Neat blow for freedom of conscience

Can you argue with this?

Christian refuses to drive bus with atheist advertisement

  • joeCanuck

    He has every right to refuse to drive the bus.
    And at the same time, the bus company has every right to fire him for refusing to do the work for which he is paid.
    Everyone wins.

  • Rory Carr

    No arguments from me. Mr Heather can only but be applauded for his principled stand. He seems to be resigned to the possibility that continuing to so do may mean that he can no longer continue in his job. Such are the perils of principle and my heart goes out to him.

    Perhaps his courageous example will renew in Christians throughout the land that spirit of putting principle before profit that was the downfall of the blessed Pelagius, but somehow I doubt it.

  • Peter

    Let’s hope the ads come to Metro.

  • Jo

    The company is making every effort to ensure that he doesn’t drive a bus carrying this advertisement.

    However, a wider principle:

    Can the man be content to work for a company which accepts advertisements of this nature?

    Further, if an employee refused to work for a company with links to a cause with which they disagreed (e.g., M&S;/Israel, which was mentioned on Slugger recently, what should the employer do in those circumstances?)

    In my view, in this instance, the bus company has been reasonable and accommodating.

  • The adverts are coming to Belfast in the near future… in the form of massive billboards.

  • joeCanuck – you know how that would go if a provincial HRC got its hands on it where we live. “Duty to accommodate…” Look at the mess when people started refusing to do same sex civil marriages and were fired – some about turns had to be done there…

  • Salem

    Tolerance for all – unless it goes againist what we believe in !

    Bring on the Billboards – there needs to be open and frank discussion here in Northern Ireland over religion and beliefs.

  • Driftwood

    Quite a few Translink drivers would be of his opinion I think. Would leave their management pissing themselves if the bus campaign comes here. Would love to see it.

    ps Jesus Saves- but not with the Presbyterian Mutual!!

  • dunreavynomore

    can I refuse to drive a bus because it does not have a ‘probably no god’ advert? does god give a damn about buses, has he/she/it, nothing better to wory about?

  • pauljames

    Does this mean I can get out of work if I find a Jack Chick tract in the office? WooHoo the weekend begins here!

  • Yer Woman

    I’ve spotted advertisements within metro buses that contain scripture quotes and some bloke looking pensively off into the distance…and nothing else. No “Buy a bible today” or “Come to church – God’s some craic” slogan, just scripture and himself.

    I take it this driver is happy enough to drive a bus with that type of advertising on it?

  • Surely the Humanist’s are picking on a soft target???

    I could think of a word to replace God in that add that may have a more combustable response from certain factions…..

    In that regard the BHA are simply agitating born again Christians….

    in terms of the BHA’s aims and objectives of a world where people can live good lives without religious affiliation etc – obviously their messages should first be directed at those religions that advocate, promote and pursue death to other people?

    No?

    Most born again Christians i know seem to have a very enjoyable life helping others and being responsible…… haven’t seen one strapping an explosive to themselves recently anyway…

  • if probably isn’t a get out word could Carlsberg ads be next?

  • pauljames

    A Wile
    The bus ads were in reponse to an advertisment for a christian website which stated that all non-christians would burn in hell for all eternity, but if you want to claim the word god for a particular brand of delusion, Carry On being Offended.

  • Nomad

    As joeCanuck wrote above, the guy can leave/be fired/drive the bus.

    No one is outraged when other types of religious ads are displayed everywhere. Belief in God is just that- a belief. Therefore not believing is perfectly valid too. The bus company is totally in the right for not discriminating against non-Christians.

    Debate and discussion are great. Good luck to the driver.

  • Paul P

    I am a “Christian” that would be identifited as an evangelical because of my beliefs. I don’t understand why evangelical Christians are protesting against an advert on a bus that says “there is probably no God”. Surely this is more likely to make those who wouldn’t otherwise be interested genuinely think about whether there really is a God or not?

  • Driftwood

    Paul P
    Good point,let them study the evidence.

    A good stsrt here..
    http://www.michaelshermer.com/

  • pauljames

    BTW Brian
    Nice bait, any chance of hearing your own views on the matter?

  • Rory Carr

    I find that I am deeply offended by all of the comments above (including my own) and I shall never speak to any of you again. Ever!

    Except possibly, Rory, who seems quite nice really.

  • Driftwood

    Start, and link should have been

    https://www.skeptic.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?&Screen=PROD&Store_Code=SS&Product_Code=b063PB

    Re: the bus driver, if his belief is really that strong, he should have no qualms whatsoever driving the bus.

  • Driftwood

    Ah yes Rory, you’re obviously from South Down!

  • Rory Carr

    In any case, why are we concerning ourselves with a mere bus driver when we have to hand a great hero of public transport who singlehandedly not only saved over 150 souls from certain death in the sky but also landed them upon the treacherous waters of the Hudson River and then, with every nerve and sinew straining to the very limits of human possibility, steered them to safety and the warmth of the embrace of, not only their loved ones, but also a grateful pack of hungry journalists?

