Local News

Ad pulled from Chapel Hill buses

Posted August 29, 2012
Updated August 30, 2012

— A political advertisement calling for the end of U.S. military aid to Israel that was posted inside Chapel Hill buses has been pulled, but town officials say it's not because the ad prompted objections from some riders.

Officials said the ad, which ran in as many as 100 buses between Aug. 13-24, was pulled earlier this week because it did not include contact information for the Church of Reconciliation, which purchased it. The town code requires such information on display ads that are political or religious. 

The decision both to run the ad and pull it has some questioning the town’s motives.

One of the five complaints town leaders received read: "As a daily user of the bus system, a grad student at UNC and a NC taxpayer, I find it extremely offensive to have to see this propaganda on my daily rides."

Steve Spade, the Chapel Hill transit director, said the message in the ad is not what led to its removal. 

"It doesn't meet the policy for disclaimers that was approved by the council," Spade said. "Once we know something like that, we can't allow the ad to run." 

Mark Davidson, pastor of the Church of Reconciliation, a USA Presbyterian church in Chapel Hill, said the ad wasn't intended to offend anyone and was run as a message of peace.

"Our hope is that this will be a catalyst for reflection, conversation and action on a very important issue of our time," he said. "We've been a little surprised, and quite frankly disappointed, that the town of Chapel Hill seems to be quite afraid of this controversy." Ad removed, could return to Chapel Hill bus Ad removed, could return to Chapel Hill bus

If the church resubmits the ad and includes the necessary information, Spade said, it could be up again in a few days.

"If we have an ad that has the proper disclaimer on it, then we have told them we will make every effort to get it up for them by this weekend," he said. 

Callie Lewger, a bus rider in Chapel Hill who saw the ad, said she was "not necessarily offended" by the message. 

"I just thought it was an unusual ad for the bus," she said. 

Melissa Jones said she supports Israel and disagrees with the ad's message, but also thinks it's important for people to be able to express their views. 

"We live in a country of freedom where we do get to express our individuality," Jones said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • fishon Aug 31, 2012

    What would we do now if the world just decided to take California and give it to Haiti? Would we just say "OK" and move everybody out with no fight?

    Great idea, but Haiti would have to keep the "Californians". We don't want them infecting any more states than they already have...

  • Lightfoot3 Aug 31, 2012

    "Does no one read the New testament any longer?" - RockGuitar

    I heard it's a best seller in Israel. :)

  • Spock Aug 31, 2012

    RockGuitar: You are missing the point. First off, our founding fathers designed the separation of Church and State - there are good reasons not to have either intertwine with the other. The Church should nurture faith and nothing more. When they step over that line then they should no longer be considered a Church.

  • Roland K. Aug 30, 2012

    hey Einstein, maybe, but all this church was expressing was official American foreign policy for the past 35 years - which is peaceful coexistence between two peoples. There's no law against simply telling the truth, is there? All true christian churches should fight for what is just and righteous for the greatest number of people. Does no one read the New testament any longer?

  • Roland K. Aug 30, 2012

    Tatermommy: that wasn't hate speech, it was informed humanism. There was no hate directed at Israel. Gosh, people are totally brainwashed in this country on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Only in America would a picture of a Palestinian father and child alongside an Israeli Jewish father and child create so much controversy. Lame.

  • AlbertEinstein Aug 30, 2012

    RockGuitar... I have read the wannabe NC Red Shirts posts - I must say that he is spot on. In addition, any organization that takes up tax exempt status for the name of religion should be challenged when they attempt to advocate for political perspectives.

  • tatermommy52 Aug 30, 2012

    Why all of this hate speech against Israel.

  • Roland K. Aug 30, 2012

    NC Shirt, would you say the same thing about christian pastors who advocate for a political candidate and social/legal positions of the day? Church of Reconciliation is advocating a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and shedding light on the despicable Israeli practice of house demolition. In fact, if you read anything other than whatever you read, Israel only this week bulldozed Palestinian homes on land they stole from them south of Hebron. Participants of this discussion are mostly malinformed.

  • fitteryou Aug 30, 2012

    WHy do you not print my comment????????? I said nothing wrong? Among yeh!!

  • renaissancemon Aug 30, 2012

    U.S. aid to Mideast countries other than Israel dwarfs U.S. aid to Israel.