On the off-chance that you’re not familiar with the story, Ron Heather is the Christian bus driver from Southampton who refused to do his job this week because his vehicle had one of our atheist adverts on it.  He then took the hardline stance of refusing to drive any such buses ‘unless there weren’t any others available’. Don’t mess with Ron – he has principles.  I should add the disclaimer that any of the details above that aren’t already public knowledge were invented by me so he can’t sue me for defamation while he’s twiddling his thumbs at home inbetween calls to Radio Solent.

See the BBC report here.


59 thoughts on “110

  1. Pingback: Ron Heather’s CV? | nullifidian

  2. Love it… and I’m very impressed that you’re doing something creative every day. I’m also doing a creative year but I only write something once a week, and I barely manage that.

  3. Richard, this was really excellent. I was wondering who was laughing so loudly then I realised it was me! Keep it up, wish I had thought of it. Now, got to clean up this mess, the damn coffee came right up out my nose!

  4. Er, publishing and embellishing this guy’s CV is just nasty. If he was the CEO, would you do such a thing? Would you heck as like!
    Nasty, mean and I have to say, very typical of the middle-class campaigning atheist. You should be ashamed, as should everyone applauding you.

  5. Er… it’s a fake CV, Debbie! Chill. Graham made it up. And yes, he would just as happily fabricated the CV of a CEO.

    (I can’t help but associate the initials CV with Christian Voice now…)

  6. And a couple of comments from followers of PZ Myers’ Pharyngula blog:

    #22Posted by: Valis | January 18, 2009 11:12 AM

    The latest news on the UK bus driver, Ron Heather, who refused to drive the Atheist Ad Bus is that his “CV” has been leaked:

    Whahahahaha! That’s a good one 😉

    #23Posted by: george.w | January 18, 2009 11:15 AM

    Pretty good parody but I saw a conspicuous lack of all caps and multiple exclamation points.

    Graham: I think george.w may have a point – the cv does look a bit too rational!

    Ariane: Oops, did I just hear that Voice again?

  7. Yes, Ariane, obviously… But that actually makes it nastier. Your ‘parody’ will stay on the net forever, ridiculing and libelling this man, simply because you’re all frightened of someone with the courage to stand up to you who consider yourselves his ‘betters’.

  8. Hi Debbie, and thanks for your comments.

    The Atheist Bus Campaign exists because we are fortunate enough to have freedom of speech and expression in this country. Are you suggesting that no one should ever be made fun of? What a boring world that would be. We should all be able to laugh at ourselves. I respect Ron Heather as a man of principle but I don’t think he applied them very well in this instance. Still, if he ever wanted to ridicule me in return I’d be delighted to see it – he’d have no shortage of material!

  9. Of course I am not suggesting any restriction of freedom of speech, I am simply suggesting that it be used responsibly, and not to deliberately hurt an ideological enemy.
    I think that Ron Heather would never do such a thing to you, that’s the difference.

  10. Debbie,

    I’m Graham’s best friend, and he’s also made fun of me, on the internet, in all perpetuity:

    http://www.doormatpicnic.com/Self-Assembly.png (click image to enlarge)

    There’s also a joke about my CV in there (along with several others!) But I don’t mind in the slightest, because they’re clearly just gags. Yes, there’s the possibility that people might think I introduce myself with the line “I am renowned TV comedy writer Ariane Sherine and I demand…” etc. They might think I carry a massive CV around with me. They might even think that I wet myself regularly!

    But it’s very funny, and I can laugh at myself, accept that it’s a lighthearted parody, and let it go. I’m sure Ron can too.

    Best wishes,


  11. I agree with Debbie. That mickey-taking CV was mean and despicable. These trendy middle-class atheists think they’re so big and clever – I hate them with a passion.

    Of course, I’m only joking. I thought the fake CV was quite amusing. And totally legit. I’m sure the real Mr Heather would see the funny side. He looks like he’s got a great sense of humour!

  12. Come on, it’s hardly a personal attack. I would consider it an honour to be at the receiving end on such an example of hilarious mockery.

  13. Debbie, I highly doubt that Mr Heather has the intelligence to compose such an artful parody, even if he wanted to. In a blog comment elsewhere, someone had to type his reply for him as he “lacks keyboard skills”. Bless!

  14. @Bluebird – ‘turn the other cheek’ is one thing. Being a doormat is quite another – and so many secular people assume Christian = doormat. It doesn’t.
    @Barry Young – wow, thanks for making my point about elitism for me. How many men Mr Heather’s age have keyboard skills? This applies to his generation regardless of social class or presumed ‘intelligence’Which is how generations of women were able to get jobs as typists…
    If you campaigners want to reach people, and the whole bus campaign implies that you do, you really have to stop sneering!

