Atheist Bus Ad in Croatia Taken Down After One Day

The atheist tram campaign (trampaign?) in Zagreb, Croatia was up… and down, all within one day.

The ad read “No Gods, No Masters.”

Reader Enola was kinda enough to translate this article and give it some context.

Here’s Enola’s translation:

ZAGREB – “Without God, without a master” is Croatian Women’s Network’s slogan which was supposed to be displayed for a month long on trams number 14. However, it lasted only for a day, after which ZET [Zagreb Electric Tram] decided to remove it because, as they said, it wasn’t in accordance with marketing policy of that city owned company.

Atheist slogan, following similar examples in Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany and Canada is a part of a campaign of Coalition for secularism and was ordered by Women’s Network coordinator Bojana Genov for which she paid 11000 Croatian kunas [about $1900].

Considering that, by law, she is entitled to it, Genov arranged one month lease for three trams with marketing department of ZET for which she received a receipt.

Tram [with the slogan] rode on 4th of March, and already the next day it was withdrawn. Head of Marketing told me that people complained, and that’s why they acted this way. It’s not just a violation of the right to freedom of speech, it’s also a business fraud, and the worst of all is that the company is a public property. Where did they get the right to play God – Genov was resigned, supposing there’s no equality when it comes to freedom of speech because the attitudes of theists can be heard, but those of atheists can’t.

In ZET they say that no contract has been concluded so they had no obligation to follow up with agreement, and that the money that has been paid was returned to the association. The slogan has been withdrawn because, they say, it hasn’t been signed, so citizens could get the impression that it represents ZET’s attitude. “Besides that, the principles of advertising do not allow featuring messages that could be interpreted as an attack on moral, religious or political stands of our citizens”, says the statement of ZET’s spokesman Tomislav Juri?.

Nothing was controversial for city governments in bus slogans in Great Britain, where 800 buses rode with the message “There probably is no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life” or in Italy with the message “The bad news is that God doesn’t exist. The good news is that you don’t need him.” However, the citizens protested there too, even refused to enter those buses, and some drivers refused to drive them.”

The original article is here. If anyone thinks the translation needs to be fixed, please leave the fixed version in the comments. I am a little confused why the date of removal is the day after March 4th… did this happen a long time ago or does Croatia have a different calendar?

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  • The first article you posted says

    Women net is a member of the coalition for secularization that has already tried to put such posters on public transport. The coalition exists to promote atheism.

    so perhaps this latest article is reporting that earlier attempt. The comments do seem to be dated the 12th March.

    As an aside apparently the month of March (Ožujak) is known as the lying month in Croatia. I have no way to verify that but I thought it was funny.

  • Christophe Thill

    I’m not sure the slogan was so well chosen. “No god, no master” is immediately identified as the motto of the anarchist movement. It’s a statement with a clear political identity. Why didn’t they take their inspiration from what was done in other countries?

  • Liudvikas

    I think it is a very well chosen slogan.
    Atheists are more or less anarchists. After all god is an ultimate master. One who could meddle with our lives, by declaring that we don’t follow his rule, we are clearly taking anarchistic attitude.

  • Cafeeine


    There are several things wrong with that statement. First of all, atheists reject the invisible authority of an imaginary god. We aren’t ‘rebelling’ against all authority.

    Secondly it is a fact that not all atheists are political anarchists, so it doesn’t behoove them to have an ad that could be misconstrued as saying so. Heck, I’ve met atheist royalists, which seems to be absurd, but there you go.

  • Nonteus

    @ hoverFrog:

    Youre right. That was an earlier attempt. Now is a second try.

    And no, that earlier attempt was not a “lying month” hoax… We dont have such a things, except April the 1st, like the rest of the Europe 🙂

  • Liudvikas

    Cafeeine, it is of no importance whether we rebel against all authority. We are rebelling against ultimate authority, which is just another way of controlling the masses. So it is only a question of magnitude, but we are all, more or less, anarchistic.

  • H.

    I think the appropritate translation would be rather something like “No god, no lord”, since “lord” is the word used by English speaking believers.
    It refers to a feudal-patriarchal authority, so I wouldn’t say the slogan’s about anarchy, but simply about rejecting authorities (god, feudal king, dictator etc.) that cannot be put into question and stand above law and constitution.

  • Just to add to the astute observations of hoverFrog and Nonteus, it seems that this latest attempt won’t have the ads going up until September.

  • zoo

    Liudvikas, I simply do not believe in an “ultimate authority” on the basis of lack of evidence for its existence. I don’t consider that the same as rebellion. If there was good evidence for its existence, and it happened to be like the Christian god, maybe then I would be rebellious.

  • Liudvikas

    zoo, What if you knew that christian god existed, would you worship him and do his bidding?
    I for one would never do that, because I myself know better what is right than any authority there could be.

  • zoo, What if you knew that christian god existed, would you worship him and do his bidding?
    I for one would never do that, because I myself know better what is right than any authority there could be.

    That’s a huge “if” there. We don’t know such a god exists, and we aren’t rebelling against a non-existent authority. Many of us (including me) are strongly against anarchistic philosophies. In addition, there are atheists, that while they don’t believe in a god, still believe in an absolute morality (not me, but some Buddhists, Taoists and so on).

    It is impossible to make sweeping generalizations about atheists, other than saying they don’t believe in any gods, so stop trying.

  • tdjukic

    ” think the appropritate translation would be rather something like “No god, no lord”, since “lord” is the word used by English speaking believers.”

    Actually, “No God, No Master” is the most accurate translation – from reading the comments, as I know nothing about the organization myself, I get the impression that it’s a feminist organization, so there may be more than an atheist message inferred.

    The article was posted on March 10th, 2009 and the removal of the advert was on March 5th. Nothing wrong with the dates, you just got wind of it pretty late.

    The translation is good enough to get the point across, I’m just glad no one bothered to translate the comments, which are ignorant at best. Mostly just attacks on feminists.

    I was born in Croatia and let me tell you, they’re still very old world and deeply entrenched in faith – this is probably not the right place to start this sort of campaign in. They still have a long way to go before they can shed the burden of ‘the belief’.

  • Heidi

    What if you knew that christian god existed, would you worship him and do his bidding?

    I would not, because I think the christian god is an evil monster.

  • teammarty

    The original quote came from from feminist Margaret Sanger, which makes it doubly EVIL because she was a feminist (and birth control smuggler). First one group of people get freedom and the next thing you know EVERYBODY wants theirs.

  • CaptainBeefheart

    I would not, because I think the christian god is an evil monster.

    Sorry, the Bible isn’t adapted ad usum delphini. Another time, another world.

  • CaptainBeefheart

    Sorry for the double post… about the bus… I don’t know, the “No God, No Master” souds kinda like saying: “You all believers are slaves” or something… At least the original Atheist Bus ad was… a little more correct?

  • Christians say by themselves that Jesus is their master, lord. They subdue to him so I don’t see anything wrong in saying “No, god, no master”. I used to hang out with christians and I know their prayers… Now I don’t know why they stuck to the word “master”. It’s so silly.