” to mean “conscience” or “world view”.

            • partofme says:

              So many lolz. Do you believe maths? Do you believe the most commonly used foundation of math (ZFC) is realistic and reasonable? Do you believe the Banach-Tarski paradox? Oops, we just ran into a contradiction. Either you believe something absurd, or you eschew mathematics. How many fairies does your theory have to have before it becomes nonsense, unrealistic, and unreasonable? The problem with attempts to shove aside ‘nonsense’ and ‘magic’ by fiat or by definition is that you need a good definition of nonsense or magic… which means you must have good philosophy/religion already… which means you can’t do this by fiat or definition.

              (Disclaimer: I love mathematics and science. I’ve made my life doing mathematics and science. I’m just sick of people trying to define away religion in really poor ways.)

              • longfeltwant says:

                Effect follows cause by natural laws with no exceptions.

                The exceptions would be magic: supernatural effects.

                Religion is magic.

                • partofme says:

                  And your simplistic statements hide too many philosophical details for me to address in the comments, so I’ll take only one example. How do you determine these natural laws and the set of what exists? Empiricism, correct? A thing or law must be repeatably observable, on demand. Which by induction implies that it should be observable for all time. The problem is that we know that observability has and can have a time-dependence. Purely scientific example: stars and the expansion of the universe. At some point in time, stars will no longer be visible. At that time, scientists will be left saying, “Our scientific patriarchs spoke of these things called stars, and we believe they exist.” Of course, they’ll be ridiculed by Richard Dawkins the 300th, claiming that Hubble was just a delusional 20th century nut. I mean, how convenient… the theory that says they’re no longer observable is supportable only by supposed observations of them…

                  Your philosophy is flawed. Even worse: your simplistic and antagonistic formulations of that philosophy make people think you’re an idiot.

                  • longfeltwant says:

                    Dude, you just defended the belief in magic. Okay, that’s nice, you are in the large majority of people who believe in magic (until they actually think about it, many of them), but you are still wrong. There’s no such thing as magic. Grow up.

                    • partofme says:

                      No. I ripped apart your horribly naive ontology. Grow up and read a book. The only way you can call religion magic is if you understand neither religion nor magic (oh, and you’d also have to have no idea what empiricism actually is (in either the epistemic sense or the ontologic sense)). Note: calling it false is not the same as calling it magic. You can’t rid yourself of something by defining it away.

                    • longfeltwant says:

                      I don’t need to define away magic, because there is nothing to define away, becaue there is no such things as magic.

                      This is your argument in a nutshell: “blah blah blah magic might be real because of a book I read once or something”. No, dude, grow up. Magic is nonsense. You are defending nonsense. I don’t care about some kind of math or philosophy tricks, because you aren’t addressing the basic notion. Either we live in an exclusively natural universe (my claim) or magic is real (your claim, or some nonsense dancing around that claim).

                      Magic. Think about that for a second. Magic. Really?

                    • partofme says:

                      I’ll respond with a new thread so we’ll have more than a horizontal inch to ponder your basic notion.

                    • partofme says:

                      …furthermore, I said nothing about what I believe or don’t believe. I just said that you’re an idiot who hasn’t bothered to learn anything about philosophy besides false equivocations and antagonistic talking points. I rip apart plenty of terrible arguments on both sides of the atheist/theist divide. As a scientist, your ignorance drives me nuts.

                • partofme says:

                  Of course, you don’t have to believe me. You could listen to notable atheist cosmologist Lawrence Krauss’ presentation at AAI, where he explicitly stated, “Empirical, falsifiable science will be wrong.”

                • partofme says:

                  …also, I am happy that you changed your definition in response to realizing it was bad. The problem is just that you changed it to another one that is also bad.

          • Kate says:

            Legally, yes it is considered a religion, although it’s more an opinion on religion and since you can be discriminated against because you are an atheist it’s kind of silly to ask if it’s religious discrimination – what kind of discrimination is it, if it’s not religious?

            • rmorin says:

              Legally, yes it is considered a religion

              Where is a source on this? What legal precedent is there? What court case are you refering to?

              You can’t put “legally” before a statement without some corroboation.

            • Jawaka says:

              Its called difference of opinion. I’m just curious if they really have legal ground to sue. Atheism isn’t a religion IMO, it’s the disbelief of religion and therefore shouldn’t be offered religious protections. It’s like trying to prove a negative.

        • madmallard says:

          The nearest atheists to you are lazy, then. Because they do… they engage in almost every annoying behavior in your head right now that you associate with religious people.

          • sagodjur says:

            Can I get some corroboration on this? I’ve seen a ad here or there somewhere very infrequently about atheism. Otherwise, I’ve never had them come to my door. I’ve never had them tell me I’m a bad person for being religious (probably also because I’m not religious). I’ve never had them try to force their morality upon me. I’ve never seen them protest outside of a church or a funeral or anywhere else for that matter.

            Even if you do have proof that atheists do all these things, I would severely doubt that they do it to the extent that religious people do.

            • madmallard says:

              My accounting is anecdotal. And I don’t even have to show they do it as much as religious do. By even a sliver of a margin of them doing it kinda sucks the wind out of the sanctimony and (anti)piety they assume the mantle of by trying to differentiate themselves from the spiritual and saying they dont do such things ever.

              • Doubting thomas says:

                so if a sliver of a margin do it all atheists are hypocrites. OK, good to know the rules. Then all Catholics are child raping pedophiles, all protestants are hate-mongering, funeral protesting assholes, and all Muslims are now extremist terrorists

                • Kensuke Nakamura says:

                  Nailed it! High five.

                  • madmallard says:

                    he nailed nothing because atheists and many other people -already- say this and far worse about catholics and the catholic church.

                    If you’re impressed by this, you have low standards.

                • Coffee says:

                  You could not have put it better than this. Religious people need to be very, very careful about how they paint atheists vis a vis proselytizing…it’s impossible to not sound like a hypocritical jackass.

                  • madmallard says:

                    Why do religious people need to be careful about anything? They are already called hypocrits largely in many open and public circles, so what difference would it make?

                    The hypocracy I’m pointing out is not that the religion at large isn’t practicing what it preaches. we could fill volumes on that topic alone. But it IS is most dogma that followers are to spread teachings and attempt to convert people.

                    The hypocracy is the false idea that atheists aren’t somehow associated with a similar activity at all on any level and are therefore free from reprisal to criticise all others.

                    • Coffee says:

                      While I agree that the boorish behavior of others who represent themselves as a part of your faith should not prevent you, as another member, from levying criticism where criticism is due, like other posters here, I’ve never, ever heard of atheists walking door-to-door trying to convert people to their non-faith, at least not in the United States, and there certainly isn’t a concerted effort.

                    • sagodjur says:

                      You’re using the opposite of a No True Scotsman fallacy here. Instead of excluding anyone that doesn’t fit what you’re arguing against, you’re being overly inclusive so as to assert that the behavior of extreme members of a group can be held as an example of the behavior of anyone in that group and therefore, your remarks against that group should be considered accurate.

                      If 1 out of a 1000 atheists actively proselytizes (and I’m completely making that number up), you can’t pretend that atheists as a whole are proselytizing in nature. As Doubting Thomas pointed out, just because a member of a group does something bad doesn’t mean that every member of that group does that bad thing or can be labeled as perpetrating that behavior.

                • madmallard says:

                  You’ve missed the point entirely. People already voice such hypocracies about Catholics and the Vatican. You don’t have to look hard in Google News to easily find a prevailing and dominant level of news coverage on the topic you mentioned.

