On the Buses

It seems that while I’m away there’s been a to-do and a hoo-ha about advertisements on London buses. It all started with this rather innocuous advertisement placed by the campaigning organization Stonewall

Apparently this upset a couple of minority religious sects, the overtly homophobic Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues which apparently has a mission to convert happy homosexual people into miserable heterosexual ones by a mixture of coercion, brainwashing and quack psychology. It’s strange that Christian groups like this have such an obsession with homosexuality. Aren’t there more important things for a Christian to be doing, like being kind to the poor and loving your neighbour? Anyway, these folks responded with a bus advert of their own:

Following a number of complaints about the latter, and an intervention by the Mayor Boris Johnson, Transport for London decided to remove the second set of advertisements on the grounds that

We don’t believe these ads reflect TfL’s commitment to a tolerant and inclusive London.

Actually, I think it’s a shame that the Anglican Mainstream adverts were removed. For a start, it’s one of the prices of living in a free society that you have to put up with views you don’t like. More importantly, however, the clumsy and childish nature of the tit-for-tat response from the “religious” fringe to Stoenwall’s pithy original reveals them as the mean-spirited dullards that they are. Their implicit reference to voodoo therapies as “gay cures” will hopefully now receive wider scrutiny in the media, and be exposed for what it is i.e. dogma-inspired pseudoscience. These folk would be more honest if they just took out adverts saying “We hate gay people”, but the disguise is so transparent that’s the message they carry anyway. I am confident publicity campaigns like this are counter-productive in the long run, so let them stand up and be counted. By their slogans shall ye know them.

The Advertising Standards Agency – correctly, in my view – deemed both sets of advertisements acceptable. It was a decision by Transport for London to ban the second set. I don’t think that’s contrary to the spirit of free speech. Anglican Mainstream or any other group has the right to print and distribute literature, organize demonstrations and what have you. It is however, up to newspapers, television companies and radio stations to decide whether they feel comfortable carrying advertisements by organizations promoting messages that run counter to their own code of conduct.

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5 Responses to “On the Buses”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    Was the latter ad posted by Christian heteros or by people who were once gay and now are not and who prefer it that way? The distinction deserves to be drawn. Every human has his or her own story and no one story is worth more or less than anybody else’s.

    I am not in either organisation that you name but I am an evangelical Christian and I hope you know I don’t hate gay people, Peter.

    • telescoper Says:

      I agree that everyone’s story is worth telling. Many people have had both homosexual and heterosexual experiences and no doubt many of these decide that being straight is right for them. Equally, there are plenty of people who decide the opposite and others who remain undecided. There are as many different sexualities as there are people, and it’s not only straight that is normal.

      For what it’s worth I think the ads were paid for by the Christian groups I mentioned, which may well contain people who have had gay relationships and have decided not to do so in future. That’s their choice. I don’t think there are any gay groups that take out adverts whenever a previously straight person decides to have sex with a gay person!

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