I see the atheists are creaming themselves over their pathetic adverts attracting a complaint. Ah there's nothing like playing the daring radical in your safe European home. Honestly all we need now is for some inadequate to send Dawkins a death threat and they'll enter a state of irreligious ecstasy. We can draw some comfort from the complainant having less personal credibility than the Hamiltons but it would have been better if no one had risen to it. Still the way the atheists have jumped all over this absurd complaint shows what a hollow attention seeking enterprise their little campaign is.
It's a curious thing but I've lived in Scotland my whole life and whilst I can recall being irritated by religion on occasion I can honestly say I've never felt remotely oppressed or harassed by it. Even when our evangelical chums turn up at your door at odd hours it takes less than a minute to send them on their way. I'm rather fond of the hellfire and brimstone types that preach in the town of a weekend in Glasgow with their dramatic tales of God rescuing them from a life in jail. They seem like well meaning if slightly intense eggs. In any case they clearly believe that religion has helped them in their lives surely the decent thing to do in the circumstances is to spread the word.
There is nothing whatsoever radical or daring about stating you don't believe in God in the UK but plenty obscene and self indulgent about the conduct of the atheists involved. When I was an atheist I used to say it to Christians and Muslims all the time and all I got in return was a calm statement of their beliefs. I think the worst thing that happened to me as a young atheist was getting smirked at by a teacher in school and told that I had rather too much to say for myself. I know we are a nation that has become prone to ludicrous overreaction to things or in other words spoiled beyond belief but surely the atheist community can live with the odd snide comment.
Of course there is a perfectly valid debate about what role religion should play in society. Personally I support the separation of church and state and the withdrawal of state funding for faith schools and I'd have been happy to support a campaign on those issues. On the other hand I'm perfectly happy for public holidays to be based around Christian festivals given Britain's Christian heritage. I'll take a day off whoever suggests it.
I would also have been delighted to see the money raised from the pointless bus campaign used to oppose genuine religious oppression. In my previous job I used to have a very pleasant chap calling into my office from time to time who had made the unfortunate error of being overheard telling a joke about a local imam and has the horrific scars to prove it. I also used to have a lovely woman call in who only escaped her death sentence for adultery because she was lucky enough to have friends and family with enough cash to pay bribes and buy her a plane ticket. Or if you want a less obscure example what about Meena Keshwar Kamal? All victims of religious oppression and not atypical yet the most pressing matter for British atheists is whether or not some punter on the bus believes in God or not.
Where is the money to help victims of religious torture? Where are the donations to campaign against oppressive theocracy? Languishing in the lack of media attention pile for being insufficiently sexy? Why is some London professional being irked by seeing a Christian advert on a bus more pressing than these issues? I have no doubt at all that Ariane Sherine regards herself and her beliefs as the centre of the universe but that doesn't make so.
Whilst we should be happy that we live in country where the worst thing that's happened to some folk is being 'made' upon pain of being shouted at to sing Onward Christian Soldiers at school assembly, I think it reasonable to be angered by their spoilt child posturing. Of course just in case you thought they were merely a petty bunch of badly dressed Marie Antionettes there is the 'compassionate side' to this campaign. I'm not kidding apparently they wet their pants at some Christian advert containing a link to a website quoting the usual biblical stuff about non-believers roasting on the hob of hell and got worried about folk who might be worried by this. Well God or wanky sixth former forbid that anyone should be worried!
Clearly the atheists are people so unsure of their own convictions that they need to band together for reassurance but does that mean that everyone else is so mentally weak? Who exactly are these Christian adverts worrying? I might be inclined to glance at the website and enjoy a bit of the Bible (one of my favourite reads) but anyone worried by it is likely to be a believer and hardly likely to be swayed by another bit of advertising.
If it wasn't be an obscene waste of valuable resources I'd suggest a bus campaign bearing the slogan ' British Atheists are probably just a bunch of self indulgent milksops with no stomach for a real fight so stop worrying and believe what you like'. Instead I urge anyone whatever their beliefs who is against religious oppression to make a donation to RAWA.