BHA’s Census Campaign hits Liverpool buses

Whilst out and about in Liverpool today, I spied a few much-anticipated adverts for the BHA’s Census Campaign on the sides of a few buses. It’s always great to see humanist causes championed, but immediately I noticed something wrong. Rather than the snappy, humorous phrase on their website:

If you’re not religious, for God’s sake say so

I was instead presented with the rather blander:

Not religious? In this year’s census, say so

Apparently, The BHA have done this after being advised by the Committee of Advertising Practice that the adverts had the potential to cause offence. However, Dr Emma Chung and the Leicester Secular Society have decided to go against the BHA’s decision by keeping the adverts on Leicester buses with their original wording.

Now it may seem a little silly to argue over some wording, but there are bigger issues here. You could argue that the BHA are right to er on the side of caution. After all, no-one wants to fight any unnecessary legal cases. But, the rewording certainly gives the adverts less impact, and anyway, how likely is it to offend? After all, the CAP is merely advising, not adjudicating.

Personally, I think the BHA are wrong to make the change, but I can certainly see why they did. I am a firm believer of “You don’t have the right not to be offended”, and I’m with the Leicester Secular Society on this issue. However, let’s not forget the point of the campaign: if you are not religious, then for God’s sake say so when you fill out your census forms!

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