by Kevin Allman
This colorful image is coming to the side of a Canal Street streetcar near you this month, just in time for Carnival. It's the brainchild of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association, a group "dedicated to raising the awareness of people of the Gulf Coast region to the ideals and values of secular humanism."
The campaign, according to NOSHA president Harry Greenberger, was inspired by secular humanist advertising campaigns in other cities, especially London, where 800 city buses were emblazoned with ad banners declaring "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." Not surprisingly, the campaign was met by a counter-campaign launched by British churches, which took our their own bus adverts affirming their faith.
Greenberger says that the New Orleans group will be placing only three of these advertisements on streetcars, and added that it was being done only during the month of February (the better to grab the eyeballs of Carnival oddballs).
Will local churches respond with counter-advertisements, à la London? Only time will tell. But for now, the groups who gather on Bourbon Street and in Jackson Square during Mardi Gras to preach hell and damnation will be getting a bit of competition from the locals.