Bus ad draws fire from MPs (and a bus driver)

It’s not only bus drivers keen to prove their piety who are giving a publicity boost to the Atheist Bus Campaign – MPs Gregory Campbell and Bob Spink have each tabled an early day motion against it in parliament.

An early day motion was posted on Monday (reg required) saying the ad made Christians and Muslims feel

embarrassed and uncomfortable

Aw!

They also called on Ministers to “seek to remove” the

religiously offensive and morally unhelpful advertisement

Sir Nicholas Winterton, Conservative MP for Macclesfield, Bob Spink, former Tory and now UKIP MP for Castle Point, Labour MPs Jim Dobbin and David Drew, and Democratic Unionist Gregory Campbell are the names we have gleaned from the reports.

UDATE: (6.25pm) Here is the full early day motion by Bob Spink

Offensive advertisements on public transport
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.

Ann Cryer (Lab, Keighley) and Marsha Singh (Lab, Bradford West) have added their names to the list of supporters of this one.

The earlier motion by Gregory Campbell goes like this:

No God Advertising
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.

Lee Scott (Con, Ilford North), David Simpson (DUP, Upper Bann), and Ann Winterton (Con, Congleton) added their godly backing to this less censorious but equally deluded one.


33 Responses to “Bus ad draws fire from MPs (and a bus driver)”

  1. Jon Britton says:

    Haha!

    More hypocrites accidentally promoting our campaign!

    Let them try to ban it. Seriously.

  2. ZombieHunter says:

    I saw two of those buses in Glasgow within minutes of each other I was pleasantly surprised :)

    I’ve also seen adverts for the alpha course in a couple of train stations, so if christians can advertise their viewpoints then I don’t see why we can’t advertise ours

  3. Joe Fogey says:

    Will they remove Christian advertising that makes me feel uncomfortable? I would start feeling very uncomfortable about all religious advertising if that were the case.

  4. marc draco says:

    I’m deeply offended – and often totally pissed off by Christian advertising, but that is a right in free speech. As is mine to call them complete fuckwits.

  5. Alfster says:

    Now come on people, they have every right to try and ban/remove/quash this democratically produced and legal advert…it is their God-given right and embraces what the UK is built on which is ‘Freedom of Speech’.

    If some morons can’t ban something they don’t agree with then what’s this cuntry coming to?

  6. […] there’s an EDM relating to the atheist buses. Two, in fact. Here’s the second, as reported by mediawatchwatch: Offensive advertisements on public transport That this House notes that posters with the slogan […]

  7. j.r. says:

    Gregory Campbell seems to be suggesting that people are more likely to sin if a sign on a bus tells them they probably won’t get punished by an imaginary being. Are people really that stupid? Well some of them voted for Campbell, so maybe they are.

  8. Shaun Hollingworth says:

    This kind of thing makes me question the intelligence and sanity of some of the people who run, and rule this country.

    How can such people, be in the positions they are in ?

    Will it be offisive to deny the existence of the Tooth Fairy next ?

  9. Angela K says:

    If the Government tries to ban our ‘atheist bus’ campaign they will surely fail, as all religious advertising would also have to be banned because the muzzies, xtains and all the other religions find each others offensive.

    Every year I complain to the County Council about ghastly religious signs and crosses – a couple of bits of old telegraph pole nailed together – that appear around easter time in various locations, many of which are on public highways and in one case in the corner of a playing field. I complain on the grounds that this overt display is upsetting not only to me but to people who have a different religion. Every year I get the same reply: “ xtain country etc, it’s only for a few weeks etc”. I suggest that every time any of us see this sort of thing, we complain. Perhaps the local and central Government will eventually get our message.

  10. Dan Factor says:

    So basically what these MPs are saying is that anything that religious people might disagree with should be removed.

    Why don’t we go back to book burnings and public burning at the stake for heretics then?

  11. Stuart W says:

    Did I miss the objection by MPs about shouty street preachers and door-to-door god-botherers making people feel uncomfortable?

  12. […] comments Atheist Ad Campaign a Concern for Christians and Muslims? January 17th, 2009 From mediawatchwatch I learned today that an early day motion was posted on Monday in the parliament against the atheist […]

  13. Jeanette says:

    Ron Heather’s CV appears here:

    http://creativeyear.wordpress.com/2009/01/18/

  14. simontheiceman says:

    And no-one muttered a word when “Zack and Miri make a Porno” was splattered on the side of buses last year… The Christian community should really have got a bit more motivated then, looking at the evident moral decline of our society, rather than picking at an advert which actually broadens the debate and gives an “in” to frank discussion. I also note, with much dismay, that the latest film to be advertised on the side of a bus “sex drive” is just as bad an advert, although my 16yo son says that “any film with Seth Rogan is awesome”. Seriously “porno” and “sex” could be words about which some very young children could then ask questions. If those questions were about “God” or “probably”, then at least we might see an improvmement in our society. No-one refused to drive a bus with “Porno” on the side.

  15. Debbie Kean says:

    I am amused at the angry indignation evinced by atheists here… “Oh, no, we didn’t realise we’d offend people who matter, upper class people like us”..
    It’s okay to sneer at a bus driver, but MPs, no, well…
    There is no debate. Be honest to yourselves, you don’t want a debate. You want your point of view to prevail.
    Vicky

  16. Andy Gilmour says:

    Dear Debbie,

    I’m an atheist, I’m *definitely* not upper-class, and I’m very happy to sneer at MP’s who choose to leave their rationality outside the door…

    hope that helps…?

