- Published on Friday, 22 October 2010 07:19
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 1460
Recently, the Quinte Humanists decided to get the message out and chose bus advertising. But not the large ads outside the buses - smaller ones inside where the bus riders could read them. They read "Don't believe in God? You're not alone". There have been no complaints and the Belleville Transit company would be unlikely to object to more advertising - but it's hard to know why. Is it because Canadians are getting used to the diversity of opinion? Or do many people agree and are just not active? One of the things you hope happens when you advertise is that there will be additional publicity from the controversy generated. So as a member of the Quinte Humanists, I was pleased to see the following article in Thursday's Belleville Intelligencer newspaper.
Bill Broderick doesn't believe in God but he does believe in advertising.
Broderick and nine other members of the Quinte Humanist Association are currently winding down a campaign geared toward informing area residents that if they too don't believe in God they are not alone.
In fact, one of two advertisements the group has placed inside city transit buses says exactly that.
"Don't believe in God? You're not alone" reads one of the large ads running inside 11 transit buses for the past two months. The second ad features a photograph of legendary Hollywood actress Katharine Hepburn and a quote from her explaining that she is an atheist.
Broderick, who is chairman of the association, said the ads are not meant to be controversial and are simply a means to inform the public and, hopefully, get some new members.
"We did a lot of thinking about what kind of an ad we should have. We didn't want to go out and get people upset," he said.
So far, the advertisements have prompted half a dozen people to contact Broderick and ask about the local humanist association. Only one caller, he said, questioned the content of the ads.
Broderick said the woman who phoned him wasn't necessarily complaining but wanted to express her views.
"She called and I guess she felt she needed to give us a lesson," he said. "I wouldn't classify it as a complaint, I think she just wanted to challenge us."
Other humanist groups in London, Toronto and Ottawa have also posted advertisements on buses in their cities in the past. While some of those campaigns sparked controversy, Belleville bus riders haven't contacted the city regarding the advertisements.
Peter Hodgson, the city's manager of transit services, said he isn't aware of any complaints prompted by the ads. He admitted, however, the city took steps to distance itself from the advertisements in case people were offended.
"We actually have a notice of our own in the bus that says opinions expressed or the content of any interior or exterior advertisements in city buses don not necessarily represent the views of the city," he said.
"The signs have been up for a month and we haven't heard a thing."
By W. BRICE MCVICAR THE INTELLIGENCER - Belleville, Ontario
Bill Broderick is an active member of Quinte Humanists and organised getting the advertising going. He is also a frequent contributor to this web site