Car dealership advert tells atheists to 'shut up'
By Matthew Moore
An advert calling for non-Christians to "sit down and shut up" is being used to sell Ford cars in the United States.
The radio commercial – which attacks people who call for the secularisation of American institutions – has been aired to promote an independent Ford dealership in California.
America's non-Christian minority of 14 per cent should have its views on issues like prayer in schools and the religious content of the Pledge of Allegiance ignored, the advert claims.
"I guess maybe I just offended 14 per cent of the people who are listening to this message," the voiceover continues.
"Well, if that is the case, then I say that's tough, this is America folks, it's called free speech. And none of us at Kieffe & Sons Ford are afraid to speak up."
The bizarre commercial ends: "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."
The advert, which makes no mention of the quality or price of the dealership's cars, has been broadcast on local radio stations in the south of the state since February.
Listeners who contacted Ford to complain were told that the dealership was independent and privately owned, and is responsible for its own advertising. There is no suggestion that Ford approved the content of the advert.
Anna Lemma, a blogger and former Air Force officer who was one of the first to raise concerns about the advert, described it as "quite possibly the most offensive advertisement for an automobile dealership that I have ever heard".
"I really don't care about what his [the owner of the dealership's] opinion of us godless folks is, but the most offensive part of the ad is the 'shut up and sit down' part," she said.
"I guess he doesn't support first amendment rights for those who don't agree with him."
Saturday, 31 May 2008
Friday, 30 May 2008
Rick Kieffe, owner of Kieffe and Sons Ford, said he doesn't regret running the ad, which aired on radio stations in eastern Kern County and the Antelope Valley, but he does apologize for offending anyone.Why did he issue the apology if he does not mean it? Doesn't he have the courage of his convictions? Why be so cowardly? I guess he will do and say whatever he feels in order to make a sale.
Rick Kieffe said, "I do not regret it, it's simply how we feel. We feel that one child shouldn't keep the other 29 children in class from saying the pledge of allegiance. We feel it should say, In God We Trust should be on the money, and there's these things where the majority feels one way but a smaller group tells them to sit down and shut up and that's where the unfortunate language came into this ad. The sit down and shut up part kind of got by me."If he really feels this way, why apologize? Keep on saying what you believe, Rick Kieffe, you have every right to say it, just as I have every right to point out the hypocrisy and criticize the ad.
He is also missing the point. The current pledge is is now a prayer. Why single out school children who don't want to or can't say it? This is really all about enforcing community conformity and civic religion. These Christians don't care if you don't believe in Jesus, they just want you to pretend and outwardly show that you do in order to reinforce their own beliefs.
This past winter, our neighborhood had a potluck dinner like it always does. There has never been a prayer said before. One guy, who is always trying to show how pious he is decided to enforce a group, Christian, prayer. I, along with several others refused to bow my head. The host also refused to bow his head in support, and made a wisecrack to the group afterwards. Later, I overheard someone saying "Why don't they just go along and pretend?"
Is this what Christianity's founder wanted for his followers? That they go around enforcing compliance? Is this what Christianity is all about, all show and no substance? And those who don't go along with it need to "shut up and sit down" so that Christians with flimsy faith can feel all comfortable in the delusion that everyone thinks and believes just like they do? If there is no one whose difference arouses questions and doubts, then those pesky questions and doubts can be safely ignored. Perhaps those Christians who scream the loudest about enforcing their religion are really the ones with the greatest doubts and the flimsiest faith.
A Lancaster woman's home was vandalized overnight Wednesday with "In God We Trust or ?" painted across her windows in what she believes is retaliation for speaking out against placing a similar phrase in City Council chambers.So, is this what happens to those who don't "sit down and shut up"? Wow, sharing God's Love is a wonderful thing.
This mayor will do and say anything to advance his political career. If sucking up to the Christocrats running Lancaster will advance his career, then he will do it.
Phillips believes the vandals found her home after Mayor R. Rex Parris told her she had to announce her home address during the meeting, which is televised.
