Last year, comedy writer and contributor to The Guardian’s ‘Comment is free’ Ariane Sherine devised and headed a campaign to display non-religious adverts on the sides of London buses. This was in direct response to adverts run by a Christian group referencing a website informing atheists that they would “…spend all eternity in torment in hell.’ Surely believers wouldn’t mind atheists exercising their free speech by spreading such a gentle and positive message* as “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life,” would they? Well, they did mind, but that didn’t stop the campaign (funded by donations alone) from growing to become an international success.
Now a little over one year later, Ariane and the British Humanist Association are rolling out a new billboard, pictured above. Regarding this new campaign, Ariane told The Guardian, “We thought it would be beneficial to try to change the current public perception that it is acceptable to label children with a religion.”
The idea for the latest ads was born out of supporters’ concern for the growing influence of faith schools, “Many felt strongly that children should be given the freedom to decide which belief system they wanted to belong to, if any, and that they should not have a religion decided for them.”
As someone who often works with children, I am strongly in support of this initiative. Don’t label your child. Let them grow up and gain their own perspective of the world. If your position, ideology or philosophy is best, trust in your adult sons and daughters as freethinking human beings to see that for themselves.
* Sadly, my own gentle, positive message proposal didn’t make the cut.