By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

TORONTO, January 29, 2009 ( – The atheist bus ad campaign, started earlier this month in Britain, which promotes the slogan, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life,” has been approved by the TTC for display in Toronto’s transit system.

The Free-Thought Association of Canada won approval yesterday from the Toronto Transit Commission to place its ads on the sides of buses and trolley cars and inside subway cars.

A TTC spokesman said that though the ads do not violate any of the TTC’s advertising rules, the decision to approve them could be reviewed if there are complaints.

Canada Family Action Coalition president Dr. Charles McVety told the Globe and Mail that the CFAC is considering its response to the ad campaign.

“On the surface, I’m all for free speech. … However, though, these are attack ads,” said Dr. McVety, who is also president of Canada Christian College in Toronto.

“These ads are not saying what the atheists believe, they are attacking what other people believe,” he said. “And if you look at the dictionary definition for … bigot, that’s exactly what it is, to be intolerant of someone else’s belief system.”

However, the Free-Thought Association says that it is merely attempting to stir up discussion about the issue. “We want a discussion and the bus ads hopefully will create a discussion. They sure did in the U.K.,” said Cliff Erasmus.

Association spokesman Justin Trottier said, “People welcome this. They may not agree with our point of view but they welcome the challenge, and the dialogue, and support our right to freedom of speech.”

The Catholic Civil Rights League, a Canadian civil and religious rights defense organization, issued a press release saying the atheist ad campaign may backfire.

“Many believers … will see such advertising as yet another attempt to diminish respect for religion,” the League’s press release said, adding, “We don’t doubt that that is ultimately the intention of the advertising, but we certainly question whether that will be the effect. In fact, the promoters may get a surprise when the impact on belief in God proves to be positive.”

“I understand the ads are going to include a web site for people to express their solidarity with the organization,” said League Executive Director Joanne McGarry. “Based on our experience at the League, they can expect to hear a great deal from people who think they’re wrong. Free speech is a two-way street, and interactive technologies have made it a very busy one!”

Concerns and opinions regarding this ad campaign can be made to:

Toronto Transit Commission
TTC Chairman Adam Giambrone
Email: [email protected]
Advertising Complaints: 416-393-3030

See previous LSN coverage:

Atheist Bus Ads – Christians Protest, Italy Rejects, Spain Welcomes, Toronto Is Next


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