Ottawa bans ‘Atheist bus ads’

I am shocked at this.

Ottawa buses have sported all kinds of ads – religious or not – which I thought were, well, ‘offensive’.

Few years ago, they ran that ad which had attempted to lure children into the hands of pedophiliac priests:  an outwardly ‘pro-religion’ ad that urged EVERYONE (including underage children, who, of course, can read) to ‘go to church’ to ‘get guidance’.

If one reads its meaning in the ‘commonly understood’ way (at least, commonly understood among the people I know – the ad raised a lot of comments when it ran), it is simply and unequivocally luring children into the ‘dens of pedophiles’ also known as ‘Churches’. (Actually, about 15 years ago, a stranger who happened to be a ‘Mount Cashel’ survivor gave me a very poorly written, yet highly personal and extremely convincing note to warn me that letting my children near a Christian Church is putting them in the hands of pedophiles.  I have not found any evidence to disbelieve him – to the contrary.  When I took my son to a Pentacostal Sunday School, I found a person I knew to have a sexual orientation to ‘children’ – but I do not know if he ever acted on it – to be in charge of the program….and, when I alerted the Church hierarchy, they told me that since he had ‘found Christ’, it was important that they give him a ‘second chance’.  NOT WITH MY SON!!!)

We all know that many pedophiles like to use the ‘channel of divine authority’ to force young people into sex and silence.  It does not mean that every priest is a pedophile, only that pedophiles like to infiltrate the ranks of clergy, because the blackmail of ‘eternal damnation’ is a powerful tool to manipulate.  And, it does explain why the prices of houses within sight of a rectory (or, indeed, a Church) tend to be below the expected market value…. most responsible parents are just not willing to expose their kids to that high a risk!

So, ‘bus ads’ urging young people to ‘go to church’ can, in an undeniable way, be perceived as sending them into an environment where they are much more likely to encounter a pedophile than they would among the general population.  And, in any ‘moral’ judgment, this makes such ads ‘offensive’!

If, on the other hand, one were to read the ‘go to church’ ad in a different way (which, frankly, many Christians have assured me was the intent of the ad), the ad becomes offensive on a completely different  level.  Should the meaning of the ad have been ‘come to our churches when you are most vulnerable, so our priests can emotionally blackmail you to submit to our dogma so you will give us money – and thus buy God’s love and approval’ – well, frankly, that is rather offensive, too.  People who are going through a hard time and are vulnerable are the last ones who should go to places that tell them that ‘giving away money in this world’ will ‘buy them salvation in the next one’!

I also find it offensive in the extreme when some religious people misconstrue the meaning of ‘morality’:  instead of defining ‘morality’ as ‘deep, introspective reasoning to choose the best – least damaging/bad/evil – course of action based on their own experience, reasoning and their specific circumstances’, many religious people reduce ‘morality’ to ‘obedience to a set of dogmatic rules’.  That, in my opinion, is reducing ‘morality’ to the level of ‘puppy-training’ – and something which offends me on the intellectual, spiritual and moral levels!

To sum this up:  I find ads telling people that ‘going to church’ is ‘a good thing’ to be offensive in the extreme!

Yet, ads urging people – especially emotionally vulnerable people – to ‘go to church’ were deemed ‘acceptable’ and ran on the sides of Ottawa buses.

And, that is a good thing:  matters of freedom of expression are more important than any ‘sensitivities’.  Protecting the right of people to get their message out (provided they pay for it from their own pocket) – however much I despise their message – is much more important than whether or not I (or other people) find that message ‘offensive’!

Today, the sides and rears of Ottawa busses sport a different kind of an ad:  ones paid for by our own local ‘Cruella deVille’ and her little furrier empire!

Please, do not get me wrong.  I think that if an animal is killed for food, it is only reasonable to use every part of the animal, including its skin or fur.  However, that is a very a different thing from raising animals in small, crowded cages and then electrocuting them (so the pelt has no holes) and using only their skin to create a ‘luxury product’.  And, it is this latter practice that I find extremely offensive.

Actually, I asked a few of my Hindu friends what they thought about these ads:  they were not particularly fond of them, to say the least!  Their religious sensitivities were deeply offended by the ads promoting frivoulous ‘luxury furs’!

After all, NOT ascribing animals a soul equal to the soul humans have IS just as much of a a religious prejudice as NOT ascribing them one is….   Please, think about this, long and hard.

Yet, these ads urging people to indulge their religious prejudice that animals have no soul (or, at least, not one worth considering) and to indulge themselves by wearing their pelts as an expression of luxury – these are allowed to run!!!  Offensive in the extreme!!!  (Please, ask PeTA what they think of these ads!!!)

And, that is a good thing:  matters of freedom of expression are more important than any ‘sensitivities’.  Protecting the right of people to get their message out (provided they pay for it from their own pocket) – however much I despise their message – is much more important than whether or not I (or other people) find that message ‘offensive’!

Yet, ads urging people not to take their religion to the point of extreme – not to obsess about it, to the detriment of their quality of life (and those near and dear to them) – THOSE ads are deemed to be ‘offensive’?!?!?

I have heard objections to these ads, based on the grounds that ‘seeing them might make people do immoral things’!  Yeah, right… Yet, if that is so….

Well, then, what about a person so obsessed with his religion, he is planning to strap a bomb to his body and blow up himself, along with a busload of schoolkids?  What if THAT person sees the bus and decides not to chance it?  What IF God is NOT real – who would give him the 72 virgins?

Would that be so bad?

Or, what about the father who is planning to clense his family’s honour in his daughter’s blood?  What if HE sees the ad, and realizes that killing his daughter on the GAMBLE that there IS a God just may not be worth it?

Would saving the life of one girl not be worth offending a few people?

Or, what about the man who loves his wife, but who is told by his spiritual adviser that it is not just permitted, but ‘necessary for her salvation’ that he beat her?  It is not so long ago that Christian priests preached this from the pulpit – and many Muslim Imams still do!  So, what if a man who believes them sees this – and it helps him find the courage to respect his wife and treat her like an equal – which is what he wanted to do in the first place, were it not for the ‘religious teachings’???

Would THAT be so offensive?

I suppose that some people think so.  I guess the only time Jews, Christians and Muslims gang together is to lynch atheists – and to silence the voices of reason that threaten the power of clergy to control the lives of nice people.

How ‘offensive’!!!

UPDATE: This week ( ending March 14th), the Ottawa City Council has reversed the ruling and the ‘atheist ads’ will be allowed to appear on the sides of busses.

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