We're sorry, but we cannot publish ads for atheists

A local magazine has just informed me that they will not publish an ad for our atheist group.

It's not a paid ad - just a free blurb in the magazine's community section. I don't have any reason to doubt that things would have been any different even if money had been involved.

They were nice enough to send me an email letting me know that my ad would not be considered. But, on the other hand, they didn't tell me that until three months after I first tried to get the ad printed and even then it was only after I made it clear that I was not going away until they responded one way or the other.

So I'm not sure how I am going to follow up on this.
I realize they have every right to refuse my ad.
But this does look like a "teachable moment."

It's not my style to fly off the handle as soon as I've been slighted. I want to think about it for a while, weigh my options, and then take reasonable, deliberate action.

Does anyone have advice for me?

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If they didn't state a reason why they wouldn't publish your ad, I'd respond asking for clarification as to the reason. From there, depending on their response, you'd probably have a better idea of where to take the issue.

Good luck!
Do they publish ads for theists ? If they do, you have them on toast.
They do publish for theists. And for Democrats and Republicans.
But I don't think that means I have them on toast. Anyone can refuse to print any ad that they don't like.
Do they have a copy of their advertising policy ? This kind of thing has been successfully challenged in the past. Either any religion, or no religion. Convenience store, neither here nor there policies tend to get ruled against.
Well, since you are in the DFW area, I would do a couple things.

1) Get the clarification on why, if possible.
2) Are there church ads in their publication?
3) Find out who owns the local paper and also research the editor of the local section.
4) Email the gang at North Texas Church of Free Thought, since they are in your area. They may have some information about the specific publication.
5) I would keep after this. You don't need to make it an epic quest but it's easy to drop a phone call, email, actual letter to them to follow up.

Good luck and keep this space updated because I'm curious.

Kind regards,
The magazine is owned by a seriously right-wing Christian - at least he went to a notoriously right-wing university.
My first follow-up will probably be a really nice email explaining why I think they should change their mind. No threats - just some consciousness raising.
Contact the Freedom from Religion Foundation:

Freedom From Religion Foundation
PO Box 750
Madison WI 53701

FAX 608/204-0422

They have attorneys and funds to take on cases like this. Don't just take it lying down. See if they'll act for you.
I think I would be tempted to respond initially simply by thanking them for their response and requesting a copy of their advertising policy. My guess is they won't have one, but if they do, it could be useful.
Hi Mark,
While I'm not resident in the US, perhaps some of the "principles" that apply in Ireland may also apply there.
You say that the magazine is owned by a Christian right-winger.
If he owns it, he owns it.
He has the right to free speech, and in my mind, the right to free speech includes the right NOT to say (or permit to be said) anything you disagree with.
Now this may well be unethical, but as we know, law and ethics are not the same thing.

I believe that if the magazine is circulated with an agenda, then it is its right to follow that agenda. Ethics would however demand that he magazine alerts its readership to that agenda.
Not to do so would be unethical so perhaps your best option would be to make sure such unethical behaviour is made widely known in your area.
Then of course, we know thae right wing theists (of any stripe) are not well known for their ability to discuss matters in a logical manner,
I would consider getting together with a group and testing the waters with a view to writing a public article about it.

From different postal or email addresses I would request that the magazine publish a wide range of advertisements. Use and expand on the list provided by DannyIsMe. Add in a range of Christian-type groups as well. Make them up, if necessary. Catholic Rationalists, Racists for Jesus, Neo-theo-nazis, Darwin Be Praised Society, whatever.

Draw a nice little illustration showing where they drew the edges of their advertising policy. Then find a public forum (journal, newspaper, blog) and publish it. You can omit information which identifies them if you like. Send them a copy.
A protest demonstration at the publication's office complete with a Satanic mass and live animal sacrifice would be cool. But, well, there are preliminary steps worth taking, as others have suggested. :)

I applaud your efforts.
Protest demonstrations like that would simply reinforce this guy's prejudices. It would be very counter productive.




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