                  Most atheists like to claim a mantle of enlightened immunity to similar scrutiny. That their path is completely absent of such behavior.

                  it is not. they, and you, would do well to remember, we are all the same flawed lumps of carbon.

              • Kate says:

                The only time I’ve heard of any atheists doing that was as a joke.

                Perhaps you are one of the cranks that was on You Tube that answered the door?

                Otherwise, tell us which city you are in and I will track down the atheist organization there if one exists and ask them about it.

          • Dre' says:


      • Portlandia says:

        I can’t believe that Christians don’t just believe but need to go around door to door and around the world preaching their religion. Why can’t they just shut-up and pray in silence as god has instructed.

        See, we can both play that game.

      • The Porkchop Express says:

        I think they advertise so that people with the same (non?) beliefs can know where to go for support or contact with like minded people. in some cities (maybe even states) those people may be hard to find.

        • Sparkstalker says:

          Exactly – there are a lot of people out there who don’t believe, but are afraid to be open about their beliefs because of fear of being ostracized from their friends and family. Seth Andrews of The Thinking Atheist has done a video about it. What some people go through is hell:

      • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

        I find it amusing that consumers can’t just handle their own complaints but but have to go to Consumerist to butt into other peoples problems.

        • Naked-Gord-Program says:

          Hey That’s freedom of speech. If you don’t like it you’re welcome to move to Iran.

          Yes – you should move to Iran.

          • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

            Ah yes, freedom of speech except for atheists who should keep quiet and who are hypocrites if they don’t. Facepalm.

      • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

        That’s what the Romans said about Jesus and Paul.

      • Kensuke Nakamura says:

        Why can’t christians just believe on their own without telling other people how they’re going to hell because they don’t believe, because they believe in the wrong god, believe in the wrong brand of the right god, doing the wrong thing in the bedroom… etc.
        Oh, probably because their religion tells them to advertise to others… which is fine, it’s covered under freedom of speech. Just don’t raise a hissy when that same freedom is used back at you.
        Anyway, the theater is a business and they’re not allowed to discriminate based on religion, that’s the issue.

        • LabGnome says:


          I would think that it is not that atheists advertise more, it is that it is noticed when we advertise more. Novelty and the hate for the group (most distrusted and hated group in America according to many surveys) make their advertisements stand out more I would think.

      • Naked-Gord-Program says:

        It’d be funny if it wasn’t so sick that christians talk about love and peace so much but they, and their right wing buddies, love to push war.

        Oh yeah…and murder abortion doctors.

        Very funny…

      • the real napster says:

        So jsut stay in the closet, eh? Hide your beliefs, eh? Why should we when every religious person feels the need to bandy about their beliefs to all who are in earshot, or worse try to code law based upon these beliefs.

        it would be wonderful if they could not believe and then not be subjected to scorn, ridicule, condemnation and abuse as a result. I don’t make a big deal about my lack of belief. i go about my business. But when you (meaning a religious person) tries to utilize their faith to control me I will object. Then that brings out the hate, the verbal abuse and whatnot. What this group is trying to do is let other atheists know that they are not alone and that yes it is actually ok not to believe.

        Maybe it’s the fact that so many quate atheism w/a lac of morals. I’ve had so many people say “where do you get your morals from?” My response is “if you can’t figure out on your own that murder, theft, lying, slavery and rape are wrong on your own, and all that keeps you from doing it is the threat of eternal damnation, then I don’t consider you a moral person.” That usually ends the discussion.

      • n0th1ng says:

        This bugs me.Why do Atheists do this?

        • Azagthoth says:

          Seriously? I have had Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, and many other religious zealots try to waste my Saturday morning spreading their message. I have yet to lose one second to an Atheist at my door.

    • thrillcook says:

      “Pretty simple McFly”

      I wish I had a time machine. It would support or disprove a lot about this comment.

    • Doubting thomas says:

      What other group whines complains and gets downright violent about their religion? Was that a serious question?
      How about christians whining about a mythical war on christmas. How about Muslims rioting and murdering over cartoons.

      • rdm says:

        …and Christians (especially in the US) claiming they are persecuted. Give me a break!

      • Naked-Gord-Program says:

        How about christians blowing up abortion clinics and murderinging doctors? How about Muslims stoning gay people to death?

        The sole existence for these religions so to institutionalize hate – everything else they do is just a cover for that.

        We need to purge this scum from our society.

        • SBR249 says:

          Right so you respond to a post that equates atheists to assholes by equating all religious people to murdering scum that needs to be purged from society? I can see how that backs up your point very well…

      • poco says:

        How about obvious troll was obvious. Stop feeding him.

      • Theoncomingstorm says:

        “Mythical” war on Christmas? If it is so mythical, why do we hear about all the ACLU lawsuits concerning nativity scenes?, why are a great deal of christmas festivities being renamed “winter” parties, festivals, etc? I don’t care about atheists disbelief in G-d, that’s between you and he when the time comes.

        And not all atheists are walking, talking rectums, only the militant ones.

    • chucklebuck says:

      Hey, thanks for calling me an asshole pal, appreciate it! Not sure what I did to you personally, but since you’re equating all atheists with assholes, I guess I fall into that bucket. Sure gets me down though. I mean, I know there are people who hold the same religious non-belief that I do that can be annoying as hell to deal with, but there are some pretty nice people (moi included, I’d like to think) in that group too – a lot like many other groups of people who are lumped together using only a single criterion, come to think of it.

      Anyway, no hard feelings – hope you have a great life with plenty of smiles and remain unburdened by the generalizations of others!

      Your Friend in Consumerism,


    • Coffee says:

      That was masterfully trolled. I commend you. I mean, I assume you’re just trolling. If not, you’re the most un-self-aware, hypocritical, moronic jackass I’ve had the pleasure of hearing for a good long while. But no…no one is that obtuse unless it’s deliberate. Well done.

      • Straspey says:

        And not only that –

        He was so good at it that you can see he got 27 other people (28 counting me) to feed him – while he just sat back and enjoyed the show.

        I totally agree with you – it was a masterful display of successful trolling.

    • Difdi says:

      Christians, to name one.

      • LabGnome says:

        To his credit maybe Christians complain less. Of course, it is hard to complain when you are the majority and generally get your way? I mean, who gets up and yells, ‘It is not fair that I am not discriminated against?!’

        • RvLeshrac says:

          I dunno, I see them on Fox whining and moaning all the time about how they’re “discriminated” against.

    • Cor Aquilonis says:

      + over 9000 points for successful trolling!

    • RayanneGraff says:

      Let’s re-word this a bit, so maybe you can see why you’re an idiot.

      black people = assholes

      Good grief. What other group whines, complains, and get downright violent about discrimination? The blacks. They’re almost as bad as PETA.

      If they don’t like it, do business somewhere else. If you see a burning cross? Well, then don’t look at it. Pretty simple McFly!

      See how bad that sounds? Discrimination is discrimination. Black people got sick of being treated like second-class citizens, so they started standing up for themselves. Same with atheists now. And I’ve yet to encounter a single atheist that got VIOLENT about anything. Can’t say the same for religious people! Ass.

    • LanMan04 says:

      Fuck you, troll.

    • Ocyrus says:

      I’m guessing you’d prefer jews to wear yellow stars, huh?

  4. Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

    Nah, Xtians would NEVER discriminate or treat a group poorly because of differing beliefs. They’re all love and turning the other cheek and not suffering a witch to live.

