The Wayward Bus
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The Wayward Bus

20090129atheistbus.jpg
Photo of one of London’s buses on Tottenham Court Road by jonworth-eu.


It’s almost as though the world’s atheists want their opinions acknowledged or something. After news broke a week and a half ago that a group called the Freethought Association of Canada was planning to bring bus ads to Toronto that read “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life,” a campaign wholly copied from the godless Brits, those ads are one step closer to turning up on the side of your favourite TTC vehicle.
After obliterating their financial goal—they had aimed to raise $7,000 by May but have raised three times that already—the Freethought Association annnounced this morning that the TTC gave the ad’s wording the go-ahead. Brad Ross, the TTC’s Director of Communications, confirmed to Torontoist this afternoon that the transit system “approved the copy” but that they “have not seen the ad, itself.” After ad company CBS Outdoor and the Freethought Association take care of some paperwork, the TTC will decide whether or not the ad runs (so no Piss Christ–type stuff, Atheist Bus people!).
When BlogTO wrote about the buses earlier today, they asked their readers: “Would you like to see the atheist ad campaign on the TTC?” But a better question might be: “Does it really matter here?” When Barack Obama, who is probably not the devil, said in his inauguration speech that America is “a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus—and nonbelievers,” the inclusion of that last noun was a brave and unprecedented acknowledgment of an oft-maligned minority in that country. But in Canada, where a quarter of us just straight-up don’t believe in God or a god and less than a third of us are “highly religious,” and in Toronto, which almost certainly has levels of religious devotion far lower than the national norm, it seems a little silly to get so excited about putting a slogan that most of us already agree with on the side of a bus. But hey, Calgary’s next!
Hat tip to CanCult.

CORRECTION: JANUARY 28, 2009
This article originally stated that “Brad Ross, the TTC’s Director of Communications, confirmed to Torontoist…that the transit system ‘approved the copy’ but that they ‘have not seen the ad, itself,’ and that ad company CBS Outdoor will ultimately be the ones to decide if it runs.” That conclusion was based on Ross telling us earlier today that “CBS Outdoor handles this for us. No word on when (or if) [the ad] will run—again that’s between [the Freethought Association] and CBS.” But that conclusion was a false one; Ross clarified tonight (both via e-mail and in our comments) that it is “the TTC [that] decides, not CBS. They’ll do the contract and placement of the ad, but all approvals reside with us—and ultimately the Commission, if it were to come to that.”

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