Michael De Dora, executive director of Big Apple Coalition of Reason — the originators of the free-thinking subway campaign we mentioned this morning — called to correct the original item, and also to explain how the campaign came to be. As he describes it, the groups in his coalition received funding and some guidance from the United Coalition of Reason, a national group with outreach in several cities. Th group was also “tied” to an “anonymous donor,” which even our splashings of holy water and brandishings of a cross could not get De Dora to reveal…
De Dora also says that we may have been overselling the atheism a little. “It’s not just about atheism,” he said. Well, what else, then? “Rationalist, secular — [Good without God author] Epstein comes from a humanist perspective, which means postive, rational ethics that are non-religious. So in a sense it’s atheist, and humanist, and secular.”
Never mind labels, then: what action does the Coalition wish its ads to inspire? “At the very least, stop and think about the question: can you be good without God?” says De Dora. “Clearly we think so, but there are a lot of people who don’t ever think about the rationality of their ethics.”
Also, if you start thinking like that, De Dora says, you may wind up wanting to attend his group’s lectures and social events. A-ha! That’s just how our mother told us it would be: first the impertinent questions, and then you’re hanging out with a bunch of free-thinkers. No, thank you very much; we’re quite happy with out coven.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 19, 2009