"I believe the two are linked," Phillips said.
She questioned the legality of forcing a speaker to provide an address to talk to the council. When she filled out a speaker card in order to address the council, she said she omitted her home address, but Parris asked her for her address when she stepped up to the podium.
Why aren't other non fundy Christians stepping out to support her? Why do they let the right-wing Christians run the Antelope Valley? Why do they stick their heads in the sand? Even if there are very few atheists, at least we support her, as she is supporting us.
At Tuesday's meeting, Phillips told the council that displaying the motto, "at the very least, implies that nonbelievers are unwelcome or unsuitable to appear before the council."
"I don't believe that motto should be brought into a public venue," she said.
Phillips said she is a "reluctant activist," but felt strongly about the council's proposal.
"I believe in God, but I don't even want my religion shoved down other people's throat," she said.
Phillips said she sent Parris, via e-mail, a list of secular slogans to put in place of "In God We Trust," but had received no response from the mayor.
Parris said he hoped the vandalism wasn't related to her speaking out.
I hope she didn't do this herself to get attention.
He described the vandalism as an atypical incident since the vandal painted Phillips' windows with shoe polish.
Sheriff's officials are investigating the vandalism, Parris said.
I wonder why the mayor insisted she give her address. Hmmmmm, it makes one think.
First Amendment expert Jim Ewert, legal counsel and legislative advocate for the California Newspaper Publishers Association, said no case law exists to indicate that a speaker must provide his or her home address to talk to a city council.
"I fail to see the nexus between providing an address and being able to speak at a council meeting," he said.
Under the Ralph M. Brown Act, the state's opening meeting law, Ewert said, the council can't pose unreasonable restrictions on individuals who want to speak to it.
Providing one's name is not an unreasonable restriction, but being forced to state one's home address out loud might be, Ewert said.
"It all boils down to whether forcing the speaker to give out her address constitutes reasonable restrictions," he said.
Phillips said the vandalism demonstrates "there are repercussions in speaking out against them (the city council)."
"It's an invasion of freedom of speech and privacy," she said.
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
"For 15 years, Kieffe and Sons Ford has run ad campaigns that focus on current events. We have chosen to do this rather than presenting typical car sales ads. We do this through an agency that develops the material and sends us a package of commercials to review. From this, we select commercials that we distribute to area radio stations. Frequently we emphasize humor and patriotic themes, as we are located adjacent to two military bases. Public response over these 15 years has been hugely positive, often eliciting calls and visits from appreciative individuals. Regrettably, the commercial that has prompted the current objection to religious sentiment ("Under God", "In We Trust") was not closely reviewed by our dealership before it went live. The commercial has been replaced. We apologize to all who were offended. It is Kieffe and Sons' intention to support America and the freedoms that make this country great."Perhaps they will review the ads that they pay for in the future. They ended up with a lot of egg on their faces this time. I emailed them weeks ago about how the ad was offensive to nonbelievers, especially atheists. The portion of the ad that offended me was the "shut up and sit down" portion. The arrogance and condescension I can put up with, but not being told to give up my right to free speech.
Rick Kieffe, President
If I were them, I definitely would screen future ads. There is a person calling himself J W Horne who claims to have made the ad. He seems to be cluelessly making himself look like an ass, both here and on his blog.
The Bakersfield Californian has the story as well.
A radio ad that tells non-Christians to “sit down and shut up” has prompted a flood of phone calls to the Kern County car dealer who paid for the ads and now regrets airing them.Way to go everyone.
Rick Kieffe, owner of Kieffe and Sons Ford in Mojave and Rosamond, insisted Wednesday that he does not remember approving the ad, which he said was written by his longtime advertising writer and producer in Oklahoma.
“It’s just something that went by us,” said Kieffe, who does not attend church but considers himself “a Christian spirit.” “We’re obviously sorry that it offends a given segment who identifies themselves as atheist.”
