These ads have been approved for display on buses in Toronto and efforts are being made across Canada to get them approved in other municipalities as well.
Personally I would lump them in with ads exhorting one to “eat broccoli – it’s good for you”. In other words, meaningless and pretty harmless, destined to be ignored for the most part once the initial reaction to them wears off.
But not so the reaction from the more religious among us, including everyone’s favourite wing nut, Chuck McVety . To them these ads are an outrageous attack on their beliefs and their response is to rage at the audacity of “atheists forcing their views down our throats”. A typical reaction was a woman who called in to an Ottawa radio show and who, after establishing her bona fides by explaining that she was raised Catholic and later converted to Islam, termed the ads “offensive”.
Okay folks, let’s get a grip on reality here. No one is trying to subvert your personal faith or steal the children from the bosom of your church (synagogue, mosque) under cover of darkness. Your faith will be none the weaker for having read these words, and in fact, may even become stronger if they cause you to reassess and reaffirm your own beliefs. That’s fine if that’s what works for you. But for McVety (the poster boy of intolerance) to call these ads “intolerant” is about as stupid as calling the “God is Love” billboards publicly displayed outside churches intolerant, or “Jesus Saves” painted on barn roofs intolerant. They simply offer a perspective with which it is your option to agree or disagree. You have no more right to be offended by them than by a sign in a travel agency that offers you “The perfect winter get-away vacation.”
We’d all get along so much better if people just remembered that it’s freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.