Sunday, 6 March 2011

"For God's sake" is not offensive.

In the ongoing campaign by various groups about the invasive nature of, and pointlessness that is the UK Census being held this year, one group - the British Humanist Association[1] came up with three posters addressing what is the only voluntary question on the whole census - the religion question. One is shown below; all three can be seen here.
Not Religious?
In the 2011 Census Tick "No Religion"

"I put 'Jedi' in the last census. But I'll tick 'No religion this time.

I'm not religious and I don't want Bishops and the government saying this is a religious country.

That's just an excuse to keep religion in politics."

If you're not religious for God's sake say so.

The intention was to buy advertising space at railway stations to display the posters

CBS Outdoor, the advertisers that own the space, had other ideas.

Two reasons were given by owners of the space: they were concerned that the use of the phrase ‘for God’s sake’ would cause widespread and serious offence and they also did not wish to take adverts relating to religion.

As the BHA allude to, only the professionally offended could take "widespread and serious offence,"

But what the BHA didn't point out (at least in their PR) is that the second reason is also spurious. Lots of religious groups are quite capable, and able, to advertise on the self-same spots. Those listed (though probably not exhaustive) include the Alpha course, the Christian Party[1] and the Trinitarian Bible Society.

It's not as if there isn't a history of religious advertising on public transport.

Vaguely related, I was somewhat amused by His Grace's "Mind your own *%$#@!! business" campaign but I think I'll be ticking the No Religion box.

[1] The BHA were responsible for the "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life" bus adverts that generated ASA complaints. In reply the Christian Party came up with "There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life" which became the most complained-about non-broadcast ad ever.

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