This provocative twist on the Bible’s opening line was plastered on the side of 25 Chicago buses this week as part of an advertising crusade by the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign.
The ads have been cruising between downtown and the city’s North and South sides, including the No. 56 Milwaukee route, since the beginning of the week and will run through June.
"The intent of the campaign is to stimulate discussion of religion and its place in our society," said Charlie Sitzes, a spokesman for the Indiana group who with help from the American Humanist Association has collected more than $10,000 in private donations to buy the ad space in Indiana and Illinois.
The group brought its message to Chicago after a similar campaign in Indiana – to post the slogan "You can be good without God" – was rejected by transit authorities in Bloomington and stalled by officials in South Bend, who didn’t want the ads posted in time for President Barack Obama’s speech at Notre Dame.
Indiana's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has sued the Bloomington Public Transportation Corporation on the atheist group's behalf. Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan has denounced his own transit system, saying he does not condone government censorship.
"It would appear that where there is more opposition to the message that maybe that would be the place where we needed dialogue more," Sitzes said, maintaining that the slogan is a simple fact.
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