  5. Arcaeris says:

    Man, my dad lives right by there. It’s no wonder they won’t air these ads: there’s a gigantic church every block or two in that area, if not more than one.

  6. Alan says:

    Does not believing in religious beliefs count as a religious belief?

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      No… and Off is not a TV channel.

      • sagodjur says:

        But “nothing” is a choice about what to watch on TV. “I don’t watch TV” is a valid response to the question of what your favorite TV show is.

        This analogy doesn’t work for agnostics very well though. “I’m not sure that you can know if there is something good to watch on TV…”

    • Marlin says:

      Most religions do not believe in any deity than 1, so if their belief is non-belief in 9000 gods except theirs then not believing in 9001 gods is not that much different. ;-)

    • sagodjur says:

      It is a belief about religion, regardless of whether that belief is pro-religion, so yes. Otherwise freedom of religion would be equivalent to saying that you only have that freedom if you have a religion (and a lot of so-called conservative Constitutionalists would wrongly argue that it means freedom of Christian religion).

    • fortymegafonzies says:

      Atheism is not a religion in the same way eating nothing for dinner is not a meal. Atheism is a religious option, but, by definition, is not a religion any more than an empty plate is a meal.

      • Round-Eye §ñ‰∫∫„ÅØ„Ç≥„É≥„Çπ„Éû„É™„ÉÉ„Çπ„Éà„ÅåÂ•Ω„Åç„Åß„Åô„ÄÇ says:

        I think that’s one of the best similes for Atheism I’ve ever seen. Thank you for that. I will use it in the future.

      • NinjaMarion says:

        And nobody here stated it was a religion. The words were religious beliefs, which is exactly what Atheism is. It’s a belief about religion wherein you do not believe in a god / gods. If you can’t discriminate against someone for believing in a vengeful sky being or an elephant god, you can’t discriminate against someone for simply believing there isn’t one.

      • Portlandia says:

        yeah, but religion is being on a diet and telling everyone else you can’t have any dinner because I’m on a diet.

    • Talmonis says:

      When you make your dis-belief the foundation of your political ideology? Yes. Then again “Atheism” and “Anti-theism” are two drastically different things. All anti-theists are atheists, but not all atheists are anti-theists. For instance, all members of PETA are (reputedly) vegetarians, but not all vegetarians are obnoxious nutbags.

    • Portlandia says:

      Freedom of religion also covers freedom FROM religion.

      • dush says:

        Wrong. Congress shall make no law creating an official religion. That’s the civil right to freedom of religion.
        However, it’s not Congress’ job to keep you from being exposed to any religion at all. There is no civil right to freedom from religion.

        • partofme says:

          You’re kind of right, but the key word you’re really missing is “exercise”. Free exercise certainly includes the right to abstain from exercising. But it doesn’t include the right to never be exposed to it.

  7. Talmonis says:

    Anti-Theists: Please stop calling yourselves Atheists. Atheism does not require advertising, as it’s the default position of a person who has not been influenced by an outside force. Advertising against other organizations is not only antagonistic, but foolish. It makes you look as bad as the fundamentalists by using their own tactics that so many decry. You lose public opinion, and especially harm the casual non-believer, as they are then lumped in with your attack on the beliefs of others.

    Signed, your friendly neighborhood Agnostic-athiest.

    • BobOki says:

      I don’t agree. The common conception that Christians seem to have of Athiests are that they are souless, Godless, evil people who rape and pillage. I would think that putting out information that tells them, “Hey we are average people, and in most cases BETTER people than Christians who judge everything and everyone based on what God you belive in.” As a thiest I have to say Christans are hands down the most hypocritical, cruel, and bloody religion I know of, far surpassing the current “terrorists” we whine about in the news. Thier base of knowledge of their own religion is a couple verses and maybe a idiots guide to. They are the first to offensivly shove their religion and belifs in your face and the last to ever appologize. They are generally rude, obnoxious, and self-entitled thinking they can do anything they want in God’s name and hey they are forgiven so no foul.

      Christians, get your shit together. You do not have any ground to stand on when you entice violence against any group other than your own, take out huge ads everywhere, demand special treatment, but then turn around and say it’s a war on your religion in this free country when anyone wants even close to the same. As it stands right now, you are a joke and a sham of a religion with more people breaking your laws then following them. (p.s. the OT is still supposed to be followed, Jesus himself said so.)

      • partofme says:

        I don’t agree. The “atheists eat babies” meme was always overblown. While some surely do think those things (there are a lot of people out there), I don’t think it’s actually common.

        As a person, I have to say that people are hands down the most hypocritical, cruel, and bloody group I know of. Their base of knowledge of anything is a couple statements and maybe an idiots guide to. They are the first to offensively shove anything in your face and the last to ever apologize. They are generally rude, obnoxious, and self-entitled, thinking that they can do anything they want in whoever’s name (even their own) and hey there’s no foul because of whatever they believe or don’t believe.

        It’s seriously just a percentage of people. That percentage is not higher among any religious group, it’s just that some of those groups are a larger percentage of the population. (p.s. the OT is totes still valid in the NT)

        • Talmonis says:

          Exactly this. People are asshats.

          • partofme says:

            …even people in my group. In fact, each of my groups. I try as much as I can to not personally associate with them, but without close control of every group label you’re associated with, you’ll be associated with a number of asshats.

            • Talmonis says:

              Precisely this. It’s why I argue with vocal atheists and theists who “know” they’re right.

    • Applekid ‚îÄ‚îÄ‚î¨ Ôªø„Éé( „Çú-„Çú„Éé) says:

      THANK YOU.

    • dolemite says:

      Christians have their representatives and lobbyists in every level of government, and influence our laws (see: women forced to be wanded for abortions, and birth control not being covered by insurance, and hundreds of other areas). Why should people that don’t practice that religion (be it Muslim, Atheists, etc.) be subjected to these laws that they don’t believe in? If people that don’t want to be subjected to religious law don’t speak up for themselves, we’ll soon find ourselves in a theocracy, as Christianity makes up the majority of American voters.

      • Talmonis says:

        Yes, the fundamentalists do in fact have their awful tendrils in every level of government. They should also be stomped out whenever they are found to be in violation of the constitutional right to freedom of religion (which is often, but woefully goes unpunished).

        Secondly, I have to follow all sorts of laws I don’t agree with. However, almost all of these laws are constitutionally sound. Those that aren’t, should be eliminated. Which is how it works. There will be no Theocracy, as the size of majority required (constitutional amendment) to implement such a thing would never happen. Ever. We live in a country that elects it’s leaders to reflect the view of the majority (as it should be) within the bounds of the constitution (as it should be) so it is not tyranny by majority. This is abused by certain parties in the country, and those specific instances should be eliminated (legally, and swiftly), but to do this we require lawmakers who are willing to defy the majority will. It will happen, but it takes time.

        Behaving in the same manner as the fundamentalists will only perpetuate the same harmful results, only on the opposite end of the spectrum.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      Atheism does not require advertising

      There’s a difference between advertising atheism itself and advertising to make people aware of your group to hopefully gain new membership. All member organizations advertise to get new members. An ad that says “come join our group” isn’t exactly the same as an ad that says “religion is wrong”.

      • Applekid ‚îÄ‚îÄ‚î¨ Ôªø„Éé( „Çú-„Çú„Éé) says:

        “Come join our group… where you’ll be required to believe that religion is wrong.”

        • TheMansfieldMauler says:

          Yeah no.
          “Come join our group if you believe like we do.”

