This has been getting a bit of coverage already, so shout out to Skeptigirl, and The Friendly Atheist.
My country has let me down yet again. This time, it's localized bits of embarrassments involving "those" atheist bus ads. Toronto and Calgary are posting them. Halifax and Victoria aren't.
The "offending" phrase cited is this "You can be good without God". Try as I might, I can think of no gentler phrase that encourages a respectful dialogue between the believer and the non-believer alike. We have to put up with pictures of half-aborted fetuses coupled with Jesus-laden phraseology denouncing a woman's right to choose, and THIS is the shit they get offended over? I call epic bullshit.
You know what? Our hands are clean on this one. The best way we can fight back is just repeat what they say. Embarrass them. Most people are reasonable, tame citizens, and when they see that this terribly tame and reasonable advert was rejected on ideological/philosophic/PR grounds, they'll likely begin to see the cowardly tactics and intellectual insecurity on the part of the religious. Maybe then the crazy/coward religious people will continue to marginalize themselves when they freak out like this. Maybe the reasonable people who have no stake in this will prefer debate to the usual religious tactic that sounds like "no, shut up".
Also, epic fail to Halifax and Victoria transit. Some small-minded wiener made a cowardly decision and now they no longer represent just their department, but their entire city. Congratulations Halifax and Victoria: you're an international embarrassment and the only way you can fix this is if you go back on your decision (which, while you think it makes you appear flimsy and weak, it actually shows flexibility which is necessary in today's world). You have cited ideological/philosophical/PR reasons for your cowardice, but you have demonstrated gross hypocrisy and discrimination. Commercial advertisements depend on the tactics of philosophy and manipulation of culture. You're not interested in avoiding a PR storm, nor afraid of offending people. You made a value-laden decision rooted in bigotry. And you should be brought to task for it.
Skeptics/atheists/humanists/secularists/Canadians: get active on this. They're trying to squash our right to a) express our beliefs, and b) create a dialogue. Fight back, fight hard, and above all: fight honest. We're the good guys, and we did NOTHING wrong....they did.
I recommend we all follow Skeptigirl's lead and write these cowards.
Halifax Regional Municipality
200 Ilsley Ave
Dartmouth N.S., B3B 1V1
Public Affairs, Transit Services
Mayor Peter Kelly
1841 Argyle Street
P.O. Box 1749
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada B3J 3A5
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