Pilots Ground Atheists Independence Day Protests

07.05.11 | Sarah Harnisch

There was supposed to be a massive atheist campaign on July 4th in 27 states, with pilots flying banners in the sky that read "God-LESS America" and "Atheism is Patriotic." But when the group "American Atheists" tried to pull the $27,000 campaign off, they couldn't find pilots to fly the banners.  In fact, 80% of the pilots asked turned it down. Out of 85 told to do the work, just 17 agreed. The athiest group didn't have enough pilots to fly the signs and ended up nixing the campaign. Red Calvert, president of Pro-Air Enterprises in Indianapolis, said "I respect our country, and I respect our churches. We've got enough problems without stirring up some more. If those people want to do something they believe in, fine -- just don't include me."