        • sagodjur says:

          In my experience atheists don’t require anything of anyone, except maybe tolerance of their own choice about belief. You can be a Christian in an atheist club as long as you’re not there to proselytize. Atheists aren’t going to persecute agnostics to make a decision about whether or not you can know if a god exists or if you can know him/her/it.

          • Talmonis says:

            Except for when they do. Like Dawkins.

            • Coffee says:

              This is very true. Some atheists, like Dawkins, as mentioned, are far more judgmental of agnostics than they are of religious people.

              • jefeloco says:

                That’s because agnostics are the non-committals of non-believers :)

                Take that as good or bad but it’s true.

                • sagodjur says:

                  Or else we’re just too meta. I’m actually quite certain in my uncertainty about whether or not a human being can actually know for certain if a god exists.

                  Tell me this – do you think it’s possible for humans to know everything?

                  I’m guessing the usual answer will be, “no, it’s not possible to know everything.”

                  Therefore, how can you be absolutely certain that there isn’t some truth out there that you aren’t aware of that could change your understanding of the universe?

                  It doesn’t seem like you could know and you would only ever know only after you actually already did know.

                  Therefore, I conclude that all belief or disbelief is a choice. You consciously or unconsciously choose to believe whatever you believe. You operate under whatever assumptions you have and everyone else does the same and those seem bound to be different just based on pattern recognition, therefore there’s no reason to get your panties in a twist about who believes what (unless it involves people actively making other people’s lives miserable over a difference of choice when everyone is presented with absurdly arbitrary choices).

              • Kate says:

                Um, you have a cite for that Coffee? Because Dawkins at times calls himself an agnostic and has spoken about that frequently and never judgmentally.

        • Coffee says:

          Because the only reason that people join groups is to talk about shared religious experience? Looks like my mom will have to quit her book groups. And I will have to drop the social circles I have that were initially joined because of one shared non-religious characteristic.

      • ILoveBacon says:

        I had no idea there were atheists who formed groups. What happens there? Is it like a church? Do they get up and preach? Sit around talking about how great atheism is? Collect tithes and offerings? Do they take a communion of spaghetti?

        • jefeloco says:

          Usually when the atheists I know get together (myself included), we just sit around, cook some good food and eat it while knocking back a few tasty brews. We just talk about things that happen around us, like work, school, family and life in general. We basically just shoot the shit while avoiding religion and/or politics in general :)

          As a reply to Talmonis, you really can’t “not believe something exists” (atheism) while also possibly accepting its existing and maybe/maybe not believing in it (agnosticism). I’m not calling you out or saying you’re a dweeb or anything. I prefer to ditch the “agnostic” part and just call myself an atheist because I don’t know. I have no proof of some magical glowing dude in the sky, therefore I don’t know if anything like that exists, therefore I can’t believe in it. Pretty simple, lots of fun at parties.

          Also, I don’t even discuss my atheism with people unless they broach the topic. I don’t look down on religious people because I was one for a good 13-15 years and understand the appeal of religion.

      • Talmonis says:

        But the claim is, that atheism is not a religion or an organization. If they wish to change this, they should do so. However, they should not call it “Atheism” as the concept does not include all (or even most) atheists. It would be like me calling my organization “Americans” and running around in furry costumes performing acts of sodomy. There may be furries in America, but that does not make Americans furries. Do you see what I’m getting at here?

    • sagodjur says:

      They might take offense at being called anti-theists because they might not be against belief in a god. They may just not be for it. Unlike Christians it seems, atheists can be fine with being neutral rather than having to be on one side of a polarized issue or another. It’s the Christians who say, “either you are with me or against me.” Atheists, in my experience, unless persecuted for their non-beliefs, tend to not care about the conflict because it’s a non-issue.

      While atheism may be the default state of a person who hasn’t been influenced by religious teachings, this doesn’t seem to be the default state for Americans. Many (most?) Americans grow being taught religious beliefs to some extent. The ads weren’t even against other organizations specifically, but noted that their beliefs involve not being religious. The ads didn’t say, “Christianity sucks.” I also think that putting it out there for discussion is important because there are a lot of people in the South in my experience who have to keep their lack of faith quiet because the public assumption is that almost every one is a Christian. If there is truly supposed to be freedom of religious belief (including the freedom to not have a religion), then we as a society should be able to discuss that out in the open and not have Christian groups bully businesses into silencing people with other beliefs.

      I don’t even think this is an issue about atheism. This is an issue about over-zealous Christians. They would have thrown a fit if it were a Muslim group doing the advertising. It’s all about them controlling the dialogue on religion in the country. You don’t think Rick Santorum was ever referring to Muslims when he was talking about how religion should be a part of government, do you?

      • AstroPig7 says:

        Minor point: a position of lack of belief, or neutrality, is agnosticism, not atheism. One can be an agnostic atheist by stating they would hedge their bets against the existence of a god, but straight atheism is active disbelief.

        • sagodjur says:

          “Active disbelief” is a biased label for lack of belief. There’s a difference between people being against religion and simply not caring about or believing in religion. One is oppositional and one is neutral, but neither has to be agnostic.

          • AstroPig7 says:

            “Active disbelief” is another way of saying “I believe A does not exist”. Unless something is logically incoherent (which some definitions of God are), proving a negative is extremely difficult. I use this term to distinguish it from “simple disbelief” or a lack of belief in something. Not believing in a god because one has no evidence for said god is agnosticism. Not believing in a god because one specifically thinks it does not exist is atheism.

            Not caring isn’t neutrality, it’s stepping out of the game altogether. We have a term for that: apathetic.

            • sagodjur says:

              atheism – a- meaning “without”, theo- meaning “god.” It’s not anti-theism. It’s atheism. Not being against the belief in a god, but being without a belief in god regardless of whether you are against the belief in god, don’t care about the belief in god, or some other variation thereupon in which you lack a belief in god.

              Agnosticism is not being without the belief in god per se. Agnosticism is not being certain that you can know if there is a god or if you could know it personally if there was one. I’m agnostic and I wouldn’t call myself an atheist. I am not without a belief in god. I’m without the belief that you could even know if there is a god.

              Neutrality is stepping out of the game. Atheism is neutrality. Agnosticism is meta-neutrality. Anti-theism, which is something completely different, is taking a side. And some religious people feel threatened by or actively oppose anyone who doesn’t take a side, especially their own.

              • AstroPig7 says:

                Defining a word from its root components rarely tells you how the word is actually used. We may just have to agree to disagree, because your definitions don’t match mine or the common usage of the words.

                • sagodjur says:

                  I was just reading through the Conservapedia entry for atheism today and, while I know Conservapedia doesn’t speak for all conservatives, it does actually support the concept of atheism as a religion and it is opposed to atheism being defined as “without a belief in god” instead of “denying the existence of god” and the only basis provided for this is that it is the traditional definition of atheism in encyclopedias of philosophy (which were of course written at times when the belief in god was considered a standard convention). This makes it seem as if the support of the definition of atheism as a denial of the existence of god is a theist-centric perspective and this isn’t a neutral, academic definition.

    • Kate says:

      You have no idea what was in those ads, and no, atheism doesn’t require advertising, just some honest thinking, but it certainly doesn’t preclude it.

      • Talmonis says:

        You are correct, in that I have no idea what this specific advertisement. However, we do have examples of prior “atheist” advertisements to make an educated guess. Advertisments like “you know it’s a myth” or “there is no god” are simply antagonistic for the sake of being antagonistic. If such people don’t believe already, there is no reason for advertisement. I feel similarly about “You’re going to hell!” advertisements. Again, pointlessly antagonistic and obnoxious. The only difference is, “Athiests” should know better.

    • Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

      Agnostic Atheist? Toasty Icecube! Cuddly cactus spine! Still wind!

      (this is fun)

      • Talmonis says:

        gnos·tic/ˈnästik/Adjective: Of or relating to knowledge, esp. esoteric mystical knowledge.

        noun /agˈnästik/ 
        agnostics, plural

        1.A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God

        Or in short, “Knows” and “Does not know”.

        •S: (n) theist (one who believes in the existence of a god or gods)

        •S: (n) atheist (someone who does not believe in the existence of a god)

        Thus…agnostic athiest. (someone who doesn’t believe in god, but lacks certainty. Truly you can’t be this obtuse?

        • Round-Eye §ñ‰∫∫„ÅØ„Ç≥„É≥„Çπ„Éû„É™„ÉÉ„Çπ„Éà„ÅåÂ•Ω„Åç„Åß„Åô„ÄÇ says:

          Here’s the confusion…from your post you say an atheist is someone “who does not believe in the existence of a god”. But then you continue to say an agnostic is [a] person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God”. So, you can’t claim disbelief in god then claim you neither believe nor disbelieve. Stating you DON’T believe in god is a firm stance. So, they’re mutually exclusive.

          I understand where you’re coming from, though…I think.

          • Sparkstalker says:

            The definitions have gotten kinda muddled through the years. This is the best way to break it down:

            Gnostic Theist: I believe in a god and I know it exists
            Agnostic Theist: I believe in a god, but I’m not certain it exists
            Agnostic Atheist: I don’t believe in gods, but I’m not certain they don’t exist
            Gnostic Atheist: I don’t believe in a god, and I know they don’t exist

            • RvLeshrac says:

              Either you believe there’s a god, or you accept that there is absolutely no evidence for a god.

              The person making the claim needs to provide evidence for the claim, or shut up about the claim. IN this case, the people making the claim are the theists. They claim a god exists, but want an exemption from having to provide any evidence.

    • longfeltwant says:

      I doubt it. My guess is that an advertisement for atheism will work the exact same way as all the other advertisements in the long history of humanity: they will be effective. Some people will accept the message of the ad. I’m not sure why you think that this ad, for the first time ever, will be totally without the intended effect. Keep in mind that many advertisements are meant for people who already accept the basic message, and the ad is to promote a specific activity or event.

  8. Straspey says:

    While I’m a big fan of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, I don’t think it applies in this particular case.

    If the management of the movie theater were to deny them access simply on the grounds that they were Atheists, or, let’s say, restrict their access to only specific times and days (no Atheists after 4:00 PM) or have an “Atheists Only” seating area — then I think there might be a Title II violation.

    This is a private business decision – much in the way a local TV station will pull and/or refuse to run an advertisement.

    Showing a slide-advertisement (which repeats numerous times during the slide-show loop) for an Atheist organization in Texas, would be the equivalent of showing an add for The National Right-To-Life Council at the Women’s Health and Feminist Convention. — Sure, you can do it, but it might be bad for business …as in what happened to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation…

    • DJSeanMac says:

      Decision to buy or not buy from a consumer =/= decision to sell or not sell to a specific group. I may not choose to eat at a particular restaurant, but a restaurant may not choose to turn me away for any protected reason.

      • Straspey says:

        That’s exactly correct —

        And, if the population of my local community consisted of 95% Evangelical Christians – who could “decide not to” patronize my restaurant for any they might choose – it would probably not be good for my business to see the local Atheist organization a space ad on my paper place mats.

        • AstroPig7 says:

          Couldn’t you say the same about an organization that promotes equality among the races advertising in an area that is predominantly racist?

          • Straspey says:

            I think your example leans more towards the famous incidents in Skokie, Illinois – a city with a majority Jewish population, and home to the National Holocaust Museum – where the National Socialist Party (aka Neo-Nazis) petitioned for the right to hold a parade and rally down the main.


            In the example of the movie theater, you have a private business which could potentially lose a considerable portion of its client base and revenue, as a result of it displaying advertising which those people might find patently offensive.

            • AstroPig7 says:

              This leads to the question of where we draw the line. I’d rather see the theatre stop running all religious ads if the problem is with offending their clientele. Otherwise, we enter a situation where businesses can refuse to sell to groups for one reason while ignoring said reason when selling to other groups. This is the very problem discrimination laws were created to address.

              • Straspey says:

                Businesses are free to set certain restrictions and regulations, as long as they do not violate the law.

                For instance, dress codes are a perfect example. I’ve eaten at more than a few fine restaurants where gentlemen are required to wear at least a jacket – if not also a tie – to be permitted to enter the dining room. If you’re not properly attired, they won’t let you in.

                If everybody who is properly attired is welcomed to enter – and if everybody who is not properly attired is denied entry (until they do so) – then there is no violation of the law.

                • AstroPig7 says:

                  I would stop before comparing a dress code to religious belief (or disbelief). Changing your clothes is easy. Changing your religion is not.

          • arcticJKL says:

            Yes. Which is of course the type of thing that the law was written to prevent.
            It does open up a can of worms regarding discrimination against an immutable fact, ones race, and a choice, ones religion. Should discrimination be allowed by local businesses based on choices people make?

    • FacebookAppMaker says:

      I agree. I’m an atheist, but some of these atheist groups really make us look bad. So what if a courthouse has a nativity scene. The only thing I agree with is them keeping religion of any kind out of school. If a priest wants to come in and talk about something non-religious, such as supporting others in the community, all the power to them.

      So what if they won’t play atheist messages in the theatres? If the majority of their clients are religious, they would be isolating a major part of their business, which could possibly lose more than what was paid for the ads.

      It’s a simple case of business.

  9. shepd says:

    Private property, private decisions. If the theatre wants to be a christian-only hangout, let them. Chances are they are playing movies that violate Christian standards, though. Would be a good idea for the atheist group to use other avenues of advertising to point those out. The theatre might find that religion has no place in their sort of commerce.

    • RandomHookup says:

      It doesn’t work that way. A private business can make rules about what advertisements they accept, but they can’t decide to admit only Christians. They are considered a place of “public accommodation”. Unless they are specifically a private club, they can’t discriminate against customers. Against advertisers… probably.

      • shepd says:

        Of course they can’t prevent non-christians from attending (although, they should be allowed to, in my opinion, it’s their place of business, after all). That being said, what kind of atheist would WANT to patronize a place that has taken it upon themselves to decry what you believe in?

        Religion (and politics) generally have no business in business. :) You want the widest market possible and this sort of attitude just pushes business aside and encourages them to compete.

        • Auron says:

          First you say that this business (and any other) should be able to deny their services to all non-Christians then go on to say that religion and politics have no business in business. Which is it? Either a business has to provide service to a customer provided the customer adheres to company standards or businesses can deny services to someone based on their religion. You can’t have it both ways.

          • shepd says:

            Allow me to make it more clear:

            Politics and religion have no business in a WELL-RUN business. As in, you’re welcome to have them, but they will work against making money (apart from edge cases, such as a religious bookstore).

            In other words, you’re free to do it, and the free market is free to show you why not to. Everyone wins, eventually.

      • Kensuke Nakamura says:

        Isn’t an advertisement a product that a business sells? Just because their main attraction is movies, what most of their customers come for, that doesn’t mean they can turn people away for sodas or popcorn based on their religion. Advertisement is another product they offer, they can choose not to show obscene advertisements, but they can’t discriminate against an ad based on religion.