  15. Debbie, I think I understand your motives, but correct me if I’m wrong: You feel sorry for Heathers don’t you? and you think he is too weak to defend himself, so you are doing it by proxy?
    I don’t think he is even aware of the stir he has created, and I think he would be too proud to have you defend him.

  16. Yes, Vince, that’s exactly it!
    I don’t know if he’s too weak to defend himself, really, but I felt I ought to defend him, as it seems to me, he’s probably not an internet-using person…
    Thank you for your kind remarks!

  17. Debbie: Ron has attracted all this attention by taking his actions into the public domain.

    Following his refusal to drive the bus, he could’ve just stayed quiet, refusing to talk to radio, TV and newspaper reporters, and the fuss would’ve died down. But he didn’t go quietly. As was his perfect right, Ron decided to do interviews with anyone who asked. His wife has even asked Ariane, a journalist, to meet them, or do a media interview with them.

    Now that Ron and Fran have so enthusiastically gone public with this, they have now entered the public domain. This means that the same rules apply to them as with any other politician, entertainer, sports-star or wannabe D-list celebrity. And those rules include other people’s right to applaud, criticise, mock or parody them.

    But don’t worry about them Debbie! Fran has a PhD and is probably already selling their story to the Daily Wail.

  18. When Ron Heather chose to make his public stance and speak to any press agency willing to take him seriously, he opened himself up to ridicule. He has no right to expect only a positive response.

    And what the hell is this “middle class campaigning atheist” you speak of? With the exception of this bus campaign (which was, I think, a response to a similar ad run by a Christian group) what other examples can you give of any type of atheist campaign? I certainly don’t remember any atheists knocking on my door telling me what I should believe in, or atheists standing on street corners with megaphones spewing Darwinian dogma.

  19. Mark, I refer you to Richard Dawkins and his issues which include the OUT campaign, his books and those of the so-called ‘Four Horseman’ – Hitchens, Dennett, Sam Harris and Dawkins himself.

    There are others, trust me on this!


  20. Good CV, and thank you Debbie you are an inspiration:

    Debbie Kean thinks you’re mean
    but she don’t know or hasn’t seen
    That Rons logic at its end
    is to ban all that could offend.
    Although you may think this mean
    That means banning Debbie Kean

  21. Most excellent pseudo CVand some of the funniest comments ever.. I await Ron’s debut on a celebrutally challenged TV show, does anyone know the talent booker’s number for the Jeremy Kyle show..

  22. Hilariously brilliant!

    At first I thought “you publish his CV, and mix it with stuff you make up? That doesn’t sound too good”, but then I read it and saw that it was pure parody, so it’s all good.

  23. It’s fair comment.

    It was a legal and legitimate advert and Ron should not have allowed his personal views to interfere with his responsibilities to the bus company and their passengers.

    If we were all as self-indulgent as Ron, there would be chaos!

  24. Pingback: Apathy Sketchpad » Blog Archive » JanuaryBiscuit

  25. Hey guys check out this new website celebmemorial.com In memory all the celebrities that died it’s got videos and stuff really nice!

  26. Very funny. Very creative. I think Debbie is right. He probably doesn’t use the Internet. Or think very clearly. Does he think ANY buses should run with those signs? I bet not. I’ll wager $100 (I’m a cheap so-and-so) that if he had the power he would prevent any buses from running with those ads. If every bus in London had those ads I’ll wager he’d stop all of them, even if it meant closing the system down. I have NO basis for my guess. It’s just a guess based on having known other idiots that held similar strongly held religious based beliefs. He might be an exception. Regardless of that, the CV was creative and funny as hell.

  27. Wow, nearly 6 months later, I get this update and I am reminded what self-loving boys you all are! As gay people say ‘Bless!’
    Does Ron Heather really scare you so much? Obviously!
    No, that CV wasn’t creative or funny. It reminds me of a bunch of schoolyard bullies, egged on by the prefect (shall we call him Piers?) telling his minions to dish out a good kicking to the working-class boy who refused to stay in his place.
    Why buses hey? My guess is that like my ex-husband, you all pride yourselves on never having had to take a bus in your lives.