Airing on local AM and FM radio in eastern Kern County and the Antelope Valley, the ad has gained a lot of attention on the Internet, where blog posts go on and on about its pro-Christian, anti-atheist message.
Kieffe said he has received “an incredible amount” of calls from people as far away as Australia and England, most but not all of them from “very articulate, nice people.”
I wouldn't call an ad that told 14% of the population to "sit down and shut up" very patriotic. The ad is also discussed over at Way of the Woo.
Kieffe and Sons has contracted the same Oklahoma ad producer for 12 to 15 years, Kieffe said. Most of the ads are humorous but a minority are patriotic, “flag-waving” messages that don’t necessarily push car sales, he said.
The dealership also advertises on television and in print, although the ad in question was limited to radio.
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Monday, 26 May 2008
When the rapture sweeps the planet
I know Heaven's my reward,
But for now my piece of paradise
I bought from Henry Ford
It's a broken-down jalopy;
It's a rusted piece of junk;
But there's Jesus on the dashboard
And a fishy on the trunk
Sure, it leaks a little oil,
And it doesn't "turn", but "lurch",
Seven miles to the gallon
But it gets me to my church
You can hear me from a block away
And smell last weekend's skunk,
But there's Jesus on the dashboard
And a fishy on the trunk
Got a brand-new bumper sticker
Saying "What Would Jesus Do?"
Now it's holding up my tail light
With some duct tape and some glue
You can almost hear the "Kieffe and Sons"
In every "Rattle-Clunk",
But there's Jesus on the dashboard
And a fishy on the trunk.
I saw a car that had a fish--
A Darwin fish, with legs!
I fixed it, with a wrecking bar
And half a dozen eggs
Don't mess with me or with my God
You heathen, godless punk--
I've got Jesus on my dashboard
And a fishy on my trunk.
Thanks Cuttlefish, I've just added you to my blogroll.
Sunday, 25 May 2008
I think I sound okay, I'm not used to being interviewed. Rich also has inserted the ad in the podcast in the place of where I had previously stated what I recalled from hearing the ad. A few facts about Lancaster, CA are discussed in the podcast. Another interesting fact about Lancaster, CA is that it was the world headquarters for the Flat Earth Society until the 1970's.
This post contains more details and a link to the recording.
Saturday, 24 May 2008
Get the audio for the ad.
Here is a transcript of the ad, with the missing part in blocks. Karen has more recently heard the ad, so I'm putting in what she remembers.
["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?"]Well, Mr Kieffe, you won't be seeing me either today or tomorrow. And you certainly won't be seeing my money. What an asshole. It seems that he is for free speech for himself and his majority, but the rest of us 14% are second class citizens who need to "sit down and shut up." Also, his percentages are wrong. According to the Pew Poll, 10.6% say they don't believe in God, and 73% identify as Christian.
"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."
What about a new version of the ad? After all "it's called free speech."
"Did you know that there are people in this country who are assholes that want to shove their religion in everyone's faces? But did you know that 14% of Americans say they don't believe in God? Since we all know that 14 out of every 100 of us are not Christians, who don't believe in God, we at Kieffe & Sons Ford wonder why we don't tell the other 86% to sit down and shut up. I guess I just offended 86% 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, we'll be here tomorrow."Now if an ad aired like this there would be massive protests of Christians everywhere. What if the ad targeted Jews or African Americans? Would any radio station air the ad?
Oh, and some advice for Mr. Kieffe & his sons:
[Note - Karen's name and her audio is used with her permission.]
Previous Posts on this subject:
Jerk on the Radio
Obnoxious Ford Ad, Part 2
Obnoxious Ford Ad, Part 3
Here I Come, Tinseltown: I've Been Interviewed for DFA
Lets See if I can Get the Ad
Letter To The Ford Dealership
Feel The Burn
My interview on Dogma Free America with the recording of the ad.