    Oh, and yes, I personally (not pretending to speak for anyone else, that’d just be silly) do *love* a good debate, but when confronted by an MP proclaiming these adverts to be “religiously offensive and morally unhelpful” I don’t hold out any great hopes for a decent one…

    Can I just ask, in light of your final sentence, why anyone would particularly desire their personal point of view to be defeated…?

  17. Andrew Nixon says:

    re: Simon – Personally a bus with “Sex Drive” written on it sounds like the kind of bus I want to go on!

    And does anyone know why Debbie Kean signs her name as Vicky? Speaking of Debbie/Vicky, I think we’ve quite clearly sneered at MPs. And personally, I wish there didn’t have to be a debate. Belief in god(s) is so irrational, I’m surprised people still fall for it.

    And as Andy implies, are you telling me that the religious want a debate and that they don’t want their point of view to prevail? Why is it the religious who want these adverts censored? Who is the group not wanting the debate there?

  18. simontheiceman says:

    To all: My wife would like to point out that the “offending” ad is NOT atheist and at best could be described as agnostic. For the background she classes herself as a “thoughtful theist” rather than siding with one particular cult or another.

  19. […] London, from Parliament: Offensive advertisements on public transport 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. […]

  20. Scaryduck says:

    A whole seven signatures.

    Heh.

  21. Alfster says:

    “And does anyone know why Debbie Kean signs her name as Vicky? Speaking of Debbie/Vicky, I think we’ve quite clearly sneered at MPs. And personally, I wish there didn’t have to be a debate. Belief in god(s) is so irrational, I’m surprised people still fall for it.”

    Debbie Kean is a resident of New Zealand who seems to have an unhealthy obsession with what goes on in the UK especially where religion is involved. She also has a strange habit of signing herself Debbie/Vicky/Della/Adele.

  22. Angela K says:

    It is not us atheists who are shying away from debate, we welcome it. It is the religious who are afraid of an intellectual debate based on evidence and reason, because they fail to understand the concept.

  23. dead yeti says:

    Time to email Mr Spink to see if he favours banning religous ads as well.

  24. […] check out this piece of shit news! An early day motion was posted on Monday (reg required) saying the ad made Christians and Muslims […]

  25. Mark says:

    I think we should support these brave MPs who are clearly showing that they do care about their constituencies and the people therein. That they are prepared to make a stand against anything that anybody finds in any way, shape, or form upsetting is something of which we should all be rightly proud. These tireless bastions of parliament won’t let real work or important matters trump kneejerk indignation and that’s something that should be encouraged.

    I, for one, will be writing to these MPs and also pointing out that:

    1. During a global recession many people are losing their homes, their jobs, and their savings. Any adverts for banks or building societies could unduly make people uncomfortable. They need to be removed too.

    2. I was bullied at school. Sure, I don’t remember the name of the kid now but it might have been John or Lewis so, on the off chance that one of them is right and I suddenly remember this at some point in the future, I’d like to avoid the possibility of the department store’s ads from causing me momentary grief.

    3. The opening credits of The 6 Million Dollar Man have scarred me mentally for life. Subsequently, no more ‘easyJet’ adverts please; I find them unsettling. Those things go down.

  26. Stuart H. says:

    Considering UKIP’s poor record on race relations, I’d say the only question is will Spink be laughed out of office by atheists for being such a twat before he can be thrown out by his party for worrying about Muslims.

  27. Stuart W says:

    Excellent link by Jeanette! Thanks for that.

  28. name(erforderlich) says:

    This makes me sick! Do i endorse any product or statement made in a public transport by taking the bus or the subway? This hurts!

  29. […] leave you in the ever capable hands of MediaWatchWatch for more a more sanguine and (perhaps) less indignant account of […]

  30. Graham Pierce says:

    “this causes concern to Christian and Muslim people, many of whom feel embarrassed and uncomfortable travelling on public transport displaying such advertisements”

    I find it diffult to be sympathetic, having been a primary school teacher for 20 years, when I felt embarrassed and uncomfortable every working day by the daily act of worship, and by the assumption that we were a christian community despite being a state school.

  31. Graham Pierce says:

    I see that Nicholas Winterton has added his name to the motion. As a well-know right-wing chancer (see http://blogs.independent.co.uk/openhouse/2008/06/the-gall-of-the.html) that should help ensure that no respectable politician takes it seriously

  32. Alfster says:

    Nicholas Winterton’s wife Anne has also added her name…a good wholesome Christian who oposes Euthanasia and is ‘pro-life’ i.e. VERY anti-abortion…so she has got a track record of trying to gag free-speech and freedom to control one’s own life.

    As I live in Cheshire I am not sure whether to give her a piece of my mind or slam the door in her face if she was ever doing a ‘walk-round’.

    Probably a piece of my mind she doesn’t seem to have one herself.

  33. Debbie Kean says:

    Alfster thinks he knows me. He doesn’t, but the obsession is his, I am afraid. (To the point of fraud, actually).

    Vicky is my nickname in RL. Nuff said, as it’s irrelevant… Oh, and I’d just like to point out, I have close family in the UK, so I am not so much “obsessed” as he puts it, as concerned.

    Vicky