An Atheist group (Atheist Foundation of Australia) has been refused billboard space because they are ‘too political’. They wanted to put a billboard to encourage atheists to mark “No Religion” on the 2011 census. By doing so would take state money from religious groups.
They paid Billboards Australia a deposit and signed a contract.The company is now backtracking, saying they won’t put up the billboards because they’re “too political”:
The site owner at Queanbeyan has reneged on the deal now, months after the message was made known to Billboards Australia by the AFA.
President of the AFA David Nicholls stated,
We have been refused billboard advertising space in Queanbeyan, NSW on the excuse that our sign is a political message. It is not. It is a message directing Australians to answer the Census question on religion accurately. The AFA is not advocating that the population vote for any particular party or in any particular manner. This is not a political advertisement. It is another example where, because Australia doesn’t have a Bill of Rights, arbitrary discrimination is possible.
Well well well. Seems like double standards are going on here. I’m no atheist, indeed, I’m a committed Christian. But for goodness sakes, if you’re going to let a load of Islamic groups put up signs which can be seen as taunting Christians, then surely you can let a bunch of advocates of ‘New Atheism’ to put up theirs too?
But on the other hand, the billboard is calling people to ‘take religion out of politics’ – maybe this is the ‘too political’ part… I have no objection to atheist groups saying “Hey- if you’re not religious, don’t go round saying you are”, but what I do have a problem with is atheists saying “religion has no place in politics” because it does. And very much so. The minute we start taking different groups of our society out of politics is the minute we start to advocate unrestricted discrimination upon that group. And I’m guessing this is how the AFA are feeling right now, sidelined, and discriminated because they’ve been refused billboard space. So maybe they should rethink the billboard…?
Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre.
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