Dated 21st January 2009
The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that the humanists behind the newly-launched bus advertisement which claims there is 'probably no God' can't substantiate their claims.
The ad, the brainchild of comedy writer Ariane Sherine, says: 'There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life'.
But Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, and 325 others, complained to the Advertising Standards Authority. Many complaints said the ads were offensive. Stephen Green and others said the advertisements broke the ASA's codes on substantiation and truthfulness.
The ASA website says: 'Advertisements are not allowed to mislead consumers. This means that advertisers must hold evidence to prove the claims they make about their products or services before an ad appears.'
But in a ruling today, the ASA says the claim that there is probably no God is 'not capable of objective substantiation'. It says further that the complaints were not 'serious' or 'widespread' enough.
Stephen Green said today:
'If the ASA had thought the humanists could provide evidence for their claim, they would have asked them for it. As they know there is no evidence for the proposition that 'there is probably no God', they have let their secularist friends off the hook. 'I debated this issue secularists five times in recent days, and despite repeated challenges, they could not once come up with anything to back up their claim that there is 'probably no God'.
'The ASA have finessed Code 7.1, which says a ad should not mislead or be likely to mislead, ruling it would not be likely to mislead, so avoiding the thornier question of whether it actually does mislead. Which it does.
'On 'taste and decency', the ASA have simply taken a subjective decision to dismiss the complaints of offensiveness. On planet ASA, complaints from people of faith are not given the same weight as those from secularists. But what do you expect when the ASA Council is appointed and run by a campaigning homosexual, Chris, Lord, Smith of Finsbury?'
Last year the ASA ruled against Sandown Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster when the church published an advertisement 'The Word of God against Sodomy' against Belfast Gay Pride. That ad, decided the ASA, breached its code on decency (offensiveness) after receiving just 4 complaints. But they allowed that the ad was a legitimate expression of opinion when dismissing another part of the complaint.
Last week, it ruled against an advertorial Christian Voice placed in the New Statesman, after just one solitary complaint that a prediction that every Government initiative on teenage sexuality would increase teenage infertility could not be substantiated.
Stephen Green commented: 'The ASA upholds or breaks its rules as it goes along. It all depends on who is being complained about. They get 326 complaints and decide the bus ads were not causing serious or widespread offence. They get a mere 4, and say Sandown's ad was. They allow Sandown to express an opinion, but not Christian Voice. They excuse the secularists from the need to provide evidence for a categorical statement, claiming it is impossible to do, but they say Christian Voice needs hard evidence for a future prediction, which really is impossible.
'We always knew the ASA was just another tool of the politically-correct secularist establishment, but here's the proof. Their ruling is a good example of how the deck is stacked against Christians today, and the Church needs to wake up to the anti-Christian agenda right now. The good news is we now know that when the secularists decided to say: "There is probably no God", they had no reason for making that absurd claim, and time has not helped them come up with one. The bad news is that if Christians don't start standing up for their Faith and their Saviour soon, we shall see religious liberties trampled on, and the secularists will take us further down the road to their hell on earth.'
NOTES for Editors:
The CAP Code, which the ASA administers, says:
'3.1 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove all claims, whether direct or implied, that are capable of objective substantiation.
'Relevant evidence should be sent without delay if requested by the ASA or CAP. The adequacy of evidence will be judged on whether it supports both the detailed claims and the overall impression created by the marketing communication.'
'5.1 Marketing communications should contain nothing that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. ...'
'7.1 No marketing communication should mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise.'