News Update

13.12.08 | Ariane |
AHA, America, Atheism, Atheist, Campaign, Date, Hong Kong, January, Launch

An Atheist Ad In A Hong Kong Newspaper

An Atheist Ad In A Hong Kong Newspaper

Firstly: lots of you have been asking when the atheist buses will roll out onto the streets. We can’t give you a date yet I’m afraid, but it will definitely be in January – so not long to wait now! We’re very grateful for all your support – and with the help of the fantastic Simon Bishop, we’ve just broken the £130,000 mark, which is amazing when you remember that our original target was just £5,500.

Secondly: the American Humanist Association’s ABC-inspired bus campaign has been running across Washington DC for over a month now, and though it hasn’t met with approval across the whole of the US, it’s a big step forward. For more on the AHA campaign, please visit its official website.

Lastly: an atheist has taken out a quarter-page advert in a Hong Kong newspaper, saying “Consider – you don’t need to believe in a god or have any religion, just take a break, celebrate and enjoy the holidays with your loved ones – that’s the reason we need holidays, and that is all we need!”

Anonymous atheist of Hong Kong – we salute you!

18 Responses to “News Update”

  1. 1
    Bill Says:

    Hope you’re ready for all this, Ariane!

    Always remember, you’ve got lots of support!

    Oh, and, “Happy Christmas!”


  2. 2
    Ariane Says:

    Thanks a lot Bill. Happy Christmas to you too!

  3. 3
    Joshi Says:

    Personally I can’t wait to see the response to the UK ads, from both the press and counter ads that are bound to crop up!

  4. 4
    Richard W Says:

    Who would have thought, before this campaign had started, that it would have been easier to place a large advert in a newspaper in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, than on the side of an Australian bus?

    Even the harmless phrase:

    “Sleep in on Sunday mornings.”

    was deemed inappropriate for the side of a bus in Oz.

    Where’s their Cultural Attache, Sir Les Patterson, when you need him? Is he really the only voice of sense and reason left in Australia??

  5. 5
    Lee Says:

    >>Where’s their Cultural Attache, Sir Les Patterson, when you need him? Is he really the only voice of sense and reason left in Australia??<<

    He’s partaken of too much amber fluid Richard! We may need Edna to take over his role.

  6. 6
    Richard W Says:

    Lee Holmes gave me permission to post her email to me here:

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks for sending that Hong Kong piece. Fantastic.

    The plot thickens with the campaign Down Under. See our latest Media Release

    Our magazine is due out in the middle of January so if you would like a copy (pdf ), I am more than happy to send it to you. It will contain more about the Bus episode. The free publicity because of the rejection has been overwhelming. The entire planet is writing to us. Even the Christians are annoyed at the denial of free speech. (Well some of them anyway!)

    Keep us posted on any new developments.



    Ms Lee Holmes
    Web Editor
    Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc

    webeditor {at}

    [She also sent me a pic of Sir Les!]

  7. 7
    deedyi Says:

    Why have the comments on the Justgiving page disappeared.? Anyone know?

  8. 8
    Ariane Says:

    Deedyi: just to reassure you they’ll be back up tomorrow.

  9. 9
    Tom Nixon Says:

    As a humanist, I’m a big fan of your campaign and have been excited to see the amount of money raised. Well done!

    But I wanted to write to ask you to PLEASE not spend ALL of this money on advertising. Spending a few thousand pounds on an advertising campaign is great, but you have now raised so much money that you could invest in something with some real longevity rather than ads that will disappear with the money gone for good. It would be a powerful statement to show that The Atheist Bus Campaign is more than just an ‘up yours’ to organised religion.

    How about asking your donors for ideas about how some or ideally most of it could be put to good use to demonstrate humanist ideals and do some good in the world, and not just ‘shout’ a message? You could invite nominations for charities that embody humanist ideals (probably most of them!) and then the supporters of this campaign could vote for which one gets a chunk of the money. Or take a look at some of the fantastic ideas that were developed at Social Innovation Camp. You could potentially fund one of these projects to a point where it becomes self-sustaining.
    You could even keep the transport theme a fund the AccessCity project.

