Atheist ads upsets Christians and Muslims, say MPs

TWO MPs, we learn today from the ever-informative Mediawatchwatch, have tabled early day motions over the Atheist Bus Ad Campaign  (now also available on tube trains).

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The motion tabled by Bob Spinks, former Tory and now UKIP MP for Castle Point, says:

That this House notes that posters with the slogan `There’s Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life’, appear on 800 buses in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as on the London Underground; notes that this causes concern to Christian and Muslim people, many of whom feel embarrassed and uncomfortable travelling on public transport displaying such advertisements and would not wish to endorse the advertisements by using that public transport; regrets that the British Humanist Association backs the campaign; and calls on Ministers responsible for public transport and advertising media to investigate this matter and to seek to remove these religiously offensive and morally unhelpful advertisements.

A milder motion from Gregory Campbell MP says:

That this House notes the recent advertising campaign based on London buses, There’s Probably No God, the brainchild of the British Humanist Association ; also notes the fact that the rationale behind it is that people can be less careful about their lifestyle choices and general approach to life’s consequences by discounting the likelihood of a Creator and an afterlife; and recommends to Christian groups considering alternative advertising approaches to There’s Probably No God to counter it with the simple addition of But What If There Is.

Oh, very droll, Mr Campbell – and by the way, the campaign was not the “brainchild” of the BHA. It developed out of a suggestion by journalist Ariane Sherine.

Meanwhile, we learn from the Telegraph that bus companies in Genoa have taken fright after pressure from the Catholic Church and are refusing to display ads saying The bad news is that God doesn’t exist. The good news is that we don’t need him.

What sauce! Cardinal Tabasco puts a spoke in the wheel of the Italian atheist bus campaign.

What sauce! Cardinal Tabasco puts a spoke in the wheel of the Italian atheist bus campaign.

The city was chosen by Italian atheists because it is home to the head of the Italian Catholic Bishops Conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, an outspoken opponent of artificial insemination and gay marriage.

The bigoted old biscuit-muncher was said to be “furious” over the proposal and told his officials write to the bus company and advertising firm in charge of the £13,000 campaign to express their opposition.

Cardinal Tabasco (well, he has some sauce!)  is said to have been “delighted” when he was then given the news that at the last minute the campaign had been cancelled.

A spokesman for the Italian Union of Atheists and Rationalist Agnostics, which organised the campaign, said yesterday:

It appears that buses can carry campaigns for underwear and holidays with no problem but if you ask for space to say God doesn’t exist then you are denied.