A Christian bus driver has objected to driving a bus featuring the atheist ad which claims “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
Ron Heather from Southampton, an employee of First Bus, was shocked when he saw the ad on the bus he was about to drive.
Sympathising with Mr Heather’s reaction the bus company has pledged to do what they can to accommodate his request.
Mr Heather said: “I was just about to board and there it was staring me in the face, my first reaction was shock horror.
“I felt that I could not drive that bus, I told my managers and they said they haven’t got another one and I thought I better go home, so I did.
“I think it was the starkness of this advert which implied there was no God,” he added.
Mr Heather has since returned to work with the reassurance that he will not be forced to drive a bus brandishing an atheist slogan, unless there is no other bus available.
First Bus released a statement saying: “As a company we understand Mr Heather’s views regarding the atheist bus advert and we are doing what we can to accommodate his request not to drive the buses concerned.”
The statement continued: “As an organisation we don’t endorse any of the products or sentiments advertised on our buses.
“The content of this advert has been approved by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) and therefore it is capable of being posted on static sites or anywhere else.”
The atheist ads which started appearing on buses earlier this month are backed by the British Humanist Association (BHA) and ardent atheist campaigner Professor Richard Dawkins.
Earlier this week a group of MPs expressed their opposition to the atheist bus ads.
They are encouraging Christian groups to launch a counter advertising campaign using the slogan, “But what if there is?”
A number of cross-party MPs are supporting two Commons motions attacking the “religiously offensive and morally unhelpful advertisements”.
One of the motions regrets the British Humanist Association’s backing for the campaign and calls on ministers to “seek to remove” the adverts.
The advertising is appearing on 600 buses in cities across England, Scotland and Wales.
It will appear on an additional 200 bendy buses in London for a month. Two large LCD screens bearing the atheist message have been placed in Oxford Street.
Quotes from well known atheists have been placed on 1,000 posters on London Underground trains.