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Texas Theater Refuses Atheist Ads

American Humanist Association Warns of Illegal Discrimination

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brian Magee, 202-238-9088 ex. 105, mobile: (202) 681-2425bmagee@americanhumanist.org

(Washington, DC – April 26, 2012) – The American Humanist Association’s legal center has warned a Plano, TX theater that it violated federal law when it refused to show advertising from a local atheist organization, the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason (DFWCOR), a local affiliate of the United Coalition of Reason.

The warning came in a letter sent by the legal center to the theater by Bill Burgess, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. A copy of the letter can be found here: http://humanistlegalcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/letter-re-Angelikas-illegal-discrimination-in-violation-of-Title-II-UnitedCoR1.pdf

As part of its “Our Families Are Great Without Religion” advertising campaign, DFWCOR attempted to buy advertising to be shown onscreen before movies from the Angelika Film Center for an ad promoting the coalition and its efforts to inform the public that atheist families are as normal, moral and loving as any other. After initially agreeing to run the ad, theatre owners reversed course and cancelled the contract. The theater has previously run religious advertising.

In the letter, the theater was warned that Title II of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits a business establishment that is a “place of public accommodation,” such as the theater, “from discriminating against customers on the basis of their religious views, including atheism.”

The DFWCOR ad campaign images can be found here: http://www.dfwcor.org/press-releases/

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The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists and atheists in the United States. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 140 local chapters and affiliates across America.

The United Coalition of Reason (www.unitedcor.org) is a national organization that works to raise the visibility of local nontheistic groups all over America. Nationally, this is done by conducting campaigns which highlight the fact that nontheists live in every community across America. Locally, this is done by promoting informal cooperation among local groups, hosting local coalition websites, training group leaders, and funding publicity campaigns.

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

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