    What a wonderful legacy this could be for the donors who have made your campaign such a roaring success.

    Will you at least have a think about this and discuss it amongst yourselves and with the esteemed Mr Dawkins?

    If you do something like this, there’s a tenner coming from me. Until then, I don’t think you really need my money.

    Thanks again for bringing humanism onto the agenda, and good luck.


  10. 10
    deedyi Says:

    People have been donating in large numbers to this campaign because they like the idea of very visible bus advertising to get their message across to the maximum number of fellow citizens on a daily basis. We shouldn’t start mixing priorities at this stage as it will dilute the campaign’s attraction. I think that we contributors expect to see buses emblazoned with our message running across the whole country for months if not years. We can consider other projects and campaigns at a later stage.

  11. 11
    John Stretch Says:

    Since everyone so far has contributed for a specific bus slogan I don’t see how we can legally or morally use their money for anything else, however worthy, or even change the slogan for something else. Unless someone can come up with some idea for a democratic vote? Or perhaps Tom could start another campaign (to which I and probably many others would gladly contribute).

  12. 12
    Adam Tjaavk Says:

    My Christmas message?
    - There’s probably no God
    Polly Toynbee |The Guardian

    It is neither emotionally nor spiritually deficient to reject religions that seek to infantilise us with impossible beliefs |Polly Toynbee – president of the British Humanist Association and honorary associate of the National Secular Society


  13. 13
    Tom Nixon Says:

    Thanks for the replies. Completely agree that it would be immoral to spend the money on something else without consulting the donors. But since the total now pledged is an order of magnitude more than hoped for, there’s nothing wrong with suggesting taking a fresh look at it.

    It wouldn’t be too difficult to survey the donors. Those who wanted their money to go towards a more long-term investment could vote for that, and the rest of the money would go towards the ad campaign.

    You really don’t need to fear the campaign being ‘diluted’ – anything upwards of one bus is already more than you were hoping for.

    I don’t have anything against the bus campaign, in fact I think it’s brilliant, it’s just that since the level of money raised has become so high it seems like such a waste to spend it all in this way. And it would show the true spirit of humanism if the donors agreed to change course and invest a chunk of the cash in something that can directly help people.

  14. 14
    Simon Bishop Says:

    I’m with deedyi and John Stretch on this. We have donated to an atheist advertising campaign, nothing else.

  15. 15
    deedyi Says:

    I think we have already had a democratic vote. By contributing to this campaign rather than others, “Against Faith Schools” for example, (although personally I regard this as equally worthy) we have voted for a campaign to disseminate as widely as possible an atheist message. This is a campaign to consign religionists to history. Its aims should not be confused with support for philanthropy or even humanism. Many of us may already have chosen to pursue these to different extents and by other means.

  16. 16
    Richard Williams Says:

    Tom N: I think you have made a very good case, but the point is that the ABC’s main purpose is to counter some of the theist propaganda already out there. It will also give hope to those countless athiests and agnostics who may feel isolated.

    So, Tom, how about donating the price of a beer to the ABC? In the spirit of Xmas, of course!

    John S: I almost totally agree with you, but I do feel that the organisers should have the option of using different humorous messages in the future. I think the public will enjoy looking forward to new slogans that make their journeys to work more fun.

    We also need the flexibility to able to reply to the theist ads that will be directed at our campaign.

  17. 17
    John Stretch Says:

    Richard W: Well, yes, on reflection I too would like to see more slogans being rolled out over the coming months.

  18. 18
    Bill Says:

    Thank you, Adam Tjaavk,

    Polly Toynbee’s article had some supportive things to say about the buses as well.

    Perhaps it could go on this site too?


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