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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Oh, but Anton LaVey-esque capers are so amusing!
Perhaps you could write an editorial for your local newspaper or blog about the experience if the paper has an online comment section. That would serve the purpose of letting 'closet' atheists know they have brethren. I also like Rosemary's idea of getting others to submit ads that might get rejected, to see how the publisher defines 'community.'

Here in VA a company that rented port-a-potties wanted to refuse to cancel a deal to rent them after they found out the event was actually a pagan festival; one call from a lawyer set them straight. This was several years ago, sorry I don't recall the precise details.
I would definitely pursue the legal aspect if it's a community information source.
It seems like I'm coming in a little late here, but I was just wondering what ever happened with this. The worst thing you can do is let it go.
Letting it go could cause serious damage if it breeds in the wild.
So, what's happening. And how can we help on a practical level?
Sunday night I'll be bringing the issue to the Frisco Atheists to see how they feel about it. The publisher has not responded to my last email so I think that friendly conversation is probably not an option any more. This is a local issue and I don't know if it would help or hurt if other people got involved. The publisher and all of the advertisers live and work here. I'm not at all sure what we'll do to respond but we'll probably have some ideas in a couple of days.
Please keep us posted.
Thank you, everyone, for your encouragement. Here is my (sorry it's late) update.
I brought the issue to the group to see what kinds of opinions / emotions would be kindled. There was some interest but nothing approaching unified outrage. And, to be honest, I'm glad it worked out like that. I don't want to start a pogrom.
So yesterday, I exposed the name of the publication to a popular local web forum. I think I was clear. During the night I started to worry that some people might write threatening letters in my name (there are some nuts on the local forum) so this morning, I pasted a copy of the post into an email to the magazine with an assurance that I will treat them fairly and let them know what I am doing.
The magazine wrote back expressing gratitude for my openness. I honestly think that some progress can be made here.
Interestingly, the person who responded to the email happens to be the wife of a local pastor. He has been following the ruckus and is eager to meet me. I'll let them know that our group has started having meet-the-pastor events but it would probably be inappropriate to invite him until this mess blows over. I might meet him outside of the group, though, just so he will know what the group is about. FWIW, the owner of the magazine is a member of the church that this pastor leads.
I think you have handled this extremely well. Congratulations!
I think you did a wonderful job handling this situation. I think sometimes individuals give all atheists a bad name when they sue or launch a big protest against a perceived injustice like this. Your method of dealing with the situation may give the members of that church a different perspective on atheists and show them that we are not all bitter, angry people with a vendetta against God (since many of them don't grasp the concept that we don't believe in a deity).




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