Atheism ads should be allowed on buses. Just not Halifax buses.
Proving once again humanity’s love of getting upset for pointless reasons, the atheist ads have been causing controversy across the globe.
They read, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
Seems harmless, but it’s sparked much protest and even has bus drivers refusing to work. Now the fuss has hit Halifax as Metro Transit refused to run the ads. Except in this case, it’s OK.
First off, anyone so insecure in their own faith that they can’t stand seeing an ad promoting another view is someone who needs to lighten up. To suggest pro-God ads are OK but pro-atheism ads are offensive is absurdly hypocritical.
But that’s not what’s happening here. Metro Transit spokeswoman Lori Patterson said it has a policy against running any religious or political ads to avoid controversy. Fair enough. That may be a bit paranoid, but it’s hardly a violation of free speech. Assuming what Patterson says is true, then the atheists are being treated exactly like everyone else.
And isn’t that kind of the point of this whole campaign? Wouldn’t lobbying Metro Transit to overturn its general policy to make a special case for atheists be completely against what they’re trying to do?
And don’t get me wrong, as a regular rider I don’t feel much sympathy for them. There’s no greater argument against atheism than the feeling of missing a bus and hoping with all your might that hell exists so the inventor of GoTime can be sent there.
(As I write this, my coworker Matthew Wuest just stormed back into the office fuming that he got to a bus stop seven minutes early, waited about 25 minutes, and his bus never came. Seriously, Metro Transit, must you be impossible to defend?)
But there’s nothing unfair about avoiding all religious or political ads. Trying to martyr your cause with that is just silly.
It’s like when PETA makes Super Bowl commercials it knows will be too racy to air and then cries foul when they’re rejected. They plan on this happening — imagine their panic if an ad actually got accepted and they had to pay for it — to drum up cheap publicity.
The atheism ads have attracted enough genuine controversy without needing to manufacture more. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.
Paul McLeod is a staff reporter at Metro Halifax. He is currently in rehab for being a political junkie. It’s going badly.