  28. Why buses? You might be interested learning a bit about the bus campaign. It was -buses- because the bus campaign in question was thought up in response to a Christian bus campaign. How can you possibly criticize the OP if you know nothing of the situation that led to the humorous article?
    Where did the leap of “..you all pride yourselves on never having had to take a bus in your lives.” come from?
    To my way of thinking, this isn’t about an individual and what he did or didn’t do. While the CV may have been in reference to an individual, I think the more important discussion revolves around the concern that so many religious folks seem to think that as long as they believe it, others around them should pay them deference and make sure nothing that offends their religious beliefs be allowed to impinge upon them.
    For all any of us know the fellow is a Union activist asserting his rights to strengthen the contract. There may be many reasons for his actions. Be that as it may…
    Most atheists (or at least some)to whom the bus campaign is of interest think that belief in god/angels/devil/miracles etc. reflect a lack of clear thinking. I realize strongly religious people similarly believe atheists are entirely wrong headed and not clear thinking. This is the stuff of argument. I recognize that. And for clarification, my comment regarding “idiots” was poorly phrased. It was meant to demean religious stridency – strongly held dogmatic religious beliefs that result in a person trying to exert their belief system on others. Which is exactly what somebody does when they claim their religious belief is being offended and thus expect some special treatment or the banning of the activity that is offensive to them. THAT is what I think is idiotic (senselessly foolish). I don’t care if a Christian thinks he shouldn’t have to drive a bus with a slogan, or if it’s a Muslim who thinks Airports should have foot washing rooms, or a vegan that doesn’t think he should have to drive a bus for people with leather shoes.
    Again…where does the “working class”, economic perspective come from? Your guess that “you all pride yourselves on never having had to take a bus in your lives.” is wrong. What an odd leap of logic to make. A leap that wasn’t.

  29. @Santa:
    “For all any of us know the fellow is a Union activist asserting his rights to strengthen the contract. There may be many reasons for his actions. Be that as it may…”
    Hey, you have given yourself away big time! If this was the case, and it isn’t, that’s not illegal, and only an objectivist/businessman would consider it immoral!
    Of course I know about the origin of the bus campaign! It’s simply that you all struck me as the kind of elitist who’d regard those who get buses as the ‘great unwashed’ etc.
    Bus drivers are working class. I am working class. Atheist campaigners are by and large not – they’re businessmen with too much time on their hands, and the odd academic, (though there are far fewer of those than they’d like to have us think).

  30. Wow. What an interesting mind. Where did “immoral” come from with regard to my comments on Union activism? I was pointing out there are a myriad of possibilities that might explain why a person might choose to want to claim they shouldn’t have to drive a bus. I’ve been a Union negotiator myself. I said nothing derogatory about it. And I’ve been squirrel-eating poor in my life. Literally. Fifteen years ago I didn’t have running water. You make wayyy too many assumptions. Your assumption that atheists are this kind or that kind of person is just another form of prejudice. We are not “by and large” anything.

  31. “My guess is that like my ex-husband, you all pride yourselves on never having had to take a bus in your lives.”

    Ha… I pride myself on never having had to drive a car in my life. Buses are so much better for the environment, more convenient (instead of wasting half an hour driving and finding a park, I can spend that time reading — and I never have to care about maintenance), and of course cheaper, despite the fact that I get to behave like a chauffeur-driven rock star. I’d be more proud if I could ride an atheist bus, but they haven’t made it here yet.

  32. Debbie Keen:
    “Does Ron Heather scare you that much?”

    … or do we ‘scare’ you, Debbie? Is your faith so weak that you must criticise those who dare to mock someone who had embraced his new-found publicity?

    “No, that CV wasn’t creative or funny.”

    And now you try to tell us what we are allowed to laugh at.

    Fortunately, your intolerance of people with different views to yours isn’t typical of Christians I know – most are friendly, kind people who enjoy a good joke. You seem to crave for a more Orwellian version of society. Have you considered a career with the Taliban?

  33. 11 months and I get another update, and I am reminded again what a bunch of self-loving boys (to quote Queen) you all are! No, my faith isn’t weak, and you guys (and what, 2 girls?) don’t scare me. But your elitism does irritate me intensely! If your aim is to reach people, you have to understand them, and you clearly don’t. However if your aim is to make yourselves seem superior by getting into your un-holy huddle and congratulating yourselves, you’re doing well – keep up the good work! There are ‘atheist buses’ here now (New Zealand) and I bet you’re all terribly upset at the complete lack of interest in them – if you’re even aware. Poor boys (and girl!)

  34. Don’t worry Deborah – we’ll never outdo your feeling of superiority and elitism over other (non-Christian) people!

    Take care, and Peace to you & yours.

  35. I don’t feel superior to you lot, but it bothers me that you feel superior to all of us!

  36. Your bother may be unwarranted, and we don’t feel superior to you!

    We merely want the same rights as Christians.

