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Atheist ads 'not breaking code' - Comments

Jay Cee's Avatar Comment 1 by Jay Cee

But the body concluded the adverts were unlikely to mislead or cause widespread offence and closed the case.

Is this really the criteria that the ASA are basing their decisions on' Whether something will cause widespread offence' I think the ASA need a much more considered approach to what can and cannot be plastered on buses.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 10:29:00 UTC | #309884

faouloki's Avatar Comment 2 by faouloki

Great news. It is sad that the ASA had to rule on freedom of speech but it never hurts to have it defended.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 10:34:00 UTC | #309888

Peacebeuponme's Avatar Comment 3 by Peacebeuponme

However, the ASA ruled the adverts were an expression of the advertiser's opinion and that the claims in it were not capable of objective substantiation.
That is interesting.

"Daz is the best washing powder in the world", is just the opinion of Procter & Gamble. I guess though the difference is that that can be verified.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 10:35:00 UTC | #309889

j.mills's Avatar Comment 4 by j.mills

A predictable, unexciting but positive result. Stick that on yer bus, Mr Green!

(I expect Christian Voice will claim it's a triumph because the ASA ruled that "the claims in it were not capable of objective substantiation." Ho hum.)

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 10:36:00 UTC | #309890

SurfDude's Avatar Comment 5 by SurfDude


I agree. For example, if the religious put up a poster saying "Jesus Saves!", I am offended that they do not tell me the rate of interest he is getting!

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 10:50:00 UTC | #309897

Bertybob's Avatar Comment 6 by Bertybob

J Mills

I saw that too. Maybe we should complain to the ASA when we see "Jesus Saves" outside a Church?

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 10:52:00 UTC | #309899

Peacebeuponme's Avatar Comment 7 by Peacebeuponme

The only place I want to see the phrase "Jesus Saves!" is in a report about a South American football (soccer to you NAms) match.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 10:56:00 UTC | #309904

scottishgeologist's Avatar Comment 8 by scottishgeologist

Heres a good article for you all - "Atheism Strikes out with its Poison" !!!!!!

[Shakes head in disbelief, takes another sip of Carlsberg....]


Wed, 21 Jan 2009 11:18:00 UTC | #309917

Caudimordax's Avatar Comment 9 by Caudimordax

8. Comment #325144 by scottishgeologist - AARRGGHH! Who do I have to (insert casting couch joke here)to be allowed to hunt these people down and perform non-elective brain surgery on them?:

While it is true that ignorant and immature Christians have in the past demonised the Jews as ‘Christ killers’ and thus contributed to their persecution, the Holocaust of World War II along with the horrors of Stalinist and subsequent Soviet regimes were the direct outcome of godless atheism. The point I am making is that atheism is not a harmless and benign belief that we should encourage. It is lethal.

How many times do we have to debunk the same specious argument?

Edit: SG and what are you doing surfing the internet for this sort of mental smut, anyway? ;-)

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 11:28:00 UTC | #309923

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 10 by God fearing Atheist

#325144 by scottishgeologist

It is a xtian web site. In the FAQ:

What Are We Doing?

We are writing politically incorrect bite-size comment on what life is really about,

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 11:37:00 UTC | #309928

PaulJ's Avatar Comment 11 by PaulJ

not capable of objective substantiation
Something tells me I'll be using this phrase a lot from now on...

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 11:44:00 UTC | #309932

carbonman's Avatar Comment 12 by carbonman

Yes, I'm off with my marker pen to add 'not capable of objective substantiation' to every piece of pro-God advertising I can find.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 11:52:00 UTC | #309936

nalfeshnee's Avatar Comment 13 by nalfeshnee

Lovely re-quote, caudimordax:

While it is true that ignorant and immature Christians have in the past demonised the Jews as ‘Christ killers’...

What, you mean like Martin Luther, one of the leading lights of the Reformation?

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 12:04:00 UTC | #309945

Santi Tafarella's Avatar Comment 14 by Santi Tafarella

What's wrong with you Brits?

You can't say anything that might cause "widespread offense"?

The ASA's ruling is not a defense of free speech, but a travesty of it.

Free speech that cannot unsettle---and that, widely---is not free speech.

And there is a name for people who must be protected from offensive speech.

That name is "children."

It is ill-befitting adults to have to have the messages arriving to their eyes and ears monitored, by the government, for content.

The Brits produced John Locke.

What's happened in the intervening period?


Wed, 21 Jan 2009 12:16:00 UTC | #309947

nalfeshnee's Avatar Comment 15 by nalfeshnee

Just posted this on the LifeBite site. I highly doubt it will be published, so here it is in full:

Interesting article.

But have you read "Mein Kampf", by Adolf Hitler?

It refers to "atheists" - twice, in fact.

On one occasion, it refers to "atheist Marxist newspapers" and on another, "atheistic Jews".

Also, in both passages, Hitler is fulsome in his praise for Christianity.

