Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The return of the Atheist Bus Campaign

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The Atheist Bus Campaign is back on our streets, although this time it's not actually taking place on buses – billboards have gone up in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast featuring children alongside the slogan "Please don’t label me. Let me grow up and choose for myself", highlighting the tendency to label children with their parents' religions before they've even had a chance to think for themselves. In the background, mixed up with terms like "Muslim Child", "Christian Child" and "Buddhist Child", are more unlikely terms such as "Post-modernist Child", "Anarchist Child" and "Marxist Child".

Richard Dawkins, who co-sponsored the campaign when it launched last year, said:
‘We urgently need to raise consciousnesses on this issue. Nobody would seriously describe a tiny child as a 'Marxist child' or an 'Anarchist child' or a 'Post-modernist child'. Yet children are routinely labelled with the religion of their parents. We need to encourage people to think carefully before labelling any child too young to know their own opinions and our adverts will help to do that."
You can read campaign creator Ariane Sherine introducing the billboard phase over at Comment is Free.

The billboards are on display for the next two weeks at the following locations: London – Old Street roundabout; Cardiff – 42 Merthyr Road; Edinburgh – Portobello Road, Piershill; Belfast – 74-76 Great Victoria Street / Bruce Street.

11 comments:

Ade said...

A most worthy campaign. Bravo!

Barry said...

Cool, my office is very close to that Belfast billboard, I'll walk over and take some pics as soon as it's up. :)

Cullen said...

‘We urgently need to raise consciousnesses on this issue."

Oh get over yourself. It's parents bringing up children in their own image and nothing more sinister than that. That's what they do. Then when the kids grow up they might question their parents values, in the case of a religious upbringing they are free to either convert to another religion or reject all religions. No real harm done, is there? But "urgently need to raise consciousnesses on this issue" what we urgently need to do is get Richard Dawkins' head out of his arse before it's too late.

Oh and BTW there are children that can be described as Marxists, Anarchists or Post-modern, they are being brought up by Marxist, Anarchist or Post-modern parents. I'm a middle classed, atheist, republican so my kids are likely (at least for a while) to hold the same values and opinions, but if they don't I'm not going to lose sleep over it.

Ewan McGregor said...

I personally would care a lot about whether my children have the same values as me. That sounds like exactly the sort of thing worth 'losing sleep over.' You really don't care?

Ade said...

@Cullen
RE: "...nothing more sinister than that"

Perhaps sinister isn't the correct word, but sending a 5-year-old to a faith school is completely unacceptable in my opinion. Yes, some (myself included) will come to their own rational conclusions at a later age but others will lose their whole lives to the nonsense they're brainwashed with at an early age.

1minionsopinion said...

That is definitely better than the "stop worrying" one. I like it. It just reminds people that parents and other grown-ups are the ones who decide what children are going to believe and not every child gets a chance to decide on something else later.

I had an idea for another ad campaign called "Spot the Atheist" where you just get a large picture of the backs of people walking down a street or something and remind people that anyone might be. Maybe an added tagline - "If you tried, now is the time to think about why."

Cullen said...

@Ewan McGregor

I would hope they do share most, if not all of my values. But I'm trying to raise intelligent, free thinking, happy individuals. They do stop being children at some point and as parents we need to let go and hope for the best. If they are happy in all of their lifestyle choices and can speak about their opinions with confidence then I'll be a happy daddy.

Cullen said...

@Ade
"sending a 5-year-old to a faith school is completely unacceptable in my opinion"

Fair enough, but in a free society we should be free to make our own decisions, and in a parent's case decisions on our child's behalf.

I'm pleased you were able to come to your own decisions later. I'd hope anyone who sticks with their parent's way of thinking has done so after weighing up all the other possibilities. That might be naive of me.

My background is different from many people, having not had a religion picked for me - I had no religious ceremony performed on me at or soon after birth I also received very little religious education at all. Relatively common now, but I was born in the mid 1960s.

Eiskrystal said...

Well, its not in my top list of things to lose sleep over. Frankly i'm not quite sure how the campaign is supposed to help either since no parent is ever going to admit to filling their childs head with nonsense (cough santa claus) but hey if it makes people happy to try, and pisses off a couple of christians, go ahead.

Frankly I think getting rid of all religion from government and schools would be better...but then that isn't going to happen any time soon.

Mariano said...

This is merely more atheist propaganda as Richard Dawkins wonders whether there is occasion for “society stepping in” and hopes that such efforts “might lead children to choose no religion at all.” Dawkins also supports the atheist summer camp “Camp Quest.”

Phillip Pullman states the following about his “fictional” books for children, “I don't think I'm writing fantasy. I think I'm writing realism. My books are psychologically real.” But what does he really write about? As he has admitted, “My books are about killing God” and “I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief.”

More evidence here:
http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com/2009/11/deceptive-manipulative-propagandist.html

Yet again, atheists are collecting “amazing sums” during a time of worldwide recession not in order to help anyone in real material need but in order to attempt to demonstrate just how clever they consider themselves to be—while actually loudly, proudly and expensively demonstrating their ignorance and arrogance—need any more be said?

Dwight Gilbert Jones said...

is there any reason why this hasn't been called the humanist bus campaign? Or are we just trying to sell books or collect donations like Dawkins and need a strawman like atheism to facilitate that process?

The British Humanist Association really has no business labeling itself as a humanist organization when it is almost completely concerned with religion. Dawkins as a VP demonstrates this perfectly.

If atheists must be social climbers is it unreasonable for them to at least leave Humanists in peace?