Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fair's fair

Late last year I was as critical as anyone (short of defacing posters) when Glynn Cardy, Vicar of St Matthew's-in-the-City, posted and reposted a billboard depicting Joseph and Mary in bed with supporting wording which I suggested diminished the glory and honour of God, by anthropomorphizing our understanding of God.

Glynn Cardy is now in the news again, publicly supporting a proposed 'atheist bus ad campaign', that is, a rerun in NZ of the UK campaign in which buses carried the advertisement, 'There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life'. A company called NZ Bus had initially accepted the advertisements but has backed away after pressure from staff and the public.

In general terms I support Glynn's argument that the principle of free speech in a democratic society means we should permit such advertising rather than suppress it. Many Christians have seen this kind of ad campaign as a positive thing for evangelism and public theology and will not disagree with Glynn when they read,

""Many in the Christian community welcome a debate about issues of the existence of God and, also, I don't think there's anything to be afraid of in that debate," he said."

However I think a company's staff are important voices here: if drivers of the buses felt uncomfortable with such ads adorning their vehicles their voices should be heard if not heeded.

But fair's fair: if I publicly disagree with Glynn on one issue then on another I should not keep my support private!

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