A Complaint About the New Zealand Atheist Billboards August 24, 2010

A Complaint About the New Zealand Atheist Billboards

In July, the New Zealand Atheist Bus Campaign put up some wonderful billboards:

Considering the 1000+ complaints Christian bus ads received in the UK, these billboards surely received just as many, right?

Not even close.

A play on a controversial ad which drew more than 1,000 complaints in the UK has attracted just one complaint in New Zealand.

I love the headline of that article, too:

Atheist ad attracts complaint in NZ

It doesn’t mean that we should stop running ads in other parts of the world, though. As long as people keep raising a fuss over these harmless, honest ads, we need to keep putting them up.

***Update***: This post has been edited to fix a few minor corrections.


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  • From the over 4.2 million people living in NZ, only one complaint? Not bad, not bad at all. Perhaps the force is strong in that one [country].

  • Hitch

    I wonder what actually gets less than one complaint. I’d say this warrants a go Kiwis!

  • Elina

    I loved NZ when I visited there two years ago and this makes me wanna go back even more 😉

  • It must be a British expat.

  • Nick

    Perhaps the force is strong in that one [country].

    Let’s not forget this is the same country that produced the Banana Man.

  • Aegis

    Man, I keep finding more and more incentives to move from the UK to New Zealand. It’s getting annoying.

  • Magnetic Dave

    Minor niggle – according to the article, it wasn’t the BHA’s bus ad that sparked 1000 complaints, it was a british christian ad (along the lines of “there definitely is a God”).

    The Atheist Bus campaign drew a measely “392 complaints, making it the sixth most complained about ad in 2009.”

    (Hemant says: You’re right! My bad. I fixed the sentence. Thanks!)

  • That third ad really needs to be a t-shirt. That’s one of the few short messages that might get a believer thinking. At least long enough for me to get away before the stoning begins!

  • It is such a non event here in the land of the long white cloud aka New Zealand that the article is in the “odd stuff” section.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/oddstuff/4045606/Ok-to-advertise-No-God

  • sophia b

    minor point: these ads arent on buses, but bilboards. Last I heard the group was still working with the bus company/lawyers/human rights commission on trying to get the ads up on buses, but in the mean time they wanted their message out so spent half the money on bilboards, which they plan to also stick up in smaller cities after hanging in the major ones for awhile. They make me smile.

    (Hemant says: Damn, you’re right. I should’ve caught that earlier. I’ve fixed it and appended a correction statement. Thanks.)

  • There i always going to be a certain portion of any religion that is offended by the idea that atheists even exist. We need to expect unfair and underhanded complaints and face them head on the same way we take on all there other irrational ideas.

  • Crux Australis

    Comfort’s a Kiwi?! NOOOO!! Thought he was Aussie. *shame* Still, the ads make me proud to be a Kiwi, and an atheist.

  • Korny

    Will you guys stop bringing up Ray Comfort? 🙁 We also produced Earnest Rutherford! And Peter Jackson, and dozens of other very smart fellows. Don’t make me bring up those stats on how yanks can’t even find their country on a world map!
    I see these billboards every day about town. Not a speck of graffiti, no-one talks about them, we just don’t care. I’m very pleased.

  • Are those bus ads sponsored by Dunkin Donuts or something? Odd choice of colors…

  • maintheradio

    I hate to rain on the parade here, but doesn’t this only mean that the religious community of New Zealand is just less whiny than the British atheist community?

  • ‘scuse me while I cross the river and move to NZ

  • Korny

    @maintheradio
    Naw, Kiwi’s can whine like anything. We just whine about the weather. We’ve got a lot of woo-y thinking, a few conservatives who are trying to scrape together some power and a load of cultural christianity, but we balance it out with a Parliament which actively advocates separation of church and state even though there is no law on the books requiring it and a culture of religio-cultural pluralism that is so widespread I have to wonder if a law is on the books requiring it. I <3 my country.

  • NikNik

    Hello all from the States! A Yank here, but one whose parents believed in teaching world geography to, so YES, I know the locations of countries w/o having to look on a map! Lol!

    Now, these signs are awesome, but wouldn’t it make more sense to place the signs where the most xians will see them? Might I suggest the good old American Bible Belt? You want complaints? Believe me, you’ll get em there for sure! I feel they would have the most impact in these types of areas. They’d probably burn them down but at least we’d get our point across to some of the most narrow minded xians in existence! I’m just sayin’.

    Peace to you all!

  • Nic

    I don’t personally have anything against atheism as I respect each to their own beliefs, but I oppose these signs based on the principle that it’s just one belief system publicly attacking another.

    The 2006 Consensus in NZ revealed that around 50% of the population are affiliated with Christianity (yet with only around 15% regularly attending a church service), and a further 5% who practice another religious belief. Thus this would be no different then a billboard that opposed equality amongst women, or against NZ Maori, or even against homosexuality (granted that the percentages amongst practicing Christians are about the same as homosexuals within NZ).

    And aren’t these signs guilty of “preaching” atheism .. which is no different to Christians preaching about God. What next? Atheists going door-knocking to enlighten us with scientific reasoning?? geez..

  • NikNik

    So then…. Are you saying that xians don’t “advertise”? Ha! In my state it’s common to see “Jesus” signs everywhere, or nasty anti abortion billboards with cut up bloody fetuses on them. However, thank goodness for the 1st amendment or people like you would stomp our signs down while erecting your own. We have just as much right to place a sign as you do! Besides, your missing the point! It’s about awareness silly, not advertising. Duh.