The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says it will not investigate an advertisement by the Christian Party which says “There definitely is a God”.
The ASA has received over 1,000 complaints about the ad – the fourth highest number since records began.
But it will not investigate the campaign because it was “electioneering material” and so not subject to the advertisers code.
The Christian Party launched the ad in response to an earlier campaign by the British Humanist Association (BHA), promoting the slogan “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
The BHA says it chose to include the word “probably” in order to skirt around advertising rules. The ASA ruled in January that the BHA’s ad had not breached its code.
Ariane Sherine, the comedian who initiated the BHA’s campaign, said she was “keen on the ‘probably'” because “it means the slogan is more accurate, as even though there’s no scientific evidence at all for God’s existence, it’s also impossible to prove that God doesn’t exist (or that anything doesn’t)”.
Commenting on its decision not to investigate the Christian Party’s ad, despite the high level of complaints, a spokesman for the ASA said: “We do not play the numbers game, it is about measuring the complaints against the advertising codes and judging whether or not there appears to be a problem under the rules.”
The ASA also said it would not investigate two other ads placed by groups in response to the BHA’s campaign, explaining that these were expressions of the advertisers’ opinions, and were unlikely to mislead readers.
One, by the Trinitarian Bible Society, read: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” It also included an offer of a free Bible.
Another, placed by the Russian Orthodox Church, read: “There is a God, believe! Don’t Worry. Enjoy your life!”