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
The performances that really got people talking about her, though, were gigs at pro-life rallies she attended with her parents. She caught the eye of well-known Christian singer Michael W. Smith, with whom she performed, and she also sang at the funeral for Christian football player-turned-soldier Pat Tillman, a job she was rumored to have gotten thanks to a connection from her famous father, former NFL player Phillippi Sparks.Replace the bolded word, Christian, with atheist and the story would be more accurate. Why are some Christians so insecure? What, only Christians can be good and do good things? I think not.
I sent an email to Beliefnet asking them to correct the story. Not very good fact checking by them.
There is a very simple counter argument to ID (which is simply Paley's watchmakers argument from the 1800's). Paley's argument states that a watch found on a beach is clearly designed and there must be a watchmaker. The watch (designed) is compared against the beach and surrounding environment (not designed), so the watch is observed to have a design. Fortunately for Paley, the watch is known beforehand that it is designed, and there are the designer's (watchmakers) that are clearly in evidence. Unfortunately for Paley and the ID people, there is no evidence of a designer of plants and animals. And in Paley's argument, the environment is considered as not designed, so there is something to compare the watch against.
ID is simply moving the designed item from the watch to plants, animals, and the environment. There is nothing not designed to compare design against so how can we even define what "designed" means? If we can't even describe this "design", then we can't even begin to postulate a "designer". So we end up with a postmodernist argument of "something might have seemed to have made things, but we have no evidence of this, and we don't have a mechanism, and can't predict when something designed will pop into existence". A philosophic argument that is hardly scientific, or even a well constructed philosophic argument.
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Curses, foiled by Anonymous. We'll get you, my pretties. Our glorious iron chariots* (I mean robots) will conquer the world. The Faithful's puny swords are as nothing. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
Oops, forget this post, you never saw it. The EAC does not exist.
*And the LORD was with Judah; and he drove out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
[Note - The commenters over on YouTube seem to be seriously satire impaired.]
Saturday, 17 May 2008
I was not raised in a very religious family. My parents were vaguely Christian, and really did not believe in pushing religion on myself and my brothers and sisters. Growing up in the southern part of the US, there was always some religious presence in my neighborhood and school. Even growing up female in the South, I was always more interested in science than in "girly" things. I was a tomboy and would rather play with my chemistry set than with dolls. This was perhaps the start of my skeptical nature.
I remember that when I was in the 3rd grade, there was a religious presentation about Jesus in my classroom. And this was in a public school. I also remember getting into trouble during the presentation. The teacher said that you had to let Jesus into your heart. I asked "How do you do that? Does he knock on you teeth and you open your mouth to let him in?" The teacher angrily made me sit in the corner, budding little naturalist that I was.
One family who lived next door to us was heavily involved in the Church of God. At that time, the local church in our town was not very cult like. I found out years later how lucky I was that they kicked me out of Vacation Bible school for asking too many questions when I was about 12. The mom next door asked me if I would like to go. Always curious, of course I wanted to go and see what it was all about. I liked the Vacation Bible School. I received money for memorizing bible verses and loved the arts and crafts. The mythology never really took with me. I would rather read about nature and the dinosaurs than some old bible myth.
I'm a voracious reader, and in the search for bible verses to memorize,I decided to start reading the Bible from the starting paragraphs of Genesis. I read the story of Lot and kept reading after the Incident at Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot screwing his sexy daughters gave me the giggles. What a pervert. I just knew the other kids the Sunday School would like to see the story. After all, it was in the Bible.
I proudly showed some of the other kids the story and we giggled over the pervert, Lot. I was asked by the teacher not to come back. This was probably not the only reason, as I had been asking questions about what was being taught.They apparently wanted children who would simply accept unquestioningly what they were told. Well, that was something I could not do.
For the next 4 or 5 years, religion was not really part of my life. Like my parents, I had some sort of vague liberal Christian/deist/warm fuzzy sort of god belief. But one day this changed totally for me. I was a junior in high school when the cheesy group, Up With People, had a show in the school auditorium. The show was okay, but I will be eternally grateful for the speaker that spoke after the show. This minister showed me exactly what organized Christianity was all about, caring only for one's own salvation, screw everyone else.
