An Interview with the Leader of the Swiss Atheist Bus campaign

November 3, 2009

While conducting a series of interviews for the pilot episode of a major upcoming new multimedia project called Think Again! TV, whose mandate is given below, I had the opportunity to interview Claude Frankhauser of the Freethought Association of Switzerland about the Swiss participation in the very global Atheist Bus campaign. The very rough audio (it will need considerable editing) of that interview can be found at the following link

I thought it would be interesting to compare the experience of one of the European bus campaign leaders outside the UK to that experienced in the US and Canada. When I say "bus campaign" I’m being somewhat geenrous. In fact, they were unable to place ads on buses. The slogan they attempted to run, something translated into German but similar to the UK "There’s Probably No God. Now Relax and Enjoy Your Life" was rejected without compromise. They found a unique solution in moving to large public posters. This was a brilliant move, and they were able to raise $25,000 franks ($36,800 US dollars) .

I was able to sympathize with the way they were passed bewteen advertising companies and city officials, each claiming the other was responsible for giving permission, all the while religious organizations have had no trouble with their own advertising. But I also found it heartening that thanks to massive media attention and public support, they were able to hit more cities but actually changing the minds of transit authorities that had originally banned the display. It’s great to see the freethought movement beginning to mobilize such large scale support towards an important end.

Think Again is the first TV show to examine current affairs from an atheist perspective and a skeptical point of view. Eeach show investigates a controversial issue (at the cross-section of ethics, politics, science and religion) through personal commentary, streeters, discussions, interviews and debates.  The pilot episode of Think Again! TV will focus on the international phenomenon known as the Atheist Bus Campaign.