    Yes, I speak of New York mayor, Michael Blomberg (for it was he).

    High time to rethink that Guinea name for the airport. Ain’t it?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Quite a few Translink drivers would be of his opinion I think. Would leave their management pissing themselves if the bus campaign comes here. Would love to see it.

    I’d say Translink would refuse to run the ad and there would be legal problems.

    The fundamental problem here, though, is that this guy is a bigot. Those of us who do not do supernatural superstition have to deal with this sort of thing all the time. Guess what – we get on with it. The advert in no way impinges on his right to have his own beliefs and continue to hold them.

    Most born again Christians i know seem to have a very enjoyable life helping others and being responsible…… haven’t seen one strapping an explosive to themselves recently anyway…

    Most of the Christians I know put their beliefs to one side as soon as they walk out of their church. I know many people who do not practice religion who live selfless, charitable lives, and I try to do so myself. You don’t need God to have a conscience.

  • Rory Carr

    Unfair, Comrade Stalin!( and unworthy of you if I may so say.) This man does not in any way come across as a bigot. He simply finds it too uncomfortable to drive a bus which displays a message with which he, the driver, might be seen to be associated.

    He has said, with a measure of equanimity, that he might have to accept the loss of his job and expressed his acceptance thereof. Others might make much political steam from his stance but it certainly appears that that is not his intention. His brothers and sisters in faith will no doubt support his exercise of religious principle but it is his brothers and sisters in his trade union, of all faiths and none, who will fight for his job. I trust.

    I would not be of his persuasion but I do respect and admire his integrity.

    (Ain’t I jest so darned all good, really?)

  • Driftwood

    Comrade Stalin
    Translink would have to justify why they can carry adverts for various religious denominations but not atheists. Especially when other UK bus companies have no such difficulties.
    Could an atheist bus driver here refuse to drive a bus with Christian adverts on it? Love to see someone take Translink up on that one. This will run and run.

  • Earnan

    It’s just an advertisement. Why does it bother him? I don’t understand.

    Can his ass

  • Rory Carr

    The reallyimportant thing about buses is simply this – that at 3am of a Sunday, when a fellow is feeling jaded and also being short of the old readies, folornly shivering in Piccadilly, a fellow sees that magical lighted ‘big red un’ with the “N73 – Tottenham Garage” signifier warmly inviting, above where a fellow’s right eyebrow would be(that is if a fellow would be a bus and all that), trundles into view, it is an awfuly good thing.

    Knowwaamean? Cheers. Hic!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Unfair, Comrade Stalin!( and unworthy of you if I may so say.) This man does not in any way come across as a bigot. He simply finds it too uncomfortable to drive a bus which displays a message with which he, the driver, might be seen to be associated.

    Um, that’s pretty close to my definition of bigotry. If the bus was in Northern Ireland, and said “the Pope is probably God’s voice on Earth”, and various people refused to drive it, we’d say they were bigots. Quite rightly, in my view.

    Not being bigoted is about recognizing that while you hold your beliefs, others are also entitled to express theirs on an equal footing. This man doesn’t think that he can be associated with that.

    He has said, with a measure of equanimity, that he might have to accept the loss of his job and expressed his acceptance thereof.

    Reminds me of those Orange Order guys who used to say that they’d rather sit outside in the cold than share a warm fire with Catholics.

    His brothers and sisters in faith will no doubt support his exercise of religious principle but it is his brothers and sisters in his trade union, of all faiths and none, who will fight for his job. I trust.

    I hope not. Imagine getting a job at Shorts and then telling them that you don’t want to work on any equipment or machinery that can be used during combat. Employers are entitled to discipline anyone who refuses to follow instructions provided they are legal and proper in the course of their business. I would equally expect an atheist to be fired if he refused to drive a bus carrying a religious message.

    Driftwood:

    Translink would have to justify why they can carry adverts for various religious denominations but not atheists.

    I think they’d refuse to carry it, and then stand back and watch the usual political shenanigans here unfold. Given the way issues like abortion are handled here, I’d say the civil servants would take the God side.

    Especially when other UK bus companies have no such difficulties.

    Yeah, but we live in a moral bubble over here. We’re too good for the rest of the UK.

    Could an atheist bus driver here refuse to drive a bus with Christian adverts on it?

    In my view this would be the same thing. A reasonable employer would/should try where reasonably possible to avoid putting an employee in a situation that they find uncomfortable, but when push comes to shove and there is no way out …

  • Seimi

    Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily subscribe to the views/beliefs of the bus driver in question, if this ad made him uncomfortable because of his beliefs, or if he was genuinely offended, then fair play to him for making his protest. Likewise, fair play to the bus company for saying they would endeavour to put him on buses which didn’t display ads like this.
    I can just imagine the outcry here in Belfast if ads like this were put on buses! What particular religion would they be for?? Buses goin’ up the Shankill displaying ‘The Catholic church – sure it’s class!’ or buses on the Falls stating to the populace that ‘You will burn in hell if you line-dance! Join the Free-Pees!’
    Or, if the last Census is to be believed – ‘The Force. It’s with you.’

