My second-best laugh recently was at the news that Australia's largest outdoor advertising agency, APN Outdoor, rejected an attempt by the Atheist Foundation of Australia to put slogans on buses.This was written by Catherine Deveny down under.
British atheists have 800 buses around Ol' Blighty emblazoned with: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." So the Little Aussie Atheists decided to do their bit for the cause. The cause being freedom of speech, rational thought, intelligent discussion and consciousness-raising. In the same way religious groups try to spread the good news to help ease people's existential pain, so too are the atheists. One man's good news is another man's harmful propaganda defacing public spaces.
Aren't we a multicultural, multifaith country that prides itself on diversity and tolerance? So APN, what gives?It’s funny but I never pictured Australia as a particularly religious place. I remember when Bill Clinton was having all of his problems with Monica Lewinsky a famous quote from an anonymous Australian was making the rounds: “I’m glad they got all the Puritans and we got the convicts.” So why all this hooha over a bus ad?
APN has cracked open a can of "No Comment" on this one. As you would, considering Spain and Canada are all running the British slogan, America's going with "Why believe in a God? Just be good for goodness' sake" and Italy, home of The Grand Poobah of The Roman Catholics, is going with, "The bad news is God doesn't exist. The good news is we don't need him." Ireland will run something similar.
The number of churchgoers in Australia is about 9% and dwindling, the diversity of spiritual belief is flourishing and atheism is going off like a frog in a sock.Apparently they aren’t very religious, so what’s the deal? The ad company, APN Outdoor is issuing no comment.