Atheist ads on OC Transpo in limbo

An Atheist advertising campaign will spend a few weeks in limbo after the transit committee deadlocked on a vote on whether to allow ads to run on city buses.

An Atheist advertising campaign will spend a few weeks in limbo after the transit committee deadlocked on a vote on whether to allow ads to run on city buses.

The ads by the Humanist Association of Ottawa, stating “There’s probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life,” were rejected last week.

Transit committee chairman Alex Cullen had attempted to overturn the decision and pledged to bring it to city council in early March as a separate motion.

Humanist Julie Breeze said she was disappointed that the decision was not overturned, but said she intended to keep fighting.

“The ads that we are proposing are not intended to offend,” she said. “We’re hoping that these ads will let other non-believers know that they are not alone. It’s not an easy thing to be an atheist surrounded by a sea of believers.”

However, Theresa Milligan argued against the ads, saying that it goes beyond freedom of speech.

“When statements are said that God probably does not exist, this is an implied statement of hatred towards all those who do believe that God exists.”

Mercier said OC Transpo permits run advertisements informing people of the date, time and place of religious gatherings or events. Ads promoting a specific dogma that might be prejudicial or offensive to other groups using the transit system are not permitted.

Mercier said they felt the language of the ads were specific enough to attract religious debate and likely polarize members of the community.

 
 
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