cjhsa
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 07:00 am
WASHINGTON, D.C. " You better watch out. There is a new combatant in the Christmas wars.

Ads proclaiming, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake," will appear on Washington, D.C., buses starting next week and running through December. The American Humanist Association unveiled the provocative $40,000 holiday ad campaign Tuesday.

In lifting lyrics from "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," the Washington-based group is wading into what has become a perennial debate over commercialism, religion in the public square and the meaning of Christmas.

"We are trying to reach our audience, and sometimes in order to reach an audience, everybody has to hear you," said Fred Edwords, spokesman for the humanist group. "Our reason for doing it during the holidays is there are an awful lot of agnostics, atheists and other types of non-theists who feel a little alone during the holidays because of its association with traditional religion."

To that end, the ads and posters will include a link to a Web site that will seek to connect and organize like-minded thinkers in the D.C. area, Edwords said.

Edwords said the purpose isn't to argue that God doesn't exist or change minds about a deity, although "we are trying to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people's minds."

The group defines humanism as "a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity."

Last month, the British Humanist Association caused a ruckus announcing a similar campaign on London buses with the message: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

In Washington, the humanists' campaign comes as conservative Christian groups gear up their efforts to keep Christ in Christmas. In the past five years, groups such as the American Family Association and the Catholic League have criticized or threatened boycotts of retailers who use generic "holiday" greetings.

In mid-October, the American Family Association started selling buttons that say "It's OK to say Merry Christmas." The humanists' entry into the marketplace of ideas did not impress AFA president Tim Wildmon.

"It's a stupid ad," he said. "How do we define 'good' if we don't believe in God? God in his word, the Bible, tells us what's good and bad and right and wrong. If we are each ourselves defining what's good, it's going to be a crazy world."

Also on Tuesday, the Orlando, Fla.-based Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian legal group, launched its sixth annual "Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign." Liberty Counsel has intervened in disputes over nativity scenes and government bans on Christmas decorations, among other things.

"It's the ultimate grinch to say there is no God at a time when millions of people around the world celebrate the birth of Christ," said Mathew Staver, the group's chairman and dean of the Liberty University School of Law. "Certainly, they have the right to believe what they want but this is insulting."

Best-selling books by authors such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have fueled interest in "the new atheism" " a more in-your-face argument against God's existence.

Yet few Americans describe themselves as atheist or agnostic; a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life poll from earlier this year found 92 percent of Americans believe in God.

There was no debate at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority over whether to take the ad. Spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said the agency accepts ads that aren't obscene or pornographic.

  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 1,682 • Replies: 15
No top replies

 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 07:09 am
@cjhsa,
As long as the message is done through private enterprise and not through the government, then I don't see the problem.

cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 07:14 am
@rosborne979,
Well, for one thing, buses and bus stops are public property.
shewolfnm
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 07:21 am
It will be nice to see a world not dominated by one religion.
Especially if that one religion is christianity.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 07:24 am
@cjhsa,
Quote:
Well, for one thing, buses and bus stops are public property.

Well the "bus stop" part of your argument is irrelevant because lots of private advertising is visible from public property (they have "come to Jesus" billboards along the highways in some places).

But I thought the busses were owned by a bus company, not the city/state.

If they busses are city/state owned, then they probably shouldn't carry any religious messages.

Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 07:25 am
@shewolfnm,
Would you prefer Muslim?
shewolfnm
 
  0  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 07:27 am
@Intrepid,
Muslim ?
Why?
How much do you know about the Muslim religion?
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 07:31 am
I am not a religious person, but tell me, why this baseless attack on religion and the belief in God? I see God all around me when I'm in the woods. It's impossible not to see. There is no way all this life and beauty just showed up here by a random act of the universe.
0 Replies
 
Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 08:29 am
@shewolfnm,
shewolfnm wrote:

Muslim ?
Why?
How much do you know about the Muslim religion?


I simply asked a yes or no question based on your comment.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  0  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 08:45 am
Proselytizing humanists, eh? God love 'em!

I'm all over the place on this one. I agree with the AFA that it's ok for a merchant to say Merry Christmas. But this statement is horseshit.

Quote:
"It's a stupid ad," he said. "How do we define 'good' if we don't believe in God? God in his word, the Bible, tells us what's good and bad and right and wrong. If we are each ourselves defining what's good, it's going to be a crazy world."


The humanists are also taking an in your face approach (literally) during a time of year that's most likely to ruffle more feathers than it will bring them new members and they're doing it intentionally.

Quote:
Edwords said the purpose isn't to argue that God doesn't exist or change minds about a deity, although "we are trying to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people's minds."


I don't know that I agree with their timing but <shrug> I imagine lots of folks have to see ads on buses that they don't agree with.

Intrepid -- Muslims observe the religion of Islam not Muslim.
JPB
 
  0  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 08:50 am
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:
If they busses are city/state owned, then they probably shouldn't carry any religious messages.


Which begs the question of whether humanism is a religion? The ad uses a lower case g. It's a hypothetical god, not the Judeo-Christian God. The timing and the inference to the Christmas song is obvious but...

I don't know that it qualifies as a religious ad.
cjhsa
 
  2  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 08:57 am
I see one of shewolf's posts disappeared.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  2  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 09:02 am
@JPB,
I agree that it is a stupid statement to define 'good' as I do believe agnostics and atheists have a sense of right and wrong and other religions professing belief in a deity also have a sense of right and wrong. Of course we aren't always agreed on what right and wrong is or where one's sense of right and wrong comes from.

I also believe that if you are going to have domination by one religion, Christianity would be far preferable to a religion that places women under the authority of men by law and that uses corporal or capital punishment to deal with heretics or religions with some really unusual quirks that are required of the people.

I don't have any problem with ads promoting a philosophy of the religion of humanism--if it ain't a religion why promote it?--on city owned busses as long as any who care to do so can also put "He's the reason for the Season" or "Merry Christmas" or "Joy to the World" or whatever ads on city owned busses.
0 Replies
 
Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 09:38 am
@JPB,
JPB wrote:


Intrepid -- Muslims observe the religion of Islam not Muslim.


Thanks for the correction. However, my intent was still the same in reply to shewolfn.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 09:24 pm
@JPB,
Quote:
Which begs the question of whether humanism is a religion? The ad uses a lower case g. It's a hypothetical god, not the Judeo-Christian God.

None the less, the intention of the first amendment was to dis-involve government from religion. Even though Humanism itself may not be defined as a religion, to comment on "god" through a government institution (whether it be a bus or a courtroom) re-involves government in religion.
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 01:21 am
I want to start "The church of mind your own ******* business" In my church anyone can worship any deity they wish without interference, comment or judgment from others... and in turn no one is allowed to proselytize....everyone just go about your business and shut the **** up about others .
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

New A2K is Anti-Free Speech - Question by Brandon9000
Is free speech an illusion? - Question by Angelgz2
Does freedom of speech excuse preaching hate? - Discussion by izzythepush
Time To Boycott EA games? - Discussion by RexRed
Four Dead In O-Hi-O - Discussion by realjohnboy
respect or free speech? - Discussion by dyslexia
Corbyn thinks Trump can pick next UK PM - Discussion by livinglava
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Oh My God
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 06/16/2019 at 02:30:52