When it comes to atheists, though, naked bigotry just isn't a problem. This seems to be the case for Keiffe & Sons Ford in Mojave, California. They recently decided that it would help them attract customers by running a radio ad which had no purpose or content other than to attack atheists. It's not clear whether Ford itself approves of such tactics or not, but they refuse to take any action.
Anna Lemma posted this transcript of the advertisement from Kieffe & Sons Ford:
["Did you know that there are people in this country who want prayer out of schools, "Under God" out of the Pledge, and "In God We Trust" to be taken off our money?"]
"But did you know that 86% of Americans say they believe in God? Since we all know that 86 out of every 100 of us are Christians, who believe in God, we at Kieffe & Sons Ford wonder why we don't tell the other 14% to sit down and shut up. I guess I just offended 14% of the people who are listening to this message. Well, if that is the case then I say that's tough, this is America folks, it's called free speech. None of us at Kieffe & Sons Ford is afraid to speak out. Kieffe & Sons Ford on Sierra Highway in Mojave and Rosamond, if we don't see you today, by the grace of God, we'll be here tomorrow."
Source: The Underground Believer (via Pharymgula)
Anna also managed to capture an audio recording of the advertisement so you can hear it for yourself.
It's worth observing that in addition to naked bigotry, this ad is based on naked ignorance as well. Kieffe & Sons Ford apparently believe that every theist in America is a Christian — so not only should atheists not expect to be treated equally, but all Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, etc. don't even exist. I guess we atheists should be thankful that Kieffe & Sons at least acknowledge our existence!
Some bigots refuse to recognize that such attitudes really are bigotry when directed at atheists, but others who do admit that it's bigotry don't seem to care. Atheists are so despised by some religious theists that they just won't accept that there are any limits to the hate and vitriol which can be directed at nonbelievers. Which do you suppose is the case here — does Kieffe & Sons simply not accept that they are bigots, or do you suppose they realize they are bigots but think that bigotry is OK when directed at atheists?
They certainly seem to think that all Christians are just as bigoted as they are because they assume that the only people who would be offended by their bigotry would be the atheists they are telling to sit down and shut up. This is a bit like a white person assuming that only blacks would be offended by racism while whites wouldn't have a problem with it at all. It sounds to me like Kieffe & Sons Ford has a very low opinion of potential customers in the area: they are assumed to be ignorant (for not knowing that there are theists who aren't Christian) and bigoted.
Anna complained to Ford and was told that because Kieffe & Sons is privately owned, they wouldn't do anything. Does this mean that if Kieffe & Sons ran a racist ad, they wouldn’t do anything? If they ran an ad telling Jews to sit down and shut up, Ford wouldn't do anything? That's a really good attitude coming from a company whose founder was an anti-Semitie and role model for Adolf Hitler. You might think that if a company really cared about equal rights and basic decency, they'd go out of their way to ensure that their brand name isn't associated with hate and bigotry of any sort.
Frankly, I don't believe their excuse. I am quite confident that if any of their dealerships started running blatantly racist or anti-Semitic advertising, they would take action. They may not have the authority to stop the advertising, but they certainly have the authority to stop sending any more cars to this dealership. They surely have the power and authority to take action when people sell bigotry alongside cars marked "Ford." Here, though, we find that they don't mind at all — or at least don't mind enough to do something, which is effectively the same thing. It thus appears that as far as Ford is concerned, selling anti-atheist bigotry alongside Ford cars and trucks isn't a problem.
I know what brand of automobile I won't be buying. Ever. I recommend that other atheists not support this company either. There are plenty of other car manufacturers out there.
Update: According to "Cyber Storm," atheists who object to anti-atheist bigotry are really just engaging in "liberal censorship." Note that Cyber Storm doesn't try to justify or defend what the Ford Dealership has done. The argument being used here would be the same as saying that blacks who object to racism are engaging in "censorship" and Jews who object to anti-Semitism are engaging in "censorship."
I wonder if it would be "censorship" for Christians to object to anti-Christian bigotry? Somehow, I doubt it — it's appropriate for members of a privileged class to squash criticism of how they are running the show, but it's "censorship" and "intolerance" for minorities to object to bigotry, prejudices, hatred, and discrimination. We're supposed to just accept whatever inferior roles are allotted to us by our superiors and be thankful for even that much. Right?