Members of a local atheist group looking to have their controversial advertisements placed on OC Transpo buses will be holding a peaceful protest at city hall this morning.
About two dozen members of the Humanist Association of Ottawa and their supporters will arrive at city hall at 9:30 a.m. in hopes that council will allow the group to place their ads — which read: “There’s probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life” — on OC Transpo buses.
“We were declined originally by the staff of OC Transpo to place our ad,” said Steve Zabarylo, a director for the Humanist Association of Ottawa. “We hope it will receive an approval from council.”
City council will be voting on a motion to overturn OC Transpo’s refusal to allow atheist bus ads on city buses today.
“The protest is to let city council know that we are there and that we wish them to change the decision and, if necessary, to revisit the policy and make sure … the freedom of speech is protected,” he said.
There are a number of purposes to the ads, Zabarylo said.
“The common goal is to open a discussion. In a pluralist society, nothing should be above being questioned.
“And another thing is to reach out to people among us who are non-believers and let them know they are not alone,” he said. “Non-believers are a significant aspect of the population. In this area, we probably range between 15 to 20 per cent of the population, which, after Roman Catholic, is the most identifiable group.”
The ads aren’t intended to offend, Zabarylo said.