London buses: It's where controversy happens. Five years ago, Jesussaid.org put ads on the side of London buses warning non-Christians they were doomed to hell. Atheists complained. A year later, in direct response to the Jesussaid.org ads, British atheists bought bus-side ads reading "There's Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying And Enjoy Your Life." Christians complained, and even sought a legal remedy. There was none. Notably, London's mayor never saw fit to become involved in these arguments.
Now he has. The "Core Issues Trust Campaign," an outreach effort funded by a Christian group called Anglican Mainstream, recently purchased ad-space on London's buses which it intended to use to broadcast the message: "Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get Over It." (This was a response to a previous bus ad purchased by Stonewall, which read "Some People Are Gay. Get Over It.") The ads were to begin running Monday. Now they never will, because Mayor Boris Johnson (pictured at right), who heads the city's public transit apparatus, has declared them uniquely offensive.
From the Andover Advertiser:
Mr Johnson, standing for re-election next month, said: "It is clearly offensive to suggest being gay is an illness someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses."
But Anglican Mainstream refuses to be silenced. They have solicited the help of the law firm Aughton Ainsworth, and hope to see the mayor's decision reversed.
From the Advertiser:
Mike Davidson, director of the Core Issues Trust, has criticised the decision announced by Mr Johnson, saying: "I didn't realise censorship was in place. We went through the correct channels and we were encouraged by the bus company to go through their procedures. They okayed it and now it has been pulled."
TfL [Transport for London, the city's public transit apparatus] has said that the adverts are not "consistent with TfL's commitment to a tolerant and inclusive London".