Starting this Monday, NYC’s subway riders will see an ad campaign for atheism with the tagline “A million New Yorkers are good without God. Are You?”
The posters also advertise the Web site BigAppleCoR.org, which provides a listing of local groups affiliated with the Coalition of Reason, the umbrella organization that coordinated the campaign. The campaign — which is being paid for by $25,000 from an anonymous donor — follows a similar but unrelated monthlong campaign on buses by New York City Atheists in July. Jane Everhart, a spokeswoman for the New York City Atheists, said that campaign was highly successful and brought in many new members. “We are trying to raise money to do it again,” she said. The subway station advertisements were chosen for the $25,000 campaign because they were the best deal for the given budget, said Michael De Dora Jr., the executive director for the New York branch of the Center for Inquiry. A Times Square ad would have cost $45,000 to $50,000 for a month, while a campaign that blanketed the inside of subway cars would have cost $70,000.
The basis for the “one million New Yorkers” number comes from a recent national survey in which 15% of respondents listed their religion as “none.” I have a feeling that number is actually higher for New Yorkers. Nevertheless (and despite a statement from the New York Archdiocese shrugging off this campaign) I’m also pretty sure these posters will be destroyed or defaced the minute they go up.