Management & Operations

Pa. agency sued for not running atheists ads

Posted on April 30, 2015

COLTS
COLTS

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit against the County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) over its refusal to allow a local atheist group, the Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) Freethought Society, to advertise on its buses. The lawsuit argues that the transit system violated NEPA Freethought Society’s free speech rights by rejecting its ads because of the group’s views.

Since 2012, the NEPA Freethought Society has tried unsuccessfully to run various ads on COLTS buses. The rejected ads say “atheists” along with the group’s name and/or website.

COLTS first turned down one of these ads under a policy that gave the agency discretion to reject ads it deemed "controversial" or that would spark debate or discussion of public issues. In commenting on the rejection, COLTS’ solicitors said the agency did not accept any ads “promoting” or “attacking” religion or ads intended to spark public debate. However, according to the complaint, for at least 10 years before NEPA Freethought Society tried to advertise, the agency never rejected a single ad.

In September 2013, the agency again rejected the society’s proposed “atheists” ad, explaining that COLTS believed the ad would “offend or alienate” some riders, causing the agency to lose money. Eight days after rejecting the ad, COLTS adopted a new advertising policy that explicitly banned ads that “promote the existence or non-existence of a supreme deity” or address religion.

In 2014, COLTS finally accepted a version of the NEPA Freethought Society’s ad after it removed the word “atheists.” According to the complaint, COLTS’ decision to ban all religious ads and begin enforcing its advertising policy was motivated by its dislike for NEPA Freethought Society’s beliefs.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Fake MTA account suspended by Twitter after tweet goes viral

The tweet, which announced delays on the “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,A,C,E,B,D,F,M,J,Z,N,Q,R,W, and G” trains, earned at least 3,000 retweets.

NJ TRANSIT launches customer-focused communications initiative

The effort focuses on addressing customer needs, providing more timely information, and improving all customer touchpoints.

Tolar begins 4th phase of Kauai passenger shelter project

The designs embrace the aloha island spirit by integrating sugar cane patterns and a tropical forest-green paint scheme.

Freedman's 10-month road show logs 45,000 miles

Combining product and safety education with promotional opportunities, the “Show On The GO" was Freedman’s third tour in three years.

VTA Fills Vacant Positions by 'Growing Their Own'

Six new Overhead Line workers just graduated from a two-year apprenticeship program with flying colors.  

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation