Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance President, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, and Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Executive Director, Connie Ryan Terrell, issued the following statement today in response to the decision of the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) to pull an ad placed on buses by the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers.
DART’s decision to pull an ad placed by an atheist group should be disturbing to anyone who cares about free speech and religious freedom. We live in a nation where people are free to express themselves, regardless of whether or not they are religious. People of faith put their own religious freedom at risk when they trample on the right of others to believe differently.
Gaddy and Ryan Terrell also raised concerns about Governor Chet Culver’s inappropriate response to the controversy.
The Governor’s need for guidance from the Iowa Attorney General to determine if the atheist group deserves the same free speech rights as Christian groups is troubling. Governor Culver should rethink his statement and make clear his commitment to the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of religion and freedom of speech for religious people and non-religious people alike.
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.