I hope you don't mind me quoting the passages at length.

The demonstrate pretty clearly what Hitler thought about atheism: not much.

And what he thought about Christianity: a lot.

First quote:

In recent years things have gone so far that patriotic circles, in god-forsaken blindness of their religious strife, could not recognize
the folly of their conduct even from the fact that atheist Marxist newspapers advocated the cause of one religious denomination or the
other, according as it suited Marxist interests, so as to create confusion through slogans and declarations which were often immeasurably
stupid, now molesting the one party and again the other, and thus poking the fire to keep the blaze at its highest.

But in the case of a people like the Germans, whose history has so often shown them capable of fighting for phantoms to the point of complete
exhaustion, every war-cry is a mortal danger. By these slogans our people have often been drawn away from the real problems of their existence. While we were exhausting our energies in religious wars the others were acquiring their share of the world. And while the patriotic
movement is debating with itself whether the ultramontane danger be greater than the Jewish, or vice versa, the Jew is destroying the racial
basis of our existence and thereby annihilating our people. As far as regards that kind of 'patriotic' warrior, on behalf of the National
Socialist Movement and therefore of the German people I pray with all my heart: "Lord, preserve us from such friends, and then we can easily deal
with our enemies."

Second quote:

"But at that time Christ was nailed to the
Cross for his attitude towards the Jews; whereas our modern Christians enter into party politics and when elections are being held they debase
themselves to beg for Jewish votes. They even enter into political intrigues with the atheistic Jewish parties against the interests of
their own Christian nation."


Wed, 21 Jan 2009 12:16:00 UTC | #309948

j.mills's Avatar Comment 16 by j.mills

From scottishgeologist's successfully distracting link:

And as to enjoying your life, there’s no better way to live life to the full than to spend your days in fervent praise of Him who made you in his own image.
Oh deep joy. That's it - I'm quitting chocolate and Battlestar Galactica, for what are their ephemeral pleasures next to the endless bliss of praising Him Wot Made Us? Happy is he who smashes the babies against the stones! (Hang on, gone off-track somewhere there.)

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 12:21:00 UTC | #309949

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 17 by God fearing Atheist

#325174 by Santi Tafarella
What's wrong with you Brits?

Nothing. The ASA just told the 326 complinants to go %$#$ themselves, they were just a bit "British" about it.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 12:25:00 UTC | #309951

j.mills's Avatar Comment 18 by j.mills

Well, Santi has a point about the creeping limitations of 'offensiveness'.

I went on a demonstration against the Government's City Academies initiative, with a deeply witty banner of my own construction: No to Shitty Academies! (See what I did there?)

Two police officers came over and told me I 'could' be committing a public order offence, as somebody might be offended. Had anybody been offended? They told me that didn't matter.

I was still umming and aahing over whether to make a stand for free speech (and get arrested!), when the demo's organiser told me that the police wouldn't let the parade go ahead till I put away my childish thing. So for the Greater Good I did so (though of course relieved to be levered out of my quandary!).

The officers conceded that if my banner had had Sh*tty instead of Shitty, it would have been fine. Go figure.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 12:35:00 UTC | #309954

Dark Matter's Avatar Comment 19 by Dark Matter

The ASA has obviously filed away the childish complaints of Stephen Green and the cut 'n' paste cretinism of Clifford Longley in the proper place - the waste paper bin.

Epeeist has raised an interesting point on the Guardian blog. Who is funding Stephen Green? Did he pay the legal fees owing from his attempt to ban "Jerry Springer - the musical"?

I think that it worth asking this because although other Christians like to say that he is an extreme fundamentalist and only represents a tiny minority of Christians, he is obviously receiving donations from somewhere.

My feeling is that the "tiny minority" is far larger than Christians want to admit to. Compared to donations for the atheist bus ad (which relied on a large number of small donations from many people), I can only assume that there are a few very large donations from very wealthy fundamentalist or that there are far more Christians who are as mad as Stephen Green and share his opnions.

This deserves further investigation.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 12:41:00 UTC | #309958

LeroiJones's Avatar Comment 20 by LeroiJones

I don't think it would at all be a bad thing if we did start complaining to the ASA about 'offensive' or misleading adverts. I think it could help to raise consciousness and break the taboo a little.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 12:43:00 UTC | #309959

j.mills's Avatar Comment 21 by j.mills

Stephen Green froths at the mouth here:

...and spins the situation, as predicted:

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that the humanists behind the newly-launched bus advertisement which claims there is 'probably no God' can't substantiate their claims.
He goes on to say (essentially): Help, help, I'm being oppressed!

In response to Dark Matter, the Christian Voice website has donation buttons on every page and annual membership is £20. (Not bad for eternal salvation.) So 5,000 members would cover the £90,000 costs I think he incurred last time round.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 12:53:00 UTC | #309964

Dark Matter's Avatar Comment 22 by Dark Matter

"the Christian Voice has donation buttons on every page and annual membership is £20. (Not bad for eternal salvation.) So 5,000 members would cover the £90,000 costs I think he incurred last time round."

