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'No God' campaign draws complaint

 
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Mar, 2009 06:28 am
@Steve 41oo,
You have a good point. I don't know if there is advertising for religion in the UK, but there often is in both the US and in Canada. Any agency charged with assuring truth in advertising should not permit religious advertising because it is not proven, or even provable.

In Ottawa, the capital of Canada, the bus company has refused to allow the humanist "there is probably no god" campaign for bus posters. But then, they don't allow religious advertisements, either, or any advertisement which would "cause unreasonable offense"--i.e., something gratuitous. The spokesman for the Ottawa bus company was adamant that people who object to commercial advertising are not being offended on a religious, ethnic, gender or other categorical basis, and that the company is already careful to keep offenses on such bases out of their commercial advertising.

The "professional atheists" are howling about the decision in Ottawa, but personally, i'm comfortable with it--mostly because it entails a simple justice and balance.
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Mar, 2009 06:53 am
@Setanta,
The scale of religious advertising here is tiny c.f. the US. Mainly its just a few words outside a church such as "Carpenter wants joiners" or "Jesus lives!" or the perennial "This is a CH**CH. Whats missing?" and other intellectually challenging stuff. I've seen a couple of large advertising hoardings for new evangelical churches, but not recently.

We've never had a campaign promoting atheism, (and the counter campaign for God) until now as far as I'm aware.

Like most people I go out of my way to avoid gratuitous offence and until recently if an advert proclaimed "There is probably no God", and God-fearing folk would be really upset, then I would have said don't advertise. But unfortunately things have become more serious lately, with people doing Allah's work and seeking entrance into Paradise by detonating bombs on London Transport. Therefore I think its a legitimate question for debate, and I dont give a damn if religious folk are forced to contemplate a few hard truths.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Mar, 2009 07:54 am
Amen . . .
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Thomas
 
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Reply Fri 13 Mar, 2009 12:32 pm
@Steve 41oo,
Steve 4100 wrote:
Its not particularly a problem for me, although I dont like conjecture being presented as fact. It ought to be a problem for the ASA as it is their job to stop misleading offensive or harmful advertising. I think they've dodged the issue.

"Gordon Brown is a lousy prime minister" is a conjecture stated as fact, and would probably be offensive to a good number of Labour supporters. If the Conservative party advertised with this slogan, would ASA have a problem with it? Or would it consider it a valid exercise of the Conservative Party's right to free speech?

To my instincts, the proper response is the latter -- and it's exactly the way it should respond to the Atheist campaign.
Steve 41oo
 
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Reply Fri 13 Mar, 2009 01:55 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

"Gordon Brown is a lousy prime minister" is a conjecture stated as fact, and would probably be offensive to a good number of Labour supporters.
And an increasing number of Labour supporters might agree. But at least we can measure "Gordon Brown is a lousy prime minister" via opinion polls and statistical analysis. And there is his track record. It really is not comparable with "God exists/does not exist"

Quote:
If the Conservative party advertised with this slogan, would ASA have a problem with it?
Almost certainly not. Its a matter of opinion.

Quote:
Or would it consider it a valid exercise of the Conservative Party's right to free speech? To my instincts, the proper response is the latter -- and it's exactly the way it should respond to the Atheist campaign.
Its difficult to disagree. Except words do count, and they can do harm. One does not have the right to shout "fire" in a crowded cinema, because you don't like the film. Or set fire to the cinema because the audience is composed of atheists/heathens/homosexuals/persons-I-don't-like.
Thomas
 
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Reply Fri 13 Mar, 2009 05:58 pm
@Steve 41oo,
Steve 4100 wrote:
One does not have the right to shout "fire" in a crowded cinema, because you don't like the film.

"There probably is no god" isn't analogous to shouting "fire" in a crowded cinema, let alone setting fire on one. At most it's analogous to shouting "there probably is no good movie showing tonight."
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