Every day of the week Christian fundamentalists appear on our television screens claiming to cure people of cancer and various other life threatening diseases.
Just last night I watched preacher Pat Robinson on Shine TV, eyes closed and body hunched over, claiming to cure an anonymous viewer of tuberculosis via something called ' a word of knowledge'.
Earlier on in the night I watched British 'spiritualist' Colin Fry supposedly talking to people who had died. He followed American John Edwards claiming to be doing the same thing on his show Crossing Over.
This kind of thing exploits people's fears, their grief and unresolved issues they might have in their lives, but I'm not about to wage a campaign to get Pat Robinson, Colin Fry , Benny Hinn and chums taken off the air - even though it would make the world a slightly saner place.
It comes down to freedom of expression and of belief - however loopy those beliefs might be.
But NZ Bus apparently doesn't believe in such tolerance. Without any justification, it has refused to run some billboards on the side of its buses. If the billboards were for God or Brian Tamaki, then NZ Bus wouldn't have a problem . These billboards though say “There’s probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life”.
I would of thought this was legitimate comment but apparently not to NZ Bus.
Organisers of the Atheist Billboard Campaign tried to reach a resolution with NZ Bus, and later attempted mediation sessions through the Human Rights Commission. But NZ Bus refused to participate. Because they are refusing to discuss the matter and reach an agreement, the organisers of the Campaign are now investigating the possibility of taking this case to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.
NZ Bus stated that they have received 'a number of complaints from the public about the proposed billboards.' By 'members of the public' I think we can be safe to assume thse are followers of the more fundamentalist schools of Christianity - the kind of people who still claim that evolution is a fraud.
What were they complaining about? Obviously they don't like anyone claiming there is 'probably no god' but maybe they were also upset that people were being urged 'to stop worrying and enjoy life'. They probably think that's hedonistic since fundamentalist Christians seem to think we should all be spending our time trying to avoid eternal damnation.
So its okay for various Christians to tell me that I'm going to Hell for not behaving properly and not believing the right things but its not okay for a billboard to argue that there is 'probably no god.'
Speaking about the billboard campaign in England - where this atheist advertising campaign originated - Professor Richard Dawkins commented;
'Religion is accustomed to getting a free ride - automatic tax breaks, unearned 'respect' and the right not to be 'offended', the right to brainwash children,"
Even on the buses, nobody thinks twice when they see a religious slogan plastered across the side. This campaign to put alternative slogans on London buses will make people think - and thinking is anathema to religion.'
It looks like someone at NZ Bus isn't all that keen on people using their critical faculties.
I wonder if NZ Bus would ban a billboard that said 'There is no such thing as free will'?
NZ Atheist Bus Campaign