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).


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.

17 responses to “Atheist ads upsets Christians and Muslims, say MPs”

  1. remigius says:

    Bob Spink suggests that Christians and Muslims feel uncomfortable with this ad campaign.

    I seem to recall the Religion of Peace staging their own awareness campaign on London Transport in July 2005.

    Bloody hypocrites!

  2. remigius says:

    And theirs wasn’t even sanctioned by the Advertising Standards Authority!

  3. TONY E says:


    Without jaw dropping hypocracy, the two big monotheistic religion’s would cease to exist.

  4. Terminus Est says:

    I think it’s funny that the christians and muslims are afraid their god will punish them for daring to ride a bus carrying this message. It’s almost as though they think the bus now has unholy “cooties” that will infect them!

    All that because the bus carries a message they didn’t even write or approve of.

    How unkind, unthinking, and unloving the god in their heads must be! Clearly they fear their god and do not love him. No wonder they act like scared sheep.

  5. PaulJ says:

    It’s an absolute disgrace that these advertisements have been allowed to pollute the visual environment. Any theist seeing a public notice that suggests that the deity in which they believe probably does not exist is in serious danger of suffering a mental breakdown, or at best some bruised feelings. They might even begin down the slippery slope of questioning their belief, which would be a horrendous state of affairs.

    However, never fear, as the deity whose existence is so wrongfully doubted in these misguided advertisements will surely effect their miraculous and instantaneous removal. Praise be!

  6. Buffy says:

    I see the toddlers are tantruming again. How dare anybody question the existence of their imaginary friend?

  7. deedyi says:

    I must remember to cancel my subscription to the UKIP party – oh damn! I’m not a member.

  8. valdemar says:

    UKIP proves itself to be a nasty little party of small-minded twerps who don’t believe in freedom of speech. Gosh. The sound of jaws hitting the floor around the UK… is not heard. If they want to stop people being ‘offended’ over the issue of religion, ban all religious advertising. But that, of course, would be offensive to those who want to shove their bigoted fantasies in our faces.

    Good point about Muslims, remigius. ‘Whenever Muslim feelings are hurt, it’s murder.’ How about that for a slogan on the buses?

  9. newspaniard says:

    There must be other cities in Italy. Did they get their money back?

  10. Rozi says:

    Aww bless! They’re offended by a bus advert!
    Personally I found the sight of a new Adam Sandler film advertised on buses offensive…
    I mean, do we really need more Adam Sandler films? Surely World Peace is a bit higher up on the human agenda?

  11. Bob says:

    Actually, I disagree with atempts to remove this advert because I strongly believe in free speech. Unless a person incites violence he/she should be free to express any view he/she wishes. Was it Voltaire who said “I disagree with your views but would fight for your right to express them”?

  12. remigius says:

    Question for Bob Spink MP.

    In the wake of 9/11, Madrid, the July 7 bombings and numerous other atrocities, how many commuters were genuine concerned that they may be sat close to an atheist?

  13. remigius says:

    I think you are a prick Mr Spink. And I shall only be persuaded otherwise when someone blows themselves up on public transport as a result of reading Climbing Mount Improbable.

  14. Mimi says:

    Sounds to me like Bob Spinks merely stated what it was his position to state, and that his personal views weren’t actually reflected. I don’t see that he said “I think..” or “I feel…”. It says “This house notes…”.

    Anyway, whoever is offended by this probably grew up in a very sheltered area, like, say, the confines of his or her own little bubble, into which no one ever entered – and when they finally did enter, it was only to blindly nod and agree, and bring small cucumber sandwiches with the crusts off.

    It’s okay to have blatantly Christian advertisements (we have them on the buses and on billboards where I live!), some clearly Muslim ads, and even some obviously Jewish posters up, but let someone else voice their beliefs, and it’s a holy war? Funny how Christians and Muslims always seem to be fighting, but when they finally unite, it’s over something as inane as a poster on a bus?

    Grow up, people. Not everyone thinks the way you do, and we have as much right to say so as you do.

  15. lagonda says:

    If the atheist bus ad is banned Where will this complaining of offense end?
    Will vegetarians be able to get adverts advertising meat products removed?
    It just seems plain to me that the major religions want to stop people from expressing opposing views to theirs.

  16. Mike says:

    “Morally unhelpful”?

    Is encouraging the murder of unbelivers, of slavery, of cruel punishment, of brainwashing all “morally helpful” then?

  17. Martin says:

    Just as well none of us atheists are offended by people flying airplanes into buildings, or blowing up tube trains and buses, or by gross displays of decapitations of live hostages. Just as well we are not easily offended or we would ask for the responsible philosophy (we all know which one) to be removed from the face of the earth.