Europe and North America: Atheist Propaganda Campaign

Source: FSSPX News


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In January, atheists in Spain launched a campaign for the promotion of atheism on two bus routes in the city of Barcelona. During the month the slogan “There is probably no God, so stop worrying and enjoy your life” could be seen.

The campaign came into being last summer in London on the initiative of Ariane Sherine, a 28-year-old British scriptwriter and journalist, and unbeliever, in reaction to posters on a London bus put up by a Protestant church with the message: “Jesus died for your sins”. Ariane Sherine, in an article which appeared in the June 20 2008 edition of The Guardian, proposed a response with the promotion of ‘atheist buses’. Jon Worth a web designer followed close behind her with the website ‘Atheistbus’. The Atheist Bus campaign was launched through fundraising, and received the support of Professor Richard Dawkins, vice-president of British Humanist Association. The militant atheist evolutionary biologist at Oxford University also supports the ‘Weeks of Reason’organized in several British universities. His latest book, The God Delusion, seeks to demonstrate that God can be dispensed with definitively and the world can live without religion.

The ‘atheist buses’ are being promoted in Spain, Washington in the United States and in Montreal in Canada, provoking reaction in Christian circles. In Madrid, Washington and Barcelona, rejoinders have been launched on other buses, reaffirming the existence of God and the importance of Faith. Thus in Barcelona, “When everyone abandons you, God remains with you”, in Washington: “Why believe? Because I have created you and I love you. Signed: God.”

The British Advertising Standards Agency received around 150 complaints about the atheist poster which was considered offensive, and a group of MPs manifested their opposition to the campaign, encouraging a counter-offensive. In reaction a verse from the Bible was posted in more than 200 London buses. Australia also opposed the campaign.

In Canada, transport companies of British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Ontario refused to support the ‘Atheist buses’ campaign, only the cities of Toronto and Montreal having endorsed this campaign since the beginning of March. The slogan “God does probably not exist. So stop worrying and make the most of life” will be shown on ten buses in Montreal and on several tramways and metros in Toronto until the end of March. Solange Lefebvree, who holds the chair of “Religion, culture and society” at the university of Montreal, stressed that the advertisement reflected “a new atheism” which “is functioning more and more like other religions.”

At the beginning of February, Italian atheists also hoped to launch a publicity campaign in buses starting in Genoa: “The bad news is that God does not exist. The good news is that we don’t need Him.” Mgr. Angelo Bagnasco, the archbishop of Genoa and President of the Italian Bishops Conference, voiced his opposition. “There are ways which favor dialogue and others which breed intolerance, and head-on opposition is always a sign of intolerance,” said Fr. Gianfranco Calabrese, the archbishop’s spokesman and head of the diocesan catechesis. Marta Vincenzi, the city’s Mayor “where there is a strong Church presence and intelligent people such as Cardinal Bagnasco” has given her support to the archbishop. “Our campaign is a challenge launched by the atheists on Bagnasco’s terrain,” said the Union of Atheists and Agnostic Rationalists (UAAR) in a communiqué. “It is more than likely that the political and religious leaders have exerted pressure,” declared Raffaele Carcano, national secretary of the UAAR. “Nowhere in Europe is the influence of the Church as strong as it is on the politics and the lives of the citizens of Italy,” he deplored.

(Sources: apic / kna / Atheistbus / jonworth / / AFP / LaPresse / LeSoleil / Il Messagero / La Repubblica)