Vandals defaced or tore off part of the wording on at least three of the Detroit area bus ads that read "Don’t believe in God? You are not alone." In each of the three currently known instances, it was the word "Don’t" that was targeted.
The vandalized signs are among the baker’s dozen of King and Queen sized ads first placed on the outsides of Detroit SMART buses on March 4 by the Detroit Area Coalition of Reason (Detroit CoR). The ads were paid for by the United Coalition of Reason (United CoR), headquartered in Washington DC.
"Acts like this give a striking reminder that our message is necessary," said Ruthe Milan, coordinator of Detroit CoR. "Without a doubt, prejudice against atheists and agnostics is still very real in American life."
After documenting the damage, SMART replaced the vandalized signs free of charge. Two images showing the damage are available online at www.DetroitCoR.org .
"We are most pleased by SMART’s action," said Fred Edwords, national director of United CoR. "It shows they care about freedom of speech. We hope their action will help bring about a day when those with minority opinions can feel safe going public about their views."
On its website, the Detroit Area Coalition of Reason says it "unites organizations which provide various resources for reason-based Metro Detroiters" and that its "goal is to raise public awareness of these valuable resources." The coalition was launched on March 3 when the bus campaign was announced.
"Because this has happened, we stand even more resolved in our goal of being outspoken about our ideas," Milan added. "And we expect that this vandalism will convince even more nontheistic Detroiters that getting organized is important for the cause of religious liberty."
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The Detroit Area Coalition of Reason ( www.DetroitCoR.org )is a network of local groups in the community of reason that provide resources for reason-based Metro Detroiters. Its goal is to raise public awareness about secular values and the area groups that advance them.
The United Coalition of Reason ( unitedcor.org ) exists to raise the visibility and sense of unity among local groups in the community of reason by providing funding and expertise to help them cooperate toward the goal of raising their public profiles.
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