In the wake of the lawsuit going on in Michigan over a country club canceling a Richard Dawkins appearance, we have another case of clear discrimination against atheists and freethinkers. This time it’s a movie theater in Texas that refused to show a video for a group before the movies because of a bad reaction from Christians in the area:
Recently, a nonreligious group in the North Texas area, the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason, contracted with the theater to run a pre-film advertisement promoting a positive image of local atheist families. At first, it looked like a win-win situation: the coalition was told it could promote its message to local nonreligious families, and the theater would get the profits from the sale of advertising space.
Then local news stations reported on the coalition’s future advertisement and Plano religious groups slammed the theater with phone calls and letters objecting to the ad. Sadly, the theater submitted to the religious groups’ pressure and decided not to run the advertisement, leaving the Coalition of Reason group without a venue to reach out to atheists and other nonreligious Texans.
Perhaps the religious groups couldn’t be blamed for seeking to halt the advertisement if it was offensive to their faith, but the ad was simply a positive affirmation of those of differing beliefs. Isn’t seeking this kind of censorship morally wrong by our current ever evolving standards of morality? If atheists organized against a religious ad placed during the Super Bowl, wouldn’t the faithful cry foul?
Making matters worse, the theater caved to their pressure and pulled the ad. Isn’t this like a store putting up a sign in their window saying atheists aren’t welcome? The prejudice in such actions is sadly all too clear.
As with the situation in Michigan, this is almost certainly illegal under the Civil Rights Act because it is discrimination on the basis of religion.