AHA News |  

Humanists Launch “Naughty” Awareness Campaign

Billboards and newspaper ads to appear in towns that have discriminated against atheists

Contact: Brian Magee, 202-238-9088 ex. 105
bmagee@americanhumanist.org

Click here to access the main website for the campaign.
Click here for full-sized images of the ads.
Click here for summaries of the main incidents in the selected communities that prompted the AHA to include them in the “naughty” campaign.

(Washington, DC - November 21, 2011)Today the American Humanist Association announced the launch of their holiday advertisement campaign aimed to raise awareness of discrimination against nonbelievers in America.

The billboards and full-page newspaper ads contain the message, “Bias Against Atheists is Naughty, Not Nice,” and features Santa Claus making up his “naughty” list. The ads are placed in cities across the United States where atheists have experienced discrimination due to their lack of belief in a traditional god.

American Humanist Association Billboard Image for "Naughty" Awareness Campaign

“Nonbelievers in America continue to be the object of discrimination,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We hope this campaign will spur a conversation about this problem that moves us in a positive direction.”

Speckhardt continued, “Many humanists and atheists in America experience hatred in their own communities when simply standing up for the separation of church and state, or fighting for other rights that should be afforded without question.”

For example, the AHA placed an ad in the Cranston Herald newspaper because a high school student, Jessica Ahlquist, endured harassment and threats—one even called her a “stupid atheist”—for objecting to the display of a religious prayer banner hanging in her public high school auditorium.

American Humanist Association "Naughty" Awareness Campaign Newspaper Ad

Another ad was placed in a newspaper near Bastrop, Louisiana, where a student named Damon Fowler was ostracized by his community—even his own parents kicked him out of his home—for objecting to a Christian prayer that would be held during his graduation ceremony.

To read more stories of atheist discrimination and see the full list of ‘naughty’ towns, click here.

“These brave young atheists are standing up for what is right, even in the face of discrimination,” said Speckhardt. “These towns are violating the Constitution and disrespecting others simply because they don’t subscribe to their brand of religious beliefs.”

 The need to do this campaign became even more evident while trying to organize it. The AHA was turned down for billboard and newspaper ad space in several “naughty” towns, even with the assistance of outside help.  Billboards were unable to be secured in or near Hardesty, OK, Bastrop, LA, Asheville, NC, Auburn, AL, Annville, PA, Princeton, WV, Fruitland, TN, and Fulton, MS. We were turned down by the Guymon Daily Herald (Hardesty, OK) and the Bastrop Daily Enterprise (Bastrop, LA) for newspaper ads. The Lebanon Daily News (Annville, PA) at first turned the group down based on content but then offered to run it if they were paid over three times the original quoted price.

“From past experience we knew that ad space is not always easy to obtain for groups with a secular message,” Speckhardt said. “But the refusal to accept an ad with a simple and friendly reminder that prejudice is ‘naughty,’ is disheartening. We’ll explore local activism and other similar avenues where we are shut out of advertising since we don’t want to give these towns a free pass for being among the most discriminatory.”

The AHA also is doing a simultaneous bus ad campaign in Washington, D.C. These ads use the message, “Don’t Believe in a God? Join the club,” and feature a group of smiling people in Santa hats offering a thumbs up gesture.

For the past three years the American Humanist Association has placed advertisements in Washington DC and other cities around the holiday season. The first ads on buses in Washington DC stated, “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.”


The ads will appear as follows:

Nov. 21 — billboard — Kearny, NJ — 4 weeks (CBS Outdoor)

Nov. 21 — buses — Washington, DC — 4 weeks (Washington DC Metro Area Transit Authority)

Nov. 23 — newspaper ad—Cranston, RI—one day (Cranston Herald)

Nov. 23 — newspaper ad—Bastrop, LA (Monroe)—one day (The News Star)

Nov. 23 — newspaper ad—Oregon City, OR—one day (Oregon City News)

Nov. 23 — newspaper ad—Bryan/College Station, TX—one day (The Eagle)

Nov. 28 — billboard (digital)—Rochester Hill, MI—4 weeks (CBS Outdoor)


###

The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.

American Humanist Association

Today is Openly Secular Day! Show others in your community that they know a huma...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Victory! A public school in Colorado will no longer be allowed to partner with O...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

How are you celebrating Earth Day? Here is how some of our chapters are celebrat...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

The latest issue of the Humanist magazine features SMART Recovery USA, a secular...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

“A freshman student was required to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, despite...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Who was Leo P. Thornton?

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

National Day of Reason is two weeks away! If you think reason, not prayer, shoul...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

For more information about The Humanist Institute, please visit: http://humanist...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

The AHA is excited to present The Onion with the 2015 Humanist Media Award. This...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Only 5 more days until ReAsonCon 2015. Get your tickets today! Visit the link be...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Seculars have been quiet and invisible as a demographic for too long, but Openly...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Don't miss the upcoming annual BSIC panel discussion entitled “Imagining the Fut...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

We’re featuring new comics this week by Polyp Cartoonist! For more great comics...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

What would Molly Ringwald say about privacy? Should a student attending a privat...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

Luis Granados explains why Ayaan Hirsi is wrong about Islamic reform in his revi...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA legal director David Niose, author of Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming Am...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week, AHA staff member Jessica Xiao interviewed Lynn Rothschild, senior sci...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today is Ask an Atheist Day! Have a question about atheism, humanism, or non-bel...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Could we see an open Humanist in Congress in 2016? It seems Maryland Senator Jam...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week on The Humanist Hour #146: A Conversation with Lisa Montoya, Seminary...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

Mother's Day is right around the corner! If you are shopping for that special la...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

The world's most and least religious countries.

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

Shortly after we ensure that teachers won't pass out Bibles to their students at...

12 days ago

American Humanist Association

Robert Ray, President of Humanists of North Puget Sound, delivered a humanist in...

12 days ago

American Humanist Association

Don't miss Kelly Carlin, daughter of atheist comedian George Carlin, at AHA's 74...

12 days ago

American Humanist Association

What should the humanist response to terrorism be? Clay Farris Naff has some pro...

12 days ago