        • RandomHookup says:

          An advertisement is sold on a B2B basis and businesses generally don’t have the same anti-discrimination protection. Even if sometimes sold to the public, advertising isn’t really a public accommodation in the same way a movie (or a meal or a hotel room) is.

    • Talmonis says:

      It’s never good for “atheists” to advertise their non-belief, as supposedly, they do not have anything to advertise for. It’s pointless. One should not require billboards or movie advertisements that state “I don’t believe in this”. The problem arises, when your only message is one of an active attack on the beliefs of others, which is likely the reason the ads were pulled.

      • sagodjur says:

        Atheism is not an oppositional belief. You’re assuming that belief in a religion is a default position and anything different must be against that. Atheism is not believing in a religion. It’s not saying that others can’t have religion. It’s not saying that all Christians or Muslims are inherently bad people. It’s just saying, “I disagree.”

        As opposed to some sects of popular religions that are inherently oppositional because a basic tenet of belief in them is that all other religious beliefs are wrong and everyone else doesn’t have the right moral code and they’re all going to hell.

        • Talmonis says:

          I’m assuming nothing of the sort. Non-belief is the default state of a human mind. Atheism by itself is not at all oppositional, but organizations that use atheism as a political stance ARE by definition oppositional. Disbelief itself would not require that stance, but active opposition and advertisement (usually displaying arguements against the beliefs of others) is the issue. It is the equivalent of those same fundamentalists who claim all others are going to hell.

          • Kate says:

            No they are not. You are just being silly now.

          • sagodjur says:

            Are organizations that use the perception of race as a political issue inherently oppositional? In my experience, atheists are a persecuted group politically (as opposed to the faux persecution of conservative Christian culture – “You’re persecuting me by not letting me force my morality upon you!”). It makes sense to form as a group in the defense of the common traits that you all feature. Not to say there couldn’t be an oppositional atheist group, but I’m just saying that I’ve never seen one. It’s more like, “not believing in a religion is also an acceptable choice so stop trying to force your beliefs on us,” rather than, “stop believing in god!”

            • Talmonis says:

              Race as a political issue? Yes. They are oppositional. The KKK and the Black Panthers are race based political groups that actively oppose other races.

              Think of it this way. Group “A” declares “X is real, and if you don’t believe X, you will be Y.” Group “B” declares “No, X is not real. X is a lie, and if you believe in X, you will be Z”.

              This is the basic arguement of theists and anti-theists. How is this not oppositional? (And before someone cries strawman, as is inevitible, please tell me how anti-theists or political atheists if you prefer do not declare that “God” is not real and is in fact a lie.)

        • Jawaka says:

          If Atheism is not believing in religion then how can they sue based on religious discrimination?

          • sagodjur says:

            Because you’re confusing the meaning of the word religious in the context of the phrase religious discrimination. Religious can relate to a belief about religion, even if that is about not believing in a religion. Also, you can be religiously discriminated against by someone who has a religious belief or support someone else’s religious beliefs in favor of your beliefs regarding religion (which is what is going on in this scenario).

  10. evilpete says:

    Will popcorn be served at the trial????
    ( please say yes )

  11. umbriago says:

    I can see why the theater did it; they’re going to be overrun with complaints in that neck of the woods. Maybe they can buy time as a “Screen Scrambler” instead.



    …and so on.

  12. gqcarrick says:

    While I don’t agree with the theater did, it is their right I guess. That being said, no business should bow down to any religion or non religion. Why can’t people just worship or not worship what they want without hassle, name calling or people trying to prove them wrong? Maybe if we were all just more accepting of each other’s beliefs or non beliefs, the world would be a better place.

    • Talmonis says:

      Ding! We have a winner! Tell ’em what he’s won Johnny!

      “Well bill, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s a giant can of self righteous fundamentalists, served along side a 6 pack of sneering anti-theists.”

      Well that’s just depressing Johnny, what recourse do we have in the land of live and let live?

      “Well Bill, it’s not looking good for the average man on the street. I guess the only thing we can do is ignore the sods, and let ’em scream at each other until they get tired. That and making sure neither side gets too much in the way of power.”

      Sounds like a plan Johnny. Well, back to you gqcarrick.

  13. yzerman says:

    Le Sigh.. I had to sit through 3 or 4 church commercials at my local cinema with my daughter this weekend.. sad to see its ok that the church groups get to do this but man if Atheists want to get their message out that it is ok to not believe in a god or any magical being its the worst thing in the world.

    People get too offended at anything that questions their beliefs.

    • SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

      +1 if the ads were for different sects of christianity, such as mormonism, baptism, etc. then followed up with SCIENTOLOGY

      • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

        Got my radio replaced this weekend and a bible thumping station is where it defaulted. I was really surprised to hear a “Christian” (AKA Southern Baptist) station pushing an anti-Mormon book. It’s hilarious they call themselves Christians and don’t consider that the LDS church is _the most_ Christian church there is. Atheists must be from another planet altogether. Kinda sucks being a right-wing bible thumping American and have to choose between a Mormon and a black presidential candidate. hahaha

        • Sparkstalker says:

          Did you watch the video, or even look at title screen for it? It shows what the ad is. It doesn’t even mention God or atheism. It simply says “What makes our families beyond belief? Find out at”. So how can it be considered as anti-religious?

    • Talmonis says:

      I think the problem isn’t that a message is about atheism at all, it’s that the messages are actively anti-religion. They’re the same as those awful commercials that tell you you’re going to HELL if you don’t do as some guy in a lexus says in all aspects of your life. Now I will have an issue with the theater is refusing to air something along the lines of
      “Come on down and join the American Athiest Alliance! (best because of 3 a’s) We eat cake, have parties and won’t judge you on what and how much you believe.” instead of the more common “There is no god. You know it’s true.” Which only makes people (who do believe in a god) angry.

  14. brinks says:

    As long as they’re not playing ads from other religious groups, this is fair. But even if the theater IS playing ads for other religions, I doubt this qualifies as discrimination. They’re not denying the atheists service based on their religious beliefs. I could be wrong, but refusing someone’s ad dollars doesn’t seem like it’s on the same level as denying service or entry.

    • RandomHookup says:

      It probably *is* discrimination… but not illegal discrimination.

      • Kate says:

        I believe that yes, it is illegal discrimination.

        • RandomHookup says:

          Why? Access to advertising media isn’t generally a protected action. It’s not uncommon for businesses to be able to discriminate against other businesses in a way that they couldn’t against individuals.

          • Kate says:

            What makes you think that broadcasting ads isn’t a protected action?

            • Talmonis says:

              I think it’s still in this business’s best interest to fight it and lose in court. That way, when they show the ads, and the screaming of the church groups begin, they can point to the court order and say “We’re sorry church going folk, the government forced us to show it” and hopefully not lose all of their business.

            • RandomHookup says:

              Because businesses (and organizations) don’t have the same rights as individuals (at least not yet).

              How about this for an example:

              A federal judge has dismissed a case against Google that challenged the search engine’s right to refuse advertising. Search engines are constitutionally similar to newspapers, the decision says and they have the same limited First Amendment rights as newspapers to accept or reject advertising.

              Here’s a disclaimer from a Catholic newspaper:

              The U.P. Catholic reserves the right to refuse advertising that is antithetical to the teachings of the Catholic Church. In addition, the newspaper will not accept advertising for private adoptions, as well as casinos, alcohol or bars. This ban does not apply to restaurants that serve alcohol and bars that serve food.

              No business should be forced to accept advertising it doesn’t want (accept in the most limited of circumstances). There is no Civil Rights Act for B2B relationships.

              • partofme says:

                I was considering coming down here just to say that I anticipated it being an interesting conflict between discrimination laws and the first amendment. Most often, when the first amendment is involved in a tussle, it wins (SCOTUS’s 1st amendment reflex is quite powerful).

              • Kate says:

                I would say that organizations based on said discriminatory basis certainly do. Clubs frequently sue on this basis and win all the time.


    • Kensuke Nakamura says:

      What makes refusing someone’s ad dollars different from refusing someone’s movie dollars or popcorn dollars? They offer a product, advertising, and someone is asking to purchase that product.

    • longfeltwant says:

      “They’re not denying the atheists service based on their religious beliefs.”

      That’s the story as presented: the theater is denying the atheists the service of advertising based on their religious beliefs. That claim is paramount for the whole story to be newsworthy.

  15. brinks says:

    As long as they’re not playing ads from other religious groups, this is fair. But even if the theater IS playing ads for other religions, I doubt this qualifies as discrimination. They’re not denying the atheists service based on their religious beliefs. I could be wrong, but refusing someone’s ad dollars doesn’t seem like it’s on the same level as denying service or entry.

    • Jane_Gage says:

      If we look at the advertising venue as a business in and of itself I think we can make that case. Would it be OK to say you couldn’t put up your advertising because you’re black?

  16. soj4life says:

    If the theater was not letting them attend movies because they were atheists, that would be discrimination. Not showing your ad isn’t.

    • Doubting thomas says:

      No it s still a refusal to do business with. If H&R Block refused to do your taxes because you were Jewish it would be discrimination. Physical presence is not required.

      • RandomHookup says:

        That’s different. H&R Block can’t discriminate on the basis of religion because they are generally considered a public accommodation. But a very large accounting firm could turn down Focus on the Family or GLAAD, for example, if they didn’t want them as a client because they disagreed with their viewpoints.

        Unless there’s a local/state law against it, businesses can discriminate legally in their business dealings (versus their individual consumer dealings). It’s just like saying that you don’t want to do business with the KKK as an organization. The state can’t discriminate against them, but a business can.

  17. rdclark says:

    Real atheists don’t capitalize “Atheist.”

  18. ColoradoShark says:

    Change “[T]here were Christians in the community that were upset that atheists were able to advertise in the movie theaters…”
    “[T]here were Whites in the community that were upset that blacks were able to advertise in the movie theaters….”
    if you have trouble seeing the problem.

  19. daynight says:

    “It would be bad for business”

    Really! And in all white neighborhoods in the deep south perhaps it would be bad for business to allow people with excessive melanin content to their skin eat there. Aside from such discrimination being illegal, it is fundamentally immoral to discriminate like that. ‘Protecting your business’ is tantamount to active discrimination. To be closed minded and cowardly is not a protected right.

    Apparently freedom of speech only applies if you like what is going to be said.

    • Talmonis says:

      Actually, it’d be more along the lines of a white supremicist group going to Harlem with an ad that says “You know the crime rate is your fault. You should stop commiting crimes. We don’t commit crimes, you should support us.” Replace “White supremicist” with “Black Panther” and “Harlem” with “Anywhere in Alabama” and the point still stands. It would be a bad idea for a business to show those ads to their massively skewed demographic audience. Truly, a court order to show the ad would be in their best interest. Hell, they shouldn’t even pay for a lawyer, just go to court, say “Yep, totally against the law your honor” and run the ad with a disclaimer “By order of the government” so you don’t lose your livelihood.

  20. RandomAdjectives says:

    “Hey, we’re human beings with families and a sense of community that just happen to not believe in a deity, come check out our website if you’re a like-minded individual” =/= “GOD DOESN’T EXIST AND WE HATE CHRISTIANS”

    I mean, seriously. Some of the commenters here didn’t look at the single-slide advertisement listed. It doesn’t look much different than ‘I Am Second’ or any of the other similar billboards you see around Texas. Atheists have as much of a right to community as anyone else; why do you have a problem with a group of them advertising in a non-inflammatory way?

    Now, regarding the lawsuit, I don’t really think they have a leg to stand on regarding discrimination, since the theater isn’t forced to accept advertising money from anyone. They may have a good argument regarding a breach of contract, though.

    • Talmonis says:

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with that 1 frame slide. Nothing. In fact, that’s probably the least inflammatory pro-atheism advertisement I’ve ever seen. The theater still will need to go to court though, to get a court order to do the right thing, or they’ll go out of business. I honestly feel bad for the theater owners in this case. Stuck between a mob of idiots and the law.

  21. Shorebreak says:

    I can’t understand why the theater would sign such an agreement in the first place, unless they wanted to go out of business real quick. Remember this is Texas y’all. The pitchfork and torch bearing zealots would be outside the entrance to the theater on a daily basis if those ads were shown.

  22. Talmonis says:

    “They might take offense at being called anti-theists because they might not be against belief in a god. They may just not be for it. Unlike Christians it seems, atheists can be fine with being neutral rather than having to be on one side of a polarized issue or another. It’s the Christians who say, “either you are with me or against me.” Atheists, in my experience, unless persecuted for their non-beliefs, tend to not care about the conflict because it’s a non-issue.”

    They can take offense all they like. A neutral leaning atheist isn’t going to be buying advertisement time promoting atheism. And you would be surprised at just how many open minded Christians there are among us (I would say the majority of them, they just aren’t loud and obnoxious about it). Either you are with me or against me may be the way some fundamentalists act, but it’s certainly not a Christian concept. Take Richard Dawkins for example, who sneers and cajoles at anyone who is not a full fledged religion hating anti-theist.
    Not even agnostics, who are generally left well enough alone by those who are religious, are hated and sneered at by this man and his followers. My favorite line was something about how keeping an open mind about the concept of a god is equivalent to believing there could be faries in the garden. Here is the most famous “athiest” in the world, and he behaves as if he were a fundamentalist.

    TLDR: Being an asshole knows no particular religion or anti-religion. Being an asshole is a human condition.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      Promoting atheism or providing education about it? The Coalition of Reason is trying to do both, but there are plenty of valid reasons for educating people who have otherwise been misled by loud, vehement bigots.

      • Talmonis says:

        That’s the thing. Misled is your opinion. To a theist, that same council is misleading the faithful to draw them away from the light. They both see one another as insidious. It’s safe here in agnostic land, but you have no loud angry friends (well, except for the U.S. Constitution).

        • AstroPig7 says:

          When someone spreads abject lies about another group, then they are misleading them. This is not a matter of opinion. Saying the other group is wrong is one thing, but saying they are liable to eat your babies is another. (Yes, this is an extreme example, but lesser assumptions are equally ridiculous.)

          • Talmonis says:

            Honestly the most extreme thing (and it was quite infuriating and extreme) thing I’ve ever heard from a fundamentalist was “You’re not allowed to see your new niece, because we don’t want you infecting her with your soulless athiesm”. (Not directed at myself, but a valued friend.) Insensitive, cruel and evil. But hardly, “they’ll eat your babies”. And It’s not exactly lies if they truly believe what they’re saying. They’re not liars. They’re just the salt of the earth. People of the land. You know. Morons. =)

    • sagodjur says:

      “Either you are with me or against me may be the way some fundamentalists act, but it’s certainly not a Christian concept.”

