Atheists Take Little Rock’s Transit Authority to Court This Thursday

CATA bus arriving at the River Cities Travel Center in downtown Little Rock displays empty ad space.

DATE: August 9, 2011

At a hearing this coming Thursday, August 11, the United Coalition of Reason brings its lawsuit, filed June 1, before a judge in federal court. This is Case 4:11-cv-00450-SWW.

WHO: U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright, J.G. “Gerry” Schulze, Jason A. Stuart, Jess Sweere, and witnesses.

— Susan Webber Wright is a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division, and will preside at the hearing.

— J.G. “Gerry” Schulze is the attorney for the plaintiff, the United Coalition of Reason, which is suing on behalf of its Little Rock affiliate, the Central Arkansas Coalition of Reason.

— Jason A. Stuart is the attorney for defendant On the Move Advertising, which handles advertising for CATA buses.

— Jess Sweere is the attorney for defendant Central Arkansas Transit Authority (CATA).

WHERE: Richard Sheppard Arnold United States Courthouse
Courtroom #1D
500 West Capitol Avenue
Little Rock, Arkansas

WHEN: Thursday, August 11, 2011, 10:00 am Central Time.

WHY: Nontheists (atheists, agnostics, and others of no religion) have been victims of various levels of discrimination for the views they hold. Specifically, they have sometimes met resistance when seeking to advertise their existence to their market. This resistance has taken such forms as advertising vendors refusing to run advertisements and members of the public expressing hostility when nontheists communicate openly. The plaintiff maintains that both types of resistance have figured in this case, making it necessary that the United Coalition of Reason take a stand for its constitutional rights.

Therefore, on June 1 the United Coalition of Reason filed a federal lawsuit against the Central Arkansas Transit Authority (CATA) and its advertising agent, On the Move Advertising (OTM), for declining to run $5,260.00 worth of bus ads aimed at attracting local atheists and agnostics. The queen-sized ads, to be placed on the sides of 18 buses serving Little Rock’s Riverfest, would have said: “Are you good without God? Millions are.” A blue sky with clouds was to be the background behind the words.

For the original June 1 press release announcing this litigation, along with court filings and a sample of the bus advertisement in question, go to http://www.unitedcor.org/national/news/atheists-sue-little-rocks-transit-authority-rejecting-godless-bus-ads.

# # #

The United Coalition of Reason ( www.UnitedCoR.org ) is a network of local and regional coalitions of local nontheistic groups. Such groups exist across the UnitedStates.

The Appignani Humanist Legal Center of the American Humanist Association ( www.HumanistLegalCenter.org ) is the legal arm of the American Humanist Association ( www.AmericanHumanist.org ) and has donated its legal services to assist the United Coalition of Reason and the Central Arkansas Coalition of Reason.

# # #

Contact:

William J. Burgess, Esq.
Legal Coordinator
Appignani Humanist Legal Center
American Humanist Association
202-238-9088 (x102)
BBurgess@AmericanHumanist.org
www.HumanistLegalCenter.org

J.G. “Gerry” Schulze
Attorney at Law
Baker Schulze & Murphy
Little Rock, Arkansas
501-537-1000
GSchulze@b-s-m-law.com
www.BakerSchulze.com

Arkansas Society of Freethinkers
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