An advertisement campaign run by the Christian Party, declaring “There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life”, has not only topped the Advertising Standards Authority’s Top 10 of most complained about adverts in 2009, it is the most complained about non-broadcast advert ever. The adverts were on the sides of buses, deliberately mirroring the British Humanist Association’s high-profile “Atheist Bus Campaign” from earlier in the same year.
The BHA’s own campaign, with the slogan “There’s Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life”, was originally only intended to adorn the sides of bendy buses in London. But it proved so popular that an appeal to fund the adverts raised well over £100,000 from public donations – enough for the campaign to be expanded across the UK. The campaign was then widely copied by other humanist and atheist organisations around the world.
Andrew Copson, BHA Chief Executive, commented, “Our adverts were a light-hearted response to exactly the kind of dogma that says people must be told what to believe and how to live, often accompanied by the threat of punishment in another world. It is with some satisfaction that the public chose to complain about an advert that did not want them to decide for themselves about the existence of god, rather than encouraging them to make their own minds up as ours did.
“Working for freedom of speech, expression and belief is at the very core of the humanist tradition and at the heart of all the BHA’s work, and we were quite happy for Christian groups to mimic our own successful campaign. This is in contrast to official complaints lodged against our adverts by the likes of Christian Voice, which were wholly rejected by the ASA who made no further investigations.”