  • pauljames

    spread the good news (probably?) contributions to the campaign have shot up in response to this story.

  • Rory Carr

    This type of thing would not go down well in Norn Iron.

    Mmmmm. Food for thought.

    Horses for courses and busses for usses sort of thingy I suppose as I shall describe it, if called upon ,to explain thingies to the Heir Apparent.

  • This is another hyped inflation of a non-issue. Sure if he doesn’t want a job in these strictured times of economic ‘meltdown’ that’s up to him. Was he concerned by booze advertisements, ads for ‘immoral’ films, etc etc etc.

    Typical of the godheads to leap to the defence of what is so obviously a contrived story.

    Our society is full of religious totems, no least the over-hyped invovlement of godheads in public discourse. The census might claim tens of thousands of the slow of thinking claiming religious beliefs, but how many actually turn out on a Sunday? And those that do can be seen making a beeline for Tesco’s and B&Q;shortly afterwards…much to Nelson MacCausland’s disappointment. And those not worshipping at the altar of commercialism seem to have no problem tuning into Sky Sports at 4pm.

    I wonder does our bus driver object to newspaper advertisements. After all, those evil journalists work on a Sunday…may their soul be forever damned!

  • Oilifear

    Fair play to the bus company, but I think the driver isn’t right. There are surely many more advertisements that are much more offensive to his Christian values that he carries every day without a pause for thought?

    From a logical point of view, I could take cause with the word “probably” (didn’t Aquinas cover this700-odd years ago?). No matter their heart is in the right place and there’s still one thing we can all agree on,”There’s probably no Evolution. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

  • joeCanuck

    Aquinas was a woolly thinker (though fair play to him for trying). For example, essentially saying that if the universe was infinite there could be no intermediate causes or end effects.
    Did I mention I don’t believe everything started with a big bang. As a wit wrote in February’s Harpers, prove it to me and, by chance, perhaps I’ll kiss your arse.

  • Rory Carr

    After having a gander at that Ariana Sherine’s bonce on the video link I feel that the slogan could be more appropriately amended to:

    “There probably ain’t no Hairbrush!”

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    This is a superb advertising campaign!

    “There’s probably no God.

    Now stop worrying and enjoy life!”

    Exactly!

  • pauljames

    The Belfast Telegraph reports that “firebrand” David McIIveen is whipping the faithful into a lather with MPs Campbell and Simpson bringing up the rear. As Comrade Stalin predicted the pressure now builds on Translink to ban or make arrangements for drivers looking to get a day off. If this is an example of balanced reporting I can’t wait until the News Letter hits the stands on Monday.

  • pauljames

    P.S. The British Humane Society?

  • Danny O’Connor

    The man is a bus driver- an advertisement of this nature is insulting his beliefs,he is right to refuse,Can you imagine what would happen here if translink started putting on adverts that insulted people’s religious beliefs,surely a public company can decide which ads it accepts.
    Imagine what would happen if a
    Muslim was forced to drive a bus advertising Salman Rushdie’s the satanic verses.
    Public companies should be more discerning in which ads they accept.

  • Oilifear

    “Can you imagine what would happen here if translink started putting on adverts that insulted people’s religious beliefs…”

    Might I suggest, “The Pope is probably not the anti-Christ. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

  • Comrade Stalin

    pauljames,

    Very interesting. I think Campbell’s suggestion that the Christians counter-advertise is quite constructive.

    Danny, I would expect a Muslim in those circumstances to be treated in exactly the same way as a Christian or an atheist. Efforts should be made to accomodate people’s beliefs but at the end of the day there are going to be buses with messages on them that people don’t agree with. Buses used to carry cigarette advertisements for example; I don’t remember any bus drivers complaining about being made to drive buses carrying a message encouraging a habit which kills a thousands of people every year.

    Anyway Danny, Christian beliefs are an insult to common sense. Do I have a right not to be insulted by the presence of churches and Christianity everywhere ? Where do we stop when we decide we are going to censor anything which someone might find offensive ? Free speech is a crucial part of a free society, and your contribution suggests that you are it’s enemy.

  • How about the Belfast Translink bus driver I get who insists on leaving religious paraphernalia on every seat for us sinners to contemplate on our journey home?

    Of course, I could refuse to board the bus, on a matter of principle. But I just get on with it and ignore the attempt at proselytising. Perhaps Mr Heather could do the same?

    Or from another perspective, how about just dismissing “there’s probably no God” as an artistic expression? I’ve seen more provocative material publicly displayed from the likes of Jenny Holzer.

  • It is a misguided protest

    The Christians who will come in contact with the advert are of no threat to anyone so why take a swipe at them in this manner?

    The fact remains that in keeping with the BHA’s aims and objectives their focus should not be on born again Christians rather on religious extremists.

    But i do not expect the BHA to tackle that issue for obvious reasons – making their current campaign nothing other than a game of kick the soft kid in the playground routine….

  • Gregory

    “The Pope is probably not the anti-Christ. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

    At the Falls Road or Short Strand depots, do you need to ask?