Starting Wednesday, four buses operating in the Fort Worth area will be sporting large advertisements that tout an ungodly message.
The ads on the sides of the buses will proclaim: "Millions of Americans are Good Without God."
The words, which will run over an image of the American flag, aim to raise awareness that many people do not believe in God, according to Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason, the group that bought the ads.
"We're not trying to convert anybody," coordinator Terry McDonald said in a phone interview. "There's so much religion in this area, and it's so visible, we're just trying to let people who are not believers know that there's a lot of people like them."
The campaign is taking place in several cities nationwide. However, the ads won't appear on Dallas Area Rapid Transit buses because that agency refuses to accept them. DART also doesn't advertise alcoholic beverages, and accepts some but not all movie ads, spokesman Morgan Lyons said.
"For us, the point is to stay true to what we do -- we're a transit provider -- and not create a public forum," Lyons said. "We rejected the ads because we don't accept ads from religious groups."
The Fort Worth Transportation Authority, also known as the T, does accept religious ads.
"We try to be fair to all parties in accepting advertising, and we do not discriminate among faiths or beliefs," T spokeswoman Joan Hunter said. "They met the criteria. If we receive other requests from other faiths, we'll evaluate them as well."
She said the ads would appear on four buses for the next 30 days. The ads are called "king boards," and cover the sides of the buses, she said. The total cost of printing the ads and buying the space on the buses is about $2,480, she said.
The Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason includes 15 agencies of various goals and beliefs, McDonald said. For example, one of the groups is Metroplex Atheists, which has several hundred members that actively campaign on issues such as separation of church and state. Metroplex Atheists recently protested a pre-meeting prayer traditionally held by the city council in North Richland Hills, McDonald said.
Other agencies involved in the coalition are based at colleges, or are primarily for social interaction, he said.
There is no political agenda behind the bus campaign, McDonald said, other than to let the public know the groups are out there.
-- Gordon Dickson