I don't recall the man's name. This was 30 years ago, right after the worst of the cold war. He told some story about a Russian Christian who would rather his son die than for the man to give up his faith. I was horrified at the story and the actions of the man in the story. What kind of parent would allow their child to be murdered for any reason? I would do anything for a child of mine, even gladly going to hell in order that my child be safe. What selfishness from this Christian, his fear of death was so strong that he would abandon his child to murder.
I looked around the auditorium and was shocked when I heard amens coming from the students sitting around me. They agreed with him! I realized then in that moment that I could never be apart of any organized religion or cult. I was inoculated against any sort of religious brainwashing or cult indoctrination in that instant. It was a moment that I will always remember, a turning point in my life. I still believed in a god however, but believed that any organized form of worship was evil. Later, I realized the story was likely fabricated, but it revealed that my classmates were so afraid of death, they would trade all for a cheesy story of Happy Happy Land after death.
When I was in college, I usually took a philosophy class almost every semester. I ended up with a minor in Philosophy, a minor in Art, and a major in Math. From the Philosophy classes, I realized I was a Deist, but I also dabbled in Paganism and Wicca for a few years. I met many interesting people in the Wiccan community and had a lot of fun. After college, I entered into the Air Force as an officer. Since I could not put any sort of religion down for my dog tags, I ended up with No Pref on them.
The years went by and gradually I realized that the Deism and paganism were really man-made ideas and slowly abandoned them. I didn't give any thought to these sorts of questions for some years. Then I had a child who died shortly after birth, and very nearly died myself. I realized then in my grief that the world was a random place and every day is precious. This realization hit me sharply about 6 months after my daughter died and while I was still working through the worst of the grief.
My husband and myself did not go through any grief counseling, but the funeral home gave me a book about how people handle grief. Some people search for a meaning outside themselves about why tragedies happen. Others come to a realization that the world is a random place, and sometimes there is nothing we can do to prevent tragic events. That is what I think is true. Random events happen, and it is up to each of us to give our short lives meaning. I realized then that I did not believe in any sort of supernatural beings or gods at all. This was my instant of total non belief, my moment of deconversion from any god belief or belief in the supernatural.
But I still did not call myself an atheist. That was to happen in a few short years later. This was the very early 90's. The internet was hard to access, and the web did not really exist. But I was able to access the newsservers and lists and ran into alt.atheism. I realized that there were many who thought like myself. I was home.
As the 90's progressed, I went from alt.atheism to the Internet Infidels forums and now to having a blog and joining an atheist group. It's been very rewarding watching the atheist community grow and for people to go from meeting only online to meeting in real life. Things are looking up for us nonbelievers.
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
Saturday, 10 May 2008
I've highlighted some of the reasons why I have been reluctant to even inquire about helping. Even when they advertise they need people to volunteer at food drives. This year, I'm helping out at work for various volunteer efforts and this was one of the volunteer projects. Since I've been curious about this place, this was the perfect opportunity to check them out since there would be a large crowd helping out with the food drive.
The general purpose includes:
- The main purpose of this organization is to demonstrate the love of Jesus to the poor and needy in a tangible way by providing food and other resources.
- This will be a Christian ministry devoted to the spiritual as well as physical needs of the poor and needy with the salvation message given at every opportunity. However, the distribution of resources will not be subject to a required presentation of the Gospel.
- The organization will provide opportunity for hands-on ministry involvement of individuals and groups from churches of the area.
- This organization will be known as a Christian ministry of the combined efforts of several churches.
- The scope of the services will include all of the Antelope Valley area.
- This organization will be called GRACE RESOURCES.
- This organization will be governed by officers and directors initially elected by the Steering Committee.
- The officers and directors will be professing Christians who regularly attend a local Bible-believing Church.
- Funding resources for the organization will include churches, individuals, and businesses.
- This organization is not now, nor ever will be, a church.
