Firebrand Free Presbyterian Minister the Rev David McIlveen has called on Translink “to think very carefully” before accepting the anti-Christian advertising on buses that has sparked a fierce debate in Great Britain.
East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has called on Christian groups to launch a counter campaign on buses stating ‘But What If There is?’
Fellow MP David Simpson from Upper Bann — who has signed the Campbell motion — wants the bus company to respect the principles of Christian drivers.
And Free Presbyterian Moderator the Rev Ron Johnstone says that while he is “extremely saddened by this slight on the Christian Faith”.
“It is all rebounding on the atheists who are slighting Christianity in this self-publicising way”.
Mr Johnstone added: “At least it is opening a debate, and people are coming out and saying yes there is a God. The bus advertising is a message of no hope. Ours is one of eternal hope.”
The Northern Ireland controversy has been prompted by the stance of Southampton driver Ron Heather who refused to take out a bus which carried the slogan in the £140,000 campaign sponsored by the British Humanist Association.
“I was in a dilemma,” he said. “But there was no way I could drive the bus and I told that to the inspectors.”
Mr McIlveen said: “I would hope that Translink would respect the principles of driver should these adverts come here. Obviously one cannot dictate to the bus company whether or not to accept these adverts which are an affront to those who holds their faith so dear. I commend Mr Heather for his courage and it is pleasing to see someone stand up for Christ.”
David Simpson, who is also a Gospel singer, commented: “The British Humanist Society is exercising its freedom with this advertising, but it does not change the facts. God cannot be wished away, and it’s up to any bus company to respect the feeling of Christian bus drivers if they do not wish to drive vehicle propagating this false message.”
Moderator Mr Johnstone said that the message was “very saddening”, and added: “But at least it is making people think about God and I believe most will conclude that there is a God of love and compassion. It is rebounding on the advertisers.”
Professor Richard Dawkins from the British Humane Society said that the existence of God was “as unlikely as the tooth fairy” adding that he would have preferred the word ‘probably’ to have been left out of the slogan.
Meanwhile, nobody was available at Translink for comment when the Belfast Telegraph contacted the company yesterday afternoon.