ATHEISTS in Italy have just announced a plan to begin a bus advertising campaign denying the existence of God.
The launch is set for the northern Italian city of Genoa on February 4, and the Italian atheists are certainly not mincing their words. Their campaign slogan is:
La cattiva notizia è che Dio non esiste. Quella buona è che non ne hai bisogno (The bad news is that God does not exist. The good news is that we do not need him.)
The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Genoa, whose Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco is president of the influential Italian Bishops Conference, is furious.
Said Father Gianfranco Calabrese, who is responsible for the diocese’s catechism:
There are some methods which promote dialogue and others which feed intolerance. Head-on opposition always demonstrates intolerance.
Wow! Talk about pots and kettles.
The Italian Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics (UAAR), which is behind the publicity campaign, said it is setting out “to challenge” conventional religious beliefs “on Bagnasco’s turf.”
The archbishop has spoken out against events such as Gay Pride in Genoa, which was held last year on the same day in June as a Catholic feast day.
Update: According to Wiki, On January , 16 2009 IGPDecaux, the company holding licenses for ads on public transport in Genoa, refused to give authorisation to the atheist bus campaign on the grounds that it may
Offend the moral, civic and religious convictions of the public.
Antonio Catricalà, the then head of the Italian National Authority for Fair Trading and Competition, announced that the Authority filed a case against the Atheist Bus initiative because of the potentially “dangerous and mendacious nature” of the ads. As a reaction, the UAAR launched a new campaign in Genoa with a different slogan to comply with the advertising authority’s rules:
The good news is there are millions of atheists in Italy. The excellent news is they believe in freedom of expression.