Reader Heathencat (of Ravings of a Mad Skeptic) recently posted a letter in my comments section in regards to Halifax reps at Metro Transit refusing to run the Atheist Bus ads. I’ve reprinted it below.
Hi Ms Patterson,
I would like to add my voice to those who were deeply disappointed to learn that the advertisement from the Atheist Bus Campaign was refused on the grounds that it was “too controversial”.
I am daily encountering signs and ads for things that, not only do I not agree with, but actually offend me. The add for Birthright that appeared recently on the metro property offended me. But I did not complain, since I recognize they have a right to exist, and to advertise as they see fit. With this in mind, I find your unwillingness to run an ad that simply states “You can be good without God” to be of incredible hypocrisy and I believe that your refusal to run the ad is a violation of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
I’m not going to waste your time going over why I imagine you think the ad is controversial, and thus why you have rejected it. But I will say that, if you can justify running ads like “Birthright”, then you had better be able to justify NOT running an ad like “You can be good without God”. You have your work cut out for you in this case.
The point of the ad is to let those who are feeling an existential crisis with their religion know that they are not alone – I can only wish that these types of ads ran a few years prior, when I was most confused by religion. I didn’t know that I had a choice, at the time; I was held back by fear. I can only hope that ads like these will help give others the knowledge that they, too, have a choice… and thus maybe they won’t have to walk as hard and lonely a path as I did.
This ad does not denigrate any religious beliefs. It is not offensive. It perhaps makes some fearful that they will lose those who of the religious flock who are harbouring some doubts to atheism. Atheism is not evil. Atheism simply means that you do not believe in a deity. Atheists are still moral, and, in fact, have a deeper understanding of morality than a religious individual does, in some ways, because we do not attribute our morality to a deity who tells us what is moral and what is not. We find it on our own.
The only people who will be offended by the atheist bus slogans are the ones that feel their own world view is weak, and thus will be provoked into thought by the slogan.
Thank you, Catherine, for sending this. And thank you to anyone else who sent letters.