Thank you for clearing that up J Mills.

5 people agreeing with Stephen Green would be far too many but 5000 - frightening.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 13:02:00 UTC | #309967

Coel's Avatar Comment 23 by Coel

Santi Tafarella writes:

What's wrong with you Brits? You can't say anything that might cause "widespread offense"? The ASA's ruling is not a defense of free speech, but a travesty of it.
The "nothing offensive" rule only applies to advertising, not to speech in general.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 13:07:00 UTC | #309968

Marsten's Avatar Comment 24 by Marsten

5000? Well, remember that people are liable to sign up their entire family to that type of group. That's where the whole 'Christian child' thing comes into play. So if you take that into account, you could knock that supposed membership potential down by a large chunk.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 13:09:00 UTC | #309970

SASnSA's Avatar Comment 25 by SASnSA

nalfeshnee, It's kind of scary seeing Hitler referring to pre-war Germany as a "Christian nation" considering how much that term is being used these days when describing the US.

And now despite that similarity (or more likely because of it), Christians want to rewrite history to make Hitler an atheist.

It's also funny that you mention Martin Luther, though probably not coincidental, considering Hitler considered the author of "On the Jews and their lies" as one of the greatest reformers.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 13:11:00 UTC | #309973

mrjohnno's Avatar Comment 27 by mrjohnno

It is...

unlikely to mislead

...that gets to me. What is it exactly that might mislead?


Wed, 21 Jan 2009 13:11:00 UTC | #309975

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 26 by Stafford Gordon

I think that if Richard Dawkin's preference for a more specific statement had been accepted it would have breached the code, which is concerned with the trade discriptions act covering marketing under false pretences; quite simple really.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 13:11:00 UTC | #309974

j.mills's Avatar Comment 28 by j.mills

Marsten - apparently husband and wife (being one flesh) can join Christian Voice together for one fee. And I was wrong earlier - there aren't donation buttons on every page.

When you do sign up, looking forward to your free copy of Britain In Sin, you are affirming their Statement Of Faith:

1. We believe in one creator God, eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as stated in the historic creeds of the Christian church.
2. We acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord over all creation.
3. We believe the Holy Bible to be the inspired, infallible, written Word of God to whose precepts, given for the good of nations and individuals, all man's laws must submit.
4. We believe all government to be under the authority of God and that its purpose is the maintenance of freedom and justice solely in accordance with Biblical principles.
Read it and weep.

But enough about them! Hooray for the lily-livered non-committal ASA! :)

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 13:28:00 UTC | #309985

stevencarrwork's Avatar Comment 29 by stevencarrwork

'While it is true that ignorant and immature Christians have in the past demonised the Jews as ‘Christ killers’ and thus contributed to their persecution,....'

Take these inflammatory remarks from a Papal Encylical ordered to be read out in Roman Catholic Churches in Nazi Germany...

'....he denies his faith in the true Christ, such as He appeared in the flesh, the Christ who took His human nature from a people that was to crucify Him...'

Which people did Jesus take his human nature from?

The previous section had claimed this about the Jews... 'But side by side with innumerable touches of greatness and nobleness, they also record the story of the chosen people, bearers of the Revelation and the Promise, repeatedly straying from God and turning to the world. Eyes not blinded by prejudice or passion will see in this prevarication, as reported by the Biblical history, the luminous splendor of the divine light revealing the saving plan which finally triumphs over every fault and sin.'

So God triumphed over the fault and sin 'of the chosen people', who were 'repeatedly straying from God'.

Notice that the story of the chosen people went 'side by side' with stories of greatness and nobleness. First you get the story of the chosen people then the story of greatness and nobleness, then back to the story of the chosen people...

And the very next section says Jesus took his human nature from a people who were to crucify him.

And this was sent to churches in Nazi Germany!

The Jews were about to go into the fire and the Pope ordered petrol to be sent to fuel anti-Semitism.

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 14:00:00 UTC | #310002

Ivan The Not So Bad's Avatar Comment 30 by Ivan The Not So Bad

Comment #325185 by Dark Matter
Comment #325191 by J.Mills

Christian Vice's exact membership numbers are unclear but are widely reckoned to be well under 1000. And judging from photographs of their various protests, they are mainly of pensionable age.

I understand they recently managed to negotiate an arrangement of some sort with the BBC over the £90,000 in costs awarded against them over Jerry Springer: The Opera but I'm unclear on the details.

On the substance of the issue, the ASA's statement that the statement is "not capable of objective substantiation" is a woeful cop out.

On the bright side, I see Stephen Green is showing himself to be as mad as ever by blaming his loss on homosexuality. Not his own, mind you......

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 15:08:00 UTC | #310023