Atheists 1. God 0.

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The Canadian Freethought Association is out to send their message.  Their official site can be found here .

The message is simple:  "There’s Probably No God.  Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life."

On the surface, they’re getting beat up quite badly in their efforts to advertise that there probably (leaving just a hint of doubt) is no God.

Ottawa won’t run the bus adsAdditional story here .

Halifax won’t run the bus ads .

Edmonton probably won’t run the bus ads .

Vancouver won’t run the bus adsAdditional story here .

Islamists will likely help other religious groups and run Pro-God ads in other jurisdictions .

According to some, they’re too much like attack ads.  Toronto may join the club of cities determined to squelch the horribly antagonizing message of the Humanists.

I can see it now:  "The Humanists are coming!  The Humanists are coming!" like they’re some kind of Godless horde determined to sack our villages and rape our women (or maybe men as well).

Or, more publicly, we get titles like this:  "Atheists entitled to their views, but … bus ads about ‘no God’ a little over the top" .  That’s like saying to a woman:  I support your right to work … just not in my office.

But where did it all begin?

You could argue that the debate is thousands of years old.  It’s said that Socrates may have developed his sense of morality, despite not having a Bible to guide him.  It’s said that many other ancient Greek philosophers shared his views.

From this list, the collection of people who have described themselves as atheists is really quite impressive.  Abraham Lincoln.  Woody Allen.  Ayn Rand.  John Stuart Mill.  James Joyce.  John Lennon (I actually remember when WKRP had an episode Mr. Carlson read ‘Imagine’ and a sponsor called him a Communist).  Thomas Edison.  James Madison.

It seems atheism is more widely accepted than many paranoid bureaucrats would have us believe.

But let’s get back to recent history.  The Canadian campaign is a continuation of efforts started in Britain by a related organization, the British Humanist Association.  When they ran these campaigns in the UK, they faced similar challenges, but ultimately, they achieved their goal.

They identified the obvious foibles that arise when people try to subject their ‘principles’ on the minds of the public. It’s OK to allow mysoginists depict women as whores.  It’s OK to talk about sex.  It’s OK to advertise salvation as a proxy to joining the Canadian military.  It’s OK to advertise religion.  It’s OK to advertise the thousands of wasteful consumer products.

But apparently, it’s not OK to question any of that.

A tragedy for free speech, right?

NOPE.  The net result:  The Freethought Association of Canada (the sponsors of the ads in Canada) have raised substantial amounts of money in new donations and they’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg.

I’d also suggest that they take this to the top courts and challenge public authorities and their right to dictate who should appear on bus ads.

What’s more important is that given all of the fuss from local transit authorities, municipal councilors and the media, the Canadian branch of Humanists haven’t had to spend anywhere near as much as they had originally planned.  Or, maybe they expected this to happen and didn’t budget anything anyways.

What’s happened is that the marketing is coming to them FREE OF CHARGE .  In an effort to inflame the hearts and minds of Canadians, our media has generated lots of publicity, but very little public outrage.  The news reports that exemplify the close-mindedness of our country’s leaders clearly shows that a good campaign is not so much about the actual ads running and being in your face, but by the level of discussion and public dialogue that you create as a side-effect.  Ultimately,the buzz eliminates the need to advertise and get to declare a financial, moral and social victory.

Atheists 1.  God 0.

Category: media, Politics | Tags: , , ,

2 comments on “Atheists 1. God 0.

  1. Had the ads been accepted, then all this kerfuffle would never have been. But now atheists and their equal right to free speech are in the news. I hope the Freethought people do take this to court. Atheists have been an oppressed (and growing) minority for millennia. About time a purported democracy like Canada emerged into the 21st century.

  2. Good point. I still think the Humanists could have run that ad in the last two decades without any objection. Religious sensitivity is on the rise in part due to the move to politicize their world view. It's worked well in the US (“moral majority”) and it's bleeding into Canada (the movement being galvanized around SSM and abortion). Also an added dimension is the framing of the War on Terrorism (Judeo-Christian “us” versus Muslim “them”).

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