November 25, 2009

Atheist poster children are Evangelical Christians

by Benjamin Graham

Two smiling children featured on an atheist billboard are from an Evangelical Christian family, it has emerged.

The images of children used by the British Humanist Association (BHA) for their “Please don’t label me” advertising campaign were bought from a stock photo library, and the BHA had no way of finding out the background of the children.

Brad Mason, the children’s father, works as a web designer and photographer, and is a drummer in a Christian band.

“It is quite funny, because obviously they were searching for images of children that looked happy and free,” he said.

“They happened to choose children who are Christian. It is ironic.

“The humanists obviously did not know the background of these children.

“Obviously there is something in their faces which is different.

“So they judged that they were happy and free without knowing that they are Christians.

“That is quite a compliment. I reckon it shows we have brought up our children in a good way and that they are happy.”

Gerald Coates, leader of the Pioneer Network of Churches, of which Mason is a member, said: “Here [the BHA] are promoting atheism and the two children have been brought up in a Christian family.”

A spokesperson for the BHA admitted the photos had been purchased from a website, and said it wasn’t aware of the background of the children when it chose the photos.

“The message of the posters is that the labelling of children by their parents’ religion is not respectful of the rights of the child – we are not suggesting that children would be happier brought up in a humanist environment,” she said.

“We are saying that religions and philosophies (and ‘Humanist’ is one of the labels we use on our poster) should not be foisted on or assumed of young children and that young people have the right to choose for themselves in line with their developing capacities as they grow.”

The billboard campaign is a follow-up to the atheist adverts on London buses earlier this year which proclaimed: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

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