Atheist Bus Ads Stir Debate in Iowa

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An Iowa town is embroiled in a free speech debate over allowing atheist ads to be displayed on the sides of city buses.

The bus boards are sponsored by the Iowa Atheists & Freethinkers and picture white puffy clouds against a blue sky. The signs read: "Don't believe in God? You're not alone."

The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority had originally stripped the ads from the buses. Officials said they do not allow the word "God" to appear on a public bus.
    
But the ads were recently put back on the buses after city officials met with the atheist group sponsoring the ads.
    
The ad campaign is part of a bigger national push by the Washington, D.C.- based group United Coalition for Reason which works to raise the visibility of people who don't believe in God in America.

The group has already placed ads on buses and billboards across the country, including the cities of Dallas, Phoenix and Philadelphia.

*Originally published August 18, 2009

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