    For instance, Christian ads appear on UK buses daily. Yet when an atheist ad goes on a bus, many of the Christians start complaining, stating that our views offend them.

    Ron Heather: “Shock – horror”.


  37. You have the same rights as Christians. If you want more adverts, then place them, nothing is stopping you.
    In some respects you have *more* rights. In an old episode of Coro, only just screened here, because we’re years behind, characters called Molly and Tyrone got married, in a church. The cross was deliberately hidden because the producers were afraid it would “offend atheists, agnostics and Muslims” they told the priest at the time. (I read about it on the off topic section of the Doctor Who forum of all things.)
    Studies have shown that Muslims don’t mind, neither do agnostics. So, guess who that leaves?

  38. Ughhh! I hope you don’t watch Coro!

    Well, as an atheist I can assure you that hiding a cross in a church seems absurd! It’s more likely to be overly-sensitive, politically-correct executives worried about offending Muslim viewers living in the North. Ratings are everything to these people.

    I visit many beautiful old churches, and the crosses don’t give me any problems.

    In the UK Christians have many more rights than non-Christians. For instance, they have 26 seats reserved for archbishops in the House of Lords; by law all state schools have to make children study Christianity and perform an act of “daily collective worship”; and recent legislation makes it illegal to “incite religious hatred” – however people without religious views are not protected from zealous theists.

    And the Thought for the Day radio programme (BBC Radio 4) welcomes speakers from any religion to air their thoughts – but the producer bars atheists from voicing theirs.

    Hopefully, one day the various religions of the world will be more tolerant of each other, and also a little more tolerant of those who don’t follow a particular faith.


  39. I had heard that Thought for the Day now welcomed atheist speakers… and I listen to the BBC World Servicr. Their magazine programme ‘Heart and Soul’ has this year interviewed or featured Jews, Hindus, Muslims and several atheists. It has yet to feature any Christians!
    (Oh, forgive me, I have just remembered one programme some months ago, in which a Christian group was heavily criticised and described from the outside, whereas atheist groups have been sympathetically described by their sensitively interviewed members.
    However, you make some good points! Here, the Education Act states that state schools *must* be “free, secular and compulsory”. Anything else is a bad thing. (I am a teacher, and as you know a Christian, but in my view, religion has no place in state schools!)

  40. According to the D Telegraph about a year ago, Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer has so far resisted the calls that atheists should be allowed to air their thoughts on the T4TD programme, however I have found two exceptions. In 2002, Richard Dawkins was allowed to make a non-religious contributon, and during the ABC itself, Ariane Sherine was allowed to make a similar contribution on an afternoon show (ie, not in the normal morning T4TD slot).

    And I fully agree with your last paragraph!

    PS Amongst others, I’ll be seeing New Zealand play footie (v Slovakia) in the South Africa World Cup in a couple of weeks. I’ll be next to the guy holding a card with “John 3:16” on it!


  41. As regards the footie, I heard that New Zealand did creditably well this morning (our time) in a warm-up match and have now gone up from 79th to 78th. (Not terribly brilliant but still, it’s something!) 🙂
    I’ve never understood why people hold up John 3:16 placards at sports matches. What do they think they’re achieving? You’re actually going to SA for the World Cup? My son would be filled with envy if I was to tell him…
    I don’t agree with religion in schools… as one friend of mine in the UK said “it simply inoculates kids with a weak dose”… and religion should *always* be a matter of free choice. God agrees with that, BTW..

  42. My sister teaches 8 & 9 year-olds in NW London. Loves the job but hates the 2 or 3 hours of paperwork every evening!

    Personally, I’m quite happy for religious studies to be taught in schools, as long as it includes all the main religions and philosophies of the world. My youngest daughter (14 yrs) has just chosen to do RS up to GCSE level.

    Re the footie, NZ beating Serbia (ranked 15) is an astonishing result, even for a friendly. I’ll be cheering on the “All-Whites” in the game in Rustenburg. I leave for RSA on Jun 9th, attend the opening ceremony/ match RSA v MEX, then ENG v USA, HOL v DEN, and finally NZ v SLK. Do tell your son – I’ll be wearing a black & white “Guinness” rugby shirt for that match!

    Can’t wait!!

  43. You have a point about religious studies – provided it does include all the main religions… after all, people do need information! My parents were atheists as I’ve said – I got no information until I sought it out myself.
    I shall tell my son. I know if the matches are broadcast here at a time that he can watch (he’s a cardiac nurse and does various shifts of course) that he will look out for you!

  44. Of course children should have religious education in their timetable. Children should be educated about other religions so that they respect and understand other people’s faiths even if these are different from their own.

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