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Russian Church replies to British Atheists on London Buses

On Thursday 29 January a Russian TV producer announced that he would shortly be launching a ‘There IS a God’ advertising campaign in London, in order to counter atheist posters displayed on buses in January. Posters reading, ‘There IS a God. Don’t Worry. Enjoy life!’ will appear on London buses in March. So said Alexander Korobko, the head of the London-based Russian Hour satellite TV channel, and a visitor to our church.

A campaign organised by the British Humanist Association (BHA) put slogans on 800 buses. These read: ‘There’s probably no God. Now, stop worrying, and enjoy life’. The campaign drew protests from religious organisations and believers, but advertising regulators said that it was not in conflict with legislation.

‘Who said faith in God does not allow us to enjoy life?’ replied Alexander, describing his surprise at how the alternative campaign had developed. Alexander said that his channel had signed a contract with CBS Outdoor to put posters reading ‘There IS a God. Don’t worry. Enjoy life!’ on 25 London double-deckers from 9 March. The posters will be twice the size of the atheist posters and will have photographs of the Trinity St Sergius monastery outside Moscow on them. He said that he had discussed the idea with the Russian Orthodox Bishop in London and Church authorities in Moscow and that they had approved the project. ‘We are living in difficult times, when the economic crisis is being extensively ‘promoted’… people need a life-asserting message’, he said, adding that the campaign was being financed by the channel.

A generation ago Russia was popularly seen as a bastion of atheism, whereas the ‘free’ world was seen as a bastion of the Christian faith. How times change…

Fr Andrew

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