Every year, one of the Post Offices collect food along their routes and donates it to a food bank. Unfortunately, the only food bank in Antelope valley is the religious Grace Resource Center. The Post Office handled the church-state separation issue well by requiring the drivers to drop the food off at a collection point where any food bank could pick up the food and deliver it to their location. Unfortunately, there is not a nonreligious food bank in the local area to pick up the food. I also wonder what the Grace people would do if a secular charity would show up to pick up the food. Heh Heh Heh.
I helped load the food into the trailer and trucks and spent the afternoon delivering the food to the food bank. I got there after things started and stayed until nearly the end. It started to look like they were getting somewhat churchy so I quietly left. Also most of the people had left already.
Since they also had people choosing to do their community service there, I think any sort of churchy activity was rightly toned down. They seemed very professional while I was there and not proselytizing anyone.
I think that I would do the food drive again. But I have the feeling that their hot meals served for the needy are one big church service and I definitely would not want to be a part of this. Number 8 in their charter concerns me because this is usually code for nondenominational dominionist leaning churches. It would be very sad that the only place where homeless folks can get a meal is also a place that wants to shove their religion in their face. Perhaps I can volunteer one weekend just to find out. After all, I did not identify myself as an unbeliever. This may be an interesting future project.
Well, I don't think that the Ford dealer will respond to my email. It not surprising as he stated in the ad that "I don't care who I offend." I hope his business has gone down over the last couple of weeks, but I really don't think the ad was aired very much as no one seems to have remarked on it. I've been listening for it, but have not heard it on the air.
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
Monday, 5 May 2008
"In the end, we feel he was hit in the chest. And it, you know, he had on his body armor, but, you know, it's very powerful when you're hit like that. And it stunned him and he went down. And then they shot him in the head three times," she says.
It makes you think, especially since he was shot in the head AFTER he fell down, 3 times. Evidence like his uniform was burned, the autopsy report was not signed by the examiner until much later, and witness statements were changed. Since each investigation of Pat Tillman's death reveals differing "facts", the real truth may never be known.
Sunday, 4 May 2008
To Whom it may Concern,I don't expect much from them since they stated "I don't care who I offend" in their advertisement. That is part of the reason that I went directly to the Ford Corporation first. I'll post any response I receive from the dealership.
I've heard your advertisement on the radio over the last couple of months. I'm absolutely astounded that you feel the need to slam those who do not share the same religious conclusions that your management has. You have every right to air your opinion (thanks to our wonderful constitution) and I have every right to shop elsewhere (actually I have done so since your ad has aired).
It's sad to see the utter ignorance of your management towards both the nonreligious citizens of this country and its fine constitution. When you tell the nonreligious that they need to "sit down and shut up", you show that you believe the constitution only applies to yourself and those who believe like you. I guess the constitution does not apply to the rest of us, who are expected to exist as second class citizens without free speech. I swore as an Air Force officer to protect and defend the constitution of this country, and will protect your constitutional rights with my life, but it's sad that your ignorance prevents you from reciprocating. I wonder about people who need to tear down others to prop up their own weak faith.
You said in your ad that "I don't care who I offend." and "those of you, who are not of the 14% nonreligious, are welcome to come on down and get a great deal on a Ford". You have every right to say what you want, but free speech can have consequences. I will never shop at your dealership and will encourage others to shop elsewhere. I'm exercising my free speech rights as well. You could have easily made an ad that especially welcomed your fellow church goers without disparaging the nonreligious citizens.
Saturday, 3 May 2008
I received a response from the radio station. They said that they could not get me any information about the ad. I asked for clarification. Are they still airing the ad? And why could they not let me know the time it would be broadcast.
Hopefully, I sound okay. I've never been interviewed by phone before. I've been in a couple of videos done by the Air Force and had a writeup in an Air Force newsletter before. During the interview, I had a thought about trying to get a recording of the Ford ad. Perhaps I'll call the radio station and ask what time the ad will air and then record the ad.
It will be two or three weeks before the interview airs. I'll post a link on the blog when it does.