There's nothing like the MTA to make you question your faith! So maybe the new advertisements for Atheism on city buses are appropriate. The campaign will take over 20 Manhattan buses for about one month, and president of New York City Atheists, Ken Bronstein, says the test run could be reaching other boroughs later this year (the group's website is taking donations for the next roll out). The ads read: "You don’t have to believe in God to be a moral and ethical person."
Joseph Zwilling, the director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York, told CityRoom the ads were "not offensive in the Catholic Church’s view, given their wording. They’re not attacking or disparaging the Church as far as I can see." While the message isn't a rebuttal to that of another religious group's, the site reports that the inspiration came from a similar campaign in London last year, which was in response to a Christian group's whose message told nonbelievers that they would “spend all eternity in torment.”
The goal of the $10,000 NYC ad campaign is to increase membership—Bronstein says there has been an "atheism awakening" lately, and the practice was made more acceptable when President Obama included a reference to “nonbelievers” in his inaugural address. Previously, the MTA explained that the Jews for Jesus ads in the Times Square subway station were protected under the First Amendment.