Sunday, February 01, 2009


Advertising War

There are reactions, and then there are reactions.

The love affair of atheists for buses is moving to Canada:

The Canadian Atheist Bus Campaign is a collaboration between Chris Hammond, a first-year political science student at York University and the Free thought Association of Canada (FAC).

As of January 30, the FAC reported that Canadian Atheist Bus Campaign had raised $34,100, almost five times the set goal and far more than required to fund the first atheist ads on buses in Toronto.

"As soon as the TTC advertising authority gives us the green light, we'll be rolling out the campaign," said FAC Vice President of Multimedia Katie Kish. ...

As much of the money has come from outside Ontario, the FAC intends to have a Calgary campaign within two months of the Toronto buses, followed by Halifax within two months after that.

The United Church of Canada [a union of Methodist, Congregationalist and Presbyterian churches], is not taking this lying down. In fact, it's closer to the truth to say it is doing a little stand-up:

The United Church of Canada is rolling out an online response to the ad and a national print campaign starting this weekend.

The United Church ad, created by Toronto-based Smith Roberts Creative Communications, encourages readers to choose between the original message and theirs, which reads: "There's probably a God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

This is not the first time the church has confounded the expectations of some. In 2008, The United Church Observer, the independent magazine affiliated with the church, became a sponsor of the traveling exhibition, "Darwin: The Evolution Revolution," during its visit at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, at a time that corporate sponsors were shying away for fear of stirring controversy.

I'd say, "well played!"

Until one side or the other shows their math, both have an equal claim on "probably".
That's the one problem with the "Stop worrying...." line: it makes sense only as a response to those denominations that obsess over posthumous punishment and lay guilt trips on their flock. The United Church of Canada, though? I don't recall even hearing the word "sin" during my entire 15-year sojourn, God bless 'em ;-).
That's the kind of church an atheist doesn't mind having about the place. We don't even have to quibble about whether or not God exists because the conclusion's the same either way. Love it!
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