01 August 2008

Freedom Isn't Free, Kids

Try to ignore the mocking, snide tone of the following:
A month-long project to raise funds for an atheist advert to go on the side of a London bus has been derailed: not by an act of God but through a lack of pledges.

The gambit began in June when Ariane Sherine, writing for the Guardian's Comment is Free website, expressed her consternation at the prevalence of God-bothering ads for JesusSaid.org splurged across double deckers. Inspired by this, blogger Jon Worth set up a pledge, aiming to get 4,678 right-thinking folk to each donate a fiver and hence fund the surprisingly expensive £23,400 bill to run an advert promoting atheism on the side of a bendy for a fortnight. The ad's mild-mannered message? "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and get on with your life."

The campaign closed yesterday, and it seems the sensitivities of Jesus' flock will remain unflustered as barely 877 people signed up, perhaps suggesting that the millions who've read The God Delusion are yet to be entirely convinced of His Almighty's nonexistence.

God's clammy-handed grip on our public transportation vehicles, which includes not only woolly-headed messages from dubious organizations but pastors posted to keep kids on the straight and narrow, looks set to continue.

I don't know about you, but I remember being thrilled that billboards with atheistic messages were being put up here in the US. It is disappointing to me that atheists--who, let's face it, are often red-faced because of the anti-atheism in their communities--couldn't part with a fiver to make the above happen. Really, folks? A fiver?

It has been equally disappointing to see the effort of Atheist Nexus to raise funds to function--for us, mind you--move so slowly. The donation button has been up, maybe a week or so. As of this blogging: 23 contributors, $802 of the goal of $12, 500. It's ends October 31.

As of right now, there are 2,882 members. One fiver from each of us with put them well past their projected goal, with $14,410. Now, really, do you have a better way to spend that five friggin' bucks? We can all scream until we're in need of a lozenge about how mistreated and ignored we are, but then we're more than happy to use a service whose function is to help us and expect not to help them back in any way, least of all monetary. While our pleas for equality are ignored, AN pleas for funds to push for equality are equally ignored.

Heads up, folks! This is how it works. You want a social movement bent on equality? This is part of the deal--fund raising. This is how it goes in this here Capitalist society. So, really...at the risk of sounding Evangelical...I want you to reach deep down into your pockets and give, give, give. At least when an atheist donates money to their organizations, they know it's actually being used for something real.

Do it. I am, and I'm doing more than a fiver. Kick the ass of that projected goal and give them something extra to hold over in their coffers.


  1. Those billboards shown in the link to atheists.org you provide are beautiful messages of affirmation and assurance for people scared to come out godless. The London bus ad is, in comparison, kind of glib: more a good situationist prank than something I'd personally want to spend money on.

    It was a nice idea, but perhaps we can take comfort in the fact that we don't need to advertise the way religious organisations do because we have the truth on our side! Excellent blog.

  2. I was using it more as an example of peoples' unwillingness to donate funds. There are a lot of ways to raise awareness for atheism and not everyone agrees on the tactics. Some prefer the quiet legislative actions of organizations, some prefer PZ Meyers nailing a cracker. I myself prefer a little it of both. :)

    Whatever the case, it's important we support the general cause. For me, that's important--it's important enough for me to not give in to my perfectly natural knee-jerk reactions to how something might be done. Often a re-examination of what I want from a atheistic movement and what I expect from my fellow atheists has me always leaning in the direction of support.

    If someone's out there asking for money to defecate on a statue of the Virgin Mary, clearly, that does ZERO to help our cause, but that is really an extreme example.

    Thanks for the compliment, jojo, and thanks for popping in!

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