Translink anti free speech

Toronto transit see no problem with this message

Toronto and Calgary transit have no problem with this message

Why is Translink refusing to to carry this message when so many other transit systems allow it?

TransLink officials say they won’t allow advertisements promoting atheism to appear on Metro Vancouver’s public transit system.

The BC Humanist Association had wanted to display a message saying “You can be good without God” on buses and shelters.

“TransLink has reviewed this material and determined that it does not meet the criteria set out in its advertising policy,” TransLink said in a news release Friday. “No advertisement will be accepted which promotes or opposes a specific theology or religious ethic, point of view, policy or action.”

The group’s website states: “If you agree that religious faith does not ensure moral conduct or personal worth, that religious leaders should not dictate public policy, reproductive practises, school curricula or medical treatment, then you can help fellow Humanists change many existing attitudes and practises.”

> CBC Story

> Vancouver Sun story

> The Straight > TransLink refuses humanist ads despite earlier court decision tossing out ban on political ads

> The Straight > Gwynne Dyer Commentary

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FOLLOW UP

Letter

TransLink, Christianity torches free speech

Vancouver Courier

Published: Wednesday, February 25, 2009

To the editor:

Re: “Rejection of atheist ads prevents open debate on religion,” Feb. 18.

Lisa Smedman hits the proverbial nail on the head. In one brief column, she defends our hard-won right to freedom of speech, the rights of non-believers to be included in public policy consultations along with believers of all stripes, and the desperate need for critical thinking everywhere–but especially in the formulation of Canadian public policy.

But Christians from Halifax to Vancouver say they are “offended” by the freethought and humanist ads on public transit. Yet, as Lisa points out, compared to Europe, both Canadian ads (“There’s probably no God” and “Can you be good without God”) are stereotypically Canuck–innocuous, even polite.

But although the ads don’t mention them or their faith, Christians say they are victims of these vicious, hateful public attacks. In every area of life except religion, this is called a paranoid delusion.

In 1600, Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for heresy, for “offending” the Roman Catholic church by teaching that the Earth revolves around the Sun. It only took 400 years for this Church to note–without any apology whatsoever–that Bruno’s martyrdom “was a sad episode.”

We’ve all seen and heard Christians ridicule and demonize the tenets and rites of other faiths. But it takes rare insight to turn one’s critical spotlight on one’s own cradle creed. And then, it requires tremendous courage to question and challenge these homegrown beliefs, especially to one’s family, friends, customers and parishioners.

However, historical research reveals that such courage is necessary in order for humanity to evolve beyond our divisive tribal pasts, and to move closer towards a unified world community, characterized by reason over revelation, informed by science over superstition, and motivated by universal compassion and human rights for all people–not just for those of one’s own faith.

Derek Watters,Kelowna, B.C.

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