God’s cheerleaders scored yesterday when eight Calgary buses and two LRTs rolled out with new ads in response to an atheist campaign launched two weeks ago.

The $12,000 pro-God ads were paid for by seven Calgary religious organizations. They say, “God cares for everyone… even those who say He doesn’t exist!”

“We are reacting to false propaganda that has been going on in Calgary over the past few weeks,” said local Islamic leader Syed Soharwardy.

“Some say that we should have spent the money on the Mustard Seed, and I agree. But we have to counter the ads — I wish we didn’t have to take this path, but we do.”

The Freethought Association of Canada’s atheist ads, which encourage Calgarians to stop worrying about God and enjoy their life, have also hit Toronto and Montreal and are planned for Ottawa. Halifax transit officials rejected the ads, saying they are too controversial. Soharwardy wants other cities to launch similar counter-campaigns.

Justin Trottier, president of the Freethought Association, said he doesn’t mind the pro-God ads — but he thinks Soharwardy has missed the point.

“This is a dialogue we are trying to engage in with Canadians,” Trottier said.

“Our campaign was never meant to be a tit-for-tat campaign — I’m not sure that’s good for anybody. It seems to be a way to re-claim the territory he (Soharwardy) thinks he’s lost by a small, modest little atheist campaign.”