“Millions of people travel on the London Underground each day and they have no choice but to view whatever adverts are posted there. We have to take account of every passenger and endeavour not to cause offence in the advertising we display.”
This quote was in reply to the furor caused by the banning of an advert for the play Fat Christ? (Read here for more info.
So TFL is committed to avoiding adverts likely to offend some members of society. And, of course, all members of society are equal, but some are more equal than others.
This would explain why the London Underground and the buses now bear quotes from the Bible, all beginning with the words “Jesus said…”. For an example, look here.
I have to say these adverts really annoy me. I have nothing against the sentiments expressed; it is more the principle of splattering religious quotes everywhere. And yes, I believe in free speech, and so I do feel a little guilty for being annoyed, but at the same time I believe everyone should have the same opportunity for free speech. Can you imagine people not reacting whilst quotes from the Qu’ran decorated our buses and tube stations?
Furthermore, what if that very thing had happened, instead? If it had been “the Qu’ran says” instead of “Jesus says”? Surely the Christian community would be feel offended. Thus, in this case, the reverse could very well be true: I’m sure there are a wide range of people who dislike the adverts, from Muslim to atheist. And if TFL is supposedly committed to avoiding adverts likely to offend some members of society, why have they allowed these adverts?
I think what bothers me is that religion, and the promotion of a religion, will never simply be what it seems. Religions have great influence and power, and such mass movements (rather than individual beliefs) cannot be separated from political intrigues. Is it not a tad suspicious that these adverts have been allowed now that there is a new Mayor of London who has a history of making racist comments?
A writer on realchristianity.wordpress.com praises the jesussaid movement because they are simply spreading the word of Christ, without promoting individual church events, etc. To be honest, I think it would be more likely for someone to convert if they met people of that faith with which they could identify. After all, with the advert overload we get on a daily basis by simply walking around London, how seriously are we going to take another set of words scribbled on a bus?
London is such a melting pot that is is incredibly important to be culturally-sensitive. As a matter of fact, I have found London to be often politically correct to the point of being painfully annoying, but this at least ensures everyone feels at home.
I fear if one voice gets too loud, the others will start clamoring even louder. What’s next, “Buddha says” text messages?