      Um, actually Jesus said that. Matthew 12:30

  23. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    Ironically, the concept of equality is skewed when it comes to religion. That’s why I try to avoid religious discussions. If the topic is more on curiosity, it’s good to understand how other religions work, but if it’s more on subjects like each others’ opinions it gets a bit touchy.

  24. dush says:

    Athiests have religious beliefs?! Wow!

  25. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    Christians believe 2000 year old fairy tales and comic books. You can’t reason with people who think that way.

    • Talmonis says:

      Oh come on man, I thought you were more open minded than that. There is nothing wrong with people believing what they WANT to believe. I honestly wish I could believe, as it might make being a good person feel like it has a reward at the end of this crap filled rainbow. I won’t deny people that same belief. Self interest is very rational, it’s just not scientifically sound.

      • Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

        I’m open minded in many ways. Probably way more than most Christians. I’ve just found that trying to reason with them is a losing battle mainly because they’re so good at suspending disbelief.

        I too wish I could believe, a lot like I wish I could take a painkiller anytime I wanted and make all the suck go away. I just can’t. I’m a realist. I simply can’t believe in something just because it makes me feel better. It’s got to be real.

      • Kate says:

        Belief is lying to yourself about something you don’t know is true. This often leads to abusing other people in the name of lies.

        No, it’s not harmless.

        • Talmonis says:

          Often? I think we’re taking things out of proportion here. Do you truly think that the average follower of a religion (any religion) in the United States (or especially in Europe) are harmful to others, and abusive? And are you suggesting that it’s the religion itself that is causing it, or just a harmful personality, that would find a way to be destructive? Would you say that Atheists are incapable of abuse and harm?

          Also, I would say that I and likely you yourself believe things that you don’t know whether they are true or not. I’m no mathimatician or physicist, so I have to take any number of insane sounding things coming from scientists as true. On faith. Faith that the scientific method wouldn’t fail us due to politics, or convenience, or monetary influence. Big bang theory. Sounds stupid to me, but I don’t understand the math behind it. I never will. To take that on faith, is similar to taking the word of a priest who “knows” that there is a heaven. (I am not disagreeing with the current scientific community’s view of the world. I am simply not agreeing with it either. I don’t care, and will continue to philosophise about the nature of the universe on my own. Because I can.)

      • Cor Aquilonis says:

        So, you want to know what’s the harm in believing in things that aren’t true? There’s a website for that: .

  26. MurderGirl says:

    Christians should strive to be more like Christ, and by that I mean fictional, nailed to a tree, and dead for 2000 years.

  27. damicatz says:

    Right now in my state, the talibaptists are trying to codify homophobia into the state constitution and, in the process, they have also managed to get unmarried heterosexual couples caught in the crossfire. I have watched as states run by white middle-aged Christians have passed laws requiring women to undergo what is, by definition, rape, before they can get an abortion. I have watched you vilify women for using birthcontrol and doing more than being barefoot and having children. I have watched as you people have tried to replace science in the classroom with moronic mythology in the form of “Creationism” and “Intelligent” design. I have watched as you people have blown up abortion clinics and murdered abortion doctors. I have watched as you have waged war in the Middle East over your stupid fairy tales. I have watched as Muslims behead people for drawing a picture or daring to criticize their nonsense. I have watched Jewish Zionists kill millions of people because they believe that their land is “holy”.

    No more. Organized religion has become an intolerable threat to free people and rational thinkers everywhere. Organized Religion, by definition, is designed to exert control and restrict people’s freedoms. It is one of the most dangerous things in existence. I am no longer willing to sit by and be silenced. I don’t give a DAMN if you religious wingnuts are offended simply for being told the blindingly obvious. I am tired of the double-standard whereby it is acceptable for religions to promote themselves but unacceptable and “hateful” for an atheist to promote atheism.

  28. kataisa says:

    Atheism: the new extremist religion being shoved down our throats.

  29. makoto says:

    People who generally identify as atheists don’t need to advertise to get together on a Sunday and pray… Just saying.

  30. bobomb says:

    Um… as a private company, they can do… whatever the fuck they want. If you don’t like it, boycott… or whatever. But they can do what they like.

  31. B2BigAl says:

    As an atheist myself, I have no problem with the theater cancelling their contract. If their customers don’t like it, or there was a possibility they could lose business by showing the advertisements they should have every right to cancel the agreement.

  32. axiomatic says:

    All that really matters is… “Did the movie theater refund ALL money for the unpublished advertisement?” If they did then there is no issue. If they have not then there is a case for payment for no service offered.

    I am an atheist and I approve this comment.

  33. lexibear10 says:

    Im sorry all of this aside (i think the theater should not have pulled the ads ethically) but let me get this straight. The leader of the atheist group…who is running the campaign about families doing just fine without religion…is asking people to join his religion of un-religion…and his name is zack morris? THIS is comedy.

  34. partofme says:

    ***This is a response to longfeltwant***

    You’re missing the point yet again. It’s not because of some book I read once (your presentation of “my argument in a nutshell” fails the Ideological Turing Test quite miserably). It’s because I’ve actually engaged with the idea of philosophy. I wrestled with this definition of natural/supernatural starting back in undergrad, yet continued to learn as much as I could about philosophy, math, and science. Looking back, it’s horribly obvious that such a distinction is mere sophistry to allow one to just define things away.

    Let me address your basic notion again as slowly and clearly as possible. Suppose “your” claim about living in an exclusively natural universe is correct (I use quotes since I’ve made no opposing claim; I’ve simply pointed out the obvious failings of your definition (and more importantly, your yelling of the word magic)). What do you mean by natural? How do you define it? You haven’t disputed the definition I proposed above which rests on empiricism. Therefore, either deny empiricism as your base for naturalism and present your alternate definition now… or actually engage the consequences of such a definition.

    As I demonstrated, any “natural” law or object which has a time-dependence in the observability condition is not “natural” after all (according to your definition)… and no amount of yelling the word “magic” changes this problem that is inherent with your definition… because we’re trying to make sense of and rigorize what you mean when you yell magic. As such, in your definition, stars, Hubble’s law, the expansion of the universe, black holes, dark energy, etc. are all supernatural (we’ll surely lose other things too, but I think this list of things/laws with time-dependent observability conditions suffices). Either reject them as magic now or change your definition of natural.

    ..since I don’t think you’re planning on rejecting them as magic, I’ll just wait for a better definition of natural which still allows you to simply label religion as magic (and also allows you to keep those things you like). If you just say “seriously, magic” again without proposing a definition, I’ll know you’re just being an obtuse troll who never wanted to seriously think about the universe in the first place.

    If, of course, you come up with a good definition, I’ll actually be quite happy that I’ve learned something new in the process of all my searching about existence (which has seriously been a lifetime of learning already). It’s not impossible that you’ll teach me something new, but I don’t get the feeling you’re willing to even try. You strike me as the “yell and then disappear when faced with defending your basic notion” guy (I suppose, on the other hand, you did abandon your equivocation of religion and nonsense when encountering nonsense within things you like (…things I like, too)).

    P.S. I suppose I should also make abundantly clear why I engaged in this conversation in the first place. My point is simply that while there are plenty of good arguments for atheism, yelling magic and trying to define away the problem is not one of them. Go learn something from some decent atheists (maybe start at the link I posted above to unequally-yoked… it’s a relatively peaceful community where you can begin to encounter relevant philosophy without yet cracking open the dense world of serious academic philosophy).