in tailored prison
tied, shirted, trousered, booted
to the interview
"There's two things I can't stand - intolerance and Catholics" – Spike Milligan
The atheist posters have gone up on buses around London, proclaiming the message ‘God probably doesn’t exist. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life’ which, one imagines, should offend no one since religious Groups have no problem with filling Underground Trains and stations with their religious propaganda. However, I wasn’t surprised to discover that it didn’t take long for god-botherers to find a rickety bandwagon and jump on it.
“An atheist campaign claiming "There's probably no God" has been reported to the advertising regulator.
Posters with the slogan appear on 800 buses in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as on the London Underground.
But organisation Christian Voice has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority saying they break rules on substantiation and truthfulness.
The British Humanist Association, which backed the campaign, said it was not taking the complaint seriously.
The ASA's code states "marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove all claims". The regulator said it would assess the complaint and decide whether to contact the advertiser.
The adverts contain the slogan: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."
But Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, said: "There is plenty of evidence for God, from people's personal experience, to the complexity, interdependence, beauty and design of the natural world.
"But there is scant evidence on the other side, so I think the advertisers are really going to struggle to show their claim is not an exaggeration or inaccurate, as the ASA code puts it."
The campaign was dreamed up by comedy writer Ariane Sherine and was supported by scientist and vocal atheist Richard Dawkins.
Hanne Stinson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said: "I've sought advice from some of our key people here, but I'm afraid all I've got out of them so far is peals of laughter.
"I am sure that Stephen Green really does think there is a great deal of evidence for a God (though presumably only the one that he believes in), but I pity the ASA if they are going to be expected to rule on the probability of God's existence."
Meanwhile, the campaign is moving to Genoa where the very grand-sounding Italian Union of Rational Atheists and Agnostics (UAAR) are planning their own campaign next month.
“Father Gianfranco Celabrese, a spokesman for Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the Archbishop of Genoa and head of the Italian Bishops Conference, attacked the atheist campaign, saying it amounted to "intolerance". Vatican officials were said to be alarmed at reports that the atheist campaign would target Rome next.
Father Calabrese said: "There are some methods which promote dialogue and others which feed intolerance. Head-on opposition always demonstrates intolerance." The Genoa bus campaign will use the slogan: "The bad news is that God does not exist. The good news is that we do not need him", rather than the claim by campaigners in Britain and Spain that God "probably" does not exist. “
This serves to hearten me to the fact that rational people are willing to stand up and be counted around the world. It is, of course, rather ironic for a Catholic Archbishop to talk of intolerance, particularly in view of the Pope’s unfortunate remarks just before Christmas.
My boss, here in the secret underground government bunker, is against the campaign, and when I asked her why, she replied ‘It’s wrong to attack the church like this. You’re unravelling two thousand years of rhetoric.’
I had an interview today, perversely for my own job. This is the second time this has happened although I am gratified to know that there will be a substantial uplift in the old moolahs.
And Ricardo Montalban is dead, famous for both being Khan in ‘Star Trek – The Wrath of Khan’ and for being in The Colbys.