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Post-Debate Recap

Last night more than 300 people came out to see Dan Waugh and Dan Barker debate the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign’s ad “You Can Be Good Without God”. Both respected men were in excellent form and exemplified civility. We at the Bus Campaign could not be more pleased with the debate.

One of our key goals in forming INABC was to promote discussion amongst people who normally do not talk to each other due to disagreement. We wanted to encourage critical thinking on the reasons behind faith or lack thereof. Both of these goals ultimately create more understanding between theists and nontheists in our community. Dan Waugh and Dan Barker not only fulfilled our goals but did so in a very respectful manner.

We want people to feel comfortable discussing sensitive, controversial topics like religion. Oftentimes people are fearful to express their opinions or do not want to offend someone else. However, as both Waugh and Barker showed us last night, we can break down these barriers in a way that is not inflammatory or disrespectful. We can discuss religion critically whether we believe or do not believe in God.

While audience members may not have agreed with the speakers, this debate gave people the opportunity to hear well thought out arguments that may have been contradictory to the ones they held when they walked in. Events like this should happen more often! With these debates we can enter an age where critical discussion of religion is met with no hesitation, no fear. With your help, we can make strides towards a world where any idea can enter into a fair and balanced discussion where neither side feels the need to hold back.

Our work is not done. There are so many cities that have not seen our message! So many more topics that have yet to be debated! Your gift is not just a donation; it is an investment into a society of free minds, good hearts, and loud voices. Make your online tax deductable gift today.

Donate Now!

2 comments October 20th, 2009

DEBATE next Monday: “Can you be good without God?”

The Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign, along with the Secular Alliance of IU and the Evangelical Community Church, Bloomington, is sponsoring a debate on the question “Can you be good without God?”. It will take place on October 19, 7:00pm, in Woodburn Hall 100 on the Indiana University, Bloomington campus. The debaters are Dan Waugh and Dan Barker.

Dan Waugh

Dan Waugh currently serves as the Pastor of Adult Ministries at Evangelical Community Church in Bloomington, Indiana. He received his M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is currently working on an advanced degree from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis.

Dan Barker

Co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Dan Barker is a former minister and evangelist and became a freethinker in 1983.  His newest book is Godless: How An Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists.

Event information

Press: Please contact the bus campaign through the form on our website.

Parking/Directions: For directions to Woodburn Hall, please visit the IU Campus map.  For parking instructions, please visit IU Parking’s website and scroll down to “Parking Garages.”  The easiest way to park on campus is to use a pay garage…as the website states, they close around midnight or earlier, so if you wait until then you’ll be able to remove your car at no extra cost.  The closest parking is in the Indiana Memorial Union Parking Lot and Jordan Avenue Parking Garage.  You can also find all these locations using Google maps.

2 comments October 13th, 2009

Bloomington Bus Ads Are Up!

Bloomington Transit bus ad

If you rode the buses in Bloomington today, you might have noticed a new ad on the side.  After a long battle with Bloomington Transit, our ads have finally made it up so that everyone around may see our message, ‘You Can Be Good Without God.’

We’re very pleased that we were finally able to accomplish this goal; we are based in Bloomington, and it was the dream of bringing the atheist bus campaign to Bloomington that originally motivated us to begin collecting donations back in February. We are also especially excited that the bus ads will be around when Indiana University students begin returning (or arriving for the first time) later this month for fall classes.

We hope that our continuing efforts to keep atheism in the public sphere will show Hoosiers, Bloomingtonians and IU students that non-belief cannot be ignored, atheists are people too, and that we all live in the same world…even in Indiana!

Press Release (RTF, 3.7 KB)

24 comments August 11th, 2009

Open Letter to Fox News


Dear Fox News,

This morning I appeared as a guest on your morning show, Fox & Friends, to discuss the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign. The other guest on the segment, Pastor Tony Taylor, mistakenly (or perhaps intentionally) claimed that the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution contained the oft-quoted clause, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…’

He then went on to argue that the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign was making a ‘mockery’ of the right to free speech granted to us by God. Apart from the inherent irony in this argument, I take issue with Pastor Taylor’s argument in two ways:

Pastor Taylor first neglected to specify what those unalienable rights we were granted actually were: they are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; freedom of speech/expression is not specifically mentioned. Therefore it is impossible that the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign could be making a ‘mockery’ of such a right that is not even in the clause to which Mr Taylor referred.

Secondly (and more importantly), Pastor Taylor was incorrect in stating that this clause was in the Bill of Rights. It is not. It is in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, which–unlike the Constitution–has no legal standing whatsoever.

The Constitution, and therefore the Bill of Rights, does have legal standing, but God is not mentioned in it. Therefore, the entire premise of Mr Taylor’s argument is false. Given that our campaign surely has many detractors as it does supporters, I was disappointed that Fox News was unable to find a guest who was capable of delivering any kind of remotely sensible argument against our campaign, but then again, I suppose I could have been expecting too much anyhow.

All the same, thank you for having me on your show.


46 comments July 30th, 2009

Fox News Covers The Campaign

Our recent victory in our fight to get our ads up on Bloomington buses caught the attention of Fox News, which covered the campaign this morning on Fox & Friends.  Watch the clip here:

We certainly applaud Fox for actually inviting us on to the show to hear our side of the story rather than just getting some pundits who are all on the same side, although we do regret that complex issues like this are compressed into five-minute ‘discussions.’

20 comments July 30th, 2009

Campaign Prevails Against BT In Free Speech Lawsuit

PRESS RELEASE: 2009-7-27-PR (RTF, 4.6 KB)

The members of the campaign are pleased to announce that we have reached a settlement with Bloomington Transit regarding our lawsuit.  A preliminary injunction hearing was scheduled in the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, but Bloomington Transit capitulated in the days leading up to the injunction hearing.

The terms of the settlement are that BT will accept our ad, which features the slogan ‘You Can Be Good Without God’ for posting on as many buses and for as long of a time as we like, for the standard ad rate.  They will also be reimbursing the ACLU of Indiana for a significant portion of their legal expenses.

Let’s be straight here: this is a victory not just for atheism and secularism, but for free speech all around.  It’s not the end of our campaign, either.  We intend to make the most of this victory: look for our message on Bloomington Transit buses in the coming weeks.  We also hope the outcome of this suit provides a suitable precedent for the many other atheist bus campaigns around the country trying to get their own ads up.

Finally, we would like to thank our many supporters, who have given us both money and precious words of encouragement.  Speaking of money…

We still need your donations. Bloomington’s not the last stop for the atheist bus, but only if we have the necessary cash.  Please take a moment to donate using the button over in the sidebar; we are currently surveying new locations for bus ads, and you could be next.  Most importantly, putting up new ads generates another round of interest from the press and public about atheism and starts vital conversations about religion and its role in society.  If you’re interested in furthering that conversation, please support us.

24 comments July 27th, 2009

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